The Triumph Dolomite Club - Discussion Forum

The Number One Club for owners of Triumph's range of small saloons from the 1960s and 1970s.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:20 pm 
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Hi, I am a new bod as far as the Triumph Dolomite is concerned and know little if anything at all about them. I am sure that the regulars on this forum will all had different views as to which is the best Dolomite to buy. But to help me with the task could you help with the main facts such as which have overdrive and which engine and which gearbox has the best reliability, plus any other useful info, other than the rust problems which I am already aware of.

Many thanks.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:25 pm 
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Welcome to the forum.

There isn't a simple answer. You will need to take into account how you will be using the car, what your budget is and your skills. Do you want a project, a good car (restored or original) or something in between (an abandoned project which is 90% done or suchlike)? You've already come to the right place and it is worth joining the club to take advantage of the benefits on offer. Try to attend a local meeting if you can then you can see what the cars are like.

You seem to be aware of the rust issues (all cars of the same era had the same problem). Electronic ignition is worth considering and has improved reliability no end on my 1850. There are some poor quality parts so it is worth paying that bit extra for decent quality. Overdrive makes for more relaxed top gear cruising so it is worth getting a car with overdrive if you can. It was the 1500HL, 1850/1850HL and Sprints that could be specified with overdrive from new although some owners have retrofitted an overdrive gearbox to the "lesser" cars. I helped out on such a conversion on a 1500SE about 10 years ago. Automatics are worth considering and the general consensus is that the 1850 is the best combination with the automatic transmission. The transmissions are quite reliable and the only problem is that the flexplate can break in the middle (I've had it happen to me twice in the 8 years I've owned my 1850 auto) which means the engine and transmission have to be separated to replace the flexplate.

Hope this helps.

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Meetings take place on the 1st Wednesday of every month at The Hollies Sports & Social Club, 12 Hough Lane, Bramley, Leeds, LS13 3NE
1972 Dolomite 1850 auto (NYE 751L - The rolling restoration)
2008 Citroën C4 Grand Picasso 2.0 HDi Exclusive (MA08 WCL - the modern)
Former stable of SAY 414M (1974 Toledo), GRH 244D (1966 1300fwd), CDB 324L (1973 1500fwd), GGN 573J (1971 1500fwd), DCP 625S (1977 Dolomite 1300) & LCG 367N (1975 Dolomite Sprint) plus 5 Acclaims and that's just the Triumphs!

Check my blog at http://triumphtoledo.blogspot.com

"I can help you stop smoking in bed. Buy a water bed and fill it with petrol." - Bob Monkhouse OBE (1928-2003)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:57 am 
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Thanks for the advice. There are not too many Dolomites on the market in my neck of the woods, there was a nicely restored 1500, but no overdrive. I'll keep my eyes peeled as it will soon be past the classic car show season which may bring a few to the market. I definitely do not want a basket case preferring to buy one that is ready to run with little needed to be done. I have seen some awful ones described as 'good example' but they never say what it is a good example of !!!

Manual with overdrive or auto, I will see what comes up.

Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:19 pm 
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Hope I'm not too late on this one.
From personal experience of 2 1850's and 2 Sprints as daily drivers., the engines will last for >100,000 miles if the oil is changed regularly. Ditto the 1850's. Then they start burning oil and need an oversize bore and pistons etc.
Valve clearances are always stable.
Water pumps on the 1850 / Sprints last about half that before needing overhaul.
1850 gearboxes whether they are overdrive or not last about 50,000 miles. Layshaft bearings and synchros are the main problems. The overdrives are pretty well unbreakable.
Sprint gearboxes last a long time as well. (80,000 miles) but are much larger and heavier.
Look for a head gasket change at about 50,000 miles on both slant 4 models. Sprints are much easier than 1850's if the head studs are seized.
HTH,
Tony.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:38 pm 
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Oh, that doesn't sound so good. Perhaps a Dolomite is not for me. Thanks anyway.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:40 am 
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I fail to see anything in Tony's honest experience to put you off.

Mechanically these cars are pretty robust. I have 2 examples with a pretty long history and one was used for 6 years
pretty much non stop by a medical student with not much mechanical input.

It had a timing chain renewal and I did swap the box for an overdrive one in that time.

The main issues is keeping on top of corrosion.

Budget for around a 2k start price and get the best body you can...would be my advice.

Also slant 4 engines have a gear driven water pump and the seal life is about 80k miles..

Jonners

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:59 am 
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I agree with Jonners. Rust is your biggest worry. Mechanical issues are relatively easy to sort. The only things that are beyond the scope of the DIY owner are automtaic transmission repairs/rebuilds, any engine machining (reboring, head skimming, crankshaft grinding, valve seats, valve guides etc) and possibly the overdrive.

Please don't be put off by what Tony has said.

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Toledo Man

West Yorkshire Area Organiser & forum moderator
Meetings take place on the 1st Wednesday of every month at The Hollies Sports & Social Club, 12 Hough Lane, Bramley, Leeds, LS13 3NE
1972 Dolomite 1850 auto (NYE 751L - The rolling restoration)
2008 Citroën C4 Grand Picasso 2.0 HDi Exclusive (MA08 WCL - the modern)
Former stable of SAY 414M (1974 Toledo), GRH 244D (1966 1300fwd), CDB 324L (1973 1500fwd), GGN 573J (1971 1500fwd), DCP 625S (1977 Dolomite 1300) & LCG 367N (1975 Dolomite Sprint) plus 5 Acclaims and that's just the Triumphs!

Check my blog at http://triumphtoledo.blogspot.com

"I can help you stop smoking in bed. Buy a water bed and fill it with petrol." - Bob Monkhouse OBE (1928-2003)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:42 am 
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Thanks for the advice.


Last edited by CrushedLime on Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:18 pm 
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For sure there are some points to look out for, but on the whole, I have found my Dolomite more
reliable than a lot of other classics out there, and so far it has always got me home.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:19 pm 
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If you own a Triumph Dolomite you will be stared at as you drive down the street, especially by very young children for some reason, everyone will become your best friend, not even stopping for petrol quickly is possible with someone that wishes to chat and talk about what a great car you have. When walking back to you car with shopping teens cycling past will slam on the brakes and exclaim how cool your car is and take pictures that no doubt end up on Facebook well before you've even had time to say it's fine as they notice you walk up. Something will break, it's 40 ish years old after all, and I don't know about you but I'm not as bouncy as once was, but find a nice example, and if you're not handy with a spanner a sympathetic local mechanic and it will do you proud for less money than you may think. So owning a Triumph Dolomite is certainly not for the faint-hearted and if you're of a nervous disposition I would suggest that a Skoda Citigo would suit you far better, otherwise you will be rewarded with a pride and joy that makes you smile every mile*.

:jack:


*Definitely original, I thought of that one first, for sure.

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Current fleet: Triumph Dolomite Sprint '75, Daihatsu Fourtrak, Honda CG125, Yamaha Fazer 600, Shetland 570

Disposal fleet: Golf GTi 16v MK3 Anniversary, Tiger Avon (unbuilt)

Past fleet: Triumph 2000, Lancia Beta Coupe, BL Mini Clubman, Austin Metro, Vauxhall Cavalier MK1 & MK2, Renault 18 D, Rover 216 GSI, Honda Accord (most expensive car purchase, hated it on pickup from dealer, was made out of magnetic metal as only car I've ever been crashed into, 4 times), Golf GTi MK3 16v x 3


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:35 am 
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Any classic car will not be as reliable as a modern car and will possibly need work doing at a lower millage than a modern car would. The engineering was not as good then as now and the mileages given in the above posts would be the same if you were buying it new in the 70s. That saying the Dolomite is no worse than any other car of the era and better than a lot, and the comments posted would apply to any make of classic. What I get out of my Dolomite (and my MG ZT-T) is enjoyment that you do not get from a modern euro box.

I am currently considering getting a Rover P6 (always wanted one from seeing my first one in the 60s as a school boy) and looking into them read similar comments made by owners, but it doesn't put me off, its part of classic ownership.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:00 pm 
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Quote:
I am afraid that Tony has rather poured water over the idea of a Dolomite by listing all the failings. Yes I was looking for advice on what to look for when buying, as you say rust, but if Dolomites are riddled with problems then, as they say on Dragons Den, I'm out. I am not a DIY type anymore and would prefer something that does not require much to do or better still nothing to do. There is a restored 1500 (non overdrive) in a garage in Northampton that has just had a complete restoration job. Just a shame it is so far away from me.
I am a bit luke warm on a Dolomite now but will see what comes up and still might be tempted.

Thanks for the advice.
If that's the case you cannot have been too serious about any classic car as they all have there own faults and problems and no one would actually believe they are as reliable as any modern car :)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:36 pm 
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So am I correct in thinking that you would expect a 'classic' car to give the same level of reliability as a modern car or that build quality between the two eras is comparable?

Any car made in the 60's and 70's particularly British ones will most likely be riddled with rust unless you are extremely lucky.

If it wasn't for people like us who take these basket cases and make them better than new then there would be no cars on Britain's roads over 20 years old, and that mon Ami, is half the fun.

You think this is s##t, go and look at a 40 year old MGB.......

Image

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 2:51 pm 
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Quote:
So am I correct in thinking that you would expect a 'classic' car to give the same level of reliability as a modern car or that build quality between the two eras is comparable?

Any car made in the 60's and 70's particularly British ones will most likely be riddled with rust unless you are extremely lucky.

If it wasn't for people like us who take these basket cases and make them better than new then there would be no cars on Britain's roads over 20 years old, and that mon Ami, is half the fun.

You think this is s##t, go and look at a 40 year old MGB.......

Image
This pic should be on a sticky Shaun, it's simple and relatively comprehensive.

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2 door '73 Toledo with Vauxhall Carlton engine OWF 797M (The Carledo)
Vermillion (and Rust) Sprint Auto EGP 247T (The Dolomega)
'91 Cavalier 2ltr 8v auto
'95 Cavalier 2ltr 16v auto
Spectrum Auto Services, Servicing, Repairs, MOT prep. Apprentice served Triumph Specialist for 40 years and home of Maverick Triumph.PM for more info or quotes.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:39 am 
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:shock:


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