Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gone but not forgotten

I've parted company with Snowdrop. Don't worry, I haven't sold or scrapped the car. As some of you may know this car suffered an accident in August and has been out of action since. I paid a visit to Vermont Classics in Yeadon and last night they've taken the car away to assess it. This will be a long-term thing so I've taken the tax disc out (it is valid till the end of next March) to claim a refund on the remaining 4 months and SORN the car at the same time. Hopefully, at the end of it I shall have a car with a decent body that'll last.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Repair work for Snowdrop

As some of you may know Snowdrop had an argument with a Merc Sprinter and has been sitting on Anita's drive ever since. As Anita is moving home soon I'll have to move this car so I decided to arrange to get it repaired. I'm not doing it through the insurance because the car would've been written off (beyond economical repair), I'd never see it again and it would have suffered the same fate as the Sprint so I paid Vermont Classics a visit and I've arranged for them to pick it up and get it assessed. They'll be doing the work anyway so I'll just get them to do it at their leisure and pay them something each month. Also, I can source the parts needed myself which will help with the cost. I'll also be losing my parts storage so I'm looking at putting my parts and tools into storage.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Carb swap

In order to address the 1850's thrist for petrol I've been looking at replacing the carburettors. The car came with twin SU HS6s on a TR7 manifold. I know this because I had to get a TR7 airbox as the 1850 airbox wouldn't fit. One of my Dolomite friends (I'll call him Alun) made me an offer of a straight swap: some SU HS4s on an 1850 manifold for my known working HS6s. He even sent me the carbs (along with another pair for spares) at his own expense on the proviso that I do the same with mine or bring them along at the next event that we're both attending. Top man. He's definitely a big Dolomite fan with the biggest collection of Dolomites in the West Midlands. The job of fitting them was easy enough and it was cheaper then the TC conversion I did on Snowdrop. I spent just £20 on parts from T.D. Fitchett who were on top form with their quality of parts & next-day delivery. I had to cannibalize the rear carbs to make a decent one but I've now got the car running and performance seems to have improved. I've put £10 worth of unleaded from the local Tesco at 97.9p a litre. Hopefully it should go a bit further now.

Blue has been in regular use lately (just passed 34,000 miles) and hasn't missed a beat.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


The exhaust section for Blue arrived. When the time came for fitting it I noticed that the glass out of one of my door mirrors was missing. A visit to the Guru soon sorted it out. Anyway, back to the story. I managed to fit the replacement exhaust tailpipe and all is well once again. I hope nothing else goes wrong as I won't be able to do anything about it. Things aren't looking good at the moment.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I ordered a replacement section of exhaust for Blue costing only £40 plus £12 delivery by FedEx. It was from a supplier in London. Nice to know that not everything from the capital is expensive. Being a man of lesiure these days I've now got all the time in the world to get it fitted. No progress on the jobhunting and I've got a appointment with the local JobCentre tomorrow. It's a far cry from the days when I was last claiming any benefits. (late 80s)

Some chav has snapped the wing mirrors off the 1850. I suppose this was a blessing in disguise as I'm not breaking the law by not having them and whenever I was doing any spannering they got in the way. I do prefer door mirrors anyway.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Time for an update

Since my last entry I've decided to pull out of the RBRR. Last Sunday I went down to the TDCIR (Triumph Dolomite Club's international day) and I went down in the Dolomite 1850. On the way down I took it easy & didn't lose much transmission fluid but on the way back I pushed the car a bit harder and it was like it had been before so. The fluid is coming out of the bellhousing vent so I reckon the torque converter's leaking. This might explain why fuel consumption is crap. Surely, it can't be the Sprint carbs.

The exhaust section I got off the Guru for Blue wouldn't fit. Blue has the later type and the Guru only has the earlier type. I can't use Becky's because she has the earlier type and I'm not swapping the entire exhaust because of the tendency to blow at the manifold joint on those types of exhaust. I've been quote about £80 from Kwik-Fit and my local Motosave. A local Unipart was asking around £60. I'll have to see if I can source one a bit cheaper. The Guru has a complete later type but he will only sell the complete exhaust, not the tailpipe.

Snowdrop remains out of action since the accident. I really need to reapir the leaking brake master cylinder I remove from the Dolomite 1850 and fit it. Ideally the car needs restoring but that's not really possible at this time.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Misery & woe

Problems problem problems. First the Dolomite 1850 won't now run despite replacing all the ignition components and taking out the distributor. Blue's tailpipe fell off the rear silencer yesterday to add to my misery. I managed to get a replacement rear section from the Guru so that'll be an easy enough fix - if this bloody rain will let up!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It has been a good weekend

The autobox has stopped leaking but the car was running like a bag of spanners at low revs. I started to replace the ignition parts in the hope that it would cure the problem. First up were the spark plugs, next it was the HT leads and after cleaning the terminals on the distributor cap & rotor arm it cured the problem. New ones will be ordered but the car runs like a dream. I'd also cleaned the carburettor dashpots and balanced the carbs which helped things along. I've stopped the exhaust blowing at the manifold-downpipe joint so it is a bit quieter. I also solved the problem with my CD player which was losing the memory whenever it turned the ignition off and lately it would lose power. First I moved the earth wire to a more suitable earthing point (I ended up using the driver's door treadplate) then I ran a wire from one of the fuse terminals (a permanent live) for the memory wire on my CD player and now the CD player works as it should. I cleaned up the contact on the passenger side courtesy lamp switch and the interior lamp now comes on when the front passenger door is open.

All in all, a productive weekend.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Triumph over adversity

When I picked the car up I noticed the that brakes hardly worked but more of that later on. I filled up as planned but the jetwash was out of action. Today the automatic transmission wouldn't work and left me stranded. For some reason I'd lost 2 litres of trnamission fluid. Once it was replaced all was well. I suspect that due to lack of use the gaskets were porous. Now the car is back in use it should come right. I've not had any problems since. I also changed the engine oil and filter. I bled the brakes and somehow air was getting in. At fist I thought it was a leaking wheel cylinder and tried various motor factors without success. Then it dawned on me that the master cylinder could be leaking. I robbed Snowdrop's as that was known to be working having been rebuilt for the 2006 MoT. Once it was fitted and the brakes bled it was fine. Now I'll all set for tomrrow's Northern Dolly Day up in the Yorksire Dales.

Friday, August 15, 2008

On the road...

The Dolomite 1850 is back on the road where it belongs. I was out gophering so I swung by the garage and got the car taxed. Taxing a car has never felt so good knowing that I didn't have to hadn over a penny to Gordon "the moron" Brown. It'll be ready to pick up after work and the first thing I'll be doing is fill up with petrol, give the car a good jetwash and put some miles on.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It has been a good week this week

Following the accident with Snowdrop it looks like just the outer panels are damaged. I don't think it warrants a reshell. The car needs restoring so I might go that route next year when finances improve.

Anyway, back to the present. I called in at the garage where the 1850 is and the mechanic hasn't had the car tested yet. I'd mentioned that it needs welding so he's gone round the car to see what needed doing. I took the opportunity to show him what Brian and I had found. The mechanic reckons it'll cost around £400 to get it through which I'm pleased with. With no road tax to pay for I can throw a bit of money at getting that all-important MoT certificate and it'll be ready by Friday.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

And to top off my week...

...Brian has had a look at my Dolomite 1850 and reckons there's too much work for him to do on it. I'll be seeing him tomorrow morning. I know more than him on how these cars are screwed together so if he can get as much done as possbile and let the garage do the rest. He's mentioned the brake hoses, the brake pipes & a track rod end need replacing so I might end up cannibalizing Snowdrop if it comes to that. I need to get that car road legal so I'll pull out all the stops.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Damage to Snowdrop

I've had another look and I think the damage caused in yesterday's accident is just outer panel damage. I won't know until I tear down the front end of the car. It needed restoration for the MoT anyway. I've spoken to Brian and hopefully he can get the 1850 ready for the MoT over the weekend. With this in mind I can arrange the test. I hope I can get it on the road in time for Northern Dolly Day on the 17th. Once that car is on the road I can start with Snowdrop.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Just when it couldn't get worse... suddenly does. Snowdrop was hit by one of the works van as I was leaving work on my lunch hour. I was just about to leave the car park to turn left and before I even got chance to look left the van had already hit me. It was just a glancing blow but both front wings and the outer front panel are damaged. If the inner panels aren't damaged then the car can be put back on the road. She needs restoring and I was thinking of taking her off the road when the MoT was up. Once the 1850 is on the road (this is the opportunity to this one done) I can park Snowdrop in it's place.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Uttely exhausted - aaarrrrggghhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

For the umpteenth time Snowdrop's exhaust is blowing at the manifold/downpipe gasket and I'm getting to the end of my tether. Also my indicators have stopped working. Hopefully, that'll be a matter of replacing the relay.

On a slightly more positive note I was able to get to Woodvale in Snowdrop for the first time since I bought that car. I wish the 1850 was on the road. It's a better car and more suited to motorway cruising.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Radiator woes & other stuff

My eBay purchases arrived yesterday so the first thing I did was to swap the badges on the Dolomite 1850. Being a 1972 car it should have the correct badges for the year. It had later badges (the donor car was from 1978) and once the swap was done it looked a bit more like it should.

Snowdrop's radiator upgrade didn't quite go as planned. I was hoping to fit the Dolomite 1500 radiator (which is why I'd bought the eBay bottom hose) but once the old one was out I realized that the brackets were different. It just so happened that I had a Dolomite 1300 radiator (another eBay bargain) that was in better condition so that ended up going in. So far it appears that it just needed a decent radiator rather than a bigger one as the car runs a bit cooler than before. The trip to Woodvale this coming Sunday will be the test. I might end up fitting the bigger radiator...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Forgive me for I have sinned...

Having done as much spannering as I can on the Dolomite 1850 I did the P work. Yes, I polished the car. I'd washed it beforehand and decided to dabble with the polish and before you knew it I ended doing the whole car. Not quite Alan Chatterton proportions but a sin is a sin.

On a (slightly) more serious note I've just added the car to my insurance policy at a cost of £44 and I declared the alloys. I was at the local tip and I run into Brian (my RBRR co-driver) and asked him when he can do the welding. Ideally it needs to be at his garage (he's got a pit) which was why I decided to insure the car sooner rather than later. If I have to drive the car there I'm not doing it uninsured. It hasn't left the drive since I got it 3 weeks ago.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Getting there

More jobs ticked off the list:

Front number plate fitted (OK, so it wasn't on the list but it needed doing) this invloved a trip to the local B&Q for some HSS drill bits to drill a hole in the front valance for the screws.
New expansion bottle pressure cap from the local Halfrauds. The guy there was older than me so I was confident he know what my Dolomite was and he came up trumps. The cooling system now pressurizes and the car warms up properly.
The brake fulid was replaced and looks better than what was there before. I don't know how long the old fluid had been there. It was a bit dark and murky! One thing less to worry about.

I found another hole. This one was the offside rear arch where it meets the boot floor. Again, this is smaller than a 50p coin. That's 7 places that need plating. Money's getting a bit tight so I'll have to put the MoT on hold until things improve.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Made a start on my list...

I got 3 of my jobs on my list ticked off.

First up was the fanbelt. I managed to get it tensioned with an extra pair of hands.
Next was the exhaust downpipe at the manifold joint which is now gas tight.
The transmission lever was adjusted and works exactly as it should in all positions.

I've also removed part of the broken rear exhaust mounting in order to get a replacement as the rear of the exhaust is currently resting on the rear anti-roll bar.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

eBay purchases

I won both my remaining eBay bids. I'd been outbid on the badges but I upped my bid and won. I should make my money back on these. There's enough to make up 4 sets and I can sell them cheap and still make a profit.

I tackled the exhaust manifold joint on Snowdrop and it is now gas tight but I can still hear it blowing. I've got a suspicion that it is the manifold-to-head gasket. Easy enough once the carbs have been removed. I don't fancy doing it again. I've already removed the carbs twice. I filled up today and according to my calculations I've averaged just over 36mpg. Not bad and the price of petrol has gone down as well! Tonight will be the 1850's turn for some attention. I've already drawn up a list of jobs that need doing and her they are:

Welding the bottom of the offside front outer wing (the bit between the wheel and A post)
Welding to the offside front inner wing by the front mounting on the subframe.
Welding to the offside front inner wing near the bulkhead.
Welding to the offside chassis rail in the middle.
Welding to the offside chassis rail at the back.
Welding to the end of the nearside outer sill next to the jacking point.
Change the brake fluid.
Check the rear brakes.
Adjust the transmission lever.
Re-tension the fan belt
Make the exhaust downpipe/manifold joint gas tight.
Replace the rear exhaust mounting.
Change the engine oil & filter.
Replace the ignition parts (plugs, leads, cap, rotor arm, points & condensor)
Replace the expasion bottle cap.
Secure the brake & fuel pipes.
Re-varnish the door cappings.

It looks like a long list but some of these jobs will be easy and won't cost me any money. Better than throwing hundreds at the MoT man when it fails. My RBRR co-driver Brian will be doing the welding. It should be easy for him having rebuilt a Herald body tub that was rotten.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Work on the Dolomites

Last night I got some more stuff done.

Snowdrop is now back in use following the installation of a Panasonic radio/cassette. I bought it 10 years ago from my local Cash Converters for £80. At that time I'd just got a Ford Orion through the MoT so I bought the radio/cassette to celebrate. Anyway, it is now installed and fully working.

The Dolomite 1850 has had the new brake pads fitted. The old ones weren't worn to the limit but there's no harm in fitting new ones. The pistons pushed back easily enough so that's a good sign. The brake fluid's looking a bit dark so that'll need replacing. I found some new pins for the brake pads in the boot so they were fitted at the same time. When I was fitting the new pads I found yet another 50p sized hole that needs plating. Again, it is minor but will fail the MoT. I'm up to 6 bits of welding now. I spoke to Brian yesterday and he's going to come over to have a look so hopefully things are moving forward on the welding front.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Little progress

The good news: I managed to get an inner headlight from Barry McGrath the Acclaim Guru. How, you ask? He had a MK1 2.5PI estate restored for an obscene amount of money and in doing so he fitted halogen headlights in place of the original sealed beam units so he had some spare. The Dolomite 1850 uses the same headlights as the Triumph 2000 range so it was just a matter of fitting it and now I have fully working headlights.

The bad news: That's all I got done last night. Snowdrop's CD player is dead and tried the take half of the electrics with it. Despite dismantling the unit (to get a CD out) and doing a few tests with my multimeter I couldn't find the problem so I'll have to bin it. I have a Panasonic radio/cassette which I can fit in it's place. I need something as it's the most important driving accessory and wires sticking out of the apertuere is a bit unsightly. I can hook up my MP3 player when it is done.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Clutch job done

I mange to crack on and get Snowdrop's clutch plate fitted. This time I manage to refit the gearbox on my own. The last time I did this not all of the bolt holes were lined up and I suspect that caused the plate to fail in such a short space of time. No such problems this time and I was able to get full set of bolts together so my gearbox is bolted on correctly. Using the proper alignment tool probably helped getting the gearbox back on as well as the input shaft went in without any major problems. I just need to rewire my CD player as my previous power wire was really just a temporary measure and easy enough to sort out.

I was outbid on the headlight unit but while I was at the Bradford Classic I saw the Acclaim Guru (he had is MK1 2.5PI estate there) and he might have a suitable headlight unit for my Dolomite 1850. There's still the brake pads to fit as this job has been put back by Snowdrop's clutch failure.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Been on eBay...

I've bid for a few stuff on eBay for my Dolomites. I've bid on a bottom radiator hose for Snowdrop's radiator upgrade, a job lot of badges for my 1850 as it has 1978 badges when it should have 1972 badges (don't ask why) and an inner headlight also for the 1850. I've bid my maximum price so if I get outbid then so be it.

Snowdrop's gearbox is nearly ready to come off. Just need to remove the transmission tunnel, disconnect the propshaft, disconnect the reversring light switch and remove the clutch slave cylinder. To aid removal I've undone one of the engine mountings. I might undo the other side so's I can get some more clearance from the subframe.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Another clutch disaster!

Snowdrop's clutch has done it again! The car was immobilized the same as when I was on my way to Crich so I'm certain the clutch plate has fallen apart again. I called out the recovery and got the car towed to Anita's house from where I can do the repairs and get back to work in Blue. I need to get to the root of the problem rather than just replacing the plate. To this end I've bought another clutch alignment tool. I don't think the Draper one I've got does the job properly. If the clutch isn't lined up it could be causing the problem. Also, I need the check the input shaft when I remove the gearbox. If it is bent then the plate might be under stress causing it to eventaully fall apart. This means that getting the 1850 roadworthy has been set back until Snowdrop is repaired. I've got my work cut out for me tonight. The oil and filter change is also due, the blowing exhaust needs looking at and I've a radiator upgrade to do so this car needs plenty of work at the moment.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Getting horny now...

Don't worry, I'm not referring to anything sexual. The Dolomite 1850 now has a working horn. I removed the original horns and fitted the one that was among the spares in the boot. It works so that's good enough for me. I also removed the Mountney steering wheel and refitted the original which was also in the boot. Moving on to Snowdrop, the exhaust is still blowing but is sounds like the manifold joint. I'll leave it until I do my radiator upgrade. At the same time I noticed that one of my rubber fuel pipes to the rear carb was leaking. I had a spare to hand and once it was fitted all was well again.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm getting there...

I went to S&S Preparations and got an airbox, air filter, washer bottle and some tubing for the 1850. I fitted the parts and put a nut on the other exhaust thread and the car runs a lot quieter (still blowing a bit) and there's no smoke from the exhaust. Once I'd lowered the front end back on the ground (it was on axle stands) I was able to drive the car. Once I've sorted out the exhaust properly, replaced the inner headlight and got the welding done (found another small hole at the back of the OS chassis rail. Ideally it needs replacing) it should be ready for the dreaded MoT.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Exhausting - the saga continues

Snowdrop's exhaust let go again on my way to work. Fortunately his has just come out at the downpipe-centre section joint. With all this rain I don't fancy doing it so I might get my local Motosave to sort it out after work. This along with the brake pads is p***ing me off at the moment.

More progress...

I finished putting the alternator mounting bolt on and get the belt tensioned. I tightene up one of the exhaust manifold nuts. (the other has me beat for the time being) I found out why the starter wouldn't turn. One of the inhibitor connections had come off so once it was back on the starter worked again (only with the selector in N) and the car fired up. It was still blowing (only one nut on the manifold joint, remember) but there was smoke coming out of the exhaust. Defintely not oil so I assume it is stale petrol and condensation. I'll need to add some fresh petrol at some point. The engine warmed up and apart from the blowing exhaust there aren't any nasty noises. When the selector was in P the car tried to move backwards so the selector needs further adjustment.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Little progress on the 1850

I managed to get one of my exhaust nuts on but I need a deep socket and a UJ (I had one but it broke ages ago) to finish off my exhaust. I fired the car up and the rev counter is now working. I managed to get the fan belt on by removing the alternator mounting bolt far enough to fit the belt but it needs finishing off. The starter stopped working so I have to start it with a screwdriver to bridge the terminals. The rain didn't help so hopefully I can make some more progress this evening when I've got the right tools to finish off. Snowdrop's exhaust is blowing again. I keep on scraping the downpipe/middle section clamp on the drive at home. Hopefully once I've remade the joint it should cure the problem.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Nuts to this

My nuts an spring washers arrived in the post today so I'll be battling the rain to get the exhaust attached to the manifold and we should have a quieter Dolomite 1850. I'm no further on with replacing any of the other bits. Digging stuff out is a no no with this wet weather at the moment. I'll need to make some proper connections for the coil and get the VIN plate riveted back on (it had come off)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It lives!

I've now got my Dolomite 1850 running just 48 hours after getting the car. As suspected it was the +ve side of the coil that needed connecting. I studied the wiring diagram in the factory workshop manual and read the section about the coil which said which colour wires were fitted to which side of the coil. Armed with this information I searched the engine bay and found two wires which corresponded to the wire colour (white/yellow) for the +ve side of the coil. There was also a white/slate wire which is for the tachometer. (rev counter) Once the white/yellow wire was connected to the coil (I had to bodge it as the two wires had female bullet connectors. I'll use something more permanent later on.) the car fired up without any problems whatsoever. The fuel gauge can't be far wrong as it was reading just under the 1/4 mark. The car was noisy but that was because the exhaust downpipe isn't bolted to the manifold. I've already ordered the nuts & spring washers from Rimmer Bros so once they've arrived I can sort that out and it'll run a lot quieter.

Monday, July 07, 2008

More progress

Got a bit further with my 1850. I filled the radiator, I replaced the wiper blades, got a new fanbelt but I couldn't fit it so I've left that. I found the windscreen washer jets in the boot so I fitted them. Just need the washer bottle. I wonder if my Toledo one will fit. I jacked up the front of the car and put it on axle stands. I adjusted the selecter and now the reversing light doesn't come on when the lever is in the "park" position. The starter now works but the car won't run. The live feed for the coil isn't connected so I need to investigate. I'll get the circuit diagram printed from the workshop manual. Not long before this car will be running. While I was under the car I noticed a couple of more places that will need welding. The NS chassis rail (the Triumph Dolomite Club sell this section should the worst come to the worst) and a small hole in the OSF inner wing. Again, these aren't major problems especially if I can get my RBRR co-driver to sort them out for me. I also noticed that the fuel and brake lines are insecure at the NS chassis rail (where the rust holes are) but that's not anything major. I didn't expect a pristine car but getting it back on the road should be easy enough.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

My addition to the fleet

I've bought another Dolomite. This one is a 1972 1850 which means that it is classed as a "Historic Vechicle" which means free road tax. At £275 including delivery from Surrey it was well worth a punt. The first pic below is what it looked like when it arrived.
After a wash and a vaccuum the car looked better. One of the tyres needed inflating so it was off with the wheel and over to use my tyre inflator which runs off Blue. While the wheel was off I looked at the brake pads and they look like they'll need replacing.

I fitted the rear number plate, reconnected the battery & fitted the rear seat base which had come off. Most of the electrics work except the starter motor (the motor itself is fine. Just a wiring problem from the ignition switch), horn, one of the courtesy light switches, one of the inner headlights & the windscreen washer. I need a new fanbelt, wiperblades, air cleaner, winscreen washer bottle, windscreen washer tubing, nozzles. The exhaust manifold to downpipe joint needs assembling and there's no spare wheel. According to the seller the car has Sprint carbs (SU HS6s) so I might either fit a Sprint air cleaner or replace the carbs with proper 1850 items. It also has a Mountney steering wheel. I might just sell that on and refit the original which is in the boot along with a few other spares.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Accident scene revisited and other stuff.

When I took Project Blue in for the MoT I walked all the way to Anita's house so I could go to work in Snowdrop. On the way I passed the scene of the accident I had in the Dolomite Sprint. As you can see the cable box is none the worse which was more than could be said for the Sprint.

On closer inspection there were still pieces of glass from the NSR door which took the brunt of the impact.
Project Blue didn't need much for the MoT. Just brake hoses, some adjustment to the handbrake and one new tyre. Total cost: £220 which is less than last year.
Snowdrop is still running fine. I checked the oil the other day and it was way down so I put the last of my oil in which brought it up but was still below and today I bought a litre of Duckhams 15W40 (the nearest they hadto 20W50) from my local Motosave and the level is now between min and max. It'll do until the next oil change which is just over 1000 miles away.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Exhausting part 4

Yesterday I ordered a new bracket and a rubber for the exhaust tailpipe from T.D. Fitchett. The part arrived in the post today and it is the right part so once it is fitted Snowdrop's exhaust should be 100%

MoT time for Project Blue

I went to my local garage to arrange the MoT and Blue will be going in sometime next week. I'm fairly confident that it'll pass. After all, Becky passed her last MoT (August 2006) without even any advisories so fingers crossed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wheely great

Before I get on to the main subject I just wanna say that I ordered a new tax disc for Project Blue. The MoT is due on July 10th so I'd better sort that out as well. Can't see the car failing on anything.

Anyway, back to the story. I got some sheets of wet and dry yesterday evening and got to work on Snowdrop alloys. I started off on the 220 grit and I noticed an improvement straight away. The right rear wheel didn't need the 220 grit so I left it. The left rear was the worst so it didn't come up too well but it was better than before so a step in the right direction. I moved on to the 1200 grit and after that it was time to polish the wheels with some metal polish I had. I'm pleased with the result but the left rear wheel will need some more work to bring it up to standard.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Exhausting part 3

Last night I sorted out the blowing rear joint on Snowdorp's exhaust. I undid the joint applied LOTS of exhaust paste and put it back together and now I have a 100% leak free exhaust. While I was at it I replaced the middle section rubber with one I had that was in as-new condition. The only thing left to sort out is the rear bracket. I can see some more MIG practice coming on...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Exhausting part 2

The maifold joint started blowing again so on Friday evening I removed the carbs, (for better access) undid the joint, smeared LOTS of exhaust paste both sides of the manifold gasket and put it back together. I was at the West Yorkshire TSSC meeting on Tuesday and I was talking to Mik one of my Triumph friends (he races a Spitfire 1500) and told him about my exhaust woes and he advised me to use exhaust assembly paste so I followed his words of wisdom instead of Roy's. The worst part of the job was refitting the carbs but I got there. The rear section is still bowing at the joint (I didn't use any assembly paste when I fitted it) so I'll have to sort that out when I get chance. On Saturday I took Snowdrop out to Scarborough and she didn't put a foot wrong apart from a noise on the way backwhich only appeared on the overrun. It turned out to be a couple of loose wheel nuts so once they were tightened all was well. The next day was a show for Snowdrop at Harewood House where I tagged along with West Yorkshire TSSC like I did last year. The club won a prize for their stand which was just a few Triumphs, a plain beige gazebo and some banners. It's been 350 miles since I sorted out the exhaust manifold joint and it is still holding up. I think I've cured it. Just that rear section joint and for the first time Snowdrop will have a 100% leak-free exhaust.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Photos of the "Dales Bramble"

Just thought I'd write about the "Dales Bramble" that took place on Saturday. This first pic was at the start from the Pendle & Pennine meeting venue (the Old Stone Trough in Kelbrook) there were 6 of us in 4 cars.

By the time we got here we'd lost one of the Spits back at Hawes where we'd stopped for a "comfort break". We didn't go the the Wensleydale cheese factory but I've already been there a couple of times so I wasn't bothered. It was quite enjoyable and we had a few stops at Jervaulx Abbey (good food in the tearoom), Masham and Fountains Abbey. I quite liked the straight roads and the single track roads. Snowdrop was the right car to take on this run. The exhaust had let go near Grimwith Reservoir but I was able to carry on and peeled off at Bolton Abbey and made my way back home without further incident.

Glass replacement

Yesterday evening I decided to make a start with Becky by cleaning up the broken glass. Spen turned up to see the next door neighbour and then started to help. First up, he fetched a vaccuum cleaner and the broken glasss was soon taken care of. Next we installed the replacement glass. Having done this before I was prepared having bought some washing line and some cheap washing-up liquid (75p) from the local Co-op. It went quite well and we managed to fit the trim strip using flat bladed screwdrivers. Al done in time for me to make the local TSSC meeting in time. Having done the rear glass has encouraged me to start and get this car back on the road. The carbs will be next to sort out.

Monday, June 09, 2008


I went down to Lincolnshire yesterday to pick up the exhaust rear section (from Roy the same guy I got the carbs from) and it was as described. Well worth it. I clocked up a total of 250 miles in Blue and despite losing a bit of power a few times the journey was trouble free. I'd already put some Redex in the tank when I filled up so that may have solved any remaining problems with the fuel system. When I got back I changed Blue's coolant and then I moved on to replace Snowdrop's exhaust rear section. The exhaust is still not leak-free because it is blowing at the manifold. Roy did impart to me some words of wisdom on the subject. I could either use bathroom sealant (still got some left from when I did the Sprint's windscreen) or lithium-based grease instead of assembly paste so I'll gave the bathroom sealant a try. Roy said he'd done the sealant on his and it has remained leak-free to this day. I balanced the carbs and there is more power. The front carb was sticking but a bit of carb cleaner has hopefully freed it. That blowing manifold gasket doesn't help though...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Good and bad news

The guy who sold me the carbs for Snowdrop sent me a linkage along with an original throttle cable so the linkage is now as it should be. I adjusted the ignition timing back to 10 deg BTDC as the car was pinking under load after my previous timing adjustment. I removed the rear exhaust section and welded it up as best I could (I'm still a crap welder) but during today's "Dales Bramble" (a run out in the Yorkshire Dales) the rear exhaust section let go. The car is still drivable but I need a new section of exhaust as I have nothing suitable in my spares collection. I have sourced a replacement so I should be back up and running soon.

The DVLA have sent me a reminder for Blue's tax. Why can't the Government reintroduce the rolling date for free road tax? One thing worse than paying tax is not paying it. My new arrival (when I get it) will cost me nothing to tax (the reason why I was interested in the car in the first place)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A few more things

Here's the latest:

One of the terminals on the starter motor to solenoid cable on Snowdrop broke. I ended up getting an off-the-shelf cable from my local Motosave costing me just over £3 and it fitted perfectly as well as solving the problem. I'm still trying to quieten my rear section of exhaust and I've resigned myself to getting it welded. I dug out my timing light last night and checked the timing and I retarded it to about 12-13 deg BTDC and it has made a difference. There is now a bit more power and it runs better. The car starts better and it doesn't run-on when I turn the ignition off. I finally got a response from the DVLA about the keeper history. I now have the name of the first registered keeper, the name of the dealer who supplied the car (Cox of Keighley) and I found out that Snowdrop is still on the original engine.

Last week one of the local kids smashed Becky's rear window. One of the dads (I'll call him Spen) has offered his help and even searched high and low for a replacement glass. I managed to get hold of one from the Acclaim Guru and Spen is not only going to help me fit it but he's gonna help me get this car back on the road so it is a blessing in disguise.

Nothing new with Blue. I might need to change the fuel filter but other than that she's running fine.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Did a bit more spannering

Yesterday evening's spannering didn't go too well. I fitted the temperature sender and now the gauge is reading higher than before. I'll check the voltage stabilizer first. I tightened the screws at the bottom of the seat back on the rear seat. I finally got round to investigating the loose radio aerial and it will never fit properly so I'm looking at a replacement. Nothing a trip to my local motor factor won't solve.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dodgy temperature gauge

The temperature gauge stopped working over the weekend. I was able to eliminate the votlage stabilizer as the fuel gauge was working fine so I earthed the wire from the sender and it was working so I ordered a new sender from Rimmer Bros and it has arrived today. The sender was originally from the Toledo so it's no surprise it has finally died. I'm looking at adding to the fleet but as nothing's been finalized I'll be keeing the details under wraps. All I'll say is that I'll be doing the Round Britain Reliability Run in it.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Choke sorted

The choke cable arrived yesterday so I fitted it and I now have a fully operational choke. To swap the choke I had to remove the air cleaner and the reset control for my trip counter. I put some fuel treatment in the tank when I filled up yesterday. I also bought some Castrol Valvemaster Plus. It costs the same from my local Motor World as it does for Valvemaster ordinaire from Halfords so I reckoned it was worth a punt. There's a local show on this weekend so hopefully I'm all set.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A bit of fettling with Snowdrop

One of my alloys needed touching up so it was out with the black Hammerite smooth. While I was at it I did the sills, blower motor, brake servo, the radiator and the door mirror. Not perfect but it looks better than before. I also sorted out the exhaust. The tailpipe joint hadn't been done properly so I dismantled it and reassembled it making sure it was done properly this time. I found some small holes in the rear silencer so I filled them with some exhaust putty and now I have a totally leak free exhaust for the first time on this car. I've also ordered a brand new choke cable from Rimmer Bros. The choke is still sticking and the trimmed cable isn't helping.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Carb swap part 4

I managed to sort out my throttle cable problem. I fitted the brand new cable I bought from Rimmer Bros and I bridged the gap with some garden wire I found so the car is now drivable. After some road testing I had to adjust the tickover and the throttle cable but other than that it is running fine. There is more power and it doesn't struggle with passengers or when it is on a hill. (plenty of them in West Yorkshire!) The exhaust isn't entirely leak free. It is blowing at the tailpipe joint which is down to me not pushing the pipe far enough in to make a good seal. If the weather stays dry I'll tackle it tonight.

Edit: I've finally replaced that horrible aftermarket door mirror with a standard one. Definitely an improvement and the screw holes were in the right place as well. Just the passenger side to do. I've declared my mods to the insurance who wanted an extra £27. Better safe than sorry.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Carb swap part 3

The saga continues...

I managed to fit the exhaust and I got the car running but it was revving like mad. So I left it until this morning. When I investigated I found out that with the throttle cable fitted the throttle was open. On checking my parts catalogue I found out that the bracket for the throttle cable is off an automatic. Out of my 3 throttle cables none of them will fit. The exhaust seems to be leak free so it isn't all bad. Well worth the extra mileage down to Guliford.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Carb swap part 2

Here's the latest:

I've managed to fit the carbs and manifolds without too much trouble. The only thing I'm missing is the hose for the brake servo but I made it to the local Motosave just before it closed and I got what I needed along with some more antifreeze as I'd lost quite a bit of coolant when I changed the manifold hoses. (the inlet manifold has coolant running through it) The exhaust was ready to let go as the rear part of the front section had split. No wonder it was blowing. Lucky it lasted on yesterday's epic journey down south.

Part 3 to follow...

Carb swap part 1

As I've mentioned before I was planning to fit twin carbs to Snowdrop and replace the exhaust. This is the first part of this little project and part 1 is my account of getting the parts together. Yesterday I topped up Snowdrop's petrol tank before setting off on my epic journey. (epic for a Dolomite 1300 with a perforated exhaust!) First stop was Rimmer Bros in Lincoln where I picked up the small parts (nuts, bolts, washers, gaskets, etc) costing me just over £85. Next up was Roy (triplecustard on the TDC forum) who had the carbs along with the manifolds and air cleaner. Well worth £50 and just need a good clean. Another of my Dolomite friends, Derek (Autonet7 on the TDC forum) had a Dolomite 1500 exhaust that he was giving away free. He was in Guilford and I decided that having gone as far as Roy's (the bottom corner of Linolnshire about 20 miles from Peterborough) I decided to go on to Guilford. A complete exhaust would be worth the extra petrol. When I got there I wasn't disappointed. Derek had struggled to separate the front and middle sections of the exhaust without success (I knew this before I came down) but with my help we managed to separate them and I was able to fit the exhaust in Snowdrop's boot. I also took a propshaft (useful as a spare with a decent looking centre bearing) and a starter motor which we worked out was from a Dolomite 1850 so it was worthwhile. The journey back took me about 4 and a half hours which wasn't bad. I stopped off at Milton Keynes to get some petrol by which time I'd covered 405 miles. The petrol tank holds 12.5 gallons so that worked out at least 32.4 miles to the gallon and I know how far I can go on a full tank of petrol. I put £30 worth of expensive BP unleaded (£1.10 per litre!) in and that was enough to get me back the remaining 170 miles to Anita's house in Halifax. Despite doing around 70mph Snowdrop behaved all the way back and the temperature gauge remained constant (I was running the heater on hot) I was sweating even though I was wasn't wearing my fleece or jumper. I got back safely but the exhaust sounds worse. I think it is nearly ready to let go. Lucky I have a better one. Defintely worth the trip to Guilford. Total mileage: 575

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The part arived this morning in the post. Rimmer Bros have gone up in my estimation especially since they had the open day last October for the Triumph Dolomite Club. Just need to fit it and then I'm sorted! I'm in 2 minds whether to fit it while I'm at home (got the tools here) or do the job at Anita's where I can paint the bracket and keep my hands clean. (got the gloves there along with my paints)
I've also sent off a form to the DVLA requesting the keeper history. I've been wanting to find out who had the car before me. At £5 it is worth a try. I might get a Heritage certificate as well but they cost a bit more so I've been loath to do so.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I don't believe it!

Without wishing to sound like Victor Meldrew, no sooner than I get the clutch fixed something else breaks. The exhaust tailpipe bracket decided to make a getaway last night. When I get back to base I had a look around, found a length of washing line and used it to tie the tailpipe to the rear bumper bracket. I've ordered a replacement from Rimmer Bros so my repair will do until the replacement part arrives.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Clutch replacement.

I managed to get the clutch done on Snowdrop. While I was at it I decided to paint the front floorpans. This what they looked like before:

This is what it looked like after painting. Not pretty but hopefully it will help to preseve the car. It is a definite improvement. One I got the gearbox and clutch off I found out what the problem was.The clutch plate had quite literally come apart and it was no wonder I'd lost drive quite suddenly. Once again I struggled with getting the gearbox back on and I managed to get it done with the help of an extra pair of hands. Unfortunately, I had damaged and engine mounting when jacking the engine up but fortunately I had a spare in the glove box and that was fitted. I've put some exhaust putty on the exhaust quieting it down. It will do until I can fit a replacement. I'm still looking at getting a brand new stainless steel one from the Triumph Dolomite Club. After I'd finished I vacuumed the interior out and it looks quite tidy.

Friday, April 25, 2008

At last!

I've been paid out for the Sprint. As soon as the cheque arrived I hot footed it down to the bank and paid it into my account. I can now move on with my planned improvements to Snowdrop. Before I can do that I need to sort out the clutch. I'd ordered one from Champion Motor Spares and I picked it up after work costing me £45. I'm hoping to get it fitted over the weekend. Anita's landlord is getting funny with her saying I can't do repairs on the driveway. He thinks we're not looking after the place but it isn't a mess and if I don't fix Snowdrop it won't get done. He's not a classic car enthusiast which is no surprise as he drives a Bimmer and as some of you may know I don't have a high opinion of those who own the products of Bavaria Motor Works. I'm hoping to sort the clutch hydraulics out as well. I'm going to order a new clutch salve cylinder from the Triumph Dolomite Club in a bid to cure my low biting point.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Diagnosis & door problem

Last night I fired up Snowdrop and put her in gear. She was still the same (no drive) but when she was in gear I had a look underneath to see if the propshaft was turning. It wasn't so I've eliminated a broken half shaft in the axle. The problem is either a slipping clutch or a gearbox problem. I won't know until I remove the gearbox.

This morning the front passenger door wouldn't shut properly on Blue. I tried some penetrating fluid on the latch mechanism (made no difference) and then I loosened the striker plate, moved it out a bit and after it was tightened it cured the problem. Odd.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I went down to the Crich show in Snowdrop when the clutch went on the M1. It was the same as a slipping clutch but it happened suddenly. I rang the breakdown service and when they got be back I jumped in Project Blue (taking Anita with me) getting to Crich 3 hours later than planned. It turned out to be a great day and we went back the scenic route going up the A6. Sure beats the M1!
I'm still puzzled as to why my poblem occurred. I suspect a worn clutch plate but as I've been typing this I'm wondering if a broken half shaft in the rear axle could be the problem. I can eliminate that one easily enough. For now Snowdrop is out of action until I can solve the problem.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rear light replacement

I've dug out my rear light units that came off my spares 1500 and I've just fitted them to Snowdrop. The left rear indicator lens was broken and I'm sure it is affecting the left indicator. It has been like this since I bought the car. Anyway, all is well with my rear lights. Next up will be a "1300 TC" conversion that's doing the rounds on the Triumph Dolomite Club forum. ( Basically this involves taking a standard Dolomite 1300 and fitting carbs, exhaust manifold, exhaust & rear axle from a Dolomite 1500. This will result in a small gain in power, smoother running and better motorway cruising. I also want to fit some better door mirrors as Snowdrop has an ugly aftermarket door mirror on the driver's door and there isn't one on the passenger side.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Sprint claim

I rang FJ today to find out what was going on with my claim. They said they'd now recieved all the documents from me and a cheque is on it's way and I should recieve it sometime next week. When the funds are cleared I'll be splashing out on a couple of goodies. I probably won't be buying another car unless it happens to be too good a bargain to miss. We shall see...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Snowdrop's turn for some attention

I got the wheels painted and fitted new tyres on 2 of them. I got the nuts on Saturday and the following day I fitted the wheels. The pic below was before I started.

After the wheels were fitted it transformed the appearance of the car as you can see:

I filled her up with petrol (just over £50. What a rip-off!) and went for a run gently running-in the tyres. I stopped after about 30 miles to check the tightness of the wheel nuts (only a couple of the back needed nipping up) and I took this photo:

I'm planning on fitting twin carburettors (off a Dolly/Spitfire 1500) and when I get paid out for my Sprint I'll be investing in a stinless steel exhaust. This will be fit-and-forget. I also need to sort out the clutch hydraulics as the biting point is virtually on the floor. My good lady noticed that the door bottoms need attention again. I only think she noticed now that the wheels are a lot smarter than before!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wheely good bargain part 2

Here are the wheels and after a pressure wash and the application of some "Wonder Wheels" they looked a lot better. Just need to paint the segments, replace 2 of the tyres and once I've got the correct nuts they can go on Snowdrop. Talking of which, the road tax is due and I've noticed that it has gone up to £120. The government are right thieving bar-stewards! It should be free! Anyway, the deed is done, my bank account is lighter and Snowdrop remains road legal. I had a look at the Sprint in Hull and it is pretty much complete, needs some welding on all the jacking points and the bottom of on of the front wings but seems otherwise sound. The interior is smart and clean. I reckon a good service would revive this car. I just need to transport it back from Hull. Can anybody help me?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wheely good bargain

At the local TSSC meeting last week I was offered a set of Dolomite Sprint alloys for £40 three of which had good tyres so I decided to have them and I picked them up last night. The guy who was selling them had bought them for his Spitifre 1500 but ended up getting a set of Minilites which was the reason for selling the Sprint alloys. They need a good clean (still got some Wonder Wheels left from when I cleaned up the wheels on my Sprint) and one wheel needs the segments painting (got enough black Hammerite smooth left) but I reckon I've got a bargain. They're better than the ones that were on my Sprint. I'll need to get the nuts which will cost me the same again but it's not worth skimping on such a critical item.

On a slightly better note, I've come across a Dolomite Sprint which might be a good replacement for my late lamented Sprint. At £200 it is worth a punt and I've spoken to the owner and it sounds like it doesn't need much work to get it back on the road. With the Easter holidays coming up I should be able to go and view the car. If I get this car I'll be doing the Round Britain Run in it so I could get my co-driver (Brian) to do the work. He'll get it roadworthy no problem and he's got a garage with everything he needs.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Aonther one lost

I finally rang the police to report Baby Blue stolen and I was referred to the local council who referred me to the police officer who had dealt with it. He told me that the car had been trashed and was taken away. The strange thing was that it wasn't on the PNC even though I have a current V5C in my name. Maybe it is because she hasn't been taxed since 1994. I can't do anything about it now and if I could I don't think it is worth spending any money on getting her back. The car owes me nothing so that isn't a problem that way. I don't like to see this car ending up as a cube but my hands are tied. I doubt that the scrappers would let me have the car back as I don't have the police to back me up.

Got another letter from Footman James asking for the Sprint's V5C. I ain't letting them have it as I'm disputing their derisory offer and I want to keep the salvage.

This means that I'm down to 3 cars and 2 of them are road legal. Snowdrop's road tax is due at the end of this month so that's where my money has to go. Not only but also I only have one car (Becky) that needs to be put back on the road.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Not at all good...

Baby Blue has turned up at a local breakers. I only found out when I went onto the Triumph Dolomite Club forum and saw a thread about it. I was shocked! I must admit that I haven't been to where I was keeping the car. I have my suspicions as to who was behind this. Isn't there laws against this? She was taken away without my knowledge or permission.

On a not much brighter note my insurers have offered me £900 for my Dolomite Sprint but they won't let me keep the salvage. Looks like I'm gonna have to fight them on this one. Whoever said that "the only way to depreciate a Dolly Sprint is to write it off" was right.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Well and truly written off

I spoke to Footman James and I was told that the Sprint is a Category B write off so I won't be able to get the salvage back. This means that I'll have to take the money and run. Hopefully, they'll make me a decent offer. If it is more than what I paid for the car then I'll be happy enough.

Er, haven't I been here before? I'm getting deja-vu...


The road tax is due on my Sprint so as the car's a write-off I've declared SORN. That's £180 I would have had to fork out had the car still been on the road. In some ways it is a blessing in disguise and another reason not to get a Sprint or even an 1850. The Dolomite 1500HL I was offered (I'm still interested Neil!) is quite tempting. I e-mailed the insurance and I'll be following up with a phone call later on today.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Oil changes part 2

I've now got the oil and filter changes done on both cars. I also replaced the fuel filter on Blue. As expected there was some crap so hopefully, I've finally banished the fuel problems for good. I've not heard anything further from the insurance about the Sprint. I'm still condiering my options on what to do. The replacement WILL be a Triumph and not necessarily a Sprint or even a Dolomite. It depends on what comes up at the right price at the right time.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

It lives

I managed to revive Snowdrop. First up I bought new points and condensor on Friday after work. I fitted them when I got home but the car wouldn't start. Today I bought new plugs, leads, dizzy cap and rotor arm. I fitted the rotor arm first and tried the car and she started first time. I'm not pissed off at buying all these parts are the car is due a service anyway so I fitted the rest of the bits and all is well. I'll be doing oil and filter changes on Snowdrop and Blue but now I've brought Snowdrop back to life I'll need to take her for a run to get the oil warm before I change it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I went to the local TSSC meeting in Snowdrop last night and on the way back she died on me. I checked the obvious things and came to the conclusion that there was no spark at the plugs. If I had my feeler gauges I would have been able to fit the spare points/condenser assembly that got me off the M1 last year. I called out the recovery and the guy came to the conclusion that the condenser had failed as the points were sparking but there was no spark at the spark plug leads. He didn't have any feeler gauges so I ended up going home on the back of the recovery vehicle. I probably won't be able to do anything with this car until I do the oil change. This means I'm back down to one useable car in Blue.

I've heard nothing from the insurance. I hope I don't get stung for lots of storage charges at the recovery place. I've got quite a few options on the Sprint but I think a replacement car will probably be the way forward. Whether it will be another Sprint, that remains to be seen.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Oil changes

Like a bus service you wait ages then 2 come together. Snowdrop's oil and filter change is overdue. The oil I'd bought for the Sprint's next oil change will be used for Snowdrop. Project Blue is a few hundred miles away from an oil and filter change so all I needed was filters for both and oil for Blue. I needed some screenwash so that little lot came to just over £26 from my local Motosave. While I was there I checked Blue's oil and it was below the minimum mark on the dipstick so I immediately topped up with the oil I had left from the last oil change. The guys at Motosave were good. I gave them the registration numbers and they came up trumps! The oil changes will have to wait until next week as I'm going to Stoneleigh this weekend for the first show this year. I'm going down on the Saturday to help with the Triumph Dolomite Club (Club Triumph had their turn last year!) which means I get free entry! I'm booked in at the nearest Express Holiday Inn so no problems with accommodation like last year!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

All tanked up

At last I finally got round to fitting the replacement petrol tank for Project Blue. I took advantage of some free time today and some dry weather. I sprayed the top half of the tank with some black Hammerite smooth (the bottom half has underseal on it) then I removed the old tank and fitted the replacement tank. It went well and I fitted a new fuel filter. I was able to get most of the petrol out and in the replacement tank so I can make it to a petrol station. I think a road test is beckoning...

While I was in a spannering mood I fitted Project Blue's original carbs onto Becky, hooked up some jump leads, a few squirts of Easystart and hey presto SHE RUNS! Like a bag of spanners but the car is a runner. (just!) I think I'm in with a chance of getting this one back on the road.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

My suspicions are confirmed...

I've just got a leter from the assessors and the Dolomite Sprint is a total loss. From their letter they're assuming that I'm not going to keep the salvage. I'd better get the claim form sent off. I'd like to use this car as a donor for another Sprint. Somebody even suggested transplanting the Sprint running gear into Snowdrop. Now that would be a real Q car especially if I kept the steel wheels!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Insurance claim

I rang Footman James to put in my claim. They were helpful and said an assessor would be round to look at the car in a few days. Meanwhile I went round to the recovery place to clear out the rest of my stuff. A couple of the guys in the yard were helpful. I gave the recovery firm my insurance details so I won't have to worry about storage costs. One of my Dolomite friends has offered me a bodily sound Sprint so I may be able to ressurect the car in some shape or form but I'm getting too far ahead of myself at this point. I'll have to wait and see if the car's a total loss (highly likely) and what the insurance will offer me.

I think I've killed it...

Last night on my way to Anita's house I lost control of the Sprint on a dry straight road which was well lit. The back end broke away to the right so I steered to the right to straighten up then it went the other way and ended up going sideways and hit a cable box. The nearside has been pushed in with the rear door taking the most damage. The B post is bent and the rear of the car is misaligned. Fortunately, I was just a bit shaken up but otherwise uninjured. Amazingly, the car was still drivable so I was able to park up and call the recovery service. The Sprint is now stored at the recovery company's yard (they have storage facilities) and Project Blue has been put back into use. I can't understand how I lost control. I've been up and down this same stretch of road in all weathers (especially during the recent rain) on a daily basis and I've never had it slide out of control. The only explanation I can think of is that there was some diesel on the road (this has killed many a Triumph through no fault of the driver) causing me to lose all grip. I'm glad that I didn't hit any other cars. I suspect that this car is beyond repair due to the distortion of the bodyshell. I'll have to see what the insurance says. A sad end to such a fine car...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Starter motor troubles

This problem has been coming on gradually and now it is getting to the point where I need to address it. What happens is when I turn the key the starter will click. It takes several tries until the starter spins. I've asked the question on the Triumph Dolomite Club forum and it looks like that either the connections are dirty or the starter needs to be reconditioned. I'm hoping to remove the starter tomorrow if the weather stays dry.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I've got my renewal quote from Footman James. Just short of £400 so I've gone ahead with the renewal. Over for another 12 months and not bad considering I've got 4 of my cars on the policy. One more thing out of the way! The next thing will be the road tax on the Sprint.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Yesterday I went over to S&S to pick up the fan assembly. It was complete with the fan blades and at £25+VAT it was well worth it. Simon & Steve are great guys - true enthusiasts. I spent more time chatting with them. The place is an Aladdin's cave of TR7 parts. I wouldn't mind a TR7 myself but I've too many Triumphs!

The weather was dry so when I got home I got down to the spannering. The old assembly came off quite easily but the bolts were awkward to get at. Fitting the replacement wasn't too difficult but once again the bolts were awkward to get back in but with the help of my 1/2" spanners (no room for a socket & ratchet) I got there in the end. I also fitted the new fan belt I'd bought from Rimmer Bros and tensioned it up. The old one is now in the boot as an emeergency spare. While I was at it I removed and refitted the bracket for the air cleaner trunking as it was held on by only one bolt. It is fitted to the right of the radiator sharing it's mounting bolts. I'd fitted it in a bit of a rush using only the top bolt. I repositioned the battery clamp as it wasn't quite in the right place and I finally fitted the loose exhaust clamp. It had been like that since before my Irish jaunt! The result - it works a treat! I found out why the battery clamp had been moved. When the car was ticking over the air cleaner would come into contact with the battery clamp. I suspect that an engine/gearbox mounting is the root cause. I'll have to dig out the list that Carl (who owned the Sprint before Mark) had done.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The sh*t really has hit the fan!

It's finally happened. The fan has decided to let go just as I was setting off tonight. Fortunately, it hasn't done much damage. When I took a look I noticed that the tolerance ring had broken so I'm wondering if that was the cause. I'd spoken to S&S Preparations who have a second hand viscous coupling for £25 which now has my name on it. Snowdrop's going be put into service if she will start. I haven't used that car since last Saturday. I'm now forced into action if I want to get the Sprint useable again. I'm down to one useable car now. It's at times like this when I'm glad I've got a fleet. I'd have been stuffed if I hadn't sold Snowdrop!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The sh*t has hit the fan

Well not quite...

A noise has appeared and I've traced it to the viscous coupling on the fan. I've already ordered a new fanbelt and a tolerance ring from Rimmer Bros and I've sourced a good secondhand viscous coupling from a known fellow TDC member. I just wish this bad weather would let up so's I can get some spannering done. I've got an exhaust clamp that needs doing up and the wet cold weather is stopping me from doing anything.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Luck of the Irish

My trip to the Emrald Isle went without a hitch and the Sprint didn't let me down even though I went all over Ireland. The car just kept right on going. I'm in no doubt that it will finish the forthcoming RBRR which will be taking place in October. Thursday saw us going to Waterford. Friday was a trip to Belfast to the Ulster Transport Museum. Unfortunately, there were no Triumphs there but there was an Amphicar. (which had the Herald engine) On Saturday we went to Athlone which is right in the middle of Ireland. On Sunday we ended up in Dun Laoghaire (where the Boomtown Rats originally came from) before getting the ferry back. A few hours before I got on the ferry I saw a French blue Stag in Dublin. As he overtook me the driver waved at me. I didn't expect to see another Triumph in Dublin let alone a Stag!