Dave's Cars

1975 Triumph Spitfire


Click on the images to enlarge them!

This one found its way to my garage. It was too good a deal to pass up. So I guess I'm renovating this one, too.
Still on the trailer
You can see that the body (discounting the paint) is in excellent shape. This almost has no rust - there is some surface rust on the nose and probably elsewhere I haven't noticed yet.
The interior looks in bad shape but it will be great with new carpet and new seats.
The master brake and clutch cylinders both have fluid in them. I am cautiously optimistic abou them!!!
It has electronic ignition which works quite well.
This is the engine compartment. Needs some work and some cleaning and a radiator. Tried to hook up a battery - got one very small very tiny clunk and then nothing. I suspect if I clean up the grounds I might get some action.
Not knowing, I would suspect this bonnet interior to be original. I have been told that the brown is a primer they used; they did not match the inside of the bonnets to the paint scheme.
This is the trunk before I removed the dried out old gasket and vacuumed it out. Looks much better now. And the engine is running. Yay!!!
An outside shot, before I polished up the paint. It made a huge difference. Unfortunately there are too many chips out of the paint for me to salvage it. But what is there glosses up nicely.
Here you can see the carb with all the appropriate hoses attached. I had it running, but it really wasn't happy. Then I connected the hoses and voila! Now its a happy camper and will just idle away. Nice. I also have a temporary electric fuel pump hooked up as I wait for a new fuel pump to arrive.

The bad news - I thought I was going to drive away in it. But I"m getting closer. I thought the clutch slave cylinder was shot but it was just a loose bleed valve. Ran the engine and shifted! YAY!!! PROGRESS!!!!! The brake lines are clogged but I'm making progress. Maybe this weekend it'll live?????
Compression Test - all within 10% as they should be.
1. 150
2. 160
3. 150
4. 148
Car has new tires; wheels, valve cover, and air cleaner were all sandblasted and repainted. Pictures soon - car is at the body shop getting new floorpans.
Car is now driveable. There is a very slight leak in the master brake and clutch cylinders; we are going to rebuild both at some point in the future. in the mean time, the new seats are in, the new floorpan/patches are in, and the new tranny tunnel is ready to drop in.

I drove it a bit tonight; even got it into 4th a couple times. all the gears work; the brakes, clutch, lights, and left blinker work. the right has some sort of short. The gas gage works and the temp gage works. I may need a new voltage stabilizer; I have one in hand to put in.

I put the driver side seat belt in; in the next few days I'll get the passenger one in. Looking forward to putting some miles on the car and breaking it in, so to speak!
Things have been quiet while we moved and took care of some other issues. I've also been busy watching college football - i do that! But now I am working on it again, and have removed the master and clutch cylinders and the PDWA.
I'm going to have the PDWA rebuilt, and have already rebuilt the master clutch cylinder. Tomorrow, if I can find the time, I'll tackle the master brake.
Meanwhile, the water pump, which was spraying water everywhere, is out, and is with the new one at the machine shop where they will swap the clutch mechanism. I will also probably put in a valve on the bottom of the radiator to make draining it easier, and paint the whole horizontal surface which has been badly damaged by brake fluid. Then I'm switching to DOT 5!
This is a great diagram on the master clutch cylinder.
This is a great diagram on the master brake cylinder
Here it is, on the trailer, ready to go to the body shop, just to have the floor panels redone.
We made a pretty big difference in the paint finish. Unfortunately, there are places where it just flaked off. Otherwise we might never repaint it.
This is the clutch master cylinder, ready to go back in! Got a few things to do first.
Brake and clutch pedals, out, but not fully disassembled. Next stop - sandblaster!
Master brake cylinder. needs some work, and some washers.
This is a comparison of two pins; one cleaned up and one not!
With all that stuff out, its time to clean up this area. Trying to avoid shipwrights disease, and just focus on what needs to be done.
After cleaning, and wire brushing, I painted the area. Used black because I knew I couldn't match the blue.
All the hydraulic support stuff has been sandblasted and painted. It's real pretty and ready to go back in.
    Repairing the clutch hydraulics - thanks to David Wilkinson from the Spit List
  • Make sure that that the two rubber seals that go in the bore of the master cylinder are inserted with the lip (i.e. the part of the rubber seal with the largest circumference) entering the master cylinder bore first. Don't make the mistake of inserting the smallest seal at the end of the valve stem the wrong way around.
  • Make sure that the face of the convex spring washer is placed on the flange of the valve stem (note here I found that the Haynes guide was much better in detail then the Bentley one)
  • Take the entire hydraulic system (i.e. master, slave and hydraulic pipes) out of the car in a connected manner and then bleed it on the bench. This avoids damaging any paint work
  • Insert the piping of the connected system in a vice so that it mimics the position of the system in the car
  • Detach the master cylinder from the pipe and add a small quantity of brake fluid. Hold the master cylinder in your hand in its normal position, and then depress its piston with a screwdriver. Do not remove the screwdriver until the air has escaped from the pipe insert hole and fluid appears. Once fluid appears put your finger over the pipe hole and remove the screwdriver, then quickly reattach the piping without moving the position of the master cylinder
  • Attach a 3 foot clear tube to the slave cylinder bleed valve and then put the opposite end of the tube in the master cylinder reservoir below the level of the fluid. Fill the reservoir half way with brake fluid
  • Open the slave's bleed valve and then depress the slave cylinder piston with a screwdriver. Watch the fluid bubbles flow out into the tube (very therapeutic!) and after they stop close the bleed screw, then remove the pressure on the screwdriver. Keep doing this until you see no more air bubbles escaping (I found it useful to tilt the slave upwards as it appeared to help the bubbles escape)
  • Once the entire system is bench bled (you'll know it as you will not be able to push the master piston in very far), take the connected hydraulic system (i.e. master, slave and hydraulic pipes) from the bench and re-install it in the car and connect it to the clutch pedal linkage. Voila you'll know have a hard clutch pedal that finally works
  • The biggest lesson here is to make sure that you install the rubber seals the right way around the first time or you will not be able to get the clutch to work
The hydraulics are back in; the car is running and driving. I do need to bleed the brakes some more, though. And I think there is still a leak. But I'm using DOT 5 (Silicone) so its not a huge issue.
Bled the brakes - they are good to go. I believe there is a leak in the master clutch, but it is very minor; you can hardly see the decline in fluid. So for now, I'm going to let it go. Spent some time today putting some rubber gasket on the tranny cover before it goes in. I also need to put in redline to see if the horrendous shift noises can be tamed at all. If I was really, really, lucky its just low. Hahahaha. Hopefully this weekend all that will happen.
Also had a new top put on! Now the car is weatherproof, well, at least in Triumph terms. If we are keeping the car, which I think we are, I also need to get a hoodstick cover. We are making progress.
Next on the agenda is the fuel gage. I can tell so far that it is getting power; I need to move to the sending unit which I think may be the problem. I did some trouble shooting and discovered the sending unit in the tank was defective; a new one is on the way. As soon as that sending unit gets in, it will truly be a driver!!
1/26/13 -
Today I put Redline MTL in the transmission - made quite a bit of difference.
Put in the transmission tunnel, complete with serious gasketing all the way around.
I replaced the speedo with a used one. The odometer had quit working, plus this one's much prettier.
New sending unit in! and it works.
The master brake cylinder leaks a little. which means i have to top it off periodically. No biggie. thank goodness for DOT 5!!!!!!
Fixed the speedo light issue, and the right blinker! Making progress.
Removing the old carb and exhaust - step 1
Here we've got the old stuff off. ready for WEBER!!!!!
The old equipment.
Two rather rather difficult bits of hose. I had to cut off the hose clamps they were so rusted.
Here is the disassembly/reassembly father/son team
the used weber carb and a used header I bought. Here's the initial shot. Before i added the linkage extension. Supposedly off a smaller spit engine which couldn't handle the carburation.
Here we go - all set up and running. The accelerator cable is a bit frayed - I'm going to have to replace that. Notice the cable extension on there.
Ordered a new master brake cylinder! Now all I have to do is find the time to put it in!
New speedo cable is being built by a motorcycle shop; still haven't put in the brake master although I'm thinking about it, and I'm redoing the pedal stuff. Progress!
4/14/13 - Have the new cable in. Also took out the complete pedal assembly, had it sandblasted, and repainted it. Now its pretty, too! Car once again runs and drives.
found an interesting source of parts for spitfires.
Having trouble - no spark. This is what i was told on the spitfire list:

The coil's job is to take the relatively low voltage that comes in on the + terminal and convert it to high voltage out the ignition wire to the distributor each time the coil's terminal is grounded. The Alison unit's job is to ground the coil's terminal at the exact right time. Obviously you can't do it at the right time or fast enough to actually make the engine run, but you can bypass the Alison and ground the side of the coil manually and see if you get a spark out of the main ignition wire of the coil. With the ignition on, remove the end of ignition wire from the distributor cap and hold it about an inch from the engine with insulated pliers wrapped in a shop rag so you don t get shocked. If each time you ground the terminal of the coil, you get a spark jumping from the wire to the engine, your coil is working. To the best of my knowledge, the Allison unit is a black box and cannot be tested any further than making sure that the wires are properly connected, the shutter is seated and the optical trigger is properly mounted. The fact that you call it an Allison and not a Crane Cam means it 20+ years old and may have simply died. Mine stopped working earlier this year and Crane Cams offered to test it for free; however Crane does not honor Alison's lifetime warranty so it seemed (pardon the awful pun) pointless.
The distributor has returned. Thanks to Advanced Distributors I sent this up to Jeff and asked him to remove the vacuum unit. He called me on the phone, and let me know that the Weber carb i have on there will perform much better with the vacuum unit on it, which he recommended. I think that's great service!
Working on some little electrical things today. This is part of the horn assembly, i.e. where it fits under the button. Kind of came apart on me. Not sure exactly how to put it back together.
Have the drive seat and the tunnel cover out while I get the overdrive working.
Kind of a general disarray shot!
Finally cleaned up and stained the dashboard. Looking good!
Starting on the carpet.
The back is in.
Carpet in, seats back in, and the little vinyl trim pieces are in, although I don't think they are in this shot. Tomorrow i will put the dashboard cover in. I've alread removed the vent pieces, wirebrushed them and painted them. Tomorrow to put it all together!!!!!

Car Driveshaft Inches Driveshaft Meters
Herald with Overdrive (3 Rail) 46.5" 1.18m
Vitesse 47" 1.19m
Vitesse with Overdrive 43.5" 1.10m
Spitfire I - IV 41.25" 1.05m
Spitfire I -IV with Overdrive 38" 0.97m
Spitfire I - IV with Overdrive 38" 0.94m
Spitfire 1500 38" 0.97m
Spitfire 1500 with Overdrive 37" 0.94m
GT6 38.75" 0.99m
GT6 36" 0.90m

Goodbye. Car was sold in October 2014.
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