I’m pretty lucky. Pretty much whenever I want to, I get to surround myself with automotive excellence. Wide fenders, sticky tires and noisy exhausts – it’s really just a shop full of toys. It has been nice though, every time I walk in through that door I get bombarded with inspiration and happiness. With a new job in the GTA and a seemingly endless schedule, time has been harder than ever to find. Thankfully though, I was able to finish off the engine swap on the Lancer that has been long overdue and the last bits I wanted to get done on the Celica. That means I can happily say I can start to direct more of my limited resources back to the Triumph.
Over the weekend I was able to spend my afternoon, into the early hours of the next morning to get both my shiny new aluminum radiator and the nasty old oil cooler from the Evo-swapped Lancer mounted on the frame of the GT6. Life is good. Although I didn’t take pictures of it, I cut up the box that the radiator came in and taped off both the front and the back of the unit to ensure that I wouldn’t kill all of the fins prematurely. In addition, I used masking tape on both end tanks to minimize scratches during the installation and fabrication of the mounts.
Now that it was all protected, I was ready to make some measurements. I started off by taking the factory mounting location brackets off that came with the radiator, I don’t see how they can be of any use to me at this point. This made my life significantly easier as well, as I now had 4 flat, inline mounting surfaces to work off of. Seeing as this is a full aluminum radiator, I have also been worried about electrolysis. Now that I’m no longer using factory rubber mounts, the new mounts that I have made are going to act as perfect grounding locations so I shouldn’t have any issues.
In order for the radiator to fit properly, it needs to be tilted forward. More often than not with v-mounting a radiator, you would tilt the unit backwards. However, thanks to all of the factory cutouts in the bonnet, heat is easily able to escape out the top of the bonnet. One more aide in the cooling process will be the addition of a radiator shroud. I ordered a shroud kit which includes the shroud itself, two fans and a mounting kit. Unfortunately, the radiator showed up and the shroud kit never came. I have one on order but Mishimoto is currently out of stock so they’re waiting on a shipment from overseas.
Joe happened to have some steel plate at the shop that I used to make my lower radiator supports. I have to admit, these were surprisingly easy to manufacture. I rested the radiator on the frame, centered it and made some quick measurements. I found some quick angles using the protractor I purchased quite some time ago, clamped the material on the vice, heated it with a torch and beat it with a hammer.
Considering the thickness of the material, it bent relatively easy. Once I got the rough shape, I compared my measurements to the actual frame/radiator and cut the first mount with the angle grinder. I went through the same procedure with the second mount and they matched nearly perfectly. I didn’t even think to take photos while I was working away this time, I was just trying to use my time as productively as possible.
Joe was with me on Saturday night, we were both helping each other out. He seems to be the master of the mig welder, especially when the mig welder is from Princess Auto. I had no idea that it was possible to weld so nicely with one of those. I took the necessary primer off of my frame to expose the bare metal for welding the radiator support. Joe tacked it up, we test fit the radiator and it was all good to go. With everything positioned and adjusted, Joe made the final passes and just like that, the lower mounts were done.
We debated on how I should made the top mounts. Being the impatient person I am, I decided to work with what was available. For a… let’s just say a project I’m not going to mention, Joe had some metal rod laying around the shop which had the mill scale already taken off of it. Seeing as the top rad supports see very little load, they don’t need to be made out of billet steel.
What I did was bent the metal rod to a shape that supports itself on a strong point of the frame and welded a tab on the other end to bolt onto the radiator. With the remainder of the rod, I was able to made two small supports that should help with any stress induced by vibration. If there is going to be a crack, it will crack at the top of the support as opposed to on the frame itself.
Now I will fully admit that Joe did not do the rest of the welding and it shows… I can’t say I’m proud in even the slightest of ways. With my expert skills on the angle grinder, I should be able to tackle my mountains of weld with the angle grinder and smooth everything out to make it look all pretty. Nevertheless, I’m very happy with the results. I have a radiator in the car and it supports its own weight. This makes me happy.
When I posted my last update with the cooling system, Joe and I made mounts for my oil cooler. I didn’t have the time or energy to prepare the frame for welding. I figured that it was already going to be a late night so I might as well make the most of it. After the radiator was mounted, I started work on the oil cooler. I took the blending wheel and wire wheel out and took the primer off the frame, put down some tacks and just like that, it was in position.
It’s slightly crooked as it currently sits but I’m very happy with it. All it needs is some precision hammering and it’ll be perfectly straight. I can’t really explain how excited this all makes me. Technically speaking, the engine can now hold all the fluids it needs to run, regardless of its currently lack-of-running condition. I reattached the oil lines temporarily, as I got sick of oil leaking all over the clean floors. They clear the new mounts and the sway bar perfectly – it’s like it was made to be.
To sum up the night, I wiped, swept and dusted the floors. I grabbed my camera and started taking some shots of the nights work. It was a successful night and progress is good.
Just one step closer to the end goal.