Club Triumph Home : Blogs : SamClayton You are not logged in - Login here
 Members' Blogs   Sam Clayton

Sam Clayton

Yorkshire Spitfire

Yorkshire Spitfire
Latest Entries-

Miles per annum

Some interesting info about the car.

10CR all done for 2017


Wondering what I've forgotten to do before the 10CR

Clutching at something

Couple of jobs done... 10CR getting scary close!

Oil Cooler fitting.... 2 years later than planned

Still not sure about the ride height.

Not sure about the ride height



Steering in the right direction.

Rear brake overhaul and stuff

All the cooler kids are doing it...

Worry Gauge is worrying

Illuminating experience

New toys

Things I learned last night.

MOT quiz

Getting ready for Spring.

Frustration - not even on the Spitfire.

Most annoying.

Since the 10CR

10cr all done!

Miles per annum

I've been through all the history I have for the Spitfire recording the mileage against the date. I have no information for 1982, 1991, 1994 and a gap between 2004 and 2011 (accounting for 5,000 miles or thereabouts)
The fairly steady rise in miles over the years does however suggest that the 78K currently on the car is actually genuine though.
The history also shows that the car was sold new in Swansea (1978) and stayed in Wales until 2002 when it was exported to the Isle of Man. Some time between 2004 and 2007 the car returned to the mainland, but was re-registered with its original registration number.

posted by 28th September 2017 8:53pm gmt

Some interesting info about the car.

As we approach the point where the Spitfire might be tax free I decided to order a heritage certificate to confirm the date of manufacture.
In the documentation I got with the car is the original Passport to Service showing that the car was sold to a Mr. S. Ford in Swansea on 24/5/1978. This tallies up nicely with the date of first registration on the V5 - 23/5/1978.
So I had little hope that next April would see tax-free motoring.
To my surprise the Heritage Certificate shows that the car was actually build on 1/11/1977 and left the factory on 9/12/77
Another nice surprise was to find that the current engine matches the factory number.
And the final surprise, the factory colour. I'd always assumed either Pimento (72) or Vermillion (CAD) based on what I see when I lift the carpets. Nope. Flamenco. Which I think was only available in '77.

posted by 24th September 2017 3:44pm gmt

10CR all done for 2017

Click to open in Google Maps

So, an eventful 10CR for us.
In many ways the car performed brilliantly, but in a couple of "minor" ways it didn't.
High in the hills on day 1 on the run to Mulhouse we suddenly had an oil pressure warning light on. I pulled in to investigate, but it dawned on me that we still had a good 50+lb showing on the gauge.
A bit of puzzling and I worked out we had a faulty switch. Checking again later in the day I realised that not only was the switch playing up, but it was also leaking oil through the switch body. That evening at the Mulhouse hotel I applied sealant to the switch body in the hope of sealing it.
It didn't work, it became apparent as we started to descend the Stelvio that the sump was almost empty (braking or turning left caused the gauge to drop to 0, accelerating and turning right brought it back up to the hot running pressure!)
Topping the oil up with the 2 litres I was carrying and taking the T-piece out and screwing the fitting for the gauge straight into the block left us without a warning light, but at least we had enough oil AND it wasn't leaking. We completed the run (2 more days) without losing any more oil.
During the run I also noticed that the hot running engine temp was creeping up. It remained stable even when climbing the passes, but each day it seemed to be a little higher than the previous day.
Prior to the run it was stable with the needle slap bang on the 1/2 mark on the gauge. By the end of the run the needle was about 1/8th higher on the gauge, about half way between the 1/2 and 3/4 marks. No signs of overheating and running very stable no matter what we were doing. If I had to guess I'd say that the temp sender is playing up, but I'll investigate further when I have the time.
The diff whine that was bugging me on the 2015 10CR is now at the point where I need to take action - so I'll pull the diff out over winter and rebuild.
Other minor niggles that emerged on the run are a click/knock noise when steering hard and a "clonk" from the back when braking for the first time after reversing (I suspect a bolt on a rear upright might need nipping up).
That said a 39 year old Spitfire 1500 managed about 2500 miles door-to-door over a 6 day period with only a relatively small amount of hassle. I'm kinda proud of the old girl, and proud that the first and only engine that I ever built has now completed 2 10CR runs.

Great to see so many Triumphs at Rolduc and I'm only aware of 1 DNF in the whole field - which is an awesome achievement for the teams taking part.

posted by 14th September 2017 10:06am gmt


I'm acutely aware that the Spitfire has had nothing like the amount of test running that I wanted to achieve before the 10CR. So last night Andie and I took it for a run up to Shap summit and back, calling at Tebay services (southbound, as a tribute to the brave souls of the RBRR) for a meal and a cuppa.
The A65 from Skipton up to Kirby Lonsdale (and beyond to the M6) is a great drive, I really enjoyed it. As a bonus the Spitfire seemed to run fine. No loss of fluids/oil and a good steady engine temperature and oil pressure.
The only minor disappointment was that the new exhaust set-up hasn't made quite as much difference as I'd hoped at motorway speeds. It's better, but not as quiet as I ideally wanted.

All in all a fun drive and a good test!

posted by 01st September 2017 11:35am gmt

Wondering what I've forgotten to do before the 10CR

Interior is most of the way there after the clutch change.

Armrest/handbrake cover has been recovered using one of Owen's kits from Park Lane Classics. Volt meter finally wired in and I covered the  mounting plate that the volt meter and oil pressure gauge sit in with some vinyl. While the tunnel cover carpet was out I've repaired the gearstick gaiter, the stitching had come undone, so I just hand stitched it back up before the carpet went back in.
At the same time I fitted a new wiring section for the OD switch. The insulation had cracked on the original, which I think explained the seemingly random popping of the fuse on the drive home from the 2015 10CR. The replacement came from James Paddock and was a good like-for-like replacement.
In other news, we had a test run today - really the first time the engine has run hard since I piped up the oil cooler. Hot tick over pressure was pretty good. On stopping to check the cooler it was nice and warm, so I guess the thermostat had opened. No signs of any leaks on the pipework. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

One of the other bits of work was to "remodel" the centre pipe on the exhaust system. Having "adapted" the flanges on the chassis rails the Jetex silencer sits nicely between them. No sign/sound of it contacting on the test run.
The only issue I had was getting it to seal. The inlet/outlet pipes on the silencer are 45mm ID and very substantial wall thickness. The mid section I'm modifying is 1.75" (so about 44.5mm). Getting enough squeeze on the clamps to seal was a bit of an issue, but I got it at the second try.

On the road I'm very pleased with the effect it's had on the noise. At cruising speed and throttle it's significantly quieter, but with wide-open-throttle and higher revs it still sounds nice. Just what I wanted.

posted by 28th August 2017 9:55pm gmt

Clutching at something

When I swapped the engines over just before the last 10CR (2015... really? So long ago!?) I noticed some nasty wear on the clutch pressure plate fingers. But had neither the time nor the money to do something about it at the time. 
 Ever since then it's been mithering at me, so I ordered a new clutch and pulled the gearbox out.
I gave the box a quick squirt of degreaser and a scrub, nothing too intense.

The replacement was a Borg and Beck kit so hopefully it won't be to bad.
I used my spare input shaft to align the clutch and the gearbox pretty much slid straight back on without too much fuss (slipped it into gear and turned the output flange and it clunked into place)

While the prop was off I've swapped the UJs, greased them and the slider for good measure.

As I was stripping the gearbox out I also noticed a crack in the insulation for the gearstick top OD switch. That would probably explain why the OD fuse popped "randomly" on the Sunday run from Dover back to home at the end of the last 10CR. So I ordered a new set of wires for that as well.

posted by 08th August 2017 9:08pm gmt

Couple of jobs done... 10CR getting scary close!

I finally got around to re-fitting the cover plate for the diff/spring. Since I now have the longer studs and the lowering block the plate needed modification - thanks Jon!

The interior really needs a clean... so I took the trim board out and cleaned it with soapy water. It's made a massive difference.

After what seems like an epic amount of time the oil cooler is finally plumbed in. The bottom edge of it is just above the bottom edge of the front spoiler. I'll look into the possibility of adding some mesh in front of it to provide some protection.

I swapped the straight hose unions for 45 degree ones, so the clearance on the suspension tower and the engine mounting is better.

posted by 17th July 2017 9:04pm gmt

Oil Cooler fitting.... 2 years later than planned

I bought an oil cooler before the 2015 10CR with the intention of having it fitted in time for the run... that didn't happen.
I've made some progress recently welding the mounting I made to the chassis.
Last night I FINALLY painted the brackets and gave them a second coat this evening so it's close to being done from that point of view. So I started to look at the plumbing!

It all fits, just but the hoses are too close to the suspension tower for comfort, so I've added a piece of rubber along the edge just in case.

As soon as the paint on the mountings is dry I'll re-fit and try and finish the plumbing.

posted by 11th July 2017 8:09pm gmt

Still not sure about the ride height.

I'm happy with the rear rider height, but I just feel that from a "look of it" point of view the front is slightly too low. I've tried jacking the front up very slightly and around 10mm makes it look "right" to me. I've ordered some spacers, but they are currently out of stock :-(

After a really enjoyable run out to Skipton this afternoon I've spent a bit of time in the garage looking at the steering column related rattles.
I took the clamp off the column and replaced the lower section with a new one and added a thin rubber packer. That seems to have eliminated the vertical movement in the column.
I've sourced a new top cover for the column as well (Thanks Spitfire Graveyard) so when I can find the screws I'll swap that over. The one I have has a hole in it for the alarm/immobiliser LED that has long since been removed AND somebody in the past has over-tightened the fixings and pulled the threaded insert out of the plastic.

Hoping to get a few more miles on the car over the next few weeks in preparation for the 10CR.

posted by 02nd July 2017 10:20pm gmt

Not sure about the ride height

I'm very happy with the handling at the front end with the new springs (back end still too bouncey, when I can afford it new shocks will be ordered!)
But I think the front end now sits too low:

posted by 05th June 2017 10:02am gmt


What with one thing and another it's taken a long time to get back to this point.

 With a bit of luck I'll get a run out this evening to see how it handles with the new springs.

No photo, but last night I also managed to get the brackets for the oil cooler welded to the chassis. A little bit of fettling and some paint should see it ready for piping in.
I'm really interested to see what difference it makes to the oil pressure, I've noticed a significant difference between "engine warmed up" (ie. water temp showing normal) and "oil hot" (usually about 20 minutes or so after the water is up to temp) in terms of the idle oil pressure.
I think there's an oil temp gauge somewhere in the box of bits - I may fit this before I plumb the cooler in just to get some quantitative measure of how much it affects things.

posted by 02nd June 2017 08:34am gmt


I've finally made a start on fitting the springs that I got for my birthday last year! Slow going as I'm trying to give a few bits a lick of paint while I'm at it.

The shocks seem to be in nice condition, just a little surface rust. As well as the paint I'm replacing a few bushes along the way, poly (SuperFlex) for suspension and plain rubber for the shock absorber top bushes. (I plan to fit Koni's all round at some point in the future when money permits.)

posted by 16th May 2017 09:29am gmt

Steering in the right direction.

I had intended to remove and rebuild the steering "knuckle" joint when I sorted out the steering (it's always bugged me that to go in a straight line you had to have the steering wheel positioned as if you were going round a left hand bend!)

However, once I removed the joint I found that the one I had fitted had cross-head bolts holding it together that had been peened out at the back - making them virtually impossible to take out without wrecking them.

I asked about on the Club Triumph forum and although it seems the bolts are a standard thread size they are shouldered - and hence made of unobtainium. Thanks a lot for the warning Clive Senior! Had I not heeded the warning I could have been in big trouble as the Spitfire is my daily driver at the moment (Freelander out of MOT!)

Happily Spitfire Graveyard were able to supply an older type joint with the wire used to fix the bolts - easy to strip and rebuild and they kindly sent it to me next day delivery at reasonable cost! Not only did I get it next day, they sent 2!  In Dave's words: "I just felt happier sending two to make sure you got a good". That's what I call good service. 

So last night I stripped it down, cleaned it (a bit) and rebuilt it with new polybush bushes. (SuperFlex from Chris Witor)

posted by 04th May 2017 09:37am gmt

Rear brake overhaul and stuff

New drums obtained and coated with satin black high temp painted and then heat cured.

Stripping the OSR revealed that the adjuster was stuck, so that was removed, freed up and refitted.
New shoes and drums both sides.
After (finally) getting the brakes nicely adjusted, I free'd off the control for the heater valve. Then it was time to fit new engine mountings, let's see if the new ones last any better than the old ones.

I've also treated the spitfire to a new Mann filter and some Penrite classic light 20/60.
A nice run out this morning up to Shipley and I remembered how much I enjoy driving the Spitfire in the sunshine!

posted by 22nd April 2017 8:38pm gmt

All the cooler kids are doing it...

One day I may finally fit the oil cooler that I bought with the intention of fitting before the 2015 10CR.
That day took a step closer this evening, I made up some brackets to fit it to the chassis rails just in front of the radiator.

Still to do:

  • Weld captive nuts into OS (left above) bracket.
  • Slightly shorten the plates to be welded to chassis and bend bottom edge over
  • Paint
  • Weld to chassis
Then I just need to:
  • Make up the hoses
  • Make retaining brackets for the hoses
  • Fit the (thermostatic) sandwich plate and plumb it all in!
Oh man has the Spitfire suffered for being laid up, lots of rusty looking bits that need a clean and a paint!

posted by 18th December 2016 10:13pm gmt

Worry Gauge is worrying

On Thursday morning I noticed the tick-over pressure on the gauge was LOW.
Once warmed up and with tick-over dipped (clutch biting and lots of load on the alternator) the warning light didn't come on, but the gauge dipped right down to 0
If it hadn't been for the light staying off I'd have been VERY worried.
So I brought the car home at low RPM (no nasty noises!)

This evening I fitted the 2 spare gauges I have and compared cold tick-over pressure.
The left gauge didn't seal very well, the fibre washer perished. But based on the 3 gauges and the sound of the engine I'm less worried about the pressure now!
I'll stop panicking now.

What is really annoying is that the "needle points upwards" gauges in the right style (white needle) are really hard to come by at a decent price. Better to have an accurate gauge that doesn't match than one that's random, wrong and the right style thought.

posted by 16th December 2016 9:44pm gmt

Illuminating experience

The additional worry gauges I fitted to the "radio" space in the Spitfire were invisible at night

So I made up a small loom and added gauge illumination.

Not so happy with the contrast between the standard green illumination, the greenish on the volt meter and the plain white on the oil pressure, so I switched to green LEDs...

Clearly the oil is a brighter green than the others, so I'll either add a filter to that one, or remove the filters from the others (and fit green bulbs to the 2 original gauges). Haven't made my mind up yet though.

posted by 05th December 2016 2:33pm gmt

New toys

For some reason I got presents today. (Something to do with me being older? I prefer the term "Level up!")
So for the occasional time I want to properly crimp BIG terminals, a nice shiny new hydraulic crimper. (Thanks to the inlaws!)

And in vague attempts to improve Spitfire handling, some harder, slightly shorter springs. (Thanks Andie! How did you know what I wanted? ;-) )

posted by 29th November 2016 5:12pm gmt

Things I learned last night.

1. Even when there is NO PETROL at all in the Spitfire the gauge currently reads about 1/4.
This has the unfortunate consequence of convincing me not to put petrol in even though I really need to.
(Resulting in me pushing the bloody car through Keighley in the middle of the sodding night)

2. For some bizarre and unknown reason my headlights suddenly stopped working on the unlit road just outside Keighley. It's not actually possible to drive a car along an unlit section of road in the dead of night safely on JUST sidelights. It's VERY DARK!
So I found some wire in the boot and ran a feed to the headlamps just to get me home.
Relays are fine, so it must be something on the live feed side for the circuit.

On the other hand it was nice to see the usual suspects over at the Old Stone Trough for the monthly Pendle and Pennine meeting.

posted by 05th November 2016 3:42pm gmt

MOT quiz

I wonder which of these 2 ball joints meets the requirements for an MOT pass?

I have to admit a certain level of disappointment, I fitted the one on the right in March 2015, so that's 19 months for it to perish completely.

posted by 31st October 2016 9:15pm gmt

Getting ready for Spring.

I removed the rear leaf spring from the Spitfire, was a bit disappointed to find most of the graphite grease I covered it in has vanished at the outer ends. Still plenty in the middle of the spring anyway.

So, removed, re-greased, re-fitted with the lowering block. (With a short break in the middle for a trip down to Bapp in Brighouse to buy some new nylocs)

Not much chance of the cover plate fitting with the longer studs though, which is a bit sad as it was missing when I got the car and I went to all the trouble of getting one, cleaning it, painting it and even made a rubber gasket for it. I don't want to shorted the studs as almost all the length was needed to draw down the spring box when I was fitting it.

Slightly shocked to find when I removed the spring that the original suppliers sticker is visible under the grease.

Jobs to do before MOT:

  • Welding 
  • Bleed brakes
  • Check lights
  • Check carbs
  • Drive to testing station.

posted by 24th October 2016 5:56pm gmt

Frustration - not even on the Spitfire.

Well today I managed the first "real" mechanic-ing in about 12 months.
The last serious work I did was just before the 2015 10CR. Today I changed the rear driveshaft on the Freelander and it knackered me out.
With a bit of luck I'll get myself some welding gas and make a start on the Spitfire soon. I really want to see it back on the road soon.
A bit of welding and bleed the brakes and the Spitfire should be fit for an MOT, here's hoping.

posted by 24th September 2016 10:50pm gmt

Most annoying.

I've found a hole in the Spitfire steel work that's going to need welding up BEFORE it goes for the MOT.
Oh well, the best laid plans and all that.
In the mean time I'm making new brake pipes for it to replace the steel ones that are currently going rusty.
9 months of sitting idle have not been kind to the car even though it's been garaged.

posted by 30th July 2016 4:45pm gmt

Since the 10CR

It's all been very quiet on the Triumph front since the 10CR.
Lot's of "real life" stuff going on, but not much classic car time.
The Spitfire is currently off the road with no tax or MOT and has been sitting in the garage since January. I made a start on "re-commissioning" but found a nasty petrol leak near the NSR wheel... on further inspection/testing I couldn't find the leak, but found clear signs of where the petrol had been flowing down the chassis.
I also noticed that the electrical connection to the tank sender had been damaged, an attempt to straighten it resulted in it snapping off, so a replacement sender unit has been fitted.
Replacement pipes/hoses obtained I set about trying to fix the leak, but quickly found that the olive/pipe nut on the tank top had been damaged (over tightened) so I've ended up removing the tank to rectify that issue while I'm at it.
When a replacement olive/pipe nut are obtained I'll put it all back together, test/adjust the brakes and get it in for the MOT - hopefully back on the road for July.

posted by 13th June 2016 1:52pm gmt

10cr all done!

We made it home at about 21:30 this evening (Monday) after another long day's driving.

Day 1 started great, we really enjoyed the wonderful countryside:
Netherlands-Germany-Czech Republic
The second part of day 1, not so good. The driving through Czech Republic was tough and we were tired. At about 11pm we decided enough was enough and we stopped at a hotel we found that still had rooms:
Czech Republic

As a result of the un-planned hotel stop in the Czech Republic we had some catching up to do on day 2, so we cut the route and headed for Cortina:
Czech Republic-Germany-Austria-Italy

On day 3 we went "off-piste" again and picked up a few extra countries:

Here's the track for the last day of the event (Sunday):

Today saw us drive back to Dunkirk:
And then home from Dover:

I know pride comes before a fall and all that, but I'm really pleased with how the car has done, particularly the engine (it's the first time I've built an engine and it was done in a bit of a hurry to get the car fit for the event after the problems on the Border Raiders)
Some minor niggles...
It was running hot on the trip to the the point that I removed the thermostat on the run up to Cortina. I suspect the stat is faulty as we got some pretty unpredictable temperature issues.
The vibrating noises turned out to be the dash brace bolt being lose and a screwdriver in the boot tapping on the petrol tank.
There's a whine from the diff, a little on overrun, more in the sweet spot between pulling and overrun, not noticeable on pull though. Needs looking at.
The overdrive blew it's fuse when we stopped on the M11 today on the way home. Not sure why, but replacing the fuse cured the issue. Might end up playing "find the frayed wire" over the next few days.

posted by 14th September 2015 10:48pm gmt

Views expressed here are personal are not necessarily endorsed by Club Triumph

viewed 40553 times

More from Sam Clayton
More Blogs-
Steve Weblin

09th December 2017 08:30am gmt
Merlyn Motors of Bristol - Triumph Car Dealers 11A
Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run

08th December 2017 3:51pm gmt
Reservists - a call to action!!
Rob Pearce

06th December 2017 8:19pm gmt
Wiring and Trimming
Jason Chinn

02nd December 2017 11:58pm gmt
2018 RBRR
Theo Boonen

29th November 2017 4:42pm gmt
FHC resto nr. 59; Parts galvanising
The Viper's Nest

20th October 2017 7:19pm gmt
Where it all began…
Andy Cook

16th October 2017 00:05am gmt
Internationl GT6 weekend, Cookie's 5 countries run
King Rat Racing

23rd September 2017 6:35pm gmt
September 16th - 17th. The Mercian Road Rally
Paul Lewis

18th September 2017 11:45am gmt
The trip ‘oop North’….
James Carruthers

21st August 2017 00:00am gmt
Practically all demonstrated data about gravity forms v2.1.1.8 nulled plus more
Mike Bishop

01st August 2017 3:33pm gmt
Summer Fun with the Spitfire
Andy Thompson

25th July 2017 2:58pm gmt
Progress on Morgan
Tim's tales of Triumph heaven

02nd May 2017 1:03pm gmt
Been a long time, long time, its been a long time!

11th March 2017 10:18pm gmt
BOB's Day Jar Voo
Nick Moore

02nd January 2017 09:28am gmt
On yer bike!