Saturday, December 29, 2007

Suspension woes

There's been a rattle with my Sprint whenever I hit a bump or a speed hump and whenever I set off there was a "twitch". It turned out that the two were related. I jacked up the OSR corner and after removing the wheel I found out what the problem was. The right hand tie bar was loose due to the nut becoming undone! Fortunately, it hadn't come off! Upon closer inspection I found out that the clip that is supposed to stop this very thing was missing on both tie bars. I suspect that whoever rebushed the rear suspension didn't reassemble it quite right. I've called Mark (the Sprint's previous owner) to see if he can shed any light on it and left a message on his answering machine (I normally HATE answering machines with a passion and I usually hang up) so I'm waiting for him to come back to me. I've got all the parts I need to replace what's missing but for the time being I've tightened up the nut and fitted split pins which is better than nothing. It has cured the problem and once I've replaced the gearbox oil (hurry up Brian!) all will be well for my forthcoming trip to Dublin next Wednesday.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The heat is (back) on

Sorry for not updating this as I've been struck down with a bad cough which kept me off work for most of this week just gone.

I went over to Brian's in the hope of trying to cure the lukewarm heater. We flushed the heater matrix (it was clear) and came to the conclusion that the heater valve was faulty. The fanbelt was retensioned and isn't squealing any more. I'm looking at tuning the carbs so I bought a decent carb balancer from my local Moss. While I was there I bought a 82 deg thermostat to see if that was the problem. Fitting the thermostat was easier than I thought and it has cured the problem. The car warms up quicker getting up to temperature as it should and the heaters are warmer than before. Problem solved!

Monday, December 10, 2007

All moved now

The move is complete & as you can tell from the pic Project Blue made it up to the new home. I comitted a schoolboy error when I reconnected the battery and ended up blowing one of the fusible links. I robbed Becky's to get the car going again and fortunately the car seems to be none the worse but I think I've killed the radio/cassette. I've got a nice Panasonic radio/cassette or I could fit that Sony CD player which was in Becky.

The Sprint's fanbelt has started squealing (only does it when I've got the headlights on - strange!) so it will need retensioning. Trouble is that it is a bit awkward to get at and the wet & cold weather hasn't really helped. I've also noticed that the overdrive sometimes slips so I'll need to check the gearbox oil level. (another awkward job when you don't have a garage with a pit!) I've fitted most of the parts that I ordered from Rimmer Bros. The wheel centres are on and I fitted the air intake hoses so the car is that bit closer to what it was like when it left the production line in 1975. I'm now on the reserve list for the Round Britain Run so if enough crews drop out then I'll be doing the run. The Dolomite Sprint is the car of choice (a no-brainer!) and my co-driver is Brian an ex-work colleague who restored a Herald 13/60 convertible. If you're reading this Brian I'll be in touch soon!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Splashing out

I've been giving the debit card a bit of stick. Well when Rimmer Bros are having a Dolomite Parts sale you've gotta take the liberty of getting a few essential bits. This is more importantly so when you've just entered your Dolomite Sprint in next year's Round Britain Reliability Run. I've have already ordered the following bits:
2 air intake hoses
2 wheel centres (missing from the rear wheels)
12 spark plugs
Air intake hose bracket (bolts on the the right hand side of the radiator)

I'm probably not done yet. I'm toying with the idea of fitting a spin-on oil filter conversion (told you the Sprint was nearly 100% original spec!) and getting a replacement engine steady bracket. I can't think of anything else I might need. The windscreen's leaking somewhere (I found water in the drivers' side footwell today) so a replacement windscreen rubber and sealing strip could be next on the shopping list. I've helped install windscreens on a couple of Dolomite Sprints before so I know what to do.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Parts on the move

I'm now at the point where the parts emporeum has to move. As I mentioned earlier there's an outbuilding which will be home to the new parts emporeum. I've now got use of my mate's van and I was able to shift one load of parts last night before my torch battery ran down. I'll be carrying on where I left off tonightby which time my torch should be fully charged. If there's enough room I'll also be getting the rest of my parts from the garage I had use of (if they're still there!). I still need to move Project Blue. This will have to wait until I've finished moving my parts. My tools are in the boot so it won't be a problem.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


As I mentioned earlier Anita is moving house and the Sprint has been put into service to move stuff. It's amazing what you can do with these cars. Here it is parked on the driveway.

One of the first things I did was put this sign on the fence. I've had it nearly 18 months and I've finally found somewhere I can put it.

As you can gather I've not had any time to do any spannering. My parts collection still has to be moved along with Project Blue (once I've reconnected the battery. I removed it to charge it up). There is a small outbuilding which is suitable and it even has electricity and light so it might make a good working area (space permitting).

Monday, November 26, 2007

Good & bad.

I'm gonna start off with the bad. Project Blue has let me down big style. I was supposed to go down the the Heritage Motor Centre on Saturday. The car started to run like a bag of spanners which I put down to the fuel filter being blocked. After changing the filter it happened again so I turned back at Nottingham and I managed to get back as far as Birstall when the car died and wouldn't start again. I called out the breakdown people and got the car towed the rest of the way to Anita's house. The ongoing fuel filter blockage problem is due to a rusty petrol tank the only cure for which is replacement of the tank. Fortunately, the local Acclaim Guru has provided me with a replacement tank (rust free!) so Project Blue will be out of action until I can fit the tank. This shouldn't be too difficult because I've done it before.

Moving on to the good. I cured a small problem with the Dolomite Sprint's cooling system in that it wouldn't go above the quarter mark on the temperature gauge. The first thing I did was to replace the expanison tank cap, then I flushed the cooling system and refilled with fresh coolant. It seems to have done the trick as the heaters feel a bit warmer and the gauge reads a bit warmer but it still doesn't go above halfway. Problem solved! This car is less trouble than Project Blue at the moment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Round Britain Reliability Run

It was suggested that as my Sprint had done the last Round Britain Reliability Run in 2006 that I should enter next year's. The entry has now opened but I'm faced with a couple of dilemmas:

Which car? Project Blue (the Acclaim CD) or the Dolomite Sprint. The Acclaim would use less fuel but the Sprint would be more fun to drive.
I will also need at least one co-driver.

The other problems that would stop me doing this run before (cost and getting time off work) no longer apply so I'm up for this one. Anybody care to join me on a 2000 mile non-stop drive around the country next October?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

There's just one more thing... Columbo would say. I also took the liberty of cleaning up the engine bay a little. I cleaned up the inner wings with some baby wipes. I painted the blower with some more of the black Hammerite smooth and I painted the air cleaner box with some silver Hammerite smooth.

This is the end result. A smarter looking engine bay. Not pristine but it looks a bit better.
That's it for the time being. I'm really enjoying this car. Project Blue gets a bit of use at the weekends to keep things free.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Mirror images

After doing the wheels I then got round to fitting the passenger door mirror I'd bought the week before at Stoneleigh. It came with 2 types of plinth so I decided to use the same one as the mirror on the other side.

I cleaned the paintwork where the mirror was going to go...

I then applied masking tape in order to avoid any damage to the paintwork should the drill slip. Also useful for marking where to drill.

The holes were drilled and the plinth fitted into place ready to receive the mirror.

The end result. A very useful and worthwhile addition and it looks like it came with the car when it was new.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Wheely good

I finally got round to smartening up the wheels on my Sprint. This was before any work was started.

This was after the first application of Wonder Wheels.

This was after the second application.

This was after the third application and compared to the first pic it is a whole lot better.

I then moved on to painting the segments with some black Hammerite smooth. I did some prep work by removing the flaking paint and rubbing down.

The end result! It looks much better and it may not be the best but I'm pleased with it. The best thing is that it didn't cost me a single penny as I'd already had everything I needed to do the job.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

No further progress...

I don't seem to be getting anything done. Life it seems, is just getting in the way and the dark nights don't really help either. I went to see a Brian, a former work colleague (who restored a Herald 13/60) to show him my Dolomite Sprint. He was quite impressed with it. So much so that he's thinking of getting one himself. Like Blankety Blank I didn't come away empty-handed. He gave me some stuff to clean my alloys with. It is called "Wonder Wheels" which is manufacrured by CarPlan. He swears by the stuff so I'll give it a go. He's still reading my Blog (I'm glad somebody does!) so watch this space!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Been spending

I've been doing more spending of money than work on the cars. Unfortunately, my Sprint didn't end up on the Triumph Dolomite Club stand at the Restoration Show at Stoneleigh so I wasn't able to do the wheels. I did manage to get hold of a replacement clock. I had to buy a dashboard for £5 (which turned out to be from a Triumph 2000 Mk2) which had a clock. I fitted the clock and it works. The clock is a tad too slow but they can be adjusted. I bought a handbook for the Sprint (£4), a data booklet for the Acclaim (£2.50 - never seen one before. It is smaller than the handbook), a chrome passenger door mirror for the Sprint (£16) and the top bit of the gear knob for the Sprint. (£6) I didn't really need it but a brand new one does look a whole lot better. On the drive down to Coventry I was averaging between 30-35mpg with a boot full of tools and the back seat full of regalia so I'm happy with fuel consumption.

The jobs remaining are:
Fit the mirror.
Clean up the wheels and repaint the segments.
Sort out the gearbox end of the speedo cable as it's held on with a cable tie and my speedometer flickers.
Adjust the clock.
Clean the engine bay.
Replace the rear gearbox mount.

Snowdrop is for sale to raise funds for putting Becky back on the road. Becky will need the following jobs doing for starters:

Fit some carbs. I've still got Projcet Blue's carb so I might give them a try.
Sort out the blowing exhaust.
Find that exhaust clamp.
A couple of areas will need a patch.
The nearside front wing needs replacing.
The CD player will have to be refitted. I took it out to fit in Project Blue but I'm loath to remove Project Blue's original radio/cassette.
The rear arches need rubbing down and respraying.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Getting ready to do more...

I've bought some wet-and-dry paper to do the alloys on the Sprint. I'll start off with some 220 grit and finish off with some 1000 grit then I can repaint the centre with some black Hammerite smooth and the job should be a good 'un.
I've had a call from the garage saying that Snowdrop will be ready to collect at 5.00 today witha fresh MoT. The final price was £400 which wasn't too bad and cheaper than last year. Once this car is sold then I can move on to getting Becky back on the road. This will be the subject for a Triumph World article and will also be documented here and in club publications.
I just don't have enough space for 5 Triumphs. I really should be getting rid of another Triumph but I won't scrap any (done that too many times!) or sell them as spares cars. If they're on the road when I sell then so much the better.

Shedding some light on the situation

I fixed a couple of more lights. I replaced the interior bulb and it is brighter than before. I still haven't got round to sorting out the front passenger door switch. I'm hoping to take a look at it before I set off to Stoneleigh for the forthcoming Restoration Show. Once again I'll be wearing my Triumph Dolomite Club hat and I'll be on the stand in some shape or form. The Sprint might be even on the club's stand as I fix the few remaining niggles and hopefully, smarten the alloy wheels. I also sorted out the left reversing light by robbing both a bulb and a bulb holder from Baby Blue. A pity I couldn't take that car to the Restoration Show. It would be ideal. Maybe next year?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Even more niggles fixed.

Well just a couple. I replaced a couple of bulbs. The one for the (non-working) clock and the boot light. After I got home I had a look at my interior light bulb and realized that the filament had become detached at one end and a gentle tap would make the bulb work so that's another bulb to replace. When I said that the clock wasn't working I can hear it ticking but the second hand doesn't move. I wish I could get inside and find out what's up with it. Looks like a replacement clock could be on the cards. I also moved the indicator/sidelight units so that the sidelights were on the outside. This may seem picky but I like to have the car in original spec but on the other hand I don't mind the odd mod or two (such as the electronic ignition or the stainless steel exhaust) if it improves the car without detracting too much from the originality.

Monday, October 22, 2007

More niggles fixed.

With the parts liberation I forgot to mention the Sprint.

Yesterday the Triumph Dolomite Club were having a Dolomite spares day at Rimmer Bros who were offering discounts on Dolomite parts. This was the ideal opportunity to obtain some bits for my Sprint. Once again my Sprint didn't miss a beat on the way there and back. On the way there I stopped at Doncaster services on the M18 and I replaced one of the door locking knobs which was damaged. When I got there I noticed a green Sprint with a familiar number plate. I was right. It was the one that belongs to Tony Wilkins who was my co-driver on the 2006 HCR and he knew about the event. His Sprint although an N registration like mine is a 1974 car and next to his mine was running quieter. There was a tour of the warehouse which gave us an insight to what goes on at Rimmer Bros. On the tour there was plenty of Rover SD1 stuff. They reckon that with their big purchase of SD1 parts from India they have enough parts to keep Rover SD1s on the road forever. (almost!) They don't just buy up stocks of parts but they also break cars and rescue as much as possible from them.
Anyway, I didn't buy much. I ended up getting a pair of secondhand grab handles for only £5. There are left and right handed one and they only had right handed ones but they can be cannibalised.
When I got back I fitted the grab handles. One of the window winders had the handle missing so I replaced it with a spare I had. Next job will be to move the sidelight/indicator units so that the sidelights are on the outside. I'll also be sorting out the interior light as it doesn't work on all the doors when they open. Probably just dodgy connections on the door switches.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

More parts liberated

I was surprised to find out that the garage where I was keeping some of my parts still had the parts there. I thought they'd been thrown out by the owner of the garage so I loaded what I could fit in my Dolomite Sprint. The doors wouldn't fit so I'll either have to use the roof bars or borrow a van from work. One way or another I'll get what I want out of there. So far I've got 2 bootlids, a rear exhaust section 2 gearboxes, a transmisson tunnel and a couple of sections of boot trim.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Another addition to the fleet

At last! I've finally got the Dolomite I've wanted. It is a 1975 Dolomite Sprint in Honeysuckle. Since getting my redundnacy money I knew I could afford to buy one. Better still the cost of adding it to my insurnace policy was just over £30. This means that I'll have to sell Snowdrop as I have too many Triumphs as it is but I'm grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat. The car isn't perfect but is structurally & mechanically sound. I drove it home from Coventry and it didn't miss a beat. It does have some minor niggles including:
Loose front passenger seat.
Missing pasenger head restraint.
Loose front bumper mountings.
Front passenger door not opening from the inside
Clock not working
Speedo needle wavering
Rear gearbox mounting needs replacing.
I was able to fix the first 4 items with a bit of help from the seller before setting off. The Triumph Dolomite Club are having a Dolomite Spares Day tomorrow at Rimmer Bros in Lincoln so I could be getting a few discounts on Sprint parts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

MoT work neded

As expected Snowdrop failed the MoT. Apart from the front wheel bearings and a couple of front suspension bushes (I should've Polybushed the front suspension) it is mostly welding. I was given a figure of around £450 which is quite a bit less than last year. My initial reaction was to sell the car and buy another Dolomite but since sleeping on it I've decided to get the work done. I can afford it and as an enthusiast (idiot?) I'm doing it for love and not money. If it were a 10-15 year old Eurobox I'd get rid of it but it is a 30 year old Triumph and they do need preserving. Once the welding is done I'm gonna invest in some Waxoyl (or similar) to preserve the car. If I get a small compressor I can do the rest of my fleet as well. That would be money well spent. Once that's all out of the way I can then move on to Becky. She needs some welding and then when she's got another MoT she can be rustproofed as well.

Monday, October 15, 2007

MoT time.

I've booked Snowdrop in for the dreaded MoT at the same garage where Project Blue was tested. I'll probably just pay them to have whatever work needs doing to pass. I don't have anything else new to report until Snowdrop's been tested.


At last! Snowdrop is now useable and with a couple of days spare before the MoT runs out. In my last post I was thinking of selling this car but I'll see what in needs for the MoT before I make a decision.
Anyway, back to the story (in the words of Ronnie Corbett) I was able to borrow a van from work on Saturday and collect the axle from Liverpool. The guy wanted some Toledo parts so I was able to deliver them at the same time. I sold him the doors, a side window and the rear bumper making myself £35. Having made a bit more room in the shed I decided to paint the rear axle in there where it would be sheltered from the elements and be able to dry overnight. The next day I got the axle fitted. It was time consuming but I got there in the end. When I came to bleed the brakes the bleed nipple sheared off. I had come across a brand new brake cylinder when I was searching for my collection of nuts & bolts so I was able to turn it up fairly quickly and fit it. The electrical gremlins were traced to the fusebox so once again a root round my box of spares turned up the Toledo's fusebox and after a bit of wirebrushing it was fitted and all the electrics were working once again. I had also bought some exhaust putty to fill a hole in the exhaust but I can still hear it blowing somewhere. If I get Snowdrop throught the MoT I might invest in a stainless steel exhaust. I'm also thinking about getting some Dolomite Sprint alloys. One of my Dolomite friends called me and he's got some among his collection of Dolomite spares having recently sold his Dolomite Sprint. (I wanted that car!)
For the MoT I'll use the same garage I used for Project Blue. Hopefully the stuff it failed on last year won't fail this time round and I hope it will cost a lot less. We shall see...

Friday, October 12, 2007


I finally had something happen with Project Blue. The alternator belt had been squealingfor a few days and I was hoping to deal with it at the weekend (my tools are in Snowdrop's boot) but last night on my way to Anita's (where Snowdrop is parked) Project Blue, instrument lights were dimmer than normal and the wipers were slow. This pointed to a discharged battery. I made it to Anita's and when I popped the bonnet I saw that the alternator belt had worn and was slipping. This explained why the battery was discharging. It was because the alternator wasn't able to charge the battery enough. It was about 8.00pm and I knew of a motor factor that was still open so I got Snowdrop started with a bit of difficulty and managed to get a replacement belt. I had no indicators, wipers or heaters but the headlights were working so I was able to use the car. Because of the faults on this car (probably due to lack of recent use) and the fact that the MoT is almost due I think I'll probably sell this car. I've been wanting to get another Triumph since I got my redundancy money and I know of a decent Dolomite 1850HL that I want but something has to go and Snowdrop will be the one to go.

Watch this space.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Replacement axle

I've managed to source a replacement rear axle for Snowdrop and it is a freebie. Unfortunately it is located in Liverpool and I'm absolutely loath to use Project Blue to pick it up. I'm going to leave it until I'm back off my holiday (I fly out next Tuesday) by which time I should be able to borrow my mate's van to pick it up.

Other than that nothing more to report.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Moving around

As I mentioned in a previous instalment I've had to move across the road. This means that Becky had to be moved as well. With the help of 3 extra pairs of hands (including Anita) and a Peugeot 405 diesel estate Becky was moved to her new resting place. That Jenolite isn't really much cop so I'll have to try the Krust instead. Anything to stop Becky deteriorating any further. I don't want Project Blue to go the same way so I waxoiled the rear wheels arches and I'll need to do the same with the sills.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Not so good.

I finished doing the axle and as soon as I'd driven less than 100 yards it went again so my welding didn't work so a replacement axle it will have to be. Triumphland in Doncaster have one for £50 but I can't afford it just yet and besides I don't fancy doing the job again so soon.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Getting there...

I've finally managed to get the axle back on the car. With a bit of help from 2 of Anita's daughters I got it back on. Just a tie bar, the brakes and propshaft to do but the hard part's over. I'll be able to get finished by the weekend. I don't seem to find much time these days with the house move and the jobhunting. My life's been turned upside down just lately.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I did it!

I finally got to use that MIG welder Anita bought me several months ago (the exact number of which eludes me!) First I did some practaice runs on an old dustbin lid until I could do a straight line. I only blew one small hole but that was with the settings on full! I then jumped in at the deep end and I managed to get the bracket welded to the axle and although it doesn't look too good it will hold at least until I can get another rear axle. I went overboard with the weld to make sure it was a good join and did a test lift. Once I was satisfied with my handiwork I then painted the axle with the black Hammerite and paintbrush I said I would buy in the previous entry. I just painted what I could get at and I'll finish the job tonight. It's amazing what a difference a coat of paint makes!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Problems with Snowdrop

Snowdrop had developed a problem. The back end was twitching and there was a knock. I got the back end on axles stands and as soon as I took the wheels off I noticed the problem.

One of the tie bar brackets had sheared at the axle. I can do one of two things:

1. Replace the axle.
2. Get the bracket welded back on.

Since either option invloves dropping the axle (2 hour job) I decided to remove the axle and try option 2 first. I'll also see if I can clean and paint the axle while it is off the car. A tin of black Hammerite & a paintbrush beckons...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Not much doing.

I'm in the middle of a house move. Parents are going to get the house done out so we're moving over the road for 6 months. This means I haven't been able to do any work on the cars. Also I've been made redundant from my job. Don't worry, I won't have to give up my Triumphs. The insurance is paid up till next February, Becky's out of tax & MoT, Project Blue had both not so long ago and Snowdrop is still road legal. This means I don't have any worries about keeping the fleet going for the time being.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Plans are afoot...

Yes, I've decided to takle the rust on Snowdrop before it takes hold and fail's the MoT which will be due in October. I've decided not to use the last of my Jenolite and instead bought some Krust which a couple of my Triumph friends (Martin & Jon) have used on their cars with success. I just need some white Hammerite smooth and Snowdrop will be looking a bit better. I've already done the wheels so it is the bodywork's turn to have some treatment.

Not much to report...

Well what can I say? Project Blue has been running like a dream and going through fuel filters. The pic above was taken at Woodvale and the car didn't miss a beat.

After Woodvale we decided to go to Southport as the weather was nice and I hadn't been in over 20 years. As you can tell you can still park on the beach...

Project Blue from another angle.

I got Anita to pose with me and the car. The tide is about 3 miles out! Also on a clear day you can see Blackpool Tower.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

More news

First up, I've nearly done a thousand miles in Project Blue and she is still going strong. Now that Project Blue is running like a dream I've gone and SORNd Becky. I can't justify spending money on that car after throwing money at Project Blue. I'll sell her to the Guru who will give her a good home.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

In the Dales

After Hawes was the obligatory photoshoot. I took quite a few pics from all angles but this one was my favourite. The weather wasn't the best but I liked the angle nonetheless.

This was too good to miss. We were driving along when Anita spotted these chickens. I agreed that it would merit a photo so we parked up and I took the pic. They weren't scared of me but when Anita suggested I sit down and have my pic taken with them they moved so I wasn't the only one who didn't like the idea!

Anita wanted to feed the chickens so she scrunched up some Pringles and threw them out. The chickens soon went for them. As I was setting off I was a bit worried of running over one or two of them (no free chicken dinner then!) but they moved away as soon as I started the car up.

After that I decided to go to Morecambe which is quite close to the Dales. By this time the Currant Bun decided to make an appearance. The walk along the seafront was a pleasant one. The journey home was done mostly on motorways and the car didn't put a foot wrong or miss a beat so I've definitely solved the running problems. I'd clocked up just over 200 miles and the fuel gauge was just under halfway so I'm pleased with fuel consumption. I can now trust this car to the ends of the Earth and back!

A nice little reliability run

Having got Project Blue running like a dream I decided to have a run out into the Yorkshire Dales. First port of call was the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes and here I am at the car park. Anita was with me so I got her to take the pic.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

At long last!

I've finally got Project Blue running perfectly. Once I'd fitted Becky's carbs the car ran absolutely 100% perfect. No erratic idling, no lack of power and no drinking petrol. I've clocked up a few more miles (just passed the 23,000 mark) & I'm hoping to clock up a few more before I'm back at work a week on Monday.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Still having problems

Project Blue is a thirsty car. Spark plugs are blackened. It is a dry black so that points to a rich mixture. I've cleaned the carbs as much as I could so I'm going to take desparate measures and cannibalize Becky. She's gonna be off the road as the tax is due at the end of this month and MoT is due before the end of August and isn't likely to pass without throwing lots of money at her so she might as well contribute to a worthy cause. What's left can then go to the Guru.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Bradford Classic

Project Blue made her debut at this year's Bradford Classic. She perfomed flawlessly so I think I've finally nailed the running problems. Just needs a few more miles clocking up and then all will be fine.

Friday, July 20, 2007


At last! The car runs fine. I bought & fittted the parts and it ran. I took it for a run and apart from a lumpy idle it is fine. Just need to tune it up and it should be fine. I'll start again from the beginning now I know I've got new ignition parts. I still reckon that this car needs more use than it has been getting so I filled up with petrol for the first time and gave it a jet wash. The Bradford Classic is on tomorrow so I'll be able to take Project Blue.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Still no better

Project Blue still isn't running right. I'll replace the spark plugs (for the 3rd time!), leads, rotor ram & distributor cap. Other than that not much more to report.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

On the up.

The weather stayed dry so I was able to fit the petrol tank. First up I took the fuel sender unit off and squirted lots of Double T (similar stuff to WD40) inside the sender and I got it working. Once that was refitted I put the tank back on (easy once you've taken it off) added some petrol and stated the car up. It seemed to run a bit better. I went down to my local Morrisons and put some more petrol in and gave the car a run on the motorway. I'm sure this has helped because it was running better (not cutting out whenever I stop the car) and after adjusting the idling I paid a visit to Barry the Acclaim guru. He was impressed with the car and he diagnosed loose weights in the distributor as there was a noise coming from there. I went away and removed the distributor and dismantled it. Lo and behold the weights weren't loose so I cleaned the inside of the distributor with some Double T and put it all back together, got the car running again, added some more petrol (the gauge works now) and took it for another motorway run. It has been fine ever since. I think this car needs to be used so I'll put it into daily use and see how it goes.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A start...

I managed to drop Project Blue's petrol tank which wasn't too bad. I found out why the fuel gauge wasn't working. The sender was faulty so I rang Barry the Acclaim guru and he said that he had some but they were inaccessible so I'm going to have to put the faulty one back. I put a 50/50 mixture of petrol and water in, gave it a shake and left it for 30 mins. While I was waiting I went to a local motor factor and got a fuel filter that is almost identical to the original. Unfortunately it started to rain before I got back home so I drained the tank, refitted the sender unit, put my tools away and pushed the tank under the car. I'm gonna have to call it a draw on this one for tonight.

The problems continue

Project Blue is still giving me grief. I was left stranded in Saltaire with a blocked fuel filter. I called out the RAC (I get free membership courtesy of my bank) and the patrolman diagnosed a faulty fuel pump (they don't work when the filter is blocked!) and towed me home. I've since replaced the filter but the car still won't idle in it's own and a 1000rpm the car runs rough. I even removed the carbs, took off the float chamber covers (which I've been loath to do up to now) and cleaned the jets out. I'm going to have to face the inevitable and drop the fuel tank and clean it out. I can't see what else I can do. All I need now is some decent weather.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Project Blue is now road legal

At last! I've now got a tax disc. After work I went straight to the DVLA office in Leeds to get the taxation class changed. The process went smoothly but getting in and out of Leeds was a nightmare during the rush hour. Anyway the worst is over (I hope) and I plan on clocking up a few miles on the shakedown. My cunning plan is to fill up with petrol and add a concentrated dose of Redex to get thos carbs cleaned out. I need to adjust the throttle & choke cables as well. I hope that the fuel problem will come right.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

At last!

I've finally got that all-important piece of paper. Project Blue finally has an MoT for the first time since 1993. The car still isn't runninf properly but I reckon a good run should help. I've added £5 worth of petrol and some fuel additive. Next up will be the tax disc. I'll also have to change the taxation class from "Disabled" to "PLG". I don't qualify and I certainly ain't gonna cheat our robbing Government so this means a visit to my local DVLA office in Leeds. I just hope I can get there before it closes tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

MoT problems

Did you really expect Project Blue to pass? I don't think so! Main failure points were the brakes (despite new pads, shoes and fluid) and emmissions (caused no doubt by the RH carb running rich) so nothing major and once I've got that piece of paper I can then move on to the next stage which will probably be another story in itself!

Friday, July 06, 2007

MoT time for Project Blue

Finances have improved so I decided to book Project Blue in for the MoT. I tried a different garage which a mate uses and the soonest will be Monday so I dropped the car off after work today. I can't see it failing on much. We shall see...

Friday, June 29, 2007

This must be one of the lowest mileage Acclaims about. The condition of the interior backs up the low mileage.
Posted by Picasa
Another interior shot. That lovely velour upholstery is unmarked. I doubt that back seats have ever been sat in!
Posted by Picasa

Just thought I'd post some pics. This car has been unmolested and here is the original radio/cassette and it is in working order.


I've been working on both of my Acclaims. First up I managed to improve Becky's handbrake. I took the drums off and adjusted the self-adjusters until I was just able to fit the drums and it has made a difference. I did the same with Project Blue and I've got a working handbrake there. With the addition of £5 worth of petrol I got Project Blue running and drove her round the block. There seems to be a flat spot above 2000 rpm. I should follow the advice I was given and put some additive in the tank. With only a small amount of petrol the concentrated dose should do the trick!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More work on Becky

I made a start on treating the rust that has started to appear. I applied Jenolite on the wheel arches and one of the sills has also started to dissolve so I'll be looking at a replacement sill. I'm surprsied that it got through last year's MoT.

I removed Project Blue's mixture screws and squirted some carb cleaner into the holes. I need to put some more petrol in that car but lack of funds has put a hold on that.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Got it sorted!

I managed to source a replacement inlet manifold from the Guru. I bought some more Hylomar, an thermostat and some Radweld (the radiator I'd fitted was leaking slightly) and set to work. Things went quite well until I came to fit the thermostat. There was a rubber seaing ring on the thermostatat and when I bolted the housing down it cracked! Fortunately, I had a spare so that was put into service. This time I removed the sealing ring and used Hylomar instead. To avoid the problem which I'd encountered in the first place I used copper grease on the thermostat housing bolts when I tightened them. The troubles didn't finish there. The top hose was leaking so I ended up replacing that with a spare one I had. After that I refilled the cooling system and the car has been fine since. Better still, it is running cooler than before. The needle sits above the notch on the gauge only rising to just above halfway when idling in traffic. I believe that replacing the thermostat has made a difference.

Friday, June 22, 2007

From bad to worse

I tried drilling and tapping the studs that had sheared off and one side was fine but the other side didn't work so that means I'll have to replace the inlet manifold. Hopefully, the local Acclaim guru will have one spare otherwise I'm stuffed! Before anyone suggest it, no I'm not robbing any more bits off Project Blue!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I don't have anything to report for ages (I was rained off recently with last week's 48 hour rainathon!) and then something goes wrong.

Becky's been losing coolant like nobody's business just lately so I decided to swap the Triomatic radiator that I put in with the correct radiator that I have in my collection of Acclaim spares. One of the thermostat housing bolts sheared off. I was hoping that it wouldn't leak but it is. This means I'm gonna have to drill out the remains of the bolt and retap the thread or get one of those stud extractors. Another alternative would be to get another inlet manifold but this involves removing the carburettors. For now I've had to put Snowdrop back into service until I can sort this little problem out. I hope the weather stays dry.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

One more thing eliminated

I finally got round to doing a compression test on Project Blue and all 4 cylinders were giving a reading of 12 bar each so the engine is fine. One thing less to worry about. The filter had caught some more crap so I cleaned it out using some carb cleaner. I think I need more petrol as well.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

What is is with this car?

I gets ready to drop the tank and then it dawns on me. I added £10 worth of petrol and the car ran. On the road it wasn't too responsive. I bought a carburettor balancer and a Colourtune. I set the timing dynamically (it was reatarded) then I balanced the carbs. I fitted the Colourtune and my suspicions were confrimed. Project Blue was running too rich. No amount of tweaking with the mixture would make any difference so I set them to their initial settings. Things were better on the road but the car started misfiring and would cut out when I tried to set off in drive so I ended up leaving it for now.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I've got my desktop PC fixed so I can now post pics. This one is from Tuesday when I got the car running. I've been having problems since then. I've tried another set of carbs, I used the ignition module on Becky for an extended test. I'm certain that the ignition is fine because when Project Blue was running it was fine for a while then it would cut out and when I got it running again it would stall within 5 seconds so I suspect a fuel problem (have I been there before?) I know the fuel line is clear from the filter so I'm going to have to face the inevitable and drop the fuel tank. On a slightly more positive note my Autodata manual has arrived and in some ways it is better than the Haynes. Once the BL/Austin-Rover workshop manual arrives I'll have all the technical info I need.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

IT RUNS!!!!!!

Yesssssss!!!!!! I've got Project Blue running again. I even took it round the block a few times and it seemt to drive fine. It is running better but I reckon a good run would work wonders. Shame about the lack of tax & MoT. Also the brakes still don't seem quite 100%. At least I know I can bleed them on all 4 wheels. I reckon a tune up would be beneficial as well.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The latest

I feel I'm getting closer to getting Project Blue running again. The car will turn and fire but just won't run. I now have fresh fuel coming to the carbs and the fuel pump works. The rotor arm, distributor cap and spark plug leads are known working items. That just leaves the spark plugs so I bought a set of NGK plugs from Champion Motor Spares (told you I'd be naming names!) for £6.60 and once they're gapped they can go in when I get an opporunity. (weather permitting) There was a rattle coming from one of Becky's rear wheels and upon investigation I found out that the rear hub cover had worked looses. I decided to remove the drum and the brake shoes and when I'd reassembled everything the handbrake had improved! I'll have to do the other side as well then it'll be fine. Money's too tight to mention (as the song goes) so I won't be spending much on my fleet until I can get my finances under control. Still no sign of the motherboard so I'm still having to do this on my laptop. That docking station was the best £10 I ever spent! I can still use my monitor, mouse and keyboard from my desktop.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A bit on Project Blue

On the spur of the moment I decided to do a bit of work on Project Blue. I removed the fuel pump and then I operated the pump by hand and petrol came through. I then reconnected the fuel pipes and primed the carbs and rebolted the fuel pump on. Unfortunately I was unable to start the car because my brother came back & I had to move Becky out of the way as Project Blue still has to be jump started becuase there isn't enough power in the battery to crank the engine. At least I know that the fuel lines are clear so that's one less problem. If you're wondering why I haven't posted any pics for a while it is because my desktop PC is still out of action awaiting a replacement motherboard so I'm having to do everything on my laptop.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I think I've made a breakthrough on the rear brakes with my Acclaims. On closer inspection of the Haynes manual I think I've reassembled a couple of the springs in the wrong place. Once the rain lets up and I get some time I'll be taking a look. Fortunately this is something which won't cost me any money and will give me a working handbrake at last!

Snowdrop is back in use only because I'm going to a Triumph Dolomite Club meeting so I feel I should turn up in a Dolomite!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Curse this car!

Project Blue has me beat. I don't know why this car won't run. I think I'm gonna have to have a break from it for a while. There's no desperate rush to get it back on the road and when I come back to it I'll be in a different frame of mind. I've bid on a couple of factory workshop manuals on eBay so some more info will be of help to me.

I filled up Becky with petrol for the first time this year! I'll see how far she can go on a full tank. I took her for a trip over the Pennines (with my good lady) and round Manchester and she didn't miss a beat. I wish Project Blue was like that.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Project Blue

I managed to replace the brake pads. The old ones weren't all that bad but I managed to bleed the front calipers and the pedal feels firm. I replaced the rear shoes and now I've no handbrake! Why is it that when I replace brake shoes the handbrake stops working? I've tried starting the car and I'm still no further. I even put another £5 worth of petrol in the tank. I removed the fuel pump cover and all was fine. I think I'm gonna have to face the inevitable and drop the tank and clean it out.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Project Blue is braking me

The good news: I fitted the new wheel cylinder, bled it and the pedal feels like it should.

The bad news: When I removed the drum I noticed that one of the linings had come off the brake shoes so they'll have to be replaced. Fortunately, they're quite cheap so I'll replace the pads at the same time and then the brakes should be 100%. This means that Champion Motor Spares (the trusty local motor factor) will be getting some more of my business.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Latest on the fleet

First up Becky suffered a puncture so it was off to my local tyre fitter who repaired it for £6.

I've bought a new fuel filter for Project Blue. It is a generic one but as long as it does the job I ain't too bothered. I also bought a new one-man bleeding valve in readiness for finishing off the brakes. A new wheel cyinder has now been ordered from my trusty local motor factor (I think I really should be naming these places so I'll do it from now on) which will arrive tomorrow. I was hoping to get some work done but I've been rained off this evening.

Snowdrop is now getting a rest since completing the HCR at the weekend. I also want to sort out the clutch before I put her back into service. The biting point shouldn't be on the floor.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Working on Project Blue

I turned my attention towards the fuel system on Project Blue. Like I did on Snowdrop I managed to flush the main fuel line that goes from the filter to the bulkhead. Using an old fuel pump and some clean warm water did the trick. The car is now getting fuel through but when I can get it started it will run for a short while and then cut out. Next up will be the fuel pump.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Some progress made

First I'll let you know how the HCR went.

Snowdrop performed fine despit the low biting point on the clutch. I only visited 3 of the places out of 9. We had to find a pit board and couldn't find any. Because of this messing about it cost us time and after leaving the 3rd place we realized that we wouldn't have time to visit any more so it was back to the Manor in Fillongley for the breakfast. Apart from not visitng as many places as hoped it was enjoyable. The only bit of motorway we did was the M42 from junction 1 to junction 6 on the way back to Fillongley. My favourite bit of road was the A5 from Bangor to Bewts-y-coed.

I've just been working on Project Blue and I manged to get her running again. I rechecked the ignition timing and even watched No. 4 exhaust valve (visible when the oil filler cap is removed) and it was spot on. I removed & regapped the spark plugs. Still nothing. I refitted the old spark plugs and the car ran! Isn't that strange? Now I'm having fuel problems because there's none coming through now.

Friday, May 04, 2007


No, I'm not giving up anything. One of Snowdrop's front tyres was in need of replacement so I went to my trusty local independent tyre fitter and got it replaced for only £24. The guy said that it was caused by too many U-turns which I've been doing on a daily basis since I put the car into daily use so no more of them. Snowdrop is more-or-less ready to take part in the HCR this weekend. I've been trying to source a replacement wheel cylinder for Project Blue. The bleed nipple on the left hand one has sheared off and replacement is the only option so I've got my local motor factor on the case. There's a meeting tonight so I might give Becky a run out. She's also a bit easier and quicker to drive than Snowdrop. I wish Project Blue was on the road. That car is better equipped and I'd like to see how Acclaims drive with the auto box.

Even more on Snowdrop

I did a bit more work on Snowdrop last night. The gearbox rear mounting was replaced. I noticed this when I did the clutch plate. Fortunately I had a spare which was on my other gearbox so that was robbed and fitted on Snowdrop. She drives a lot better now so I'm now all set for the HCR. I investigated the clevis pin on the clutch pedal and it is fine. The hole in the pedal is a bit elongated but I don't think that affects the biting point. I'm sure it is the slave cylinder that is the problem so I think it is time to throw some money in the direction of the Triumph Dolomite Club for a recon slave cylinder.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

More with Snowdrop

I've now completed the job and the car drives fine but the biting point is almost on the floor. I reckon that's why the clutch plate wore away in the space of 10 months. An ex-Austin-Rover mechanic reckons that there might be wear at the clevis pin which attaches the pedal to the piston in the master cylinder which would cause a low biting point. I'm not gonna leave it until the clutch plate wears again! The rear gearbox mounting has broken so I'll have to rob the one off my other gearbox. I should be able to change it in situ without losing too much gearbox oil. I added some oil when the gearbox was out so there should be more than enough.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Progress with Snowdrop

Things are looking up with this car. The slipping clutch turned out to be a worn clutch plate and a replacement ended up costing me only £12.10 from my trusty local motor factor and I managed to fit it last night. Better still, I managed to get the gearbox back on this evening without having to call on an extra pair of hands. I'll be finishing it off tonight even if it means burning the midnight oil. The worst is behind me so it is plain sailing and it gives me a chance got get some miles put on the car before the HCR takes place.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Small progress

I decided to remove the spark plugs I'd fitted to Project Blue and they were fouled up with oil. (presumably from when the engine was overfilled with oil) I cleaned them up a bit and the car with it's charged battery wouldn't start. I took them out again cleaned them up some more and now the battery's run down and won't turn over the engine. I can't jump start Project Blue until my brother goes out.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Damn it!

Things didn't go at all well toady. The new battery went flat and then when I fitted the new dizzy cap and rotor arm Project Blue wouldn't start. I fitted the leads, distributor cap and rotor arm on Becky and she started up fine. I just don't understand it! I've checked for fuel delivery and it is getting through. I'm gonna put the battery on charge tonight and hopefully it will be fine. I tried bleeding some more brake fluid on the OS rear wheel cylinder. Unfortunately, the one-man bleed hose is past it. I'm susre I've got another sone somewhere. I've gotta do Snowdrop's clutch now she's entered for Club Triumph's Historic Counties Run. (HCR) I'll need to get some more Castrol Valvemaster as I'm running a bit low. Becky will be the backup car for this one. Everything I touch seems to break just lately. I'm still doing this on my laptop. Fortunately I've sourced an identical motherboard on eBay so that means I can just swap it. I can get a replacement PSU for less than a tenner so I think I might be turning the corner.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Latest progress...

I got the following jobs done:

Changed the engine oil.
Changed the oil filter.
Fitted new ignition leads.

I've got a distributor cap and rotor arm on order and they should be ready tomorrow. When I do oil changes I use a Triumph Spitfire sump to catch the old oil. On this ocassion it was overflowing causing me to spill oil (much to the distress of my mum) I've never seen so much oil come out. It must have been overfilled. It certainly pays to change the oil when the condition (and quantity) is unknown! I ended up getting some sand and put it down where I'd spilt the oil. I also tried checking the timing but the timing light wouldn't work on No. 1 ignition lead. Trying it on another lead revealed why the car was running like a bag of spanners. The disributor cap and rotor arm aren't producing electrical power to all the spark plugs. Once I've got my replacement parts tomorrow the problem should be solved.

We shall see...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

More progress with Project Blue

IT RUNS!!!!!! Well it runs like a bag of spanners. I suspect that it is crap from the 13 year hibernation period. Nothing a bit of Redex won't solve. I've already put some in the tank. Maybe I should put some in the carbs. Unfortunately, my carb cleaner is in Snowdrop which is over at Anita's awaiting clutch rectification. Apart from the brakes the rest of Project Blue seems to be working fine. I'll need to check the transmission fluid and do that oil and filter change. It will have to wait until after work tomorrow.

I replaced Becky's front brake pads. One side had hardly worn but the other side had worn right down to the metal. Strange isn't it?

I've been having problems with my desktop PC so I'm having to do this on my laptop.

Not good at the moment

I didn't make much progress on Project Blue last night. All I did was to replace the spark plugs (the old ones were black) and put £5 worth of petrol in the tank. I robbed the battery off Baby Blue in the hope of getting Project Blue started but it was flat so I put the battery on charge. I consoled myself with the latest edition of Practical Classics. I think I might have to bite the bullet and get a new battery but it will have to wait until the weekend if it comes to that. I won't be doing the oil and filter change until that car is running.

I think Becky's front brake pads need replacing. It was only about 6 months since I replaced them. Stuff doesn't seem to last these days. Fortunately they're quite cheap and easy to replace so it ain't a big job.

Snowdrop's clutch investigation will begin at the weekend but it will have to wait until I've finished getting Project Blue ready for MoT.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The only documents I've got are the registration certificate (V5C) and the last tax disc which expired at the end of December 1993 not long after the car's 10th birthday. The 13 year hibernation is coming to an end. A new battery and some fresh petrol will bring this car back to life. Unfortunately, the taxation class is Disabled so I'll have to go over to the local DVLA office in Leeds (unless I can do it by post) which is more hassle but I'll deal with that when I come to tax the car. I'm not gonna fiddle the robbing government much as I'd like to. On a less positive note Snowdrop's clutch is slipping. Because it was fitted fairly recently (within the last 12 months) I suspect contamination from wither an oil leak or a leak from the clutch slave cylinder. I'm going to have to remove the gearbox so I might replace the clutch slave cylinder while it is accessible. The Triumph Dolomite Clud do new ones. That reminds me: I've gotta renew my membership.
Posted by Picasa
She certainly looks a lot better for having been washed. The interior is perfect and the condition of the steering wheel and transmission lever (this baby's an auto) back up the mileage. I managed to bleed the brakes and now the pedal feels more like it should. I also managed to fit the new air filter. The coolant looks like it has been recently replaced and the engine oil doesn't look too bad. I'm gonna change the engine oil and filter anyway. It got dark before I could do any more work so it will have to wait.
Posted by Picasa
I now have the car. This is what she looked like before I did anything. The first thing I did was to wash her.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Progress on the new project

I've now got everything needed except for a radiator cap. I've added this car to my insurance policy for an extra £45. Footman James were on top form even apologising when I was inadvertly cut off. Anyway the car is now insured.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Look at that interior! Totally unmarked and clean. Doesn't need anything doing to it. The car is being delivered next Tuesday or Wednesday. I just need somewhere off the road to work on it. If the worst comes to the worst I'll keep it at home. My mum can like it or lump it. I don't care with a car as nice as this!
Posted by Picasa
Another view of her. She'll look a lot better with a good wash, a good service (changing ALL the fluids) then she'll be ready for the MoT.
I've added to the fleet. Another Acclaim and this one is a top-of-the-range CD with all the goodies. This car has been dry stored since 1994 and has on 22,000 miles on her.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 20, 2007

Here is the old part. This has taken some ingenuity to do this presumably because the right replacement part wasn't available. Anyway it has worked quite well.

On another note I shall be adding to my Triumph collection. Once the car is definitely mine I'll be updating this Blog. Watch this space!
I managed to find a replacement part on the carburettor which came off the Toledo. As you can see it should be a ball-and-socket joint at both ends. This was easily fitted and all is now well again.
I started having problems with Snowdrop's throttle linkage. The bottom part which was a ball-and-socket joint kept on popping out so I decided to raid my parts emporeum to find a replacement. The part looked like it had been bodged before but more of that a bit later...
Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 16, 2007

Carb problems

A new problem has cropped up. Part of the carburettor linkage keeps on coming off. There's a ball-and-socket joint that keeps on popping out. I don't think the offending part can be replaced on it's own (it ain't listed in the parts catalogue or on Rimmer Bros' website) so I can either cannibalise one of my spare carbs or fit Toledo's carb. (it is exactly the same - an SU HS4) Until I can sort it out I think I'll have to put Becky back into daily use. I can't keep on refitting the linkage every time it pops out.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Here is the finished job. I think the earlier units look better. Also, the back of the unit is protected by a rubber cover. I'm sure that the bean counters at BL did away with these as one of the many cost-cutting measures back in the 1970s. Anyway they work better now.
Posted by Picasa