The Triumph Dolomite Club - Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:12 pm 
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Hi all,

My first posting as I await the arrival of a 1980 Dolomite 1300 which I plan to use for local runaround duties. It will have an MoT and a fluids service and my trusty local garage and I shall check it over when it goes in to have rear seatbelts fitted, but I am keen to have advice in several areas please:

- I have fitted thermostatic fans to previous classics (MGB GT then Triumph 2500) to cope with summer traffic jams. Will the Dolomite need this? I don't recall fuel evaporation issues with a previous Dolomite 1500SE in the days of leaded file and before it was a classic though;

- is there any great benefit to be had from electronic ignition on this car?

- I'm assuming that, with a sub-40,000 mile engine doing now more than 3000 miles pa, I run on Premium Unleaded and additive and to not convert to unleaded unless the engine is having significant work done. Am I right here?

- is there anyhthing else I should know or do to get the car and I off to a good start?

Some of the above are "live with it and see" matters but all advice will be received gratefully.

Many thanks and looking forward to being back in a Dolomite - they are still the yardstick by which I judge the driving positions of much more modern cars.

Richard


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:27 pm 
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Hello Richard.

Welcome to the club and also back into Dolomite ownership!

Just a brief summary from me and I'm sure others with more knowledge will chip in too:

Fuel vaporisation can be an issue and my 1500HL has always been a bit susceptible to this in the warmest of weathers. There has been lots of discussion on this on here, so worth a search through, but well worth ensuring all the cooling system is in good fettle before making any improvements or adjustments. It seems the modern fuels with higher ethanol rating cause the issue which is why it wasn't such an issue back in the day.

Electronic ignition is generally a good addition, although many still operate with conventional points ignition with no problems. The issue in recent times has been the quality of points and condensers which have been known to fail after short periods of operation.

I run my car on unleaded, sometimes with additive, but hasn't been any problem. As you say, if the head has to come off that is a good opportunity to have hardened valve seats etc..

Clutch hydraulics often seem to cause a few headaches - often due to bleeding technique, again plenty on this forum to help there.

Otherwise, regular oil changes etc are beneficial and also a good session with rust preventative - they do tend to rust, like any other cars of similar age. I personally like some of the Bild Hamber Deox range which is quick and easy to apply.

Enjoy it Richard - keep the updates coming and pictures are always great to see too!

Kind Regards

MC

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1980 1500HL - OPD
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:27 pm 
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Quote:
Hello Richard.
Clutch hydraulics often seem to cause a few headaches - often due to bleeding technique, again plenty on this forum to help there.
clutch bleeding is very easy and works everytime if you use the correct 'slave over the master' system

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:37 pm 
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hello from fellow 1300/ 1500 owner.
you will need a carb heat shield as the exhaust manifold is very close to the carb and make sure the fuel lines especially rubber joins are new. most 'evaporation' issues are badly set up cars
yes to electronic ignition, I use 'simonBBC' on Ebay the car will start easier and run a bit better if its all set up properly
NO to electric fans or fancy thermostats, the standard cooling is fine if you use the right coolant (Blucol) and flush/ bleed the air our.
NO to getting the valve seats hardened unless your taking the head off for any reason and no need to use additives, plenty of owners have has 30k miles without issues although I do use good quality fuel and put in higher octane about every forth tank

Goodluck with the car.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:16 pm 
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Hi,

Many thanks for your replies and advice. The car has now arrived and I am starting to play.

Does anyone know if there is a suitable thermostic fan kit for Dolomites and where to buy accelerator pedal rubbers? Rimmer Bros say that latter are unavailable. Has anyone fitted inertia belts in the rear?

Many thanks,

Richard


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:56 pm 
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Hi Richard. Throttle peddle rubbers are available from club stock. £18.00 including postage. I am going to the NEC tomorrow so could take some with me if you are going?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:47 pm 
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Welcome Richard
I have run my 1300 Dolly on unleaded for almost 10 years, a drop of additive occasionally, no problems
Electronic ignition - some folks say it improves starting and performance, but a 3 monthly polish of the points and reset with a dwell meter seems to do the trick. If you do change over, I would suggest keeping the bits in the boot, with a torch - if it packs up, it will be on a dark & rainy night.
Cooling - yes to that heat shield; you may already have one; then keep the coolant flushed and fresh. We have only got very warm once - so I popped the bonnet, and kept the heater on while going uphill.
The only other thing I recommend is a repeat brake light on the rear parcel shelf, our brake lights are very low for many drivers to see.
Enjoy the car, you will soon adapt to keeping up with traffic, and have the benefits of simplicity.
Roger Lowry


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:13 pm 
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Thank you for the additional advice. I shall order the pedal rubber as I shall sadly not be at the NEC tomorrow.

Richard


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:52 am 
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Location: Ayrshire, Scotland
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Hi,

Has anyone fitted inertia belts in the rear?

Many thanks,

Richard
Yes, I have Securon inertia reel belts in the back of my 1977 1850. You will have mounting points on the rear shelf and under the rear seat. I used the stepped bracket supplied to move the reel slightly rearwards so it clears the cushion roll. See photo.


Attachments:
Rear Belt.jpg
Rear Belt.jpg [ 134.78 KiB | Viewed 192 times ]

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:53 pm 
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Hi Richard,
I have a Toledo, so basically the same. I only use it occasionally as the paint is rather old and porous, so I don't like it to get wet!!
I have kept it completely original. I run it on unleaded and I have had no problems with overheating or fuel vaporisation. Maybe if the car was to get a lot of use there would be more of an argument for electronic ignition or an unleaded conversion, but for limited use I don't see the point. Actually, I have never changed any of my cars to electronic ignition and I would rather just run them with quality points and condenser.
My Toledo has inertia seat belts in the rear, fitted in a similar way to the picture above.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:12 pm 
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Location: Maidstone
Quote:
Hi,

Many thanks for your replies and advice. The car has now arrived and I am starting to play.

Does anyone know if there is a suitable thermostic fan kit for Dolomites and where to buy accelerator pedal rubbers? Rimmer Bros say that latter are unavailable. Has anyone fitted inertia belts in the rear?

Many thanks,

Richard
Regarding the rear seat belts this is a good how to article

http://cook1e.blogspot.com/2013/10/iner ... omite.html

Get your belts off of eBay it’s far cheaper than the usual outlets. Part numbers are in the how to article IIRC.

Enjoy the car and have fun tinkering.....

Bish.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:43 pm 
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Hi Richard,

Personally I wouldn't bother with an electric fan. Just give the system a good flush and refill with a quality antifreeze mix. As well as the Sprint I have a Triumph Stag which I have had for some 10 years. When I got it it was fitted with a Kenlowe fan and I left it on though it never seemed to cut in despite the Stags reputation for heat related problems. The car did get a bit warm in traffic and also at speed on the motorway. This summer I had the radiator out as I was checking on the timing chains and I noticed how much of the area of the radiator was blocked by the fan. (see pics below) I decided to remove it. The following weekend we went to a car rally and queued for 30 mins at the entrance on one of the hottest days of the year. The temp gauge hardly went above half way. On the drive home I went via a stretch motorway to see what the temperature was like at speed. Again the gauge hardly moved from normal. The car ran cooler and the temp did not rise as much as with the fan fitted.

I have a theory that people fit the fans either a) because they have overheating issues so rather than find the cause they cure the symptoms - i.e. fit an electric fan. Which then justifies itself by making the engine run hotter because it restricts the airflow through the radiator. or b) because they are worried it may overheat in traffic. When it does - due to the restricted airflow the owner again feels justified.


Image

Image

Also I personally wouldn't worry about additives to the petrol. Just use it. If you notice the valve clearances closing up indicating valve seat recession you can then pull the head and get it converted - I suspect it will be quite a few thousand miles before you notice anything.

Roger

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:15 pm 
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Location: Highley, Shropshire
Quote:
Hi Richard,

Personally I wouldn't bother with an electric fan. Just give the system a good flush and refill with a quality antifreeze mix. As well as the Sprint I have a Triumph Stag which I have had for some 10 years. When I got it it was fitted with a Kenlowe fan and I left it on though it never seemed to cut in despite the Stags reputation for heat related problems. The car did get a bit warm in traffic and also at speed on the motorway. This summer I had the radiator out as I was checking on the timing chains and I noticed how much of the area of the radiator was blocked by the fan. (see pics below) I decided to remove it. The following weekend we went to a car rally and queued for 30 mins at the entrance on one of the hottest days of the year. The temp gauge hardly went above half way. On the drive home I went via a stretch motorway to see what the temperature was like at speed. Again the gauge hardly moved from normal. The car ran cooler and the temp did not rise as much as with the fan fitted.

I have a theory that people fit the fans either a) because they have overheating issues so rather than find the cause they cure the symptoms - i.e. fit an electric fan. Which then justifies itself by making the engine run hotter because it restricts the airflow through the radiator. or b) because they are worried it may overheat in traffic. When it does - due to the restricted airflow the owner again feels justified.


Image

Image

Also I personally wouldn't worry about additives to the petrol. Just use it. If you notice the valve clearances closing up indicating valve seat recession you can then pull the head and get it converted - I suspect it will be quite a few thousand miles before you notice anything.

Roger
I take it your Stag had it's original viscous fan still fitted as well as the Kenlowe? Which is truly overkill and pretty pointless! One or the other is sufficient.

To the OP I would say that on a 1300, the original cooling system is adequate if in decent condition and can cope with a British summer unaided by modern electronics. Personally i'd go electronic ignition with one of the cheaper kits (I use the Accuspark from SimonBBC on ebay but other similar systems are available) If you travel far from home regularly and feel insecure about breakdowns, buy 2 kits, one to fit and one for the glovebox, at around £30 a kit, a spare won't break the bank and it's easier to fit at the side of a cold wet motorway than a set of points!

As everyone else has said, the time to worry about valve seat recession is when it happens! Many engines will go years and years on "lead memory", the only time you get a problem is when some well meaning person pulls the head off for no other reason than to look then grinds the valves in because "why not whilst the head is off?" Which destroys the lead memory and gives you about a thousand miles before it will need sorting and hardened seats fitting.

I was around when all this was happening in the 80s and I remember the scare stories, mostly started by an experiment conducted by "Practical Classics" magazine. They bought an ordinary Austin 1800 and undertook to run it exclusively on the newfangled unleaded petrol and see what happened. Within a couple of hundred miles the valve clearances were closing up and by 800 miles a couple of valves had burnt out. Which scared the s**t out of everyone!
The daft thing was that they had unwittingly done it to themselves by overhauling the cylinder head before starting the experiment (in order to make sure it was all in good nick so a "fair test") and had regound the valves and cut the seats, as anyone would in those days, as a matter of course. Which in turn destroyed the "lead memory" in the seats and valves, so the test was a disaster! There were also a lot of "snake oil" cures floating about in those days like the bags of lead shot you dropped into the tank or tubes of pellets you fitted into the fuel line. You still find them from time to time, I have a scrap 1500 in my yard with a tube fitted ATM! Fuel additives are not much better! I've also seen a bill for over £200 (in 80s money!) to "convert" a Sprint to run on unleaded fuel! Since a Sprint already HAS hardened steel seats in it's alloy head and all that is needed at most is a slight timing alteration to account for the octane difference, this was a mighty expensive scam!

The only thing I WOULD advise as a matter of urgency, is to replace all the rubber pipes in the fuel system with ethanol resistant R9 fuel pipe. Ordinary pump gas (Not super unleaded) now mostly contains up to 5% ethanol which eats old style rubber hoses for breakfast and can cause a nasty fire! A metre of R9 hose and a box of Jubilee clips together is only £10-15, it's well worth it for peace of mind!

Steve

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:09 am 
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Steve, Yes had both and as you say pretty pointless. The real point I was making is that looking at the two pictures you can see how much the addition of an electric fan obscures the radiator and cuts down the "natural" airflow, thus in my opinion increasing the chance of overheating rather than reducing it as intended. I would go as far as to say that most, if not all, cooling systems in their standard form are capable of keeping an unmodified car cool in all UK conditions, provided the cooling system is in good shape - i.e. regularly flushed, good radiator core and original fan working as it should i.e. no failed viscous coupling etc.

Note, this does not extend to some really old (prewar) cars relying on thermosyphon systems often without a fan - guess there were no such things as traffic jams in those days!!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:28 pm 
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The only thing I WOULD advise as a matter of urgency, is to replace all the rubber pipes in the fuel system with ethanol resistant R9 fuel pipe. Ordinary pump gas (Not super unleaded) now mostly contains up to 5% ethanol which eats old style rubber hoses for breakfast and can cause a nasty fire! A metre of R9 hose and a box of Jubilee clips together is only £10-15, it's well worth it for peace of mind!

Steve
[/quote]

Some Super unleaded are now 5% ethanol, I went to fill up my Dolomite at the usual station and found a new E5 sticker on the pump so went to BP round the corner. A couple of weeks later I was running low so went into an Esso garage to get me home, that to had a new E5 sticker. Had to use it to get home but looks local to me in Yorkshire its spreading.

I have had my 47000 mile Dolomite 1300 for 7 years it has had the fuel hoses replaced, but I use super unleaded with the timing set at the original settings because it runs much better, and other 1300 owners seem to agree with this. I use an additive with a stabiliser more to protect for the odd times Ethanol ends up in the tank. If it helps the valves it helps if not it does no harm. I fitted electronic ignition because of the very poor quality condensers which fail a lot. I do not have an electric fan and find if the cooling system is in good condition it works fine. If its a hot day and stuck in traffic and temp starts to rise just put the heater on to be safe and its never overheated. A friend who has a 1300 has fitted an electronic fan but he did it for improved engine efficiency. Higher engine running less fuel plus no fan taking power from the engine. His is a daily driver mine isn't so to him this was important.

Fuel vaporisation has never been a problem and the single carburetted 1300 were not fitted with them just the twin carb 1500s


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