Much noise has been made about the potential problems you can experience during Tuscan ownership, so this page aims to cover off some of those issues.
EFI fault errors normally occur up after washing the car or driving in heavy rain due to moisture getting into the sensor.
Sometimes the error will display when the car is first started from cold if all the cylinders aren't firing properly yet, but goes away after the car warms up a bit. There's a list of the EFI fault codes here.
If the EFI error is persistent (i.e. comes back when cancelled) and the car isn't running properly and not idling then it could be an electronic part failure e.g. lambda sensor, or some other failure.
This is usually caused by water on the exhaust manifold heating up and turning to steam. It sometimes occurs after a few seconds of turning the engine on and should stop soon after.
After starting on a cold morning, until the car has warmed up slightly, the engine will sometimes stutter and stall while idling. This is due to the fact that the Tuscan does not have a cold idle jet that would normally raise the revs to keep the engine turning over. It's best to either drive off as soon as possible to start warming up the engine or if that's not possible, regulate the idle revs to around 1,500 RPM with minimal use of throttle for about 15-20 seconds.
When filling the tank, make sure you do not overfill - when the fueling pump automatically 'clicks' off, don't continue to fill to the brim. The car's fuel tank is unable to vent properly and the engine may cut out due to what the ECU perceives as fuel starvation.
Some owners, especially with pre-2003 Speed-6 engines, can experience low idle stalling, juddering, misfiring or a rough feeling at lower revs. The following things should be checked and the car should be taken to a competent garage to get to the bottom of the issue. They should be able to check the engine with diagnostic software.
Some owners report that after washing the car (especially with a jet wash) the Tuscan can begin to rough idle. This is due to water getting into various bits of the engine and should hopefully stop once the water evaporates.
Some owners report that when turning the engine on there is a noise which sounds similar to 'a bag of spanners' or knocking from the engine bay. This can be caused by slack in the tappets / finger followers. They will be wearing more quickly by knocking and you should get this checked out as soon as possible. Another cause could be that the timing chain is tapping the top of the cam cover if there is too much slack in the chain.
This could simply be excessive valve clearances or it could be worse...
Common problems, more so with pre 2004 Speed-6 engines, is valve guide wear, valve seat erosion of the head, worn out cam lobes and/or finger followers. The valve guides wear out and the valve literally rocks around in the worn oval valve guide. This is purported to be because there is excessive side loading on the valve stems at near max valve openings.
Some finger followers were reported to have been a poor batch product and were soft. Some cams were poorly made from sintered metal (powdered metal poured into a pressurised mould). The lobes on these cams wear out very quickly. The valves can recess into the cylinder heads closing up the valve clearances. (It's best to keep track of what size shims are used at the service intervals).
Poor oil circulation around the cylinder head makes the above issues worse. The oil feed is to one side (inlet) of the head only. The oil has to make its way around to the exhaust cam side which can in certain conditions become starved of fresh oil especially if the car is infrequently used.
Make sure that every time you check this the conditions are the same. The water level should just be visible at the bottom of the vertical section of pipe that connects to the expansion tank (about 10mm worth). Make sure you check that all hoses are without damage.
Misfiring, especially when revving over 5000 RPM is usually caused by one of the following, in this order:
The sensor unit for the fans is right under the air box. There are 2 coolant sensors on the air box side of the block. The one near the front is for the gauge, and the back one with the larger plug on it feeds the ECU.
The fans have been known to either stick on or not come on at all. This can be down to either a faulty temp sensor or the relay contacts. The relay contacts do tend to burn after a lot of use. Removing the relays (there’s 2 and they are yellow) and cleaning the contacts may get you by for a short time. The relays are located on the fuse panel.
Check that the fuses for the fans have't blown (view the fuse layout here).
Once you've disarmed the immobiliser and turned the key in the ignition you should hear the 'whirring' sound of the fuel pump starting and the oil light on the dashboard light up. If you don't hear this sound and the light doesn't come on, here are some things to check:
If the throttle cable snaps you will feel the accelerator pedal suddenly going loose and not returning to the closed position. You should be able to get a replacement cable from your TVR dealer or check out some of the links on our 'Parts and Spares' page.
To fix it yourself, you will need:
There is intense debate among TVR owners over the reliability of the Speed Six engine. It is generally accepted that the earlier cars (pre 2003) did have issues with the quality of the engine components and there were some design issues.
Many of the failures, regardless of whether or not they were at the top or the bottom of the engine, can be traced back to a lack of effective lubrication or cooling of the moving parts or bearings, suggesting that insufficient quantities of oil are being delivered to those areas of most stress/weakness.
Failure to follow a proper warm-up procedure and driving the engine too hard before the oil had lubricated the components all seem to contribute towards engine damage.
For much more information there is a section dedicated to the discussion of the Speed Six engine on the PistonHeads website we'd recommend you take a look at by clicking here.
There are a number of issues with the design of the standard clutch assembly which causes some components to fail prematurely, circa 20K miles.
The thrust bearing is a half moon shape and the pressure load on the release plate fingers is not spread across a satisfactory area of the fingers, instead it is localised across a small area. This has the effect of putting high loading on the centre of the pressure plate and that’s why the fingers wear away and eventually break.
As the fingers wear and break up, the butterfly springs in the friction plate wear away grooves in the fly wheel. Continuously using the car until there is no clutch operation left exacerbates this problem and can lead to a damaged fly wheel in need of replacement. A damaged fly wheel that is not replaced makes it difficult to set up a new pressure and friction plate as the springs tend to locate in the flywheel grooves locking up the clutch mechanism.
The slave cylinder is of poor quality, full stop. The design is not up to the task and the seals fail.
The T5 gearbox is on its design capability limits in the Tuscan, it runs very hot and this is made worse by the cats being so close to the box. 5th gear is a weak point in the box as the gear is held in place by just a circlip. If this fails the gear drops off the end of the shaft. Usually it does not cause any damage if attended to promptly.
Many TVRs seem to have difficulty selecting reverse and cruch the gears. A simple way to stop this is by selecting 5th gear first and then gently putting it into reverse. This problem isn't limited to TVRs - it's due to the T5 gearbox (also used on the Sierra Cosworth for example) not having any syncromesh on 5th and reverse gear.
On earlier Tuscans owners reported the gear knob getting very hot, almost too hot to touch. This was caused by heat travelling from the gearbox. Your dealer should be able to fit a heat sink to stop this from happening.
The nut can sometimes come off of the threaded part that goes through the top of the pod.
This is a common problem if a car is left to warm up in a confined area (garage) where there is little airflow through the bonnet. Fitting an aluminium heat shield to the underside of the main bonnet and avoid leaving the car running and standing in excessive heat conditions, such as traffic jams in the height of summer.
Due to the nature of the removable rear window and roof panel they can sometimes squeak against the bodywork. Try the following:
Sometimes there can be squeaking coming from inside the doors, especially noticable when going over bumpy roads or speedhumps.
This can often be caused by a faulty or wet window Encoder PCB unit on the window motor. Remove the door inner covering by undoing the 2-3 bolts in the door pocket. The Encoder is the small rectangular PCB with 3 wires coming from it screwed to the front of the window motor. Try any of the following:
When turning the wheel, especially to full lock, there's a sound coming from the steering rack which sounds like whiring/gas escaping. This is normal on many TVRs and is just the power-assisted steering hydraulics.
The original suspension and geometry set up of factory Tuscans often left a lot to be desired. A common problem is 'tramlining', where the car will 'fall' into grooves on the road and can make the ride very twitchy and cause loss of control.
Although the Tuscan S has stiffer suspension and generally a better setup, there are many things that can be done to improve the handling of all the Tuscan range.
First thing to get checked is the geometry settings as this can make a great difference. Improved shock absorbers such as Nitrons, improved suspension, tyre pressures and different tyres have all been known to help.
The standard 'Spider' alloys can be easily bent or damaged if driven over potholes or curbed. Symptoms of this may be a wobble or vibration through the steering wheel. Often you may not be able to feel any difference at all, so after driving over or into anything that could have caused a problem the wheels should be carefully checked. Some owners have decided to upgrade the wheels to SP12s or other aftermarket alloys, although it's still possible to bend any type of alloy wheel in the right circumstances!
Some of the original MK1 Tuscans suffered from the rear screens popping out, usually with the targa roof panel out and at reasonable speeds.
The fit was too loose as the screen itself was ever so slightly too small. Later Tuscans including the MK2s came with a larger screen. For owners with earlier models the best thing to do is either source a larger screen available from specialists or a temporary fix can be to pad out the gap with a velcro strip.
Also, make sure that the clips are done up properly when putting the screen back in.
New clips car be purchased which provide a far better fit and will hold the screen in with roof down/windows down at high speeds.
Some owners report that if they leave their Tuscan standing for 2-3 weeks, when returning to the car the battery will have gone flat. Some Tuscans had trouble holding their charge and this could be increased by faulty relays or the bulb in the boot not turning off when the boot is closed, among other things.
Sometimes the door solenoids can fail and will prevent the door from being opened using the buttons. The ECU in the transmission tunnel or the door encoders can get wet which sometimes causes the electrics to stop working. If you are stuck inside the car, there are two red emergency door release pulls on each side of the interior, underneath the dashboard.
If the door buttons are working but the doors are sticking and not opening, it may mean the door has dropped slightly on its hinges or the bar that the closed door latches onto has moved slightly. The plate can move slightly when driving over a very rough (high speed) surface. You need a tool very similar to "circlip" pliers to turn the round plate "anticlockwise" to slacken the plate then adjust and tighten again.
There is an emergency entry method for getting into the vehicle if the key fob fails to unlock the doors however due to the public nature of this website you will need to contact your dealer for an explanation of this.
One other trick is to open the passenger door, then open the boot. The 2 share then same ECU and this has been known to help.
Not so much of a common problem, but an important issue that owners should be aware of.
One of the bolts in the battery tray on the Tuscan can wear through the housing on the charging point causing it to short out. This is potentially a very dangerous condition and can render a vehicle fire destroyed. Remove the passenger side wheel and check the battery compartment at least every 6 months. It’s a good idea to use loc-tite breakable thread sealant for the battery compartment cover.