Handy Howie
Handy HowieWelcome.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0
Back to SPITFIRETriumph_Spitfire.html

For a while now I have had a small engine oil leak on my Triumph Spitfire.  Owners of these cars may well say that this is normal which would be supported by many comments found on the internet.

I decided that I had cleaned the park at work too many times and now was the time to stop the oil leak.  Unfortunately this turned out to be more difficult than I imagined.

It looked to me like the timing cover gasket was where the oil was escaping, so I purchased a timing cover gasket and a crank front oil seal.

I never imagined that getting the bottom pulley off could be so difficult.  First of all, did the nut have a left or right hand thread?  The photos in my Haynes manual made it look like a right hand thread, yet common sense told me that it should be a left hand thread.   Some research on the internet revealed that it was indeed a right hand thread, but also revealed that these nuts don’t like to come off easily.

This photo shows my 46mm socket and wrench attached to the pulley nut.

I tried putting the gearbox in 4th gear, pulling the handbrake hard on and chocking the back wheels.  However trying to undo the nut just made the car climb over the wheel chocks.  I then put a large screwdriver through one of the universal joints in the prop shaft to lock the shaft in place, but all that happened then was that the clutch slipped when trying to undo the nut.

The only thing left to try was to use a block of wood as a wedge to lock the crank in place, so the sump had to come off.  These photo shows the sump removed and the 16 bolts that hold the sump in place.

I put a piece of hardwood between the crank and the side of the block to stop the crank moving.  I placed the wood right at the front of the engine to minimise stress on the crank.

Now that the crank was locked I thought the nut would come off easily, but I had to use a length of tube to extend the handle of my wrench.  Eventually there was a loud crack as the nut released.  The photo below shows how the wood was crushed due to the required force.

Before I removed the timing cover I scraped the old sump gasket off and refitted the sump with a new gasket.

Fortunately I managed to tap the pulley off the crank shaft without requiring the use of a three legged puller.  I was hoping that I would not need to use the puller because I would have had to remove the radiator to make space for it’s use.

Now it was time to undo all the bolts and screws that hold the timing cover in place.

At this point I realised that there is also another gasket behind the plate on the front of the engine which could be causing the leak.  I decided however to scrape off the remnants of the old timing cover gasket, fit a new gasket and crank oil seal and see if this fixed the leak.  The fact that this article doesn’t end here shows that the leak persisted.

At least disassembly wasn’t difficult this time.    These photos show the timing gear removed.

I decided to renew the chain while it was in pieces this time.

The engine front plate removed and cleaned.

The block cleaned and then fitted with a new gasket.

Unfortunately my job was not finished.  After re-assembly, the oil leak was a lot worse than it started.  The new gaskets seemed to be thinner than the ones that were previously fitted, which caused leaks on both the timing cover and sump.  I had to remove these items once again and replace the gaskets with thicker ones along with the use of a tube of blue gasket sealant.  It is early days yet, but the leak seems to have stopped.