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Rusty Triumphs in Scotland - Engine internal inspection - 17/03/23


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  • 2 weeks later...

I have not been arsed with the Volvo and have just been starting it on easy start when it's hot. Now the weather is getting a bit nicer and the days a bit longer I'll try and spend an evening testing shit to pinpoint exactly what's not working.

The Acclaim continues to be the turn key car of choice.

Lawn mowing season is approaching so I really need to get my arse in gear and fix the lawn mower... Pressingly it had no compression, so the engine was popped open and, as suspected, one of the valves was stuck.


Valve freed up and, as any pro mechanic will recommend, reusing the gasket it was thrown back together. It now does that proper "chuff chuff chuff" thing out of the spark plug hole when you spin it over with a drill.

Next issue is that it has no spark despite nice clean and gapped points/plug. Enough electricity is being generated to zap me if I hold the end of the HT lead while turning it over but nothing great enough to jump to the casing unless it's about 1mm away. The HT lead on these is apparently soldered onto the magneto and the fact it can spin 360 degrees suggests that this is no longer the case. It's all a "sealed for life" type thing but nothing that cutting the casing apart and recovering with copious electrical tape can't overcome... Then I just need to do the carb, for which kits are cheaply available, and unstick the clutch.

In Dolomite news this occurred:



Yes another boat anchor added to the collection, complete with direction selector machine, courtesy of @SiC. It was very cheap and I really wish he'd have acquired the car for breaking a couple of years ago. 😂

Stock Dolomite engine, under 70k on the clock, been sat for years though. Fuck me it was grotty, may have had some small* oil leaks.



Cleaning revealed a big "M" and orange splodge on one side of the block and a "42" and green splodge on the other side. Presumably this meant something to some bloke on a factory production line in 1982 but I've no idea what any of that refers to!





"G" stamped pistons are stock, so it's never been bored out and there is no sign of piston slap or bore wear at all. No signs of burning oil (although the oil that's in it was akin to chocolate fudge cake). No immediate signs of worn out bottom end shit although I've still got to yank the sump and measure everything properly.

Plan is to throw bearings and thrusts at this if it looks like it needs them, clean the fuck out of everything and chuck it back together and dump it in the car to run this year.

The current engine that's in it will get pulled out and rebuilt properly on the bench rather than swapping bearings upside down underneath the car. To be honest I think it might be better to save up the pennies and buy another crank for it rather than risk making a cunt of it running oversize custom thrust washers. Reckon I'll also get my twin carb manifold dug out and have that ready to go on.

Hoping to get the new lump built up and dropped in over the next couple of weeks, I need it bedded in and proven for this year's grand attempt at bullshit...


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  • captain_70s changed the title to Rusty Triumphs in Scotland - i hav dismantl al my enjin - 27/02/23

In theory (and I'm hoping!) this engine should be good enough that you can throw it back in and won't need another lump! It was pretty filthy and the stupid sound insulation in the rocker cover broke down making the top end skanky, but I reckon you probably could have got away with slotting it back then driving it with a few oil changes. 


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That first picture of the Triumph engine makes it look like the front oil seal was leaking. I guess you will have to put a new one in but I've had new aftermarket ones leak immediately so it's pretty much pot luck if you buy a new one. Mine leaks a bit but I don't care, it's not much and what doesn't get thrown about the front of the engine drips in to the front subframe crossmember from where it can be sporadically mopped up. But then it's more hassle to change on an FWD engine. 

Good luck with this one anyway. 

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I'm always a bit nervous selling something like an engine that is an unknown. It does (did 🤣) run quite well:

Screaming I think was the water pump not the alternator. I did another video without the belt and it didn't scream.

With it luke warm after that run, I was getting:

Cyl 1 - 168psi

Cyl 2 - 160psi

Cyl 3 - 170psi

Cyl 4 - 170psi


So hopefully it's a good 'un! Hopefully cheap enough with enough parts there, that selling the gearbox and carb would cover costs if it isn't. 🤞

The car was taken off the road because it was rusty, not because the engine was knackered. 


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I only pulled it apart because I wanted to flush all the gunky old oil/coolant out. It'd have probably ran fine without but if I was driving down to England and it blocked a passage with bits of sludge and disintegrating sound deadening I'd have kicked myself. 🤣 A gasket set, shells and thrusts will come it at under £100 and it's a day of work even at my glacial working pace, so I might as well do the basics while it's out.

Somebody had gone wild with the silicone sealant around the timing case cover/water pump/sump but there is no sign that the cylinder head has ever been off, the cylinders and pistons look brand new. Pretty sure the 70k odd mileage is genuine

37 minutes ago, GingerNuttz said:

Nvm, just read you're gonna rebuild it 🤣

Got a bit of shit in my eye and I've pumped it full of that stuff for welding flashes so I can hardly see.  

Either way I'm eventually going to have a spare engine eventually so you've got first dibs! I've still got a Spitty engine in bits you can have but it'd need all the usual machine work to live for more than 35 seconds. 😂

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53 minutes ago, SiC said:

Makes sense as that was pretty filthy at the front of it. 




Yeah, does look pretty grotty.  On the FWD subframe the front crossmember has an almost full width channel which makes it quite easy to mop the oil out. 


I think the longitudinal part and steering rack crossmember are the same on  all cars but the front and rear bits vary to take the different engine mounts for the various engine gearbox combos available. I think, but don't quote me on that, that the subframes are interchangeable between all cars so you could put an FWD lump in a Sprint if you wanted to. Not that you'd want to but just theoretically. 

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30 minutes ago, SiC said:

I was quite tempted to put the engine from my Sprint into the 2dr shell that @Six-cylinderwas selling!

Oh yeah, that's easy. How about going 4wd. Canley Classics still have some of these gearboxes from the Triumph Pony which went in to production in Israel as the Autocars Dragoon. 


No idea how it works but looking at the gear lever I can't help thinking it is going to lose some of the slick gear change of the FWD. 



But it was the basis of the 1300 rallycross car. 


This used a mk1 2000 rear axle and heavily modified floor pan but this was before RWD bodies existed (for the small saloon, not the 2000 obviously). You could use a Toledo shell now and all the rear drive stuff is there already. 

I hear it was a bit low geared though. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Engine dismantling continues at a snails pace post work. Mostly tediously scraping old gasket off the block/head with a blade. It's probably asbestos so I did the right thing and did it in an unventilated garage.

Eventually I got bored with that so I flipped it over and popped off the sump.

Not exactly sure how long the car has been sat, but I think the jelly like substance was once an oil of some discription, the lower lever of more solid sludge and accumulation of 40 year's worth of old oil.

Also, let's check the crank end float! Just by eye I thought this was out of spec, but not massively...

So, thrusts out!


The phrase "just in time" springs to mind...

The worn out one is actually oversize.


So, thrusts are dead, but seemingly no damage done. Ideal. Big ends and Mains next.





One set of replacement standard size bearings with no real wear on them at all. The only reason I know they aren't stock is the printing on the bearings. I checked the size against a brand new set of big end bearings donated by Mrs @juular and there's no difference in it.

It does beg the question, how can the bearings be so nice when the thrust is so fucked? This is assuming all the engine work was done at the same time, and also that it actually needed an oversize thrust when it was fitted... It could be the oversize thrust was too big and in constant contact with the crank face.

Either way it's all looking good, very glad I checked, reassembling to be carried out pending gaskets etc arriving.

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  • captain_70s changed the title to Rusty Triumphs in Scotland - Engine internal inspection - 17/03/23

The Acclaim is off the road as it ran out of MOT at the beginning of Feb. I deffo didn't not notice and run it for a whole month after it expired, because that would be very, very silly. The handbrake doesn't work, so that needs addressing before it goes in for a test. I did re-insure it, £80 less than last year!

The Volvo is now the sole functional car, although it's MOT is up at the end of the month. All I can see that it really needs is the front brakes being given a going over as the NSF is binding a bit.


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Good to see the end float is just about okay. Those big end bearings look very nice too. Certainly not like that purple 1100 engine I had 🤣

What's the oil pickup like? Sump can be sludgy but if it's not sucking sludge then it's not that bad.

No MOT record, so I guess last on the road over 18 years ago. I can't remember how long they said. I'd check the tax disc but the car is now gone and I sold the windscreen 😅

Possibly sludge from condensation and sat after running?

I wondered if it needed oversized thrust washer out of the factory? Just thinking 1982 reg, so would have been one of the very last engines built on the line and tooling knackered. 

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49 minutes ago, big_al_granvia said:

How can those big ends be so good with such shite lube, scrape out sump, wash with petrol or brake cleaner, job done. 

Might have gone really sludgy from being sat for years outside (albeit in a covered engine bay). I only ran for a short period (minutes) stationary to confirm the engine was good. It did move under its own power onto the trailer but again that was only a short period too (long enough for the fuel in the carb bowl). 

When I ran it, the oil light went out relatively quickly. So unlikely to have been sucking on the sludge. If the oil light didn't go out quickly or even stayed on at idle, I'd not put fuel in and ran the engine.

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I did wonder if the thrust could be factory, but it seems odd somebody would go to the hassle of doing the big end bearings and not the thrust washers!

I don't think it drove very far, on bad oil. Right at the bottom of the sump is the usual grainy crap you find in an old engine, on top of that is the sludge, which I think has just gone bad from age/water. On top of that would have been whatever was thin enough for @SiC to have drained out.

The actual pump itself is in good condition internally, although the mesh was clogged with shite.



I actually forgot the worst bit of the engine entirely though! The camshaft is fucked!

Worrying damage was seen when I started pulling the followers:


A peer down the hole...


Once the sump was off I could get a better look at the lobes from underneath.



This looks like corrosion pitting to me. It's also on both sides of the cam lobe, not limited to the leading edge where most of the force is being applied.

I've had a look at the cam on the spares Spitfire engine and that looks undamaged. Second hand ones seem to run to £30 on eBay so not exactly world ending. Does mean I need to dismantle even more engines though!

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Oof. As the engine was a bit unknown (but a runner with good compression) I was worried where the catch was going to be!

Iirc the camshaft comes out the front on the timing end?

Time for a fruiter cam? ;)


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2 hours ago, SiC said:

Time for a fruiter cam? ;)

Not for what they cost! I did briefly look...

1 hour ago, SiC said:

Actually thinking about it, shouldn't those bearings be silver coloured, not coppered coloured?

Trick of the photos, incandescent lighting on oily bearings. Worn out bearings by comparison look dark bronze in my garage!

1 hour ago, GingerNuttz said:

Remember there's 2 cam types, there's a big journal one that runs in the block then a small journal one that uses cam bearings.

Cam bearings are preferable since it doesn't wear out the block.

Seems the swap to in-block cams was around engine No. FH2500. The Spitty engine is a late one, engine No. FH33 something. So should be a big journal same as all the Dollys and the 1500 lump.

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1 hour ago, captain_70s said:

Not for what they cost! I did briefly look...

Ah yeah just looked. Starting price is what you paid for the engine with shipping to Scotland and then go to nearly three times that!

Is the original camshaft completely unusable? Just thinking that, providing the cam bearing surfaces are okay, it won't cause any harm in using it? 

But then I guess your plan with it at the moment is to future proof it while it's out of the car.

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So, I don't really know what the effect of such deep pitting on the cam would be in use. If it was just really light surface corrosion I could wire wool away I'd run it, but the pits are fairly significant.

Ultimately salvageable cams/followers are cheap and I don't want to risk ruining what is fundamentally a really good engine. It's unusual to find one that hasn't been bored/ground out. In theory you could just throw a set of standard bearings in this every 60k and it'd last forever*...

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