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My not so new Spitfire

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Hi All


I am just getting my head around my new project which is now ensconced in my garage (although you can see that my garage does need severe tidy up before work commences!)

It has a few issues and I am trying to work out a logical order in which to do things and perhaps pick a few brains whilst I plan the long road ahead, can see this will take most of the cold winter nights!.

I have uploaded a few photos and from a view she looks fairly good, however, there has been a slight tap on the back which will need pulling out, the previous owner had a disagreement with a large plant pot on his driveway! This has caused the seams on the rear end to open up slightly and the dreaded rust has caught hold on lower inner wings etc.

She has a sagging rear end, I am also aware that the front trunnions and track rod ends need need sorting/overhauling, I was thinking of undertaking the following

1. Change rear spring for swing type and change front anti roll bar, new shocks rear, new shocks and springs front, probably change all bushes to poly bushes whilst I am taking everything apart.  

Recommendations for shocks?

2. Replace trunnions and track rod ends, or consider the trunnion less kit from Canleys https://www.canleyclassics.com/trunnionless-front-suspension-kit/ 

Has anyone fitted a set of these or have any views?

3. Have rear pulled out, treat rust and try to straighten slight twist in boot lid (is this possible?) I was going to take the rear end issues to a local body shop to get them to pull the back out with a slide hammer. There are also some other localised rust spots shown but for now those can wait, the back end is my first concern.

Any top tips or views welcomed!:-)



Julian Mildren - IMG_0655.jpg

Julian Mildren - IMG_0657.jpg

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Julian Mildren - IMG_0663.jpg

Julian Mildren - IMG_7161.jpg

Julian Mildren - IMG_7163.jpg





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Bodywork, ywist in bootlid may just be a case of twisting it back, but be cautious.

The dent may push out or a dent magician, slide hammer sound violent and likely to cause other issues.


Now, shocks. The cheap black or whatever colour they are now painted are not terribly good. However, what do you intend using the car for? If gently driving then they may be OK (just) or rather better you may find some KYB shocks on ebay, though they seem to be disappearing. After that they get expensive with adjustable stuff going on. I like Konis, they are probably teh best mass prodced shock, but at a price and do not have adjustable height for the front shocks. Gaz and Spax are essentially very similar in internal design, and are available as just rebound adjustable or also with height adjustment on the front. But I haven't changed my adjustments for many years, and they are set fairly soft. So adjustables sound good, but totally unnecessary for most.

I like the idea of your  rear spring/front ARB, I did that to my MK3 and it was a great improvement.

Front springs, either std OR as many sell "one size fits all spitfires " (mk3 is different to later springs, it will sit too high) you could choose uprated from Moss (who publish fitted lengths etc, most don't). Also be aware some front shocks have the seat pans welded too high. That was the cheap ones again, not sure if that is still the case. But they can make the front sit too high.

I have the CC trunnionless conversion. I wanted new uprights etc and the cost difference was marginal. Saying that, the std type are more than good enough if correctly maintained, but as lotus use the trunnionless type I reckon the small extra caost is worthwhile (no idea on current costs though)

TRE's all seem to be OK apart from rubber boots failing. But replace the boots and they will then last ages.

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Love your Mk3. A little love and attention will pay dividends.

Depending on how the roads are near you, beware of fitting firmer springs. 480lb springs made for a very bumpy, rattly ride on the potholes of Berkshire! I find that standards (well, 220lb from Moss) are pretty good for road use with almost no noticeable loss of that good ole' Spitfire nimbleness!

Cheers, Richard

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Just to identify the lean jack the front centrally ...does the back lean   then jack the back centrally does the front lean

Bent anti roll and  odd coil fitted lengths and pan heights all being variable is pretty common on spitfires

We twiddled one with all three wrong ,  repaird a local  area owner in  raf hendon car park .

Odd shocker odd springs and a bent arb,  included wooden spacers to compromise the cock up

Buf some mix and match a variety of springs got her level. Without the wooden packer!!!


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  • 8 months later...

Eight months after I posted the first post on this and with the sunshine and a bit of leave I have appeared to get my enthusiasm back. 

Today I have

1. Ordered new leather seat covers.

2. Sorted  a price out for the out the wheels to be blasted and powdercoated (not so keen on alloys!) ordered new tyres, the old ones are 19 years old and although look fine are obviously past their best!

3. Bought 4 x new axle stands to remove said wheels & parts for a service to be getting on with whilst wheels are away.

4. Spending rest of day considering suspension again, swing spring vs replacing old spring, new shocks and springs.

Apart from that not much happening!:-)

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I now have a big box of suspension parts sititng in my hallway (much to my other half's disgust!:-) I don't know what I am doing with them but am hoping that with the aid of a few youtube videos and the workshop manual will be able to find where they all go, wish me luck! I have also had a phone call today saying that my steel wheels have now been refinished, they have been acid dipped, blasted, undercoated, painted and clear powdercoated and fitted with new tyres. Will post some new photos soon.

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Picked up my wheels yesterday, 4 wheels acid stripped, blasted, painted and lacquered, my tyres fitted new valves and balanced for £200! My usual tyre fitter was going to charge me £15 a wheel just to take the tyres off and put the new ones on! Very happy with results TD wheels in Braintree, Essex.


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