I read with considerable interest your article on the Triumph Dolomite Sprint in the March issue of Motor Sport. It seems this particular car suffered more from lack of efficient service than inherent faults, although the Sprint is not immune from irritating maladies. The following is listed from my own experiences with such a car:
Triumph Dolomite Sprint, (no overdrive), purchased new 1st May, 1974. Before 3.000 service :
Oil leak (loose filt. block).
Oil coming up Nos. 2 and 4 spark plug tubes— replaced.
Re-centre steering wheel.
Before 6,000 service:
Leaking oil/water/anti-freeze mixture after a run.
Overheating when idling for lengthy periods.
Clutch master cylinder faulty—replaced.
Sticking throttle spindle.
Creaking suspension (Coil springs?), now settled down.
Front tyres constantly losing pressure.
At 8,500 miles :
Oillwater leak now severe.
Poor cold starting, which, coupled with above suggested head gasket trouble.
Taken to Distributors for investigation. Head lifted and found badly corroded. Cause— incorrect anti-freeze as supplied with the car. Head replaced under guarantee—took 5 1/2 weeks to obtain despite recession at British Leylands. Threat of loading car on transporter and dumping at BL’s produced a new head within 24 hours. Further delay in obtaining gaskets.
Screen washers inoperative.
Wheels beginning to corrode although washed regularly.
At 16,000 miles :
Front tyres replaced to original specification.
Leaking rocker cover gasket replaced.
At 18,500 miles (to date):
Regular lubrication of throttle linkage required.
Fan belt requires occasional adjustment—very tight or fearful screeches issue forth.
Wheels now badly corroded.
Braking system has been trouble-free.
Gearbox has presented no problems.
Finish is acceptable although slight rust spots show on rear bumper.
The Sprint has proved a reliable, comfortable, well-appointed car of lively performance when correctly tuned. It is also quite the draughtiest car I have ever owned and defied all attempts to locate the cause. Handling is deceptive insofar that if the car is properly “set up” for a corner it will behave better at high speeds than lower down, when it tends to wallow. Roadholding is good in wet or dry conditions, but the car doesn’t like the slightest suspicion of greasy surfaces. Interior finish has lasted well and shows no sign of wear.
Driver comfort would be much improved if better provision were made for resting the left foot between pedal and gearbox tunnel. The car would be transformed if clothed in a more up-to-date garb with a lower centre of roll inertia, and a complete re-design of the throttle linkage.
Apart from the cylinder head it must be said the Sprint has given good service to date with reasonable fuel consumption, even without overdrive. Oil consumption has been nil between services. Nevertheless, I am left with the feeling that this engine warrants a totally new concept of body and suspension design complementary to its obvious performance potential—even in its relatively mild state of tune. It is to be hoped that when British Leyland finally get themselves sorted out we shall see something of this nature which, if the unit is to survive, it must surely do.
Grantham, Lincs. JOHN GODFREY