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TR5 / TR250

(1967-1968)

Introduced in October 1967 to Provide Additional Power for the Triumph

The two-liter four cylinder engine which had served Triumph so well from the TR2 to the TR4 was replaced in the TR5 and TR250 by a two-and-a-half liter six cylinder engine, to provide additional power and smoothness. Other than the engine, the TR5/TR250 were extremely similar to the TR4A it replaced.

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TR5/250 Buyer’s Guide

In addition to the items listed in the general Triumph Buyers Guide , there are a number of specific items of interest on the TR5/250. If you want to have the reliability of the TR6, but the body of the TR4A, this is the car for you. When considering the TR5/250 you must, as with all British cars, gather a list of parts sources .

Parts availability for the TR5/250 are very good, with a number of major suppliers providing most parts for the TR5/250, ranging from tune up components and interior kits to replacement body panels.

Potential TR5/250 Problem Areas:

Body: One of the most important things to watch for on the TR5/250, as with all Triumphs, is rust. Rust coming through the paint generally indicates that there is 5 to 10 times more rust lurking beneath the body panels. Where does one look for rust on a TR5/250, other then everywhere?

  • The top of rear deck at the seams between the deck panels and fenders. Even slight bubbling of the paint in this area may be indicative of more serious rust deeper within the seams.
  • Under the carpets at the front of footwells, underneath the driver’s pedals, and along the seat rails.
  • On the front quarter panels behind the wheels, particularly at the junction with the fireball.
  • In the engine compartment around the battery box, and under the hydraulic master cylinders, where leaking fluids may have removed paint, allowing rust to spread.
  • Around the headlamps, this is where mud and road slush could get caught.
  • Around the tail light assmbly.

Frame: The TR5/250 frame is a boxed section frame with baffles that separate the long sections. The most common problem with these frame members is that salt and water can easily get inside the frame member and rot it from the inside out. The problem first shows up a “blisters” along the seams where the frame sections join together. Two particular special problem areas are where the trailing arms (for the rear suspension) and differential are attached to the frame.

  • Look very carefully at the location that the trailing arms mount to the frame. This spot is very easy to get to, it’s just behind the seats, and underneath the car. If there is rust on these pieces, get up, dust yourself off, and say ‘Thanks, but no thanks’. (Unless you are looking for a donor car for a major project.) Repairing/replacing these sections is very time and labour intensive, usually requiring a body off repair or a new frame to fix it “right.” If you drive the car, listen for telltale clunks coming from torn diff mounts(common on the TR6), although these “clunks” sound a lot like simple worn U-joint noise. Talk to you local British Car Mechanic about getting the mounts repaired. Yet another frame/body warning sign are problems with sagging sills and doors that are tough to open/close.

Electricals: There are no particularly unusual electrical problems on the TR5/250, other than the typical problems common to nearly all British cars.

Mechanicals: In general, the TR5/250 drive train is pretty solid and robust. Lots of mechanical parts are available for the TR5/250, from numerous suppliers. Some of the more common mechanical problems that may cost you more than you expected include:

Differential:the bearings are ball bearing type. They can fail. Failure often results in major differential failure that is remedied by replacing the diff. Also the ring and pinion can break for any number of reasons (not the least of which would be smokey burnouts :-() Rebuilding TR5/250 diffs requires special tools too. Farm the work out.

Engine: The TR5/250 engine is pretty strong, and can go long without any major overhaul. When they start to get tired, they can be easily reconditioned by a competent overhauler. If the current owner said that he/she rebuilt it, do not consider the engine overhaul to contribute to the overall value of the car. The sole exception to this rule is that if the mechanic is/was a real TR mechanic.

  • The most informative thing you can learn about a TR5/250 engine if you can’t actually run it is to check the condition of the Thrust Washers. These are the biggest failure point. Replacement can require a different crankshaft and block if the condition is severe enough. This can be a good bargaining point when buying a TR5/250.
  • To check, simply push the crankshaft pulley rearward as hard as you can, then have an assistant sit in the car. Now, use your hand to span the space between the crank pulley and the front of the engine, and inform your assistant to lightly step on the clutch pedal. You’ll feel the crank pulley move forward slightly, and this will reveal the condition of the thrust washers.
  • The allowable axial play for the crankshaft is .007-.013 If the distance seems greater than say, the thickness of your fingernail, you should bargain for a lower price, knowing that you’ll have to be into the lower end of the motor soon. If the distance approaches 1/8″, you can bet that the thrust washers have fallen into the oil pan, and the connecting rod bearings are short to fail. In this case, a different engine would probably be in order.

Front end: the front end on a TR5/250 is pretty strong. Most of the parts are relatively easy to replace given time and patience.

Rear Hubs: The rear hubs are a common malady. The bearings for the rear hubs are sealed bearings (in a sense.) There is no way to lubricate them, and they can fail for a number of reasons. At any rate, if you catch them early (when they start to slop a bit) then you can get them rebuilt by a competent shop (with experience!) or mail-order British car specialist. If you don’t catch them in time…it’s in the bin with them! Expensive! Don’t try to fix them yourself, or you will repeat the story that a lot of TR5/250 owners tell of a shop that wrecked a set of hubs. There are special tools required to do the hubs right as well as above average mechanical skills. Farm out hub rebuilding!

Transmission: The transmissions on TR5/250s are pretty good. If they make noise in any gears, the overhaul can be expensive. It a transmission in a prospective purchase has been rebuilt, if the current owner rebuilt it, do not consider this piece in the overall value of the vehicle. Also, make sure that all gears shift smoothly. Bad synchros and slop in the shift mechanism can make the best transmission beat itself to death in very short order!

U-joints: There are six U-joints on the TR5/250. The factory installed units were permanently lubricated. This means that they fail after a while. If they have been replaced, they might have grease nipples which if used to grease the u-joints will aid in longevity.

Miscellaneous hard-to-find parts: There are some parts on the TR5/250 which are now extremely difficult to find, if you are striving for a car with 100% accuracy. These include the yellow-striped hoses and the vacuum advance switch on the carburetor linkage brace. If you’re looking for original pieces, these are nice ones to have…

Above information provided courtesy of Steve Gronau, sgronau@ftqm.firsttech.com , with input from David Webb, jethro@alpha.wcoil.com .