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Spitfire 1500 top end engine noise

Last post 08-16-2009, 8:20 AM by dannybaker. 5 replies.
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  •  05-01-2009, 8:31 AM 19264

    Spitfire 1500 top end engine noise

    Hi Guys,

    My first post....Recently returned to Spitfire ownership after a break of a few years. Now the owner of a 1980 Spit 1500, non-overdrive, never welded, mostly original paint and all original mech bits with the exception of cylinder head which was modified for unleaded a couple of years back (this work done by a local Triumph specialist)...

    Now for the the way, car has done less than 60,000 miles and has full documented service knocking on start up at all, oil light goes out after a second or two etc. When I got the car I noticed a tapping sound near the top of the engine and I thought no probs, adjust valve clearances and that will be that. Took me a while to get round to it and I found they were pretty tight so backed them off so that a 10 thou feeler would slide through with slight friction when cold...noise then got slightly my question is, am I crap at adjusting valve clearances or is there another problem?

    Due to the change of head mentioned I thought I would remove rocker shaft and torque the head down again and at this stage I wiggled (up and down) the pushrods. Number 6 was pretty noisy (very metallic rap and I could feel that the pushrod had held onto the cam follower so this was the sound of the cam follower hitting the cam lobe I assume), number 1 pushrod similar but not as bad, all the others sounded "cushioned" with a very damped/soft tap when wiggled. So, do I have a cam follower problem or a camshaft problem folks? I know the cam runs in the block without bearings on the 1500. I need an expert to tell me frankly, based on their experience. I just can't see how a well looked after engine at less than 60,000 miles could have a shot cam. The only thing on my mind is the head swap for unleaded...could some crap have got down the tubes and eaten the surface off a follower or cam lobe?

    Please help as the warm weather is here and the car is not really driveable now due to the really quite loud tapping. Could it just be clearances? In which case I am useless! By the way, I have never checked the crank end float but cannot see how that would create a metallic tap towards the top of the engine.

    Many thanks indeed for reading,


  •  05-04-2009, 5:29 AM 19300 in reply to 19264

    Re: Spitfire 1500 top end engine noise


    Many years ago a friend of mine had a brand new 1500 in chocolate(T reg). However he had the engine in to the dealer twice under warranty, as there was alot of top end noise...much like yours I suspect.

    In the end it was traced to poor hardening on the Cam followers, a number of which had severe pitting in them!

    MarkI suggest head off again and pull out the followers and inspect may find the answer! can not remember but believe the Cam was fine.






  •  05-05-2009, 11:39 AM 19323 in reply to 19300

    Re: Spitfire 1500 top end engine noise

    Hello there, many thanks for your be honest that's just what I wanted to hear! I'll lose nothing by getting the cam followers out because I am pretty certain now that it isn't just valve clearances so it's a head off job whatever is wrong with it. Cheers, Steve
  •  07-06-2009, 10:37 AM 20079 in reply to 19323

    Re: Spitfire 1500 top end engine noise

    Hi, Any news on the top end noise. This is exactly what I have. I have rebuilt the engine with an unleaded head. the only original parts are the push rods and camshaft.I do remember when fitting the cam followers that one was hard to insert, in fact I had to tap it home with the pushrod. I could be sticking when the engine gets hot but I do know it moves up and down ok when cold. I have places a peice of metal angle iron on the head and messured the height and fall of each pushrod and all were the same. I have since ordererd a new cam, pushrods and cam followers. So it's off with the head very soon.

    Can you please let me know how you get on...



  •  07-10-2009, 11:22 PM 20156 in reply to 20079

    Re: Spitfire 1500 top end engine noise

    Further to my message abaove....I have taken the head off and it looks like the piston is hitting the fire ring of the head gasket.

    The engine is bored too +40 and it's a bit thin near where bores 1&2 3&4 meet. The head gasket seems to very slightly overhang the bores plus

    also the block has had a light skim that has not helped.

  •  08-16-2009, 8:20 AM 20687 in reply to 20156

    Re: Spitfire 1500 top end engine noise

    Just to let you know......I took each piston out and chamfered the edges to 2.5mm 45deg instead of the standerd chamfer of 1.5mm 45 deg.

    This stopped the +40 piston hitting the recessed fire ring and now there's no more knocking.