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Chassis Swap Spitfire 4 1964


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I have to change the chassis on my 1964 Spitfire.  Everything else is in good shape (I bought a good car with chassis damage).  Would you strip out the suspension and attach it to the new chassis first before removing the body from the old tub, or the other way around?  The first way seems most logical but I'm a newbie here.  Thanks

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Having recently helped my brother with his Spitfire clutch I wondered why is it so difficult to wiggle the bell housing through the bulkhead cavity?!!

Answer (from P. Lewis esq)  In the factory the engine, gearbox were put on the chassis first and the body tub last. No one noticed the bulkhead cavity was too small for later remedial work. Doh!

Doug

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20 minutes ago, dougbgt6 said:

Answer (from P. Lewis esq)  In the factory the engine, gearbox were put on the chassis first and the body tub last. No one noticed the bulkhead cavity was too small for later remedial work. Doh!

Agree with both Pete and Doug; any Herald I've done has been chassis built up first, as it's much easier to route brake lines etc (and fit the engine and bellhousing as Doug says! I do it in one complete unit) then fit and gap the body. The underside should be already painted so it's just a case of masking off the bits you don't want resprayed. Bonnet goes on last.

chassis2.gif.32f5848e69bcce17c23af19925c68d86.gif

 

 

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Definitely as Rob says. Strip the body, body off. Conceivably you could swap the suspension over next, but it is much easier if suspension is last off/first in. 

If you get a handy assistant, I reckon, assuming no remedial work while you have it all apart, and nothing is too seized etc, the bulk of the swap is easily achievable in a weekend. Plenty to do before and after of course.

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On 14/01/2020 at 07:30, dougbgt6 said:

Having recently helped my brother with his Spitfire clutch I wondered why is it so difficult to wiggle the bell housing through the bulkhead cavity?!!

Answer (from P. Lewis esq)  In the factory the engine, gearbox were put on the chassis first and the body tub last. No one noticed the bulkhead cavity was too small for later remedial work. Doh!

Doug

This statement is counter to pretty much everything I've read or seen in photographs and films of the assembly line. The statement is true as it pertains to the TR2-6 range, but the "SC" range had complete, bolted together body/chassis units that were painted as such and then fitted with all the mechanical and trim bits.

Standard Triumph Factory, Canley. Triumph Herald Production

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When taking the body off assuming you remove the doors do remember to fit door braces across the top of the door openings to stop the body flexing and possibly bending a little at this weakest point.

Don’t know if leaving doors in place would stop this flexing but it would possibly cause too much paint damage. Others could have experience when we did our rebuild it was bare metal so doors off and fit temp braces that fit across top hinge to door lock there available occasionally  on eBay.

Peter T

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1 hour ago, Peter Truman said:

Don’t know if leaving doors in place would stop this flexing but it would possibly cause too much paint damage. 

I reckon the tub would still close up, but now it would close against the doors with, as you say, the resulting paint damage. It will also be much lighter with the doors removed.

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2 hours ago, Herald948 said:

This statement is counter to pretty much everything I've read or seen in photographs and films of the assembly line. The statement is true as it pertains to the TR2-6 range

Hmmm... interesting

Great video, but only Heralds and we're talking about Spitfires/GT6s, but you may be right?

Doug

 

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18 hours ago, dougbgt6 said:

Hmmm... interesting

Great video, but only Heralds and we're talking about Spitfires/GT6s, but you may be right?

Doug

 

I've only managed to find two photos of the entire process, one of which may show earlier Standards being ferried around the factory and below to the right you can see a complete engine / gearbox drivetrain sitting ready (sorry it's so small), but this other photo which I've pinched from a site called MotorGraphs shows Spitfire 4 bodies ready to be fitted to complete chassis. This may explain why many of our unrestored cars have a uniformly black chassis whilst the body has been painted in colour. However there are no engine or gearbox assemblies anywhere in sight so it doesn't clear that point any.

156454-list.jpg.9cf084d28ad1e3a9e9e14aecde17be95.jpg  spits.jpg.40cf46be1b1a4f2eec365c60b7416751.jpg

 

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There will definitely be door and a cross tub brace welded in before moving it.  I'm in two minds about the doors - they are pretty heavy with the glass etc etc and we might be only two with an engine crane lifting the body.  Possibly take off the boot lid and the petrol tank out too.

The workshop manual states that the engine and gearbox can be withdrawn as one - and I'll have the bonnet off anyway.

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14 minutes ago, Neil Clark said:

The workshop manual states that the engine and gearbox can be withdrawn as one - and I'll have the bonnet off anyway.

It can. I've done it on GT6, Spitfire and most recently Herald, although I do it with the bonnet on... don't forget to remove the lower engine earth at the steering rack, otherwise it lifts the entire car off the ground before it breaks. Someone to feed the gearbox forward as the engine rises so as not to damage anything inside the car is a bonus, although I usually do it on my own with no problems, and removing the gearlever remote assembly gives a bit more room. It's also much easier to reassemble everything outside the car and then refit as one unit, too.

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Just a quick Question Colin have/do you do it with an overdrive box attached, as I have a rebuilt 1500 and J O/D 3rail box to install in the daughters Mk2, and I would have normally done it as separate parts g/box thro the cabin and engine out thro bonnet space.

Peter T 

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In the GT6, yes with O/D but the Heralds, no. It's all to do with the positioning of the hoist, which in my case is static from a girder. Make sure there is plenty of room on at least one side of the car; hoist the engine with ropes or chains around engine only. This puts the centre of gravity quite far forward and so the gearbox will naturally make the entire thing tilt towards the rear. I usually jack the front of the car up on a trolley jack; it needs to have good wheels and a pad that pivots. The engine will rise and you can guide it around the bulkhead until the rear of the gearbox clears the bodywork; you can pull on the chain to move the unit away from vertical so that it clears the bulkhead and now hangs with your support in between the front wheel arches. At this point let it hang back towards the vertical but at the same time rotate it sideways so that it's now transverse. If you let it hang here you can pull the car away from in under it on the trolley jack (which is why you need the room to one side) and then lower it to the ground. If you don't move the car sideways you must raise the entire thing high enough to clear the open bonnet, which can be very scary...

I should have taken photos when I took the Estate engine out last month, but in this photo just before removal you can see how much room there is in front once the radiator is removed.

74E4689C-C88A-4945-B60E-A48FA0E6AD14_1_105_c.jpg.5bf7dc19ddee9cb21cd3e24137b72772.jpg

 

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10 hours ago, Neil Clark said:

Colin in the photo of the 4 Spitfires and chassis together it looks as if the finished painted bodies were to be lifted onto the chassis complete, with doors and and without bracing but I'm not going to try it!

Maybe the hard-tops were used as additional bracing? Plus - the sills were new so less likely to collapse through rust, but even so I'll agree with you - brace!

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That's great to know, thanks.  My next question is the rear spring / diff assembly swap over.  The car is only 8000 miles "old" since it was apparently fully professionally restored at great cost in 2015 for the PO and the mechanical bits, as far as I can see, look great.  So for the entire rear end swap, springs, diff etc etc, is it practical simply to jack up the car, wheels off, disconnect brake cables, prop shaft etc, support the weight, undo the few bolts between the chassis and the spring / diff etc and carry it over to the other chassis, simply bolting it back in place there?

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Hi Neil,

I can't think why your plan wouldn't work. If you're working on your own however I suspect it'll be more a case of dragging the diff/spring/half-shafts/vertical links/brakes across to the other chassis (unless you're super-strong) because there's a lot of weight there!

Wayne

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32 minutes ago, Waynebaby said:

(unless you're super-strong) because there's a lot of weight there!

Wayne

Just what I was about to post - you beat me to it!! It's all quite heavy and because of the restricted space, hard to hold in any kind of balance, and it won't actually all come out as one unit, given the method of fitting the diff to the chassis, which is below and whilst you can drop the diff you can't do it with the rear spring and halfshafts attached - the chassis rails get in the way, and there won't be enough room above to lift the unit over them. I reckon you'll have to dismantle everything and then reassemble on the other chassis.

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