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Triumph 1500 engine numbers

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ChrisMadge Chris Madge
Bristol, SOUTH GLOUCESTER, UK   GBR
I have a Triumph 1500 engine in my MG midget which I am trying to find some more information about.

The engine is not the original engine, it previously came out of a triumph spitfire, engine number is FM38556HE
The engine is painted gold in colour and had another number stamped into a plate and stuck onto the side of the engine casing RTC2459R 137588

The block also has +020 stamped under the head gasket.

Was this engine some sort of replacement reconditioned unit like the BMC Gold Seal engines?

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Yellowhawk Valley Avatar
walla walla, WA, USA   USA
1969 Triumph Spitfire "Walla Walla"
1969 Triumph Spitfire "Portland"
1972 Triumph Spitfire MkIV "Spokane"
1975 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Dayton"    & more
That main number would be a 75 model year. It sounds like it probably is a factory rebuilt engine, Others here will know for sure.
da



Dan Aycock
Walla Walla, Wa.
Yellowhawk Valley Spitfires
69, 69, 72, 75, 78, 79 Spitfires

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grumpicus Steve Jackson
Leicester, Leicestershire, UK   GBR
RTC2459R is the factory designation for a stripped engine unit. The fact it's painted gold means it's probably a factory reconditioned 'Gold Seal' engine - if it was originally in Midget, that would explain the BMC connection. The engine number FM38556HE means it was originally fitted to UK/Euro Spit 1500, and the serial number indicates it's a fairly early one, maybe from around 1976.

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ChrisMadge Chris Madge
Bristol, SOUTH GLOUCESTER, UK   GBR
In reply to # 1600758 by grumpicus RTC2459R is the factory designation for a stripped engine unit. The fact it's painted gold means it's probably a factory reconditioned 'Gold Seal' engine - if it was originally in Midget, that would explain the BMC connection. The engine number FM38556HE means it was originally fitted to UK/Euro Spit 1500, and the serial number indicates it's a fairly early one, maybe from around 1976.

Thank you Steve that's interesting. Is there anyway of knowing the date of when the engine was reconditioned from the plate ?

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grumpicus Steve Jackson
Leicester, Leicestershire, UK   GBR
In reply to # 1600767 by ChrisMadge

Thank you Steve that's interesting. Is there anyway of knowing the date of when the engine was reconditioned from the plate ?

I wouldn't have thought so, unless the code '137588' has some significance!

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ChrisMadge Chris Madge
Bristol, SOUTH GLOUCESTER, UK   GBR
In reply to # 1600819 by grumpicus
In reply to # 1600767 by ChrisMadge

Thank you Steve that's interesting. Is there anyway of knowing the date of when the engine was reconditioned from the plate ?

I wouldn't have thought so, unless the code '137588' has some significance!

surely the 137588 is a serial number, and could be traced ?

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grumpicus Steve Jackson
Leicester, Leicestershire, UK   GBR
In reply to # 1601310 by ChrisMadge
In reply to # 1600819 by grumpicus
In reply to # 1600767 by ChrisMadge

Thank you Steve that's interesting. Is there anyway of knowing the date of when the engine was reconditioned from the plate ?

I wouldn't have thought so, unless the code '137588' has some significance!

surely the 137588 is a serial number, and could be traced ?

Possibly, but where would the records be kept? I'm not sure whether the factory would have done its own engine reconditioning, or maybe would have subcontracted it to a specialist in engine reconditioning. As the engine appears to be a 'Gold Seal' unit, this would possibly be done for the 'BMC' part of the BL business - I'm not sure if Triumph used 'Gold Seal' reconditioned units. I do seem to recall that Austin/Morris used 'Gold Seal' units, so maybe it was an operation run via Abingdon or Cowley, rather than from Canley!

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GeorgeOhr Nonya Business
Yes, confused, USA   USA
In reply to # 1601310 by ChrisMadge
In reply to # 1600819 by grumpicus
In reply to # 1600767 by ChrisMadge

surely the 137588 is a serial number, and could be traced ?

It was rebuilt during the 13th month, 75th week of 1988. smiling smiley

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  spitfire50 thanked GeorgeOhr for this post
Guppy916 Avatar
Guppy916 George G
Alton, Hampshire, UK   GBR
It was rebuilt during the 13th month, 75th week of 1988.
how many weeks in a year
AH 13 month
must have been a leap year

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Guppy916 Avatar
Guppy916 George G
Alton, Hampshire, UK   GBR
being more serious
Here's a bit more 
FM38556 HE

Spitfire 1500
world: Nov. 1974 (1975 model year)-Aug. 1980, US/NA: 1973-80
UK/Europe: FH75001 onwards, US: FM28001U onwards (late 1979 & 80 used VIN numbers), U suffix for US, UC suffix for US California, O suffix for cars fitted with overdrive transmissions, L suffix for Right hand drive

or

http://www.triumphspitfire.com/enginenumbers.html

http://www.triumphspitfire.com/Ref.html

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grumpicus Steve Jackson
Leicester, Leicestershire, UK   GBR
In reply to # 1601659 by Guppy916 being more serious
Here's a bit more 
FM38556 HE

Spitfire 1500
world: Nov. 1974 (1975 model year)-Aug. 1980, US/NA: 1973-80
UK/Europe: FH75001 onwards, US: FM28001U onwards (late 1979 & 80 used VIN numbers), U suffix for US, UC suffix for US California, O suffix for cars fitted with overdrive transmissions, L suffix for Right hand drive

or

http://www.triumphspitfire.com/enginenumbers.html

http://www.triumphspitfire.com/Ref.html

A bit of confusion here - all Spitfire 1500 engines had the 'FM' prefix, and the 'HE' suffix shows it's a high compression engine, indicating it's to UK/Euro spec. US engines usually had a 'U' suffix, indicating low compression.

The "FH75001 onwards" for UK/Europe refers to the commission number, not the engine number!

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ChrisMadge Chris Madge
Bristol, SOUTH GLOUCESTER, UK   GBR
thanks Steve.


Only BMC is ever mentioned for Gold Seal engines. Did Triumph supply reconditioned engines for BMC (such as the Triumph 1500 powered MG Midget) as part of the Gold Seal Scheme ?

There must be some records somewhere or someone must know how to date the reconditioned engine. I've asked around a few Triumph forums but no answers yet.....



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-03-13 04:20 AM by ChrisMadge.

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grumpicus Steve Jackson
Leicester, Leicestershire, UK   GBR
I'm not sure the Triumph factory supplied engines for reconditioning as such - I know they supplied their UK dealers with stocks of engines, gearboxes, diffs etc. for use as warranty replacements for items which had failed within the 1st 12 months/ 12,000 miles. (Back in the 1970s, I obtained a couple of gearboxes & a diff from a contact who worked for a main dealer - through the back door....thumbs up) As far as I know, any reconditioned or replacement engines, gearboxes or diffs that came from Triumph were painted black.
It's worth remembering that the twin carb 1500 Triumph engines in the Midget & Spitfire soon developed a reputation for unreliability, possibly due to the marginal lubrication system, the oils available at the time, or simply being thrashed by boy racer owners! Consequently, there must have been a lot of damaged engines which ended up in the hands of engine reconditioners after warranty exchange units had been fitted - I doubt that the factory would have been very interested in reconditioning the old units, when they were still churning out new ones. After the closure of Triumph in 1981, the supply of new engines dried up, but 1500 engines were still throwing conrods, wearing out thrust washers, etc. so the demand for reconditioned engines was still there. (At one time, I remember that secondhand 1500 engines were in short supply, and were relatively expensive, compared to 1300 engines.) My guess is that the Gold Seal engine with the Triumph engine code originally came from a relatively early UK Spitfire 1500, which may have needed a replacement engine or was damaged beyond repair or scrapped. Maybe it ended up in the hands of an engine reconditioner who supplied Gold Seal engines to Austin/Rover/MG dealers, and simply painted everything with gold paint, regardless of any code originally on the engine.

I don't know if it helps, but I came across this link - I'm not a club member, so I can't find any details! https://www.mgownersclub.co.uk/forum/midget-technical/gold-seal-engine-numbers



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-03-13 06:11 AM by grumpicus.

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ChrisMadge Chris Madge
Bristol, SOUTH GLOUCESTER, UK   GBR
"Maybe it ended up in the hands of an engine reconditioner who supplied Gold Seal engines to Austin/Rover/MG dealers, and simply painted everything with gold paint, regardless of any code originally on the engine."

Yep that sounds plausible.

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ChrisMadge Chris Madge
Bristol, SOUTH GLOUCESTER, UK   GBR
Someone has confirmed that British Leyland offered gold seal Triumph engines, and there’s a place online producing replica stickers

https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&f=47&t=1609748

https://www.isaydingdong.co.uk/ourshop/prod_6193141-Triumph-Gold-Seal-Factory-Replacement-Engine-Sticker-3.html



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-03-17 12:49 PM by ChrisMadge.

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