Ownership Verified: Cpt.70's NotAHonda - 1983 Triumph Acclaim L

CraigB;n3552614 said:
Nice videos, Captain! Perhaps I should do something similar for the Merkur... :D

I reckon so. The more slightly shaky videos about old cars on YouTube the better!
Coming up to a year of ownership on the old Acclaim now.


Had to do very little to the car aside from general servicing. Oil/filter change, new rear brake shoes, new tyres, etc.

A few notable things have occured. Firstly the car didn't turn over very happily on the starter and had an uneven idle, under accelerating there was a knock from the engine like it was firing slightly off-time. Sticking a strobe light on it showed that the ignition timing was miles off, evidently whoever changed the timing belt didn't set it correctly on reassembly.
Set that properly and gained much smoother running although the idle is still a bit rough and the car feels a bit hesitant on acceleration, I'm suspecting the carbs will need looking at but I don't entirely trust myself to not make things worse and parts for these carbs are difficult to get and are expensive. I did check the valve clearances but everything was in-spec...


I also treated it to a new set of Uniroyal RainExpert 3s. Interestingly Acclaims got different tyre sizes dependant on trim level despite all having the same 13" steel wheels, presumably to really hammer home the fact that you were too cheap to buy an expensive model. Base spec "L" cars like mine got 145/80R13s, "HL" and "HLS" got 155/80R13s, same as the Doloshite and top spec "CD" cars got 165/70/R13s.
When I bought new tyres I went for the "CD" spec size because it's a 1980 car not a fucking Morris Minor...
Not noticeable change in steering weight but it tracks a lot straighter and seems to grip better on corners, I've ran RainExperts on all my cars are am happy with the results for the low cost.

I also had some issues with the "pin fit" wipers. Namely in that the original pins on mine had been replaced with some adaptor thing which wouldn't securely hold any other wiper blades other than the too small, badly perished set the car came with.


I couldn't find anywhere that stocked the original pins and naturally they were an IMPERIAL size on my JAPANESE car from the 1980s. So I bored out the hole on the wiper arm with a round file and replaced the pins with a small bolt and locking nut.


Other than that it's been an uneventful 9,000 miles. Quite a bit of surface rust blooming through the cheap respray but that'll get sanded down and rattle canned in the summer. The exhaust is still utter garbage but hasn't fallen off yet and I have managed to quell some of the interior rattles by tightening screws...

The car is also garnering attention locally and in my ownership has been featured in automotive calenders no fewer than 3 times! :lol:




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Bastarding thing shat it's brakes on me...

Coming off the M74 at 60mph on my way to work and went for the brakes and the pedal was nearly at the floor before anything happened, parked up at work and had a wee look. Brake fluid reservoir was half empty and the R/O/S wheel was all wet on the inside. Hoses/pipes all look good so it looks like a brake wheel cylinder has failed.

Drove home very slowly using the gears and handbrake, just using the foot brake lightly to illuminate the brake lights for following traffic. By the time I got home the brakes were 100% dead so it must have "popped" pretty catastrophically.

10,000 miles of totally trouble free motoring is better than any other car I've owned (excepting the '08 Yaris) so I guess it was due a failure, and as total loss of brakes goes the end result was pretty favourable... Also found the car has a low brake fluid warning light, fancy!

Update, I was wrong and right about the wheel cylinder.

Turns out the brake line mounting point on the shock (the NOS one I had fitted last year) had snapped off. The mount is only secured with two little spot welds and it looks like water has gotten in behind it, corroded the steel and the expansion has snapped the welds. Because this was no longer securing the line it must have been wobbling around which had caused the pipe to fracture right at the union on the wheel cylinder.

A fellow crap car enthusiast who lives nearby came to the rescue by offering use of his pipe flaring tool, so we made up a new pipe and then found that whoever had last fitted the union had cross threaded it and mauled all the threads, so a new wheel cylinder was required. There was also a bit of confusion regards whether this car uses Imperial fittings and threads or metric ones, turns out to be Metric, which is nice.




We drilled a slot in the snapped mount and have tie-wrapped it to the shock for now as I don't have any jubilee clips large enough. A trip to the hardware shop will be required. As can be seen in the pictures the hoses are also quite... "patinated" so will be replaced asap.

Have now had the car for a year and have done 10,000 miles in it, 100x more than it's annual mileage with it's previous owner! This brake problem has been the only real work I've had to do to the car aside from general tinkering and servicing. The MOT is due in April so we shall see how it fares with that and when the weather is more favourable I'll make a start on doing some more bodywork.

Shit video recap from April:

Anyway, I had a squeaky front brake so set about stripping it down for a nosy and investigate.

Seems a piston was a bit sticky and wouldn't wind back properly. I tried to loosen the bleed nut to lessen the pressure behind it.

That was the final result having tried the following:
Spanners, sockets, breaker bars, mole grips application of heat via blow torch, repeated use of penetrating fluid, cutting new edges into the hex with a hacksaw. The lot. It may as well be welded in there, if it comes out at all it'll probably tear the thread out of the caliper itself so I'll probably just buy another.
I bled the system by pressurising and letting the air out of the flexi pipe join. Not ideal but it worked.

It was the only fitting that was an issue and was a bit mangled before I started, not sure if it's been cross threaded or something in the past. The rest of the stuff came apart fine and the brakes were all in good shape with decent discs and plenty of life in the pads, a million times better than the Civic's brakes which looked like they'd been stored in the sea.
The bloke across the hall from me also came out and started fiddling with his 2008 BMW, must be car fixing season...

While messing about with the brakes I also disturbed some rust on the wheel arch.

I instigated a high quality repair so it didn't fall foul of the "no sharp edges" bit of the MOT test.


I also sanded down various other bits of surface rust, treated with Vactan rust converter and rattle canned them. From 20ft it looks alright which is the overall goal. I'm not going mad trying to make this car immaculate, there is too much prior bodgery and naff "restoration" work to rectify, especially on a daily driver.


You can buy new wings for £50 a side and they just bolt on so I may invest in some in the future...

I had it booked in for it's MOT on the 17th, a week before it expired as I wanted time to repair anything which it failed on.



Passed, the tested said he suggested getting the rear of the sills repaired to a better standard before it comes back next year. They've been plated pretty terribly at some point in the past and are now a bit crumbly. Other than that it's all good, brakes, suspension mounts, floors and chassis rails are all really solid.
After the test I went to visit a mate (username Retroshite on forums, blogs, YouTube etc) nearby (the fella who let me use his ramp and welding equipment last year) and had the opportunity to unite my Mk1 Honda Ballade with a Mk2 example. I've never seen a Mk2 in the metal before and there can't be more than a handful of survivors...


Future plans are to replace all the brake flexi pipes, repair the rear of the sills to a better standard and see if I can make a custom exhaust to replace the current garbage fitted. If I can take the car off the road for a few months I'll do the rear arches and rear valance as well but that would require another functional vehicle of which I have 0/2...
What brings you to this damp and cold corner of this windswept isle? Prepare for deep fried food and the concept of commas being replaced with "fuck(ing)".
Conference in London. Figured I may as well see the rest of your wee little island :tease:


The only functioning car on the fleet continues to live up to it's title of only functioning car on the fleet. Indeed it's just back from a 1,400 mile roadtrip around Scotland.
My parents had asked if I could house/pet sit for them while they went on holiday for a week, I said yes and then planned a roadtrip around Scotland for the week prior. So me and Girlfriend_70s would tour up the West coast, through the Highlands and down the East coast Mon-Thurs before arriving at my parent's place near Strathdon and staying in the Caringorms for the next week.

In preparation for the trip I gave it some fresh oil (10w40 because modern car) and a new filter, gave all the other important fluids a glance to ensure they'd not fucked off, checked the tyres and... Erm, that was pretty much it.

I did fit one new part, although in fairness it was a biggie.


With the prospect of doing many miles up steep hills on rough roads looming I decided to splash out on an exhaust that wasn't very loud, very low and very rattly. The new one is an Italian made IMASAF mild steel example which had to be bought from Germany, cost £250(inc postage) and is the only complete system you can buy for an Acclaim.

On the flipside it fits perfectly and I now have a decent exhaust, and when it rots out I can have it replicated in stainless.




It was alarmingly easy to fit, and unlike the British supplied Dolomite exhaust I bought some years ago actually fitted to the car it was made for. A mate kindly lent me his driveway, which made life much easier...


For a reminder this is how it sits at the rear compared to the old one:


With the exhaust fitted on Saturday I collected Girlfriend_70s on Sunday (torquing up the downpipe bolts on her parent's drive) and embarked on our adventure on Monday morning.






When we rolled up to my flat after a fortnight of travelling we'd covered 1,381 miles since setting off, with the only thing required by the car being a splash more oil after 1,100ish miles and regular topping off of screenwash.

Except when the exhaust fell off...


Where the rear and front section of pipe connect I'd thought an interference fit would be enough to hold it after having to mash them together with a rubber mallet. Turns out it is enough to hold it, but only for 1,000 miles worth of heat cycles and a few dirt tracks...
I pulled over and used my wax jacket to lift the exhaust back into position and assaulted it with the mallet again. 5 miles later, in a Tesco car park, I added a clamp I'd previously declared superfluous but chucked in the boot "just in case"...


Aside from that the car was grand, despite 30C temps and 20% gradients. Now I just need to give the thing a major clean... And sort the rough idle... And weld up the growing hole in the O/S sill...
Some dumb fuck spunk trumpet rammed my arse this morning... In the automotive sense, of course.


In this highly detailed and professional diagram I was following the blue route, indicator on, ready to merge right in a queue of cars going about 45mph. Somebody a few cars ahead weighed anchor for reasons unknown (not uncommon at this merger as you have to check over your shoulder for traffic if you're going right and in most moderns this is right in peak blind spot zone), I got a good warning of this as the Freelander in front looked like it was going to do a front flip, this brought the traffic in the green area down to about walking pace. The chap in the Corsa E behind me either didn't notice or couldn't out brake a car with rear drums and went in to the back of me.
He then immediately barges his way into fast moving to traffic to the right and goes along the route marked black as fast as possible, I can't follow him until several cars are between us because I now have to pull out into 50mph traffic from a standstill.

I did attempt to catch up but they were already a few hundred yards ahead and I lost sight of them, given my only knowledge was it was black Corsa E I couldn't have found them as that describes about 25% of the UK's traffic.

Anyways, I went out with a rubber mallet, a breaker bar and a bit of wood and battered the fuck out of the car and it's now back to being concourse* again.


I hope all the other guy's bumper clips are broken, the fucktard.
If it makes you feel any better, you could have conceivably destroyed the grille of a Corsa E with that rubber mallet.
If it makes you feel any better, you could have conceivably destroyed the grille of a Corsa E with that rubber mallet.
I probably destroyed it with a rusty Triumph bumper, from the damage it looks like his car went under mine...
Boooo, glad you’re alright and the car survived though.
Beaters gonna' beat.
Friends don't let friends buy Scottish cars.






I washed the car for the first time in months and found quite a bit of it had turned brown or simply vanished. Wank.

I retaliated with sandpaper, Vactan rust treatment stuff and a rattle can of paint that came with the car when I bought it...






That'll see it look presentable for the next few months with any luck. Bizarrely some of the water filled rust bubbles burst to reveal pristine steel underneath, not sure how that works but I'll take it...
Obviously the rear valance and lower quarters are utterly fucked but repair panels are extinct so they'll have to stay that way for now. They weren't much better when I bought the car, but all the body filler has fallen out...

My rattle can has also ran dry after 3 years of respraying the rear arches every Spring.


I also bought the last NOS OSF Acclaim wing, because it's the last one and it was £40.


I then poked a massive hole in the anti-roll bar mount while doing an oil change, I forgot to take a picture. That'll need to be welded.

Other shit that needs to be sorted out is some rough running issues, I need to explore the vac pipes and carb settings, the fuel hoses also need to be replaced as I suspect they may be the originals.

The last time I was tinkering with the carbs I ran the car around the block with the air cleaner lid off and it was quite fruity.

Oh, and the radiator is weeping at one corner and quite a few of the cooling fins look fucked. May be time for a re-core.


Anyways, it's clocked up another 10,000 odd miles in the last year which is pretty good going for a shit old £850 banger. MOT is due in May so we'll see how it holds out.

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On the one hand, it blows my mind how quickly everything seems to turn into rusty dust over there.

Then I see the commonly accepted ways to 'fix' the rust. and I'm not so surprised anymore o_O

Eventually, if you want to keep your classics on the road, I suppose you'll have to either gather the tools, materials and knowledge to shape patch panels yourself, or find someone crazy enough to do it for you.

Good on you for being stubborn enough to attempt to see it through though haha.
Lack of facilities is the issue, no garage, no off road parking, living in a 3rd floor flat. Fairly shit for working on cars. Back when I was using my parent's garage they wouldn't allow welding equipment/grinders etc because they thought I'd kill myself, when I got my own garage @ £70 a month it was at the opposite end of town and had no power. Now I live in a city and tiny 1960s lockups are £100+ a month, more than I can afford and still no power to run a welder.

Obviously paying somebody to do the welding work would be waaaaay more than the car is worth or I can afford so at the moment it's just a case of keeping it treated as well as possible and hoping there is something left to get a template from when I have a garage. I can take it away to a mate's place to do structural welding about an hour away but that requires all work be done within the scope of a day as I need to drive the car there and back! Too short of a time frame to fabricate something half decent.

I was hoping that this year me and my girlfriend could move in together - Resulting in a move to somewhere with a driveway/garage. Sadly Coronavirus is now meaning I could be out of a job by the end of the month, let alone in a position to move house...

If anybody can think of a car with a similar rear arch profile to the Acclaim which might have repair panels available or still be common in breakers yards do speak up! ;) The closest I've found so far is BMW E30 front wings... Rover SD1 are closer but panels are extinct, Mk2 Civic is obvious but again, none left.
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Going on Car-Part.com, I found a couple of four door Mk2 Civics, but that's for the ENTIRE US. The closest one to me is in Tenessee, the other is in Montclair, Arizona.
Going on Car-Part.com, I found a couple of four door Mk2 Civics, but that's for the ENTIRE US. The closest one to me is in Tenessee, the other is in Montclair, Arizona.

hmm, do you want moisture damage or sand/sun damage... Decisions decisions.
Going on Car-Part.com, I found a couple of four door Mk2 Civics, but that's for the ENTIRE US. The closest one to me is in Tenessee, the other is in Montclair, Arizona.
That sounds about right. I've never actually seen a Mk2 Civic in the metal, if there are more than 20 left on the road in the UK I'd be surprised...