Project TVR: First Start Attempt!

TVR and Spitfire

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

We have been very busy here at Barn Finds HQ lately. That’s how it goes when you  drag home not one but two barn finds in a 24 hour time span! It’s been fun, but a lot of work. In my last update, I covered the first day of Project TVR. It was an eventful day that ended when we got a phone call about the Spitfire. We’ve been so busy that we just haven’t had time to sit down and do a proper write-up on how the project is coming along, so we decided to take a break from wrenching and do a detailed report.

Old TVR Fuel Pump

When we last left off, we were in need of a fuel pump. After some careful research and some help from a few of you guys, we were able to figure out what fuel pumps are similar to the original. Seeing as the original is no longer produced, we had to find something that put out the same amount of pressure and would fit in the car. The fuel injection system used in the Tasmin is a run of the mill Bosch system found in countless ’80s cars, so finding a new pump wasn’t all the difficult once we had a few reference numbers to go off of. The parts store didn’t have the specific replacement part we were looking for (Bosch part 69609), but they did have one of the generic alternatives. It’s a bit smaller around, but puts out the same amount of pressure and should do the job.

TVR Tasmin Fuel Pumps

With a new pump in hand, we excitedly headed back the shop to install it. This is when it hit us that the fittings on the new pump, which were removable, weren’t anywhere close to the same size as the old pump. We had damaged the high pressure line coming out of the old pump, so we needed a replacement hose for that anyways. So we climbed back into the Volvo and headed to a local hydraulic hose and fittings supplier. They didn’t have an exact replacement hose, but they had all the pieces we needed to make our own high pressure line. The guys working there came up with an elegant solution to our problem, there was one issue though that we discovered almost immediately upon getting back to the shop. One of the guys helping us misjudged the size of the hose coming from the fuel tank to the pump and gave us the wrong hose and fitting. We really should have caught this while we were sitting there staring at both pumps, but I will blame that error on the strong fumes coming out of the old pump.

New TVR Fuel Pump

We ended up spending the better part of the day driving around trying to find the right size of fitting, but no one had a 1/4″ to 1/2″ barbed fitting. We eventually ended up back at the hydraulic hose supply for some type of solution. We ended up having to use 3 fittings to get the job done, it’s 2 fittings too many if you ask me, but we had to make do with what we could find. Finally, with all the pieces we needed and the new hose in hand, we got to work. We put together all our shiny new fittings, cut our hose to length, and pieced it all together. The actual job of installing the new pump took less than a half hour, but hunting for parts turned a simple job into a daylong affair. It felt great to finally have the pump installed, although I had to find some extra rubber to wrap around the pump to make sure it was tightly mounted.

TVR Tasmin Gas Tank

Before I finished buttoning all the hoses up, we decided to put the inlet line in a gas can to run some fresh gas through the system. Jesse installed a brand new battery and we were about ready to give it a go. We turned the car over several times without fuel to build up the oil pressure. Then we connect the fuel and attempted to start the engine. It sputtered a couple times, just wouldn’t start.

We had noticed a couple of cracks in the intake billows and it hit us that we probably wouldn’t have much luck starting it with half inch holes in the intake hoses. Jesse threw me a role of electrical tape (just a temporary solution mind you) and I put tape over the big cracks in hopes of sealing them up a bit. I then climbed back into this old wedge, turned the key and as if it had just run the day before, the engine came to life!

It didn’t sound amazing at first, I’m guessing we still have some vacuum leaks to address and the fuel system probably needs a good cleaning. We shut it down to make sure there weren’t any fluid leaks (we didn’t see any at that point but will check again after it has sat for a day or two) and I patched up a few more cracks in the intake. We both wanted to hear it fire up again, so I turned the key again and this time it didn’t hesitate or struggle, it just fired right up and purred beautifully! We let it run for a few minutes to make sure it everything was working correctly and boy did it sound great. We quickly discovered that the 2.8 liter fuel injected Cologne V6 has one of the meanest exhaust notes we’ve ever heard!

 

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Comments

  1. motoring mo

    Wow
    Wild 4 dat wedge!

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  2. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Congratulations, guys!!!! Can’t wait for more installments 🙂

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  3. redwagon

    no longer original, lost value.

    🙂

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Nah, fuel pumps are considered consumables on British cars!

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      • Lee G

        Besides this particular car not being original take a serious look at most cars this age and you will see the same thing. Most are non original. Somebody changed something at some time likely out of necessity. Nothing to be concerned about here.

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  4. '72 Spitty

    I carry not one, but two fuel pumps in my ’72 Spitty.

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  5. bill

    Jury rigging a poor old Tasmin. Well, I guess they came jury rigged from the factory.

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Yeah, you are probably right. I’ve heard that every TVR was different from the factory. We would have liked to have used the stock pump and hose, but we decided it was better to get things moving than waiting another week for parts.

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  6. Dean Beckman

    Jesse,
    I just ordered a wedge T Shirt. I bought a 1985 TVR last spring, fuel injection was troublesome to say the least, wouldn’t start hot or idle well. I am currently in the process of converting to carb. I am looking forward to driving it again in the spring. Neat cars…I look forward to reading about your progress.

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Thanks Dean! These are awesome cars. I hadn’t given them much thought before, but now I’m an official wedge fan. Too bad we have already committed to selling it because this is one I’d like to keep around.

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      • jim s

        i think i already posted about either one or both of you falling in love with this car!

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      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Yep, you did. I didn’t think it would happen, but once I looked underneath at that tube frame chassis, I started to fall in love!

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    • sdwarf36

      Dean,
      Have you check your valve lash? 70% of all TVR problems I dealt with while working for TVR sounded like yours. And it was never ever the F.I.
      It was 2 problems. The batch of motors TVR was getting was coming from Germany. They were still running leaded gas there. And they didn’t have hardened valve seats. We got them and ran unleaded. The valve seats pounded in like crazy.When you start the motor cold, there may be a little lash-or its enough to seal a bit-but once warm the valves are held open and sound like you have the plugs out.
      Problem two-no one knew how to set valves. Or ever read the sticker on the inside of the right fender–where it said set the lash to .014. Or read the service bulletins I sent out. I’d hold seminars to show techs how to do it.
      Setting lash cured every single “F.I. ” problem .

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      • rjc

        Excellent comment and adivce !!!

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      • Dean Beckman

        Sdwarf36,
        Thanks for the tip on the valve lash. I will say the motor always started well , but when hot was a tough start. I never really noticed any valve train noise. But will give it a good look over. Thanks Dean

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    • Charlie Birkline

      Dean,
      Usually when a wedge won’t idle properly it is due to the valves needing to be adjusted. It’s done usually every 5000 miles or so.
      Check out the club for a large vol of tech tips and great people.
      Charlie

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      • Dean Beckman

        Will do Charlie,
        I’m looking forward to driving the wedge this spring.

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  7. JW

    I quote Hannibal Smith ” Don’t you love it when a plan comes together”.

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  8. jim s

    glad to see/hear the motor running. next step is the first short drive, who will be the driver. nice to see another photo of the spitfire but where is the volvo. have fun.

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  9. Doug M. (West Coast)

    Great work, you guys!! I have always liked TVR’s -paritally just becuase of their uniqueness in the otherwise bland scenery of Honda’s and Toyota’s! This one not only looks great, but came to life quickly. Great work…. What’s next to do on it??

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Thanks Doug! We need to replace the intake tube and do some serious deep cleaning. There’s some cosmetic things that need sorting too.

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      • Charlie Birkline

        Jesse,
        Seal the cracks with silicone until a new one can be sourced.
        $60 without clamps from US supplier.
        Charlie

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  10. M.E

    The Cologne V6 engines (at least in the European cars) really did have a great exhaust note, made them sound much bigger than they were.

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  11. Tom H.

    These are the kind of stories that will keep me coming back to Barn Finds. Glad another classic car has been brought back to life. Keep up the good work!

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  12. sdwarf36

    I would flush + check out your clutch slave cylinder next. And have someone press the pedal while you watch it operate. The early ones had a real flimsy brackets. They would bend when pushing the clutch-and the piston would cock + jam.

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  13. bill

    Dean Beckman is da man.

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    • Dean Beckman

      Bill, you are da bomb.

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  14. Jeff Lavery Jeff Staff

    These things do have truly gnarly exhaust notes. Can’t wait to hear it!

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  15. Dan h

    Looks like fun!
    That TVR is starting to grow on me.

    FYI , “pumping” the throttle before cranking on f.i. engine, does nothing.
    I know, it’s habit. Haha!

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    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      Haha yeah I know Dan, it’s just habit! This thing real does grow on you, especially with that exhaust note. I keep telling myself to not get attached to it though, but that’s sometimes easier said then done.

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  16. Mike V.

    Some time ago I replaced the fuel pump of an Audi quattro, and it looks very similar to the TVRs original pump. I think that it was a Bosch part, but you never know, they are all very similar.

    Btw, cool project!

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  17. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    “We ended up spending the better part of the day driving around trying to find the right size of fitting,”

    at 2 times what hourly rate ?????

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    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      I know that’s a cost to add in there, but we are going to leave it out since we didn’t keep track of how much of that time was spent running other errands for the site. I’d say a big chunk of that time was also wasted time since we didn’t get everything we needed in the first trip, which was a dumb mistake on my part. The next time we work on it and have to go for a parts run, I’m going to write down everything I could ever possibly need so we don’t forget anything! We will also try to remember to keep better track of our time too so we have a break down at the end of how much time went into the car.

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  18. van

    Come on guys quit playin
    Cut a hole in the hood
    Bolt on blower
    Places to go times a wastin

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  19. DRV

    Seems to run well!
    I am surprised with that fuel distributor I see under the hood.
    It’s easy to check the injector spray and replace their seals at the same time. I would do that in the first ten simple things to do.

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  20. Bill

    Ditto the injector seals as it’s been sitting dry a while. A great little car. congrats. i remember when i took the one we did to get the insurance inspection. The inspector looked through the rear wheels and said “where the hell’s the brakes?!?!? My current project has inboard brakes as well, they are great, but a bear to work on without a hoist.

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  21. Rotag999

    Nice find what will the TVR be worth when your done ?

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Not a while lot actually. These are seriously underappreciated cars. We will find it soon.

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  22. johnforsman

    1/8″ to 1/4″ barbed hose connector? Might be hard to find at an auto parts store, but I think every Home Depot and Ace Hardware store in the country has them in brass, look in the plumbing department. For the “Leggaro” lightweight plastic connectors you could try aquarium or gardening shops.

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    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      I never even thought about using the plastic connectors for the fuel pump. I’ve used the on plenty of aquariums though and I think I’ve even seen them in the size we need. Dang, why didn’t I think of that?

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      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Careful about types of plastic; some are fuel safe, some not, and it’s gotten worse lately with all the other chemicals they are putting in gas. Brass is the safe route 🙂

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      • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

        Good point Jamie! It’s all back together and working now, so we aren’t going to mess with it. I might get a dish of fuel though and put some different plastic fittings in it to see if it melts it, it could be an interesting experiment!

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  23. Metalted

    Awesome guys!! So cool seeing you guys fixing these cars up, after all for a car guy, that truly is the fun part. The first time it fires and runs, you have a smile ear to ear! It’s a wonderful feeling! Good job!!!
    👍

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  24. Gary

    Try this next time!

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