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Herald Engine Rebuild: Do It Myself?

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CASpitfireGuy Avatar
CASpitfireGuy Cody Crowley
Los Angeles, California, USA   USA
Good Evening Everyone,
I traded my Spitfire Mk3 in June for a beautiful Herald 13/60 convertible that I have been enjoying all summer.
However, while the engine is in still good order, it is tired and will need a rebuild in the near future. No disrespect to my mechanic (who is excellent and trustworthy), engine rebuilds for our Triumphs are not cheap anymore. My Spitfire engine cost $5,000+ for it's rebuild, and most other shops are in the same ballpark.
Since I plan on keeping the car for life, and I have always wanted to learn how to build an engine, would it be a better option to do the rebuild myself?
Rimmer Bros. carries the full rebuild kit for less than $500.00, all I really need to do is invest in some better tools, an engine stand and rent an engine hoist for the removal and reinstallation. The only area I need schooling in is the measurements of bearings, endfloat, etc. Of course, I'll farm out the machine work.
What would you recommend? Leave it to the pros or give it a go myself and learn along the way?
Cheers!

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rustbuckit2011 Frank Zappa
auckland, auckland, New Zealand   NZL
You will not find a more simple and forgiving engine to rebuild yourself. Give it a go. It just requires a bit common sense, patience and a spot of courage. It is silly how much is charged by mechanics to rebuild these motors- you will agree once you get started.

CASpitfireGuy Avatar
CASpitfireGuy Cody Crowley
Los Angeles, California, USA   USA
Thank you for the encouragement! I have definitely made up my mind, I will study up in my Herald Workshop Manual and give it a go when the engine starts to wear out.
Watching videos on YouTube of a Spitfire engine rebuild show that they are simple and forgiving as you say they are. Plus, I like the fact that I know I can always fix my car if the already limited number of repair shops in my area begin closing up.
One modification I'd like to do is add cam bearings as done on the Spitfire Mk3 engine, but other than that I'll keep it stock.

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Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
Very doable even for a first timer.
Key though is to find a machine shop the you can work with, and who likewise work with you.

Step one, before running out to buy a kit (I do not like kits!) is to carefully asses what you have, and what you need.
your machine shop (hopefully one with an understanding of our engines) plays a big part here.

quikrx Ralph Hansen
Antioch, Illinois, USA   USA
1962 Triumph Herald 1200
1969 Triumph Spitfire MkIII "Gloria"
1987 Mazda RX-7 "Mistress"
2003 Toyota Celica GT-S "Natasha"    & more
hi Cody,

easy, peasy....more than willing to assist anyway I can, feel free to pm me and I'll provide phone# and we can talk before getting started, during and after if you like, have rebuilt many of these engines from stock to fairly strong race engines - don't hesitate

Ralph

65or66 Gold Member Jim B
Lake village, IN, USA   USA
1965 Triumph Spitfire MkII
1973 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Jusanudda Munny Pit"
They practically build themselves!!

have you seen this video?



It's for a Spit engine, but most people would be hard pressed to find any differences.

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
A couple of tips before you start.
Clean the engine bay at the car wash before you start dismantling things.
Drain the oil overnight, and turn the engine over by hand purge the oil ways.
Keep track of fasteners as remove them.

For small Triumph engines I have uses an engine stand, but actually prefer having the engine block on a Workmate
bench as they are less bouncy.
With the head removed the engine block is not heavy and can easily be picked up and flipped as required.

Special tools: The large socket for the front crank pully, Valve spring compressor, Feeler gauges, Flywheel block and piston stop (can be made at home), Dial micrometer and magnetic base, Piston ring compressor, Torque wrench, a good quality steel rule/straight edge, Pertactor*

* I use a large pertractor that can be flywheel mounted, degrees are numbered clockwise and counter clockwise.

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CASpitfireGuy Avatar
CASpitfireGuy Cody Crowley
Los Angeles, California, USA   USA
Thank you to everyone who posted, you answered my biggest question! I'm going to go ahead and give it a go myself, it should be quite informative and help me conquer my fear of doing my own vehicle maintenance (and saving money in the process).
When it comes to replacing bearings, pistons and other items that tend to wear and need replacement, who makes the best? I'm a bit skeptical of Moss, Victoria British and Rimmer Brothers components as most are low grade junk from China.

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
In reply to # 1490625 by CASpitfireGuy When it comes to replacing bearings, pistons and other items that tend to wear and need replacement, who makes the best? I'm a bit skeptical of Moss, Victoria British and Rimmer Brothers components as most are low grade junk from China.

Exactly!
That is the very reason I suggested not to buy these components as a kit.

First off asses what you need, you will only really know this as the engine comes apart and you examin things.
ie. Your oil pump, many claim the pump you have is likely better than any replacment. There are instructions in the manual for measuring wear on your pump. My old pump WAS within tolerances and was infact closer than a new pump I later measured! I did however hand lap the end cover of the pump to bring it to an optimal tolerance.
Plus, what you save can go to off set the cost of better components elsewhere.

I have used AE Hepolite pistons, but do not like their one piece oil control rings, so have always fitted Hastings rings.
Some people claim County pistons are just as good AND are already fitted with 'propper' rings.

For a road car I would fit standard two metal Rod and Main bearings. I have used Clevite, but King are said to be good.

Consider addressing the thrust washer problem. There are solid custom TW's available, plus full circle modifications.

Having had failiers, I now only use Payen head gaskets. Other gaskets in the engine have not caused problems.

Are you changing the Cam? If so new lifters are a must! A while back there were some real junk lifters on the market (improper hardening to the lifter surface) don't go cheap, and followBreak-in instructions.

I like to address the cyl head independently from the engine block. I will strip and asses a head while the block is being machined, and then send the head away while I assemble the block. For me, if I have the time, that makes life simpler .

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