Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rear suspension

Brown was sitting a bit low on the rear so I replaced the shock absorbers and springs as a matter of urgency. I bought the parts from T.D. Fitchett costing me £86
Then they had to be fitted. I had to buy a coil spring comressor costing my just over £20. When I took the right rear wheel off I noticed that the spring had broken and the shock absorber was leaking as you can tell in the pics below.

The left hand side wasn't as bad but the shock absorber was leaking. The job of fitting the new parts was slow but I got there in the end and it has transformed the car. I no longer cringe whenever I hit a speed bump or a pothole (plenty of both in West Yorkshire) I won the track rod ends (just over a tenner including postage) I'd bid for on eBay so they should be arriving soon. One big job over with and something less to fail the MoT on.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Head gasket failure on Blue

I'm quite certain that Blue's head gasket has failed. I put some Bars Flush in the radiator to clean the cooling system out. After that Blue started running like a bag of spanners at low revs (below 2500 rpm) and clouds of steam are coming out of the exhaust. Today I drained the radiator, refilled with plain water to flush it out, went to Champion to get some fresh antifreeze & Bars Leaks, drained the radiator again, fitted the new thermostat and refilled with fresh coolant. It looks like I'll be ordering a head gasket set. I'll get Brian to do the job. The last time he did it for me on a Ford Sierra Sapphire which was 10 years ago. 2 years prior to that I had a head gasket done on another Ford Sierra so this is the third time for me. I'll get the timing belt changed at the same time as it is overdue and I've never done a timing belt change on any of my Acclaims. This means Brown will have to be put back into service. I hope I win some of my eBay items then I can get on with sorting out this car.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Blue's turn for some attention

I've now made a start on flushing Blue's cooling system. I went to my local MotoSave because it was closer to home. There was a choice between Holts Speedflush, Bars Flush and the Wynns. I chose the Bars Flush because (A) it was the joint cheapest at £2.99 and (B) it stays in the cooliong system the longest so it should clear out any crap that's in there. By the time I drain the cooling system tomorrow it should've had time to work it's magic.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A start on Brown

Got 2 jobs crossed off the list:
I picked up the air filters from Champion and fitted them. I've also replaced the OSR door locking button. Small jobs but a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, I've added another job to my list:
While at the lock-up I found a BL wing badge so I've decided to fit wing badges to Brown. A low priority cosmetic job.

On the other hand, the rear shock absorbers & springs will be a bit higher up in my priorities and will be the first parts of the suspension to be replaced. A full set are going to cost about £80 so I'll have to see if I can get them cheaper than that. I've also ordered an "automatic" bootlid badge from Mick Dolphin so I'll now have the correct 1972 badges on Brown.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Getting parts

I've bought a new thermostat for Blue from Champion Motor Spares costing me just under £5. I've been bidding on eBay for some parts for Brown. I'll report back if and when I do win them. I'll be back at Champion tomorrow for the air filters for Brown. Hopefully, I can get the thermostat fitted as well. I wish I knew why that car is running so hot. I hope it ain't the head gasket. I'll have to flush the cooling system to make sure there's no crap left in it. I can't think of any other explanation for the excess pressure being generated.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The current state of affairs...

Blue's still running hot. I can't see any leaks but the expansion bottle's always full. This means that there's pressure in the cooling system. There's no sign of head gasket failure but I haven't done a compression test so I can't rule it out yet. I'll try the easy stuff first which will be to flush out the cooling system (I wonder if the K-Seal has blocked any water passages) and fit a new thermostat.
Brown needs a bit more work. I've balanced the carbs, adjusted the mixture & adjusted the kickdown cable. Champion Motor Spares have now found air filters that fit. I get paid on Friday so I'll be picking them up then. This is my list of things I want to get done on Brown:

Fit new shock absorbers & springs.
Clean and repaint the suspension components
Replace the suspension bushes (probably a mixture of rubber and poly)
Replace the sports exhaust with a standard one (I'm not bothered about losing those extra few horses)
Replace the track rod ends & get the tracking adjusted
Replace the front tyres as they're starting to wear on the inside edges. I can't do this until the TREs have been replaced.
Rebuild or replace the carburettors
Change the engine oil, oil filter and air filters

Quite a big list and I'll have to prioritise these jobs. Looks like I'll be trawling eBay and the
TDC forum. A pity I don't have any of the things I need in my collection of spares.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


...but not forgotten. Snowdrop was taken away by Triumphland. I couldn't afford to get Snowdrop repaired and front panels when they're available sell for silly amounts of money so I cut my losses and got rid. I'm now down to 3 Triumphs and when finances improve I might do something with Becky. At least that car's in better condition.

Brown's exhaust is getting me down. I'm thinking about swapping it for a standard exhaust. It'll be quieter and I don't need the extra few horses. The TDC do them in stainless steel so I might just give it a go.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More spannering

First I changed the transmission fluid again. This was a: I'd overfilled it the last time and b: it looked mucky. Like the last time what came out was black so it needed changing despite being done a few days before. Well it can't do any harm. I was careful not to put too much in. I just filled it up the the cold level on the dipstick. I'll check it again when it is cold and top up if need be. I've also cured some wind noise which was caused by the driver's door which wasn't aligned. Once that it been done it cured the problem. The exhaust is quite noisy especially when cold. I checked for leaks but couldn't find any. It's a stainless one that came from Rimmer Bros (I've seen the sticker when I've been under that car) and it is touching the rear anti-roll bar so I might just change it for a normal exhaust. I've also weakened the mixture a bit on the carbs in order to improve fuel consumption. At least I don't have any leaks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More progress

The carb mounts arrived in the post this morning so I fitted them straight away. The old ones were still leakproof but it is definitely an improvement. Next job was to change the transmission fluid and it has transformed the car completly. Perfomance is much better even with a full load of passengers. I'd ordered some air filters from Champion Motor Spares and when I picked them up I tried to fit them but they were the wrong size. They're gonna get hold of the correct ones for me. I just can't get over how much better the car drives. Once Brian has worked his magic with the carbs Brown will be running fine. Next up will be the engine oil and filter change but I'll leave that for a few weeks as it isn't due yet.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More to do

The auto box swap isn't the end of it. When Brian had the car over the pit he noticed that the bottom ball joints and the track rod ends need replacing. When he showed them to me I had to agree. They've certainly seen better days. As the MoT isn't due until August I've plenty of time to source the parts and get them fitted. The track rod ends will be easy enough to get hold of but the ball joints won't be so easy unless I shell out for the ones Rimmer Bros do at £50-ish apiece. Also Brian wanted to clean the carbs but he noticed that the mounts were cracked so I've made that a priority and my appeal on the Triumph Dolomite Club forum (http://forum.triumphdolomite.co.uk) has turned up a pair for £22. Once I've got the mounts I can get Brown back to Brian's for him to work his magic on the carbs.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Auto box swap

It has been done. I dropped Brown off at Brian's yesterday and when I came back this afternoon I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he'd almost finished. I'd expected him to be part way through the job so I helped him to finish off. There was just the radiator hoses to fit, the cooling system to fill with fresh coolant (I had plenty of antifreeze) and the bonnet to fit. He wasn't able to flush the cooling system properly and replace the themostat because one of the bolts for the thermostat housing wouldn't budge and he was loath to try to undo it for fear of shearing the bolt head. When it came to starting up the starter motor wouldn't spin. My previous bypassing of the inhibitor switch got the starter turning again and we ended up carrying over the inhibitor switch and wiring to the multiplug connector from the other automatic both of which were tested beforehand. Apart from adjusting the transmission lever there weren't any other problems. As suspected the auto box that was in the car was a Borg Warner 35 so Brown now has the correct automatic. (Borg Warner 65) The BW35s were used in the Triumph Stag so I suspect that a previous owner was only able to get a BW35 and was told it would fit as they're virtually identical. I want to put plenty of miles on to make sure it is fine and so far it is leak free. I'll be changing the transmisson fluid in the next couple of days. My other suspicion about the source of the leak was confirmed by Brian but it wasn't the torque converter. He said that it was the front seal because he said the torque converter was covered in fluid when he removed it so it'll be a fairly simple repair. I'll try to sell it on as it is the wrong auto box for Brown. Maybe one of my Stag owning friends might be interested as it is in working order.

Brian thanks a million. You're an absolute star!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

It's going to happen!

Just spoken to Brian and he's gonna do the autobox swap on Sunday. He wants me to drop the car in the day before so it is stone cold when he starts the job. The cooling system will be flushed so it'll be refilled with fresh coolant and a new thermostat will be fitted. I've just checked with Champion Motor Spares and they have one on the shelf for just under a fiver. Brian reckons an electric fan will help but I believe that the original setup if maintained in good order will be fine. That was certainly the case with my Sprint.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Radiator replacement

I took my spare radiator to a local radiator repairer which was recommended by fellow Club Triumph member and fellow Blogger Michael Davis. It only cost me £25 to have it reconditioned. It was ready within a couple of hours of me dropping it off and despite the wet weather I fitted it at the soonest opportunity. Apart from one of the hose clips for the transmission fluid cooler shearing the bolt head necessitating replacments at £1 (I replaced both clips for the transmission fluid cooler) the job went quite well and I'm pleased to say that all seems well and leak-free. I'll be checking the coolant level before I use Blue next as there may still be some air in the system. The radiator that came off went in for repair at the same place costing me only £10 so I've now got a leak-free spare radiator for Blue. I was hoping to fit Brown's mounting bush for the rear exhaust silencer but I might leave it until I do the auto box replacement. I also had to buy another 5 litres of antifreeze because I had to use the 5 litres I'd bought recently for Blue which I'd originally bought for Brown's autobox swap as I'll be refilling with fresh coolant whenever I do that job.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Ups & downs

I'm gonna start with the downside. (to get it out of the way)

Blue is still losing coolant so I'm quite sure that the radiator is leaking somewhere. As Blue is an Acclaim with a Triomatic it has a slightly different radiator which has a cooler for the transmission fluid. It just so happened that I had a spare radiator for a Triomatic that had been bought for my first Acclaim back in July 2005, had been carried across to Becky and was replaced with the correct radiator some time later. A quick rummage in the shed soon turned up the radiator. I've stashed it in Becky's boot until I can get it tested to see if it can be used.
On to the upside:
I got the call from my local MotoSave. The bushes had arrived so when I went over I was offered them both (MotoSave had ordered 2) for £5. I think it is a good idea to have a spare one as they don't last forever. They are used on Minis (proper Minis, not the MINI made by Bimmer) so at least I'm raiding the BL parts bin. I haven't posted any photos for AGES so here we go with a pic of the bushes:

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A busy morning

First up was a visit to my lock up to put the spare automatic in. After I'd done someobdy pointed out that Brown's exhaust was a bit low. The mounting bush for the rear silenced had broken so I've got a replacement on order. In the meantime I've tied it up with some speaker wire I had in the boot. That'll be another job to do when I do the auto box swap. I went to my local Morrisons to put some more petrol in and I gave Brown a jetwash for the first time in ages so I've had quite a busy morning. No word from Brian. I hope his Rover sells. It is a good car and whoever comes to see it will definitely want to buy it. I would if I could.