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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Engine Rebuild #15 - Progress Snapshot

Not that you are all chomping at the bit to hear, but I have gotten everything back from the machine shop and am well along with engine assembly. I took my kid's GoPro to the shop and taped a lot of the stuff and am learning how to edit everything.

Unfortunately, since I knew I was taping, I didn't take as many pictures, so a "static" post wouldn't be that good right now. I've corrected that oversight and am now taking lots of pictures again.

Hopefully within the next few days I'll get a post up to update everyone.


The block; all pistons and the camshaft installed.

The worked head. All valves in, getting ready for paint and then final wipe down.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Restoration - Miscellaneous

I continue to wait for the block and head to come back from the machine shop. The head was repaired and the final machining on the block is hopefully done as I write this. Hardened valve seat replacement should be all that remains, so hopefully I'll get it all back by the end of the week and be ready to start assembly by the weekend.

In the interim, I've completed several miscellaneous things in between waiting for coats of paint to dry or taking up that last five minutes of time at the garage. One of the biggest things is my general dismay with the tabs that were originally used to hold down the brake lines and/or the wiring harness.

There are several of these over the frame and also on the body. Like a paper clip, however, they only have so many times that they can be flexed until they break. Several of mine had already broken and I valiantly repaired them.  But, as I continued with the frame repairs and painting, they continued to exhibit failure. What put me over the edge was when the clip used to hold the rear brake line that crosses over from the driver's to the passenger's side started to crack along with the POR-15 cracking and then starting to peel. That was it.

With that, I drilled out the clip and ground the area down to bare metal.

Area cleared and prepped for a brake line clip from my Automec kit.

The Automec kit comes with several clips...several more than is required. The clips are a two-piece design that consist of the clip "proper" and a sleeve that the clip pushes into, and expands, to provide a tight grip. The required hole is 6mm according to the kit. Being that I'm a damn American, this converted over to about a 15/64" drill bit to provide the correct size hole.

The appropriate drill bit. Picked two up at Walmart for about $2 each.

I did a dry run on a spare piece of metal to make sure it fit properly, and then did it right on the frame.

A 15/64" hole. Note that I used the spot-weld area from the original clip that I drilled out.

With the hole drilled, I installed the sleeve for the brake line clip.

Sleeve most of the way in the hole.

After the sleeve was set, I pressed the clip itself into the sleeve. It "clicks" in as the two pieces of plastic deform around each other. I gave it a good tug and it didn't budge.

Partially installed. Fits just fine.

Proof of concept worked well, so I pulled it back apart for painting. One nice thing about this is clicking them together is not a destructive thing, so you can pull them apart at least a few times. I got it all painted and put back together.

Here's the final shot of the clips for the front of the frame. New POR-15, top coat and gloss.

Continuing with the odds and ends, I filled the differential. Still need to do the front trunnions, but there you go. I used the same stuff that I put in the gearbox, Brad Penn 80w90 which is "yellow metal" friendly.

I think it's full!

The stream of consciousness continues with fitting the new timing chain tensioner. This was easy, but I documented it.

Old and new tensioners. I'll let you guess which is which.

Tensioner installed and cotter pins properly bent.

I also acquired a clutch release lever for the later models and installed a new throwout bearing on it. The old one just didn't want to come off, so some persuasion was required.

As I purchased it.

I removed the throwout bearing and its sleeve from the release lever, but I couldn't liberate the bearing from the sleeve in one piece, the internal part of the bearing remaining, stubbornly, on the sleeve. My garage-mate had the great idea to cut the remaining part of the bearing with the cutting wheel at 45-degree angles and then use a chisel to split it, taking advantage of the fact that it is very hard, and brittle, metal. Worked like a charm!

Grooves cut; knocking the crap out of it.

Though you can't tell, the remaining bearing part is split here...and came off, obviously.

With that, I got all ready to press the new release bearing on with the small bench press that I have.

All aligned, ready to go.

But, of course, I discovered that if I just pressed real hard with my hands, it went on just fine.

A thing of beauty!

I also cleaned up and painted the radiator bracket and various other items attached to it with POR-15.

So shiny!

Also painted and installed the gearbox mounting plate and bracket, also with POR-15.

Gearbox mounting plate before paint.

Gearbox mounting plate and support after paint and installation.

That was really about it for work. I did a lot of bolt/washer/nut cleanup to re-use the original stuff as much as possible. During that, I discovered that the head nuts have built-in "washers", though they do have head washer's installed. At least I know which way they go!

The side with the built-in washer.

The "other side" without the built-in washer.

I think that ties up the loose ends. I've been a bit remiss in not getting over to the garage for a few days, including last weekend. Lots of snow tomorrow, though it appears that we will miss the true brunt of the storm. Hopefully this means I will NOT suffer a delay getting the block/head back this week. Crossing my fingers for good work over the weekend!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Engine Rebuild #14 - Water Pump / Pump Body

This will be quick as it was simply a clean and assemble job. In my quest to convert the Mk1 motor to a Mk2 motor, the water pump body needed to be changed. With the Mk2, the intake manifold changed design and now incorporated a water pass-through into the cooling water circuit. The water pump body accomplished this by providing an outlet at the top, under the elbow. A new water pump body was easily obtained via my favorite forum's Buy/Sell/Trade section.

As it arrived. Pretty good shape, actually.

Following some love and attention from a wire wheel.

The thermostat elbow prior to cleaning. I left it dull, but got the crud off.

I got it all cleaned up and then applied my normal two coats of primer and two coats of low-gloss black.


I cleaned up and installed the outlet fitting for the manifold and the inlet fitting for the coolant return pipe. I also installed a new temperature sending unit.

The coolant outlet fitting and sending unit.

I cleaned up and reinstalled the water pump studs and used Permatex Thread Sealant with PTFE to prevent any leakage.

Water pump studs and the thread sealant.

Following that, a new gasket, sealed with the Gasgacinch gasket sealer.

Gasket installed. I used Gasgacinch on both sides of the gasket and on the body and water pump itself.

With the gasket in, the water pump was installed and bolted down. I couldn't find a torque spec so I used the spec from a similar size bolt and settled on about 15 ft-lbs. Of note, here, the water pump has a weep hole on the bottom so you can see if there is leakage around its seals. The weep hole needs to go on the bottom of the assembly.

The weep hole. This is a new water pump, by the way.

Next up was to install the thermostat. I bought a new one a while ago and needed to get it out of the old body. There was some mysterious growth there, but it cleaned up just fine!

Organic, I suppose. Interesting all the same!

Installation of the elbow with a new gasket completed the job.

All done!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Engine Rebuild #13 - Generator

Much like the starters, I had three generators, or dynamos as the Brits called them. For the little time that Dorothy was running, the generator never charged the battery. I suspected a wiring issue, though I never found a smoking gun in the harness. Of course, the generator itself could also be the problem, but it would take some disassembly to investigate.

As with the other two posts, I'll refer to the numbers in the diagram below for clarity.

The obligatory reference drawing.

I was hoping I would get lucky and, like with the starter, find a generator that was a rebuilt unit. I picked one of the two that wasn't on the car and started taking it apart. One had a Lucas Exchange Unit sticker, so I started with that one.

Old sticker. Unfortunately, it crumbled as I carefully tried to peel it off.

I undid the two bolts (1) and pulled the armature (16) and the entire front end of the generator out of the housing (called the yolk in the starter, but not identified on the drawing). Looking down into the brush box, it was evident that this generator had seen some pain.

Blurry, but you can see the brushes are all chipped up and there appears to be charring on the bottom box.

Speaking of charring. Again, sorry for the blurriness. This one is toast.

In addition to the brush box damage, one entire segment of the commutator on the armature was burned away. This baby suffered a short at some point and was trash.

I tore into the next one and, lo and behold, found the rebuild. Much like the starter, things were done to make this generator serviceable. The rivet where the field coils (7) are tied to the case was drilled out and replaced with a screw. The brushes (2), brush springs (4) and bushing (5) appeared nearly new.

Dirty on the outside, not so bad on inside.

With that, I cleaned it all up, painted it and put it back together. Because this is a generator, which is DC, and not an alternator, which is AC, it is very similar in construction to the starter and went together in a very similar manner, so I won't repeat a lot of that.

After wire brushing the outside.

Brush box all good to go.

Fan end, sans fan.

Top view.

Rear view.

That was about it, really. I did investigate the one that was on the car and the brush springs had lost their tension so were not keeping the brushes on the commutator. I can only assume this is why it was not functioning. That one requires new brushes, springs, a bearing and bushing, which I have not sourced yet. I'll eventually rebuild it, however.

Oh, and much like the starter, I was able to test that the generator spins. I stole the setup from Moss Motors and their awesome series of videos, this one specifically. Quite a bit more polished than mine below!