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Spitfire Total Rebuild!



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Then you end up with something like this.

    Glued to the panel, speaker hole cut and ready to go! Couple of little creases stitched into the rear to give it a slight curve.

    In place! :) To be honest when the rest of the matts go in the edge binding I did prob wont even be seen, but, its nice to know its done.

    With that done I cut out a couple of template for radiator valances, they should help with cooling. These will eventually be cut from steel.


    With that you are squarely up to date again! :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Question guys, for those in the know...

    I've picked up a rev counter from a Corolla, but at the rear it has 6 terminals :rolleyes: Now, the speedo has a digital display so I assume some of the terminals are related to that, but that'll be redudent, I just want the speedo element of it. Anyone have any helpful hints or info into how I should be hooking this up?




  • Registered Users Posts: 1,258 ✭✭✭sogood

    By trial and error, pick a terminal and connect a voltmeter, set at "resistance" to it. Then try each other terminal in turn, while moving the speedo needle slightly. The right pair of terminals should give you a reading, as you are just "reversing" the normal operating process. A bit like checking a fuel sender for resistance/continuity. Might work?

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,933 ✭✭✭✭Toyotafanboi

    Would it not have been handier to buy a generic aftermarket rev counter that will come with a wiring diagram, all you would need is live, earth and to get the pulse from the (green) wire going to the distributor?

    I assume you will be stripping it down and using the original Triumph fascia etc anyway?

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,933 ✭✭✭✭Toyotafanboi

    This type of thing. You'd probably get one for nothing on eBay. It'd be a lot more simple for the purposes of stripping down and reassembling to custom make your own than the Corolla unit.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,726 ✭✭✭ozmo

    SpitfireIV wrote: »
    I've picked up a rev counter from a Corolla, but at the rear it has 6 terminals :rolleyes: Now, the speedo has a digital display so I assume some of the terminals are related to that, but that'll be redudent, I just want the speedo element of it. Anyone have any helpful hints or info into how I should be hooking this up?

    Dont know what model tacho you have - but could try this..?

    “Roll it back”

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,358 ✭✭✭kev1.3s

    Checked in for the first time in a long time, have to say I'm more than a little jealous at the progress you've made, especially seen as mine is going at a snails pace.
    Great work as usual nearly there now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Time for a bit of carpet.


    Heal board..

    Template made up and transferred onto carpet.

    On for a trial fit before being glued on. I'll eventually pick up some U channel edging to slip onto the seam to take the raw edge off.

    Passenger side up next.

    Section cut and edge bound for inner sill.

    Piece roughly cut to fit into the foot-well and over the strengthener.

    Dont look too neat! But with a few pleats stitched on the back it starts to take a bit of shape...

    Then this too was edged....

    Looking lot neater indeed! I edged with leatherette, the process I've illustrated in an earlier post.

    In for a fitting....happy!

    Matt was then cut and edged for the floorpan under the seat.

    Like so.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV


    Looking really good now!

    Seat runner back in. Here you can see the inner sill piece also fitted.

    Seat fitted. Carpet makes a heck of a difference to the appearance.

    Cut and fit a piece for the inner A post.

    As well as the bulkhead and with that the jobs a good'un! Waiting on a grill to cover the speaker.

    I dont know whether to try stick in a rubber matt to the footwell carpet or not, either way I might make up some seperate matts for some extra protection.


    Attention turned to the boot then. Made up a panel and covered it with carpet. For this too I want to pick up some black slip on edging to take the raw edge off and eventually a crpet cover for the spare too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    The daily and the bit of fun ;):D




    Have a few days off next week so hoping to get a lot of work done; watch this space....

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Ah, 3 years! Would have been this week three years back that it all began, from two junkers something beautiful (I hope?) has been made....

    Or is still being made?! :D


    So had last week off, giot a fair bit done, but at the same time would have liked to have gotten more done.

    Week started off with the car revving very fast on start up! Couldnt figure it out, thought it might have been the coolant temp sensor so I replaced that. Still the same. So I took off the throttle body, cleaned it out and cut a new gasket where it joins to the air intake so thankfully that seems to have sorted the issue.

    After that they I got out the carpet again and cut & edged a piece for the driver side footwell...



    Took a few tucks and pleats but I got a nice shape on it and it fit well.


    Turned the attention to the boot then and made up a cover for the spare wheel from some carpet....




    The underside of the bonnet had always bugged me. It was a mish mash of the original magenta color, over spray, fibreglass and general ugliness. Its also a very rough, humpy bumpy surface so I was reluctant to waste the celly spray on it. I picked up a tin of black gloss and brush applied it which cleaned it up no end.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    ......above post continued.

    Weather took up a little then so I thought 'feck this! I'll wash her and go for a drive!', which I did :D



    (yeah I know, I need a new boot rubber, thats the old one that someone cut very short! :rolleyes:)

    The drive highlighted a tap tap tap sound on my front left wheel that increased with speed and stopped when braking; turns out one of the pads had a fair bit of play in it and was tapping against the caliper; so thats another issue to be sorted.


    Now, I've taken on a lot of stressy jobs on this build, jobs that would demand and try your patience; rebuilding the gearbox, shimming out the diff to the correct tolerences, body work prep etc. But nothing tried me as much as the windscreen trim/brightwork. By rights the stainless trim should be installed before the window goes into the car, but, I had omitted this step and so have many others apparently (you'll see lots of cars without these strips solely due to the anger they cause trying to install them!!! :mad:)

    So, I made up a tool to the correct specs and thought 'how hard can it be?!!'




    Hard, very bloody hard!!! Adfter about an hour and a half of trying and getting no where I was about ready to crumble the trim up, jump on it then launch it far away from me!

    Got a tip of using some cable fed under the rubber seal lip and gave it another shot....



    Dun! And I reckon worth the effort :p

    Got a few other small jobs ticked off the list; Plastic wheel centre caps and over riders sprayed up in gloss black and fitted. Rubber front wheel arch to scuttle panel rubbers fitted as well as the bonnet cones and a bit more tidy up under the bonnet and cable wrapping. Cant wait for show season!! :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Nothing much to report I'm afraid.

    Cleaned her up and stuck her in the Carlow St Patricks Day Parade; dismal, wet and spent more time sitting waiting or riding the clutch.....not a nice evening :rolleyes:

    Picked up an action camera then for the craic, make a few vids. It's a bit of a headache to use really.

    The sound is music is dodgy and the pic quality not great in the video; I could do better :D But I'm still getting the hang of it.

    Was fixing the camera bracket up inside the car when I could smell cooland and seen the needle start to rise quickly only for this to happen...


    Bugger! Bottom hose had popped off the radiator and dumped all the coolant. Human error, I obviously didnt push the pipe up far enough onto a fitting :o

    Got it sorted and took her for a good spin; all good. Weathers been really nice so decided to take her out for a 30 min drive to work today, bit cold in the morning, but enjoyable! Evening drive home will be fun :):)


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    After the earlier coolant spilling mishap I decided to take a run down to Enniscorthy last week to pick up a decent radiator as the one I was using had very crumbly fins! Got a nice second hand alu one. Longest continuous spin in Spitty and all went well despite the horrid weather! It did highlight one issue; rubbish wiper blades! Picked up a set of wiper refills in Halfords and the difference was fantasic!

    A bit mucky after her outing...



    Decided to bit the bullet then and tackle the flatting back and polishing. I'd puit this off for so long simply because its a messy labourous job, but the end result is definately worth it; even if you do have a mishap!

    Bonnet ready to be tackled. Plan was to give it a good wash down, then hit it with 800, 1200, 1500 w&d and then onto the compounds; G3 and G10 with the dual action polisher.

    Flat to the left of the bonnet bulge starting to polish up!

    Other side getting there.

    Then disaster struck!! I rubbed through the paint on the sidfe of the bulge!!! The paint seems particularly thin here, not sure if I didnt lay down enough in this particular area, or bad spray technique. Either way its a bugger and obvuiously its about 6 foot long and 2 foot wide.....time to scrap the car! :(

    Hopefully I'll be able to blow it in with an airbrush and blend it...

    Switched my attentuiion to the carpet then, figured I couldnt do that much damage here!

    The centre tunnel section wasnt a great fit, or at least I wasnt pleased with it, so, using it as a template I stuck some tape on to mock up the shape I wanted.


    New piece was cut and edged again...

    Looks something like this and fits much better.

    To be continued.....

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    .....continued from earlier post.

    Then, it was the weekend!! The weather was fantastic, so time for a drive :D:)


    Found a cherry blossom three then and decided it'd be rude to not take a picture or two :o



    Chamber is startimng to settle in nicely on the rear wheels.

    Next dilemma, do you reckon I should mount a couple of these under the bonnet, or side mount them?? :p:p


  • Registered Users Posts: 699 ✭✭✭Zebrano

    Behind the lights

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,648 ✭✭✭blackbox

    Mount them on the wings - then nobody will notice where you rubbed through the paint.

    ...and if they do notice, they won't dare to mention it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    blackbox wrote: »
    Mount them on the wings - then nobody will notice where you rubbed through the paint.

    ...and if they do notice, they won't dare to mention it.


    Hah, gonna shelf the machine gun idea for the time being for practicality reasons. Besides, I've corrected the rub through :D

    Been busy(ish)....

    Repair turned out very nice, delighted with it. I used an airbrush to tip it up, waited a week then flatted it back along with the rest of the bonnet again....


    Turned my attention to the rear wing then. Flatted it back with 1000-1500-2000 grit...

    Then onto the compounds; Farecla G3 and G10, both by hand....

    And finally a good polishing and wax....

    Nice! I'm delighted with it, really brings the color to life.

    Then I moved onto her...

    And after a couple of hours of hard labour we had a...

    Back to the interior trim then and I made up a template for boot panels...

    Two of these were then cut (along with a couple of shields for either side of the rad which were eventually painted black)...

    Fit was good...

    Time to cover them with a bit of carpet...


    Its the little things.

    The work goes on. Wont be long now until her first show on May 14th.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Sitting comfortably? I am now :p

    Decided to tackle the seats as they were one of the major bad points of the car to date. Being about 45 year old theyve been knocked about, used, abused, sweated on, rained on, stood on and god knows what else ;)

    The foam, particularly in the side bolsters had literally turned to dust leaving a rather sad look flat appearance and a lot of mess on the carpet after going for a drive.

    So, I got stuck into the passenger seat first and decided a temporary fix would suffice for now to get me through the upcoming shows/summer and then come winter I can do a full and proper strip down and repaint of the frames.

    Heres a little comparision of the passenger seat with the old driver seat, both did look similar at one point....



    Passenger seat turned out really well, so then it was time to tackle the driver seat....


    You can see the driver seat is looking the worst for wear, has a few split seams, hole in seat, bolsters gone and color lacking.

    Off with the cover and you can see what reamins of the bolsters! It smelt really old, and dusty....bleugh.

    Remains of bolsters brushed away and surprisingly the rest of the foam is pretty sound! So, using an old foam mattress I've been hanging onto it was time to get reconstructing.

    Marking out the shape of the new bolster.

    Bolster cut out on a bandsaw.

    And then roughly rounded over.

    Two bolsters cut and fitted with spray adhesive. You might notice that both sides have slightly different profiles; the side nearest the door is slightly flatter.

    Thin foam capping stuck in place.

    New block stuck to the seat of the base before the bolsters were refitted.

    Coming back together nicely.

    Plastic applied to allow the cover slide over the foam with ease.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Cloth flap that attached to the rear of the ribbed panel, this panel when passed through a slot in the foam back pulls the ribbed section back into the seat creating the seat profile. As it was tattered and brittle a new one had to be added.

    Like so!

    Seam had split on the seat base and so was stitched up.

    Raggedy hole stitched patched. Its not great, but its better than what it was.

    A good scrubbing down then with some AutoGlym Vinyl and Rubber care and she came up a treat :):)

    Looking a lot tidier inside now!

    After that then I did a bit more cutting and polishing, still have a couple more panels to do and a few odd ends to tidy up before her first show. I'll keep ye up to date ;)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Nothing much to report I'm afraid guys, her first show is looming ever closer so its just a case now of buffing and polishing, tidying up the little odds and ends and generally making her presentable :)






    Twas this time last year she moved proper under her own steam for a short spin :D Lot of work been done in that year.....


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Yesterday was Spitty's big debut at her first classic car show held in Ducketts Grove in Carlow. It was a fantastic show and apart from a brief shower in the afternoon the weather too was fantastic. We were very lucky considering the weather on Friday/Saturday (which prevented me from getting a bit of cutting/buffing done). Never the less the work went on, tidied up little odds and ends, made a new armrest (pictures below) gave her a good wash and polish and she was all set for her big day out....


    I was expecting a few negative comments about my engine cionversion but I have to say as soon as I opened the bonnet it caught peoples attention and got them really interested which led to lots of discussion and question. I was really surprised that the questions were 'how did you do it?' as opposed to 'why did you do it?'. Both classic entheuiasts and general public alike seemed really impressed with the conversion and overall appearance of the car and its mods. So, I'm delighted.





    Ok, so I was never overly happy with the armrest cover I made pictured in the image below from February...

    So, out with some new leatherette and some piping...










    A lot better and sharper looking.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Nowt much to report really, took it easy on my days off and to be honest there's little that needs doing now and I'm feeling at a bit of a loss to be honest (that doesnt mean I'll be taking on a new project any time soon, not a chance of it!!! :P).

    Guess I'll just have to drive and enjoy her....

    Just a little idea of how things were looking this time last year:

    Compared to the same day this year :)....

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,720 ✭✭✭Hal1

    Were you out near lough key yesterday afternoon by any chance? I seen one exactly like her, same colour, roof etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    Hal1 wrote: »
    Were you out near lough key yesterday afternoon by any chance? I seen one exactly like her, same colour, roof etc.

    Hey, sorry for not getting back sooner. No, I dont believe that was me, I'll have to keep an eye out so!

    Been a while guys and as I'm at the final stages of the project really the work as such has almost come to a halt and now that summer is here its just a case of driving and enjoying her :D

    Cant think of a caption for this one?! :P

    Bit of maintenence then on the rear; topped up the diff, regreased the trunnions and made sure everything was where it needed to be and was secure. All good.

    Gave her a good wash then and decided she wasnt shiney enough so went and picked up a number of Meguier products. Also, at about this stage I was somewhat persuaded to lose the front licence plate; which I promptly did.

    It was also around this time that I was in touch with a contributor to the Irish Retro Classics mag whom was very interested in the car and wanted to have it featured. So, a photoshoot was arranged, a top to bottom polishing was initiated and off she went to the Curragh for lots of snaps (the below pics are my ameteur phone camera shots :P)








    Hoping to have it featured later in the year, but, I'll be sure to let you know.

    That about sums it up guys, just one more tip! If you are driving in this really hot weather with black vinyl seats you defo need one of these guys; they really do prevent a sweaty back!! :P


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,145 ✭✭✭Top Dog

    Congrats on the future feature. Be nice to have your efforts in print. :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,258 ✭✭✭sogood

    A most enjoyable thread, inspirational and imaginative. Delighted to read about your magazine feature and look forward to seeing it in print. Well done and many happy hours of motoring to you. Thanks for the effort in recording and posting the build.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,476 ✭✭✭SpitfireIV

    sogood wrote: »
    A most enjoyable thread, inspirational and imaginative. Delighted to read about your magazine feature and look forward to seeing it in print. Well done and many happy hours of motoring to you. Thanks for the effort in recording and posting the build.

    No hassle, glad you enjoyed it! :) Its a pity that the majority of the pics seem to gradually dissapear after a period of time. I copy the link from a Facebook page and paste it here.


    I'm planning on heading to the Terenure show this coming Sunday, so, if any of ye are about make sure and say hello! :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,933 ✭✭✭✭Toyotafanboi

    It's a truly great achievement no matter what way you look at it, but it looks a lot cleaner without the front plate!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,258 ✭✭✭sogood

    It's a truly great achievement no matter what way you look at it, but it looks a lot cleaner without the front plate!

    Don't want to say " I told you so" but I suggested something similar quite a while ago. A smaller plate, offset to one side of the centre line of the bonnet. But it's still a stunner!!