This weekend I decided I should try to get my Triumph Stag out of the garage and rolled down to the bottom of the drive. This would make recovery of the vehicle much easier. Saturday morning, I returned to the garage to see if I, single handedly, could move the Stag. I got in the car, found neutral, released the handbrake, turned the ignition key to release the steering lock and tried, with one leg out of the car pushing against the ground, to heave it backwards out of the garage. No surprise, the car wasn't going anywhere - it didn't budge an inch! There was no way I was going to move this car on my own.
I gave Jez a call and he suggested I tow the Stag out of the garage with my Mercedes. Jez offered to help and in the afternoon he turned up with a tow rope. I reversed the Mercedes up to the garage door. We attached one end of the tow rope to the differential on the Stag, the other end to the towing eye on the rear of the Mercedes. Next I slowly drove the Mercedes away from the garage until there was no slack in the rope. Then I edged forward. The tow rope got tighter and tighter, but the Stag still did not move. Jez thought the rope would snap, so we stopped. The Stag was going nowhere! We had a beer and discussed our options. It was getting late, so Jez offered to come back tomorrow, with tools, to see if we could free the brakes that had presumably seized.
Sunday lunchtime, I picked up Jez and Lisa in the X1. We got a trolley jack, a load of tools and drove back to my house. We started with one of the rear wheels. First up, we loosened the wheel nuts, lifted the wheel off the ground, removed the wheel and inspected the drum brake. We loosened the two screws that hold the drum in place and hit the drum several times with a hammer. After that, we put the wheel nuts back on their threads and used a wrench, placed across two wheel nuts, to manually turn the wheel. Eventually the wheel did turn! Once the wheel was free, we put the drum screws and the wheel back on. We did exactly the same on the other side.
With both rear wheels free, Jez and I did try to push the Stag out of the garage, but it still wouldn't budge, which probably meant the front brakes were seized as well. Next we turned our attentions to one of the front wheels. The procedure was similar. First, we loosened the wheel nuts, lifted the wheel off the ground, removed the wheel and inspected the disc brake. Sure enough, the disc was corroded and the brake pads had attached themselves to the disc. Again, we put the wheel nuts back on their threads and used a wrench, placed across two wheel nuts, to manually turn the wheel. Same as before, after some heaving, the wheel started to turn. We also used sandpaper to remove a lot of the surface corrosion from the discs, then reassembled everything. We repeated the procedure on the other side.
With all brakes freed, we were in a position to roll the car out of the garage. I got the easy job, sitting in the car, while Jez pushed. Once we cleared the front of the garage, everything was easy - the car rolled effortlessly down the drive. Fantastic!
With the car out of the garage, we were able to give it a thorough inspection. The front wheel arches and valance looked pretty rotten and there was a fair amount of cosmetic, surface rust. But, overall, the car didn't look all that bad. Even Jez admitted that, for a 45 year old car, it was surprisingly solid underneath and a good candidate for restoration. We did have a go at starting the car, but to no avail. I gave the car a quick wash and then we had a barbecue and a few beers to celebrate!
Finally, on a sunny Monday morning, S C Recovery turned up to take the car to Enginuity in Acton.
To be continued...