Let’s start with that little heater. It was tucked into the driver’s side front wheel well. It’s a little cylinder, about the size of a soda can.
It has a coolant hose running in through the top, and a second hose comes out the side to return coolant to the radiator.
Since the Spitfire lived in Nebraska, which gets very cold, having such a device meant that the car would be ready to drive on any cold winter day. That’s a good thing.
However, its time has come and gone. I don’t know if the device still works (I never tried plugging it in), it’s rusted and doesn’t look too healthy. Besides, we don’t drive the Triumph in the winter anyway.
To get coolant to the heater, someone replaced one of the coolant hoses on top of the engine with several other hoses and a copper T plumbing fitting. The copper is corroding and, for some reason, short pieces of hose were used, which all had to be clamped together. This is all at the top of the engine, where the hoses feed warm radiator fluid to the heater box to warm the cabin.
All together, from the radiator connection, through all the hoses, there are 13 points where a hose or pipe connects to something else. That’s 13 points where something could fail, causing coolant to leak all over the place (and that doesn’t even include that copper T fitting that I don’t trust).
Not only does it look better than the mess of red hoses, it’s much more reliable. There are only two connections at either end of the new hose, plus the new cap at the base of the radiator (technically, I still need to install that cap and refill the radiator, but there’s another upgrade that’s taking my attention — more on that shortly).