Ownership Verified: My Brooklands Green sports saloon...

captain_70s

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'77 Triumph Dolomite 1300 + '83 Triumph Acclaim
Nah, I'm not majorly into modern drivetrains in auld motors. I also can't be arsed trying to make the pushrod 4-banger fast, GRP is just for it's tendency to not rot like fuck when exposed to the UK's dismal climate (and because steel panels are only available NOS and tend to be 2-3x the price for people doing concourse Sprint restos)...

Once it's finished I may go back to fucking around with my 1850cc OHC example which is equally as rotten but is a feasable basis for building a fast road car/sleeper/beater. We'll see how the next couple of years go. :LOL:
 

Matt2000

An Unfortunate Discovery
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Once it's finished I may go back to fucking around with my 1850cc OHC example which is equally as rotten but is a feasable basis for building a fast road car/sleeper/beater. We'll see how the next couple of years go. :LOL:
I'm still hoping for something like this:
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It has a 5.0 Mustang engine, we may know a guy who could get one.
 

Matt2000

An Unfortunate Discovery
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I would honestly recommend putting a couple of quid away a week and get a couple of Ryobi cordless tools when they're on sale on Amazon, it would make your life so much easier. Granted you're going in a workshop so power won't be an issue but as soon as you start working on the Acclaim you'll be in the same situation. If Ryobi is good enough for Colin Furze it should be fine.

Also you gave me a new user title.
 

captain_70s

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'77 Triumph Dolomite 1300 + '83 Triumph Acclaim
Last week on Thursday the long awaited Operation Dolomove 3.0 occurred.

I managed to get out of work late (naturally) and arrived at my flat aprox 15 seconds before a Volvo V70 T6 AWD with a big fuck off tilt bed trailer arrived. Now the trailer used to have a winch, but one of the last people to rent it managed to break it and it hadn't been replaced so we had to formulate a plan of how to load a non-running car containing two cast iron engines on to a trailer on a narrow one-way street...

Now, my street slopes downhill towards the end of it's run, so we figured if we parked the trailer on that, pointing downhill it'd present less of an angle to climb once lowered. As luck would have it nobody likes parking under the trees at the end of the street either so we could even squeeze the towing combo over to one side and not block traffic...
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With the tyres overinflated to 40ish psi and with me having left the handbrake off for all the time the car has been sitting it rolled quite happily. We lined it up to the trailer and with about 3ft of downhill run up the momentum carried it straight on.

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We didn't even need to shuffle it on the trailer for weight balance, it was pretty much as dead on as it could get! It was gingerly pulled around the corner to a wider stretch of road for strapping down.

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The journey then began and was entirely trouble free for it's duration although when going uphill the Volvo's mpg calculator suggested it was returning a giddy 13mpg...

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Unloading was just as uneventful as the loading and journey had been. While the car was sitting we poked at some filler work towards the rear end of the car.

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Yes the sodden blue cloth was structural. There was also a 1/2 inch socket extender in the hole. Bloke who works out of the garage I'm using lamented the fact these cars end up bodged and scrapped because nobody can be bothered welding them before trying to talk me into fitting a hot cam and bike carbs... We then parted with me due back on Saturday for the strip down to commence.

Halfway through my shift at work on Friday I received a message "Couldn't stand looking at that rear door full of wob" and this picture.

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Yes, before midday on the day before work was due to start the fella had already pulled off a door, fabricated and welded on a new lower 1/3rd and then found a decently filled dent a bit further up and tugged it out for good measure... He's not going to properly finish the job until the sill/wheelarch on that side is repaired so we're definitely working to the correct lines... He'd already gone around the car with a white pen marking areas needing attention...
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On Saturday I turned up at around 10:30am and started undoing the gearbox/engine bolts and all the front trim while he set at the N/S chassis leg with an angle grinder and the MIG.

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One of the bumper bolts was snapped, the other was rounded and it was easier to just cut the rotten wing off around it...

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With the headlights and grilles out of the way the sight wasn't pretty...

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Almost all of the headlight mounting panel was missing and the "eyebrow" panel that runs along the top and outer edge which ties the front nose panel to the front of the wing was also largely missing. This was mirrored on the other side.

We then started looking at the front valance and cut off the rotten edges to find...

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It seems that the rear arches weren't the only area to feature questionable prior repairs. At some point a new front valance had been fitted but had simple been stuck over the remains of the old one with some sort of adhesive/underseal type stuff. At least in this instance most of the old panel had been cut away instead of being left entirely intact under the new panel like the arches...
Not that it really mattered, the whole lot was utterly rotten regardless.

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With the front structure assessed and found to be "totally fucking fucked, mate. Big time" we decided to pull the engine...

This was done very safely and properly with a crane etc and definitely not via the medium of lifting it out by hand with three blokes... There was an interesting moment when the gearbox refused to stay put, going underneath revealed the gearbox mount had essentially turned to jelly and fallen to bits entirely...

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With the engine out we pulled off the sump to marvel at the condition.

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This was the big end bearing for No.3...

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The hardened surface on the crank was entirely missing. I'd worn through it...

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The end cap and conrod had gotten so hot they'd blued and the adjacent oil pump was heat seized solid to the point where we couldn't even get it apart...

There was miles of play in the crank fore and aft as well as the thrust washers were utterly shagged. I have videos of most of the hilarity but haven't edited the footage yet...

In summary it was FUBAR. Like, completely. Nothing is salvageable. It's dead Jim. I ran a magnet over the sludge in the bottom of the sump and picked up about 2cm of metal... :LOL:

No evidence of the engine ever having been apart or rebuilt before and a fair bit of evidence it's done 138,000 miles. If I'd rebuilt it fully when I first bought the car it might have been savable, but I really didn't know anything about engines at that point and it was already knocking like a bastard and sludged up...

With the engine autopsy over we turned back to bodywork and started knocking out some rough panels for the front end. Now matey doesn't like showing WIP pictures, favouring before/after in order to not get angry about armchair experts pointing out pinholes in unfinished 0.8mm panels so you'll have to deal with this teaser shot...

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The leading edge of the N/S chassis leg was also replicated and welded together and we started looking at the infamous "eyebrow" panels that always seem to rot...

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These pieces are supposed to provide a bit of extra strength to the corners and tie the inner front panel to the leading edge of the outer front panel, they also tie these areas to the outer edge of the wing and provide a mounting point for the far edge of the headlight panel.
Due to their location they rot like fuck and moisture/dirt builds up in the box section and rots everything out around them.

RAN OUT OF ATTACHMENT SLOTS! CONTINUED BELOW!
 

captain_70s

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'77 Triumph Dolomite 1300 + '83 Triumph Acclaim
This is how the "eyebrow"/headlight mounting panels should look:

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As you can see my car is missing a substantial amount of metal! The Triumph Dolomite Club do produce the "eyebrows" in GRP as well as a full nose panel + valance also in GRP and some pressed headlight mounting panels but a quite bit of totting up costs showed that once you factored in the cost of collecting them (they don't post the big stuff) it'd be the best part of £500 and we'd still have rotten wings to repair...

The chap who has the workshop essentially said "fuck spending that when you can't see them and we could make them with £18 worth of steel and a hammer and dolly so that's the route being taken!

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So the car is currently looking a bit sorry for itself but it's been left in the garage over the week and the fella will be tinkering with it over the course of week until I can next visit on Sunday... He reckons he can have the chassis legs repaired and the entire front of the car roughed up and tacked together for a reference by the end of the week, and having seen him work I can believe it...

I got a message around 15:00 today saying the other side of the valance is now roughed up and tacked in place!

I'm waiting on some gaskets arriving so hopefully the new engine can be assembled on Sunday as well...
 

NotLaw

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Mar 18, 2008
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Cedar City, UT
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'90 Saab SPG, '84 K5 Blazer, '67 Fairlane 500
I'm no stranger to big projects, but I'm not going to lie, that degree of cancer would send me running.


Good on you for getting started on dealing with it though. Old cars only get older and less common, so It's good to keep them going.

Good luck!
 

Dr_Grip

Made from concentrate
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That is on par with the Metod Manta. I am impressed and a bit shocked.
 

captain_70s

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Glasgow, Scotland
Car(s)
'77 Triumph Dolomite 1300 + '83 Triumph Acclaim
The thing is the car is good in so many awkward places they usually go, the screen surrounds are mint, the bulkhead is mint, the roof overhang at the back is mint, inner wings are mint. The sills look grotty but we can't knock holes in them, front floor pans and the boot floor may need a couple of patches but are otherwise sound. Subframe and trailing arms are good and the chassis legs only need work at the leading edge and where the car been incorrectly jacked up on them in the past.

The main issue is that the front panels rot from the inside out due being a moisture/dirt trap. There are no splash guards so the front wheels throw dirt and water into the area above the headlights, on later cars a splash guard was added with the result that the wings rotted 6 inches further back instead. :LOL:
Once you start seeing bubbling on the surface of the outer panels the inner panels are usually un-salvagable... What is quite impressive is that, despite the level of rot, nothing has shifted or moved and everything still lines up.

I could buy almost every panel I need, but when the car also needs every suspension component renewed and a set of decent polybushes is £400.... Also all the inner panels are either simple shapes or completely hidden, so they can be made without having to worry about looking amazing as long as they put structure back into the car.
 

captain_70s

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'77 Triumph Dolomite 1300 + '83 Triumph Acclaim
Back out at the car today with the owner of the workshop, whom we shall call Mr. Herald from now on because he has a Triumph Herald...

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I've bought a fuck load of shit for it recently...

New suspension bushes all round.
Payen head gasket set
Top/bottom end gasket sets
Timing chain tensioner/gaskets
Valve guides + stem seals
Cam followers
Oil pump
Coolant hoses
Brake flexis all round
30W running in oil
2x 20w50 mineral for the first two changes
Paint (twice)

I think I've now officially spent more money on the resto than I did buying the car in the first place. I'm gonna' tot it all up when it's done and not a minute sooner! 🤣

So. To recap the car looked something like this a couple of weeks ago after significant prodding

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It now looks like this:

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Yup, first bunch of filler now on the passenger side and in the process of being sanded back. There is a lot of sanding to go mind, there should only be a tiny skim to even out the hammer marks by the time it's done... The driver's side still needs a couple of tweaks before it's ready for filler. Here is is pre-filler to prove it isn't sculpted from P38:

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A fairly important thing to note here is that because the metal left on the car was so corroded there was essentially nothing left to work from. The lower corners of the front wings were entirely misshaped filler, the headlight retaining structure was gone entirely, as were half the bumper mounts. All the new metal work has been made by Mr. Herald from scratch and working from photos online because there was either nothing left or what was left was bodge...
It also appears that either there were a couple of varieties of front valance or that the tooling got so worn out the later cars were different to early ones...

The leading edges of the front chassis legs were also entirely replaced, as were several panels behind the valance - I cunningly failed to take any pictures.

In engine terms progress has also been made. A fortnight ago a meet-up of automotive tinkerers from the Scottish contingent of Autoshite forums was organised to take engines apart and such... We travel in style.

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The old engine needed it's Dolly specific bits removing so we set about that first.

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The timing gear was... A bit worn. The cover was... A touch sludgy...

The replacement engine was put on a stand and then we realised we had a problem...

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In 1970 the Triumph 1300 engine was significantly changed to share it's bearings with the 6-cylinder cars. This made them less rev-happy and caused premature failure of bearings. This meant there was also a change for the timing cover and crank seal, with later cars have a larger diameter and a much bigger pulley.

The Dolly being a '77 was running a "large journal" engine, the replacement is a mid 1960s "small journal" engine from a 1300fwd. This meant I needed an appropriate timing cover/seal, which I was lacking. The 1300fwd also had a taper on the crank, due to problems with very early examples throwing their pulley off at speed... Indeed, the layout on the fwd is entirely different as the flywheel and starter is also at the front of the engine, as to not foul the gearabox!

Thankfully I'd picked up a Herald 12/50 1200cc engine for free a while back "just in case", and these feature the same diameter crank and use the same timing cover as the "small journal" 1300 units, so I had the required parts "in stock"!


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I'll still have to use the smaller 1300fwd pulley as there is a taper on the end of the crank, but this should be fine provided I change the size of the water pump and alternator pulleys accordingly.

Mr. Herald has rebuilt the cylinder head.

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It has new valve guides fitted and a mixture of it's original valves and spares from Mr.Herald's Herald re-lapped in. He's also removed a significant amount of casting flash and superfluous metalwork in the inlets for better air flow!

We pulled the cam out and found that there was some scoring to the end-most surface so it was swapped for the Herald's original cam as well, which also featured slightly more lift. We drenched it in assembly lube before fitting.

With that decided the gasket and front plate were fitted and the end float on the cam checked - We're in spec!

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I checked the torques on all the main/big end caps and fitted the new oil pump. Then we checked the end float on the crank. It's within tolerance but not by a huge margin.

At this point we shall mention paint.

I'd been deliberating on a shade for ages and had come to the conclusion I wanted BRG, specifically Triumph's own variant. As per this:

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There was a 2k paint kit on eBay for "BRG" from a supplier in the Midlands but not specifying an exact shade, so I phoned up and enquired and the bloke on the phone said that although they did have a generic "BRG" shade if I specified the colour code in a message with the order it could be mixed up and that they did do the correct Leyland BRG. Belter.

The paint arrived. It's labelled as "BRITISH RACING GREEN RAL6009" and is a putrid shade of very nearly brown and a consistency of water. GR9.

I'd ordered it straight to the workshop so the first time I actually saw it in person was today. It was just as horrible as it looked in pictures. So we went down to a local paint supplier and deliberated over swatches for far too long before picking an appropriate looking shade. They tap the code into the computer "it comes back as Leyland Brooklands Green". After all that we'd managed to pick out the exact colour the had been when it rolled out of the factory...

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On the scrap plate to the left is the RAL6009, the paint on the tin lid is BL Brooklands and the paint on the car is... Something random it's been sprayed in the past. One thing is for sure and it's that it'll look ace in the proper colour!

By the time we got back from the paint shop it was packing up time so work shall continue tomorrow. I think the plan is to have the engine assembled so it doesn't get filled up with filler dust during the sanding marathon...

Due to personal issues with Mr Herald's family I couldn't work on the car myself last week so had a nice weekend off... Working on this Morris Oxford (owned by the chap who dailies the Seat Toledo above).

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I certainly keep myself busy these days. :LOL:
 

captain_70s

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Glasgow, Scotland
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'77 Triumph Dolomite 1300 + '83 Triumph Acclaim
Realised I'd forgotten my best picture!

The Dolly's old sump has been marinating in petrol for the last fortnight to shift the sludge. Result being the oil can be wiped away leaving the metally goodness behind...

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Back at it on Sunday...

Timing chain is back on and in the correct place.

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It was at this point we realised that the oil flinging washer from the Dolomite wouldn't fit this application because it's for the larger diameter crank... This was a "FOR FUCKSAKE" moment. Especially as I HAVE one the right size, on the engine in my basement. I retrieved that on Monday but won't be back at the car until the weekend.

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The timing cover was also sandblasted/wirewheeled and painted. The sump was cleaned and painted.

The engine builder has said the thrust washers are both 15 thou over and this is a concern in combination with the crank end float being so close to tolerance. The thrust washers are half moon shaped and sit on top of the crank at the end cap and take up the fore/aft slop in the crank, they can also prove to be a major Achilles' heel. They are intended to be a sacrificial wear item and as the gap increases will wear faster and faster, it isn't unheard of for these to work loose when towards the top end of the tolerance and to simply drop into the sump with catastrophic results for the bearings and crank surfaces.

Given the slop is already quite high and the washers are the largest currently available I'm going to have a 20 thou washer custom made. A minor expense that will allow the whole enterprise to last longer and minimise the risk of thrust washers making a bid for freedom - Especially with me doing city driving and using the clutch a lot. The replacement engine is already machined to the maximum degree so any damage/wear would essentially render it irreparable. I'm aiming for 60-80k of careful use, if it throws a thrust bearing at 6,000 miles and lunches the crank I'll not be impressed for the cost of a £30 part!🤣

With the engine at a standstill awaiting parts we turned our attentions back to bodywork. In particular the bottom edge of the front wings are crusty...

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Cut away the bottom of the wing.

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Traditional end of sill rust. I cut another hole in the sill a bit further along to see the extent of the damage.

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Fucker's mint inside! The only major rot is the outer at the bottom where it joins the inner.

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The jacking point however was fucked. These are a vertical box section with a plate at the bottom and they always catch mud and rot out. More wing was cut away to get at it...

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At the right side of this picture you can see two remaining sides of the box section jacking point. The other two were torn off largely by hand!

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There had already been a plate welded in to the leading edge of the inner arch, that was all cut out as well - Quite an impressive pile of bits.

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We started making various bits for the jacking point and sills out of 2mm galv steel. The galvanisation proved such a fucker to weld to we resorted to grinding it all off. 🤣 We're also going to make everything in duplicate, because the other side will be just as bad...

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While down there Mr Herald let out a cry of "whaaaaaaat the fuck?" and pointed along to the sill repair I paid the local garage to do 3 years ago.


So, it appears that's a sheet of steel wrapped over the original sill, except at the wheel arch end where they've had to lop it off and stick in a flat plate, it's then all been smothered in filler. I dug out the receipt for a laugh. £220.

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So we'll need two full outer sills. I looked up the price of the Triumph Dolomite Club panels and reeled off the prices to Mr Herald who made dismissive noises and threatened to go into the business of making them by hand while under-cutting the TDC and still making fat stacks.

This was the first day I've actually cut any bits off the car or made up any bits to go on it. It'll not be the last...

Some more parts arrived today and I think that the engine will be assembled on Saturday and installed on Sunday. All the welding ahead of the front wheels is also now complete and the full front end is roughed in with filler. PROGRESS!
 
Last edited:

MWF

Now needs wood
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May 29, 2008
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MWF HQ, Ukadia
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MX-5 1.8i Indiana SE, update pending
Does all this mean that this steaming pile of rusty BL poo is finally going to be turned into something approaching a safe, reliable and not rusty classic? Albeit one in one of my least favourite colours that was a shonky effort even when it left the factory?
 

captain_70s

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Joined
Aug 6, 2008
Messages
6,275
Location
Glasgow, Scotland
Car(s)
'77 Triumph Dolomite 1300 + '83 Triumph Acclaim
Does all this mean that this steaming pile of rusty BL poo is finally going to be turned into something approaching a safe, reliable and not rusty classic?
I wouldn't go that far, but it will probably be better than new.
 
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