Vehicle: 1980 Triumph TR8
Engine: 3.5 liter RV8
Injection: Port Injection using mid-80's SD1 three piece manifold
Description: Fuel only MS conversion of a Carbed TR8. Spark to follow.
Website: Not yet
I've been meaning to post this build record for a while. Now that I finally have the engine running, it's almost too late, but it's written and informative, so here it is. My life and times with my first MS'd vehicle.
I've been working on the MS conversion for over two years (ouch!) and am finally getting close. Unfortunately, it's being done concurrently with a full suspension rebuild (new springs, shocks, struts, strut bearings and urethane bushings essentially everywhere), repair of rusty floors and the installation of a sound system and an AutoPower Race Roll Bar. Add on two young kids, winters full of Ski Patrolling, I'm an weekend warrior Assistant Patrol Director, and all the honey-do stuff and project time sure stretches out. Fortunately, my other Triumph, the TR3, is a solid driver, so we have an fun LBC to drive. I'm just getting really tired of seeing the TR8 sitting on jack stands week after week. I've done major work on the TR3 and always managed to get it done over a winter, so it was ready for summer driving each year. I hope that posting here will be motivational and I will help me get the TR8 back on the road soon.
Status: The MS 1, relay board and wiring harness are complete and have been ready for a year, although I do want to upgrade to SnS software, as I want to control ignition via a crank trigger later on, but want to be able to use 12x12 tables and Autotune now. The entire injection system, MS, high pressure fuel pump and intake, have been bench tested using the mineral spirits (turpentine) as a working fluid and everything seemed to work just fine.
Intake manifold: I sourced a European mid-80's SD1 three piece, curved top, multiport EFI intake (Thanks Bill S.). I've had to make a few modifications in order to make it work with my US specification TR8. Once of these is adding a barbed fitting to the cold start extra air piping to act as a purge line for the fuel vapor charcoal canister, which needs to be vented at the throttle plate, not at full engine vacuum (Thanks Dan C.). I've installed the intake manifold and designed, but not yet fabricated a fresh air intake tract which puts a K&N air filter out in front of the radiator.
Fuel: I built a small (0.8 liter) surge tank, as the fuel tank is not baffled. Yes, this is small, but it will provide more than enough fuel for any main fuel tank dry sump situation I can foresee. Swapping in a TR7 combination fuel tank bulkhead plate (fuel level sender and fuel pump outlet together) provided me with a fuel return back into the tank, eliminating the need to weld onto the tank. All other fuel lines in the car are existing or was added as for an injected TR8. The high entire pressure side of the fuel system has been fabricated and installed. The surge tank, pump and fuel filter are all mount on a bracket I fabricated to mount in the stock pump location. All high pressure side hoses have been replaced with FI quality hoses and clamps. BTW - The surge tank is fabricated out of a piece of chain link fence post. <blush>
Cooling: The TR8 uses two stages of fan speed for the radiator, with a high temp switch in the intake manifold and a low temp switch in the radiator. The SD1 intake does not have a place for a conveniently sized fan control temperature switch, so I used a dual range temperature switch out of a early 90's Saab 9000, mounted in the radiator, to maintain the low/high speed fan capability. Also, to make things easier, I researched and eventually found that Niehoff TS82281 brand coolant temperature sensor has the same GM calibration, but metric threads which fit the metric temperature sensor hole in the intake manifold. It was inexpensive and overall it was easier to keep the water and air temperature sensors both GM based.
Ignition: This will be a fuel only conversion for now, but the Lucas ignition failed a few years ago and I replaced it with an older Crane XR700 Fireball. While it won't be too hard to convert the dizzy to MS controlled spark. Eventually, I'd like to make the jump directly to a crank driven signal and eliminate the dizzy.
Wideband O2: I bought an LC-1 to simplify tuning and allow for non-stoic tuning. I added two O2 bungs, as was standard on this engine; one for each bank's down pipe, but will only use one at this time. While the pipes were off the car, it was easy to do both of them now.
Engine: a healthy 3.5 liter Triumph/Rover V8 with about 56k miles. This is the mileage where these older Rover engines start to wipe cam lobes, due to a flaw in the cam manufacture affecting many, but not all of the cams in the TR8's. My compression readings were very consistent, and the lobes looked good, when I replaced the valley gasket, so I suspect I have a good cam. Due to it's low stock compression, 8.13:1, I'm considering a future blower installation, perhaps an Eaton M-90 or M-112 or maybe just a flat out engine swap with a Rover 4.6 engine.
Diary recent only:
After a winter (2006-07) of ski patrolling, I was finally able to get back to the TR8 in May.
Early May: The last things I did before ski season started very early last year was to install the power wiring and snake the engine harness into the passenger footwell. I double checked the wiring and powered up the car. I was happy to see that power, ground and switched power all supplied the proper current, although the switched power was down in voltage. I'll have to check out that circuit, although the MS powered up just fine on the supplied voltage. I plugged the relay board in and when I turned the ignition key, one of the relays pulled in. Excellent start!
Doing well so far, I plugged in the MS and turned on the ignition again. I got the Warm up enrichment (center) LED on the MS to illuminate for a few seconds. Knowing I'm on a roll, I connect the serial cable from the MS to my laptop, switch the key on again and NOTHING. I can't seem to establish communication between the two. I play around for a while, then it's time to get the kids to bed, so I close up shop. I go to bed thinking about what is wrong. I wake up in the morning remembering that over the winter I reformatted the laptop hard drive due to kids programs/downloads screwing it up. This was since last running the MS on the Stim and recalled that I needed to install hyperterm.exe. I think I have the answer. I hope that I'll be able to find the time to check it out tonight, although I know my new (Barbeque) smoker is being delivered tonight too. I also noticed that the battery was no longer discharging in two weeks of sitting. It was the pesky seat belt buzzer discharging the battery. Yup, Hyperterm did the trick. I also took this opportunity to upgrade to SnS, although it'll be all fuel now, with ignition later.
Mid-June: I installed the LC-1 and brought the wires into the passenger foot well with the MS. I wired everything up and the MS responds to the sensors. Oddly, my TPS now will not read below 16%, no matter how I recalibrate it, but that will not present a problem. I add a few gallons of gas to the currently dry fuel tank and use a 1 Amp motorcycle battery charger to power up the low pressure fuel pump. This fills up the surge tank. I switch the charger leads to the high pressure fuel pump and start moving the fuel through the system. Since the surge tank is small, I switch back between the pumps once or twice to insure the entire system is full of fuel. No leaks - KEWL!
The moment of truth. . . I turn the key and she turns over, but does not start. I notice that I do not hear the fuel pumps running. The low pressure pump has a safety, an engine mounted oil pressure switch that has a broken terminal on it. When did that happen??? The high pressure pump has a inline impact switch that was in the tripped position, right where I left it; a quick push and itâ€™s reset. It also added a fuse holder, attached to the impact switch that would benefit from a fuse. Duhhhh!! Turn the key again and I am rewarded with cranking (no start yet), but I hear fuel rushing through the fuel rail and see 30 psi on the gage I installed where the cold start injector used to come off the fuel rail. Excellent! The high pressure pump and circuit is fine. I need a new oil pressure switch. I fine one in stock for $10.50 at NAPA (ECHLIN OP6610) or $25 via mail order through the British specialty vendors. Hmmmm, tough choice. I love having a British car with an GM based engine in it.
Late June/Early July: I have some time over the weekend, so I head out and start cranking, trying to get the engine to catch. I spend an hour or so, but do not even get a sputter. I've played with the Req-fuel as well as the pulse widths but cannot get anywhere. I pull a spark plug wire and ground it during cranking. Sure enough, I have spark, although it's a tad weaker than I expected. This is something I will need to look into. I pull a plug and notice that even with all of the cranking, the plugs are dry. I have a fuel delivery issue. This does not surprise me too much, as I did not hear injectors clicking. I was hoping they were just quiet injectors. <LOL>
Mid-July - I build the LED tester shown in the Mega-manual. It shows me that the MS is delivering a regular injection pulse, so it has to be the injectors. I pull all eight injectors and the fuel rail. Using a motorcycle battery charger, I hook up the LED tester and an injector in series to reduce the current. The LED lights, but still no click from the injector. Apparently, the long time this manifold sat has allowed the injectors to become stuck shut. I soak the pintle ends of the eight injectors in mineral spirits (Turpentine) for a few days, but nothing changes, so I gently press the pintles inward with a wooden dowel and spray some Kroil on the pintle end. While they are soaking, I fabricate an injector test bench, using a length of injection hose and compressed air. I test each injector and get nothing but dribbles, or haphazard sprays out of each one. I soaked and intermittently ran pressurized cleaning solvents through each injector for several days, eventually cleaning out nearly all of them. I would fill a 2 foot piece of fuel line with solvent, cap it with the compressed air hose regulated down to 30 psi, the Lucas injection system operating pressure, and shoot the stream into a jar. Eventually, it would be a hard compact stream that would foam up the liquid in the jar. I loaded all of the injectors on the fuel rail, with the injectors pointing upward. I could test fire four injectors at once, with the motorcycle battery charger. When they were pretty clean, all four injectors would shoot a pencil lead thick stream of mineral spirits about six feet up from the surface of my workbench and hit the ceiling of the garage, each wetting a nice tight 6 inch circle on the ceiling. From my perspective, they were now ready to install. I contemplated sending them out for a full cleaning, but am comfortable, at least for now, with what I have done here.
Early Aug: I managed to eek out some time and reinstall the injectors. I cranked the engine for about 10 seconds with some stumbling and mis-fires and then she catches. As the revs start to climb too high, I shut it down. Over the course of a few starts, I realize that the engine wants to idle at about 3,500 RPM. Putting my hand over the intake slows it down, so the high RPM is likely being caused by the throttle plate not closing sufficiently even though it's bottomed on it's stop. I realize that the mechanism controlling the throttle is misassembled and I quickly have a 1,200 RPM idle. It's still a tad fast for a V8, but ok for now. Snapping the throttle results in some backfiring, so I hope to start tuning this weekend.
She runs and had been cruising the neighborhood while running autotune. We are on our way.
I completed the cold air intake, using 2.5 inch diameter radiator hoses to snake the intake forward of the radiator. The elbow passes around the drivers side of the radiator, just above the temperature sensor.
I've had a few teething pains. Issues with my starter and I may have a failing waterpump. Arggggg! Unfortunately, some of this is what happens when a car sits for a few years without running.
I need to get the basic tune done before rainy season starts here in the PNW, so look for more updates soon.