The Triumph Dolomite Club - Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:53 pm 
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Okay, it's not a Dolomite I admit, but it shares the same engines and various other bits so I hope you don't mind me posting this here :)

A friend of mine purchased the car in late 2007 after it had been "fully restored". Sadly it turned out to be a bit of a nightmare and was extremely unreliable, constantly breaking down, leaking fuel, catching on fire and was even carjacked by knifepoint in central Manchester :shock: after which it promptly broke down :lol: A year later, the car was complete stuffed and unable to start, the local garage refused to have it back for repair, so was abandoned in the garage. My friend had also been banned from renewing his RAC membership has he had called them out too many times :lol: An imminent move to the USA meant that the car had to go or was destined to be scrapped... so I rescued it :D

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The car was registered as a 1975 Spitfire 1500 on an N-plate. A little investigation showed that the chassis number was significantly earlier, so after a LOT of research and a million phone calls to the DVLA and British Motor Heritage, I managed to get the car's original 1970 J-plate re-issued! Annoyingly I only found this out after I had bought a new set of numberplates for it :roll: It was built in the first month of MK IV production and was originally a demonstrator for Mists Garage in Birmingham.

Unfortunately, although the car has had a semi-decent paintjob, the rest of the car is a complete mess. The interior and dashboard was home made (mainly badly cut-out vinyl stuck over everything in sight). The wiring loom is a dangerous mix of MK IV parts, 1500 parts, scotch-blocks, tape and paperclips... The windscreen washer is an electric 1500 one which burst into flames when I tried to use it!

My friend had purchased the car with a new MoT, but it was quite obvious that the MoT tester was rather blind... and had conducted the MoT via telepathy.

The engine is a very early Midget 1500 block (the engine number is FP39!) which is wrong for the car - it should be a 1300. I had a lot of trouble getting this running last summer, but it turned out that the distributor drive was 45-degrees out so was firing in-between the cap connections. I have absolutely no idea how this would have happened, but when put back it fired right up!

The bodges I have found are unbelievable. I found a paperclip instead of a fuse, home-made brake retaining clips, the speedo and rev-counter had been glued into place (even though I found the clamps under the carpet?). Worst of all was the fuel pipe, which looked at least 20 years old - it was perished beyond use and had been "repaired" with electrical tape! The brand new hood looked like it had been fitted by the same blind chap who MoT'd the car. Even the dashtop hadn't escaped - you can buy cheap plastic covers that fit over the top of a cracked dashtop to tidy them up, my car had the plastic cover, but no actual dashtop underneath it :lol: The steering column shroud is upside-down, and the ignition switch moved to the dashboard. The horn didn't work, but that was due to the contact brush being replaced with a bent nail... And so we go on...

The thing that really annoys be about half these bodges, is that they were so easy to put right... the brake backing clips are less than a pound, yet someone cut one out of sheet steel which would have taken longer! Likewise with the fuel pipes... a couple of quid spent on new flexi pipes or risk your life and fix them with tape! Crazy...

I fixed most of these bodges soon after...

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Although the car ran and stopped, the brakes weren't good. The hoses, callipers and cylinders were the originals (!) and really REALLY manky. And very very seized... I bought a new brake master cylinder (original re-sleeved), new discs, pads, shoes, cylinders, adjusters, and flexi pipes. Unfortunately I ran into a lot of problems due to stuck nuts, snapped of brackets and such so gave up. Given that I also couldn't get the engine started now, and the car was kept 45-minutes away, I lost enthusiasm.

_________________
1978 Triumph Dolomite Sprint (project thread)
1970 Triumph Spitfire IV (project thread)
1966 VW Beetle 1300 (project thread)
1962 Austin Mini
1962 MGA MKII
1965 Mobylette SP50
1985 Sinclair C5


Last edited by Howard81 on Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:53 pm 
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In the meantime, I acquired a lots of the bits I need - new hood, MKIV dashboard (I have both the black and wood versions), new parcel shelves, MKIV steering wheel, early horn button, ignition lock and surround, mirror and visors, MKIV speedo and rev-counter, tonneau cover, hard top, MKIV handbrake... and probably other bits I've forgotten :lol:

Best buy of all was a set of blasted and powder coated steel wheels with brand new tyres, complete with hub caps and a brand new set of nuts - an eBay bargain at £100 :D

I also bought the ignition switch cheaply on eBay from a scrapyard that was breaking a scrappage spitfire. They couldn't get it off the column, so they sent the whole lot.. column, switch gear, even the steering wheel :lol:

I despise wire wheels, Spitfire wheels are probably some of the best looking steel wheels I've seen. Sadly I've since found out that the wheels studs on my car have been cut short to fit the wire wheel hubs, so I need to get new studs pressed in first :(

I even found the holes for the MKIV badges under a skim of filler! Still after a front badge if anyone has one...

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_________________
1978 Triumph Dolomite Sprint (project thread)
1970 Triumph Spitfire IV (project thread)
1966 VW Beetle 1300 (project thread)
1962 Austin Mini
1962 MGA MKII
1965 Mobylette SP50
1985 Sinclair C5


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:11 pm 
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Unfortunately last year I hit a dead end. Partway through the brake rebuild, I got stuck with a rather tricky nut that had seized on. I don't have power at the car, so I had no way of getting it undone. Also, the engine stopped running and I couldn't work out why. I also side-tracked after the engine died in my Sprint, which was soon followed by the engine dying in my 1500HL... I ended up with a total lack of enthusiasm for the car...

Thankfully Julian (tinweevil) being the kind bloke that he is, offered to give me a hand for an afternoon :D

Within an hour he had undone the "impossible to undo" nut on the rear brake hose and had the engine running ever so sweetly :lol:

While he was doing that, I finished off the rear brake rebuild. We finished the afternoon off by fitting the new front callipers. Still need to fit the new front discs and pads, adjust the rear brakes, then bleed the system and I will have a running, driving car again - then a little bit of fettling and fiddling ready for the MoT :D

Here's a picture of the front caliper and hose in place. Can anyone see why I swore a LOT just before I took this pic?

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Julian also noticed that there are a few bent brackets on the carbs which need straightening up.

BIG THANK YOU to Julian for taking the time to help me out on this, really appreciate it :D

_________________
1978 Triumph Dolomite Sprint (project thread)
1970 Triumph Spitfire IV (project thread)
1966 VW Beetle 1300 (project thread)
1962 Austin Mini
1962 MGA MKII
1965 Mobylette SP50
1985 Sinclair C5


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:35 am 
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This brings back many memories for me, Howard. My first project was a '76 Spit, which I bought in my naive youth so I could learn a bit about engines. Needless to say, the engine was fine - but everything else was shot! I learned how to weld, rebuild a gearbox, paint, trim, rebuild suspension - you get the picture!

Your car looks very nice and I'm looking forward to following the progress. Making me hanker for another (ducks as wife throws large heavy object in my direction). :barney:

:lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:38 am 
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What a good result. Well done Howard and Julian. Keep us posted mate.

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2011 Hyundai i10, 2001, Cowley built Rover 75 1.8, Dolomite 1850HL auto, the LWT,
Ford Galaxy 2.0


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:33 am 
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Those knock on wires and hub adapters will earn you a LOT of money on ebay.

Good progress...

i could build you an overdrive box for that too...:-)

Jonners

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Note from Admin: sadly Jon passed away in February 2018 but his humour and wealth of knowledge will be fondly remembered by all. RIP Jonners.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:57 am 
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Good effort. I am currently in the process of replacing the floors and sills on my wifes GT6 convertible - The usual story; what started out as a quick repair to a hole, revealed horrendous bodges and hidden rot, and is now virtually a full resto :roll:
Oh well, the bright side is, I am learning a lot of new skills, I suppose... #-o


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:17 am 
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Took a bit more than an hour for the engine. All I did was start at the beginning (rocker gaps) and work through the service parts and settings checking everything static. Fuel in the tank looked ok but that in the bowls was not a good colour so those got drained and filled from a fresh can. As soon as it ran coolant was oozing from a cracked hose so it didn't get any dynamic tuning. Next time. Fired on the first turn of the key and ran on the 4th so there's room for improvement in my technique....

I was going to donate the front hubs from my spit but found both had bent studs and on one three studs had been welded in :shock:

_________________
1978 Pageant Sprint - the rustomite, 1972 Spitfire IV - sprintfire project, 1968 Valencia GT6 II - little Blue, 1980 Vermillion 1500HL - resting. 1974 Sienna 1500TC, Mrs Weevils big brown.


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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 11:11 am 
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Julian kindly came over again yesterday for another afternoon of spannering on the car 8)

We managed to get the rear brakes finished off with new clips. I had to be a bit creative with the rear bracket as the flexi pipe was fouling the rear shock, but all sorted now.

At the front, the engine got all new cooling pipes, although the lower rad pipe wasn't changed as I don't have access to much water at the car!

New front solid lines were fitted as one of the ends had snapped off the original (nobody noticed that in the last batch of pictures!), which was a bit awkward as one had to go under the engine along the front chassis member.

We tried to put on the new discs, but annoyingly the hubs don't seem to want to separate from the old discs! No amount of whacking, or hitting with a soft-faced mallet would budge them, so the old discs have been reused. They're acceptable anyway. I need replacement front and rear hubs if anyone has any? :)

The brake system was them bled and the car taken for its first test drive!

To be honest, the brakes were crap... but after adjusting the rear wheels once the shoes had centralised better they improved slightly. Still not great, so expect there are still a few air bubbles to get out of the system. Not surprising, as the master cylinder was also new hence the system was totally dry. By that time it was getting dark and starting to rain, so we called it a day :lol:

When driving in a straight line, the car did have a rather alarming tendency to verge to the left, so I hope this is only a problem with the tracking... It looks like the steering rack has had new joints fitted at some point, so fingers crossed...

Also found the ball joint on the front-passenger side was split, so I have ordered a new pair to go on. :D

Jobs to do before MoT:

1. Turn the steering column the correct way up so I can fit the ignition lock
2. Fix indicators
3. Replace front and rear blown bulbs
4. Fit new ball joints
5. Engine timing
6. Set up carbs
7. Fit the replacement washer bottle
8. Repair exhaust blow

There's nearly a million "post-MoT" jobs, so I won't even start to list those :lol:

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_________________
1978 Triumph Dolomite Sprint (project thread)
1970 Triumph Spitfire IV (project thread)
1966 VW Beetle 1300 (project thread)
1962 Austin Mini
1962 MGA MKII
1965 Mobylette SP50
1985 Sinclair C5


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 7:21 pm 
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Today I had a bit more progress on the little Spitfire :)

I had ordered two new ball-joints from James Paddocks, £6 each - if only Dolomite ones were that cheap! Also the little clip that stops the accelerator cable from coming out of the pedal. Sadly I couldn't find anywhere selling a balljoint splitter, so will have to buy one online and fit them next week.

First job was to sort out why most of the lights didn't work. Taking off the wiring covers in the boot, there was a mass of nasty home-made wires - none of which were soldered in place (just twisted bare strands and tape). I removed all of these, just leaving the factory wiring, and some of the stop lamps and brake lights started working... The indicators were next - one side only worked when you held the arm up, the other remained on and didn't flash. I fitted a new relay and a new column switch which fixed that. Finally, one indicator didn't work at all, but it turned out that someone had rammed a small side-lamp bulb covered in kitchen foil into the holder... when replaced, that lit up nicely. Finally on the front, one of the front side-lights didn't work. I spent a good few minutes checking the wiring back for bad earths, etc, but when I took the lens cover off, and there wasn't a bulb inside! :roll: With a new bulb, that works.

Annoyingly I can't get the reversing lamps to work, but I don't think these are required on a 1970 car. However, if I have the lenses on the back and they don't light up during the test, is that a fail? (they'll get covered in black tape for the MoT otherwise :lol: ).

All of the other lights now work perfectly! :D

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I did have a manual-pump windscreen washer, but the valve in the bottle turned out to be faulty and so didn't work. So for the time being, I have wired in the late 1500 electric washers. I had to totally re-do the electrics for this, as when I originally had the car they burnt the wiring out when I tried to use them! Only problem I have now is that the windscreen washers park on the wrong side of the windscreen. I think I probably have the wrong wiper motor...

Final job was to fit the column-mounted ignition switch. Some bodger had fitted the steering column shroud upside-down and moved the ignition switch onto the dashboard. With my nice new dash fitted, I didn't want to drill and holes in it! I unbolted top and bottom mounts and the column came loose. The wiring underneath was a TOTAL mess, I spent two hours sorting out redundant wiring and neatening up all the joints. I put on about 20 new connectors, all fitted with shrink-wrap coverings to ensure they don't come undone. With the column now the correct way round, I bolted on the ignition barrel. I originally wired this up wrong, and the starter wouldn't disengage, but with two wires reversed that was solved :lol: At a later date, I need to renew the rubber strips that go around the column clamps.

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SO... I'm finally getting closer to getting the thing in an MoT-able condition! The "to-do" list now consists of...

1. Bleed the brakes - they are still quite spongy
2. Fit new upper ball-joints
3. Fix exhaust blow
4. Fit front number-plate

:D :D :D :D

_________________
1978 Triumph Dolomite Sprint (project thread)
1970 Triumph Spitfire IV (project thread)
1966 VW Beetle 1300 (project thread)
1962 Austin Mini
1962 MGA MKII
1965 Mobylette SP50
1985 Sinclair C5


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 8:21 pm 
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Bloody hell mate, what progress! Please tell me you will keep this once it's done?

The reversing lights aren't an mot issue I believe. Undo the balljoint nut a wee bit then hit the balljoint on the side with a hefty'ish hammer, they should then seperate. Don't forget to count the turns off so that the new one's should be more or less in the right place.

Not far to go now. :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:

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Ford Galaxy 2.0


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 9:26 pm 
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Balljoint splitters are a mixed blessing. The wind up ones can spread the end of the pin if the taper's been put tightly when the joint was fitted, and the forked ones are plain brutal.

As Ken says, a hammer blow is the quickest and most effective way to pop the pin out of the taper, splitters? They work maybe half the time.

That is cheap for the joint, the [Reliant] factory had those on offer recently and we bought a bunch of the things for kitten register folk as Rebels use GT6/Vitesse suspension. We had to buy a dozen to get the price within a Pound of that. :cry: :cry: :cry:
Quote:
Don't forget to count the turns off so that the new one's should be more or less in the right place.
Ah! I thought Howard was talking about these:
Image :oops:

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Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. All you do is leave behind a lot of noisy baggage.


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 9:42 pm 
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Howard is talking about those :)

Cracking progress!

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1978 Pageant Sprint - the rustomite, 1972 Spitfire IV - sprintfire project, 1968 Valencia GT6 II - little Blue, 1980 Vermillion 1500HL - resting. 1974 Sienna 1500TC, Mrs Weevils big brown.


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 9:44 pm 
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Quote:
Bloody hell mate, what progress! Please tell me you will keep this once it's done?

The reversing lights aren't an mot issue I believe. Undo the balljoint nut a wee bit then hit the balljoint on the side with a hefty'ish hammer, they should then seperate. Don't forget to count the turns off so that the new one's should be more or less in the right place.

Not far to go now. :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:
Thanks Ken, yes this one will be a keeper, I just have to hope it doesn't copy my other two and kill its engine after 6 months :lol:

I was going to use the splitter that had the wind-in bolt, I've had good success with those in the past. Failing that, I have a big hammer in the boot :twisted:
Quote:
Balljoint splitters are a mixed blessing. The wind up ones can spread the end of the pin if the taper's been put tightly when the joint was fitted, and the forked ones are plain brutal.

As Ken says, a hammer blow is the quickest and most effective way to pop the pin out of the taper, splitters? They work maybe half the time.

That is cheap for the joint, the [Reliant] factory had those on offer recently and we bought a bunch of the things for kitten register folk as Rebels use GT6/Vitesse suspension. We had to buy a dozen to get the price within a Pound of that. :cry: :cry: :cry:
Quote:
Don't forget to count the turns off so that the new one's should be more or less in the right place.
Ah! I thought Howard was talking about these:
Image :oops:
Those are the joints I have. Two bolts in the top and they pop out. Actually I just checked the price, and they were £6.95 each from James Paddocks. I've got most of my parts from them, and so far have proven to be superb!

Once the MoT has been achieved, I have a billion more jobs planned for the car... :lol:

_________________
1978 Triumph Dolomite Sprint (project thread)
1970 Triumph Spitfire IV (project thread)
1966 VW Beetle 1300 (project thread)
1962 Austin Mini
1962 MGA MKII
1965 Mobylette SP50
1985 Sinclair C5


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 10:37 pm 
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The reason I thought that I'd got it wrong was that Ken explained the procedure for fitting track rod ends and this confused me, a thing that's not hard to do. :( :wink:

Never, ever say things like:
Quote:
I just have to hope it doesn't copy my other two and kill its engine after 6 months...
Self-fulfilling prophecy. :wink:

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John
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Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. All you do is leave behind a lot of noisy baggage.


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