Posted on: December 8, 2001

January 2001

Another Year of the Sunbeam has passed, as we now enter 2001. And the Club has continued to mature and develop. Looking back on the year, there are some highlights worthy of mention. Early in 2000, the membership voted to make significant changes to the governance of TE/AE by updating and changing the By-Laws. This was a massive effort by the Board and Officers to develop the proposal that you voted on and I thank everyone for their help. We now have the election of our Board of Directors (as just completed; the results will be published in the next Rootes Review) and the ability for Elected Officers to serve up to four consecutive terms.

We developed and published a superb website (www.teae.org) with the tireless contributions of Donna and Jim D’ Amelio. To make the paying of our dues easier for all our members, we just recently implemented a system to allow for the payment of membership dues over the website. And there is more to come!

We had a seamless transition of Editors for the Rootes Review from John Webber to Jim Anderson, never missing an edition or even a publishing date. And we had another faultless transition of the membership duties from John Logan, Sr. to T. J. Higgins. My thanks to the outgoing and incoming folks for all their contributions.

TE/AE had absolutely the most outstanding events across the board. Topping the list has to be Tom Ehrhart’s Pennsylvania Region BASH. Drive-in movie, fireworks, car show, balloon rides and chase, and on and on. Truly spectacular! The SOS in Birmingham, the Crab Feast in the Chesapeake Region and all the other Regional events provided great opportunities for our members to get together, talk, drive and live Sunbeaming.

Our Annual United was, once again, a smashing success. Robert Jaarsma and a team of dedicated members put on one heck of a show in Portland, ME. Outstanding weather added to the great events and camaraderie. A good time was had by all! For this United, we developed a more formalized Concours procedure (as adapted from the SUNI III system) for more consistent judging and better feedback to the participants that was well received.

We saw our membership stay relatively flat for the year. The club membership held steady at about 700 members. We did have to implement a dues increase during the year as newsletter publishing costs had risen over a period of years. Our treasury is now strong and the Club is solid and stable entering 2001.

Looking forward into 2001, we are already well along in the planning for the United to be held October 4-7 in St. Louis, MO. Ranney Dohogne and Byron Golfin are planning the Co-Chairmen and are planning a full spectrum of interesting activities for all of us. Mark those calendars!

This month’s update on the 347-stroker motor and 5-speed project is pretty minimal. I continue to gather parts and will be starting the actual work soon. The salt and sand have already hit the highways here in New England and it will be April before the car leaves the garage again, so I have plenty of time. More next month.

May you and your families have a great 2001 !
Jim Morrison

February 2001

We have just completed the “biggest” voting process in TE/AE history! Biggest in the sense that we were electing not only the Officers, but, for the first time, the Board of Directors. And biggest, too, in the sense that we had 210 voters. By far a record turnout! (Who says we Americans don’t know how to vote.) The results of this unparalleled election are summarized in the article below.

This, as you can see, is the annual Membership Roster edition of the Rootes Review. The regular newsletter will be back next month.

This month’s update on the 347-stroker motor and 5-speed project is, unfortunately, stagnant. I continue to gather parts and will be starting the actual work soon & no really, I will & I promise. The good news is that my articles have motivated some folks to successfully go on the quest for the AMC tailshaft and get their own 5-speed projects going. More next month.

My thanks and that of the Club and the candidates goes to everyone who took the time to vote.
Think warm, think thaw, think Spring.

Election Results

The election of the Officers and Board of Directors for 2001 is complete. We had 210 ballots counted and the results are as follows:


Officers


Board

President Jim Morrison 207 Stu Brennan 134 Andrea Hellings 145
Vice President Rande Bellman 74 Tom Calvert 161 David Johnson 99
Bob Sharkey 129 Jim D’Amelio 113 John Logan Sr. 131
Tom Ehrhart 1 Tom Ehrhart 197 Wally Swift 137
Secretary Pat Morrison 205 Eric Gibeaut 168 John Webber 157
Treasurer Carl Moon 203

As per our Bylaws, therefore, Tom Ehrhart, Eric Gibeaut, and Tom Calvert are elected to the Board for a period of three years. John Webber and Andrea Hellings are elected for a period of two years and Wally Swift and Stu Brennan are elected for a period of one year. Jim Morrison is the President for 2001, Bob Sharkey is the Vice President, Pat Morrison is the Secretary and Carl Moon is the Treasurer, all for a term of one year.

Congratulations to all the successful candidates and thanks to everyone who ran.

March 2001

My congratulations once again to the new Board and Officers for 2001. Tom Ehrhart, Eric Gibeaut, Tom Calvert, John Webber, Andrea Hellings, Wally Swift and Stu Brennan are the 2001 Board of Directors. The 2001 Elected Officers are Bob Sharkey as Vice President, Pat Morrison as Secretary, Carl Moon as Treasurer and me continuing as President. Congratulations to these Club Leaders and thanks to everyone who ran.
Things are pretty quiet in Sunbeam land & or at least in my Sunbeam land. The Winter months do seem to slow down the Club’s activity. But there is a lot of planning going on for coming events.

As mentioned in an earlier column, TE/AE’s United will be in St. Louis on 5-7 October, 2001. You can expect the usual high quality event with all the trimmings & Concours, autocross, parts room, tech sessions, banquet and plenty of camaraderie. And in the unique city of St. Louis.

The annual BASH is being put together for May 12, 2001. Come join fellow “beamers” for a tour of Gettysburg Battlefield in historic buses from the 30’s! Your day will include lunch, tour of the battlefield, snack and rally through the beautiful Gettysburg countryside. Some great driving areas!

This year, TE/AE is co-sponsoring an event on June 8-10, 2001 appropriately titled “The Sunbeam Invasion”. We are helping out the www.SunbeamAlpine.org folks for this joint event. Come join other Sunbeam owners for a weekend of fun! The event will be held north of Dayton, Ohio in historic Tipp City. There will be a poker rally, parts swapping, pig roast, some very special quests and a $500 Sunbeam Specialties gift certificate Grand Prize drawing. It looks to be a great event.

This month’s update on the 347-stroker motor and 5-speed project is that there is no progress. My time (and motivation) is being spread around and the Sunbeam is not getting much right now. I just bought (but have not even ridden due to ice and salt on the roads) a BMW K1200RS sport/touring motorcycle to add to my Harley Sportster 1200. With new mechanical things to diddle with, the Sunbeam is idle (pun intended).
Mark those calendars now for all the great events we have coming up and make those vacation plans to join your fellow TE/AE Sunbeamers at all the events this year!

April 2001

My congratulations once again to the new Board and Officers for 2001. Tom Ehrhart, Eric Gibeaut, Tom Calvert, John Webber, Andrea Hellings, Wally Swift and Stu Brennan are the 2001 Board of Directors. The 2001 Elected Officers are Bob Sharkey as Vice President, Pat Morrison as Secretary, Carl Moon as Treasurer and me continuing as President. Congratulations to these Club Leaders and thanks to everyone who ran.

Things are pretty quiet in Sunbeam land & or at least in my Sunbeam land. The Winter months do seem to slow down the Club’s activity. But there is a lot of planning going on for coming events.

As mentioned in an earlier column, TE/AE’s United will be in St. Louis on 5-7 October, 2001. You can expect the usual high quality event with all the trimmings & Concours, autocross, parts room, tech sessions, banquet and plenty of camaraderie. And in the unique city of St. Louis.

The annual BASH is being put together for May 12, 2001. Come join fellow “beamers” for a tour of Gettysburg Battlefield in historic buses from the 30’s! Your day will include lunch, tour of the battlefield, snack and rally through the beautiful Gettysburg countryside. Some great driving areas!

This year, TE/AE is co-sponsoring an event on June 8-10, 2001 appropriately titled “The Sunbeam Invasion”. We are helping out the www.SunbeamAlpine.org folks for this joint event. Come join other Sunbeam owners for a weekend of fun! The event will be held north of Dayton, Ohio in historic Tipp City. There will be a poker rally, parts swapping, pig roast, some very special quests and a $500 Sunbeam Specialties gift certificate Grand Prize drawing. It looks to be a great event.

This month’s update on the 347-stroker motor and 5-speed project is that there is no progress. My time (and motivation) is being spread around and the Sunbeam is not getting much right now. I just bought (but have not even ridden due to ice and salt on the roads) a BMW K1200RS sport/touring motorcycle to add to my Harley Sportster 1200. With new mechanical things to diddle with, the Sunbeam is idle (pun intended).

Mark those calendars now for all the great events we have coming up and make those vacation plans to join your fellow TE/AE Sunbeamers at all the events this year!

May 2001

The little things are the ones that get you. While this may not be a truism in life, it is in auto restoration. My Tiger looks great, if I do say so myself, and I get lots of comments on how “perfect” it is. But if they only knew! No matter how hard one (at least I) tried and no matter how careful one is, there are the “mess ups”. Here is a brief recap of those little things that got me.

Having had the problem of radiator hoses sticking to the radiator inlet and outlet, I cleverly put a small amount of lubricant on them to ease disassembly. Bad idea! Having returned from my first drive in the freshly assembled car back in 1994, the upper radiator hose blew off, soaking the engine, the car and the wall in coolant. Luckily not me. What a mess.

After the cleanup, subsequent drives produced a large puff of smoke from the left side of the engine (not the exhaust, but the engine) on acceleration & not on steady driving or on deceleration. After lots of testing and head scratching, I found that because I had a later 302 block, it had a dipstick hole in the drivers side of the block and it had not been plugged when the dipstick was moved to the front passenger’s side. It was completely blocked from view by the headers. When I would accelerate, oil would slosh out the hole and onto the headers! A small threaded pipe plug and I was back to smokeless driving.

If you have a new aftermarket wiring harness, check it out carefully to be sure it is wired like the original. Even though mine seemed to have all the right wires in all the correct colors coming out in all the right places, it was not correct internally. To save costs, I guess, the manufacturer had decided to not run two brown wires over to the positive terminal on the solenoid, instead shortcutting one directly from the voltage regulator to the fuse box. What this caused was an erroneous ammeter reading. I have subsequently fixed it and have all the electrics running through the ammeter for an accurate reading.

The car had never cranked as fast as I thought it should, given that everything was new. And I had had a problem on two occasions with melted insulation on the ground wire connected to the generator. I beefed up the gauge of this wire and all was okay for a while. But it happened again! The problem (as diagnosed by Tiger Tom) was a poorly connected ground strap from the engine to the frame under the car. Even though everything was new, it was not making good connections and the cranking current was forced to look for other paths & like the ground wire for the generator.

I also learned that the windshield wiper motor can be wired so that it has a high, low and off and be wired incorrectly. The symptom was that the motor got real hot with the wipers off! Correctly connecting the wires at the switch fixed that one.

The old 302 motor is (finally) out of the car and parts are getting cleaned and painted and swapped to the 347 motor. Scraping gasket material off sure is fun. I am taking this occasion to refresh all the seals in the brake and clutch systems too. The 5-speed gets mated to the new motor today. Hopefully by my next column, I can report on the first drive. By the way, have I mentioned that the 302 is for sale to a good home & .. or a bad one & cheap?

There are a bunch of Sunbeam and other British car events coming up. Be there!

June 2001

The premiere event for Tigers East / Alpines East every year is the United. It is held at various venues around the East and Central parts of the US. This year it is in St. Louis for the first time. It promises to be one hack of an event, as they all are. Concours, autocross, tech sessions, banquet, camaraderie at the hospitality suite & all with the local color of the Mid West. We will also have some unique St. Louis tours and visits to local points of interest. It is on October 4-7, 2001. Be sure to mark your calendar and register early. More information is available on our website (TEAE.org) under the Events tab. The location is a bit far for some of us, but don’t let that discourage you. Drive that Sunbeam and see you in St. Louis.

Also coming up is the Annual Chesapeake Region Crab Feast on Saturday, 8 September. It will be at the ten-acre waterfront property of our Regional Rep and Board Member, Tom Calvert. There is plenty of room for the cars and other activities and overnight camping as well. If you haven’t tried crab this way, fresh out of the steamer, you need to. It is one good time!

Progress on the 347 stroker motor and 5-speed installation has been going well. I took a bit of time off to go on a motorcycle tour from Boston to Key West & . but that is another story. Only a couple of glitches in an otherwise smooth installation. The first problem was that the engine builder installed a main cap girdle to make the bottom end stronger and an oil pan with a windage tray. Both good things. Unfortunately, even though I had told him a number of times that the Tiger had a front dipstick, these parts were designed for a side dipstick. Hence, the dipstick hit the girdle and windage tray. Off came the oil pan and a little machine work made a pathway for the oil dipstick to be able to actually make it to the oil!

I transferred the water pump, intake manifold, distributor and ancillary pieces to the stroker off of the old 302, added a new clutch and mated up the new 5-speed. I then took the opportunity to rebuild the brake and clutch master cylinders, the brake booster and the clutch slave cylinder. I have also been working on the steering assemblies to see why I have a “sticky” section of the steering just off center. Everything appears fine except the steering u-joints are a bit tight, so new ones are coming.

I have always had an electric fan to augment the cooling at idle. I got a great tip from John Webber about mounting the fan on brackets that bolt to the threaded holes next to each of the four radiator/shroud mounting holes. Previously, the fan was mounted directly to the front of the radiator. What a great idea and it makes taking the radiator out much easier.

As of the writing of this column, the engine and trans are in the car awaiting the installation of the carbs, headers, generator, starter, radiator, and the connecting of the fuel, electrics, exhaust, speedo, etc. The first drive is close at hand. By the way, have I mentioned that the 302 is for sale?

There are a bunch of Sunbeam and other British car events coming up. Be there!

July 2001

Pat and I were not able to make it to the Sunbeam Invasion put on by Ian Spencer and his team. A bunch of folks did go and report that it was a great event. It was especially strong in the focus on and attendance of Alpines. I commend Ian and everyone who worked on it and attended it for a great event. Sorry I missed it.

The 347 stroker and 5-speed project has been consuming every possible moment I can give to it. You know the old saying “Difficult things are never easy.” Well you know, simple things are never easy either!

As I was rebuilding all the hydraulics, I noticed that the one of the axle seals was leaking and I had differential oil all over the brakes. I ordered the parts and proceeded with getting the engine running.

I got the engine and trans in and it was time to fire it up. I statically set the timing and all was ready. It fired a bit, backfired through the carb and would not run. I had just taken the distributor from the 302 so everything should have been fine. But wait a minute. What if the engine builder used the 351W firing order when he did the cam? He never sent me any paperwork on the engine (it was the last one he did before going out of business), so I was flying blind in a few areas. Turns out he did use the 351W firing order and my 302 used the 289 firing order. Easy to fix, just move four plug wires. It started then but did not run right. It turned out that the builder had put the timing tape on the harmonic balancer backwards so when it showed 12 degrees Before TDC, it was really 12 degrees AFTER TDC. Again, once I realized it, it was easily fixed and we had a running engine.

I took it for a 40 mile trial drive and all went very well. The engine ran perfectly and the car had lots of power and torque. Break-in considerations prevented me from really seeing what the car will do, but that time will come. The 5-speed was butter smooth and dropped the cruising rpm’s to an acceptable level.

Got the car home and checked it over. All was okay except for a leak around the speedo cable attachment to the trans. A little silicon was added and it looks like that one is licked. After the parts arrived, I rented an axle puller and pulled both axles and replaced both oil seals. The old ones (from a 1993 rebuild) used leather seals that were brittle and cracked. The new ones were rubber and looked like they should work better.
In that short drive, it looked like the stroker would be running hotter than the 302, so I ordered a Griffin aluminum radiator. I will do a before and after on this radiator to report to you on the results.

I had gotten the hots for a set of larger wheels and, after a bunch of information gathering, decided on the 16 inch Panasports. That was a project in itself. I will have more info on it in a future column.

By the way, have I mentioned that the 302 is for sale?

Let’s get out there and show the world what a beautiful car the Sunbeam is. Drive it!

Pat and I have made our plans and hotel reservations to attend the United in St. Louis in October and the “Return to Your Rootes” event in Luray, VA in September. Both promise to be grand events with great drives getting there and back and a fun time seeing all of the old and new friends. Unfortunately, we will unable to make it down to the Chesapeake Region’s Crab Feast in Maryland in early September. If you have not already signed up for these events, you really need to! They will be a blast. Heading down to Virginia will be the first time the new motor and transmission are on an extended trip.

Speaking of the 347 stroker and 5-speed project, it has come a long way. The car is a dream to drive with the stroker and 5-speed and a dream to look at with the new 16″ Panasports. But other items are making it a better car too.

I first built this car with a 302 engine while I lived in Florida. The climate and my obsessive desire to keep the engine compartment uncluttered, led me to remove the manual choke hardware from both carbs. It was never an easy starting arrangement & . particularly when it was really cold here in Massachusetts. I have now added electric chokes to both Edelbrock carbs. What a difference! One push of the throttle to set the fast idle cams and it starts instantly every time. The wiring for the chokes can be mostly hidden. I could not recommend the electric chokes more highly.

I learned that my 347 has a billet roller cam that requires a steel gear on the distributor. After much research and discussions with Mallory, I am told that my Unilite was originally built with a steel gear and that no new gear is necessary. Whew! I was told that if you do not have the correct gear material, that you will need engine rebuilds every 5000 miles. I do not know if this is true, but it did inspire me to be sure I had the correct one.

I have one small leak at the rear seal on the T-5 where the drive shaft goes in. I have purchased a new one and it will be going in soon. It looks like the stroker will be running hotter than the 302, so I bought a Griffin aluminum radiator. The radiator has arrived but I am waiting to put it in. I want to do a “before and after” on this radiator and to report to you on the results. Our summer here in New England has been quite cool and not really stressing on the cooling system yet. That and getting a few more miles on the new engine for a fair comparison have caused me to wait on the new radiator installation.

With the new engine & trans, I decided to add 16″ wheels for the handling and visual impact. I had never been a fan of anything but the 13″ wheels on Tigers, feeling that they just did not look right. But I changed my mind and I have to admit the 16 inchers look fantastic. I will explain all about the process of buying and fitting them next month. It was not a simple bolt on installation.

By the way, have I mentioned that the 302 is for sale & .really cheap?

‘Tis the season of car shows and drive in restaurants. Show them what you’ve got.

September 2001

Well, the 347 stroker and 5-speed project winds down, now having completed everything with the exception of new mufflers and the new aluminum radiator. I had loved the sound of the Flowmaster mufflers I had heard at the Tiger get-togethers and put a pair on last year. They sound great at idle but are just too darn loud under acceleration and deceleration. They scream, “Ticket me!” I have a set of Borla’s on order and should get them soon.

I decided to add 16-inch Panasport wheels for the handling and visual impact. I had never been a fan of anything but the 13-inch wheels on Tigers, feeling that they just did not look right. But I changed my mind and I have to admit the 16 inchers look fantastic & .. but it was not just a bolt on installation.

I ordered the wheels from Dale’s Restorations. He knows what fits Tigers and has lots of experience fitting them. I got 16 x 7’s with a 30mm offset for the front and 16 x 7’s with a 15mm offset for the rear, at Dale’s recommendation. He told me that owners of the 16-inch wheels usually used 205/45’s on the front and 225/45’s on the rear. I had some discussions with other folks who had 16-inch wheels and decided to go with those sizes.

The tires and wheels arrived and I had them mounted and balanced. They looked great. I bolted the fronts on and turned the wheels lock-to-lock. The tires did not hit the front valence, as it had been trimmed long ago. No problem there. But both rims did hit the upper A-arms at full lock. I called Dale to see what was up. He said that that should not happen. The great part of the 16-inch wheels was that they were so large in diameter that they should fit over the upper A-arm. After more discussion, he offered that my upper ball joints might be from a batch (they are 8 years old) that had the tapered part that fits into the spindle manufactured a bit too large, preventing the shaft from going in as far as it should. This would result in the A-arm sitting higher than it should and hence, hit the rim. I cautiously ground just a bit of metal off of the offending parts of the A-arm and it now clears.

I trimmed the lips of the rear fender wells as much as I thought I safely could. Even with that, the 225/45’s do not fit up inside the wheel well. Had I opted for the 205/45’s in the rear also, it looks like they would have fit completely inside. But the 225’s look much better to me. I popped the rear springs off and arched them to raise the car an inch or so. It looks fine and has not hit the lip even going over large bumps.

The ride and handling are much improved with a much tighter feel and less tire squirm, and they really add to the look of the car. I am glad I did it. Pat and I are going down to Luray in September and we will see what everyone else thinks.

On really hot (90 degree plus) days, the car is running at 210 degrees on the highway. Even though the engine only has a few hundred miles on it, this is a bit warmer than I would like. So, in goes the aluminum radiator. I should have a report on the difference for you next month.

By the way, have I mentioned that the old 302 is for sale & .really cheap? 10:1 compression, roller rockers, 280/280 Competition Cams cam, Dart Windsor Jr. large valve heads, etc.

I hope to see all of you at Luray and at St. Louis. Make those reservations now!

October 2001

It will have been a few weeks since September 11, 2001 that you are reading this, but I am writing this column nine days after the attack on America. It has stunned and impacted all of us. We were riveted to the television sets watching and re-watching the unthinkable destruction and loss of American lives. There are many schools of thought out there as to what we should do and how we should react and behave. I feel strongly that the most important message we, as the American public, can send to the terrorists that did this is that we will go on with our lives. We need to mourn the dead and to praise the heroism that has been shown by our firemen, our policemen and many others. To show our strength, we should make the societal statement of “normalcy”. The terrorist attacks have changed the country and the people in many ways, but let’s not let them obtain their objective of taking away our way of life. With this thought, the Club and this column go forward.

Pat and I just returned from the Virginia regional event in Luray, VA. Jim D’Amelio, Russ Eshelman and their team put on a fun event with the right mix of driving, talking and looking at cars. We were all still a bit shell-shocked from the attacks just a few days before and it muted us a bit, but the “show went on.” We drove the Tiger down & about a 1400 mile round trip & and the new engine and trans did great. We got 16-17 miles per gallon much to my surprise, given we had 347 cubic inches being fed by 1000 cfm of dual four barrels.

Another positive surprise was that the speedometer was spot on! We timed it along the Interstate mile markers and it was as close as we could measure. New trans, new wheels and a new speedometer gear and luck. With the old top loader, a 3.31 rear end and 13 inch wheels, I was turning about 4000 rpm at 80 mph. Now it is 3000. A much more civilized ride.

Before we left, I was chasing a transmission fluid leak. It turned out that it was leaking through the drive shaft yolk that slides in the back of the transmission. There is a plate pressed in the end toward the u-joint and it was leaking around it. Some judiciously placed sealer and it was fixed. Strange.

On really hot (90 degrees) days, the car was running at 210 degrees on the highway with the old radiator. This was 20 plus degrees hotter than the 302 ran with the same radiator. Even though the engine is new, this is a bit warmer than I would like. So, I put in a Griffin aluminum radiator. It dropped the road temperature about 10-12 degrees. Not as much as I had hoped but still better. It does not heat up much at idle and I have an electric fan to switch on when stopped. The installation of the radiator had a few complications, which I will tell you about next month.

This is the last time I will force my advertising on you about my old 302. I have said that it is real cheap meaning no reasonable or possibly unreasonable offer will be refused. As a reminder, it has 10:1 compression, roller rockers, 280/280 Competition Cams cam, Dart Windsor Jr. large valve heads, etc.

We leave for the United (driving the Tiger 1200 miles each way) in less than two weeks. Hope to see all of you there.

Jim Morrison, President