Tag Archives: brakes

First Drive Of Spring

I took the Spitfire out for a short drive (and celebratory pizza) yesterday evening, which is the first drive this spring.

The brakes are a bit better.  However, as I told Paul, I’m not sure if that’s because they’re actually better, or if it’s psychological and I’m hammering them harder because I know components have been replaced and rebuilt.

The tachometer was making a bit of noise, as if the cable is slipping or jumping.  That noise went away after a while, then came back, then went away again.  Each time, the noise was accompanied by the tach jumping around a bit.  By the end of the drive, it seemed fine, so I’ll keep an eye on it.

Everything else about the drive was fun and easy.  Everything worked and handled as expected.

I kept the top up as it was still a bit cool out.

Perhaps the worst problem was just dodging all the potholes on the streets.  It seems some were large enough to swallow the little Triumph.


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The New Master!

Master cylinder, that is.  For the brakes.  It’s in!

Brake Master CylinderThe brakes have always been soft, and in my attempt to remedy that, I’ve rebuilt the calipers, rebuilt the old master cylinder, replaced the flexible hoses, and bled the system several times.  Nothing seemed to work.

So, the next attempt was to replace the master cylinder.

We’re starting to thaw out here in Minnesota so it’s time to start getting the little Spitfire ready for spring and summer.  This part of the brakes was one of the bigger tasks to get ready for driving, which I’ll hopefully do in the next week or two.

Oh, and I connected the trickle charger to the battery to get it fully powered again.  That should be ready in the next 24 hours or so.

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Soft Brakes

Did I not tell you about the brake troubles with the Triumph?

Where are my manners!

I know I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but I suppose I haven’t updated you on the issue since then.  So, yeah, the brakes.  They’re really soft.  I mean REALLY soft.

Since the first drive, I’ve noticed that you need to really push it almost all the way down to get any sort of stopping action.

Pumping the brakes seems to be better.  If I have time to hit the pedal twice, the brake feel is much better.

I know! I know! Bleed the brakes!  Been there, done that.  Several times.  But even while bleeding the brakes, we never get that solid feeling from the pedal.

So last fall, just as things starting turning cold, I undertook a major brake overhaul:

  • Rebuilt the front calipers
  • Rebuilt the rear drum pistons
  • Replaced all four flexible hoses to the four wheels
  • Replaced (and re-greased) the pads on the front calipers

    Brake Calipers With Pistons

    Here, the brake calipers and pistons have just been removed - ready for rebuilding.

  • Replaced (and re-greased) the shoes on the rear drums
  • Rebuilt the brake master cylinder
  • Cleared all the old fluid from the lines
  • Bled the lines with with new DOT-4 fluid

About the only thing I didn’t do was to replace the steel brake lines.  But we’re not leaking brake fluid, so I don’t think that’s the issue.

Oh, and the other thing I didn’t do was to replace the brake master cylinder.  That’s the next step.

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Winter Update

It’s winter here in Minnesota, which means it hasn’t been much above freezing in months, there’s a bunch of snow on the ground that isn’t melting anytime soon, and the Triumph is sitting comfortably in the garage under its little car cover.

With all the salt and slipperiness on the roads, Minnesota roads aren’t a safe place for little British sports cars.  So we haven’t gone on any rides, and, consequently, I haven’t updated this blog.

But today I have news!

I’m starting to prepare the first few tasks to get the Spitfire ready for Spring.   Among them, is a new mirror.

You may have noticed that the car has no side mirrors.  And, yes, I’ve caught myself several times glancing down and to the left out of habit, only to realize there’s no mirror.  (No worries — the car’s so little it’s easy to look over your shoulder.)

For Christmas, Agnes gave me a mirror she’s been holding onto for years with the intention of installing it on the Triumph.  My only concern is that the instructions call for drilling into the body (or door) of the car.  I’m not certain I approve of that idea.  I’ve got an alternate plan in mind, which I’ll write about as I work through it.

I also ordered (and received) a new master cylinder for the brakes.  Despite last fall’s rebuilding of the old master cylinder, and rebuilding/replacing all the other components, the brakes are still soft.  My hope is that old master cylinder was just too worn out (even after a rebuild).

Sometime in the next few weeks, we’ll get the new device installed, though testing it will likely have to wait until the weather warms up significantly.

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Weekend Of Minor Repairs

Despite the setback with the radio today, I did manage several minor repairs to the Triumph this weekend:

Instrument Cluster At Night

– The tachometer has a new light bulb behind it which shines nicely at night.

– The horn has been fixed simply by cleaning off the connections.

– Per the recommendation of my older brother, a quick-release battery cable has been installed.  This makes disconnecting the battery quick and easy to prevent any unexpected shorts (and then fires) while the car is sitting unattended in the garage.

– The brake fluid has been replaced and the brakes have been bled, but they’re still really soft.  I may try bleeding them again, and/or may seek the guidance of fellow Triumph drivers.

– One of the three main fuses to the car has been replaced.  It’s the so-called “Line Fuse” — not one of the two fuses in the little fuse box — this one is in a plastic case embedded in a purple wire.  Anyway, it was blown, so a new one has been installed.  I’m not sure yet what caused it to blow, but it’s all better now (and possibly the reason why the horn wasn’t working previously).  And, yes, the car has only three fuses, plus one for the radio.

New Tires!

– New tires have been installed!  This is a pretty big deal, actually.  The new tires are larger than the original 155/80/R13 size.  According to the guy at the tire store, they don’t make tires that small any more.  The new tires are 175/70/R13, which, according to one site, are a pretty good substitute for the originals.  So far, the new tires are doing great.  I thought I heard a bit of scraping at one moment while turning the steering wheel pretty far to one side, but I haven’t heard that sound again since (and I see no damage to either front tire).

– And with the new tires, I got the Triumph up to about 55 mph Saturday night — the fastest I’ve taken the car.  I was going home after taking pictures of the car Saturday evening.  I went through downtown Minneapolis, but it was crazy busy because of some fireworks show.  Instead of going through yet more stop-and-go traffic, I decided to zip down a short stretch of I-35W (over the new bridge) to Hiawatha.  While the Triumph certainly wasn’t the fastest car on the road, it ran smoothly all the way home.


Filed under Brakes, Triumph Spitfire