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1974 Dolomite Sprint


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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:

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https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F223612891122

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

 

Second one:

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https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F323881866269

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.

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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)

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  • 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.

Damn.

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

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  • 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.

Bfg

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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. 

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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.  

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^^ 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!

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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.
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Front seat wobbling became obvious why
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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.
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Carpet is threadbare and likely going to go in the bin.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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Set on the floor last night
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A bit of Grindr action
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Then heatgun and scraper
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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.
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This needs attention too. At the top of the footwell under the fresh air inlet
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Bottom floor is the worst though. Swiss cheese
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My shopping arrived at work today

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

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Performance pads made for performance cars

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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33 minutes ago, SiC said:

My shopping arrived at work today

1b21a0f5e688d48e01224dbc25888e7a.jpg

 

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

2b9254480ae739d158b898e73073cc38.jpg

 

Performance pads made for performance cars

7184e63815e04373e28e71ecdf3c66d2.jpg

 

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.

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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.

 

 

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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.
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Then attacked with the powerfile.
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Then made a card template and cut some metal for the jacking point box section
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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.
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Finally got down to welding
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Templated and then cut a piece for the wheel arch next and lined it all up.
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Tacked
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Welded. Didn't blow too many holes. Bit thin at the top but not terrible. Decent thick steel on this car.
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Plug welded the rest and seam welded on the otherside
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Otherside for penetration check
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The other night I got on with templating and cutting out some bits to make up this front section.

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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.

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Bits all cut out and ready

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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?

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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.

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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

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