330 miles – longest drive yet

Friday was a very long drive up to TrackVRoad for some tweaks and checks to the car, then to Central TVR (also the TVR Power Bodyshop) for a quick fix to the underside of the front splitter.

The car spent its first night outside for many months, as it was parked on the driveway ready for an early start, but hidden behind the Mondeo.

The evening before I had used my new CTEK MXS3.6 charger for a while to make sure the battery was topped up. Hopefully with its cigarette lighter adaptor this will be an easier charger to use than having to use the bulky Anderson connector (working by touch since that side is against the garage wall). This charger will also do slightly more clever charging than my existing Halfords charger (which is still good and has never failed me).

Despite the weather forecast saying that temperatures would not drop below freezing, the gritter came down my road at 11pm, so the poor TVR had to have its first drive in gritty conditions.

A 5am alarm lead to a 5:45 departure equipped with some food and drink for the journey and a number of CDs. We had only experimented with music in the car once before, but because this was a long journey by myself I loaded up some fine country music to take with me.

Having moved the Mondeo, the TVR started quickly and I headed off straight away so as to not upset the neighbours any more than necessary. My wife said she could hear my go down our road, turn left at the bottom, down the next road, turn again, and then the sound finally faded. And that is driving at very low revs very gently…

Oil temp at start was about 6 degrees, and the car kept flashing up 5 degree (no need for gritting) frost warnings which dissapeared again before I could cancel them. This stopped after a couple of minutes.

By the time I reached the motorway the car was warmed up and I have found a nice balance on the heater (I am glad we did the fan setting fix), and with some music on I settled into a long 70 mph drive. Apart from an annoying section of 40 mph roadworks. The music was audible, I wouldn’t say it was great, and I had to turn it up fairly loud, but the new speakers worked well.

Following an easy drive up, I filled up at the Texaco garage at the edge of Clitheroe with Super Unleaded (28.5 mpg at that fill) and continued on to TrackVRoad, arriving just after 8:30.

Ouside TrackVRoad
TrackVRoad - Click for larger image

Richard was there, and I chatted with him, asking a lot of questions, until about 9:30 when Ian was ready for my car.

From the chat with Richard I ascertained:
– Changing to 225/40 tyres on the front could cause rubbing problems with light covers and reduced steering lock
– Ian’s suspension set-up is very good, and he knows his stuff
– I could put on a nice poweder coated rocker cover with no additional labour costs if done at a 12,000 mile service
– Silicon hoses are also easy to put on, but the jubilee clips will need checking afterwards
– Re-trims cost from £3800 for everything, getting cheaper as things are excluded
– For exhaust silencing, speak to Tim at ACT
– It is normal that, on a warm start, the revs rise to ~ 2000 before falling back to idle
– The car should go on and off ferries, I just need to be careful about approaching ramps at an angle
– The tunnel is good for ramps, but be careful with the wheels when driving down the carriages

Ian measured by TVR’s ride height and found that the front was 20 mm too low, probably due to suspension settling since new. The rear ride height was ok.

The car went up on the ramp and it seems to be a simple job to adjust the ride height. While it was up there, Ian showed be around the underside of my car, pointing out and explaining things, which was very useful.

The suspension settings that they use for the Tamora are:

– Rear Toe-in = 3 mm
– Rear Camber = 1.25 degrees negative

– Front Toe-in = 0 to 1.5 mm. (1.5 mm static changed to 0 mm when moving)
– Front Camber = 0.5 to 0.75 degrees negative

– Rake = 3/4 to 1 inch from back to front

Gaz Gold Pro - Rear
Exhausts looking to the rear
Looking towards the front - air intake on the right
Looking to the rear, anti-roll bar visible, air intake on the left
Rear underside
The damage to the front splitter

Asking Ian about the damage to the front splitter, he said it wouldn’t cause any problems.

Busy workshop

Having adjusted and re-measured the suspension, they offered to do checks on the car, which I accepted. In the 1000 miles I have driven it, there seems to have been no fluid use, and all is how it should be. They also took it for a test drive, and finished that with letting it idle to check the radiator fans came on – which they did. This is good, since I have never been stationary in the car for long enough to get the water temperature above about 85 degrees. I was very happy when the chap returning the car from its test drive said it was the nicest handling Tamora he had driven :o)

I had a look at some of the TVRs for sale while I waited.

270 bhp Caterham...

With all done, and after another coffee, I headed South into a big rain storm on the M6. This was quite heavy rain, but the TVR felt fine, and no sign of any leaks.

The weather cleared for a while and then as I entered Stourbridge it started to rain again. I filled-up again at the Shell station so I could get a tank of V-Power, and my fuel econmy for that bit of the drive was 29.1 mpg, a new record, despite some time spent idling.

If you drive to Central TVR / TVR Power Bodyshop, do not join their lane from the main road. This road was a mass of interconnected potholes the size of which I had never seen before. I picked my way through very carefully. Approach and leave from the other end of the road, even if it is a longer way round.

Adrian, who I had spoken to on the phone, was not there, but 2 other chaps helped out. They cleaned the front of the car, lifted it a bit, then masked off the paintwork and sprayed over the damaged bit of the splitter. They commented that it had been repaired before, and that they could do a proper job to make it as good as new. However, since it is functionally fine, and the damage is not visible unless you look carefully and from floor level, I plan to keep it as it is for now.

They did not charge for this quick bit of work, for which I am most appreciative :o)

Ready to paint
Not beautiful, but at least the fibreglass is hidden

With that done I finished the drive home, and for the last bit it wasn’t raining, so put the car awy with dry bodywork but probably a but damp underneath. I put on some heating and ventilation in the garage to help with this and kept that on for about 7 hours until I was sure everything was dry. The big storm on the M6 should have given the underside a decent clean.

Tucked away - blankets can go over tomorrow

The car had driven perfectly over the 330 miles, with some occasionaly bursts of acceleration. The ride is fine, the seats are comfy, wind noise is ok, but exhaust noise at motorway speeds is annoying, and then turning the radio up so I could hear music over it was probably a bit too loud. Not sure what I will do for very long road trips.

The car now really needs a wash, but I want to buy new washing kit to use on it to keep the paint as immaculate as possible. It is also going to wait until warmer / dryer weather before it gets its first wash and polish.

Leave a comment