My 'new' 1967 Triumph Herald 1200

Cobol74

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True story - leaves Pub with mate who is driving - "Hey this key is a bit stiff." ... Gets in car he opens my door and I get in. Puts key in inigition and starts engine, turns lights on, puts in gear - stares out of the windscreen as if he's seen a ghost!

Turns off ignition, and turns lights off "Cobol, I think we had better get out!!!!" Dan dun dannnnnn! "This is not my car - the one in front is mine!"

How embarrassing!
 

flydiscovery

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That used to happen ALL them time with Chrysler cars until, oh I dunno a very few years back. I dunno maybe it still does! I remember my dad unlocking some random Jeep in a parking lot once because it was near his (central locking). There was some incident where it screwed up a murder investigation because the guy's key fit the car and they assumed it was his. Wish I could remember the entire story.
 

captain_70s

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That used to happen ALL them time with Chrysler cars until, oh I dunno a very few years back.
I knew a guy who did that in the college car park with a old Pug.

He didn't actually un-lock the door but was stumped on why it would un-lock... and why radio was a far better type than he had fitted when he parked it!:lol:
Then he realised his car was in the next row!
 

Spectre

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Wyvern, a suggestion: Do yourself an enormous favor and have the ignition system upgraded to an optical unit (as opposed to the original points) such as a Lumenition or Pertronix. Then fit modern accurate aftermarket oil pressure and water temperature gauges.

True story - leaves Pub with mate who is driving - "Hey this key is a bit stiff." ... Gets in car he opens my door and I get in. Puts key in inigition and starts engine, turns lights on, puts in gear - stares out of the windscreen as if he's seen a ghost!

Turns off ignition, and turns lights off "Cobol, I think we had better get out!!!!" Dan dun dannnnnn! "This is not my car - the one in front is mine!"

How embarrassing!

BL cars only actually had something like 32 or 64 key patterns to start, and as the locks got older and got a little wear on the pins and tumblers, some patterns would actually open all of the locks. Turns out that your BL key had a one in four chance (or more!) of opening another BL car, as they devolved into just a few basic key pattern types with wear.

I have a BL/Jaguar door key that can literally open most BL cars sold in the US. :p
 
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Wyvern

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Wyvern, a suggestion: Do yourself an enormous favor and have the ignition system upgraded to an optical unit (as opposed to the original points) such as a Lumenition or Pertronix. Then fit modern accurate aftermarket oil pressure and water temperature gauges.

That's worth considering, though as the dash is completely original (it doesn't even have an aftermarket radio precariously tucked into a gap that isn't really there, if you know what I mean) I'm a bit uncertain about changing it. Having said that, a more accurate speedo would be nice, because this one seems a bit hopeful (it claimed 80mph when my friend's car was travelling behind at 55mph :lol: )...
 

Wyvern

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Poor Gerald is not well. My engine rebuild has turned into a complete bottom end replacement. The head's salvageable but that's about it. Something's eaten into the block and it's had it. Ah, well - it's only another ?200 on a bill that is already enormous :rolleyes: To be honest, I wasn't entirely surprised.
 

Dr_Grip

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Damn, that sucks.

I hate this feeling when everytime you call the shop they just told you what else is wrong and how much extra it will cost. My Kadett's de-rusting project turned from 500 Euros to 1900 by now.
 

Spectre

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Poor Gerald is not well. My engine rebuild has turned into a complete bottom end replacement. The head's salvageable but that's about it. Something's eaten into the block and it's had it. Ah, well - it's only another ?200 on a bill that is already enormous :rolleyes: To be honest, I wasn't entirely surprised.

That's not surprising in those engines. No offense, but you Brits don't seem to be able to maintain a cooling system to save your lives over there - and the particular alloys BL made their engine blocks out of seem to attract corrosion like nothing else.

Remember: 50/50 coolant/water is your minimum concentration, always use distilled water and not tap/hosepipe water, flush it out every year or two years and make sure your coolant is silicate and phosphate free. In your case, since it never actually gets hot over in Merrye Olde Englande, you may wish to consider a 60/40 mix of coolant to water, or even 70/30 for additional corrosion protection.
 

Wyvern

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In a way, it's a relief - I'm not sure I would have trusted it being rebuilt with parts that were already there, give how catastrophically the engine failed. What I don't get is how it could have gone in the space of about 150 miles from running beautifully, with no sign of any problem, to giving up this totally. You would have thought there would have been engine noise or something, but it went from purring like a kitten to chugging like a tractor in less than 20 minutes.

I don't regret buying the car, but I'm a bit disgruntled with it at the moment -mainly because I would have liked to have had a chance to actually drive it before it went tits up. Mind you, if I wasn't having a load of other (non-essential) jobs done at the same time, the bill wouldn't be too bad. It doesn't actually need a new gearbox just yet, but by the time I've got the hang of double de-clutching to get around the dodgy synchro on 2nd, it probably will, so best to get it done while it's already in the shop. The mirrors is a little job I could have done myself when I'm doing the rest of the cosmetic work, but while everything else is being done, an extra ?20 for labour is worth it if I'd have been buying the parts anyway, the recovery has bumped it up a bit and I think a full service is a wise precaution, just in case there are any more nasty surprises lurking.

At least it's in good general condition - it would have been just as easy to spend vast amounts on a car that was fine under the bonnet but a wreck on the outside (plus there's always a chance that an old car that appears to be mechanically sound is going to, er, 'surprise' you).
 

Spectre

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In a way, it's a relief - I'm not sure I would have trusted it being rebuilt with parts that were already there, give how catastrophically the engine failed. What I don't get is how it could have gone in the space of about 150 miles from running beautifully, with no sign of any problem, to giving up this totally. You would have thought there would have been engine noise or something, but it went from purring like a kitten to chugging like a tractor in less than 20 minutes.



Need I say more? :D

Seriously, though - that's often how Brit engines die, suddenly and without warning. If you're used to the vagaries of the car, you might notice a subtle change and catch it before it dies... but usually not.

Stuff like this is why I advocated the modern coolant and oil gauges. You don't have to replace your instrument panel gauges, you can mount them under the dash or off to the side. The original Smiths gauges weren't very good and they didn't get better. The later replacement Veglias weren't a whole lot better.

I don't regret buying the car, but I'm a bit disgruntled with it at the moment -mainly because I would have liked to have had a chance to actually drive it before it went tits up. Mind you, if I wasn't having a load of other (non-essential) jobs done at the same time, the bill wouldn't be too bad. It doesn't actually need a new gearbox just yet, but by the time I've got the hang of double de-clutching to get around the dodgy synchro on 2nd, it probably will, so best to get it done while it's already in the shop. The mirrors is a little job I could have done myself when I'm doing the rest of the cosmetic work, but while everything else is being done, an extra ?20 for labour is worth it if I'd have been buying the parts anyway, the recovery has bumped it up a bit and I think a full service is a wise precaution, just in case there are any more nasty surprises lurking.

A full service is never a bad idea when placing a new-to-you secondhand car into service.

At least it's in good general condition - it would have been just as easy to spend vast amounts on a car that was fine under the bonnet but a wreck on the outside (plus there's always a chance that an old car that appears to be mechanically sound is going to, er, 'surprise' you).

If you didn't want a car that was going to 'surprise' you, why did you buy a BL car? :lol::mrgreen:

Also, BritCar enthusiasts over here have been debating that exact point for years; which is better - a car with shot mechanicals and great cosmetics, or shot cosmetics with perfect mechanicals? No definite answer has been reached; the correct answer seems to vary with the particular skillset of the respondent. :D

Edit: Does the Herald even have an oil pressure gauge? You could have lost oil pressure on the trip back due to a number of causes and that would have wrecked the engine in short order.
 
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Wyvern

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Need I say more? :D

No, I think you covered it :unsure:

Also, BritCar enthusiasts over here have been debating that exact point for years; which is better - a car with shot mechanicals and great cosmetics, or shot cosmetics with perfect mechanicals? No definite answer has been reached; the correct answer seems to vary with the particular skillset of the respondent. :D

That's very true. For me personally, I think reasonable mechanicals and reasonable cosmetics is the way forward. I'm not massively skilled mechanically, but I learn things easily and I used to maintain my boyfriend's motorbike when I was a teenager, so I'm sure I'll pick it up. I understand the theory - which is why I wasn't surprised when the man at the garage told me that the assumptions I'd made when I was talking to him were correct - but I've not had a chance to put it into practice yet! The cosmetic stuff is spectacularly easy on this model of Herald - none of the panels (with the exception of the bonnet, and I'm not planning on removing that any time soon) are particularly large or heavy and everything just bolts on (though my landlady won't be thrilled when I set up an impromptu paint shop in her garden to do the sills and the offside valance, which is made of rust). If I can get the worst of the mechanicals out the way over the winter, I can do the minor bits of bodywork that are needed in the spring :)

Edit: Does the Herald even have an oil pressure gauge? You could have lost oil pressure on the trip back due to a number of causes and that would have wrecked the engine in short order.

You know, I haven't a clue off the top of my head. I'm trying to picture the dash, but as I've spent very little time familiarising myself with it - and I'm at work, so I can't look at the manual - I just can't remember what's there and what isn't. It is very minimalist though!
 
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Spectre

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You know, I don't think the Herald does have an oil pressure gauge.... IIRC, it has speedo, tach, coolant temp and fuel level and that's it.

Okay, then I have a pretty good idea of what destroyed your big-end bearing; you had a lubrication failure. Most likely causes of the failure are a collapsed or clogged oil filter element, oil pump failure, or oil failure (old oil that hadn't been changed in forever). Without an oil pressure gauge, no way to tell until the engine started disintegrating.

The chewed up block is a result of corrosion in the block due to improper coolant mix or just improper coolant. You have no idea how much it makes me wince when they put just straight tap water into cars on Top Gear.
 

captain_70s

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Also, BritCar enthusiasts over here have been debating that exact point for years; which is better - a car with shot mechanicals and great cosmetics, or shot cosmetics with perfect mechanicals? No definite answer has been reached; the correct answer seems to vary with the particular skillset of the respondent. :D

Personaly I'd prefer mechanical problems, I don't care for cosmetics, rather more in structural or heavy rust. The thing is I can fix some mechanical problems and learn to fix more, wheras welding takes alot of time to get right and a considerable ammount of money just to get the equipment. I also lack a garage or enclosed place to work in.

Also in theory the car isn't BL its BMC, although registered during BL ownership its one of the very last 1200s, built from BMC parts.
I agree about poor cooling though, British cars always seem to struggle despite our decidedly low temperatures. Never good to sit in traffic especialy as thats a recipe for disaster.

I'm pretty sure early Heralds had almost nothing in the way of instrumentation, early ones only had a speedo, fuel gauge and (temperature)?
Later ones were upgraded but I think that was for the 1300 version, either way the Spitfire/Vitesse probably had a oil pressure set up you could use.
 

argatoga

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Wyvern, a suggestion: Do yourself an enormous favor and have the ignition system upgraded to an optical unit (as opposed to the original points) such as a Lumenition or Pertronix.

I want to second this. It made a massive difference when I changed the points in my Dad's MGB to a Pertronix system. As a plus it is even easier to install than replacement points. Just make sure you buy a new rotor as there is a good chance the old one has rusted to all hell.

BL cars only actually had something like 32 or 64 key patterns to start, and as the locks got older and got a little wear on the pins and tumblers, some patterns would actually open all of the locks. Turns out that your BL key had a one in four chance (or more!) of opening another BL car, as they devolved into just a few basic key pattern types with wear.

I have a BL/Jaguar door key that can literally open most BL cars sold in the US. :p

I have a battery cut off in the boot (where the battery is). I take it when I leave the car. Too much effort for most thieves to bother with.
 
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sifu

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The chewed up block is a result of corrosion in the block due to improper coolant mix or just improper coolant. You have no idea how much it makes me wince when they put just straight tap water into cars on Top Gear.

They use eggs also! :)
 

Wyvern

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Triumph Herald 1200, in need of arse transplant
You know, I don't think the Herald does have an oil pressure gauge.... IIRC, it has speedo, tach, coolant temp and fuel level and that's it.

Okay, then I have a pretty good idea of what destroyed your big-end bearing; you had a lubrication failure. Most likely causes of the failure are a collapsed or clogged oil filter element, oil pump failure, or oil failure (old oil that hadn't been changed in forever). Without an oil pressure gauge, no way to tell until the engine started disintegrating.

The chewed up block is a result of corrosion in the block due to improper coolant mix or just improper coolant. You have no idea how much it makes me wince when they put just straight tap water into cars on Top Gear.

I checked the handbook last night, and I spoke to the unfortunate mate who was driving it when it all went horribly wrong - it does have an oil pressure gauge, and it even has a warning light. The gauge was apparently a fraction off-centre but not much, and the light had not come on. I suspect the engine was just suffering from a technical condition known as 'old and knackered'. And the long trip was defiitely a hell of a shock to it - it's been used quite frequently in the last year but only on very short journeys and a couple of years ago it only did 15 miles between MOTs!
 

Magnet

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All part of the fun of pulling old cars apart. You soon move onto the next oldest thing in the car before it dissolves into a full-on rebuild.

As long as it's not a daily driver, then you can at least take your time on it.
 

Wyvern

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All part of the fun of pulling old cars apart. You soon move onto the next oldest thing in the car before it dissolves into a full-on rebuild.

As long as it's not a daily driver, then you can at least take your time on it.

That would be the biggest part of the problem - it's my only car :)

Having said that, I live on the edge of London and I've managed this many years without a licence, so a daily driver really isn't a necessity for me. Gerald's a toy really, and just like the toys I had when I was a kid, I can't wait to get it back from the shop and start playing :D

Looks like I'm going to be waiting a long time... the estimate is another 2 - 3 weeks :(
 
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