Saturday, November 03, 2012

Blue has now gone.

Barry came and picked up Blue so I'm now down to two Triumphs. Because I'll be working back in York, I've got myself a Vauxhall Astra for the commute. It belonged to Anita's son who had a problem with it and ended up buying a Corsa instead. The Astra was a simple fix in the end and I was given first dibs. It is now insured and as soon as I've got the V5C (registration document) I can tax it. This means that Becky II can have a rest and I can get a couple of jobs done. The bonnet release cable needs replacing and the nearside outer CV gaiter has split. I've got a spare bonnet release cable and Barry has given me a nearside driveshaft. If I can get the hub nut undone then the swap will be easy enough.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Becky has gone & Blue is running again.

Due to a house move I'm having to reduce the fleet so I've decided to sell the two Acclaims that are on SORN (Becky & Blue). I'd listed Blue on eBay and Barry McGrath the Acclaim Guru offered to buy Blue and he has also agreed to take Becky away. Tonight he came up with his mate Dan and after a struggle we got Blue running. I had a suspicion that the fuel line was blocked but with the help of a compressor it was soon cleared. After putting the HT leads in the right order and robbing the rotor arm from Becky II Blue was running again. This car hasn't run so well in a long time. Becky was partially reassembled to appear more complete and once the rear brakes were freed off and some air put in the tyres she was rolling again. It took a bit longer than expected so Barry will be back at the end of the week to collect Blue. This gives me time to get Blue ready to be hooked up for towing away.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blue is for sale

Due to an imminent house move with not enough room at the new place I'm having to put Blue up for sale. This car is the top-of-the-range CD with the Triomatic gearbox, has done 46,000 miles is complete and in original condition. The engine turns but won't run. I suspect that the fuel line is blocked. Becky should be able to donate her's. If this car doesn't sell I will put it on eBay. I also need to funds to take on a Vauxhall Astra as I need a modern car for commuting.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Back on the road!

Oh yes, Brown is now 100% road legal again. I taxed it yesterday at the Post Office. I could've done it online but I didn't want to wait and besides, you can't beat the feeling of going to the Post Office and getting a tax disc without having to pay for it.
I put some fresh fuel in and the car's running fine. The exhaust started to rattle but it has now disappeared. I'm planning to use this car daily during the week to shake it down.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fresh MoT

Brown came home today with a fresh MoT:

The total cost (not including the £40 test fee) came to £300 most of which was for the welding needed. Once I've taxed the car in the morning I'll be good to go. Here's to continued enjoyment of this car.

Friday, September 14, 2012

MoT failure...

Brown has failed the MoT. Nothing too serious but obviously bad enought to fail. The fails were:

Corrosion on the chassis rails at the front subframe mounting points.
Corrosion on one of the jacking points at the rear of one of the sills.
Play in the forint wheel bearings.
Poor and imbalanced handbrake.
Loose headlight and aimed too low.
Torn exhaust mounting rubber.

It will be just over £200 to put it all right (it might be more depending on how much rot is found) so I've booked the car in for repairs and retest for next Thurdsay. I don't have to pay for the road tax on this car (1972 Triumph Dolomite) so I'm not too bothered about having to fork out to get this car through the MoT and I might as well get it done when I can afford it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The end of the road Part 2

This has now also come for Becky (Monza red Acclaim HL). I have had this car for 7 years and I have to face up to the fact that I'm never going to be able to put this car back on the road so I've come to the decision to dismantle this car for spares. I could take her apart and store the parts in the garage but I don't want to be stuck with parts I may not need for years if ever. I could be moving to another place which has no garage. The solution - get a few Acclaim enthusiasts together who can strip the car right down in a day and in return they can have whatever parts they need for free. Simples! I have participated in such a stripdown so I know it is possible.

Because of this possible move I'm going to have to put Blue up for sale. This is a 46,000 mile Acclaim CD Triomatic in a fetching shade of Zircon blue. The car will need some welding to the sills, an overhaul of the braking system (new pads, shoes, discs and fluid), a battery, new ignition parts and fresh fluids but is complete and original.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The end of the road

No it isn't quite THAT bad. Today is the last day of Brown's current MoT and with no job and the associated lack of income (literally ZERO income) I am unable to put this car through the test. Ironically, the car is in better shape than when it passed last year but I can't do anything when I've no money. On a slightly more fortunate note, Becky II is still road legal but I can't afford fuel so I'm not much better off and any major job could also take this car off the road.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It has been 2 months...

...since my last post and there has been plenty going on with both of my road-going Triumphs.

Becky II has been clocking up the miles and has already passed the 100,000 mile mark. I was even able to take a photo at the precise moment when all the zeros lined up.
During this week there's been quite a bit of work needed. The nearside brake light had failed because water had accumulated in the light unit. With all the recent rain I'm not surprised. This meant that the light unit had to be removed so I could drain it. The next job was to remove the remains of the bulb because it has rusted in. As always I prevailed and a new bulb was fitted which has restored it to working order.
Going to and from work I noticed that the steering was feeling wobbly. I found excessive play in the nearside track rod end and fitted new ones on both sides. I noticed that the nearside front tyre needed replacing so that was done and after putting a few miles on I got the front wheel tracking done so the commute should be a more pleaseant experience. Because of the mileage I've been changing Becky II's engine oil and filter every 3,000 miles. It never ceases to amaze me at how black the oil gets after only 3,000 miles.

Brown has also been getting plenty of attention from the spanners. I have finally got a blow-free exhaust. I fitted a brand new exhaust manifold (£20 from Rimmer Bros. Too good to miss at that price.) with new gaskets and some new bolts and made sure that all the joints were leak free. This car is so much better to drive. I wish I'd done it sooner. The horn is fixed and now works all the time, I've fitted the TRIUMPH badge on the front panel (the early Dolomites have them), the non-existent heater was fixed by repositioning a collapsed heater hose, I fitted an early type number plate light along with the rear bumper centre,

 fitted a new fanbelt, adjusted the choke cable, fitted early type sun visors,

 got a slow puncture on the offside rear tyre repaired, reinstated the original springs (I fitted Sprint springs when I replaced the dampers back in 2009) to restore the correct height and the most recent job was to fit new front brake pads which I'm still bedding in at the moment. Since I fitted the electronic ignition I've clocked up just over 2,000 trouble-free miles and the car is easier to start and runs better.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The cars are still running fine

Becky II is doing 500 miles a week taking me and a few colleagues to and from work. The car sharing offsets my petrol bill and I can claim not only for the mileage but also the fact that I'm car sharing which is offet against my tax liability. In laymen's terms, there is less deducted from my gross pay. In my previous post the windscreen got repaired the same day but the repairer turned up when I'd finished work. The chip is still visible but at least the windscreeen won't crack.

Brown is still running fine. Since I fitted the Sprint dizzy and the electronic ignition. My average fuel consumption worked out at just above 22mpg so I pulled the spark plugs out to check the fuel mixture and they're a biscuit colour so the mixture's fine so it must be the type of driving that I'm doing. I haven't uploaded any photos for AGES so here we go...

The plugs from cylinder Nos 1 &2

The plugs from cylinder Nos 3 &4

Back in February I listed some the shows I was planning to attend. It didn't work out quite that way. I missed Stoneleigh because I couldn't afford the fuel due to money being a bit tight. I thought I was going to miss the Bronte Vintage Gathering because I'd left it too late to send my entry form in and they don't allow entries on the day. The weather was dry and sunny (but windy!) so I went as a spectator so in a way I did make it. I caught up with the local plant hire company (where I used to work) who attend this show and exhibit their vintage excavators. I also saw this Triumph 1500TC which I've never seen before.

I eventually caught up with the owner and got talking to him. I've directed him to the Triumph Dolomite Club's forum and hopefully he might come across this Blog.

As for the remaining shows on my list I'll definitely be able to make Harewood House because my temporary job will last at least until the end of June and possibly beyond. Woodvale and the TDCIR are dependent upon me having a job and with the TDCIR it will also be dependent upon getting Brown through the MoT.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

From oil change to a chipped windscreen

Becky II's oil change is coming due so I got it done yesterday evening while the weather was warm and dry. After a bit of a scare with the wheel ramps I got the car safely on them. It never ceases to amaze me how black the engine oil gets. I've started to change the oil every 3,000 miles and I'm glad that I do. While I was at it I decided to investigate the blowing exhaust. It was blowing at the manifold/downpipe joint and the first thing I noticed was that one of the studs was missing and the remaining 2 nuts were working loose so no wonder that the joint was leaking. I put some Halfords exhaust putty on the joint, bolted it all back together and it has cured the blowing. It has also cured an exhaust vibration I've been having.
My joy was short lived because on the way to work the windscreen got chipped. I've seen the Autoglass adverts on the TV & radio where they tell you not to leave a chip because it will eventually crack so I rang Footman James (my insurers) who gave me the number for National Windscreens who are their official repairers and I'm waiting for the local branch to get back to me. Also, if I leave it and it needs replacing it will cost me at least the windscreen excess and Acclaim windscreens aren't readily available.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Distributor replacement done

Last week all the parts for my dizzy arrived so I was able to build up the replacement dizzy.

I fitted the electronic ignition and fitted the dizzy to the car but this proved futile. Working in the rain and darkness (I was doing it last Thursday evening) certainly didn't help so I had to give up. On the Saturday morning I went back to it and got the car running with points and condenser. Once that was done I could then fit the electronic ignition and after ajdusting the timing it was fine. So I was set for the following day which was Drive It Day. To mark this day I tagged along with the West & North Yorkshire TSSC area group run out to the National Coal Mining Musem For England. Brown didn't miss a beat and on the way home I took the scenic route through Huddersfield and stopped at Scammoden Dam for a couple of photos before going home. After 100 miles Brown is still running fine. I've kept the points and condenser in the glovebox just in case. The electronic ignition will be cheap and easy to replace should it ever fail.

Total cost - about £40

Friday, April 13, 2012

Distributor replacement

It has been a while since I last posted so it is time for a small update.

Becky II is still in daily use. Aside from changing an engine torque rod bush I've not had to do any spannering. I've found out that the ones from the Rover 827 are an exact match. Apparently, one of the Range Rover bushes is also an exact match so I'll be doing my own investigations.

To get to the main topic of this post, I'm going to replace the distibutor in Brown. The electronic igniton that I had fitted died on me just before Christmas. The points and condensor were reinstated and Brown has been running fine ever since. I've had to adjust the points gap a couple of times and this is an awkward job due to the design of the distributor. I've been toying with the idea of fitting a brand new electronic ignition unit. Unfortunately, there aren't many options for the 1850's Delco dizzy and they usually involve dismantling the dizzy in order to fit it. An alternative is to fit a dizzy from the Dolomite Sprint which is a Lucas one. This gives more options in terms of electronic ignition kits and if nothing else, the points are easier to adjust in these dizzys. I've managed to source a Sprint dizzy and I've ordered a Britpart electronic ignition kit. Because I'm using a Sprint dizzy I'll need to get a mounting plate, rotor arm and dizzy cap. I've sourced all thes items and once I've got everything I can get it up and running. The beauty of the Britpart kit is that I shouldn't need to change my coil.

In nearly forgot to mention that I've swapped the instruments for the correct early 1850 ones. This was something I've been wanting to do for a long time. It started off with the speedometer not working properly. I bought an early 1850 one for a tenner on eBay. I then got offered a set of early 1850 instruments for free but I had to drive 40-odd miles down to South Yorkshire to pick them up. It was worth the cost of the petrol as they're difficult to come by. They went in without too much trouble. The tachometer is wired slightly differently but with the help of the correct wiring diagram I was able to get it working. I've also got the early type hazard warning switch and warning light cluster which will eventually be fitted. Some wiring modifications will be necessary but it is do-able.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The big stuff is out of the way

Becky II's road tax is due at the end of this month so I've renewed it online. I debated over whether to get 6 months so it doesn't fall due at the same time as the insurance and MoT. I decided to get 12 months because in 6 months time I might not be able to afford to do it (the joys of temping!). This means that I've got all the big stuff out of the way and I'm even spoilt for choice for which car to drive now that they're both running fine. I can concentrate on the enjoyment of these cars. I've started to sort out my club memberships (I had to let them lapse due to unemployment and the associated lack of funds) and I'm hoping to attend some shows this year. I only managed a couple last year.These are the ones I plan on attending:

Stoneleigh (this coming Sunday)
Bronte Vintage Gathering
Northern Dolly Day (at Harewood House, Leeds)

These will be dependent upon my employment status (or lack of it!)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The clutch is finally fixed.

I got the gearbox off (had it done in an hour) and it was the spring for the release mechanism that has come off. I got it back on and put the gearbox back on. When the time came, the clutch still wasn't right so the gearbox had to come off for the THIRD time. I made sure this time that the release mechanism was fine. I decided to check the rest of the clutch and I'm glad I did because the clutch cover springs didn't look quite right. When I removed it and compred it to the old one  I noticed that the new on was a few milimeters thicker than the old one so I re-used the old clutch cover and it went on fine. I'm normally loath to re-use parts but the alternative would've meant that Becky II would be stuck in the garage for longer and the old clutch cover had plenty of life left in it. I'd accelerated the demise of the old clutch plate last year when I tried to tow a Fiesta off the drive. I almost burned the clutch out so it was no surprise when the clutch started slipping when it did. The gearbox went back on and once again the moment of truth came. I started up and was able to engage reverse with a bit of difficulty and I managed to get to the top of the drive when diaster struck. The clutch felt loose again. I had visions of taking the gearbox off for the 4th time. With noting to lose I adjusted the clutch cable and it was working perfectly albeit with a low biting point. A bit more adjustment brought the biting point to where it should be. This has restored performance and the car is a lot more responsive. A result! The road tax is due on this car so I retaxed it online.

Brown started running like a bag of spanners from Thursday. Yesterday I started to investigate. I started with the ignition working back from the HT leads. No 2 wasn't firing. I eliminated the HT lead by swapping 1 & 2. I swapped the cap and then the rotor arm which didn't work either. When I checked the points I noticed that the gap had closed up so once the gap as adjusted Brown was running fine again.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Clutch change

I fitted the new clutch on Becky II on Tuesday. It literally took me all night. There were a few problems but I overcame them all and I got everything back together without any problems. The moment of truth came when I put my foot on the clutch pedal. There was no resistance at all. This means that the gearbox has to come off again so I can investigate the problem. I suspect that the spring for the release bearing carrier has come off. They're difficult to put back on and can easily come off. Hopefully taking the gearbox off should be a bit quicker this time. Because I was working well into the night I only got an hour's sleep. I don't know how I got through the day yesterday. I had to take a break from the spannering so I could catch up on my sleep but I'll be ready to tackle it tonight.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Good and bad

First the good: I swapped the carburettors and the carb mounts on Brown and it has helped with the high tickover I've been having. I had to use some silicone sealant because I've no gaskets so that might've helped. I had to tension the fanbelt because it was slipping and the associated noise was a constant reminder. I was planning on going to work tomorrow in this car so I'm all set.

Now for the bad: Becky II's clutch has been slipping for quite some time and it seems to have got worse. I'm considering taking this car out of use (she does the 45 mile commute to and from York where I work) until the clutch is replaced. I'm just waiting for the clutch kit to arrive and then I can crack on with it.

Been a busy week.

Brown had a new thermostat fitted which saw an improvment in warming up. The heaters felt warmer as well. The temperature gauge starting playing up so I ordered a new sender. Since then the temperature gauge started working again. The odometer has also been playing up so I'm on the lookout for a replacement speedometer. I might try to get hold of one at the Triumph spares day at Stoneleigh. I took Brown to the local TSSC meeting this Tuesday and apart from a high tickover the car performed flawlessly. I'm really enjoying this car now and I'm planning on going to work in it tomorrow. I might have to swap the carbs to cure the tickover problem.

Becky II has been feeling a bit twitchy at the front at motorway speeds so last night I retorqued the suspension arm and anti-roll bar bolts as these had been worked on for the MoT. The car now feels much better than it did before. The slipping clutch is getting worse so I've bought a clutch kit via eBay and as soon as that arrives I'll get it fitted at the earliest opportuity. Becuase I had new suspension arms fitted the tracking will need doing but I'll leave that until after the clutch is replaced because the suspension arms will be coming off again when I do the clutch.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Passed the MoT

Becky II has now passed the MoT.

She went in today to sort out the failure items (brake pipes, balljoints and brake pipes) and she passed the test. At £160 plus the test fee it wasn't cheap but this will be my 2nd biggest expense this year (after the insurance). The road tax is due at the end of this month and then there's the small matter of the slipping clutch...

Sunday, February 05, 2012


Brown the Dolomite 1850 has finally been revived. The battery was put on charge, the earth terminal was cleaned up and I refitted the Newtronic to no avail. I reinstated the points and condesnsor and set the static timing with the help of a tesp lamp which I made from stuff that I had in the garage (indicator bulb holder, speaker wire and some insulating tape). Ther were a few minor problems but I got everything in place and I was ready to start the car up. The moment of truth came when I turned the key. Lo and behold Brown fired up instantly on the button. The only other thing I needed to do was to inflate the rear tyres and a quick road test showed that all was well. I rewarded Brown with £10 worth of unleaded which extinguished the fuel warning light. With Brown running again I can get the Citroen AX out of the garage for when I need to replace the clutch in Becky II. Talking of which, that particular car will be going in for the MoT repairs and retest this coming Tuesday so the clutch will have to wait a bit longer.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Halfway to the next oil change

I've decided to start changing the engine oil on Becky II every 3000 miles (as recommended by the Guru) and now I'm halfway there to the next one at 91500 miles. I've bought a Unipart oil filter via eBay for less than £4 (including the postage) so I'll just need to get some fresh oil and I'm set for the next oil change.

Blue will need to be in a saleable condition so I'll need to get this car fit to pass another MoT. The fuel line needs sorting out one way or another. If I could get the use of a compressor then I could blow compressed air through the fuel line to clear it. The brakes will be easy enough to sort out but at least one of the sills will need welding. There's also the valve clearances to adjust.

Brown has had the battery recharged in readiness for another attempt at geting the car running.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It failed the MoT

I wasn't surprised at this. It wasn't too bad though. Chris the MoT man said that a short section of brake pipe was corroded, the handbrake was poor and the bottom balljoints were worn. All easy to sort out but the balljoints are part of the lower suspension arm which Chris can source and liberating them might be a pig of a job. I've got 3 weeks before the current MoT runs out so I'll book it in to get the work done for the retest.

Monday, January 30, 2012

MoT time

I've dropped Becky II off for her appointment with the MoT man tomorrow. It is the same guy who tested Brown so I know she's in good hands. He's not the cheapest but I'd rather pay a bit more for the test to be done properly.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

MoT preparation Part 2

Today I checked the front brake pads. There's plenty of meat on the pads (they're only half way down) so they don't need replacing. When I last replaced the pads I noticed that the seal in one of the calipers was leaking brake fluid so I left it. I seemed to have got worse so I decided to change the caliper. I swapped Becky's caliper over to Becky II. The job went without a single problem and it was much easier than I thought it would be. The Acclaim has a banjo type connector from the fliexihose to the caliper so once I removed the 14mm bolt it came off. Whoever designed the front caliper was a genuis because they are so easy to fix. Even easier than the Fiesta I had to do earlier on this week. I bled the air out of the replacement caliper, put some more air in the front tyres and took the car for a quick road test. When I was doing the brakes I treated any areas of rust with some Kurust. The only other thing I can do is to check the car over and make sure everything is working correctly. Last year I was caught out by a faulty bulb so I won't repeat that mistake this year.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

MoT prepartion Part 1

I bought a set of brake pads & shoes. I fitted the brake shoes and it went without a single hitch. I'm getting quite good at it. The linkage for the handbrake needed freeing off again with the help of some PlusGas and I applied some grease to hopefully prevent any reocurrence. The handbrake is holding much better and should pass the MoT. I also greased the end of the cables where they connect to the linkage on each side. I also regreased the rear wheel bearings. While the drums were off I cleaned the brake dust off the drum and backplate.

More to follow...

Friday, January 27, 2012

MoT and insurance

I've booked Becky II's MoT for next Tuesday so I'll need to check the car over for any obvious stuff. I'll be doing the brakes now that I've ordered pads & shoes. I can change the fluid and get the handbrake adjusted at the same time. The insurance is also due so I got it renewed. When I removed Becky & Blue and told them that I live in Halifax the premuim went down to about £250 so I was able to pay for it straight off. The reason I've removed Becky & Blue from my insurance is that Becky is a spares car and is unlikely to return to the road (unless I win the lottery) and Blue is going to be put up for sale as I'll be moving home later on this year and there might not be enough room at the new place. Both these cars are on SORN so I can legally do this. Brown is still a non-starter so I'm looking at investing in brand new electronic ignition to get her running again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Time for the service.

I was able to get the service done on Becky II after I'd picked up the air and oil filters from Champion Motor Spares. The service went without any major problems. One of the HT leads got damaged when I was replacing the spark plugs but a quick rummage in the garage soon turned up a usuable one which will see me through until they need replacing. I still managed to spill some oil though when I was filling up. I've seen a spout in my local Wilkinson which is perfect for filling up with engine oil without any spillages so I'm definitely getting one for the next oil change. With my daily commute to York (a 90 mile round trip each day) I will be reaping the benefits and my fuel consumption should improve with fresh engine oil, new oil filter, a clean air filter and brand new spark plugs.

Friday, January 20, 2012

It all comes at once... buses. My insurance, MoT and tax will be due all next month. On top of that Becky II needs 2 tyres and a service having passed 90,000 miles. The car is doing 450 miles a week going to work in York. I give a couple of work colleagues a lift which offsets my fuel costs. When I set off from work today the car wouldn't start and I'd left my booster battery in the garage so I had to bump start the car in the car park so I could be looking at a new battery as well. I might try those Bataid tablets to buy me a bit more time.

It never rains, it bloody pours!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Clutch problems

Becky II's clutch is slipping. I've been expecting this since I nearly burnt it out last year towing a Fiesta off the drive. I've adjusted the cable which has improved things but has only bought me some time. I've changed the clutch twice before on Becky & Margaret (2 of my previous Acclaims) so I can avoid the pitfalls I've encountered before. Also, it isn't expensive. Being front wheel drive with a transverse layout the gearbox oil has to be drained and the driveshafts have to be removed before the gearbox can be removed. Unlike most manual gearboxes the Acclaim's uses engine oil which is cheaper than gearbox oil. I'll refill the gearbox with fresh oil as I don't know how long the oil has been in there. I hope it doesn't let go before I can do the work.