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Triumph Spitfire - engine re-build

ive just had my mk3 spitfire engine re-built and as i don't intend to run it for some time, wondered how best to look after it untill should i fill the sump or leave it dry. i am squirting oil into the bores and turning the engine by had but is there any more i should be doing? any advice would be appreciated.

When I restored my Mk3 the first thing I overhauled was the engine and gearbox, on hindsight I should have done the body first but anyways.

Mine was totally rebuilt and assembled with fresh oil and filled to the dipstick mark where it laid idle in our garage for 6 years. When I fitted the egine to the car I did as yourself, squirted oil in the plug holes (not to much as you will foul the plugs when trying to start her up) and turned the egine by hand. Next and most important remove the distributor and drive gear so you can see the oilpump drive (looks like a screwdriver slot). I fashioned an old (large) scroodriver to fit the slot then put it into my electric drill and spun up the oilpump to basically prime up the engine and oil filter. Refit everything and turn that key with a close eye on the oil light if it stays on turn off sharpish!!!.

Dont worry as long as the engine is dry ie not in damp condidiions ittl be ok, well afterall most new cars lie idle on old airstrips/fields for months until shipped to dealers.


Excellent advice! In addition, I suggest that before the eventual start-up, you spin the engine on the starter, without the sparkplugs in place, until you get an oil pressure. Then refit the plugs and start her up!
I have had a brand new oil pump refuse to prime itself, a problem that might occur after years with no oil in the pump. I solved this by removing the oil pressure relief valve, and pouring in oil through a tube and funnel - it will run down into the pump. Avoid this problem in the first place by priming the pump with petroleum jelly (Vaseline). It won't drip out!

This will all be fine, if the engine is to be fitted in a few weeks or months. I don't think that a full sump will be best if it must wait years. After all, the engine might be moved (heavier), left on its' side(leaks) and oil does deteriorate with time. Better, a thorough spray inside the crankcase, bores, chambers, inlet and exhaust ports and rocker cover with a suitable anti-corrosion agent such as WD-40, followed by careful sealing of all the engine orifices with polythene and tape. Also seal the water passages, after inserting some silica gel packages to remove damp.

But your engine is better running than resting!

Approximately three years ago I purchased a 1981 Spitfire that had not been running for 10 years. It sat outside uncovered with just the tonneau cover in the owner's driveway. He had driven it home after a parade and walked away from the car. I pushed it on to a flatbed and dropped it off at a local garage. They changed every fluid, put a new battery in and turned the car over. Have been using it as a daily driver ever since between April and November. This is the fourth LBC that I have owned and they really are tough and a great deal of fun.
Robert W Constable

This thread was discussed between 30/01/2002 and 08/03/2002

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