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Uprated Coil Springs '80 Spit: A Lesson Learned

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dklee12 Avatar
dklee12 Doug Klee
Toms River, NJ, USA   USA
All-

Recently completed a front end rebuild which pretty much included EVERYTHING except the steering rack and calipers.
Going in I was well aware of the shorter length of the springs as well as the resulting lowering of the motor height/profile. Hey, they're uprated...must be an improvement right?

Two things I learned:

1. While perhaps well suited as a suspension upgrade for a racer on a course with a nice smooth track, the lowered profile is definately not suited to the pot holes, driveway aprons, speed bumps, etc. one encounters during day to day driving. I bottomed more in the 2 weeks that they were fitted then I did in the 40+ years I've owned the car.

2. I know beauty is in the eye....,but IMO the aesthetics were also all screwed up. I was accustom to the car kinda standing up proud & tall. What I got was something that looked one of those screaming muffler, fast and furious, ground hugging, bass booming rice burners. Ugh!!

I've since purchased and installed stock springs and I'm happily back to where I was before this whole self inflicted nightmare began. The other replacement parts were all more then worth the coin and the front end is tighter then it ever was. I also learned more about the front end of a Spitfire then I ever wanted to know.

I'm sure there are members out there with daily drivers that are more then happy with the uprated springs. God bless you all. However, for me, it was a $80 lesson painfully learned.

Doug

(BTW-i do have a pair of hardly used uprated springs for an "80 spit that I'd happily let go for $30.)

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SpitMan Avatar
SpitMan Silver Member Doug Walls
Brandywine, MD, USA   USA
1970 Triumph Spitfire MkIII "Lil' Red Fox"
1998 Chevrolet Corvette "Silver Fox"
2007 Chevrolet Silverado "Workhorse"
2013 Chevrolet Malibu "Pearl Baby"
Hi Doug,

Was it just the lowered part that you did not like or was it the ride of the uprated springs. The do make spacers to add to the springs to adjust it up more. I believe mine are a 2" drop and yes it is lower and the rear is dropped 1/2". That still leaves about 1 1/2" difference than stock at the front. So, I am thinking that adding an inch to your uprated springs could possibly have raised it enough not the hit all those things your stated and give you an balanced stance without that nose up look.

regards, Doug

clshore Carter Shore
Beverly Hills, FL, USA   USA
In reply to # 1518297 by dklee12 All-

Recently completed a front end rebuild which pretty much included EVERYTHING except the steering rack and calipers.
Going in I was well aware of the shorter length of the springs as well as the resulting lowering of the motor height/profile. Hey, they're uprated...must be an improvement right?

Two things I learned:

1. While perhaps well suited as a suspension upgrade for a racer on a course with a nice smooth track, the lowered profile is definately not suited to the pot holes, driveway aprons, speed bumps, etc. one encounters during day to day driving. I bottomed more in the 2 weeks that they were fitted then I did in the 40+ years I've owned the car.

2. I know beauty is in the eye....,but IMO the aesthetics were also all screwed up. I was accustom to the car kinda standing up proud & tall. What I got was something that looked one of those screaming muffler, fast and furious, ground hugging, bass booming rice burners. Ugh!!

I've since purchased and installed stock springs and I'm happily back to where I was before this whole self inflicted nightmare began. The other replacement parts were all more then worth the coin and the front end is tighter then it ever was. I also learned more about the front end of a Spitfire then I ever wanted to know.

I'm sure there are members out there with daily drivers that are more then happy with the uprated springs. God bless you all. However, for me, it was a $80 lesson painfully learned.

Doug

(BTW-i do have a pair of hardly used uprated springs for an "80 spit that I'd happily let go for $30.)

Well, 'uprated' is a dimensionless term that vendors use to sell product.
Instead, you need to choose attributes that can be measured, like ride height, spring rate, etc.
Then, find and install the springs that will achieve those results.

Many folks find that an inch or so lower than stock, along with a modest spring rate increase yield a car that
handles better but is still enjoyable to drive on the street.

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Manana Avatar
Manana Steve Wten
Thornhill, ON, Canada   CAN
Personally Doug, I think you have yet again jumped too soon without researching.

The stock stance of the Spit looks absolutely ridiculous. People say it looks like it's namesake; it does, but when it's on the ground and undergoing maintenance. Personally I prefer my Spitfire to look as it does in the air, in full fighting form.

A little searching around and you'd have found many references describing the process of "correcting" the stance of your car.

Here is what I went through, most of it because of the KYB shocks, which have turned out pretty good in the end, but good stuff here about the springs and ride height as well.
https://www.triumphexp.com/phorum/read.php?8,745019

One inch lower in the front not only looks correct, but handles better as well. Two inches is where I ran into the same problems you described.

It's not too late to turn back.... smiling smiley

All the best.



Steve
http://stevew10.wix.com/spit16

dklee12 Avatar
dklee12 Doug Klee
Toms River, NJ, USA   USA
All-

Thanks for the reply's and:

Doug...The constant bottoming out and aesthetics were my primary issues. Really can't say I was wowed with and difference in ride or handling. Layton at BPN was nice enough to send me spacers at no charge when I related my tale. I opted for stock spring and ate the $80. I never mentioned that I previously fitted rear air shocks and never felt i was "nose up".

Steve...Jumping the gun is my middle name and research is as useful as reading the directions. (You'd think I would learn after all this time)
They sold a shit load of Spitfires with that ridiculous looking stock stance. (That's why they make chocolate & vanilla)
It is too late...I made the adjustments and couldn't be happier.

Again, thanks to all for the comments.

Doug

clshore Carter Shore
Beverly Hills, FL, USA   USA
As long as you are happy with it, that's what counts ...

74Spit Avatar
74Spit Rick Ladd
Brooklyn, NY, USA   USA
I feel your pain and i’m In the same boat. I bought the performance springs not knowing that it would lower the car so much. Honestly the car looks nice and I think it does handle better. However, I have to be aware of scraping more than i did at the stock height. I added spacers too but that only helps a little with the Spax shocks i’m Using. I’m still going to give this setup a go for now but if it becomes too problematic i’ll Go back to the stock coils.

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SpitMan Avatar
SpitMan Silver Member Doug Walls
Brandywine, MD, USA   USA
1970 Triumph Spitfire MkIII "Lil' Red Fox"
1998 Chevrolet Corvette "Silver Fox"
2007 Chevrolet Silverado "Workhorse"
2013 Chevrolet Malibu "Pearl Baby"
Agree, That is what it is all about. Glad it all worked out for you. thumbs up



In reply to # 1518529 by clshore As long as you are happy with it, that's what counts ...

Manana Avatar
Manana Steve Wten
Thornhill, ON, Canada   CAN
Didn't want to come across like I was trying to change your mind, of course all that matters is what you think/want. I was going to insert a "roll eyes" emoticon, but I'm much too polite to do that. smiling smiley

I guess I just found it interesting that you went from one extreme to the other and your final solution was to choose one of them.
You obviously weren't thrilled with the stock set-up and thought it worthwhile to correct.
As mentioned, even though I read a tonne first, I was faced with much the same situation and found that in between the extremes was perfect, for practicality, aesthetics and most of all handling; I suspect that's what you were initially looking for and it's just a shame you didn't get there. I sincerely feel bad that you wasted time and money; I never like to hear that.

This is by no means a criticism, merely a curiosity. I post here to learn and try to help others if I can. And as much as anyone, maybe more, I totally appreciate you sharing your experience.

PS; Selling a shit load is an interesting theory, but in reality I wouldn't say they did, and the biggest reason was poor engineering and workmanship. hmmmmm



Steve
http://stevew10.wix.com/spit16

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DerbyRam54 Neville Wardle
Branford, CT, USA   USA
Total production for the Spitfire (all models) was 314,342 according to British Leyland figures provided to Graham Robson in 1985. GT6 production added a further 41,253. The best selling model was the 1500 with a total of 91,137.

I couldn't find a definition of "shit load" so it is not possible to say if the actual statistics meet or exceed the definition.

The Spitfire was an early 1960s design that lasted probably far longer than its designers had expected. The car was never replaced because in the larger picture of British Leyland there were more important problems to solve. Most if not all development work went into satisfying the ever-increasing complexity of American safety and emissions regulations.

Was the car poorly engineered? Did it look "ridiculous"? Not how it was viewed at the time and I say that because the general trend in sales was upwards until the car was pretty well choked to death by the EPA and finally killed off due to the weakness of the US dollar against the pound.

Manana Avatar
Manana Steve Wten
Thornhill, ON, Canada   CAN
Excellent points. smiling smiley perhaps I made that entry more quickly than I should have.

Defining the term is a great point. I was thinking more relative to others, and I don't think it was that significant in sales in that regard, however, over 300000 is a lot of units, so I can concede that.

As for engineering, you are correct, for 1960 it was quite good, in fact given the constraints I'd say really good. 20 years later, perhaps not.
The EPA was certainly a hurdle for everyone but plenty of companies have managed to engineer their way through the 80s. 10 years later the best selling sports car ever started production, in spite of the EPA.
But as you mention, BL was struggling with other issues, so another good one for you. Blaming the EPA though may not be fair, perhaps another group of individuals was to blame?

To be fair though, you may want to review what I actually wrote.... the stock Spitfire stance looks absolutely ridiculous. The car is absolutely gorgeous, with one small tweak correcting it's stance and it's even better.

Well done post Neville thumbs up



Steve
http://stevew10.wix.com/spit16

DerbyRam54 Neville Wardle
Branford, CT, USA   USA
I think the fact that the car can be modified in so many ways speaks a lot to the advantages of what was, even when new, a pretty old-fashioned design. Standard-Triumph made the most out of the hand that was dealt them with the Herald and all its derivatives. They had to work with restrictions like bumper heights of course which limited what was possible. Look at what had to be done to the MGB for instance. I have to say though that those bumpers saved me from some expensive bodywork when I got hit from behind by a big van in stop/go traffic once.

What is a shame is that the company had its own ideas for development that never went anywhere. While Fury was really conceived as a replacement for the TR line of cars, if you look at it you can see how Michelotti's Spitfire design underpinned its basic shape and what the factory's thoughts were on fitting the 6 cylinder engine into a car smaller than the TR models. If nothing else, Fury provided a path away from the Vanguard engine in the TRs.
https://www.aronline.co.uk/concepts/concepts-and-prototypes/triumph-fury/
https://bringatrailer.com/2009/09/07/michelotti-prototype-1965-triumph-fury/

TheZster Avatar
TheZster Steven Z
SAINT LOUIS, MO, USA   USA
1978 Triumph 1500 "BLK-BRY"
All historical rhetoric aside (and I find it fascinating)..... I never really paid a lot of attention to the "stance" of a resting Spit..... Now that you've brought it up.... I do notice it.... more every day, in fact... (Thanks guys......)

Changing front spring height isn't a big deal.... but I do worry about final ground clearance.... (St. Louis isn't known for it's road infrastructure).... and I don't want my Brand new Stainless headers bottoming out on the speed bumps....

Would it be just as "reasonable" to raise the rear by an inch - rather than lower the front 2 inches and then try to shim it back up?

Serious question..... I'm not a suspension/handling guru by any stretch of the imagination......

Z

clshore Carter Shore
Beverly Hills, FL, USA   USA
In reply to # 1518791 by TheZster All historical rhetoric aside (and I find it fascinating)..... I never really paid a lot of attention to the "stance" of a resting Spit..... Now that you've brought it up.... I do notice it.... more every day, in fact... (Thanks guys......)

Changing front spring height isn't a big deal.... but I do worry about final ground clearance.... (St. Louis isn't known for it's road infrastructure).... and I don't want my Brand new Stainless headers bottoming out on the speed bumps....

Would it be just as "reasonable" to raise the rear by an inch - rather than lower the front 2 inches and then try to shim it back up?

Serious question..... I'm not a suspension/handling guru by any stretch of the imagination......

Z

Raising the rear suspension ride height is constrained by the swing axle, and need to maintain near zero camber.

Alternatives:
Fit tires with larger diameter.
Alter the chassis mounts for the diff.
Alter the chassis itself.
Replace the swing axle suspension with a different setup.

Or some combinations of the above.

You can search the web for various modifications, like these.

https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=AwrE1.CVVahaER8ANEtXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEya24yZHA5BGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjUxOTVfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=spitfire+4x4&fr=yfp-t

RobTAR Robert I
Seattle, WA, USA   USA
The stock stance may have been a design feature. If not pointed towards sky like a rocket ship struggling to rip itself from Earth's gravity, how could anyone taller than 4'1 hope to see the traffic lights at an intersection?


I wonder If swift springs carries anything around the spitfire, gt6 springs. Could be worth some research, but I am a long ways off from suspension work.

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