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TVR Tasmin, An Update – Struts & Ash Trays

Its been a while since the last post; almost exactly a month. Although it’s been quiet on here, work has been slowly progressing on the TVR.

Unfortunately I’ve been suffering serious issues with motivation recently, and getting down into the garage to work on the car just wasn’t happening often. It hasn’t helped that for every little scrap of success I’ve been having with the car, I would get a big wad of failure dumped on me. It seems like a constant battle at times.

When I could get into the garage and plug away at the TVR I did. I have done a lot of testing, cleaning and investigation into the K-Jetronic system trying to chase down the running issue it has. This will be the subject of a post in the near future, but I’m learning a lot about the system and how it works. Hopefully that knowledge will lead to me getting it working correctly, and helping others along the way.

In the meantime, I did have a couple of small successes. One was the gas struts for the bonnet and boot. The old ones were well poked, and held nothing, so other means of support were employed. The bonnet and boot may be fibreglass, but they sure ain’t light; I didn’t want to take one of them to the noggin.

Not flash, but they worked. The boot had the wood plank, and the bonnet had an aluminium tube.

I did some ringing around and research into the option of having the existing struts regassed, as finding a set of struts in the correct length and with the low pressure they require (100NM) locally didn’t seem possible, but the cost of regassing the struts, if even possible, wasnt much less than a new set of struts from SGS Engineering in the UK.

The old ones appear to be the original Stabilus Lift-O-Mat struts, as the date mark on them is 04/80. They did pretty well to get this far!

Upon removing them, three had some pressure, although minimal, and one of the bonnet ones was completely dead. Removal was easy. The old ones had plastic locking pins that needed to be removed and then the ends could be popped off the ball with a long screwdriver. All of the ball joints had to be removed to replace with the new shiny ones, which is easily done with the appropriate spanners.

The replacements are lovely and shiny, I’m glad I went for the new option as the old ones just never would’ve cleaned up as well. They are Nitrolift branded, and gassed to the correct 100NM. It appears SGS custom build these for each order.

The ends are particularly nice

They fit and work perfectly. Much better.

For the money spent, its a great upgrade from the saggy old struts.

Moving on, the second win I had was finally working out what the ashtrays are in the early Tasmin.

My old ones were badly rusted and falling to bits. They weren’t useable and looked terrible. I suspect this was from rainwater coming in the window due to the failed/damaged seals. The front was literally being pushed off by rust, on the driver’s side.

There had been a lot of information/discussion on the internet about the ashtrays being from a Jaguar XJ6. I can dispel this myth now, they are not. You could probably make them fit, but they aren’t the original ashtrays.

I purchased a pair of ashtrays from an XJ6, and when compared to the TVR ones the difference is subtle, but there. Jag on the left, TVR on the Right. The Jaguar ones are rounded on the sides, and slightly taller. The mounting tabs for the ashtray into the housing are completely different too.

Speaking of the housing, that also differs from the TVR one. TVR Left, Jag Right. Jag is slightly smaller in all directions except depth. Its slightly deeper and has a sloped back on it, whilst the TVR one is flat on the back. The mounting hole also doesn’t line up.

So, with that bitter disappointment, and waste of money, I kept digging. I eventually found that the 2 Door Range Rover Classic used the same ashtray as the TVR, but finding one of those was proving impossible. It wasn’t until a member on the TVR Wedges Facebook page pointed it out, that it was suddenly obvious where the ashtrays came from. I almost felt embarrassed I didn’t notice it… they’re from a Series 1 Rover SD1!

There it goes, sitting there, in the door. Finding one of these was a lot easier, albeit blue is a rare colour so I have ended up with a pair of tan, like the above photo.

It turns out that TVR modified the Rover part slightly, by removing the foam tape off the back of the housing, and bashing the mounting hole with a hammer to flatten it off (sits proud normally, and the ashtray won’t sit flush in the door).

They aren’t perfect, due to the tan, but I’m keeping an eye out for a blue pair, but will give dying these a go at some point. Better than rusty old ones falling out of the door!

So once again, I’ve been left with some small victories, which are better than nothing, but the KJet system continues to fight me. More on that later though, as thats been a big, ugly, process.

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