[ T R I U M P H ] Triumph GT6/Spitfire Ezine
  Issue #9 - 2001 In this issue  
Page 1
  The lastest rantings from the editor. [more]
Building a Spit 6 Pt 1
  In the first part of an ongoing series on building a Spit6, I outline putting GT6 brakes into your early Spitfire. [more]
Graham Weston's GT6
Robert Power's GT6
Simon Jones' GT6
Keith Bay's GT6
Tim Clune's GT6
Your Stuff
  Reader contributions - letters, photos, etc.[more]
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  Triumph GT6 Ezine Building a Spit 6 Pt 1: Putting GT6 brakes into your early Spitfire  
Article - Building a Spit 6 Pt 1: Putting GT6 brakes into your early Spitfire
Article - Building a Spit 6 Pt 1: Putting GT6 brakes into your early Spitfire
Article - Building a Spit 6 Pt 1: Putting GT6 brakes into your early Spitfire
Taken from Triumph GT6 Workshop manual without permission.
Author: Todd Wilson

So you have access to a wrecked GT6 and a tired Spitfire, and want to build a Spit 6. While it is always a shame to wreck a GT6, if you have one that is beyond redemption and also have a Spitfire that is in need of a new engine, a Spit 6 is a great car to build and offers you the best of both worlds - the power of the GT6 and the open top of the Spitfire. The process I will outline here assumes a Spitfire Mk2 or 3 (or a later Mk1), the GT6 model is for now irrelevant. As a rough guide, the GT6 Mk1 bonnet will fit the Spitfire Mk1 and 2, the GT6 Mk2 (GT6+) bonnet will fit the Spitfire Mk3 and the GT6 Mk3 bonnet will fit the Spitfire Mk4 and 1500. For this article though, I am only dealing with what I believe to be the first part of the swap - upgrading the Spitfire brakes to the GT6 items. As a side note, if you are looking to upgrade your Spitfire brakes only, this is no longer a recommended route. More on this in an upcoming issue.

The first thing to do is gather all the parts you will require. This is fairly straight forward. For the front you require from your donor GT6 everything from the top ball joint to the trunnion. This includes the uprights, stub axles, hubs, discs, mounting plates, calipers and the brake pipe from the caliper to the flexible hose as well as the flexible hose. It makes life a lot easier if you can get these as a unit, as trying to buy them individually may be costly and make it harder for you to work out where all the parts go. You will also need the brake master cylinder from the GT6 - make sure if you have a tandem system you get a GT6 tandem master.

For the rear your needs are more specific. From a GT6 Mk 1 (July 1966 - Sept 1968) you require the following: the back plates, the brake shoes and the brake drums.

It is also a good time to renew all your bushes, ball joints and trunnions if they are showing signs of wear, so now is the time for you to organise these as well. You should also recondition all those new GT6 parts you have just purchased. I won't go into how to do this here, refer to your workshop manual for that, but I'm assuming here that you are at least replacing the ball joint.

Then it is time to remove the existing parts and put in the new. Assuming you now have the car jacked up and on stands at all four corners, with all wheels removed, proceed as follows for the front. Start by removing the brake calipers and rest them on top of the strut towers so the brake line is not stretched. Using a tie rod seperator, seperate the tie rod ends from the steering arm. Then loosen the bolts that hold the top ball joints, as well as the bolts that hold the trunnion and shock absorber (damper) to the lower arms. Remove the bolts that hold the trunnion, then hold on to the upright as you remove the bolts holding the ball joint. Once they are removed, you should be able to remove the upright and hub etc. as a whole unit. Too easy.

With the new GT6 assemblies correctly assembled as per the workshop manual, bolt in the new ball joint, put the correct oil (not grease) into the trunnion, screw it on to the upright (please check the manual so you do this right), then bolt the trunnion/upright to the lower suspension arm and connect the upright to the ball joint. Tighten these all, but not up to torque at this stage. Bolt on the new calipers and pipes, then disconnect the old Spitfire calipers where the flex pipe joins the brake line and connect the new flex pipe for the GT6 brakes and then remove all the old fittings for the Spitfire flex brake pipes. The next step is an interim measure before you go to a professional wheel alignment firm - wind in the tie rod ends evenly until they will fit in to the steering arms with the hubs square to the chassis (this is basically guess work and must be checked by a professional).

Swapping over the master cylinder should be a straight forward task.

Now the back I'm not so sure on, as I have not yet actually done the swap. But it should go as follows. Referring to your workshop manual, remove the drum, disconnect the flexible hydraulic hose from the wheel cylinder, then remove the rear hub (a bugger of a job unless you have the right tools I'm told). Disconnect the hand brake cable, knock back the tabs which hold the securing bolts and undo them. You should then be able to remove the backplate (I'm not sure, but you may be able to do this without removing the brake shoes, springs, etc). It is then a matter of transferring everything from the Spitfire backplate to the GT6 backplate, substituting the GT6 brake shoes for the Spitfire ones. Then refit the backplate and reverse the procedure outlined above for the removal.

Now, you should at this stage bleed the brakes fully.

The next step is to refit the wheels, lower the car, and roll it back and forth to resettle the suspension, prior to doing up all the bolts on the front suspension to torque.

This is merely a guide, made up from my own experience so far, and I am by no means a mechanic. If you spot any errors, please point them out to me so I can update this article. Above all else, refer to your workshop manual when removing and refitting all parts. Good luck.


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