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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Triumph Spitfire Engine Rebuild #7

A few more hours in the garage over the last several days. A majority of the time concentrated on block work and it went pretty well.

You may remember from a previous post, though, that I was refurbishing the steering coupler. This came out pretty good, though I did discover that one of the bolts is bent and it appears to be making the one side crooked. If I could just find my other coupler, I'd swap bolts out!

I had sourced the rubber bushings and needed to drill out the centers to the appropriate size, which happened to 5/16".

The bolt and appropriate drill bit. Notice that the shank of the bolt and larger in diameter than the threads.

I had to come up with a way to hold the rubber bushing in place and settled on just a pair of vice grips lightly gripping it. The teeth provided just enough friction to prevent it from turning. I used a drill press to keep the hole as straight as possible. Not perfect, but it worked.

Hi-tech holding method.

Assembly was straightforward, including the grounding strap. As I mentioned in that previous post, the strap electrically connected both sides of the steering coupler since the rubber bushings would prevent a path for current flow. The holes in the strap were different diameters, so there wasn't much choice on reassembly depending on which side of the bolt it was supposed to be one (thicker shank or thinner threads).

The grounding strap showing the different hole diameters.

Partial assembly, closeup on the smaller-holed grounding strap end (top left bushing).

Final assembly except the lockwire. You can't see the crookedness here. Gotta look for that other coupler!

I also painted the timing chain cover in the low gloss black.

Still a bit wet in this picture.

After that is was on to the block. I wanted to hone the cylinders and then clean the heck out of it in preparation for painting.

The cylinders looked okay, though I had concerns about #2 and #3. There was some minor rust in there and some pitting, but I was hopeful it would hone out. Not so much, as you'll see in the video. I have to ultimately determine what I'm going to do, but I'm leaning towards keeping it the way it is as I can barely feel any deterioration.

Think this is #4. Not bad. The line at the top is from the top of the ring stroke, but there is no "lip" there.

Think this is #3. Discoloration and rust is evident.

For the honing process, I purchased a Brush Research 2.75", 240-grit Flex Hone brush from Amazon for about $25. These are what I remember using in auto mechanics class in high school. I go into it more in the video, but here's a still of the directions.


After the honing process, which I may revisit, it was time for a serious bath of warm soapy water to get rid of all of the honing residue and all of the other junk that had accumulated from cleaning with the wire cup brush.

Time for your bath!

Once that was done, I put the core plugs in. I used a Gasgacinch Gasket Sealer as a mild adhesive/sealer, though a good tapping was required to drive the plugs fully home. I don't expect them to leak. Oh, and I used compressed air and water to do a basic flush on the block. Lots of pretty nasty stuff came out of there. Should have taken a picture.

Core plug in front of block.

The gasket sealer and a dish-type core plug.

This socket and a dead-blow hammer were all that was required to drive the plugs home.

It wasn't very hard getting them lined up and in straight. I had some initial concerns, but I just tapped on the side that wasn't going in and it did with no issues.

Post installation. Block is rotated for doing the other core plugs.

After that, I put ear plugs in all of the threaded holes or otherwise taped over stuff that I didn't want painted like the fuel pump mounting point, gasket surfaces, etc. I cut the ear plugs off flush with a razor knife so they wouldn't interfere with the paint going down smoothly.

Example of the ear plugs protecting the threaded holes. This is the dynamo mounting bracket point.

One side ready...

...and the other.

I used the Rust-Oleum Engine Primer that I got from Amazon and got two coats on, waiting about 30 minutes between coats as per the can instructions.

One side done...

...and the other.

And the rear mounting plate as well.

I stopped over there tonight on my way home from work and got two top coats of the Rust-Oleum Low Gloss Black Engine Paint on the block and the rear mounting plate. I took these pics with my cell phone, so not that great.

One side done...

...and the other.

I waited about 30 minutes between coats, again as per the can instructions. While I was waiting, I got the anti-roll bar bolted in. My fears of it not fitting turned out for naught as it went in fine. I scratch some of my red paint, of course, but it's in there. I do need to get a crows foot to torque the bolts, however. No pics of that.

I also dropped the head off today to get it worked. I asked them to press in new valve guides, check for a flat deck, hot tank it and install hardened valve seats for the exhaust valves and the intake valves if they thought it was needed. I should get that back sometime mid-week.

Oh, and I did end up taking advantage of the most recent Rimmer's sale to buy the interior for the car. All of it. No, it wasn't cheap. But, I did save a lot of money and, like when I bought all of the sheet metal, I'll do a post of the cost comparison when I get the stuff in my hands, which should be Friday!!!


  1. Great post! Question: is there a danger of "overhoning" and causing blowby?

    1. Thanks. I guess if you go at it long enough, you could over-hone it. But, I think you may wear down the brush first. I also think the rings would expand enough to take up the very small amount of material you're going to take off, at least with the grit that I'm using.

    2. Ah, I didn't know that the honing was so "gentle". I'm new to this whole car/engine thing. :) Good luck!

    3. The brush hones, like I got, are more gentle than the other hones with the three "legs" that you may have seen. Most of these have stones of varies grits that can take out some material. You need to be careful with those.

    4. Hahaha, careful. Unfortunately I'm more of a bull-in-a-china-shop... my wife and daughter routinely rush to the door of the garage after hearing things clunking and falling... and I'm still just cleaning and not even restoring a car yet!

      Seriously though, your posts are inspirational, and should I ever get to it, a good guide for my own resto.

    5. Thanks, David. I've been following your post on the potential for a GT6. Good luck!