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Triumph Repair/1980 triump


QUESTION: i was just willed a triumph 1980
trying to find a repair book on this car, im confused on the modle.
tag receipt vin number has only 14 letters/numbers. all vin id checks ask for 17.
tag receipt has tr7 but the hand written note from my father has roadster. this is a convertible

ANSWER: Hi David,

"Roadster" means "Convertible" and they are the more prized cars. The TR-7 was the last of the Triumphs. Haynes and Bentley both have good shop manuals on the car. The Bentley number is ISBN 0-8476-9, The Bentley stock # is X128. The Haynes manual is ISBN 0-85696-597-9 (there may be a newer Haynes manual out but both cover the 1980 model. The trouble with the VIN number is that there were 16 different prefixes use on the 80 and 81 cars in the US. The prefix was an 8 character alph-numeric prefix. Then the 6 digit number starting in 1980 with 200001 to 402000. This number was on a plate on the driver's door just below the door latch.

Both manuals are good but the Bentley is probably the better manual. I was factory trained on the TR-7 and worked on many and have owned several and still own one.

Most TR-7's today are collector cars and or show cars. The car received bad press, mostly due to the odd design of the engine. Not necessarily a bad design, just so different and odd that it caused most mechanics and machine shops to make serious mistakes when repairing the engine. But the car received the bad press for those mistakes.

The car was designed to be an MG and have the Rover (Buick/Olds) 215 cu in V-8 engine in it. The engine was purchased from GM but needed casting changes in the engine block. The car was crash tested by Mercedes Benz and was ready to replace the MGB but the car was ready before the engine modification was ready, so BLM (MG-Triumph-Rover and Jaguar) decided to cut 4 cylinders off of their Triumph Stag V-8 engine and put that in the car and sell it as a Triumph TR-7, not an MG. When they did get the engine ready and installed it, they called the car a Triumph TR-8.

You can purchase the manuals on the Internet and most parts are still available from many Internet accessed companies.

If you intend to keep the car I advise that you purchase a manual and if you have any problems with the car I would be glad to guide you in the correct direction.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thanks so much for your information. i have one more question if you don't mind. the engine in this vehicle is a four cylinder. the motor slants towards the drivers left side. the carburetors are on the passenger side. two very odd looking carbs. is this what they are calling the drop head engine. also my father removed the radiator fan for more horse power. is that normal to do. i have driven the car on two or three trips all under 50 miles and didn't seem to have any overheating problems.

Hi David, I never heard of a "Drop head engine". However the term "Drop head coupe" referres to a convertible car. The carburetors are Stromberg carburetors and are "Constant velocity carburetors" (an advanced design over "Fixed jet carburetors" As for the fan, it was mounted on a fan clutch that was common to fail so that might be why it was removed. Most cars don't need a radiator fan above 35 MPH anyway. If you have electric fans they will do for below 35 MPH. Be careful about engine heat. if you see the oil light come on when driving you only have seconds to turn off the engine before major damage and if you see it overheating you only have a minute before major damage so watch the instruments as though you were a pilot.


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Howard M. Fitzcharles III


Triumph TR-4 up & Spitfire, and Engine theory


Dealership line mechanic on MG, Triumph, Jaguar for 15 years, Instructor in commercial mechanics school 2 yr. Product information manager for piston and valve manufacture, Instructor & hotline answer man for import car parts importer 15 yrs.

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