Spitfire 1500 Restoration

Engine Strip Down

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While I’m waiting for sand blasting media to arrive so I can finish stripping the chassis (yes, I’m still stripping the chassis!), I could start work on the engine. So far I’ve removed the gearbox and bell housing, cylinder head, front and rear engine plates, cam shaft, oil pump and crank shaft.

It turns out the cam shaft was on its way out anyway. My dad inspected it and noticed some wear. The outer surface of a cam shaft is hardened, once that starts to wear through you can see tiny dark specks of soft “core” material around the very edges of the lobes. As it turns out I was planning to replace the standard cam with something a bit hotter. I’ve read in a lot of places that the standard British Leyland cam is pretty rubbish and even a mild cam can make a fair difference.

The oil pump is pretty worn inside too so there’s a good chance that wasn’t very efficient. I think I may get away with flattening the inside surface of the oil pump to remove the scored marks in it and restore some efficiency. There was a few bits of fairly long swarf trapped in the gauze on the pick up. Not a good sign really.

IMG_6363The crank appears to be borderline. All the big end and main bearings were well worn through the outer coating in to the soft copper. When the car was running it was possible to hear a bit of knocking when it was cold so the crank will require grinding and new bearings will need to be supplied with it also. While I’m having it done I want to see if I can get it balanced too. I’ll be balancing the con rods and possibly the pistons too.

The cylinder bores seem OK so no work is needed there although I haven’t removed the pistons yet. The cylinder head needs converting to unleaded at the very least. Ideally I think I could do with a new set of valves, springs and valve guides. Some porting would be nice too if I can afford to have it done. This is where the cost starts to go up. The gearbox needs rebuilding before it can go back in, I’ll need to start buying more materials like paint too.

The engine will have to wait again now while I get the chassis ready but hopefully by next weekend I’ll be ready to apply the first coat of paint on the chassis. Finally things will have moved on from the preparation stage to actually putting some of it back together.

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