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  • Location
    South Manchester / Cheshire
  • Cars Owned
    1969 Mk3 Spitfire

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Expert (4/13)



  1. Everything about the head seems in order, at least as far as I can tell without removing it. I’ll fit the new condenser, points, arm, cap, leads and plugs when I receive them but in the interim I was thinking about giving the car an Italian tune 😀 My trips out tend to be between 5 and 10 miles, max speed 50 mph, mostly a lot less as some of my route is on a congested A road. I don’t think that I’ve ever taken it over 60. Albeit a revvy little engine, I’m happy to drive it with a little mechanical empathy, it is 52 years old, after all. There are plenty of motorway and dual carriageway options near home so, what do you guys suggest as an Italian tune (distance and engine speed cycle)?
  2. Pete, I found around 0.001 inch difference between the points gap on each lobe, possibly measurement or more likely operator error. I put a DTI on the shaft and it was around 0.04 to 0.05mm different between each lobe. Again, with operator error I’d say that the shaft is turning symmetrically and that there are no irregularities between lobes. Still open to other suggestions?
  3. It seems that I need 4 different plug spanners for my Spitfire. For No 1 and 4 Cylinder I can use my million year old 14mm, 1/2 inch socket. For No 2 I have to use a 3/8 drive because the larger diameter of the 1/2 extension just fouls on the dizzie and I don’t like to risk out of line fitting. No 3 needs the T bar to undo but will not articulate full circle so I also use my million year old box spanner with handle at 45 degrees. Oh to the joy of Triumph designers 😀
  4. Thanks, Pete, Fairly sure its soot as it has a mat appearance, not shiny oil. Breather is clear and I cleaned the gauze filter earlier this year (but I'll check again). Just done the tappets, that's how I found the problem, didn't spin the pushrod to check for bend but the engine sound is good, no hint of a tappet noise. A good tip to check points gap, I'll measure all 4 to see if there's much difference. Not sure if it's relevant but dwell angle is very stable on Draper digital multimeter. From memory, it's 1 degree out of spec, so close that I didn't adjust it (especially given that the car runs well, if it aint broke, don't fix it syndrome).
  5. My new cylinder compression tester has arrived so opportunity to check plug state. I'd previously swapped No 2 spark plug, the sooty one, with another cylinder. Despite only doing 20 or so miles since their clean, No 2 is already sooty while the others are fine. That's ruled-out the plugs. I can only check compression on 3 cylinders, frustratingly, as the tester fouls the dizzie on No 3. No 2 has the lowest reading at 11.2 bar. No 1 reads 11.7 and No 4 11.8 bar. Engine cold. Is this approx 5% difference significant? There's nothing visually obvious looking at the cap and leads. As I said in the previous thread, I'll probably buy a Club ignition service kit and replace everything. Car starts and runs well. Acceleration (I don't drive hard) is smooth and progressive. Any additional thoughts, opinions and recommendations most welcome. Thanks in advance.
  6. I suffered the indignity of breaking down within a few miles of home during my first drive after my car was delivered 😂 I tried Machine Mart Rust Remover flush including agitation with an added assortment of nuts and bolts etc etc. Pretty much a waste of time. I researched Fuel Tank ReNu versus the cost of a replacement and chose the latter. My new one is a lot lighter than the original - enough said. With hindsight, I wish that I’d have had the original restored, albeit it was slightly more expensive than buying the new one.
  7. Looking out for other old bangers on the road is a useful ploy for taking your mind off annoying noises. I had a really weird one a few weeks ago and despite my best efforts I couldn’t track it down. Then it stopped as mysteriously as it started. Perhaps the driver of the red TR6 was also concentrating on trying to find an erroneous noise so simply didn’t notice you.
  8. MGs are a rare sight around the roads of south Manchester. Over the course of the summer season, I’ve seen a surprisingly high number of Herald variants, a couple of GT6s and a TR6. I only know of one local Midget and, to its credit, it seems to be a daily driver.
  9. Thanks, Pete, I believe that the linkage is set correctly; the first 1/2 or thereabouts increases idle without adjusting the jets. Carbs are original SU HS2s. Incorrectly set, wouldn't explain why only a single cylinder appears sooty, would it? I've bought a new compression tester but waiting for it to arrive. My ancient Gunsons, from the 70s, expired when I pressed it into service but before doing so it gave me some confidence that all was well. I suspect either plugs or the spark distribution system. Electrickery remains the work of the Devil in my experience so my only option is to change it. I don't think it's a big issue, I only found it by accident, as I wanted to check the tappets. I seem to recall that in 1976, when I last had a Spitfire, I had to adjust the carbs virtually once a month as I had a 300 mile weekly commute. My Mk3 seems to run at least as well as and probably a bit more stable than my Mk4 at that time. 😃
  10. Thanks, both, very helpful info. There's no side play on the rotor spindle and it rotates moderately freely anticlockwise, viewed from above. I last lubricated it as part of its start of season service in April. My car has done 55,000 miles and was last MoT'd in 1987 prior to completion of its resto a couple of years ago. Subjectively, the rotor arm fit into the spindle doesn't seem as secure as I'd like it to be but I have no reference. I may buy an ignition service kit from the club shop as it seems good value. Since cleaning the plugs, the engine runs well both cold and hot. In retrospect, it had started to feel a tad rough when on choke, but smooth when at working temperature. I removed the plugs to adjust the tappets and found a single, sooty plug. I imagine that it will take a few hundred miles for the issue to manifest itself again. This time, I'll be more aware of the telltale signs. Finding the culprit is all part of the joy of ownership.
  11. I have one of this type but for the smaller thread dia plugs. I've had positive experience with it from my RS Turbo days so I did an interweb search. It seems that Toolstation are selling their stock cheaply and will not replenish. Hence I've just bought one for £2.15. I had to check stock on-line at 3 branches before I found that Manchester Ancoats had stock. Travel there was free, courtesy of my Rite of Passage concessionary Metro travel card. Not tried it yet. Will it bend around the distributor to remove No 3 plug..........
  12. ......still pondering my No 3 cylinder sooty plug...... The issue manifested itself after a few months use since last plug clean so it will take a while for me to find the issue by elimination. I'm thinking of replacing the NGK plugs in favour of Champion N9Y. Later, I may change HT leads, cap and rotor arm hence I've attached a few pictures and asking those with knowledge and experience to tell me which dizzy is fitted such that I can source the correct parts? Many thanks in advance.
  13. What do you guys use to remove the plug from number 3 cylinder where the designers thoughtfully hid it behind the dizzy? I use a spanner that I bought in 1970 for use in my Lambretta days. It is a completely open box with handle/lever welded at about 45 degrees. The AF fit is sloppy and before now, if the plug is really tight, I’ve broken the insulator due to it rocking. Now that it is being pressed back into service I could probably fashion a rubber bung to keep it straight (common with plug spanners) or I could splash out on a new one that works on No 3 cylinder. Any recommendations?
  14. I've put the miscreant plug into a different cylinder and I'll go for a ride just as soon as the drive is no longer blocked by the Disbeliever of the house. Thanks for posting background links, Pete, but, as you wrote in one of the threads "after a few pages I lost the will to live". There seems to be a lot of contradictory comments. On a cross reference site, there's no mention of Bosch W78. Google also suggests that it's hard to find. Now very confused.......................
  15. In another post I've reported that for the first time today I've used my 40+ year old Gunsons "push and hold" compression tester. Gutted that it barely worked on one cylinder before giving up the ghost. If I can find the original receipt I may make a warranty claim. 😄 What tool do you guys use for this seldom needed but valued piece of kit, any recommendations?
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