The 3-Wheeler is a fantastic car to drive. It’s all about sensations. Like going back in time to pure driving experience. You are sitting so low that you can touch the tarmac if you want. The steering is direct, no assistance at all, and you can see the exact path the front tyres go to.
You may think that the 3-Wheeler is quite an uncomfortable car to drive, and that after some kilometers behind the wheel you’ll have all your body in pain. But that’s not exactly true. To be fair, the 3-Wheeler is far away from the comfort of a modern car, but it’s not such a torture rack. In fact, it’s surprisingly comfortable for the concept and characteristics of the vehicle.
So, despite most of its owners use it just for daily drives, AM and I plan to make longer getaways, whether it’s a weekend or even a week or more.
But for this kind of “long range campaigns” as we like to call these longer trips, the 3-Wheeler shows one of its obvious weaknesses: a very limited space for luggage.
You only have a molded plastic boot inner tray over the back wheel. And this space accepts a couple of small size soft bags. Maybe a third if you find the correct bags combination.
There is a nice option that we bought when we ordered the little rocket: the luggage rack. This option allows you to add extra luggage up to 22-25 kg on top of the boot. It is a chromed stainless steel rack, and the fixings of the last version that we have are frankly well resolved. The system may not be perfect, as to open the boot you must remove the rack completely, releasing it from its front fixings that are mounted on the roll hoops. If these bindings had a simple hinge system, allowing the grill to pivot to vertical position and open the boot without inference, it would be almost perfect.
You can put on this luggage rack anything you want with a weight limit of 22 – 25 kg. The bag or trolley you’ll put on it will be fully exposed to driving and weather conditions, and it will obviously affect aesthetically the look of the 3-Wheeler.
We looked at different bags options that could result elegant and practical at the same time. We admit we had nice laughs looking at some weird pictures of luggage solutions in the internet, obviously taken just for fashion purposes…
But we thought that, being the 3-Wheeler a unique kind of vehicle, it doesn’t deserve a bag that breaks its aesthetics. So, we ended up ordering a tailor-made luggage set, trying to maintain the elegant look, but optimizing the trapezoidal shape of the luggage rack.
We designed the bags and discussed with our fantastic upholsterer the way to make them elegant, practical, and easy to fix on the rack. We chose the same weatherproof dark brown leather than the interior, which is also the same we used for AM’s back cushion (see our post “Hangar works #3 – The back cushion for AM“) and the steering wheel bag (see our post “Hangar works #1 – The steering wheel“).
The upholsterer made a couple of beautiful pieces of art, with quilted exterior, green piping matching with the Morgan Sports Green color of the body, and nice and smooth cotton fabric interior.
The large bag is larger than a regular cabin-sized trolley. And the small one is half the size of a cabin-sized trolley. A good combination.
Adjustable shoulder straps, removable thanks to 360º rotating carabiners and double metallic lockable zipper.
In the above picture you can see the green piping detail, and the leather belt clips to secure the bag to the rack with a luggage strap.
This is how they look on the luggage rack.
The bags are not too wide, so they don’t result too tall while put on the luggage rack.
We got a couple of leather luggage straps. Passing them through the side leather clips of each bag, they fix them securely to the rack.
In the above pictures the luggage straps are not really tightened, but with these, we may not need any extra fixing to be sure the bags won’t move!
We really love the result! And they match in perfection with the car interior and the steering wheel bag.
Every 3-Wheeler is a beautiful machine as it comes out of the Malvern factory. But really few are identical. The aspect configurations are almost infinite. Morgan offers you a large palette of colours for the body, and even the possibility of choosing your bespoke colour. And an enormous choice of leather colours; plus different ways to stich the leather: pleated, quilted or squared. And you can also choose a contrast colour stitching. Then you have two kinds of dashboards: the standard and the classic – also known as “Heritage” dashboard – and this last one offers different wooden panels. And this is just the base… From there, you can choose the colour of the mudguards; the wheels can be black, body colour painted, or any other colour of your choice, or chromed; then come the decals; etc. Impressive.
Then come the OEM options: steering wheels, exhausts, air intake filters… Really finding two 3-Wheelers identical is rare.
AM and I played that game very soon, changing the standard steering wheel for a wooden one (see post Hangar works #1 – The steering wheel). And now we decided to change the air intake filter unit.
The original one is a simple black cover, hiding completely the air filter, with reduced air intake area. We like it, but we’ve seen other options that attired our attention.
The engine’s manufacturer S&S gives you some options, associated with their Stealth Air Cleaner kit. This kit mounts an air filter with larger intake and totally open and exposed to the exterior, with just a front plate.
The front plate choices for the Stealth Air Intake kit are the following ones:
AM and I chose the chromed Muscle Cover, as its looks with the lanyards catching the pins holding the cover are, in our opinion, more vintage. At least more our 3-Wheeler aesthetics.
The change of the standard air intake kit is very simple. You have just to consider two peculiarities.
The first one is that the S&S is an American engine, so all its screws and fixings are imperial sized. So, you need to have imperial-sized Allen keys. Also, to tight the Muscle Cover screws you’ll need a classic ½” wrench, but a 13mm will also do the job as it’s very similar in size. And of course, a crescent wrench would do the job too. To complete the tools for this change, you’ll need a pair of scissors, a flat head screwdriver and thread locker liquid.
The Allen key sizes you’ll need are 5/16 – ¼ – 7/32 – 3/16 and 5/32.
Following the easy instructions supplied with the Stealth Air Intake kit and the Muscle Cover, it should take you half an hour to do this job in the garage.
There is only one thing you should consider, and this is that you need to remove the big black upper cover of the S&S engine to properly tight the new kit. And this big black cover is fixed to the cooling fan behind the engine (if your 3-Wheeler is equipped with it).
You just must pay attention to the small steel tubes that guide the long screws of the top. Be careful they don’t fall while removing it.
Here is the final result.
The Stealth Air Intake with the Muscle Cover is less voluminous than the original black bowl. So, apart allowing a bigger air intake to the engine, it will for sure allow a better air flow around the cylinder heads, which is positive for the cooling of the engine.
When we ordered our 3-Wheeler, among the options we chose was the under-bonnet storage locker offered by Morgan. It’s a nice black beautiful box, fixed with four bolts under the bonnet, in the empty space in front of the co-pilot seat.
The idea of having a storage under the bonnet, key-lockable, seemed really nice. We could safely store in it documents, cameras, electronics and other valuable items.
But, despite one person can easily remove the bonnet to access the storage locker, we soon realized this is not so practical. Yes, in our honest opinion the bonnet can be removed easily. But we must admit that the maneuver is quite cumbersome, and generally impractical. The bonnet is voluminous, and you’ll have to leave it on the floor aside the car, with the risk of scratching it’s corners on the floor or damaging the paint. I don’t see any of us looking for something from the locker and have to do all this scandalous operation of removing the hood by lifting it up in the air, look for a safe place to leave it without damaging it, and then put it back. We soon realized we will never use this under bonnet storage locker, or, in fact, anything stored under the bonnet.
Meanwhile, we had in the boot four bags full of tools and spares, occupying almost half of its volume. Not the best scenario in a small car with very limited storage capacity. So, the most intelligent thing to do would be to remove the nice under bonnet storage locker and put the tools & spares bags in its place, since tools and spares are hardly ever used.
We opened a thread in the Talk Morgan forum, to share ideas and see how other pilots have arranged this under bonnet space. The ideas are many, all of them really wise.
But taking into account that we already had our tools & spares bags purchased, and that therefore we preferred not to buy anything new but to find the best solution to fix ours under the bonnet, the idea of making a custom compartment seemed to us the best option, and it would optimize the storage space.
With our minds set on this solution, we designed an aluminum-framed bin, with a tall aluminum mesh side to avoid anything stored in it to fall over. It’s a fact that under the bonnet we have the battery, the steering column, the hydraulics of the braking system and the oil tank – that can get really hot – among other things. Our design with this tall mesh side wouldn’t allow anything to fall over and move freely under the bonnet if the fixing straps get loose.
Here below you’ll see the pictures of what we’ve built, before installing it under the bonnet. In order to solve the step caused by the footwell access plate, we built it with two base thicknesses. So, the whole rests evenly along the base. And both the base and the side that goes against the vertical side have adhesive plush to avoid scratches on the paint and to absorb vibrations and any metal clinking.
As you can see in the pictures below, it’s made out of two pieces. Originally the base was a single piece made out of a 1 m length L-shaped profile. But when we worked on the front outer corner to reduce its height – it was too tall, so it touched the inside of the bonnet – we unfortunately had no choice but cut it in two pieces.
The top is covered by a PVC profile, to give a smooth finish and avoid scratches from the sharp metallic parts.
The whole is fixed by screws. You have a total of seven fixing screws. Six for the base, of which four are screws already existing. And one for the vertical part, against the back of the dashboard. So, we had to drill two new holes in the base, and one on the vertical panel that goes against the back of the dashboard.
InRED are the new screws, so we had to drill new holes for these. They have washers and a lock thread nut on the other side, inside the footwell. If we think about an improvement, we would have done the drills but put threaded rivet nuts in those, instead of a washer and nut. Because at least the deepest one, at the very end of the footwell (the red one on the far-right side of the picture) was really difficult to find from the inside of the footwell and tight! I was lucky to have my father helping me again with these works!
The BLUE ones are existing screws, used to fix the footwell access plate or the locker we just removed. And they have threaded rivet nuts to be fixed in, but the one for the locker. So easy ones.
The YELLOW one is different. We drilled the aluminum vertical panel and only, being very careful not to drill beyond the metal, because behind there’s wood. Then, this screw is a wood type, about 30 mm long.
This is the final result, from different angles.
The smaller piece that goes against the outer side, is drilled with 7 holes, that will help us to fix the metallic hooks of the elastic ropes that will maintain all the bags tight.
As you see, there is still room for more bags if necessary. We’re really happy with the result!
If you’re a normal car owner, and your modern car breaks down, you’ll never think about touching anything under the bonnet. If you have a problem, you take your car to an official dealer garage equipped with a computer and the appropriate tools to repair it.
With a Morgan it’s a different story. They’re handcrafted and manually assembled in Malvern, UK. And as any handcrafted and manually assembled car, a Morgan is relatively simple to repair. I say relatively, because if your problem is related to complicated major things, such as the engine or the gearbox for example, as with any other car you won’t be capable to repair it at home unless you’re a professional mechanic with a super equipped garage.
So, considering what’s just being said, if you own a Morgan, you’ll carry tools and spares in your car, because simple repairs can be done by yourself. In fact, in our opinion, it’s one of the joys of owning a Morgan. Working on your car achieving small repairs and improvements can become a real hobby.
The 3-Wheeler might be even simpler than the four-wheeled Morgans. It has few things that a valiant handyman wouldn’t do.
When choosing the tools and spares to be carried in your 3-Wheeler, you need to distinguish the essentials from the very recommendable and the outer space “do you really carry this stuff?” tools and spares.
In our case, being a little bit tool lover, this is what we carry with us in our 3-Wheeler.
A couple of webbing
A couple of elastic ropes with metal hook
Emergency flash beacon (magnetic, orange LED visible 1km away)
LED torch (powerful; magnetic cap and emergency red flashing)
Small aluminum carabiners (4x)
Wrenches 19, 17, 15, 13, 12, 10, 8 and 6 mm
Imperial sizes Allen keys set
Adjustable plastic cable ties (medium and small size)
Black duct tape
Small pieces of cables: blue, black and earth (green & yellow)
Small crescent wrench
Channel lock pliers
Needle nose pliers
Loctite crazy glue
Loctite 243 thread locker
H4 light bulbs (2x)
All-in-one toolbox: screwdrivers, Allen keys, tubular wrenches, etc.
Hammer for wheel nut wrench
Wheel nut wrench
Emergency tyre repair spray
Front wheel inner tubes (2x)
Reflective red warning compact triangle (red box)
All the above listed fits into the four leather bags of the picture below.
The black one comes as a standard with the 3-Wheeler, containing a wheel nut wrench, a short hammer for it, and the emergency tyre repair spray. The other three with the Morgan badge can be purchased from Morgan via their webpage or through their dealers. Once everything is reorganized, as said, it fits in these four bags and there is still a little bit of room in the large one for more tools, if needed.
You may think that the number of tools is exaggerated, and you’re probably right. However, having room for them, and all four bags kept under the bonnet without taking any room in the boot – see the next post –, we prefer to carry all those better than getting short.
However, please let us justify few of these tools and spares. It might help you to reconsider your tools & spares bag!
Front tyre inner tube. Discussing with our friends in the Talk Morgan forum, we immediately realized this is a spare you shouldn’t miss in your 3-Wheeler. Because the front tyres of the 3-Wheeler are motorcycle type, and they have inner tubes, but the size of these is not so usual. This means that a normal tyre repair garage won’t have them available on their shelves. We bought two of them in the Internet, in the Motor Wheel Service web. The exact model is BLTU400/19, item described as 400 x 19 “Centre/Side” TR11 Blockley Superior Metal Valve Inner Tube. If you don’t carry at least one with you, waiting for this unusual inner tube spare can take days! Your call: one hour at the tyre shop and ready to go or days with the car immobilized waiting for the spare supply.
Imperial sizes Allen keys set. Almost the whole 3-Wheeler has metric screws and nuts. So, why imperial sizes? The S&S engine comes from overseas. A classic American. And consequently, the screws with Allen head of the engine and its accessories are imperial sized. To clarify, we bought a set of imperial sized Allen keys because we changed the air intake filter for a Muscle Cover type. And to do this easy task we needed imperial sized Allen keys. Otherwise we may not have them. Touching the engine part of the 3-Wheeler, beyond this change of the air intake filter, is not in our plans. But now that we have them, they make much more sense in the 3-Wheeler tool bag than at home, where imperial sized tools are totally useless.
Electric spares. Reading in the Talk Morgan forum, we learned that the permanent shacking and vibrating of the 3-Wheeler may cause premature wearing of cables’ outer jackets due to rubbing against hard surfaces. And, in some cases, can end up creating electric problems. So, taking with you a little bit of cable and insulating tape may save your trip one day.
Recommended spare parts not listed above. According to the experience of many owners, there are two specific spares, not so usual but very recommendable if you’re planning a long trip away from home: an extra fuel pump, and a rectifier.
The spare fuel pump to take with you is not precisely the original one mounted on the 3-Wheeler. The original is a model used in the late 90s Land Rover Discovery V8 EFI, and it’s very oversized from the flow point of view for the need of the S&S engine. The recommended spare is the Walbro GSS342. You can buy an genuine one for less than 100 € in Amazong or similar web pages. Be careful with the fake ones! The real Walbro GSS342 has metallic internals and is very reliable. Some fakes with plastic internals are offered in the Internet. Try to avoid those!
About the rectifier, the original one doesn’t seem to be reliable enough. Carrying an alternative Harley Davidson rectifier in your spares bag if you plan a long trip may be a wise choice. However, most of the drivers have no complain about the original one. Again, it’s a personal choice to buy a spare or not.
Another tool we may carry with us if we go for a long trip may be a set of battery jumper cables. However, those are quite common, and generally they occupy a relatively large volume. So, you may think twice before carrying with you this kind of tool. In fact, you have a large offer in the Internet of portable Lithium battery starters, that take less room than classic battery jumper cables. And they start your car! They’re a much better choice…
As you’ve seen, we carry four bags with tools and spares. Quite a volume for such a little car! Originally, we put them in the boot, where they occupied almost half of the volume.
Looking for a better place to keep those bags, we finally built a specific aluminum bin for the space available under the bonnet, which is a space you usually never use because removing the bonnet is cumbersome, and generally impractical.
But the story about this metal bin under the bonnet is for next post! I hope you have enjoyed this one and it helped you to choose your own tools!
Added tools – July 2020
After our recent short fighter missions, we’re completing the tools onboard that we feel one day may be necessary.
An essential one is a tyre repair kit such as the Slime Smart Repair, that comes with a single tyre sealant bottle and a tyre inflstor to be connected to the 12V socket of the car.
We also added another tyre repair kit, this one thinking just about the rear tyre. It’s an indian kit called Grand Pitstop, and its special characterictics making it different from other tyre repait kits, is that it uses mushroom-type plugs instead of the regular seal strips. We hope we’ll never have to check it, but we believe this mushroom-type plug is better, so we’ll give this kit a chance.