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Triumph TR6 - Butter fingers

I have my enigne in the car, and I am working on cleaning the radiator and hooking up the electric fan. The engine is almost ready, but I have the rocker shaft off from when I reinstalled the engine, and the rocker cover is going to be replaced with an alloy item, currently on back order. I have had a plastic bag and sheet over the engine to keep dust out. I decided to tidy up a bit. I spotted some spark plug markers I picked up the other week - the little plastic clips with numbers to mark the wires. I got the first three on without incident. Then as I was stretching number four to go over the wire, the phone rang, which broke my concentration, and off it went. Naturally, since I had moved the back and sheet back to allow easier access, it went into the one spot where there was a space for it to fall into the head. It was resting next to the number 8 tappet, so I tried to reach it with whatever I could find that was long and thin. Only when it dropped did I realise that there is a hole down past teh camshaft right there, which I guess means that the little plastic clip is now in the sump. D'oh!

I think I know the answer, but I am going to ask anyway... Do I need to remove the sump to get this little plastic clip, or will it be okay where it is? It is much too big to be picked up by the oil pump. I have been too busy to work on the car for the last month or so, and I finally started to make some progress today. This will be quite a setback, and let's keep in mind that one of the reasons I removed the engine in the first place was that I didn't fancy lying on my back under the car for hours on end. Any other ideas how to get it out? The sump should still be fairly dry, but I did wipe it quite liberally with oil before fitting it, on the assumption that it would be a while before I got to fire it up, and not wanting rust to take hold. It occurs to me that I might be able to sweep it out of the drain hole, but this is probably really wishful thinking. What an idiot.

As ever, thanks for any thoughts or advice!
A Hewitt

Hi Alistair
It might be a long shot but this trick has helped me in weird situations...modify your shop vac to cover the oil drain hole..duct tape comes to mind.. and since it's the plastic number tag should be sucked out if it's sitting in the pan

Charlie B.

To add to Charlie's excellent suggestion. If this trick does not work on first try, then maybe adding a length of that clear plastic hose duct taped to the end of your shop vac might "find" the platic clip and at least bring it to the drain opening.
Good luck
Rick Crawford

Another thought...make sure your vac is clean...that way you can easily look inside to see if you got the tag
Charlie B.

You might try putting a clean container under the sump drain and pour some oil down the opening the clip fell into. The oil might flush it out.

A. J. Koschinsky

It's out!

Thanks for the ideas. I went to the hardware store at lunchtime and picked up hoses in various sizes and some 18 gauge wire. My plan was to make the wire into a small "brush" to try to get the clip into an area where I could use the tube with my shop vac to suck it out. If that failed, pour a quart of oil through and see if anything emerged with the oil.

The first thing I will say is that if you have ever tried to look into your sump through the drain plug it is not an easy task - the chassis rail blocks direct line of sight. If only I had the front mounted drain plug like those wonderful '71 cars! I went ahead and bent a few feet of wire into a brush and I brushed away for 5 minutes. Then I vacuumed with the biggest hose I could get into the drain hole and then manoeuvre (3/8 inch OD, fact fans) and went at it for a few minutes. Nothing. I listened as carefully as I could to see if there was any change in the sound to suggest I had picked something up. I was about to give up but remembered that I had a small mirror on a stick, so I tried and tried to get enough light in and at the same time allow myself to see in with the mirror. I could see a tiny amount of the sump, but what was that? Right by the sump plug, in the corner closest the driver's feet... I then spent a couple of minutes bending a piece of wire until it was the perfect shape of hook and the bends were the perfect distance along the length to allow me to get the hook in, catch the fishy and reel it in. After 7 or 8 minutes I was almost ready to throw in the towel and go away to rethink, and then there it was. Getting it through the drain hole was not easy, and I dropped it the first time, but once I knew it could be done I wasn't giving up. Sure enough it finally came out to a shriek of delight loud enough to wake not only my wife and daughter to the neighbours, I shouldn't wonder!

Anyway, thanks again for the ideas. I am sorry for the long post here - I am currently very excited and I doubt anyone around here will understand why I am so happy to have recovered a lost 20c clip!

A Hewitt

Thanks Alistair, you made me chuckle nice and early, nice way to start the day!

rw loftus

This thread was discussed between 27/04/2008 and 29/04/2008

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