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Spitfire & GT6 Forum

Hoping to test drive a 1980 w/OD next Saturday...

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SevenAmerica Avatar
SevenAmerica John Donohoe
Williamston, MI, USA   USA
... so what should I look for?

I do know a bit about the fundamental Spitfire/GT6 platform (I basically restored a 1970 GT6+ from a basket case) but I have no experience whatever with the overdrive option... I basically get how it functions, but is it one of the things where it simply works or it doesn't?

It's a 1980 with less than 60,000 miles on it. Other than drive the car and see that it goes into overdrive in 3rd (It think?) and 4th, any tips of what to look for relative to the overdrive?

Oh, and do folks usually just use it on 4th at highway speeds, or does anyone even use it on lower gears?

I DO know not to try to put it in reverse w/OD engaged... and with that in mind, is there any way to tell (besides the switch) if the OD is actually engaged or disengaged?

If someone could point me to a basic user guide for the OD on a 1980 Spit, that would probably be the most efficient :-)

Thanks!

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Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, BC, Canada   CAN
The O/D on that car would be a 'J' type (not that that would make a noticable differance from your perspective, unless the O/D and transmission was fitted from an earier car with reverse up by 1st gear)

In operation O/D should only be switchable in 3rd or 4th gears, and will 'cut out' when lower gears are selected.
This can be disconcerting if you come to a stop in O/D, then pull away. You may find yourself when going up through the gears from direct 2nd into O/D 3rd.

The O/D should switch in quickly and decisively. Speed of engagement is dependent to a degree, on road speed (not engine rpm) so, off hand O/D would not normally be engaged below about 30mph in 3rd or 40mph in 4th.

The clutch is not used when switching O/D, but to be kind to it, many of us back off the throttle when switching ON and stay on a light throttle (to match revs) when switching OFF.

However, on a test drive I might switch O/D under power just to make sure it won't slip (a sign of low hydralic pressure or perhaps a worn cone clutch)

Born Loser Avatar
Born Loser Silver Member Matthew Taylor
Land O Lake, FL, USA   USA
I see you are are a Lotus owner. I have used the OD a bit differently than just knocking down the RPM's while cruising. "pre-internet", and not knowing any better, my '76 had the "1st and 2nd" electrical lock out removed. I never used OD 1st. But, I DID find OD 2nd to be very useful in going into and out of very tight turns. The 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 were very fun in spirited driving. I always used those 2 with a heavy foot, and a flip of the switch. OD4 just makes 75 on the highway very pleasant, and I used it as Tony describes above - just a gentle "ease off the gas", flip the switch, and back on. The OD is very tough (they were also fitted to delivery trucks). It is actuated by a 12 volt solenoid. Most common problems can be traced back to either that 12 volt circuit or the solenoid itself.



Matthew
1960 Triumph TR3a
1970 Triumph Spitfire MK 3
2012 Mini Cooper SS Convertible
2018 Jaguar F-Pace

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SevenAmerica Avatar
SevenAmerica John Donohoe
Williamston, MI, USA   USA
Hi Matthew,

Yah, my 'other' car is a very simple 1961 Seven. Lots of familiar triumph parts in the suspension and rear axle, and it apparently even had an 1147 Spitfire engine it at one point, but is now back to its original spec 948cc Bugeye motor.

I had my GT6+ for a while overlapping ownership of the Seven but the GT6 was getting needy again, so off it went :-) I had a 1980 TR7 convertible as a daily driver for some 10,000 miles -- man that was a blast here in Michigan in the winter! Ultimately very 'chuckable' on a snowy road -- they did rally those cars as I recall!

Anyhow, thanks for the tips on the OD tranny. I really wanted a Spit the whole time I owned my GT6 and now I may have a great opportunity to pick up a pretty nice one!

Cheers,
jd

skyking1231 Avatar
skyking1231 Silver Member Frank Strobel
Mt. Sinai, NY, USA   USA
1975 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Lil' Rose"
to answer your one question....

there is really no way to tell you have OD engaged or not with car not moving.

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, BC, Canada   CAN
In reply to # 1517004 by skyking1231 to answer your one question....

there is really no way to tell you have OD engaged or not with car not moving.


I strongly advocate fitting an O/D idiot light, this is an easy wire spur, taken from the connection to the O/D solenoid then to the + contact of a convenient 12v light.
This not only remids you the O/D is on, but if you happen to have an O/D issue, it instantly tells you if the problem is electrical (as it is (90% of the time) or the O/D unit itself is faulty :-(

joppamoto Mark R
Crestwood, KY, USA   USA
You will know if it engages as soon as you switch it on with the rpm drop. I generally just use mine in 4th after getting over 40 mph. I also use the clutch, as I do not like the sudden change of rpm. I put a small Blue lighted rocker switch on my dash right above the headlight switch, instead of the switch on the lever. That way I keep the wood knob, and it is just a small reach to the switch. I may still make up a wood knob withe the small rocker as some others do. The overdrive is the best change that I have made to my 1980, with the chrome bumpers being second.

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Mark Jones Avatar
Close to Sarnia, ON, Canada   CAN
1995 MG MGF "Barney"
1996 Land Rover Discovery
Hi john,

When it goes into OD it should so smoothly, no odd noises.

If this Spitfire doesn't pan out, I'm looking to sell my 80 Spitfire, also with OD.





MOWOG Garage serving the needs of all Post Abingdon MG owners in Lambton Co. since 2011.

SevenAmerica Avatar
SevenAmerica John Donohoe
Williamston, MI, USA   USA
Hi Mark,

Thanks for the input -- tell me about your Spitfire? I don't see it listed for sale here?

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joppamoto Mark R
Crestwood, KY, USA   USA
delete



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-03-06 04:18 PM by joppamoto.

Mark Jones Avatar
Close to Sarnia, ON, Canada   CAN
1995 MG MGF "Barney"
1996 Land Rover Discovery
Hi John,

I just haven't got around to listing it yet.

I'll send you an email with the particulars

Mark





MOWOG Garage serving the needs of all Post Abingdon MG owners in Lambton Co. since 2011.

SevenAmerica Avatar
SevenAmerica John Donohoe
Williamston, MI, USA   USA
Ok guys, went to drive this Spit on Saturday, and was basically disappointed.

The body looks pretty good, although I can't figure out if it has new rockets on it or not... there was very thin paint on one of them, and there was an odd little 'blob' of a tack weld about the size of a pea right on the join line between the back edge of the rocker panel and the dogleg of the rear wing (right under the back lower 'corner' of the door.

The underside still had what appeared to be original body colored paint although very dirty. Even the frame was body color in most places -- never any undercoating, tar or any of that nonsense.

The engine fired with no cranking -- really, just a quick touch of the starter and it was running! BUT, when driving out of the driveway there was immediately a clack clack clack noise from the rearend. Of course I initially thought diff, but it just wasn't a growl like I'm used to hearing. It was more likely a u joint on one of the axles. Very disconcerting though, especially as the seller had said nothing about it!

Needless to say, I kept driving it to try out the overdrive... which, no matter how fast, what gear, whether I pressed the clutch or just let up on a the gas for a bit, it did absolutely nothing when I slid the switch. I had specifically asked the seller if the D worked, and of course he said it did.

So, when he asked me what I thought of the car, I told him! needless to say, I still have my Miata where a Spitfire belongs in my garage!

skyking1231 Avatar
skyking1231 Silver Member Frank Strobel
Mt. Sinai, NY, USA   USA
1975 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Lil' Rose"
That’s a bummer.

Although sounds like an electrical connection on the OD....

What was he asking for it again ?

SevenAmerica Avatar
SevenAmerica John Donohoe
Williamston, MI, USA   USA
Asking $6,995. Yeah I figured it might be an easy fix, but then again... Remember I've never had an OD Spitfire, and I'm not in the market for a project :-) He insisted when I cam back that he drive the car and it worked... He didn't, however, offer to take me out in the car himself and prove that it worked. He's got my number, and said he'd have those things checked and get back in touch... I kinda think he wants my Miata, which is sort of handy after all...

Mark Jones Avatar
Close to Sarnia, ON, Canada   CAN
1995 MG MGF "Barney"
1996 Land Rover Discovery
Well, that's disappointing.

ODs are quite robust units and generally speaking quite simple. When I bought mine the OD worked intermittently; it turned out to be the gear knob switch, an easy and simple fix.

I've seen a blob of weld there before. Some people who have repair/replaced the sill put a spot of weld there thinking that the two panels are supposed to be welding along that seam.

Certainly a plus in terms of how easily the engine started.





MOWOG Garage serving the needs of all Post Abingdon MG owners in Lambton Co. since 2011.

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