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: Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:08 am
Posts: 331
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
It was nearly 3 years ago when I first came across this car sitting looking somewhat neglected in the city. It was nearly 3 years ago when I first came across this car sitting looking somewhat neglected in the city. It was as I described it, a barn find in my earlier posting, “Another Sprint discovered in New Zealand” .
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Earlier this year the ownership was transferred across to my name which has allowed me to start the restoration process. The registration has been allowed to lapse and here in New Zealand in order to re-register the car it must first go through a very detailed vehicle safety inspection before a Warrant of Fitness can be issued and only then can the car be registered and driven on the road.

Outwardly the car looks remarkably sound as will be evident in the photos which will follow as the work is undertaken. However an examination underneath showed the right hand chassis rail which connects to the back of the sub frame has been crushed.

The rail has pulled away from the body and it has been pop riveted back into position and an attempt has been made to repair a couple of cracks. It will not pass a safety inspection. The rail will have to be removed, restored and then welded back by someone certified to undertake structural welds on a car.
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20170224-1140Ptw HU 5089 damaged RH chassis rail.jpg
20170224-1140Ptw HU 5089 damaged RH chassis rail.jpg [ 236.4 KiB | Viewed 191 times ]
Before that can happen the engine and sub frame and the damaged chassis rail have to be removed so that it can be repaired.

The ghost of Jonners came back to haunt me when I commenced the process of removing the engine and sub frame. Somewhere on this forum he announced before he died that he believed that I could remove the engine and sub frame from a car like this in less than an hour. I was certainly able to do so on my earlier restoration, 24 years restoring Sprint in New Zealand , but this car has caused me all sorts of problems. The task which should have taken about an hour was spread over several days.

Disconnecting all the services to the engine and the gearbox was a relatively easy and straightforward task.

The biggest problem was removing the nuts off the four sub frame bolts. they had been removed at some stage and then lock-tighted back into position. It was necessary to use a very long extension on a breaker bar and to wedge the bolt heads within the engine bay so that they would not turn. I left penetrating oil sitting on the bolt threads for 48 hours. Even so when I finally managed to break the nuts free it was a real struggle to unwind them off the bolt threads. I cannot understand why someone lock-tighted them for if they were torqued correctly there was little chance that they would have come undone. Likewise the nuts on the prop shaft to the gearbox had been lock-tighted at some stage.

I removed the spoiler before raising the body. The alternator was pushed up against the block so that as the body was lifted up the alternator passed by the bottom hose connection on the radiator.
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20190904-1528Ptw HU 5089 on dolly.jpg
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The exhaust system had been replaced at some stage with a non-standard system. The bracket which supported the downpipe and which bolted to the gearbox had been discarded and it was no longer possible to break the exhaust at that point. I had to unbolt the downpipe off the exhaust manifold and I did this as the body of the car was raised off the sub frame.

It was necessary to remove the rear anti roll bar to allow the exhaust to drop and the nuts on the four bolts holding it onto the rear axle trailing arm assembly had been secured with lock-tight. I needed a larger ½” drive socket set for breaking the nuts free.

It was not necessary to remove anything from the engine bay other than the air cleaner assembly so that the heater hoses could be disconnected at the H cross piece although I had to remove the heater motor so that I could gain access to the left hand rear sub frame bolt which had to be wedged so that the spanner did not reach round and damage the starter motor assembly.

With the sub frame and engine assembly removed I fitted a dolly which I had fabricated previously so that the car can be moved from under my chain hoist and positioned in the workshop where the next step will be to mount the car into a spit which I have fabricated so that the car can be rotated on its side. Then the damaged chassis rail will be removed.

Robert


Attachments:
20190902-1521Ptw HU5089 Lifting the body.jpg
20190902-1521Ptw HU5089 Lifting the body.jpg [ 196.96 KiB | Viewed 191 times ]


Last edited by Robert 352 on Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:43 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:00 pm
Posts: 1034
Welcome back Robert, I'm looking forward to this one.
Re Loctite, a good dose of heat usually does the job. I realise this will destroy any rubber...


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:19 pm 
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TDC Shropshire Area Organiser

Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:12 pm
Posts: 5141
Location: Highley, Shropshire
Well at least the subframe bolts weren't seized solid in the chassis legs as often happens on UK cars!

It looks like a really tidy car Robert, A "barn find" Sprint in this sort of condition is every UK Sprint fans dream, but the reality is they just don't happen in our climate! Looks like a series one car and presumeably in Honeysuckle, a rare shade on a UK car but coincidentally the second one i've seen this week! There is one for sale on UK ebay at the moment, though I don't know if the colour on that one is original!

I would have thought that the damage to the chassis leg would respond to removal of the rivets and some careful "plug welding" to restore it's integrity. Whilst the club do a very good replica chassis leg, it's not quite a perfect match for the original in shape and profile and requires a little fettling to fit successfully. And your original leg looks to be otherwise in very good shape.

I don't wish to be the prophet of doom, but i'd also measure up the shell VERY carefully as this damage shown reminds me unpleasantly of what MY Sprint shell looked like when I got it! You have to ask yourself what caused this normally very strong seam to part! In my case, accident damage to the front n/s corner of the car meant that the subframe took the brunt of the impact and transmitted the shock through to the mounting points in the shell resulting in distortion that cost me £500 to get jig straightened and that at "mates rates"!

Steve

_________________
2 door '73 Toledo with Vauxhall Carlton 2.0 8v engine OWF 797M (The Carledo)
'78 Sprint Auto with Vauxhall Omega 2.2 16v engine EGP 247T (The Dolomega)
'91 Cavalier 2ltr 8v auto
'95 Cavalier 2ltr 16v auto
Spectrum Auto Services, Servicing, Repairs, Electrical, Recomissioning, MOT prep, Trackerjack brake fitting service.
Apprentice served Triumph Specialist for 45 years and home of Maverick Triumph.PM for more info or quotes.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:08 am
Posts: 331
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
It is indeed a Honeysuckle Sprint and it is also a very rare colour in this country.

Steve has questioned how or why the damage has occurred to the chassis rail.

The car has not been in an accident. It has been lifted on a two post hoist and the lifting arm which would have been swung under the sub frame has either slipped or the car has been bumped and the arm has moved back and crushed the rail. You can see two welds where someone has tried welding the cracked rail and the heat from the welding has scorched the rubber bush.
Some time ago I spotted a thread on this forum “roll over spit/jig/rotisserie” in which DF and Lazeruserpete both put up photos of a spit.

I knew that I could fabricate something similar. Steve provided me with a link to a UK manufacturer showing what they supply. I wish I had something like this when I did my first Sprint restoration.

I elected to fabricate something here from some scrap steel lying around behind the workshop. But first it was necessary to design something. I found my old Meccano set and made a scale model of what I needed and that formed the basis of the design of what you see here.
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I proved that it works for I swung the body from another Dolomite Sprint which has been scrapped because it has some, what we consider, terminal rust in the body, in this case in the roof of the car where water had worked its way in under the vinyl and caused the roof to rust.

It was rotated to expose the chassis rails and I removed this rail as practice.
Attachment:
20190905-1530Ptf RH.jpg
20190905-1530Ptf RH.jpg [ 151.78 KiB | Viewed 87 times ]
A 3/8” (8mm) drill was re-sharpened to form a spade type drill suitable for drilling out a spot weld. I marked the centre position of each spot weld and drilled a small pilot hole to act as a centre before drilling out the weld.

A 1” (25mm) dia hole saw was used to remove the weld around the tube through which the sub frame bolt passes and a conventional disc grinder was used to remove the weld around the front edge of the rail.
The rail itself is in remarkably good condition and it took very little effort to beat out some of the marks the rail had collected over the years. It is likely that we will use this rail and not bother to repair the one which will be removed from the car.

Robert


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:53 pm 
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TDC Shropshire Area Organiser

Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:12 pm
Posts: 5141
Location: Highley, Shropshire
Glad to know you know the cause of the damage and it's not serious!

Can't believe that green shell is going for scrap for a bit of roof rot! If it was here in the UK, me and a lot of others would be fighting each other to give you good money for it! The thought of using a second hand chassis rail is just alien to anyone here, you'd never find one worth salvaging on a scrap car in the UK!

I guess the NZ rules on how resto welding is done and who does it means a lot more cars don't survive the attack of the tinworms. Pretty sad really! It's the one thing that puts me off retiring there, I'd die of frustration not being allowed to do something I know I can do! Kinda like a surgeon not allowed to practise by some rule rather than having done anything wrong!

Nice work on the rollover jig by the way! I presume, since it's not a car, you're actually allowed to do that yourself!

Steve

_________________
2 door '73 Toledo with Vauxhall Carlton 2.0 8v engine OWF 797M (The Carledo)
'78 Sprint Auto with Vauxhall Omega 2.2 16v engine EGP 247T (The Dolomega)
'91 Cavalier 2ltr 8v auto
'95 Cavalier 2ltr 16v auto
Spectrum Auto Services, Servicing, Repairs, Electrical, Recomissioning, MOT prep, Trackerjack brake fitting service.
Apprentice served Triumph Specialist for 45 years and home of Maverick Triumph.PM for more info or quotes.


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