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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Body and Engine Removal (Finally!!)

Got a good amount of stuff done last night (Wednesday) after work. Since home is on the way, I stopped and got changed into my greasy clothes, packed some dinner, and headed over to the garage for the evening.

My first order of business was to liberate the motor from the chassis. My garage mate was dropping of the engine hoist when I arrived so I had everything I needed to do the job.

I had previously removed the generator not thinking that the front lifting eye, which is made of the generator upper bracket, would rotate since it would only be secured on one end with the generator removed.

Yeah, that's not going to work.
So, I put the generator back in and pulled the motor. Some agitation was required to get the mounts to release, but that was to be expected.

The powerhouse.

Well there's your problem.
Before I got the motor on the stand I needed to do some disassembly, namely the clutch and flywheel. I was a bit worried that the flywheel bolts would be too tight to remove without just wasting my time spinning the motor with the wrench. However, the torque on the bolts was not that high (about 45 ft-lb according to the workshop manual) so I was able to block the flywheel with a large flat-head screwdriver against my leg and just...pull. No problem.

Flywheel off. The ring gear had some spots that were pretty nasty.

The back of the motor with the back plate still attached. The seven bolts you see hold that on.

After that, I mounted it to the stand. This ended up being trickier than I thought. First, I had to get the correct bolts to account for the length of the attachment arms and to provide enough thread engagement. I ended up using 2 1/2", 5/16-24 bolts and a few flat washers. The stand, as I had suspected, was not really sized for the engine (too big, of course) so mounting it was a chore. I ended up pulling the mounting plate and arms from the stand, bolting them to the motor in the best orientation that I could figure, and then sliding the whole package back into the stand.

Engine mounted to the stand.

I am going to revisit the mounting when I go back this weekend. The motor sits very high in the stand, causing it to be very top heavy and it wants to roll right over. So, I'll sling it back up on the hoist and see if I can figure out a better mounting arrangement. It would really suck if I get over there to find the motor on the ground. Hehe...not funny.

Once that was complete, I shifted over to constructing stands for the body. I used the same basic arrangement as I did for the black car except this time I put the 2x4 with the short end "up" in the sawhorse clamps and only used one sawhorse at each end. This gave me enough contact on the body while allowing me to use those infamous Harbor Freight Furniture Dollies to provide mobility.

I screwed a 12" x 18" slab of plywood on top to provide a base to screw in the legs of the sawhorse.

Final product.
I didn't measure anything very closely since it wasn't very critical, but I used a 36" length for the front and a 48" length for the rear. I made the front horse shorter than the rear to account for the different mounting point heights, but it wasn't perfect.

Once those were done, me and my garage mate lifted the body up onto the sawhorses. I am not a strong man, but that thing was very light and the two of us had no problems getting it situated onto the sawhorses as evenly as we could.

Banished to under the stairs until the proper time.

I didn't do anything to secure the rear sawhorse to the body since the cutout for the transverse spring provides a nice "pocket" for it to fit in to. Since the front mounting point is much smaller of a foot print, I used washers and wood screws to attach the front to the sawhorse just to provide some added security in case the body gets bumped.

I may go back and put another quick support under the center of the sills just in case. While I am essentially replacing the bottom 4" of the car, I'd rather it not flex on me while it's waiting.

So now I can look my next main goal in the face and assess for cleaning and repairs.

Okay, frame, you're up!

As it stands now, I intend to strip the frame completely and pressure-wash/de-grease the hell out of it. After the decades of grease and road grime are removed I'll get a better idea of any rust damage that needs to be repaired. Both front outriggers will be replaced (I have spares but they need prep and some minor repair) and I know the frame has a hole internal to the driver's side front outrigger. I did a very quick look last night and didn't find any other obvious spots, but a good clean up will verify that.

Once repairs are complete, I intend to wire-wheel the whole thing then hit it with POR-15. The option is still out there for blasting the frame and getting it powder coated, but I'm not leaning that way right now as the access to those services are not easy to come by around here (a shame I can't get my work to do it for me...we have all sorts of cool toys).

As a final note, I think last night was the first time that I had actually set reasonable goals for work and also accomplished them. I wanted to get the motor pulled and on the stand and the body off and set aside. Done and done! Hopefully I can keep it up.


  1. This is awesome! It feels like you have hit a milestone in the process. Anxious to see the frame tackled.

  2. Yes, I'm very excited. Hopefully I can move along at a good clip!

  3. Which POR-15 are you going to use?

    1. Right now I just have their sample kit that you can find on Amazon for about $20 and it only comes in black, if you are referring to color. If not, I frankly didn't know there was a whole lot of choices...maybe something to look into.