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Spitfire & GT6 Forum

Where do I start?

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Murph935 Avatar
Murph935 Shawn Murphy
Ocean pines, Maryland, USA   USA
This is my first Triumph...I was actually looking for a Karmann Ghia. Once upon a time I was an Air Cooled VW guy..anyway, I found this Spitfire and brought it home. It appears to be mostly original and is in decent shape. It's far from Barrett Jackson ready but it runs, drives, shifts, stops etc. all very smoothly. I plan to go over the entire thing but with nothing screaming "fix me first", I'm not sure where I should start. I was hoping someone with more knowledge and experience could point out potential trouble spots for these cars and help me get started on making sure everything is as it should be.

As I read thru these forums and various other sources of info I can find online, any advice you may have will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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carChips Avatar
carChips Victor Harnish
Kelowna, BC, Canada   CAN
1933 MG Magnette
1973 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Chip"
1989 GMC Sierra 1500 "Bush Truck"
Welcome aboard Shawn, post a few pictures of the car. Include a couple under the hood shots. Do you have a current mileage?



'S all for now
Vic

Yellowhawk Valley Avatar
walla walla, washington, USA   USA
1969 Triumph Spitfire "Walla Walla"
1969 Triumph Spitfire "Portland"
1972 Triumph Spitfire MkIV "Spokane"
1975 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Dayton"    & more
The normal process is to look over and photo every area of the car for current and later reference. Anything that looks warn and damaged may be replaced. Brake and clutch masters are often necessary but not always. Brake pads and shoes should be checked.
Look around for obvious bubbles under the paint - rust bugs coming through. Mostly it is going to be up to what you see on your overview.
Dan

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Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
A 40 year old car is bound to have some tired parts. Safty first check the brakes and suspension.

IMHO 40 year old brake hoses should just be replaced. Because there some sub standard off-shore hoses on the market, I would play safe and buy a set of Goodridge stainless braided hoses.

Jack the car and give all the wheels a good shake. Trace the cause of any movement. Tie rod ends, steering rack bushings, upper ball joints and trunnions/trunnion bushings may all be due for replacment.

There is lots more.......Welcome to the site.

MHKflyer52 Avatar
MHKflyer52 Martin Keller
Ventura, California, USA   USA
In reply to # 1497024 by Murph935 This is my first Triumph...I was actually looking for a Karmann Ghia. Once upon a time I was an Air Cooled VW guy..anyway, I found this Spitfire and brought it home. It appears to be mostly original and is in decent shape. It's far from Barrett Jackson ready but it runs, drives, shifts, stops etc. all very smoothly. I plan to go over the entire thing but with nothing screaming "fix me first", I'm not sure where I should start. I was hoping someone with more knowledge and experience could point out potential trouble spots for these cars and help me get started on making sure everything is as it should be.

As I read thru these forums and various other sources of info I can find online, any advice you may have will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Hello Shawn,

First thing to due would be find a repair manual and read through it especially the general servicing area and then change the oil and lube the suspension. While doing that check the break lines and anything that is safety related, brake lights, turn signals, horn, streering etc..
Main thing to remember is post pictures helps people understand your questions and enjoy your new to you car.
cool smiley



Martin Keller
Ventura, CA.
1971 Triumph GT6 (A work always in progress.)

Dale M. Avatar
Tell City, Indiana, USA   USA
Aside from what you have already been told, safety items first (brakes, suspension, etc.) the next step would generally be determined on your general intentions for the car. Daily driver, show car, concours shows??. If all you want is a daily driver, then some of the areas that could use attention are the electrical. Read the posts. There are numerous posts about electrical upgrades. New wiring harnesses, new modern fuse blocks, new tail light wiring. Even halogen or LED headlights.
There’s plenty of projects to be had, with plenty of knowledgeable people on this forum. They’ve already helped me a bundle and I haven’t even been working on mine a lot. The biggest thing is when asking questions, post pictures if possible so people can figure out what you’re working with. Over the years PO’s (previous owners) have altered these cars plenty. Pictures help everyone know if that is the case with yours. Cheers and welcome to the adventure. With the right attitude, tinkering on these cars can be half the fun.

Brad.Cogan Avatar
Brad.Cogan Bradley Cogan
RAF Cosford, Shropshire, UK   GBR
1977 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Wray"
2007 Fiat Grande Punto "Pepper"
Again definitely start off with the brakes. Check your MC, brake lines, ensure your drums are in good order and are adjusted correctly.

Then move on to suspension. The front springs have a tendency to bend in and hit the shock. The rear spring tends to sag. All of the shocks can lose their dampening so give those a check. Check your tie rod ends and your top ball joints. Check all of your wishbones and suspension mounting areas for security and integrity.

After that, as said before decide what you want out of the car and move on from there.

I would also give the car a good service and clean it thoroughly inside, outside and under it. No doubt you'll find some things wrong with it after spending some time with it.



Brad Cogan

1977 Triumph Spitfire 1500 'Wray'
2007 Fiat Grande Punto Active 1.2 'Pepper'

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Lizzard d id
san jose, ca, USA   USA
Front trunnions , they are a bit different than what most cars have and I fear most get neglected . They need cleaning and lubing on most . Running them with old dried out lube isn't good .
Redo the transmission and rear end lube . Be careful of what lube you use , some are actually bad / cause problems . Lube the u joints , drive shaft and axles .
Change out the brake / clutch fluid . Lube the steering rack if you can .

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
Anybody else think that it is ironic that we have a member that is LOOKING for something to fix ;-)

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Dale M. Avatar
Tell City, Indiana, USA   USA
Ironic maybe, but at the same time encouraging. It’s nice to see that someone comes in with the realization that it’s not going to be perfect. It’s always going to be a project. Something my wife definitely has a hard time accepting. It’s a 40 year old car. There’s always something needing attention. To realize that going in is a good thing.

69gt6stopp Avatar
69gt6stopp Paul Stopp
Richmond, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
The best thing for you at the moment is drive it with the radio off, listen for rattles and clunks and go over different surfaces. Cold starts, hot starts, etc then report the findings.
At the moment it is an open book, which also depends on your mechanic smarts for identifying and fixing a problem. I am sure there is something lurking.
Good luck and enjoy the car,
Regards,
Paul

Doug in Vegas Avatar
Doug in Vegas Douglas D
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA   USA
Right after I got mine I took it airborne over some railroad tracks to see how it lands.

It was okay but I don't recommend it after seeing the wheels hang. (I must have been nuts)

DerbyRam54 Neville Wardle
Branford, Connecticut, USA   USA
Suspect anything that is made of rubber.

As Brad and Tony said, you should probably check your braking system first, including those rubber brake hoses and rubber seals. But there are a lot of ways all over the car in which old rubber can cause you grief from tyres to hoses to bushings to belts to exhaust hangers and so on.

As you evaluate each system, cast a very jaundiced eye over the rubber parts.

brucejon Avatar
brucejon Bruce Jones
Santa Cruz, CA, USA   USA
1962 Triumph TR3B
1963 Triumph TR3B "Tupperware TR3"
1969 Triumph Spitfire MkIII
1972 Triumph TR6
Did the person you bought it from give you a maintenance record/log? That would help greatly in understanding what to prioritize, albeit with a dose of skepticism.

Dale M. Avatar
Tell City, Indiana, USA   USA
One thing I would recommend if it’s not already done is the steering coupling joint, commonly referred to as the rag joint by many. If it has the stock joint still, they have a tendency for the washers to wear out causing loose steering. Since replacing mine with the heavy duty replacement, it’s made a world of difference.

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