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Pendelican White TR8

By Richard Truett

The TR8 is nursed all the way back to health thanks to four huge boxes of parts from Rimmers

IT took less than 24 hours after the arrival of my new TR8 before the boys at Rimmers over in Lincoln were packing boxes of spares to send across the water. Yes, you can still get many spares for the TR8 in the USA -- and that makes sense since most of the TR8's 2700 or so production run were sold here. However, Rimmers have some parts that can't be bought elsewhere, such as the non-catalytic converter down pipes that came on the few UK market TR8s. All the TR8s that came to the USA had big, heavy, cats fitted right under each exhaust manifold. Those things generate so much heat that they eventually fry the wiring harness on one side and the starter on the other. After 27 years, the cats on my TR8 probably weren't very effective anymore anyway, so off they came. Let me back up a little, though, before I go on. If you've seen the blog entry, 547 miles in one day in a TR8, posted a few weeks back, you'll see how I ended up with this rare factory fuel injected TR8. After getting home from that trip I had a pretty good idea of what it would take to rectify the car's mechanical problems. There weren't many and most were related to age, not abuse or neglect, so the reparations started with replacing the steering column bush, a 90-minute job that took the slop out of the steering column. That done, I had a look at the wiring going to the myriad sensors connected to the Lucas-Bosch EFi. I found a wire to a solenoid valve disconnected and, worse, two wires to the thermo time switch simply came out of their protective rubber boot. Those two things were rectified easily enough and, once done, brought to the great Rover V8 the proper level of smoothness that EFi is noted for. Having a look underneath, I saw the exhaust system was rubbish. The thing that attracted me to this TR8 in the first place, besides the low price (a trait I clearly share with a certain K. Adams), was the fact that the TR8 is startlingly original. The rear half of the exhaust system, though, had the original rear boxes removed and glass packs welded in. It gave the car a nice rumble but, looking underneath the car, I could see that the over-the-axle pipes had more holes in them than a cheese grater. The centre mufflers, too, had rotted and were leaking so off the whole system came and on went the new stainless steel Falcon exhaust, which looks pretty, but is a poor fit. Only a hacksaw, a file, a Dremel and a steady stream of expletives saw the new system finally installed. Next up, was to tackle a genetic problem all TR8s were born with: soft suspension. I installed a new, stiffer, set of springs which lower the car by an inch and also stiffen the ride. Since the front end was apart, I put in a new pair of gas-charged dampers, replaced all the rubber parts and installed a new set of ball joints. I also fitted a needle bearing front strut kit to smooth out the steering system. Other minor maintenance included changing the oil and filter and flushing the brake system. Oddly enough, after the new 20W 50 Castrol GTX was circulating through the engine's veins, the low pressure oil warning light on the dash came on whenever the engine dropped below 1500 rpm. That sent me into full panic mode, although the engine made no dangerous noises or exhibited any symptoms of low oil pressure. Luckily for me, only the pressure switch was defective and a new one from a Land Rover of early 1980s vintage cured that problem. So, for the past two weeks, the TR8 has been doing well. Before she goes out for a respray, I plan to install a pair of modern and more efficient electric cooling fans to replace the original factory units and will have a professional take a look at the air con system. Harris Mann, if you are still out there, you'll like this: I took the TR8 out for my weekly grocery run and, as I was walking out to the car, an elderly lady, who was looking at it from across the car park, called out: "That sure is a neat looking car." I said: "Thank you very much. It's old, though, and could use new paint." She replied, "Yeah, but the styling is great." Indeed it is.