GOO 796 N Restoration: Refurbishing & Further Upgrading a 1974 Triumph Toledo 1300
Having sat unused, on my driveway, for circa 16½ years, covered by a large surplus butyl-rubber garden-pond liner, I have finally decided to commence the restoration, refurbishment, repair and further upgrading, of my four-door, 1974 Triumph Toledo 1300. I initially drove it occasionally from May 1975 to circa 1980/81, later becoming my almost continuous daily-driver car, from circa 1980/81 until early 1999, for study and work. Details of its general history, from May 1975 onward, will be documented in another topic thread, as follows:
40+ Years With a 1974 Triumph Toledo 1300 “HL”: There’s Seldom Been a Dull Moment!
For several months, until early 1999, I had been driving the car relatively little (about 3 miles per week on average) owing to changes in my work & leisure use, and was already contemplating laying it up for a period, for much-needed bodywork refurbishment and other deferred maintenance (including a sloppy, vibrating gear lever and slightly vibrating propeller shaft), when the clutch started to slip after a total mileage of just over 101 thousand miles. After a few more months of use at this mileage use rate, clutch slippage had become so bad, that it is was almost undriveable.
Hence, having my father’s car to fall back on (a 1986 Ford Sierra XR4x4, for which I had always been a named second driver), for the few occasions when I needed the use of a car, I opted to lay-up the Toledo until such time as I needed to use it again. When my father died in September 2011, at the age of 82¼, I enquired about insuring his then 2004 SEAT Leon Cupra 20V Turbo hatchback in my name, but at circa £850 per annum, this cost combined with “professional” servicing, MOT fees and road tax was prohibitive, so the car was sold.
My circumstances are changing, so I either need to buy a second-hand “modern” car (i.e. post 1992), which is not an attractive prospect from my perspective, or restore my Triumph Toledo for hopefully a further 20~30 years of working life.
I haven’t yet had the opportunity to jack-up the car and remove all four road wheels; supporting it on my four light-truck axle stands (much taller than car axle stands), in order to properly inspect the underside of the vehicle and gain sufficient access in order to comfortably undertake any remedial work. In the absence of this inspection, it is already apparent that the following work will be necessary or at least desirable:
Before declaring SORN in mid-1999, I established that the propeller shaft’s front UJ - universal joint would again need replacing and had purchased a replacement Quinton Hazell UJ (part No. QL102); this time ensuring that it featured a grease-nipple, to facilitate greasing with my grease-gun, at regular service intervals of not more than 6,000 miles. I had previously removed the blanking-plugs from the propeller shaft’s original central & rear UJs and retro-fitted grease nipples.
Until I remove the gearbox, the condition of the clutch remains uncertain, but vague memories of the last time I drove the car in 1999, suggest that all of the clutch components will probably require replacement; the clutch diaphragm spring having felt extremely weak, as deduced from clutch-pedal pressure.
I have made no attempt to start the engine (no petrol in the fuel tank for the past 16 years), but the crankshaft turns easily using a large adjustable plumbers’ wrench (i.e. Stillson wrench) and the last year I used the car for moderate distances, it was still consistently indicating a fuel consumption rate (calculations based upon odometer readings and petrol top-up volumes) of 37 mpg in summer and 35 mpg in winter, using 185/70 R13 tyres.
When the car was previously fitted with 175 R13 tyres (i.e. equivalent to either 175/80 R13 or 175/82 R13 or 175/83 R13 tyres; I don’t know which!), which had a rolling circumference that was about 5% larger than 185/70 R13 tyres, the indicated fuel consumption rate was 39 mpg in summer and 37 mpg in winter.
If one also compensates for the difference in odometer calibration, the previously used 175 R13 tyres, were giving about 4 mpg or 10% better fuel consumption, so I might either substitute a Triumph Dolomite 1500 final-drive ratio or 15 x 5½ inch wheels (e.g. ex MGF or MG Maestro Turbo) with 185/65 R15 tyres, to regain the better fuel consumption!
Bodywork & Frame
• Repair severe corrosion damage (obvious perforation) to the middle sections of both front A-pillars, adjacent to the front doors’ leading edges, just below the bottom of the front windscreen.
• Repair severe corrosion damage (obvious perforation) to the bottom sections of both rear doors;
• Repair moderate corrosion damage to small localised areas of the bottom sections of both front doors;
• Repair severe corrosion damage (obvious perforation) to the bottom section of the nearside front wing, adjacent to the nearside sill and lower portion of the front door;
• Repair severe corrosion damage (obvious perforation) to the extreme nearside & offside extremities of the upper horizontal portion, of the front nose section, adjacent to the bonnet-lid.
• Repair severe corrosion damage (obvious perforation) to the bulkhead between the engine compartment and passenger cabin, around the nearside drain-hole from the bottom of the heating & ventilation inlet plenum (space below grille in bonnet-lid);
• Repair severe corrosion damage (obvious perforation) to integral frame between the nearside mounting points of the front sub-frame;
• Repair severe corrosion damage (obvious perforation) to the body panel immediately behind the nearside front side-light & direction-indicator lamp unit;
• Refurbish paintwork around remainder of engine compartment periphery, which is exhibiting superficial surface rusting in several areas.
There are differing opinions on how best to deal with rust! Some advocate converting it to black iron oxide, or possibly “neutralising” or simply encapsulating it in some way. I believe that complete removal of rust is the preferred option in the long term.
Generally speaking, it is probably advisable to remove the majority of “loose” rust using various abrasive techniques using one or more of sand paper, emery cloth, tungsten carbide “wet & dry” paper, wire wool, scotch-brite pads, wire brushes etc.
Personally, I tend to use an electric drill with rotary wire brushes, which can alternately be fitted either way around on the arbor, to re-align the brush wires. This effectively removes most surface rust as well as the overlaying and surrounding paint. Rust pits can be partially dug out using the sharp point of a scalpel blade, suture cutter (used by medical practitioners), broken hacksaw-blade, needle file or seeker (resembles a sharp needlework pin, mounted in a handle – part of a biological dissection kit).
However, pitted rust can probably best be removed by acid etching. Many proprietory rust removers incorporate either phosphoric acid (said to be found in some soft drinks - responsible for eroding tooth enamel) or citric acid (commonly used as a limescale remover). Ideally, the rusty object is best treated by completely immersing it in a plastic container (e.g. bowl or bucket) of dilute, aqueous phosphoric acid solution. One almost immediately notices gas bubbles fizzing at the site of any rust, as the rust is slowly dissolved away.
How long one needs to leave the rusty object in the acid solution, will depend upon the thickness of rust deposits, plus the temperature and concentration of the acid solution. Phosphoric acid seems to preferentially attack the rust, but once the rust is gone, the acid will continue to slowly dissolve away the steel, as I know from past experience.
A reasonable guide is to leave the object in the acid solution until all the noticeable gas fizzing has abated or perhaps a little longer. In many cases, it might take several hours or even days, to completely etch out serious rust pits, but one should regularly monitor the process.