Jump to content

1974 Dolomite Sprint

Recommended Posts

Two Sprints have sold recently on eBay as auctions. It reiterates what a great price mine is really. I have possibly more work (remember the diff whines on mine too) but I paid £1.1k less than the cheapest of the following. If a garage was doing the work, I could spend that difference very quickly. However they're not and my time is free*.

First was this:



No current MOT and body looked in similar state as mine. Also it's shit coloured.


Second one:



No MOT and not had one in a long while. Body looks in decent condition and a very rare colour. But it's an automatic!

Dolomite Sprints don't come up all that often really. Seem to have nothing for ages and then a whole load come up. It's why I jumped at a chance of getting mine. Even if it does require a fair bit of attention.

MOT in less than two months too. Might postpone it until next year as I won't be doing many miles in it at all till Spring really. It's exempt of course and yes I still like to get mine tested - it keeps me happy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No idea on the colour but I noticed that car being sold on Facebook and then selling. So I think some critter has bought it to purely sell on and make a profit without doing anything... (Except refitting a front light)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Was intending to have a whole day today of fettling this.

Put the wheel back on, dropped it to the floor and started up to move it back so I could strip the interior out. Started fine and the banging/knocking that was there before seems to have gone. If it has, then it looks like the gearbox mount has fixed it.

That was the good news.

The bad was when I was trying to move it. No matter the gear or revs there was almost zero movement forward or aft. Clutch pedal I think is moving the mechanism though as it has a fair amount of resistance to it. Certainly full travel foot down makes some interesting and disturbing noises.

I'm kinda hoping that it's a hydraulic problem. Anything else I guess it's going to be an engine/gearbox out job. Something I really did not want to happen before I move. In-fact it won't happen as I will need to start packing my tools up potentially at the end of September and the car has to be movable in one piece. If that piece is on the back of a truck or drivable, it needs to move as one nonetheless.

Interior strip out hopefully this week and I guess the transmission cover is going to have to come off again too. It's been pointing nose up on stands for the last few weeks, so I'm hoping that the rear main seal hasn't been depositing oil into the bell housing and soaking the clutch.


Spent the rest of the day driving my MGB GT instead. Which also decided to have issues, this time with its points.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/26/2019 at 10:58 PM, SiC said:

..  when I was trying to move it. No matter the gear or revs there was almost zero movement forward or aft. Clutch pedal I think is moving the mechanism though as it has a fair amount of resistance to it.

Isn't that the sort of symptoms you might get when a hydraulics pipe has collapsed and not allowing the fluids to back out again, so in this case the clutch is remaining disengaged ?  ..just asking like.

And, do you really want to start pulling the interior out before you move in four weeks time.??   Surely you'd be better off finishing up the sills before you look for another potential can of worms.  Otherwise you'll end up fighting the war on too many battle fronts and then it becomes overwhelming.   As someone who's now found himself in that situation (..partly because I'm waiting for suppliers on one thing and the engineering company on another, so I moved on to another job, then another ) ..I'd highly recommend you do one job and finish it, before moving onto the next.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sincere my last post I've done completely nowt on this. Life, socialising and software releases at work have occupied my time and I'm suffering a lack of mojo to work on this at the moment. Not least that I started this reply this morning just before a talk at work (Steve Furber for those that know the name! Was fascinating) and only just finished it tonight. 

Interior strip is mostly to reduce the risk of stray sparks damaging the interior or catching the whole thing alight. In its current clutchless state, it's going to have to be transported now anyway - much to Mrs SiC annoyance. 

I don't think it's the clutch pipe as the clutch was working fine (just not great) before I changed the slave. Enough to get me from Bridgewater to Bristol at least! The clutch pipe is a fully braided hose, so can't be original nor that old (6yrs I reckon). Given that there is zero engagement and the underside is filthy in engine oil, I reckon the RMS leaks and has deposited oil all over the clutch since it's been nose high on axle stands. Thus clutch job. :(

I'm not sure where the house move progress really is at the moment (in that awkward quiet stage), but I need to be quite ready to pack my tools away into storage. I suspect that may have to happen soon. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Tenmil Socket said:

If a car is MOT exempt but you put it in for one anyway for peace of mind but it didn't pass, where do you stand? 

I mean for example, if something was seriously wrong and the owner ignored it and an accident happened...


Knowingly driving an unroadworthy car and then having an accident would probably have the driver in deep trouble, regardless of whether it's MOT exempt.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

^^ this.

Likewise if you pass an MOT and subsequently do an American style burnout in the MOT station car park leaving no tread, it's still illegal to drive despite having an MOT. No difference in anyway from driving a car you know isn't road legal.

This still has an MOT until end of this month and hasn't done many miles since the last one. So I'm pretty confident it would pass another and be roadworthy, even if I drove it after MOT expiry on exemption. Except I can't drive it as I have no clutch!

Link to post
Share on other sites

After our buyer dropping out and having our house chain collapse for the second time this year, it's allowed me some time to get on this.

Main job today was simply stripping the interior out. Pretty straightforward to do. Filthy under the carpet and it's going to need a good hoover.

Front seat wobbling became obvious why

Seat diaphragms are in pretty good condition. Interesting that this has the later seats with the person presence for the seatbelt warning light. This is too old to have this system, so these seats can't be original. Seat foam is shot though.

Carpet is threadbare and likely going to go in the bin.

Next up was to check what's wrong with the clutch and why I was barely getting any drive last time. I checked yesterday with the starter and it wanted to move. With the engine running it decided to start working ok but the bite point at the very top.

Removing the clevis pin led to the arm snapping into the pushrod

Double checked the length to make sure it was correct. Found a post on the TDC forum that it's supposed to be 9cm, so this looks good.

With no clear reason why it wasn't working, I put it all back together again. While doing this I bled the system by pushing the pushrod back in. In doing this it appears to have fixed it.

If you watch the previous video you'll see that the pushrod fully extended is much less far back as last time.

I think what happened is that I must have push down while having the bleed nipple open on the last bleed action I did. This led to a large charge of brake fluid left in the slave and moving the piston much further down.

It now engages the clutch bite around the top third of the travel. Still quite high possibly but should be useable. Clutch master doesn't look in super great shape at the pushrod end, so that may need attention in the future. However it works and I don't need to pull the engine just yet. A big bonus for me.

RMS definitely leaks though as the underside is filthy with oil.

As the weather was good I had the roof open. Unfortunately trying to close it led it to come off the plastic runners.

Not the greatest design on this. A bit of plastic that supposed to slide along. I gave the runner area a good clean down and spray with white grease. Works a bit better now. Probably could do with a bit of decent modern plastic which has less friction, like Delrin or similar.

Now the interior is out, I need to get on with some welding of that wing! With the house sale looking like it's going to be extended, it's awfully tempting to pull the dash too and get that behind dash area welded up. But one job at a time though, don't want to get carried away and not get this back ready for next spring/summer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Set on the floor last night

A bit of Grindr action

Then heatgun and scraper

Debating whether to get a replacement floor panel and cut the bits I need or fabricate something out of sheet steel.

Front floor section has a couple of holes in it too. Hoping not having to cut too much out the floor and loose structural rigidity.

This needs attention too. At the top of the footwell under the fresh air inlet

Bottom floor is the worst though. Swiss cheese

Link to post
Share on other sites

My shopping arrived at work today



Of course nothing in here is actually what I need right now. I've yet to buy any of that yet



Performance pads made for performance cars



Apparently they do fit the Dolomite, despite not being mentioned on the box. Discs are back ordered and should be arriving sometime next week.


Fun fact time! Because this car was designed by BL accountants, the brakes on the 1300 (like Captain70s) with 55bhp are the exact same as used on the 127bhp Sprint. Unsurprisingly they are not supposed to be terribly effective on the Sprint. They did fit bigger rear drum brakes though. Useful.


Today was one of those days where the weather was nice but I could seriously not be arsed to do any work on the car. Need to buck my ideas up and get on with it if I want to get this car sorted.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is 95 quid though so quite pricey. My biggest concern is that really the whole panel could do with replacing. The mid section is ok but the bottom bit nearest the middle is the worst. While the section nearest the gearbox is thin. If I get a full panel then it probably would make sense to replace the whole section. However I'm concerned that the car will flex too much if I cut that bit out.


One option I did consider is patching that bottom bit. Then once I get the house move sorted, I can go back and sort it properly. Problem with that though is I'll need to strip the interior back out. Not so easy if I've got new carpets glued in.


I've got a bit of time to figure the floor out as I need to get the wing area sorted first.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not very easy to do on a driveway. Ideally you do that between the door frames and across the internal of the body. However it then makes it difficult to work on. My working area on the side of the car is about the width of a wheelie bin. Once jacked up I then have to manoeuvre myself in that space and under the car if I was to weld a new floor panel in all the way. 

These have removable transmission tunnels, which leaves a big hole in the middle. This is what gives my concern of structural rigidity if I start cutting big holes out of floors. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, SiC said:

My shopping arrived at work today



Of course nothing in here is actually what I need right now. I've yet to buy any of that yet



Performance pads made for performance cars



Apparently they do fit the Dolomite, despite not being mentioned on the box. Discs are back ordered and should be arriving sometime next week.


Fun fact time! Because this car was designed by BL accountants, the brakes on the 1300 (like Captain70s) with 55bhp are the exact same as used on the 127bhp Sprint. Unsurprisingly they are not supposed to be terribly effective on the Sprint. They did fit bigger rear drum brakes though. Useful.


Today was one of those days where the weather was nice but I could seriously not be arsed to do any work on the car. Need to buck my ideas up and get on with it if I want to get this car sorted.

The brakes on my Sprint were bloody awful, the pads were about the size of postage stamps, I ordered some EBC greenstuff pads but sold the car before I fitted them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The discs on the Dolly are notably smaller than my MGB and really quite piddly. Probably not too dissimilar to the 1100 in size either. Brakes on the MGB are actually pretty good though and stop the car well once adjusted properly.


It seems the done thing now is the Trackerjack conversion. A bloke on the Dolomite club forums go by the alias Trackerjack and he sells a kit which allows you to retrofit bigger calipers and discs.


For now I want to keep things stock as I like originality. I tend to only upgrade things that make a car massively easier to live with. E.g. decent headlights.


However I'm sure I may change this view when I need to brake hard or suffer brake fade!


Another added complication is that this has the earlier, smaller studs on it. I've been warned that if I do track day the car or drive it hard, to keep a close eye on them. It's not unheard of them snapping. Apparently a problem the MET police had back in the day! Later models gained fatter studs.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a good productive day today. A big day as finally put fresh metal on.

Started it by cutting even more holes into the arch area.

Then attacked with the powerfile.

Then made a card template and cut some metal for the jacking point box section

Clamped up the work and kitted up to start spraying sparks. Struck the first arc and ARRRRRGH SO BRIGHT.

Damn mask battery had gone flat and its now 4pm on a Sunday. Chances of getting a CR2045 battery are pretty slim. So rushed out to Toolstation (close at 5pm) and picked up a cheap mask.

Finally got down to welding

Templated and then cut a piece for the wheel arch next and lined it all up.


Welded. Didn't blow too many holes. Bit thin at the top but not terrible. Decent thick steel on this car.

Plug welded the rest and seam welded on the otherside

Otherside for penetration check

Could do with a quick run over with the grinder to tidy up but it was getting late. So sprayed some red oxide over to provide some protection.

Still got to finish boxing this off and repairing the membrane then outer sill. Quite a few bits and pieces to make up this section.

This hole has got bigger at the top of the wheel arch too. Awkward piece that is part of the bulkhead into the cabin and engine bay. Will need a fire blanket shoving down here before I start welding, so I don't get stray sparks into the engine bay. Also has the bulkhead foam backed insulation I need to temporarily remove as that'll be a fire risk too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The other night I got on with templating and cutting out some bits to make up this front section.


Big thanks to @purplebargeken in lending me this bender. Made a much better job of it than me hitting with hammers on my much abused workbench.


Bits all cut out and ready


I had a bit of spare time, so I whipped off the dust cap on the front hub to see the state of the bearings. Should it be black grease? Indication of bearing failure?



Pulled the outer bearings out and they seemed ok. Timken branded, so possibly original or very least genuine. Seemed to run smooth enough though. Cleaned them up with a tissue and packed it all back in with fresh grease.

Tonight I got in with welding those bits on. No intermediate pictures as I just wanted to get it done tonight. Threw some black enamel on to protect it.



Need to drill a hole in the jacking point section so I can spray some rust preventer in it. Always awkward when you have to weld a box section in, sealing any access to painting it

Still got the inner sill piece to weld on next in this bit. Had a poke under the dash again and got showered on by rusty bits. I think one of the previously 10 owners must have threw filler up there and then lobbed seam sealer. Unfortunately now it's all very crumbly.

I think this will be the next bit I tackle. Dash will need to come out for it and possibly the heater box too. Also the windscreen will need protecting. Looks potentially an awkward job with a lot of sparks in the face.

This section is higher priority than the drivers floor. Short term I will cut and weld the small, bottom section where its turned to Edam cheese. Doesn't mean I'll never replace the drivers side footwell panel as a whole in the future, but it will buy me a bit of time in the meantime. I would really like to get it all done properly however I still have loads of other bits that need doing still. Not least I think there is a chunk of fibre glass hiding something on the passenger side wheel arch... default_ohmy.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Similar Content

    • By Zelandeth
      Well I've been meaning to sign up here in forever, but kept forgetting. Thanks to someone over on another forum I frequent poking me about it recently the subject was forced back into my very brief attention span for long enough to get me to act on the instruction.

      I figure that my little varied fleet might bring you lot some amusement...

      So...we've got:

      1993 Lada Riva 1.5E Estate (now fuel injected, as I reckon the later cars should have been from the factory...).
      1989 Saab 900i Automatic.
      1987 Skoda 120LX 21st Anniversary Special Edition.
      1985 Sinclair C5.
      2009 Peugeot 107 Verve.

      Now getting the photos together has taken me far longer than I'd expected...so you're gonna get a couple of photos of each car for now, and I'll come back with some more information tomorrow when I've got a bit more time...

      Firstly...The Lada. Before anyone asks - in response to the single question I get asked about this car: No, it is not for sale. Took me 13 years and my father's inheritance to find the thing.

      Yes, it's got the usual rusty wings...Hoping that will be resolved in the next couple of months.


      Next, a proper old Saab. One of the very last 8 valve cars apparently, and all the better for it. I've driven two 16v autos and they were horrible - the auto box works sooooo much better with the torque curve of the 8 valve engine. Just wish it had an overdrive for motorway cruising...

      Next up a *real* Skoda...back when they put the engine where it belongs, right out the back. In the best possible colour of course...eye-searingly bright orange.

      Seat covers have been added since that photo was taken as it suffers from the usual rotting seat cloth problem that affects virtually all Estelles.

      Then we have possibly the world's scruffiest Sinclair C5...

      Realised when looking for this that I really need to get some more photos of the thing...I use it often enough after all! We have a dog who's half husky, so this is a really good way of getting him some exercise.

      Finally - again, I really need to take more photos of - we have the little Pug 107.

      Included for the sake of variety even if it's a bit mainstream! First (and probably to be the only) new car I've bought, and has been a cracking little motor and has asked for very little in return for putting up with nearly three years of Oxford-Milton Keynes commuter traffic, before finally escaping that fate when my housemate moved to a new job. Now it doesn't do many miles and is my default car for "when I've managed to break everything else."

      I'll fill in some more details tomorrow - I warn you though that I do tend to ramble...
    • By bezzabsa
      Right as you have gathered, the Kudos has arrived at Bezza towers (cheers WOC for that)..

      Looking over her I have noted that arches are fooked 

      Hope to get a hammer to them tomorrow to see if they need sparky stick, or fibreglass and wob..
      NOW... seeing as I'll be doing all 4 arches, and the surrounding paintwork is actually in pretty good condition.
      I intend to do a good old fashioned 80's tidemark, starting at the top of the arches, down to the sills..
      Car is a dark grey - so what colour do you reckon the tidemark should be...
      Really not sure what colour as I know I won't be able to match the original, and it will be rattle canned too..
      Cheers all, will update as and when anything happens to the old barge
      Still trying to find a name for her!!!!
    • By Peter C
      Woke up this morning, had a little time before I had to leave the house for work, had a quick look at what’s new for sale on Retro Rides and saw an ad for a W124 200E manual, located 15 miles from home. I had no intention of buying a car today but I had to have it! I called the seller and arranged a viewing.
      2 x rusty front wings (TADTS)
      1 x rusty rear arch
      Needs a polish
      Tracking is out because new track rod end was fitted for MoT
      Engine has oil leak/s
      Good points:
      It’s a W124 200E!
      5 speed manual transmission
      New clutch
      Brand new MoT
      Superb MoT history
      4 x as new Continental tyres
      Last owner for 15 years, her husband before that for 4 years
      Very tidy MB-Tex interior
      Drives well
      All electrics work
      The dealer kindly delivered the car to my house but I managed a pez station shot on route:

      Remove front wings, cut away rust and apply plenty of wob.
      In-situ similar repair for rear arch
      Clean and polish
      Service engine
      Adjust tracking
      Leave patina and enjoy the car as it is
      I will update this thread once progress is made.









      Hopefully these two will become good friends.

    • By dome
      This evening I venture forth into hitherto unknown lands (Kirkintilloch) to collect my latest acquisition.

      Which, naturally, has issues.

      I have purchased my first line of defence.

      Which appears to have antigravity properties

      More will follow this evening...
    • By captain_70s
      I'm a masochist from Leeds who is running two rusty, worn out Triumph Dolomites as my only transport in rural Aberdeenshire. You might recognise me from various other forums and Facebook groups. Realistically I need to buy a modern car of some sort, but instead I find myself looking at £300 Citroen BXs and Triumph Acclaims on Gumtree and thinking "yeah, that'd fit right in with the rest of the broken cars I can't afford".
      On to the cars, the main attraction being my 1976 1850HL "50 Shades of Yellow" that I bought for £850 and is currently my daily driver, here is a picture of it before I sanded off some surface rust and sprayed it badly in the wrong shade of yellow with rattle cans:

      Within a month of purchase I managed to plant it in to a steel fence backwards after a botched gear change on a wet roundabout and ruined the N/S rear wing, although judging by the other dent that's packed with filler it looks like somebody had already done the same. I also managed to destroy a halfshaft and one of my Sprint alloys (good for an extra 15hp) in the incident, so now it's sitting on it's original steelies but painted black (good for an extra 5hp).
      It's only broken down on me twice. once with some sort of fuel delivery related problem which may or may not have been an empty fuel tank and once when the thermostat jammed shut and it overheated and blew out some O-rings for the cooling system. It has recently developed a taste for coolant and oil which is rather annoying, although it's done 89,300 miles which is about 80,000 more miles than BL engineering is designed to last, I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines... 
      I tried to keep ahead of the rust a bit by rubbing down the arches and re-painting them, but apparently rattle can paint isn't great when you are spraying it at -5C, it also highlighted how although my car might have been Inca Yellow in 1976 it's now more of a "cat piss" sort of shade. So I ended up with the wrong shade of yellow which has rust coming back through after 5 weeks. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
      The other car is the first "classic" car I bought, so I can't bear to sell it. It's a '77 Dolomite 1300 and it cost £1400 (about £400 too much) and has been nothing but a pain in the arse:

      It looks much prettier (from 100 yards) but that's most due to the darker paintwork hiding the rust. It lives a mollycoddled life in my garage, where it somehow still manages to rust, and is utterly rubbish. 0-60 is measured on a calendar, top speed is 80ish but at that point it uses more oil than petrol, it rarely ventures over 50mph and if you encounter an incline of any sort you can kiss that sort of speed goodbye, along with about £20 of 20W50 as it vanishes out of the exhaust in the form of blue smoke.
      One of the PO's had clearly never heard of the term "oil change" so it developed into brown sludge that coated everything internally with the next owner(s) blissfully pouring fresh oil on top of it. This lasted until about 600 miles into my ownership when there was muffled "pop" from the engine bay and the car became a 3-cylinder. The cause was catastrophic wear to the top end causing a rocker arm to snap:

      As this was my first classic car I'd assumed it was supposed to sound like the engine was full of marbles, it wasn't.
      I put the engine back together with second hand bits declared it utterly fucked and promptly did another 5000 miles with it. After about 3500 of those miles the oil burning started, valve seals have gone so it's been relegated to my parent's garage as a backup car and something to take to local car shows as the 1850 is now embarrassingly ugly. I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines (deja vu, anybody?) Oh, I also recently reversed it into a parked Ford Fiesta and royally fucked up the rear bumper, rear panel and bootlid. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
      There have been two other cars in my life. My first car, a 2008 Toyota Yaris 1.0 an it's replacement a 2012 Corsa 1.4T. I didn't really want either of them, but it's a long story involving my parents and poor life choices. Ask if you want to hear it!
      So that's a brief summary of my current shite. If you want more pictures or details of anything do say as I've got photos of almost everything I'd done with the cars.
  • Create New...