Maintenance

Respray

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Having overhauled and upgraded various mechanical items on the car over the years, the next item to receive some attention was the bodywork. The of the car nose had what can only be described as a galaxy of stone chips. The paint on the wings had micro blistered and every panel on the car had some form of scratch, scuff or abrasion.

For me there was only ever one place that the car was going to go for a respray and that is back home to Surface & Design located in one of the ex-factory units in Bristol Avenue, Blackpool. The team is made up of ex TVR staff who as you would expect have detailed knowledge of TVR. David Martin who runs Surface & Design I have had a number of dealings with now and I have always been impressed by his ‘can do’ attitude and the attention to detail of his work.

I asked S&D to fully resprayed in the same colour is it left the factory, Aston Martin Limited Mendip Blue metallic. I also asked for a number of non standard enhancements along the way:

  • Chimaera style vented bonnet with black mesh vents
  • Griffith SE wing mirrors without standard extender plugs
  • Griffith SE 7 inch lamps
  • Brake Reservoir and Clutch reservoir covers

I will let the pictures do the talking.

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I am in the process of writing a more detailed article which will hopefully be appearing in the TVRCC magazine Sprint soon. I will also be taking some better photographs.

A huge thank you to David and the team at S&D for completing a superb job on my car, they truly are masters of their craft.

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Rear Brake upgrade

The rear brakes on my Griff were in need of some attention, I have had issues with intermittent binding over the last few years and as a result I managed to wear the pads down completely. The discs I believe are the originals from the factory and are heavily corroded so in need of replacement anyway.

As per usual I try to replace parts for upgraded items where I can so rather than OE I decided on a cheeky upgrade.

I already have the Alcon 4pot upgrade on the front of my Griff which I really like and fits under the 15″ OE wheel. The Alcon fill the front wheels nicely but the rears look a bit small now in comparison. After looking at various options and not wanting to upset the brake bias I decided to keep the original callipers and but go for bigger discs. My logic behind this is the brake bias was fine with OE front and rear, bias was fine with the 4pots on the front and OE on the back, so a larger disc on the back with OE callipers will bring this a little further back to OE so bias still fine. In theory!

I decided on the the Reyland 300mm rotor upgrade. I know a number of other owners who have had this fitted and are happy with it. It is also the same kit the Cossie boys use on their cars and there did not seem to be any complaints on their forums. I quick chat with Martin at Reyland and the kit was ordered.

http://www.reyland.co.uk/tvr/

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I also decided to get the brake callipers refurbished and the brake build changed. Rather than sending them to one of the usual companies that specialise in brake calliper refurbishment I opted to use a TVR local specialist with experience in this area. Jody from Jody at Python Racing offers this service and has done a number of calliper rebuilds for various TVRs. I had asked him to match as closely as possible the original grey finish on Alcon 4 pot brakes I have fitted to the front.

http://www.pythonracing.co.uk

Very impressed with the service and the end result….

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The kit fitted:

Rear:
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Front (existing Alcon kit):
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Cerbera Seats

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I have always found the original seats very comfortable but lacking in lateral support. Since I have been attending more track days I have struggled with the Griffith seats not only do they not hold me in very well but the seating position is a bit too high and my head touches the roof when wearing a helmet.

Having researched various options I note that popular options for replacing the original seats are Lotus Elise and Mazda MX5 which are both narrow enough to fit. Although the aftermarket options did look appealing in that they are much lighter and offer more support the replacement seats had to be a  ‘TVR’ seat for me to maintain as much originality as possible.

Tuscan seat test
A good friend of mine had a pair of Tuscan seats up for sale which I purchased. I ran this seat in the Griff for most of 2015 to test it out for comfort and also completed a number of track days. I found the Tuscan seat much more supportive than the originals and being able to take the centre cushion out for track days and sit even lower in the car and wedged in is fantastic.

2015-04-06 Tuscan Seat

The issue with the Tuscan seat is for some reason even though the seats felt comfortable they gave me a back ache on long journeys. I also found the seats a bit too wide resulting in me being rattled around in them a bit on track. My main complaint with the seats is the lack of shoulder support, where the bolsters come up around the seat to form the headrest my shoulders sit on the bolsters which is not very comfortable. Lastly although I adore the design of the Tuscan seats I am not sure they entirely suit the Griffith.

Cerbera seat test
I have had a pair of Cerbera seats in the loft for a while now and since had tried them out before but found the seating position a bit too high (about 2cm higher than the standard seats). No good for me as I ideally need to be 2cm lower to accommodate the helmet on track days.

Taking what I had learnt from the Tuscan seats I decided to try out the Cerbera seats again.

Cerbera Seat

I instantly felt the Cerbera seats where more comfortable and I couple of long journeys confirmed no back ache. The shoulder support is good and the seats feel sculpted. The fact the last 100 Griffiths were fitted with these seats from the factory is a big plus for me as technically even though they were not fitted to my car they are an OEM part which did feature in the Griffith.

On the negative side the issue with the height was very apparent as soon as the seats were fitted, I was now sitting far too high, my head was very almost touching the roof without a helmet and the driving position overall not great due to the height. Leg support on the Tuscan seats was also far superior and the Cerbera seats felt a bit short in terms of length.

Knowing I would be getting the seats re-trimmed I decided to modify the bottom foam by removing 75% of the foam thickness from the main cushion but leaving the leg support intact to provide a better support similar to a bucket seat design. The result not pretty but provided a proof of concept. Height wise this was now almost perfect although the very thin layer of foam was not very comfortable at all and very cold. The leg support also worked very well indeed.

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Cerbera Seat modification and re trim
Throughout the testing phase of both seats I had been speaking with Dave The Trimmer who I had the car booked in for the seat re trim with. Dave in my experience is not only a very talented trimmer but is one of few individuals I spoke with who was happy to take on the challenge of potentially creating something bespoke.

Looking at the design of the Tuscan seat and the Cerbera seat I noted that one of the reasons the Tuscan seat is lower is because the Cerebra seat has a solid fibreglass base and the Tuscan seat has webbing.

Cerbera seat
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Tuscan seat
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I arranged to pop in to see Dave to discuss the possibility of modifying the Cerebra seat by cutting out the fiberglass and installing webbing. I also wanted to see if he could make a custom bottom foam based on my butchered original. With the scope of the seat retrim works clearly transforming from a few modifications into more of a complete custom build at this point I was expecting a lot of back tracking and excuses but the answer to both questions was simply “Yeah I can do that”.

The Griff went in with Dave the Trimmer on the 1st February. 1 week later Dave had modified the original seats and was ready to mock up the test foams.

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I also asked Dave to replace the rear seat foams to provide additional comfort. Below the seat can be seen with a prototype bottom foam.

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A couple of weeks later the custom made foams were ready. Below picture shows the new custom foam (left) original prototype (centre) and the original OEM foam (right)

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A week later the seats are finished complete with heated seat elements with the switch hidden at the rear.

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Huge thanks to Dave The Trimmer and the team for doing such a fantastic job creating this bespoke product.

Yokohama AD08R tyres and geometry

Since enjoying Griff on the track as well as the road I have found that the Toyo T1R tyres do not seem to perform very well on the track. I really rate the Toyos as an all round tyre on the road but unfortunately they overheat and melt when exposed to constant cornering forces.

2014-05-06 Toyo Tyres 1

I did not want the hassle of having another set of wheels for the car for track day use only as I only do around 2-3 track days a year. After doing some research online two tyres seemed to get continue praise, the Toyo R1R and the Yokohama AD08R. I noted that the Toyo R1R only starts off life with 6mm of tread and the AD08s start with the full 8mm, I am not keen on the idea of paying for a tyre that does not have a full 8mm of tread so I went for the AD08Rs.

I could not get the AD08Rs in the same sizes I had on the car originally so using an online tool I calculated the rolling radius of the wheel before and after to get as close as possible to the original. I ended up with the following sizes which so I am lead to believe were the sizes used on some of the early non-PAS Griffiths.

Front – 205/50 R15
Rear – 225/50 R16

2015-04-09 AD08R

I had the tyres fitted at my local garage an immediately after driving out I noticed how much better the car felt on turn in, I was always a bit disappointed when I swapped from the OEM Bridgestone SO1/SO2 tyres to Toyos as the sidewalls did not feel as stiff and reading up this is a common complaint. The AD08Rs have a Kevlar reinforced sidewall and this for me was reminiscent of the feel of the old Bridgestones. The feel of the car and grip was also very encouraging, I normally hate having new tyres as the car feels a bit squirmy and unsettled on new thicker tread, I tend to prefer tyres once they are half worn, these new tyres did not feel too bad at all.

My only compliant was that I could feel the geo needed to be addressed as the car was not pulling straight on acceleration and had a tendency to wander to the right on a trailing throttle.

I booked a session with Super Tyres in Maldon for a 4 wheel alignment and geometry.

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The initial read out from the hunter system showed that the geometry was in need of some attention.

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I provided my own settings which I found on the PistonHeads forums many years ago and I have used ever since:

TVR Geo – Neill Anderson
Front & rear camber 0.75 to 1.25deg negative, as equal as possible side to side
Front tracking (toe) 10 to 20 minutes TOTAL ACROSS AXLE (5 to 10 minutes each wheel)
Rear tracking (toe) 4 to 6 minutes EACH WHEEL (as equal as possible side to side)
Front castor 4.75 to 5.25deg Positive (more important that each side is within 0.5deg of the other)

NOTE: As the front and rear wheel alignment are adjustable independently, but only the front wheels are connected to each other (by the rack) it is important that the pair of rear wheels are aligned to the nominal centreline of the car and not just to each other. The castor is not usually adjusted, the spacer at the upper ball joint is simply to ensure adequate clearance at the full extents of negative camber adjustment.

A couple of hours later the car was dialled in and the final read out looked good.

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I took the car for a spirited drive and what an improvement, car pulls straight on acceleration, the tyres stick very well once they have some heat in them, turn is much improved.

2015 Update

On track these tyres are simply amazing. The Toyo T1Rs where good for a very short period between being stone cold and slippy to being too hot and melting. The AD08Rs grip and grip, not only is the grip fantastic they also inspire confidence as you know they will hook up time after time, it was a gamble with the Toyos as when the overheated they had the tendency to bin you off the circuit randomly when pressing on.

Goodwood Circuit I had the telemetry setup and recorded cornering at 1.0G at 121MPH.Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 23.51.03.jpg

Later that year Castle Combe 1.2G at 65MPHScreen Shot 2015-08-02 at 20.34.39.jpg

Really impressed by these tyres, they are a great compromise between a road tyre like the Toyo T1R and a full out track tyre like a Toyo R888. As I discovered Toyo T1R is great on road but not good on track, R888 are great on track but not that suitable on road. Yoko AD08R does both very well, not quite as good in the wet as a T1R but still safely drive 70MPH on motorway in heavy rain. Not as good on the track as an R888 but very close. A great compromise tyre without having to maintain a set of winter tyres, summer tyres and track tyres.

New Dashboard

I had a new walnut dashboard fitted to my TVR in 2012 it was supplied by Classical dash and I was very pleased with the finish. Unfortunately as my Griff lives outside every summer the glue would fail on the rear of the dashboard buttons and they would end up floating around inside the dashboard. Various glues where tested including Araldite and 2 ton epoxy adhesive, none would secure the buttons for more than 12 months.

New 2015 dashboard
001 Pete Dash

Recently I also noticed that the veneer had cracked, this is again probably mainly due to the extreme temperatures the dash is exposed to during winter and summer. Having to remove the dashboard  so many times to re-fix the buttons I asm sure also did not help.

Issues with existing dashboard
2012-03-09 Headlight Switches

A good friend of mine and fellow Griff owner Peter Wiggins mentioned he was developing a new dashboard for his car to address the issues with the original TVR design. Despite the issues with the design of the original TVR dashboards being well documented, none of the existing suppliers of these dashboards have chosen address these issues in the products they sell.

Peter’s design to eliminates the manner in which the gauges and switches were fitted from new, they were simply glued to the rear of the panel dash panel. The design also addresses the poor choice of a veneered piece of thin 1.5mm steel sheet, which flexed and twisted in use causing the veneer to crack regularly.

Peter’s design is a laminated dash concept; meaning that it has an aluminium backing of 1.5mm that holds all the gauges via bezel mount and has ‘press studs’ to provide fixing capability, then a front bonded layer of 4mm ply veneered with bur walnut. This design produces a nice relatively flex free surface and allows all the switches and gauges to be properly mounted rather than using mastic or an araldited little bracket.

Peter started with a digital CAD file of the dash outline, kindly supplied by Dave Horthersall (TVRCC deputy editor) and then produced a paper 1:1, then modified the file to follow as accurately his original profile. Peter then produced two layers; 1 the aluminium with gauge holes the size of the case and 2 the wood with gauge holes a clearance fit for the bezel. Peter also designed switch and indicator lamp mounting brackets to all fit onto the aluminium layer. Finally Peter had both the wood and aluminium water jet cut from the CAD files, then the veneered wood layer was bonded to the aluminium. Lastly the veneer was coated with 7 coats of lacquer to give a deep shine.

The following are photographs showing the stages and finished items (kindly provided by Peter Wiggins):

Water Jet Cutting 1
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The Cut Pieces
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Assembly of finished dash
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Prototype fitted to Peter’s 4.3 Griff
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Machined Swirled Aluminium
Pete Stainless Dash 1

Pete also offers a machined swirled aluminium option and brushed stainless steel for those who prefer the more modern look. My car came with one of these from the factory and it did look very good.

TVR MADS Advertisement

I took delivery of my dashboard February 2015, Peter very kindly let me have one of the first 500 dashboards he produced. The finish looked fantastic I could tell that a lot of time had not only gone into the design but also the finishing of the product.

New dashboard
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While my car was in for a service this year I took the opportunity to ask David Batty (TVR Specialist) to swap the dashboard over for the new ‘Pete Dash’. I also had the stereo headunit swapped for an updated unit as the old one had failed. Trying to find a head unit which did not look like a disco ball was quite difficult, I ended up settling for a Pioneer DEH-80PRS which is a good quality unit being part of the Pioneer reference series and also has full iPhone/iPod connectivity including charging which is useful when using the phone as a sat nav.

David did a great job of fitting the dashboard and the item itself is absolute quality, I am really pleased with it.

If you fancy one of Peter’s fantastic new dashboards can be contacted via email at peter.wiggins@talktalk.net

New dash fitted to my Griff
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Brake Servo

I have recently noticed a hissing sound from the pedal box which stops when pressure is applied to the brake pedal. After posting on Pistonheads the general conciseness was that there was a vacuum leak somewhere between the plenum and the servo. This hissing has got worse over the last few weeks so I decided to take the car to my local TVR specialist in Southend, PR Woods.

Phil had a quick look at the issue when I dropped the car off and drew the same conclusion, that is was either the servo or the vacuum hose. Phil called me later that day to explain that he had checked the vacuum hose and it was fine which left the servo. Unfortunately the servo on the Griff is behind the pedal box and the only way to get at it is to take the pedal box out which is quite is challenging task.

The brake servo itself is from a Ford Mk3 Fiesta so I assumed that obtaining a part would be relatively straightforward. I was wrong, Ford discontinued the part in 2011 and since then stock has become very limited and prices have rocketed up from the dealer price of £142.61 in 2010 to £535.00!

Part Numbers
OE 1666345
Girling 4110328
TRW PSA 328

Vehicle fitting information

Vehicle (All non ABS/RHD) Model Year Engine Capacity
Fiesta Mk II (FBD) – 1.3 (FBD) 09.83 – 01.87 1296
Fiesta Mk II (FBD) – 1.3 09.83 – 09.89 1297
Fiesta Mk II (FBD) – 1.6 D (FBD) 04.84 – 02.89 1608
Fiesta Mk III (GFJ) – 1.0 03.89 – 12.95 1001
Fiesta Mk III (GFJ) – 1.1 03.89 – 12.95 1119
Fiesta Mk III (GFJ) – 1.1 03.89 – 12.95 1119
Fiesta Mk III (GFJ) – 1.3 03.89 – 12.95 1297
Fiesta Mk III (GFJ) – 1.3 03.89 – 12.92 1299
Fiesta Mk III (GFJ) – 1.3 CAT 05.91 – 01.97 1299
Fiesta Mk III (GFJ) – 1.4 03.89 – 12.95 1391
Fiesta Mk III (GFJ) – 1.4 03.89 – 12.95 1391
Fiesta Mk III (GFJ) – 1.4 CAT 03.89 – 12.95 1391

With the help of fellow European TVR owners I searched Europe for a part to no avail. There was a second hand part available from a TVR scrap yard for £200 but given the complexity of the fitting the part (around 8 hours of labour) I wanted the assurance of a new part.

I didn’t particularly lavish the thought of paying over £500 for what is essentially a £100 part so Phil set about looking at alternatives. Phil sourced a Ford Ka servo which is fitted to the later TVR ‘T’ cars (Tuscan, Tamora, T350 etc) which is the same 9 inch diameter as the Ford Fiesta Mk3 unit. Upon further inspection the stud pattern was different to attach the the pedal box, the arm which connects to the brake pedal was shorter and the pin the operates the master cylinder was shorter. Although the pedal box side could more than likely to modified to work the master cylinder side would be very difficult leaving the best option to fit the master cylinder from the Ka as well. The problem with using the master cylinder from the Ka is that the reservoir would also need to be fitted which may not sit correctly in the inside wing.

I looked into companies which may be able to repair the servo. All the companies I spoke to where able to repair classic car servos as they are serviceable items, but most refused to repair the Mk3 Fiesta unit as it would need to be cut open and welded back together again. The one that did offer to try the work were not certain it would work but were willing to give it a go.

I didn’t like the idea of fitting a modified part to the braking system and I also was not sold on the idea of repairing the original. I decided to go for a new original servo and Phil managed to do a deal with Racetec where I got a new servo, brake master, clutch master and clutch slave at a reasonable price.

Phil and the team at PR Woods managed to turn the car around in 2 days once the parts had arrived. Fantastic job… cheers Phil.

The old servo was certainly looking past its best having rotted from the inside out.

Brake Servo

Breakdown – Wiring Loom Fault

Unfortunately my Griff developed a problem at the James Staines Memorial Meet in Southend earlier this month. I said I would post up here when the car was back up and running.
http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&a…

he car was running fine, driving along in convoy and then spluttered and cut out. Many thanks for Dave in the purple chim for coming back to assist and help with swapping various parts from his car to try and fix the problem and Phil from PR Woods for also coming back to assist. Basic roadside testing identified that the fuel pump was not priming and the ECU fault reader was not getting a signal from the ECU.

Phil dropped me off down the seafront so I didn’t miss the meet and offered to either recover the car home or back to his workshop. I decided to get the car recovered back to PR Woods. Phil recovered the car for me after the meet and then dropped me back home… Top service!

The issue was diagnosed as a bad earth connection to the ECU. Here are the two earth wires in question which Phil removed from the loom and replaced:

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did notice a strong smell of burning when the car broke down and the failed earth connection and melted wires has confirmed this. In addition to replacing the failed wires in the loom he has also fitted a battery cut off switch so if a similar issue where to occur power could isolated to prevent any further damage and minimise any fire risk.

Excellent service and very reasonably priced. Thanks Phil