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Horrific noise from engine - help!


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Hello all,


I have a 1979 (could be 78) spitfire 1.5...I have had it for nearly a year pretty much problem free until a rather worrying incident heading down the m4.  The engine began producing a horrible sound, like something had snapped off inside.  I pulled over, called the AA - who could only tell me there was something seriously wrong - and the car returned on the back of a lorry.  I have a video that I shall try to upload, where you can hear the sound.  Note the car would still drive, but obviously the death rattle became worse with acceleration.  Another thing to note is that when reversing in the weeks leading up to this, the engine would clunk nastily.  However it seemed fine going forwards. 


Two questions: Firstly any idea what it is?


Secondly: I live in Reading and the car is in my garage, anybody know where I can get it repaired by somebody who knows spitfires - and is not too expensive and close.


Thanks for your potential time and help!


below is the youtube link for the sound from the engine.



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Big end bearings and probably crankshaft.


unless you cab pull the engine yourself, you could be looking at a hefty bill. (£250+ for parts, depending of how bad the crank is and the rest of the engine) Or a known good used engine....... Labour probably £250-500??

As to garage recommendations, best bet is to ask at your local club meeting......

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Nearest area to Reading is East Berks meeting at the Shire Horse on the A4 towards Maidenhead, but next meeting not till 11th August. A couple more miles to Thames in Old Windsor next meeting on 30th July. Details in the area directory on the front page. There are a couple of guys who repair classics for a living and amateurs who've rebuilt their own. Plenty of help there.  Probably best not to take the car but a copy of your video!

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Ouch! that sounds like a bag of hammers. Big ends and mains by the sound of it, which means a bottom-end rebuild. If you don't feel confident to tackle this yourself, you can pull the engine, remove the ancillaries and get it to a competent machine shop, they will dismantle it and quote you for the work required. Members of the following are usually reputable, and there may be one near you:




Failing that, if money is tight, a known second hand engine from within the club or from a reputable breaker of Spitfires. Spitbitz are near you at:





Remember that the 1500 is known for a weak bottom end, with relatively short bearing life, especially if "enthusiastically" driven. If you want revs, and are not bothered about originality, you could consider swapping to a 1300 unit instead. The difference between the two engines is in the length of the stroke, and while the 1500 offers more torque, mild tuning of the 1300 will give you more than adequate power for the chassis.


Good luck, and remember, it is all character building!


Steve C.

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I would be dropping Steve a line.......


and when sorted use valvoline VR1 or millers CSS 20-50 or 20-60


Really, having killed several 1500's they need great oil, and ideally a cooler if driven with vigour. Even then......

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If you're able to take the engine out of the car a bottom end rebuild isn't actually too hard and if the crank's OK not too expensive either.


The job can be done in the car but having done it I'd recommend engine-out if you can/don't enjoy getting dropped on by oil, bits of oily crap in your mouth and in your hair, etc.

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many things can cause judder in reverse

start with diff mount  rubbers, drive shaft yoke lift, clutch unit, gearbox mounts , engine mounts 


in no particular order,  if lifting the engine you can check the engine and gearbox mounts for perish.or detached bonding,

the clutch will be easy to examine , hot spots on the cover or loose damper springs in the hub.

have a look at the throwout pivot pin and its tolerance bush, these part company quite frequently.


just a  few idea's  Pete

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You've decided to buy another engine.

Don't just scrap the old one - someone can rebuild it.

Even Spitfire engines are no longer in unlimited supply!


As above, see if anyone from the local group will 'take it off your hands'.

But don't expect anything for it!


Keep driving Triumphs - keep Triumphs driving!


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  • 1 month later...

Sounds like my old 1500TC when I shot the big ends, the shells came out as thin as a coke can... !

The con rod was even slightly oval and needed replacing. The engine is easy to strip, not complicated at all.

Shame....There was a brand new 1500 short engine for sale last week at Beaulieu !

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