Two thumbs up for the brake upgrade
After upgrading both the front and the rear brakes on my Stag, it was used on local trips for a few hundred kilometres to bed in the pads and see if there were any potential issues. The braking feel was much improved – the earlier setup had a dead feeling, whereas the upgrade has added improved feel when initially applied and gives some real bite as the pedal pressure is increased. I suspect that some of the change is due to the new pad/disc combination.
During this period, I kept a check on the level in the master cylinder reservoir and for any leaks below. I then took the Stag on a club-organised weekend away in Yamba, a coastal town in New South Wales about 350km south of where I live. We departed on the Saturday, and I met up with the group south of Brisbane from where we travelled in convoy along back roads to our lunch stop in a small town. We were amused to find the owners shut the café during our lunch – it seems that trading hours in a small town differ from those in the larger cities.
After lunch we drove on to Yamba, again avoiding the major highway. The roads were in poor condition due to recent floods, and there were several changes from the original planned route due to roads being closed or restricted after flood damage and landslips. We arrived safely though, and after an excellent dinner on Saturday evening, Sunday was a relaxing day investigating the local spots, including a ferry ride across the Clarence River for lunch and a visit to the Lawrence Museum where we were able to park some of the Triumphs in front of the building for photos which are now on the museum website.
We travelled home individually, and I decided to return by the fastest route so I could get across Brisbane before to the afternoon peak that starts at 3.30- 4pm, when traffic is slowed to a crawl. The main coastal highway along the east coast between Sydney and Brisbane has been upgraded over the past few years and is now excellent with a 110km/h (68mph) speed limit for much of the way. The Stag is quite happy cruising at this speed, and I was able to complete the journey in a little over four hours, which included two stops for fuel and lunch. Also I averaged 28mpg over the complete weekend, thanks to the four-speed auto that reduces the engine revs when cruising.
I decided the final brake test
would be a trip over Mount Glorious, where I have always experienced a degree of fade on the descent with both standard front brakes and Rossini discs with Greenstuff pads, although considerably less scary with the latter. My wife was initially reluctant to join me, but had a sudden change of heart when I suggested lunch in a village bakery in Fernvale that bakes her favourite cream cakes.
All the challenging downhill sections are on a narrow road through rainforest with little chance to pull off for a photo opportunity. We were able to stop at a few locations though, including on the summit where we could get a good view of Lake Wivenhoe – a man-made lake on the Brisbane River that serves as both the major water supply for Brisbane and as a flood mitigation facility for the city. The water supply level will hold over a million megalitres of water (a megalitre is a million litres), and in excess of two million megalitres can be held back as flood mitigation.
The decent is really winding, with numerous downhill sections followed by hairpin bends. It went really well because the brakes were a great improvement over the previous descent. You could tell they were getting hot, but there was no fade so the upgrade got a big tick. The Stag’s braking performance is now at the standard of a modern vehicle, not a 40-year- old classic car.
I then took the Stag to the All British Day in Brisbane, which is organised by the local MG Car Club. It was one of the few car shows that was able to proceed this year due to the above average rainfall. Luckily, we had a relatively dry period that enabled the site to drain and dry sufficiently to hold the event. We had a good turnout of Triumphs, and it was a really excellent day apart from another exhibitor reversing into the front bumper of the Stag, his rear over-rider striking my front number plate. It was a minor knock, but it quite badly bent the number plate and aluminium support panel behind. I was concerned that it might have caused damage to the chrome bumper and number plate support plinth, so the next day I unbolted the plinth and separated it from the number plate and support panel. Luckily the plinth and bumper escaped damage, the only bent parts being number plate and support.
With care, I was able to straighten the number plate without damaging the paint, so that the damage is only visible when subjected to the closest scrutiny. It was easy to remove the bend from the aluminium panel and reform this to its original shape. Whilst the components were apart, I took the opportunity to give them a good polish and wax prior to reassembly. The support panel is there to raise the number plate as high as possible without obscuring the Triumph badge in order to get the best possible airflow into the radiator. It was good that the Stag’s original front bumper components are quite sturdy – I suspect that damage would have been more severe on a modern vehicle with plastic bumpers.