Sevenman's TVR (was SAAB) Blog

November 27, 2011

A bracing drive…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 5:45 pm

For 13 days the TVR had sat in the garage, tucked up under blankets. A sunny Sunday was the ideal oppportunuty to go for a 3 hour afternoon drive.

We headed down to Monmouth, and then into Wales, past Abergaveny, and round some assorted roads before making our way back through Hereford.

The car is now looking a bit dirtier than when we bought it – the drive to Oxford is responsible for most of that. But we have done 500 miles this month, better than the 125 miles / month the car has averaged in its life so far.

Everything went well, although the display did come up with an AC Fault which I cleared and it didn’t come back. The AC was turned off at the time. AC wasn’t needed – we were propperly chilled when the got home, but it was a clear afternoon, so the roof stayed down :)

We need to look at ways to stop sharp points appearing in the rear screen when we fold it down. We did our best, but there are still 2 points immediately behind the roof bars.

Filled the car up with Shell V-Power again – 27.3 mpg since the last fill. Not bad.

On coming back we passed a collection of MX-5s, all with their roofs down, in a layby that had a cafe. It was downhill, and I down-shifted to give a lot of popping on the overrun as we went past :)

I took a few little videos of the start sequence and a bit of gentle acceleration.

Pre-start sequence, and a very quick run through the menus

Start, and a view of the detailed display

Gentle acceleration

Getting dirty

Getting dirty

November 13, 2011

A productive fixing session.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 10:14 pm

While the car drove 0 miles today, and wasn’t even started, we had a busy hour in the afternoon sorting a few things.

We removed the old CD player, and tidied up the carpet / cabling
I re-bonded the dipstick and filler cap. Hopefully they will stay together
I adjusted the heater flap settings, and hopefully the car will no longer blow copious quantities of hot air when the temperature control is set to cold.

I feel quite pleased about the progress :)


Filler & dipstick

November 12, 2011

Roof down drive and new speakers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 10:23 pm

We took the car for a good drive to Oxford and back today.

The drive there, leaving at 07:30, had damp roads and a lot of mist over the Cotswolds. In air temperatures of ~ 13C, the car seemed to have oil and water temps of ~ 70C, asnd oil pressure in the high 40s at 2500 – 3000 rpm.

We left the car in the park and ride at 09:00. The car is now a little dirty :(

We returned at 13:00, by which time the roads had dried out. We drove part-way back with the roof on, and then took it off and folded down the rear screen. It was then a very fun drive back. A lot more interesting exhuast noise, and it sounds very good (and loud) when pushed to higher revs, although I still think I am some way off using full throttle.

When we returned home, there was enough light left to replace the rear speakers. The old ones came out easily, and we then screwed the new ones straight in. No pre-drilling. Hopefully this has worked, they seem to be firmly attached. Having 2 working speakers should be better than one working, one faulty, and these speakers should look and perform better than the ones that were in the car.

Old Boston speaker on left, new Pioneer TS-E1702i on right

Front of speakers, old left, new right

17 cm speaker mounting hole – passenger side

17 cm speaker mounting hole – passenger side. Looks like some insulation was hacked away when they first installed the deeper speaker. I believe 13cm speakers were standard

One old, one new

New speaker

Old speaker

Old speaker – grill off

New speaker – grill off

Job done :)

November 11, 2011

Bodywork crack found

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 2:40 pm

I noticed a crack in the car today in the bodywork at the top-right corner of the boot lid.

Not sure what to do about this.


Too much warm air from windscreen vents

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 10:24 am

Driving down from TrackVRoad, I was struggling with in-car temperatures. The air-con was blowign cold, but there was a lot of hear in the cabin.

While driving this morning, I noticed that while the dash vents pointed towards me were blowing cold, the windscreen vents were blowing lots of warm air!

Following a quick search, I found this Pistonheads post:

A T350 owner seems to have the same problem, and Graham Varley suggests the following as a fix:

ON POD 8 menu the flap zero is critical to whether the car cooks or not regardless if you have aircon or not!.

I spent loads of time on it but it works a dream now; to check this:-

I selected cold and maximum fan and adjusted the zero position until nearly all the airflow was to the lower dash vents only. My flap setting was 0, but now 26 (factory setting understood to be 16). Remember to save the settings

When the car is warmed up and cold is selected no hot air comes through the top vents anymore, only if it is selected.

It will take some time to set up but, if this doesn’t work theres a chance the flap may have come loose off the motor, or the flap motor failed. It’s in the gasketed box behind the aircon expansion valve/pipes. Usually get a Flap fault-126 warning if faulty, but I’ve not needed to get in there yet.

I will see if I can do this…

November 9, 2011

How much?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 8:08 am

Some people seem to think that a TVR purchase is a sign of huge wealth, and that a yacht will be next.

We certainly didn’t buy the cheaspest Tamora for sale, and also spent quite a bit less than the most expensive. The price we paid is still more than £1k less than the list price of the most basic Ford Mondeo with steel wheels, a 1.6 petrol engine and no extras (not even car mats). Only 2 of the most basic Ford Focus models cost less. These are list prices, rather than haggled prices, but it puts it into context…

Hopefully TVR prices will stay fairly level and if we keep the car in very good condition, as is our plan, it will retain its value.

November 8, 2011

Chat with TrackVRoad about initial niggles

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 11:05 am

I gave TrackVRoad a call this morning to discuss the initial niggles with the car. No big problems, just a few things I had noticed. I got through to Ian, and he was very helpful.

Fitting new speakers should be easy. Self-tapping screws in the GRP bulkead is fine, and as used by the factory. I just need to make sure the screws aren’t too long as there is only a few mm of bulkhead and the carpet to go through.

To remove the CD changer brackets, it would be easy to pull the glued carpet off, remove the brackets, and then use spray adhesive to reattach the carpet. Best to leave the carpet attached at the bottom to act as a guide when re-attaching.

The play in the door card is hard to diagnose – it could have always been there. Removing the 3 screws at the bottom will allow the door card to drop-out of the frame at the top. The card apparently has a rubber membrane on the inside as the door is not completely waterproof. The card may be a little long, hence being bowed slightly when fitted.

The oil level checking was discussed. It is difficult, and a cause of contention among TVR owners. Most dry-sump systems would have a window and the oil level could be checked with the engine running. The TVR system does not have this. There is a baffle plate in the tank, and the oil level should be at, or slightly above this plate. Apparently it can be seen with a torch.

The dipstick should be attached to the filler cap, but it coming loose is a common problem. Some people have put a screw through the filler cap and dipstick, but this does not look good. The best approach is to thoroughly clean the parts, roughen the surfaces, and use a 2-part expoxy to attach them firmly.

We discussed the tyres. A lot of TVRs end up running on old tyres due to the low mileae. They would have checked them for condition, which I am sure they did as they look completely fine. We discussed use of 225/40 tyres on the front, which could cause rubbing issues.The sidewall would be 1.125 cm higher, which is noticable on that car. Given the geometry has been set for the proper tyre size, I don’t want to change anything.

My Tamora has been set to the correct ride height, but apparently a lot of Tamoras run even lower, which can affect the geometry as well as causing grounding problems. As thje springs settle, I might have the ride-height checked. I would consider a move to 225/40, to give a better range of tyres, but this would need to be done at the same time as the geometry and checks that there won’t be rubbing issues. That would be quite tricky, but might be worthwhile.

We discussed the ride and how different it is to the cars I am used to (Saab, Mondeo). I think the extra responsiveness will be useful on the track and smooth roads, but it doesn’t make for the most settled ride on bumpier roads.

Ian at TrackVRoad was very helpful, and any niggles that I don’t get sorted myself may be left until a trip up there for a check-over before the 3 month warranty expires. That will be in later January, so I will have to be lucky to get a sunny and dry drive up.

November 5, 2011

More tyres, and some driving

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 3:51 pm

Following my last post about tyres, I started some discussions on Pistonheads and Northloop.

There was a mix of opinions on the tyres, from “they will probably be fine” to “change them now before you die”.

The opinion I liked most was to “use them up on a drift day”. This would be a good way to learn about the car, wear-out the tyres, and not have the high-speeds of a regular trackday.

The car came out of the garage yeterday (Friday) so I could get a new garage window fitted. Sadly, it then started to rain heavily so the car sat in the rain for some time. Seemed to be fine though, so that was a good test. it was all pointless though, as the window company cancelled. Very annoying.

It came out today for a proper drive, on fast country roads, without traffic. It behaved very well. I am still driving it relatively steadily, although I did manage a few bursts of 2nd gear near full-throttle acceleration. It went over speed bumps in a car park fine, fitted in some shopping, and drove perfectly. Oil and water temps were all good. We even found a few goodies in the glovebox – an iPod cable, some glasses, a pair of gloves, and a print-out of instructions for a TVR Car Club day out in the Manchester Area.

When we got home we had a go at checking the oil levels. It is hard to tell as the oil seems frothy on top and I couldn’t get a distinct line of the dipstick. Either way, there appeared to be plenty in there. The oil can be heard draining away once the engine is stopped.

At home I had a look at removing the CD changer. The changer came out easily, and is surprisingly heavy. However, the mounting brackets (to the left and right of the changer) have been fitted through cuts in the carpet. To get to the part of the bracket where they screw into the bulkead, I will need to peel all that backing carpet off. I believe it is glued, and will need to check.

Defunct CD changer

Mounting brackets

We took one of the rear speakers off. They are vintage-looking Boston 13cm speakers. There were no obvious holes to screw them back into (covered by carpet), but it worked in the end. I will buy a better set of 13cm speakers, since the bass come on the passenger side unit is not working properly.

Speaker removed from rear bulkhead

Old faulty speaker

The car is starting well every time, driving well and I am happy. Just a few little niggles to sort out (and a re-trim) until it is perfect.

Parked and still clean







On driveway

November 2, 2011

Tyre checks, battery charging, and ground clearance

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 8:15 pm

Battery charging first. I moved things in the garage so that I had space to reach down to the Anderson connector and removed the plug that seals it. However, without line-of-sight, trying to fit the awkward jump lead connector wasn’t working.

I ended up remnoving the red handle from the jump lead connector since there was barely sufficient ground clearance to connect it. After much more struggling, the connector popped in.

The battery voltage was 12.5v, which seems good after a few days of sitting in the garage. The first few attempts at charging were unsuccessful until I found that the charger had a blown fuse. That replaced the car charged away and didn’t take too long to reach 14.4 V and then settle at 13.6. I unplugged the charger, but left the jump leads attached so that I can test the voltage again tomorrow.

Ground clearance next. I had a go at measuring the height from the ground of the centre of the front splitter. This was about 10cm or 4 inches. It isn’t very. I hope that speed bumps and going on/off ferries etc. will be ok.

On to tyres. The age of the tyres was something I hadn’t checked, so I went out to take a look. They are older than I thought… If I am reading the tyres correctly, they seem to have been made in 16th week of 2003 (rear) and 16th week of 2002 (front). These are both quite old, and indicate the rearas have been changed since the was delivered in August 2002, but the fronts may be original!

I am not that happy with this, but the tyres show no cracking and all have decent tread. Perhaps the best plan to is to keep them on until after a trackday / driver training day in which we can properly shread them, then get some nice new rubber. Until then, I will be a bit more careful than I had planned to be.

Front driver's side
Front driver’s side – 16th week of 2002.

Rear driver's side
Rear driver’s side – 16th week of 2003.

Front driver's side
Front driver’s side. That is a low-sidewall tyre…

Rear driver's side
Rear driver’s side.

November 1, 2011

TVR Tamora

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 10:37 pm

Since the Saab was sold in April 2010, we have been a one-car couple. But no longer.

Our desire to have a sports car has lead to a purchase. While an E46 M3, or a Nissan 350Z would have been the sensible choice, we ended up buying a 2002 TVR Tamora from TrackVRoad. A Pistonheads thread on the car buying is here, and the thread following purchase is here.

We settled on the Tamora as it satisfied the RWD and sporty criteria, has sufficient power (350 bhp) and sufficient space for some luggage. It also has the benefit of very light weight (1060 kg), giving a power to weight ratio of 330 bhp / tonne, which puts it in prestigious company.

Autocar tested the Tamora
and recorded 0-60mph of 4.2s, 0-100 mpg of 9.1s, and a 1/4 mile in 12.5s at 119mph. That is fast enough for me.

We saw 3 Tamoras before buying this one. It appeared to be a good price, is in very good condition, and being sold by a reputable TVR specialist. It has 13,500 miles, and a good service history. There are a few examples where it goes 2 years between services, but with very few miles covered in that time. The previous owner has spent over £5000 on the last 2 services, so the car is in good shape. The fact that it is a 2002 Tamora, so has the more fragile engines is a concern, but it has been well looked-after, and none of the engines are guaranteed to last unless they have a rebuild with guarantee from one of the specialists.

The car is fairly easy to drive. There is an adjustable racing pedal box which feels different to normal cars. The throttle is responsive, but the real power comes at high revs, so when driving normally it is fairly easy. The clutch is light, but the brake pedal is firm and has very little travel, it is solid, and the harder you push, the harder the brakes are applied.

The steering is precise and fast, but the car feels stable. The suspension is all-new Gaz Gold Pro coilovers with adjustable damping set to the factory settings. Ride height at the front splitter seems to be 10cm / 4 inches, which doesn’t give much clearance. Wheels are 18″ and shod in Toyo Proces T1-S. 225/35/18 on the front and 235/40/18 on the rear.

The exterior is in lovely condition. The interior is ok, but the Bison leather is a little worn.

The standard back box has been replaced with a JP Sports exhuast supplied by ACT. This is quite loud, and the pops/bangs on the over-run are noticable. I found it a bit too loud on the long drive home from collection – motorway driving at 70mph was not fun. I am quite tempted to swap back to standard.

The engine provides noticable heat when driving, through the dash, and the gearstick also gets warm. Thankfully the air-con works to keep the driver cool.

The ride is surprisingly comfortable, but the ride-height is low. It only just gets up the sloped pavement to my driveway without touching the front spoiler. I will have to be careful when I approach speed bumps. The car fits in the garage far more easily than the Saab 9000 did. However, due to the location of the battery charging terminal, I need more access to the passenger side of the car which is close to the wall.

I have found my first niggles when testing the audio system, something we did not do at the garage…
– The passenger-side speaker appears to be shot. Bass is very distorted. The right speaker is fine.
– The CD changer in the boot is defunct. It is fitted and wired, but it is a Clarion unit not compatible with the Kenwood head unit which was fitted just over a year ago. I would much rather this CD changer had been removed rather than left as a defunct item in the boot.

I won’t listen to the radio much, but the above needs sorting.

The TVR photos from the collection are here.

A couple of pictures from when we collected the car are below.



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