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.