Monday, March 23, 2015

Shipwrights Right

When Bobby "pawned" this car off on me, he did say "No warranty". I have to keep remembering that he had the car for five years or so and a lot of the build out was ten or more years old. So what does this have to do with Shipwright's disease you may ask?

Follow me on the case with the gearshift bushing I replaced this weekend:

new bushing installed

Owner finds oil leak
Owner removes motor.
Owner tears motor down, replaces, bolts and gaskets and seals.
Owner buttons motor back up and tries to install motor with transmission still in car.
Owner decides it would be easier to mate gearbox to motor instead of motor to gearbox.
Owner removes gearbox. Mates motor to gearbox.
Owner lowers engine and gearbox into engine bay.
Owner realizes shift lever won't clear firewall. It did with motor not attached to it.
Owner removes shift lever.
Owner realizes shift lever bushing is crumbling and needs replacing.

Motor and gearbox going back into car

Point here is the gearshift bushing really was fine until it was disturbed. And it shows the "cause and effect" that happens when you start tearing into a motor. You set off a chain of events that sometimes feel like they are out of control and when will it ever end?

Old gearshift bushing and new kit

In the course of this teardown, I've had to make compromises I know I will have to revisit later. There are a couple of bolts that didn't quite tighten up enough to make me comfortable but to replace would mean re-doing hours of labor and buying more gaskets. My hope is they hold for the two races I need to get through. The cam timing needs to be revisited. Or not. A quick check showed it to be advanced about 8 degrees. It seemed to be running well so instead of removing the timing cover and destroying another gasket I would need to replace, I'll get through these two races and delve into that task during the next rebuild. Let's she how she runs first.

As I write this, I think, do I just go ahead and replace the water pump now? I could order a new one and carry it with me to the track. I might have a spare on the shelf but how good is it?
Ahhh Shipright's...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

starting a new thread or Shipwright's disease dead ahead, Captain!!!

In tearing down this motor to find the oil leak(s), I had to pull the flywheel in order to replace the rear  oil seal housing. The housing was a source of one of the leaks as someone had put a 9/16th" bolt into it instead of a 1/2". In doing so, it was stripped out as well as cracked. I had a couple of these alloy housings on the shelf so it was an easy fix. I ordered a new oil seal too just to be safe although I really don't think this engine has many hours/miles on it.

After looking at the flywheel closer, I realized that the builder had used some Associated Spring Special Alloy bolts throughout this engine and for the flywheel bolts as well. These bolts are a "grade 12" strength, nice aircraft quality fasteners. That being said, the four AS bolts for the flywheel were not shouldered, threads run all the way up to the head. Because the threads run through the fly wheel which is aluminum, they wore a thread pattern into the inside of the bolt holes of the flywheel. Thus enlarging the hole slightly. 

I ordered new ARP bolts which have a shank but when they arrived I found them to be too large, they are 7/16". Calling APTFast, where I ordered them, they confirmed they where the correct size for a 1300 large journal crankshaft. I tried them in my 1500 crank and they fit, I tried them in my small journal 1300 crank and they are too large. APTFast suggested perhaps I have an early large 1300 crank and the factory may have not switched over to using larger bolts yet. APTFast also said he did not have any ARP bolts in the 3/8th" size I need. Arrrrrrrrr!

So now I am at a crossroad, do I have the flywheel bolt holes bushed with some cold rolled steel inserts? Do I have them drill larger to fit the ARP bolts which would mean I would also need to enlarge the holes in the end of the crankshaft, which would mean removing the crankshaft. Do I have another dowel inserted into the crankshaft and use the AS bolts for clamping force? Again, I would need to remove the crank to do this as well. Or do I just buy a new Aluminum flywheel. 

A new flywheel would mean a new clutch as the old flywheel is for a 6.5" clutch...

I feel like it's a case of Shipwright's disease. For those of you who do no know what Shipwright's disease is, it goes like this:

Sailor owns boat. 
Boat has burned out light.. 
Sailor decides to change bulb. 
Sailor notices socket is corroded, decides to change socket. 
Sailor notices wiring frayed while trying to change socket. 
Sailor decides to change wiring.
Sailor notices light switch is corroded.
Sailor decides to change light switch.
Sailor notices ... 

this goes on and on and on and on and pretty soon, the sailor rebuilt
his entire boat because of a burned out lightbulb.

More likely, Sailor NEVER sails that boat again, it rots away
in dry dock because he doesn't have to time/money to fix everything he finds.

And this is where I don't want to end up. Right now, my goal is to finish two more races, get my "Hard Card" and race COTA in Nov. with SVRA. I'm sure the flywheel will be fine, most likely forever. I think I will button her back up, run my two races and revisit it before I race COTA. 
Maybe by then I'll find another Tilton flywheel, or pull the crankshaft and have it drill for the larger ARP bolts or just have another dowel put in. I can then freshen up all the bearings too and while I'm at it I can replace all the... 

Just replace the lightbulb and go sailing, SHIPWRIGHT!!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

No LUCAS here!

One thing I absolute hate working on is electrics. Good thing my brother Mike loves it! I always seem to end up calling him whenever I am doing anything that has to with current, voltage, amps, watts, ohms, etc. Well maybe not etc. but all the other!

As luck would have it, one real pleasant "surprise" was this was done for me. The car had wired in-line fuses to the electrical system. I probably would have never thought to do this till it was too late. It is a real first class job too, the fuses are mounted on the  main switch panel, so that if one blows you can easily see which it is. Each fuse is above the toggle switch it "guards". Very nice touch!

Another nice touch, was the heavy duty master kill switch. It's the real beefy all metal kind. 

The tail light lenses where gone but the lamps worked so I ordered some new ones from Roadster Factory.

For some reason, I can't seem to find a headlight switch...
 Another item I would not have wanted to figure out, a new MSD ignition and coil were also wired in, THANK YOU BOBBY.  Even less appealing to me would have been to get all pretzeled out trying to squeeze in between the roll cage bars to mount the MSD box. It's tucked up so high up in the passenger's footwell you can hardly even see it. I don't even think I have a picture of it because I keep forgetting it's up there.

The electrics all seem to be in perfect order and she always turns over with the push of the starter button. It's super nice to have that sorted out and Bobby even gave me his wiring diagram which I had him sign and it's now hanging on my garage wall. I'll post a pic of it soon.

Friday, March 13, 2015

More Surprises

One thing I've learned in my years of "wrenching" on TRIUMPHS is you really never know when the last guy put his tools down and the For Sale sign up. A lot of factors played into the oversights I mentioned in the last posting. Even now for me, I can only work on the car on the weekends so where I left off last Sunday might escape me the next Saturday when I pick up the wrenches again. 

Surprise! Custom main bearing caps!
What I mean by this is, for example, it's easy to replace the timing cover bolts Sunday night and not be able to fire up the motor till the next weekend or maybe even two weekends later. So things like the longer bolt might not get noticed at all because it may have happened weeks ago or maybe it was the last thing done and remained untested and the For Sale sign went on.

Surprise! Venoila Pistons!
This blog for me is to be an accounting of what I find wrong, right and amazing about this car and so far I have found all three. My hope is that in reading these postings it might help someone else check over there newly acquired purchase. It's one Helluva leap of faith to jump into a car and blaze it down a race track not knowing if that "one bolt didn't quite get tighten" before the wife called me in for dinner. 

Surprise! Double row vernier timing chain gear set

Some of the "SURPRISES" I have found so far are the crazy beefy custom main bearing caps, the Venolia pop-up pistons, the double row vernier timing chain gear set. I'm sure there are more surprises ahead but the one I look forward to the most is the surprised look I'll have on my face when I get this great car on the track! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Baffling, Hot Headed, Surprises

So some good has come out of my decision to not race my first time at the track with her. During the test and tune session I was black flagged for a bad oil leak or "SMOKIN' 'round the track". Pulling into the pits, the cause smoke was now obvious to me. A nice pool of oil the dripped down off the oil pan was my clue something wasn't "quite cricket".

Since this was test and tune day and the next day was a race day, I opted to pull myself from the race and being the wonderful club that the SCCA is, they refunded me all my entry fees. My thoughts were I could chance fate and see if I could bubblegum and duct tape her up enough to run the race but as the rules states, if I turn one wheel revolution... it's game on, money spent, no refunds! Or, I could pack it in and use the money saved to buy whatever parts this motor needed. And door number two is what I chose.

 On first inspection, I found one of the oil pan bolts stripped out. Al the oil pan bolts from factory are 1/2" bolts. For some reason (that would make itself know a week or so later) one of the bolts on the backside of the oil pan was a 9/16". Hmmmm, I knew that wasn't right either. I thought about what I could do and really the choice of an all-nighter wrench fest in the pits or a Shiner fest back at the trailer was a no-brainer for me. The next weekend had me tearing into the motor that was full of surprises.

Bolt on left stripped, bolt on right 9/16"
Surprise #1, the bolt in the front of the oil pan that was stripped went into the custom billet steel saddle bar in the front of the block. The threads in the saddle bar are stripped and a new billet steel bar was used. I had extra alloy one's but felt that billet steel is the way to go with a race motor. The manual calls for 8 - 10 ft/lbs of torque on these bolts when using the alloy block.  Really no need to exceed the 16 - 20 ft/lbs. like the rest of the oil pan bolts that thread into the block. The 9/16" bolt went into the alloy rear oil seal and had cracked the alloy housing. Luckily, I had two or three of these on the shelf so it was an easy fix with a new rear oil seal to finish the job right.

Bolt too long, hitting custom main bearing cap. The washer is even loose. 
Surprise #2, one bolt on the timing cover was found to be too long and was bottoming out against the custom made main bearing cap. The allowed for oil to leak out the timing cover. 60psi of oil is going to find any and all loose bolts!  Replacing with a shorter bolt was an easy fix. Actually, upon inspecting the timing cover bolts, which were not factory, I found two that had been ground down shorter but were not in the lower part of the timing cover which, from the factory there are two shorter bolts with a slot head. I imagine whoever built the motor had one in place of the one that, whoever rebuilt this motor inserted the longer one.
Bolt too long, hitting custom main bearing cap
Surprise #3 turned out to be a pleasant one in the end. Good thing I opted out of the race, because after tearing down the motor, along with the  poor workmanship above, I found one of the baffles in the oil pan was dangling loose barely hanging on by one rivet, surprise #3. Where the other rivet resides, I can only hope it went out with the previous rebuild. Another part of the baffle needed shoring up as well as all three of the rivet heads were almost completely worn away.

Had this piece of metal broke free, it would have been a very expensive day...

One item in the long list of surprises I have found so far that has me "baffled" the most the blocking of the water flow with gasket sealer. When I pulled the water pump housing off the cylinder head, I found that whoever replaced the gasket used so much gasket sealer it made a "dam" in the water passage surely restricting the flow and cooling of the motor. It's difficult to see in the picture on the left but the passage on the left is blocked by a "flap" of sealer as well as all that protrudes on the edges. One Hot Head! Maybe it was put there to reduced the flow to prevent cavitation. ;-)

More surprises to come, stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

side draught

One of the first things I did, after installing new gauges was to swap the dual SU's out for a single 45DCOE. I've always loved Webers. The sound and look. Ease of running and love that once tuned, always tuned. Oh I hear those groans and moans but I'm gonna say, I have run a Weber DCOE on my street Spitfire for over twenty years and NEVER had to readjust it and those who know Ruby, know she get up and goes "like her A$$ was on fire"!!!

Twin SU's
I put this same single 45DCOE on Ruby's motor when I rebuilt it back around 1988 or 89 when I was going to photo school in Daytona Beach. I re-jetted it and it ran great right up till the time when Bob Kramer gave me a set of dual 40 DCOEs with a SAH manifold. These "free" carbs cost me somewhere around... well, my wife is going to be reading this so let's just leave it at FREE!

Ruby's dual Weber 40 DCOE carbs
Anyway, the dual 40's have been on Ruby now for around ten years now and again, I have yet to have to retune then. The DCOE really is a work of art. They do take some understanding in order to get them tuned right but once dialed in, you'll NEVER forget them because of that induction roar!

So back to the carb swap. As my 45 DCOE had been sitting on a shelf for the last ten years and seeing as I did need to "pinch" a few parts off it for one of the 40's a parts order was in order.
Along with a rebuild kit I ordered a new "Mickey Mouse" hat for it as well as new idle jets. Those had been missing on one of the 40 DCOE's.

DCOE parts laid out for cleaning

ready for rebuilding

Rebuilding a DCOE is really pretty straightforward. Not much to it but a few gaskets and a bunch of brass jets. I "boiled" out he carb overnight with some carb cleaner as well as all the brass jets. The next morning I made sure all the passageways were clear by spraying more carb cleaner thru them as well as all the jets. Then just reassemble and "Bob's your uncle".

As for fitting the carb to the block, I did need to grind away some of the intake manifold mounting plate to make it fit with the STAHL header flange. Not really too difficult of a job, just grind, fit grinds some more, fit some more grind some more. Small steps is best as it is VERY difficult to grind the metal back on!

Ready to rock and ROAR!

The linkage was a bit to figure out. My manifold was for a cable linkage and this car has the bell crank linkage. I need to figure out how could I make the throttle plates open while pushing them up from below. Luckily, Wide open throttle is not past twelve o'clock on the throttle shaft so all I had to do was drill a hole on the current stock linkage, install a bell crank rod and it now pushes the throttle up from about seven o'clock at idle to about eleven o'clock at WOT.

fuel line
The fuel line need sorting out next as the SU's had a hose clamp to tighten down the fuel line but the Weber has a banjo fitting. I purchased a AN banjo fitting and made up a length of steel braided hose.
I ran this over to the fuel pressure gauge that is mounted on the firewall. next was an in-line EARL'S fuel filter followed by a new Holly low pressure fuel regulator. The Weber like around 2.5 PSI. Also, I've always run a minimum of three fuel filters with my DCOE's. They are very fussy and any "swarf" getting into a jet. So, one filter in the trunk, one in-line on the firewall and the built-in filter in the carb.

air cleaner
Next, I had to figure out an air cleaner. I went with a RAM AIR box type filter. I like the idea of a "filter box" type cleaner instead of individual socks or screens on the airhorns. While the socks and screens look way cooler, my thoughts are if one sock clogs more than another, then you are no longer balanced. With the "air box" type filter, it's one common air chamber the airhorns are drawing from. Even on my street car with dual 40's I have one air filter for both carbs. All four velocity stacks are inside the same chamber.

Monday, March 2, 2015

No Pressure!

Where do I begin to try to catch up on this blog to present day. June 1, 2014, I was bought a 1962 Triumph Spitfire 4. It's commission number is FC699L making it one of the oldest, if not thee oldest racing Spitfire on the planet. I have a SCCA logbook with races starting in 1973. I got the car from Bobby Whitehead who purchased it off an eBay auction. More about that in a later posting.
On her way to her new home
Bobby didn't seem to have much luck with the car and "pawned" it off on me. He wasn't sure what was wrong with it, something to do with lack of oil pressure. The gauges had been taken out and the oil temp. sending unit had been cut as well as the oil pressure line, which had been tied in knot to seal it.
tie one on... or off
In her new home
First thing I do when I get her home is check the oil level. She's reading full. So I open the valve on the Accusump and look inside the valve cover and I see oil oozing out everywhere. Next, I install a new oil pressure gauge and line and again, open the ACCUSUMP to bleed the oil line. No problems so far. So now I attach the line to the oil pressure gauge and open the ACCUSUMP again, the gauge reads twenty PSI, which is what the gauge on the ACCUSUMP reads. All's looking good so far. So now, I remove the distributor and the drive dog making sure I know it's clock position so I can put it back on the same position. (Lot's of photographs being made of all this stuff as I go.)

drive dog position

So I put a flat blade screwdriver that I broke the handle off of into my drill motor and insert that into the oil pump and spin up the oil pump. I had removed the valve cover and I could see oil flowing out everywhere. OK - got oil pressure so far, oil pump seems OK, let's see if she'll fire up!

I try to start her but all I get is some coughing out the carbs. I figure now is a good time to take the fire extinguisher off the wall and set it between me and the engine bay. Turn the car over a few more times noting I am getting about 20lbs. on the oil pressure gauge.

mis-fire order

Bobby told me he installed a new ignition system. Maybe it was thirty years of starring at Spitfire wires but something just didn’t seem right about the ignition wires. I put the number one piston at TDC and verified I was on the fire stroke. Since I had the valve cover off, I just checked that both the intake and exhaust valves on number one were closed. Then taking off the dizzy cap noted where the rotor was and when I put the cap back on the rotor was pointing at the number three wire. I made a photo of the wires then proceeded to change the wires so that now the rotor was pointing at the number one wire and changed the rest of the wires to have the 1,3,4,2 firing order. Next, I pressed the start button and she fired right up! YAY!!! 60lbs. of pressure on the oil gauge as well.