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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Chassis Restoration #12 / Engine Rebuild #2

Been a little while since my last post of my garage tour. I had some technical difficulties (read, I don't know what I'm doing) with YouTube video permissions, but this is now fixed and the video is (should) available for everyone to watch.

I got some paint on the front of the frame. Unfortunately, I seriously underestimated the amount of paint I would need and ran out. I put as much down as I could and ordered several more cans. That arrived today so I'll be able to get the frame painted and pretty over the Thanksgiving holiday and start bolting chassis components back on <finally!>.

Ahhh, red!

More of a close up. Very happy with how the paint went on!

As I mentioned in my first engine refresh post, I got the head removed (with the help of my oldest) and discovered that the pistons were over-sized 0.020". Obviously some machine shop work on my engine has been done at some point.

I wasn't sure where how far I was going to go with the tear down, so I started small. With that, I decided to clean up the rocker arm assembly.

Not horrible, but it could stand a cleaning. All of the hardware looked good, integrity-wise.

I banged the pin out of one end and got to work. My biggest concern was that the oil passage was clean.

The start of tapping the pin out for that end. The identical arrangement exists on the other end, but I left that one on.

Close-up of where the countersunk locating screw attaches. Dirty!

I kept everything in the proper order and cleaned up the rocker arm adjustment screws and jam nuts with my handy thread restorer. To make sure the rocker shaft was clear for oil flow, I simply blew into the end of it. Though it didn't taste that great, I was able to see a clear path for oil flow to each of the rocker arm assemblies.

I cleaned the shaft, then blew. You can see the oil that came out of the rocker shaft.

Much better.

I also removed and inspected each of the tappets (or lifters, as we say on this side of the pond). They all looked good and were probably replaced with the machine work.

Keep them in order!

Nice and clean. Don't think there are many miles on this.

I knew I was going to measure the bearings, so I started that job with pulling the oil pan. This was just several bolts. At some point during the engine run, Triumph went from a screen on the oil pan (for the oil pump) to a screen on the oil pump itself. Those old-style oil pumps are no longer available, however. So, the PO's solution, after getting a new pump, was to remove the screen from it. Sounds good to me!

The large cutout is where the screen goes, held in by metal tabs. The hole on the left is where the oil pump suction pipe goes.

Close-up of the screen.

The oil pump. New to the motor. You can see the screen remnants on the suction pipe.

Removing the oil pan exposed the bottom of the motor, of course.

In all her glory. Pretty clean. Wish I knew how many miles since the machine work. My guess is not much!

With that, I decided I should just go all the way. With obvious indications that significant motor work had been done and with some questionable choices the PO had made in the past, I decided that a full inspection would probably be a good idea. Glad I did!

To get to a bare black, the oil pump, crankshaft, pistons and camshaft all had to come out. To start, I had to get the crankshaft pulley off. That required a 1-7/16" socket. I picked up Harbor Freight's 8 Piece 3/4" Drive SAE Impact Socket set that, among several others, included that size. 

Not too bad. $40 with a 20% coupon. Don't ever shop at HF without a coupon!

I already had a Tekton 1/2" to 3/4" adapter. Those, along with my 1/2"-drive breaker bar and a piece of wood to stop crankshaft rotation made short work of the bolt.

A 2x4 piece to stop crankshaft rotation. I made sure it was flat as possible against the crank to spread the pressure.

Ready to apply the pain! Not much, it turns out. Came off rather easily.

After that, I used a simple gear puller to pull the pulley all the way out.

Came right off with no problem.

The next trick was the several screws that hold the timing chain cover on. I've heard a few reasons for using screws vice bolts here. The main one being the minimize the torque applied. However, a few of the screws, at least on this motor. seems to go only into the front engine plate. Doesn't seem like you would really care about over-torquing that, so maybe it was because the screws were easier? I don't know.

Screw locations as I found it. Haven't verified if these are correct yet.

In any case, I didn't want to strip them, so I used a long-shank flat-head screwdriver that had a bolt fitting at the handle to provide for extra leverage. Worked like a champ!

The setup for wrench-assisted screwdriver.

Timing chain cover removed. I put the pulley nut back on to keep everything in place. Sorry it's blurry.

After that, I pulled the oil pump and the oil pressure relief valve because it was right there and easy. Three bolts for the oil pump and a large "nut" for the relief valve.

Oil pump out.

Oil pump with cover removed and rotor (there are more names for it) pushed out for viewing.

Oil pressure relief valve. The spring (left) fits over the plunger (middle) and this sets in the large bolt (right) and is screwed into the block near the oil pump.

Next up was removing the pistons. The earlier designs used locktabs for the big end bearing caps, while later designs did not require these. Not sure what the actual difference was as the installed bolts looked the "normal" bolts. But, I bent the tabs back and removed all of the big end bearing caps along with the respective pistons.

One tab bent back

Cap removed. Not perfect, but not horrible, either. New bearings are in order regardless.

This one, however, is a different story. Looks like something got under there.

I continued removing the big ends and also pulling the pistons. I found an improperly installed oil ring...

You can see the lower ring is not quite "right".

 ...and a busted compression ring.

Well, that's not right!

Otherwise, everything looked okay. Not sure if the PO put the engine back together or if he had his machine shop do it, but I don't think it was a great job. I have lots of measurements to take to verify sizes and all, but that's why I went for a complete tear down. Trust, but verify!

Next was pulling the camshaft. I took some locating pictures, bent the locktabs back and pulled it out intact.

Dot's aligned. Still will do timing when I install it, of course.

There's the hot cam!

Lastly, the crankshaft needed to come out. The front sealing block and the rear oil seal needed to get pulled, which was easily accomplished.

Front sealing block screws removed. This were not at all tight. Not too sure these screws should be different lenghts.

Front sealing block with unique wood seal at ends. Yes, that's wood. And, yes, they new wood will go in.

Once the front sealing block was removed, the front main bearing cap was accessible. I pulled all of main bearing caps to liberate the crankshaft from the block.

Front main bearing cap bolts.

One of the bearing caps. These look better than the connecting rod big end bearings.

Rear oil seal. This is the old, scroll-type seal. Wonder if these just always leak or what.

Crankshaft, with focus on rear scroll seal.

And that was about it. I used my new stud puller and got the head studs off the top of the block and pulled all of the oil passage bolts and...that was about it.

Pulling one of the head studs. These were grimy!

Much cleaning and many measurements and checks remains, but she's completely stripped. Well, except for the distributor bushing.

Bottom view. Some gasket removal is in order, obviously!
As I type this, I've accomplished more on the motor (all disassembly). But, in the interest of timely and shorter posts, I'm getting this out now. More soon!


  1. WOW. You're a braver man than I.

    "Though it didn't taste that great" - that was a "spit take" for me.

  2. I don't know about braver, David. This was much deeper than I had intended to go with the engine. In hindsight, I'm glad I did, but it wasn't an easy decision.