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Spitfire Mk3 non starter.


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I purchased a Spitfire Mk3 (Wedgewood Blue) with 1296cc engine and overdrive last year and she is my pride and joy.


It was running fine until one day on the motorway, the engine just cut out. Complete loss of power and she wouldn't restart. 


No preceeding bangs from the engine/smoke or fluid loss on the hard shoulder. 


She was towed home. I am a weekend mechanic and having played around with little success and now seeking if anyone can help,


The battery is new and the starter motor cranks, but the engine wont catch/run.

Electrics (wipers/lights) still work. Oil and radiator levels are fine.


I checked all the HT leads and spark plugs are there are no sparks.


On taking the dizzy cap off, I noticed than when trying to start, the dizzy rotor arm doesnt move at all!


I had changed the fuel pump earlier thinking that was the problem and also put in a see through fuel filter. I have noticed that when cracking the engine no fuel seems to be passing out of the fuel line where I disconnected it from the carburettors. I have checked that the fuel pump arm sits above the camshaft when installing. On manually priming the fuel pump, fuel does squirt out.


Rotating the radiator fan manually also does not rotate the dizzy rotor arm or make the fuel pump work.


I'm wondering now whether that it is the camshaft that has gone, and would appreciate any thoughts on how to get her back on the road again.


Thanks for reading.



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It does sound like tbe camshaft is not turning. Take the rocker cover off or look throuhg the oil fillerand see if any of the valves are opening and closing when the engine is cranked. If not the timinh chain or gears are not turning the cam or the cam has snapped. Not personally seen this happen before.



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The camshaft is driven of a chain that is driven by the crankshaft, not the water pump / radiator fan.


When you turned the radiator fan, did the crankshaft rotate as well ?


If it didn't, then you need to grab the lower pulley and rotate the crank directly to check if the rotor arm rotates.


It is not unheard of for the timing chain to fail completely, but it is very rare.

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iv you cant turn the crank pulley put in top gear and push car , if the rockers are working drive is looking ok  , some fuel pumps have the wrong lever stand off as youve changed it it may be in line with the cam but not getting enough stroke,  it may not be related to the dizzy not turning

....or no rocker movement ,no dizzy rotation, and no fuel pump   then    definitely  the  cam is not turning   time for a strong Cuppa



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Spitfire crank pulley has an ENORMOUS nut on it, 1 13/16" or 42mm I believe.

NOW is the time to invest in a spanner or socket that size, so that you can easily turn the crank!

Both the oil pump and the dizzie are driven off a spur gear on the crankshaft that meshes with another in the block.

Above and below there are 'dogs' like the blade of a screwdriver that engage in slots in the top of the pump drive shaft and the bottom of the dizzie shaft.


If the rotor arm isn't then the fault is along this line.

As said above, check that the valves are going up and down - that excludes any camshaft fault, which would be most unusual.

Then remove the dizzy, and try to turn the gear  you see down the shaft with a large screwdriver, CLOCKWISE.  I expect you won't be able to, but if you can, then the gears have failed.

Now look at the base of the dizzy. Is the 'blade' on the end of the shaft chewed up, or broken - that's the answer.


When assembling the dizzie to the block there is a procedure to ensure that there is a very small clearance in the dog.    If that is set too high, or if the dizzie is allowed to rise up on its shaft, the the drive will fail.

Please refer to your workshop manual!



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Spitfire crank pulley has an ENORMOUS nut on it, 1 13/16" or 42mm I believe.

NOW is the time to invest in a spanner or socket that size, so that you can easily turn the crank!



If the engine is a large journal crank then its the large nut - 1 13/16" (which is 46mm, not 42 mm)


If the engine is still the original engine in the car, then it will be a small journal crank (FC engine number prefix) then it will have a much smaller nut - I believe that it's 1 5/16".

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Thanks for your thoughts and tips.


Just to clarify:


I didn't specify that whilsts cranking the engine the radiator fan will spin freely but not the dizzy rotor arm. Turning the fan by hand will turn the crankshaft but not the dizzy rotor arm. I was suspecting that the fault lies somewhere here.


The replacement fuel pump I installed is identical to the old one with the straight level arm engaging above the cam. I'm not sure if this is a red herring. I have read about the rubber spacer that people have used in between the fuel pump and engine block. There wasn't one there before i replaced the fuel pump and she worked fine without it.


I'll look at the rockers next and already have purchased a accuspark distributor which I will fit.


Just need to find the time now..........


I'll keep you updated.

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