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1974 Dolomite Sprint

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On 9/23/2019 at 12:02 AM, SiC said:

..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.

That's the way I'd do it. I'd do the lacy bit and also up the slope which is badly pitted.   Project creep has caught me out far too many times and then the ol' mojo goes down the shite-pan.  I suggest getting it together, safe and legal and then use it, work through other issues - and see if you actually love the car and want to keep it.  I know someone (..actually he's sitting in this very chair) who didn't,  and now after many months of work is selling that car for half of what it cost him !   If and when you do really love the car and decide it's a long-term keeper that you're prepared to spend big bucks on,  then come back and do the work later.  The enjoyment of having driven the car will then carry your mojo through the next round of anguish and frustrations. 

And yes I'd agree with p.v.dan, it does look like fresh moly-grease to me.  Likewise on jobs I'm doing I'm using it more than regular grease nowadays. 


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  • 4 weeks later...

It been nearly a month since I've done any proper work on this. Irritating heavy weather and working outside don't go together. Today though has been a dry and sunny day, perfect for getting on with this wing.

First jack the car back up. This led to an awful lot of water draining out of various areas. I need to get this back under cover before the worst of the weather hits. Need to move before that can happen...

Sanded back the enamel paint I put on to protect my work.

Lined up the piece I did last month to seal up the inner sill

Tacked and seam welded

Then got the next bit shaped up and cut out

Welded and cleaned up

Painted. Ran out of black but found an old tin of hammerite but in white

Next up was tackling the hole in the arch. This is one of those jobs I know was going to be a massive PIA

Removed the insulation in the engine bay. This broke up pretty easily. I think this area has been welded up before and this insulation got a bit burnt up anyway.

This hole is clearly visible from the engine bay area too. TADIS

Inside I cleaned up the area ready for a patch

Welded the first patch in. This is in the drivers footwell. Not my best work for sure and a patch too. I couldn't get my head with the helmet on in the right place. Really could do with the column coming out so I could get closer. However it is solid.

Otherside still to do. I plan to soak this area in paint, seam sealer and rust proofing to slow it degrading. How long it last depends entirely how the car is used. If undercover and used on nice days, it'll last decades. If daily driven in all weathers and seasons, probably a couple of years.

The left of this, on the piece I put in, was actually a right angle. So I welded it up. This is even messier and I'm not happy with it. I'll clean it up with a grinder (if I can get in) and see what it's like. May use a die grinder to clean it all out an redo.

Hopefully the nice weather will hold this week and I can get the bottom bit of the front wing on! After that, it'll be finishing fixing that wheel arch hole and then fix up the floor.

Dash is currently out as I've found a rather nasty bit under the windscreen. Not sure I want to show that just yet - it's pretty bad. I can't weld that up really unless I have the windscreen out. That will have to wait till I move house first though. Windscreen needs to come out anyway as the window rubber is buggered and is letting water leak in at the bottom.

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  • 1 month later...


It been nearly a month since I've done any proper work on this. Irritating heavy weather and working outside don't go together. Today though has been a dry and sunny day, perfect for getting on with this wing.


Over a month this time! We nearly got to the point of moving and then our fourth buyer this year pulled out. Basically her solicitor screwed around and she got confused then gave notice on where she was renting early and she panicked into a new rental contract. Now on our fifth buyer. Selling a house certainly isn't fun.


Anyhow I had a little bit of time inbetween rain showers to crack on a bit more. Wing still needs finishing by welding on the new section but it was due to rain, so I wouldn't be able to get paint on in time.


So instead decided to fix the worst of the drivers floor.



Cut out a hole e



Made a template




Matched template up with holes



Transferred to steel



Then cut it to suit. I need to figure a way of making decent holes in steel. A Dremel with a grinding attachment just doesn't cut it.



At this point it started to rain, so I didn't get a chance to pull the welder out. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a chance to get done.


Also need to take some good pictures of the horror that is lurking behind the dash and under the windscreen. :S


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do you not find that fuzzy brown metal a shit to weld to even when you've got it a clean as possible?
Quite possibly yes! I've tried cleaning it up the best as I can but I'm very fearful that it'll just blow holes in it. The other option is cutting it right back, which I really don't want to remove that much steel just yet. If I ever move house, I want to get a proper floor repair panel and replace it whole.

In the meantime I've got it overlapping on the back and hopefully will dissipate the heat. I'll also likely have to dial back the welder a fair bit too.

We will see how it goes! Probably badly...
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Nice looking work on the welding.

Re: making holes-we have a hydraulic "knockout punch" set here at work with a 9 ton hand press. It takes a bit of time to set up, but makes very nice and clean round holes in sheet metal when needed. We have a 6 die set that will do 1/2" to 2" holes and with that weight press can do 11 gauge steel(about 3mm), although they are available larger(albeit you'd probably need a bit more stout of a press to do that) and can also punch in heavier steel with a heavier press.

This is similar to the one we have in all its Made in China glory. Higher quality ones are available https://www.amazon.com/dp/B013UIX5MI/ref=psdc_2225058011_t1_B073336KRW

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10 hours ago, SiC said:

Quite possibly yes! I've tried cleaning it up the best as I can but I'm very fearful that it'll just blow holes in it. The other option is cutting it right back, which I really don't want to remove that much steel just yet. If I ever move house, I want to get a proper floor repair panel and replace it whole.

In the meantime I've got it overlapping on the back and hopefully will dissipate the heat. I'll also likely have to dial back the welder a fair bit too.

We will see how it goes! Probably badly...

I had loads of bits like that in the cortina and found it fizzed quite a lot as there’s still rust in the metal. I tried everything to get it to silver looking clean metal but all it did was get shinier or thinner. I did manager to weld to it but it wasn’t pretty 

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5 hours ago, artdjones said:


Or you could buy a step drill bit.Aldi sell them sometimes for about £5,although not as big as this one,which goes up to 66mm.




ive got a set of two of these step drills, to cover smaller sizes and quite big ones, can’t remember where I got them though. They’re brilliant for cutting clean round holes though. I’ve also got some good quality metal cutting hole cutter bits, you need a torquey drill for them though so they don’t keep jamming up.

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Had a couple of hours free this morning to weld the floor in

Then paint to protect. Probably could do with another coat but that took quite a while to dry even with the fan heater on it.

I started by welding the end nearest the front as this metal was nice and thick still to take welds. The back bit nearest the centre was heavily pitted. However dialing back the welder and doing an overlap weld seemed to do the trick. Even though it was dialed back, I got penetration along it. Did require a few holes blown through where it had pitted, needing to have them filled up with welds.

Not ideal a patch went in as the floor panel could do with changing out longer term. However this is more than good enough short to medium term. To be honest, most people would be happy as this as a permanent fix but I'm just picky.

Still uncertainty in the house move, so I'm kinda idling along a bit until we know more. At an awkward point now though as to continue, I need to commit taking more stuff out. However there is the real chance I'll suddenly get the nod to move and I'll need to put it back together really quickly! Also the more bits pulled off, the more likely I'll loose/misplace those bits.

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Impressive work so far. Unlike a lot of projects, you adding value to this. I trust you're going to use this next year?
I was never a fan of Dolomites but the Sprint is a bit special - and it's THAT colour.  French blue right?
I'm hoping to use it! It was supposed to be a runner and usable from day one. Except I made the mistake of poking slightly crusty bits and then found they got a whole bit bigger very quickly.

I believe it's French Blue. It's had a paint job a few years back, so it's a lot shinier and crisper than the original cellulose paint. Apart from maybe the bits I have accidentally damaged on the front from grinding sparks. Joys of working on cars in a tight area! :S
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On 11/24/2019 at 2:08 PM, danthecapriman said:


ive got a set of two of these step drills, to cover smaller sizes and quite big ones, can’t remember where I got them though. They’re brilliant for cutting clean round holes though. I’ve also got some good quality metal cutting hole cutter bits, you need a torquey drill for them though so they don’t keep jamming up.

Use plenty of oil with these as it's easy to knacker the cutting edge.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Why is it always around the same time every month, once a month I get to work on this?

I set about stripping the interior some more.

This is how it started off in the morning.

First step was removing the steering column. This was relatively tricky free. Three bolts holding onto the bulkhead and a pinch bolt to undo the steering column from the rack intermediate shaft. I just know that pinch bolt is going to be a fight to get back in. Access really isn't that great on this.

Anyway it came off

Next up was the heater unit. 3 bolts and one screw headed bolt to remove inside

Then disconnect the pipes on the bulkhead. These were incredibly hard to get off and I had to cut one off. They're down here

One pipe was covered in insulation tape. Looks like its worn through and to be honest probably should have been replaced. The hoses were all very hard and I think due for a replacement. Will need to find the pipe size so I can refresh them. Don't want to play any risky games with these cooling system, as notorious as they can be!

Heater box came away easy enough after that.

And I left it to drain.

The foam on the control flap is falling off and perished as they do. Either I'll remove it and/or replace it.

Now the bulkhead area is empty, I can have a good look behind

For that, I'll now move over to the medium of video as it's much easier than pictures for this. Also a good experiment and practice for me, as I quite fancy documenting these posts as video instead.

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Managed to get enough enthusiasm tonight to get a bit more done. Prime job was removing the brake pedal. To do this, the wiper motor had to come out as there is a bracing bar that goes across. The bar is spot welded to the wiper motor plate and the other end is held behind the wiper spindle.

You can just about see the bar here. Bit of a crap design - almost feels modern car thinking where it probably was done like that to make it easier to make in the factory.

However the spindle needs to come off. Naturally the nut was completely seized on. I really need to get a nut splitter, but without one I hacked away at the soft metal of the nut with chisel.

After a disconcerting about of movement on the windscreen with each blow against the chisel back, I split the nut. I really hope that these nuts are still available to buy!

With that off, the motor and plate came out easy enough.

Next was the pedal. Straight forward with four bolts to remove.

Behind wasn't as bad as I feared. This feels like a strengthener plate is behind this.

Cleaned it all up with the wire wheel again and splattered Krust all over the area.

Then tomorrow I'll probably coat it with a layer of paint. Longer term I think this will need cutting out and redoing. It's pitted but still feels reasonably solid when hit with a blunt screwdriver and a mallet against the back. However there are one or two pitted holes that now go through after the wire wheel was run across it. I'm hoping it will be easier to repair this area properly with fresh metal once the windscreen is out.

Next job will be to weld the inside area. Just checked my welding gas levels and the pressure gauge is just reading off minimum. I don't think BOC or my local supplier are open until the New Year. Great.

Will have to tack it in for now and then try getting as much done as possible. Also ordered some Bilt Hammer S-50 Cavity Wax to fill and protect this area once done.

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3 hours ago, purplebargeken said:

You took a whole case of brave pills there Sir. Weld done.

I printed out a dymo label for the 'lecky fan and overdrive the other day. I was well pleased. It's the little things.....

I hope it was proper Dymo for shiteness.Dymo-1610-manual-label-maker-for-3D-embo

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On 12/23/2019 at 2:42 AM, captain_70s said:


My 1850 had bits of MIG wire poking out of the under-dash bulkhead area, I elected to ignore it.

What's the status of the under dash bulkhead area on your 1300? Or are you not dare looking?

If this is a common thing on Dollys, surely there must be a case of windscreens falling out of them. I know the windscreen has been replaced once in mine as there was glass shards everywhere behind the dash. I reckon now it possibly might have been caused by the windscreen flexing on heavy cornering or a particularly big pot hole. Certainly if you push the steering wheel laterally at the moment on mine, the screen rubber flexes. The major reason why I've delved into this repair now. 

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Mine is all pretty damn and yucky in that section. I really don't know why though, as I don't think water is designed to drain into that bit? Unless there is a hole around the windscreen seal area that is causing it to leak in. 

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  • 5 months later...

Nearly half a year since updates!

So what's happened since then? Not a lot really on the Dolomite just yet, but a bunch of intervening stuff that affected the timeline to sorting it. In mid February it got transported to storage in preparation for us moving house.



Early March we finally moved house - 5 attempted house sales, 3 attempted purchases and 1.5 years later. Not something we will be doing again for a while. Then the next couple of weeks were spent doing the usual DIY as you move in. Of course as we all know, lockdown happened. This meant my garage, which I'd separately packed away into a storage unit was not realistically retrievable for a couple of months. So in that time I took advantage of an empty garage to paint it.


The garage is a double, so should be plenty of room to work on this. This is good as it's turned out to be much more of a project than I originally intended! Also should be big enough, because I've filled it up a fair bit already with my stuff...

Since then I've got my stuff back, then worked down the priority queue of automotive repairs. Firstly the radiators, coolant pump and expansion tank had to be fixed on this...


That was a fun job I am glad to not be doing again in a rush.

So after moving house, naturally the next good* idea I had was to buy yet another car! Bought completely sight unseen off eBay and delivered to me.




Naturally it needed a bit more work than originally intended. Thankfully mostly mechanical and rarely for an ADO16, virtually no bodywork! However currently that is blocking up the garage workspace.

While chatting to Worldofceri, who transported the 1100, he mentioned that he'll give a buzz when passing next and move the Dolomite for me. I'm very thankful for him doing this as my wife was not keen at all being a tow driver in the front pull car while I sat in the Dolomite. Especially as the storage to my new house is only a short distance but single track lanes with no real passing areas.

So yesterday this turned back up.


I really need to hurry up on the 1100 and get this back in the garage. At least the warm and dry weather we are having at the moment shouldn't affect it too much though.

In the daylight with room to walk around, it's shown up the bits that need tending to on the body. Let's have a brief tour...

Front wing needs finishing. I've got the repair panel for this.


Doors needs attention. This is the worst.


Wheel arch needs some work.


Not sure I want to know what's going on here just yet!


Boot lid has a very crusty spot.


Eyebrows need some attention too. These do pass the poke test thankfully though.



Then there is the bits that you can't see at the moment. Inner wheel arch on both sides with one currently what looks like a lump of fibreglass in.

Finally the bulkhead area. This will be the bit I'll focus on first. Basically needs a new section welding in on the inside and possibly some in the bonnet area on the outside. Now I have undercover working area, my intention is to remove the windscreen from the car. This should allow me to do this area properly.

However I do need to check if I can get a replacement seal. The one on there is cracked up already and in definite need of replacement. But it will likely need cutting out, so I need to make sure I can get a replacement before this is done.

So plenty to do and not quite ready to start. At least with it on the drive it reminds me everytime I go out that I need to hurry up and get on with it. Given I'm quite slow at working, it's likely it will become a late summer and through winter 2020 project.

After the bodywork there is the mechanicals that need attention. Carb rebuild as a minimum, diff/transmission whine looking at, rusty shocks replacement and suspension desqueaking. Finally the front seats are torn up on the front vinyl + foam disintegrating, so they'll need some repair work too.

Just a bit to do then! Next update hopefully won't be more than another month or two. Famous last words...

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Not sure I want to know what's going on here just yet!

It's had old-style wheelarch repair panels fitted and the join where it was (hopefully!) welded on has gone grotty. You can actually see a faint line in the paintwork on the other side as well which suggests they were both done. Pray like fuck they weren't put on top of the original arches like mine... Back in the day these were £1500 cars and repair panels were £40 for a pair, bodges aren't uncommon...



If you see any evidence that it might be (unevenness in the swage line, feeling a pronounced double lip around the underside, evidence of sinking filler etc) I'd investigate further and consider removing and re-fitting properly before it goes full on disaster zone. Mine looked decent when I first got it it was only after a year or two that the line started to show up in bright sunlight as the filler sank...

It's amusing how they all seem to go in similar places, both of my cars also had a knackered lower O/S/R door and rust above the driver's headlight. Only the 1850 had the traditional bootlid rust under the "Dolomite" badge though,


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