1971 Triumph Spitfire Rebuild.

HELLO! Pages on this site Revised: 10-11-2015       Engine Fiasco.... Putting it back together

If you have visited here before, please be sure to refresh your browser for this and other pages.

This is a rebuild not a restoration for show. Some call it my science project. In trying to sort out all the photos etc, I've made an attempt to start
categorizing things into different pages. Please be patient, this is a work in progress.

For the purists in the crowd, this is not going to be your cup of tea. Again this is not really a restoration in the strictest or perhaps in any sense of the word.
The project has drawn compliments, criticism, sarcasm, suggestions and also help from well wishers. I am hopeful to learn enough about these cars by rebuilding this one
to some day do a proper restoration.

The frame, engine, drive train and hydraulics are the original 1971. The replacement body has a commission number for 1976, however it appears that there are some parts
that might have been from a 1978. We are not sure as the commission plate has been removed from the body, and we are not truly sure of its origin.
I am going by the commission tag on the windscreen frame and the number on the body shell.

The original bonnet is gone and I'm not sure of the origin of the current bonnet, that by the way, has never before been installed on this car. It may in fact be
a non-US bonnet. The current body shell was originally British Racing Green and has been repainted a horrible (non British Leyland) sort of metallic bluish something difficult to describe.
The bonnet is orange yielding an interesting color scheme that I dare not show to the public. The car in 1971 was originally Damson Red and was repainted
rather badly in some generic red that also does not appear to be anything to do with BL. Final color has yet to be determined...... I'd like to return it to the original color, but don't actually care for that color (code 17).
From a practical and financial standpoint it might be better to go with the British Racing Green.

The original Zenith carburetor / manifold has been replaced with SU HS2 carburetors. I've posted some higher resolution photos on the SU Carb page to satisfy a couple requests.

Anything rubber has been replaced, brakes rebuilt, new oil pump, timing chain kit, rocker assembly, wheel bearings,seals, grease fittings, U joints etc, etc.

The most radical departure is the electrical system. I decided to dispense with the existing electrical harness. The original 1971 harness is in decent shape.
The harness from the 1976 was toast, quite literally, with the exception of the rear portion. This appeared to a replacement. The new electrical system is a total re-design and
is a custom build. Some care has been taken to at least retain some of the Triumph Spitfire appearance. The exception is a noticeable difference with the bonnet open,
the head lamp control and a small button added to the center of the wiper switch for a more modern windscreen washer system. The wire color code is not British standard
and the alternator has been replaced with a higher output Delco unit. The fog lights are a definite noticeable change. The car is also equipped with a power antenna and alarm system.

The hazard switch is from a later Spitfire and a panel dimmer has been added. The tachometer has been converted to electronic. A mechanical temperature
and oil pressure gauge has been added and the original temperature gauge has been replaced with a voltmeter. Warning indicators have been added for low fuel, temperature,
and over voltage, and low windscreen washer level. Panel indicators and panel illumination have been converted to led.

The main page takes you through some of the fundamental mechanical repairs.

There have been lots of little modifications and in my opinion enhancements. Not everyone will share this view. In any event enjoy.

This is the 1971 Triumph Spitfire pretty much as I received it. It was in rather tough shape.

The previous owner had invested in brakes, brake lines, a new soft top and a number of other things
but this car was going to need a lot of work. According to the odometer it has
a little more than 35000 miles on it. However the speedometer cable was broken when I
got it so who really knows.

I like the rear bumper alignment.

First order of business after some basic mechanical things was to deal with the seats. I don't want to imply that they were bad.
They were plain mouse infested nasty. (They smelled bad too.) One could hardly stand to be near them. I ended up getting a used seat frame for the drivers side as if one leaned back, it went all the way back.


Putting new back foams on one of the seats after the frame had been sand blasted and painted and the webbing replaced.



Someone had "customized" the passenger door. The car only had two wheel covers and no spare tire. The driver door
latch handle did not work. The drivers door window regulator was shot.

When I got the car there was this piece of wire wrapped around the steering column and bolted to the steering wheel. 
This was so the horn would work.  I chose to remove this as I don't care for things impeding my ability to
actually steer the vehicle, even as nimble as this one is.

Note that the knob on the gear lever was liberated from the car before I got it and that there was no dash / radio support bracket.
This photo was from the PO just before I bought the car.

I replaced the missing ground jumper across the U joint at the steering box as it was meant to be originally.

This is the original instrument panel. In this photo I had already rebuilt the gear lever, put an actual knob on it and replaced the transmission
tunnel cover. The center pad and horn button were replaced and what was rusting metal on the steering wheel was painted.

Lots of over spray from the car being
repainted... poorly.

My opinion is that the person that repainted the car had their........

Some new carpet laid in and the beginnings of my custom instrument panel. Here I've added a clock and a lighter (power point)
to the passenger side. It is not in the usual place, low on the dash because I'm reserving that spot for a dual USB power connector.
It puts the USB which would get more use closer to the glove box.  

Had to replace all the furflex, the drivers door latch didn't work from the inside, the drivers door window regulator was shot and 
the dash cover was cracked and a mess. Here the dash cover has already been replaced. As mentioned before the
seats were rebuilt. It costs about $1,000 for the materials to fix them. After that there is your labor.

The temp gauge in the center console has been replaced by a volt meter. This is the almost finished dash, (steering wheel
removed.) A clock has been added where the air vent for a GT6 would be.

A combination water temperature and oil pressure gauge has been added to the left. A panel dimmer has been added
and the 4 way flasher switch has been changed to the later version. I was lazy about cutting a rectangular hole
to accommodate the original version of the switch.

When I got the car, I found a small block of wood electrical taped to the brake pedal shaft. This was to engage the brake light switch
so that the lights did not stay on all the time. I also received a half dozen NOS brake light switches. I could not find the reason the switches were just a little short.
The new switches listed seemed to have the same part number, the bracket was not bent etc.... just seemed the switches were short, or the plungers were too short.
At the time, I didn't bother try to figure it all out, but got rid of the block of wood, drilled and tapped a hole for a 6-32 screw and adjusted appropriately.

The plunger is fairly deep. One from a broken switch is in the caliper. The screw used was ¾ inch long. Don't know if this was the appropriate fix
but it continues to work.

My assistant "Beaker"  (actually Mommy Cat) helping with some of the more difficult calculations.

The headlights were kind of "out of alignment" One pointed up into the trees and the other about 4 feet 
ahead of the car  over into the ditch.......  
On inspection I found all the hardware defective and the buckets rusty.  So out it all came.
Both headlight buckets rebuilt, the liners repainted and new hardware installed..  
It does not show here but I replaced the head lamps with high output halogens.... 
which of course necessitated wiring changes.

This is the engine compartment pretty much as I found it.  The exception is the air filter, there was no air filter when I got the car.

The hose clamps and most of the hoses have been replaced.  
This setup has one Zenith Stromberg carburetor.  Not my favorite set up.

Later I replaced the mock K&N air filter with the factory set up due to intake noise. After all it is the single Stromberg
CD150 and the chrome air filter won't do anything for performance except look shiny.

I guess in some circles that gets another 15 horsepower... like that fancy screw on chrome gas pedal.....

The other side of the engine. Changes are a new oil filter and oil change, new ignition wires, plugs and points, and an additional oil feed line
from the oil pressure sensor to the rear corner of the head.  This delivers better oil feed to the rocker arm assembly.

When I first started the car the rockers / tappets sounded awful. I found that a screw was missing from the rocker assembly and just laying
on top of the head. Essentially very little / no oil was getting to cylinder # 1 and #2 rockers or lifters.  I do not believe the car was driven like this
as there was no apparent huge damage. I will be replacing the rocker assembly with a bushed version.

Both the brake and clutch master cylinders were replaced out of necessity.

By the summer of 2010, after I had this a couple years I decided it was past time for a rebuild. There were a
lot of things wrong, mostly about the body.... so I thought.  Earlier that year I had acquired another entire body shell and 
a ton of parts The body shell is under the brown tarp behind. I also think there is about a car and a half in boxes etc in the basement.

I had just come out of a bad 2009 and another, the fourth, major cancer surgery and canceling a build of a garage because of that,
I improvised.  My neighbor Gerry and I built a raised and level platform to get things off up the ground.
I had ordered a Shelter Logic enclosure. In the mean time I started taking things apart and cataloging them.

(Loosely translated storing stuff somewhere in the basement.)

The front valences were pretty bad and full of Bondo.  I kept the trim and lights and got new valences for both sides.  
I did keep the firewood.................   it was more useful.

I managed to save all the hardware and usable parts on the bonnet. I was going to save the entire piece. However 
I apparently had not propped it up sufficiently and the wind took it down.  A bunch of snow and ice came 
off the wood shed roof and hit it.

This was when I realized how much rot and repair was in the front fenders. It does not show in this photograph,
but it is there on the upper side. This being the case,the buckling from the ice and the really bad paint, I junked 
the whole thing. Probably shouldn't have but I did.

I do have an excellent replacement, even though it is orange.......

The left rocker panel is pretty much shot.  This is the front end cap. It has been  "repaired" and then under coated.. 
A sure way to start rot again..

The other view of the left rocker panel.

If you want to pick the body off a car, this works pretty darned good. Courtesy of my neighbor Gerry.

The chassis, engine and drive train separated from the body......

The water pump and timing covers removed.

Engine and transmission removed from chassis.  The rear chassis has been sand blasted and coated in POR15 paint
The inner chassis had been sprayed with a chassis seal and rust stop from Eastwood.

Rear side of chassis pretty complete. Note that pulling the hubs off the rear takes the proper tool.
A regular puller no matter how big will NOT do the job correctly. Don't ask me how I know.

All U joints, bearings, etc have been replaced.  All rubber bushings have been replaced with poly type bushings.
All brake hardware replaced. Wheel bearings...  pretty much whatever you can think of....

The right frame outrigger was toast.  But the fact the frame itself is in great shape is a good thing..

This is the left frame outrigger, actually worse than the right side.

Rotted front outriggers ground off.......

Left front suspension added back to the frame. On both sides, the correct springs, new shocks,
all bushings, trunions, ball joints, tie rod ends and sway bar hardware, grease fittings replaced. The original rubber
brake lines have been replaced with flexible stainless steel lines.

Front wheel bearings and seals were replaced a short time ago.  The calipers are real good but I had to clean up the rotors with the bead Blaster.
I will replace them when I can drive it again. Sitting around does them no good.

Rack and Pinion mounted with new hardware..............

Almost every bolt in this car has been replaced.................

The gear lever was pretty pitted and rusty. Before and after sending it out to be re-chromed

In the mean time that winter, I pulled the oil pan and replaced the oil pump, water pump and did a timing chain kit.
The engine was stripped down and cleaned and re painted.  All seals and frost plugs were replaced.  Most components like the
valve cover and timing cover were bead blasted and re-painted. 

I didn't tear the engine down completely as the compression was good and it ran quite nicely and there were
no bad noises other than from the rockers before it had proper lubrication.  

The odometer and the previous owner say there are only 35,000 miles on this car.   ????
It didn't burn oil (more than normal) and ran like a top, so if it isn't broke.......  
I think if I were to do a full rebuild, I might just start with another block and head.

Oil Pressure Issues:
The oil pressure at idle on this engine was always around 15 to 20 lbs/in. After taking the pan off and giving it a thorough was out, replacing the oil pump with a stock strait stem, the pressure at idle is 30lbs consistent on hot engine. This does not preclude other issues, however it does speak to sump and pump problems.

Here the engine and transmission are assembled and on the frame. The new outriggers have been fitted and welded to
the frame.  The transmission seals have been replaced. The clutch, pressure plate and throw out bearing
along with the pilot bearing have been replaced.  I also did a rebuild on the clutch slave cylinder. The rebuild did not
work. A replacement slave cylinder was $24 from Rock Auto. 

That new brake line was eventually passed through the newly welded on frame outrigger. The front half of the frame has been sand blasted and painted.   The return vapor line and fuel line are stainless steel.
June 20, 2012

Heater Box

The heater box was a real mess. Everything was sandblasted and re-painted. The mechanism was disassembled bead blasted, repaired
and repainted. The felts and foam parts were replaced. The heater speed resistor was cleaned and checked.

June 07, 2012

One of the lifts.   The body needed to be set on to align the  new frame outriggers. I did not trust just making
measurements from the documentation that was available.  

The newer body has a hard top, which I'll keep... somewhere, but I'll use the convertible top from the older body....

Note on lifting the body: With a hard top attached and both doors intact, this lifted fine. Do not try this without
reinforcing the body if there are no doors or a soft top and the inner sills are bad. The body may buckle otherwise.
We had a some apprehension about doing the lift this way. It worked just fine however. No dents or bruises.
The Spitfire body was also fine.

Mission accomplished.... sort of.  This got the alignment of the body to the frame so the outriggers could be tack welded.  
Then the process was reversed and the body was removed and the frame parts properly welded and painted.

June 16, 2012
Here is one of the welded outriggers.

Then there was the radiator.  I thought the cooling system was marginal.  This is a fairly small radiator and
there is a 6 blade plastic fan mounted to the water pump. I noticed while idling in hot weather the temp 
gauge would rise.  So not wanting to leave anything to chance or have steam blow off. I modified it.  (I am an engineer...)

Carefully using a counter bore, a small hole was cut in for a fitting in the top tank near where the top radiator
hose goes back to the engine.  You can see it in the upper right of the photo.  I plugged the bottom radiator 
hose fitting with one of those big laboratory rubber stoppers and put some water in it about maybe 7/8 or more the way up 
and wrapped a wet rag around things and proceeded to solder in a fitting..... 
I was worried about de-soldering other pars of the radiator.  The radiator petcock was replaced.

There are different schools of thought on this, one being to be sure the radiator cowls are in place and put nothing
in front of the radiator.  It all seems to be a debate, so we'll try this and see what works.

No Photo.  Tonight the body got 8 of the 12 mounting bolts. The last 4 will require putting the car in the air some
and getting under it.  I didn't want to start that at 9:15 PM with no one else around.  Tomorrow will be another day......

7-5-2013: No Photo.  Got all the body bolts in but left them slightly loose to assure the connection to the rear axle goes OK.  
Well that didn't go exactly OK. The radius arms from the body to the rear are too short for this body shell.  Have to find the longer ones.....

Cut out some of the interior pieces while I had the old ones in hand. These are the rough cuts of the rear
wheel well covering and the B post covering.

Partial Top View Auto Cad layout of the frame and body, some engine, cooling and electrical components.

My other assistant, Bunsen (actually Mr. Walker) after a long hard day under the Spitfire.....

Starting to put a few things together.  Don't think I'll get to the body work this fall, so I guess the
best would be to get the hydraulics back together and get it to move on its own power.

Slight exhaust modification.  A new exhaust pipe came with the car.  I had mounted this while the body was off
to save trying to install it from below.  That did not work as the pipe was a little short in the vertical dimension. The pipe was cut
and  sleeved with a larger diameter pipe.  It was only about 1 1/4 inches short so there is a lot of overlap.

The charcoal canister has been rebuilt.

The factory cardboard radiator cowls have been replaced with ABS plastic.

The electric fan relay and switch along with a more modern self contained windshield washer  unit.

NOTE:  No photo.  Started and ran the engine at 8:48 PM Friday September 20, 2013. Have a small fuel bowl issue
on the rear carb., need to do adjustment on the carbs and linkage (to be expected) , set the timing, and figure out
the breather system.

This is classic! Never throw anything away? This finally got tossed.  I had come across the old fuel filter.... actually the one I put on when I got the car.
For some reason I saved this. When I picked it up, "stuff" started falling out, so being curious it got opened up.
The car now has a tank that is really clean (and shines inside) and a new filter. The new tank pick up tube is stainless steel.

It is Now December 2013.....
Work continues albeit slowly. Did some modifications to "the garage".

Found a cap to cover the mechanical tachometer port on the distributor. Will be using an electronic tach.

Got the Carbs pretty well synced and air filters on, fixed the fuel bowl leak on the rear carb.

Got an exhaust hose to pipe the exhaust outside so it can at least be run for more
than a few seconds.

Worked some more on wiring diagrams and have started the front harness.
Have the windshield wiper motor installed. The wiper mechanism is hiding under the dash. Have -30 degree antifreeze in for the winter.

Happy New Year.  It is now January 3, 2014. It is about -20F outside so no work out there. Still working on small things. Cleaning the
shop etc.

Have been converting some of the interior lamps to LED s. The lamps for ignition, high beam and oil in the speedo have been converted
with high intensity LED's of the appropriate color.  Those were easy.  The gauge illumination is a little more of a challenge.

1/20/2014 This last weekend, got the exhaust system bolted up correctly.  Got the throttle linkage and cable and accelerator pedal all sorted out and working correctly.
Trimmed in the new windshield washer tubing. It is stainless from the front across the frame to the right side of the frame to the firewall where it transitions to rubber.
Sorting out the steering column and ignition switch for installation. Bead blasted and re-painted more parts.

2-25-2014; Our 36th Wedding Anniversary despite the Spitfire. My last post was about a month ago.  I've been working on some of the wiring again and actually got
the steering column in and the ignition and most of the front harness wired. The horn even works....  

Mounted up the front valences. Found and fixed an alignment problem on the front right side.  Got the most of the rear wire harness figured out
and built. It has been very cold this winter so I've not spent a great deal of time out there. I can heat with propane but thanks to an industry contrived
propane shortage artificially driving prices up unnecessarily, its a little expensive. So I've been working inside on smaller things.

Created a couple new pages for this site to try and organize things in their respective areas.  Moved a lot
of electrical stuff to its own page. Put all the photos of the SU carbs on a separate page. Started documenting
the LED dimmer conversion and some of the rationale behind it. Not sure I make any sense to anyone.

Updated some of the schematics on the electrical page.

3-28-2014 Figured out the mounting for the front license plate while fitting in a pair of fog lights.

Used a redi-made license plate bracket. About $15 at FCP Euro, part # 9154456. I also plan on using the same bracket for the rear.

The fog light mounts are simply 6 X 6 inch heavy L brackets from the hardware store, one side cut shorter. They
go back through the first section of grille and bolt to the frame. These are Hella 500 series 6 inch fog lamps.

3-30-2014: Doing some more wiring. Got the indicators working and started wiring the terminal block.

3-31-2014: Started laying out some control modules. Now that the wiper motor is neatly installed, time to test it.
After all it appears perfect on the outside. Why bother test it before installing it? That would be practical and efficient and we wouldn't want that.

Well it certainly drew current but no motion. So after the motor was removed and taken apart, the inside of
the housing with the magnets looked like this:

The armature is really fine and the brushes show very little sign of wear. A small wire wheel in the drill press
cleaned the magnet housing up very well. The armature cleaned up fine. The commutator showed no signs of wear and polished up nicely.
Cleaned and lubed and back in business.

However the motor current is close to my switch rating, so a small circuit mod will be necessary to be on the safe side.

Sun Visors

While looking for other things I ran across the 3 sets of sun visors. Two of the sets were foam lined plastic, except the foam
had turned to powder, kind of crunchy powder.

The third set which was the nicer set, is made of a lined vinyl material and sewn together quite nicely. The only problem is
that one of them has a broken frame. The pivots had rusted up and someone had just kept working it until it broke.
The outer frame is not much more than coat hanger material, which is what it got repaired with.

I also cut apart one of the other sets and used the frame out of one of them. So now I have the repaired frame and another
to perhaps try to make a new set with perhaps different material.

My challenge now is to figure out what is wrong with the wife's sewing machine so that it can be sewn back together.
This could be worse than doing a motor rebuild on the Spitfire.

4-9-2014; Got more wiring done, worked on sorting and cleaning parts. Helped install parents new kitchen sink.
Found brackets I misplaced... again.... Snowing this morning.... sigh....

And even more wiring sorted out. The Spit now has courtesy lighting in each foot well and over the ignition switch. It
also has timed shut off, or shuts off immediately when the ignition is switched to the on position. The far
counterclockwise position on the panel dimmer will also turn on the courtesy lighting.

Forgot to run a wire... Now the chime module will sound if one leaves the parking lights on and opens the door.

4-19-2014 Received a new bushed rocker arm assembly yesterday and installed today. The original was worn terribly on
#2 exhaust. The rocker shaft was scored there also. All other rocker positions were worn and the rocker shaft is slightly bent
from # 3 intake back When I received the car, the holding screw on the rear pedestal was out and sitting
on the top of the head so lubrication was minimal. I always thought it was #2 exhaust making more noise than anything else.

The engine now sounds better and runs smoother. Also set ignition timing.

Rocker shaft cyl 1 & 2. Signs of the rocker shaft moving in the pedestal. It is hard to see in the photo but very distinct ridge
worn in and scoring from the rocker arm.

Rear Bumper

Figuring out how to mount the 71 bumper on the 76 body has been bugging me. The 76 has those
horrendous (IMHO) later "style" bumpers. It appears that the 76 inner trunk mounting brackets will work fine with the 71 bumper,
it is just the bolt size and position through the trunk floor are a bit different. This however makes no difference. It appears
the bolt positions through the rear valance and the rear fenders are the same. Need to verify bolt sizes though.

4-20-2014 Happy Easter.

Checked out the rear bumper hardware some more. Connected E-Brake Warning light switch.

4-27-2014:   Fabricated a small stainless steel bracket to accommodate the 71 muffler on the 76 body shell. The later mufflers and brackets
are offset from the earlier versions. This apparently is to accommodate those gaudy later bumpers. The bracket is a tight fit to one of the 7/16
bumper bolt holes. However this works fine when using the earlier style bumper.

Rainy and sleet this morning. Not much ambition to work in that temperature and wet atmosphere. Had a roll of
duct insulation that I used on the tunnel cover. Many think it is a good idea for noise and heat reduction.
Not sure how much it will help with that, but am willing to give it a try. Used foil tape to seal and hold the seams and edges.

Etched the printed circuit boards for the tachometer, the fuel gauge and the volt meter.

4-28-2014:   (No Photo) Cut and drilled tachometer circuit board.
Tin plated board. Populated with components and tested. Please see Tachometer Conversion Page for more info.

4-29-2014 to 4-30-2014:   Assembled circuit boards for the volt meter and fuel gauge.
Please see Gauge Modification Page for more info. Also assembled the circuit board for the windshield (screen)
washer level indicator. I'm using the washer fluid as a conductor to sense the level in the reservoir rather than
a float switch. Fewer moving parts up front to bounce around. Time will tell how well it works out.

5-17-2014:    Working on more electrical install and clean up this weekend.

5-18-2014:   Don't know if I should put this here, under electrical or under "just plain stupid".
Installed and tested the alarm system with motion detection. It seems to work quite well . Fine tuning will be required once the interior is installed.

Also installed the windscreen washer level warning circuit. This also works as advertised. Warning light trips when there is about 25% in the reservoir.

5-25-2014: One step forward 3 steps back. Been working on actually constructing the kick panels and fitting 6X9 speakers. I'm working on the passenger side first.
That part is going fine. Through the process I wanted to see how the parcel shelf fit with the panel. This is where I realized I screwed up installing
a couple of control modules so that they are in the way of the parcel shelf. They had to be relocated so now I have to go back and partially rewire them. DUHH!

5-26-2014: Re-located the interior lighting and alarm modules and did the required re-wiring. Rerouted and reorganized some of the existing wiring.
Passenger parcel shelf fits correctly with RF module in place. Now that this is complete, we can go back to the original task of making sure parcel shelf and kick panel fit together
and the speaker clears.

5-27-2014: Not much progress unless you count a few stitches in your hand. Got cut fixing something for my neighbor. My own stupidity got the best of me. As usual....

5-31-2014: Got the right kick panel and parcel shelf and wiring all sorted out and fit the 6 X 9 speaker in the kick panel. It is a tight fit.
Started final assembly and covering on right kick panel. Started on the left side late today. All the wire length calculations worked and everything fit..... except one wire. It
was about 3 inches short and I don't do splices. Unfortunately it was power to the ignition circuit. One step forward, one step back. Ran a new wire, no problem, took out the old wire no problem.
Put terminal of new wire into F11 of fuse block.... problem...... Seems that the tang that holds the terminal in will no longer retain the terminal. The tang is part of the fuse block
not part of the terminal. After a half hour standing on my head under the dash, I decided that if there was any question about any circuit, the ignition circuit is not the one to compromise on.
I declared defeat and went to the unused position at F16. However the drivers parcel shelf does fit properly. Maybe tomorrow, I'll work on the left kick panel.

Had a request for the right dash template. Posted a PDF with dimensions on the Dash Template page.

6-7-2014:   Posted a PDF of left dash on the Dash Template page.

6-11-2014:   Various things going on the last few days. Added some info on the breather set up on the SU Carbs page.

Last night bolted in the old drivers seat and frame. mounted the steering wheel. Tied up some wiring that will connect to the bonnet. Installed the gear lever, put the rear tires on.

Today I built a couple ramps, did some more clean up. Took the car out and drove it for the first time since it has been apart. As you can see there is still some re-assembly required.
Runs nice. Clutch and brakes feel good. Maybe a little rich at idle. Still a few rattles... The cat seems to approve..... Didn't bother with the drivers windscreen wiper as there is
no windscreen. Had to bring it back in before the rain started.


Not a lot of progress on this project over the last few days. Did get a new set of master cylinder dust boots. They fit much better than trying to get the old one on... that needed replacing anyway.
Have a new valve cover gasket and am planning on replacing the woven steel material in the valve cover in the breather port.

Was able to snake a wire up through the windscreen frame for over head courtesy illumination.

Pulled the top gear selector cover off the transmission to see why the gear selector was a bit stiff from side to side. Front to back it seemed to work fine and worked fine when
I had stopped running the car. It turns out that the bushing in the cover had just dried a bit, which seemed odd.

The other problem I found was that the "bushing" (and I'm not exactly sure what is supposed to be there) in the operating shaft coupling was really sloppy.
When disassembled it was simply a bolt through a metal sleeve that was inside a larger metal sleeve. It seems there should be something, perhaps rubber between
the two metal sleeves to form a bushing. I found a nylon bushing at the hardware store and turned it down slightly and bored the center to fit the smaller sleeve
to reform what I imagined to be a bushing. I have not been able to locate this part except for it possibly being included in the gear selector kit from Rimmer Brothers in England.
I believe the kit is around $40 US. I spent $.50 US with this fix. It also appears the bolt was in reverse from the diagram in the BL manual as the lock nut would slightly rub the top cover.

Cut, fitted the left side kick panel. The back side has been treated with sound deadening (rubberized under coating) and the front has the foam glued. Need to apply the vinyl covering.

Finished the left kick panel.

Yesterday ran the wiring for the overhead courtesy lighting. This is run through the windscreen frame. After reviewing my couple designs for the light
I find that the wire I have run is too heavy and bulky. Will pull in lighter wiring.

Bead blasted and primed some of the bonnet catch hardware.
Updating drawings and documentation.
Received re-chromed bumpers.

Installed bonnet. Set it up on a pair of 2 X 3's on saw horses, drove in under it. Worked well.

Spent the next couple days trying to get the bonnet to move far enough forward. I believe this may be a (factory?) replacement bonnet.
It is also very orange.


Replaced the cheesy stainless steel hose clamps from China with ABA stainless clamps (from Sweden). You can tighten them and they don't destroy your hoses.
They are used a lot on Volvos, VW's BMW's etc. Another good one for fuel lines is the GEMI brand from Germany.

After changing hose clamps, there is a leak in the lower radiator hose fitting. One step forward, 12 steps back. Drained and pulled radiator.

Worked some more on aligning the bonnet. Installed the head lamp valences to get an idea of clearance. Decided to set the newly chromed front bumper in place
and check the alignment of everything overall. Unwrapped it and found out it is missing a bracket. Sigh..............
Decided to go do something else. Tomorrow I'll try to mount the rear bumper. Did get the garden weeded and the lawn mowed.

Gave up on bumpers. The newly chromed rear bumper had part of the rear wing, the rubber washer or what is left of it and the bolt with the stripped head still in it.
This overloaded the WTF-ometer. And that's hard to do.

Had my 31st CT scan today. That is not including the 5 PET scans and the CT's that go with them, the biopsies under CT, and the MRI's. Guess I didn't need the courtesy
lighting in the Spitfire after all. I glow in the dark. This also blew the tube in my port. Now that will have to come out. Just another "fun-ed" up day in paradise.

Bead blasted the joints on the radiator. Re soldered the connections and re-painted. Maybe the paint will keep it from leaking.

While the radiator is out, decided to re-check the crankshaft end play. Looks to be right at .010. I think I'll leave things alone.
I now can't find or remember the compression readings, so I suppose that should be done again

Mounted rear bumper. Looks OK despite it being pre-scratched.

Installed gas struts on the bonnet. What a huge difference. Ah,yet another problem.... but of course! The fender wells in the bonnet were close to the fuel line
that runs across the air filters when opening and closing the bonnet. Now the end of the strut catches the fuel line. Re routing the fuel line will be necessary.

I used information from Paul Tegler's web site. I did not fabricate a bracket however,
but installed the ball mount to the inner side of the bonnet hinge box. The valences were removed to do this. I used the SG123002 struts that were readily available at Rock Auto.


Started getting into body panel work, bonnet alignment, and generally trying to figure out the next steps, although there is no question it is body work.
A couple of the corners of the floor need welding. The right rear wing and outer sill will be replaced. This leaves the question about the marker lamps.

Mounting Front Marker Lamps:
Currently there are no mounting holes in the bonnet for marker lamps. The wing replacement has no mounting hole, which leaves me with one in the left rear wing.

My option is to leave them out altogether and try to patch the one set of holes in the left or to make new holes for the other 3. I've decided that the car
had these originally and to make the mounting holes for the two in the bonnet and the one in the right wing. I made a template for marking and drilling the holes,
so that it could be cut out and taped to the vehicle. For the larger hole, use a Greenlee 1116 inch Slug Buster hole punch # 12341.

A full sized PDF is here.

Positioning goes about like this..... Didn't have the original bonnet and the measurements for placing the light. What I did know from the current
bonnet was the 10.5 inch dimension from the front of the bonnet to the lip on the wheel arch. By importing the photo into Autocad and
scaling the image to the proper dimension, I was able to determine with some certainty the placement.

After marking the lower and rear boundaries, I taped the template to the bonnet. Using a small center punch, marked the 4 holes and
drilled some very small pilot holes.
The three holes for the mounting screws were opened up with a #25 drill. The hole for the lamp socket was gradually opened up to ⅜ inch
which accommodated the center bolt of the hole punch. This particular punch seems to leave a slight burr in one spot, otherwise a nice clean hole.


(Did I mention the bonnet is orange?)
If anyone needs to borrow a 1 1/16 hole punch for this, contact me.


Took these 2 photos for no particular purpose.


7-31-2014:     Today's Can Of Worms: After receiving, bead blasting and painting the bonnet hooks and bonnet support tubes
they were bolted on. Everything fit nicely and all was going well until...closing the bonnet. Another problem. "But of course...."

Apparently the battery that could be used on the earlier Spitfire could be somewhat larger than "normal" whatever that is. This one is a bit too tall and the
newly added bonnet tube contacts the top of the battery so that the bonnet will not close all the way. I had also noticed that the hold down does not fit this
battery. So.... looks like a new battery will be needed. The current battery is a group 27. It is too tall and really a bit too wide for this application. It
appears that a group 26 size battery is needed.

8-1-2014: Acquired a group 26 battery. Things fit better.

Got this refilled today:

8-2-2014:   Drilled mounting holes for bonnet badge. I thought I could cut off the tabs and use double backed tape to mount it. The badge is about $50
so decided to mount it as it would have been mounted originally.

8-3-2014:   Fighting an illness so stayed mostly indoors today. Cut out the three new dash sections. Started making holes in the left.
Straightened the alignment of the steering column. Made slight adjustment (.1 inch) to location of what would be GT6 vent opening in the dash template.
Made slight adjustments to hole diameters in the templates as well.

8-23-2014: A very, very sad day. Laid our buddy Walker to rest. He was hit by a car. We sure do miss him.

8-30-2014:     Installed door latch hardware in drivers door. Did not install outside handle. At least now the door can latch shut.
Lots of cleaning and sorting parts etc in the shop.

9-1-2014:     Installed antenna coax lead from rear to front drivers foot well and coiled. Will pull up through dash later.

Cut out and fitted DIN adaptor for radio mount.

9-6-2014:   For Joy, put my back out the other day. Decided to finally mount the overhead courtesy light I made. Pulled in a ground wire through the windscreen frame.
Everything went great, despite the bad back...... except..... the for the small rubber grommet. (Rant about to begin..)

The Great Grommet Fiasco; I hate to be this way, too truthful and all, but the $hi!ty Chinese rubber "they" make "stuff"
out of these days.... Geeze... Got an inner tube for my lawn mower. Yup, Chinese rubber. Was great unless it was exposed to air. And STINK! What do they put in that stuff? Their
industrial waste? Oops, there IS such a thing as a dumb question after all.

Well anyway, I bought this grommet collection from Amazon a while back, maybe not quite 2 years ago. The rubber has the consistency of Play Dough with some plastic in it.
I don't think there IS any rubber in it.... anymore..... but it no longer stinks! It is definitely crap-alloy, as defined in the Turboencabulator manual.

Got an ice cream cone the other day. Had one of those paper things around it, you know the ones with the American Flag? Was made in China.

And as "American As Apple Pie".... Got an e mail that "they" whoever "they" are.... want to import apples from China..... What!? We can't grow our own apples?
THEY should be slapped. If I want Chinese food I'll go to a buffet, not the produce section of the grocery store. But, will they have MSG in them?

Tried to buy some wild caught shrimp in the grocery store..... nope.... all farm raised in some Asian country.... Raised on what? Might I ask.....
Can't even get any BP, certified safe, shrimp from the gulf anymore.

Bought a new lock set for my storm door. You know, the nice brass kind for the wooden doors. Fell apart. There is no screwdriver on earth that fits the screw holding the knob on.
A few days later went to different stores. Everything was Chinese Junk with Wall Street prices. I went home and e mailed several companies that distribute door
hardware. None of them knew of any made in the USA. The only thing I could find was the wrought iron hook and eyelet made in Tennessee.

Then there is the "Buy American Act" Well it must be quite an act. Must be, can't be real. I do not think there is any possibility that it could be complied with. What a pile of JUNK.
We certainly have adopted a mindless consumption mentality and have allowed ourselves to not only put up with this crap, but to expect it. Boy are we dumb.
Our Canadian friends The Arrogant Worms pretty much sum it up.
Big Box Store      

Oh Yeah the grommet, well I'm about to throw out the whole lot as they are evaporating in the drawer and try to find something decent.
I wouldn't count on my friendly local hardware chain store to have anything worth a u-know-what. At least not anything in rubber.

So am I to replace rubber parts that more or less survived 43 years with this Chinese junk that might last 43 days.... if I'm lucky?
Someone called it a load of twaddle.....
(AHHHHH.... End of Rant)

9-7-2014:   Drained transmission oil. Replaced with Brad Penn GL4. No drain plug on diff.
That should make life interesting. Or maybe it will be vocabulary enhancement.

UPDATE on the Great Grommet Fiasco: I was wrong. My friendly local hardware chain store DID have the correct grommet. They had just misplaced the
entire drawer of them. (????) It even appears to be actual rubber. They don't seem to have a clue as to the country of origin, but I think I have an idea.
I also found a company that sells rubber products made in the USA.

9-14-2014:   A few days ago discovered the fuel tank had been drained of all but a little fuel. Not a leak and the car didn't use it.
Theft, no doubt about it. Very minimal work on the project the last few days. Friday the 12th had an MRI. Guess they want to finally answer the question as to whether I have a brain.
Many can answer that question....

Installed the shortened gear lever tonight and made two more wire connections. Wooo... Hoooo....

Got a nice shortened gear lever from Jim Deatsch,

Bonnet Locks: In light of some of the recent events, fuel missing etc., I decided to pay serious attention to installing the bonnet locks that I've had... maybe 2 years,
now that the bonnet is on. It also forces me to get the alignment of the bonnet correct and deal with some body issues in that area.
The hole size is pretty odd and it is a "Double D" configuration. Predictably, I could find no "D" never mind a "DD" punch that was close enough. And if there was
one made, the cost of acquisition would be prohibitive. I even considered machining (surface grinding) a standard size hole punch, however recreating the cutting
edge was the problem. Too much engineering.     I've decided to simply start the hole with a  ⅝  chassis punch and work from there.
It's only sheet metal.

9-19-2014:   Installed the left bonnet lock. Not hard to do at all. Did a little more wiring and testing on the alarm system.

9-20-2014:   Attended British Invasion, Stowe Vermont. I'll take one of each. I was reminded what a Spitfire
that was fully assembled and running looked like. Installed right bonnet lock. Did a little more wiring the alarm system. Worked on bonnet light wiring.
The day turned out sunny and warm. Waiting on some odd size hardware to arrive.

10-1-2014: Received the re-chromed front bumper from hell today. Finally, one that looks really nice. It was
even delivered undamaged!   Left it out in the rain for a little. The chrome didn't even wash off or rust. Kewl!    

11-3-2014:     Announced my retirement from the broadcast business. More time with family and the new baby... cat.
It's a girl, It's Orange, It is fast, It has claws, It chews on things...

11-4-2014:     Flushed cooling system .... again... Added new water and anti freeze. The local store only had
some 50/50 mix at a stupid price and some STP brand "concentrate" antifreeze. That price was also stupid. Didn't feel like driving 18 miles to my FLAPS.
So for only a little more money, and a second mortgage on the house, I got the STP brand. It is yellow. Mixed in the car, looks like someone pissed in the radiator.
I stared at it for almost an hour. It did say concentrate on it. Anyway I thought it took a gun to get that kind of money. I guess that is why we call it Rob-achons.
I didn't check to see where it is made. Hopefully it came from Chi..Chi.. Chi...Chi.. China. I would hate to think it didn't match every other POS on the shelves of our stores.

It is however interesting to note that plain old anti freeze that is not diluted is called "concentrate." Like its a big deal or something. Then they make a big deal out of selling you, at some
inflated Wall Street price a "pre" mix. Yeah big bucks for 50% water. I guess the American mentality can no longer figure out how to mix water with anything. Like ..... Lost the recipe for ice.
"Pre-" mix. I guess they mixed it before they mixed it?   WTF?   And... people will be dumb enough to fall for it............. And gleefully exit store with a grin thinking they
are in good nick because they didn't have to "post" mix something.... geezzee.......... are we really that stupid?

OOPS....... done it to myself again. Proved yet again, there really is such a thing as a dumb question. (Sorry for another rant.)

11-11-2014:     Minor things. Worked on replacing the fuel tank vapor seperator with the newer design. I need to find a formed / molded
piece of 5 ⁄ 16 fuel line with a 90 degree bend. Reworked the vapor return line where it enters / exits the boot. Changed a couple hose clamps to the good ABA brand.
Checked coolant freeze point. Measured -15, so drained a little and added more anti freeze. Glad I didn't get the "Pre-Mix". Will run the car a little more tomorrow
to get it up to temprature and re-check it.

Ordered some black wire harness wrap from British wiring. I'll do at least the engine compartment. I hate the looks of tie wraps.

11-20-2014:     Installed a silicone valve cover gasket. I didn't want to name the car the "Exxon Valdeze." This
will hopefully help. The cork gaskets just don't seem to fit the valve cover properly.

11-23-2014:     Temporarily installed the radio support and the radio and powered up.

11-27-2014:     Happy Thanksgiving

12-21-2014:     First Day of Winter. Really? What was all that snow and cold we already have if it was not winter?

But it was a Bad Day On Hazard Heights:

The day started out as usual, cold and snowy. So I decided not having enough abuse I'd try and do something, like put the battery charger on the Spitfire.
Simple task. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing, I connected the battery charger and sure enough it needed a bit of a charge as it has been a while
and it is cold outside.

Then I thought maybe I'll start it up. It hadn't been run in a while. Well it started hard. Didn't want to start at first. Pulled the plugs.
Numbers 2 and 4 were a little wet. Numbers 1 and 3 were not. I'm still not really sure what that is about. So I get the plugs dried out , put it back together
and try again. Want's to start, gets going and stalls. Try again and get it started and it dies. Try again, starts but rough and has a skip.

So I pull all the plugs and check again. Yes the plugs are wet, I flooded it. Get the plugs dried out and put it all back together.

This time it starts and runs, however there is a small problem. The engine is making a clattering sound like it is going to blow a rod.

Click here to listen:   Engine Noise

Well to shorten this story into something bearable to write not only read. It turns out that in the whole process of trying to get the engine running.
Somehow the top terminal of a spark plug fell into cylinder #3. I had a lot of great help and suggestions from everyone on The Triumph Experience
forum. The only thing we can think, is that it was probably sitting in the spark plug well for quite some time. I hadn't changed the plugs for over a year.
After removing and replacing the plugs a couple times, this must have fell or got pushed into the cylinder. As it was at the far side of the cylinder,
I could not see it through the plug hole and the magnet that I used could not pick it up as it is aluminum. Fortunately it was aluminum and just crushed.

The jury is still out, but there appears no damage to the engine.

So... anyway.. I hope to live long enough to be able to put the Spitfire back together and actually drive it. Maybe from Vermont to Nashville Tn.
However if the "lady", and I'll use the term generously, that routinely drives Vermont Route 15 has her way, perhaps very few of us will survive.
If I can get a photo of her car and license plate I'll post it here. What an ass hole. Passing in bad road conditions, on a hill, on a corner, in the face of oncoming
traffic on a double yellow line, at dusk, with no lights on, when we are already going almost 60 in a 50 zone. I kind of wish these folks with a suicide pact would not include me.
And since when did American stupidity not only become a political virtue but a way to drive? Geeezzzeee..... Well I dedicate this to those that got their drivers license
and a two bit ring from a cracker back jox.......
She Drives Like Crazy      


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