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.
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?
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.
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.
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…