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Old December 29th, 2017, 03:16 PM   #1
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Miatafied Triumph Spitfire 1500 (and possibly KL-ified)

I have decided to put my Triumph Spitfire build here partially because it may receive a healthy KL motor (still undecided on which choice). And the other reason for putting the build here is because I have grown to loath the Miata.net website. Hopefully Damon doesn't own that one and is not a fan of it!

There are far too many people naming their Miata people names and it is starting to creep me out -besides the fact that they are obsessed with build threads that consist of a steering wheel change, a shifter knob change and a nice wax job. HOW is that considered a build?

Well anyway -I know we here on PT know way better than that. There is better information, real builds -and as of yet -I haven't seen threads about giving their cars people names. Please people -don't start that now!

So to start off with. Here are some before photos:











I have a lot more coming -so it may take a bit to get this thread into full swing.

P.S. Chances are probably 75% on favor of the KL motor vs the 4.0L 1UZ aluminum V8, the Honda S2000 F20C 4 cylinder, and the Hyabusa 1300cc. I have samples of all in my shop -but I am most familiar with (and have the most parts for) the KL motor (which will likely always be my favorite).

Here are a few more "before" pics.

What I got with the car:




The engine that was claimed to be rebuilt -yet to be verified:




When I pull a few things off -and if I find that the engine was actually rebuilt as claimed -I should be able to get a few $$$ out of it to recoup some of my initial $600 purchase price.
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Last edited by KLZE Porsche; December 29th, 2017 at 03:14 PM.
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Old December 29th, 2017, 03:20 PM   #2
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There's been a few spitfire for sale around here. I was tempted to check one out...

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Old December 29th, 2017, 03:32 PM   #3
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After some research (no help from Miata.net members) about Miata suspensions (being 4 generations now) I found that after a short change from 4 bolt Gen A & B to 5 bolt Gen C -they have gone back to the 4 bolt wheel pattern in the Gen D Miata (2016 and up).

And after more research (again -mostly on my own) -I found that the new Miata ND suspension is the lightest version yet. So I had to have it -and pulled the trigger:





And holy crap -this stuff is lightweight!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brizzy View Post
There's been a few spitfire for sale around here. I was tempted to check one out...
They are definitely fun cars -and the price is going up on them quick. So if you find one cheap -you might want to invest. Oh and one more selling feature -is that they are really extremely easy to build -because there isn't much to them.

I pulled apart the knuckle assemblies and did some quick comparisons and found that the A-arm physical size is very similar:



And the length is very close as well.

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Old December 29th, 2017, 04:25 PM   #4
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Wheels and tires:





Front struts (top=old, bottom=new):



One steel bushing was missing from one of the Miata front knuckles. So I decided to see if I could make one (left=old, right=new):



Got the body off the frame:



Newer cast aluminum parts are far superior to old castings -which makes polishing them extremely easy:



I chose the ND Miata front suspension -not only because of the weight -but because the lower arms have both pivots in horizontal config -compared to previous versions that had the rear pivot vertical. And I chose the older 93 NA rear suspension because they had upper and lower A-arms -where as the newer NC and ND generations have multi-link. I am not a fan of all multi-link rear suspensions. Some are good -and some are just outta there (in my opinion) The NC and ND are two examples of that.

Hacking up a front subframe for the uprights:



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Last edited by KLZE Porsche; December 30th, 2017 at 03:39 PM.
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Old December 29th, 2017, 04:56 PM   #5
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Not every Miata owner gives their car a person's name. There are actually a very few that are "gettin' busy":



This has grown to be my major rear suspension/driveline inspiration. So I ordered an aluminum GM Getrag diff and some axles. The diff should be here tomorrow.

Something had to be done because the stock Spitfire diff is called the "Glass diff" and the Miata piece is not much of an improvement. I just hope that in the rear "narrowing" work -that the GM diff will still fit. I will find out tomorrow when I can see if it will fit within the confines of the narrowed Miata rear:





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Old December 29th, 2017, 06:50 PM   #6
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Too bad you couldn't section the body to add what was taken out of the suspension to the body, instead of removing it from the suspension. Looks like all the elbow and armrest room is gonna be gone Looks like fun though. KL or it's a just going to be a Miata.
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Old December 29th, 2017, 07:11 PM   #7
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Too bad you couldn't section the body to add what was taken out of the suspension to the body, instead of removing it from the suspension. Looks like all the elbow and armrest room is gonna be gone Looks like fun though. KL or it's a just going to be a Miata.
Narrowing (even more narrow than mine) has been done very similar to this by Grassroots Motorsports:
https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/fo.../123915/page1/
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Old December 29th, 2017, 07:58 PM   #8
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Amazing little car!
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Old December 29th, 2017, 08:43 PM   #9
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Oh snap. I thought these were unibody
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Old December 30th, 2017, 06:50 AM   #10
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Amazing thread! Thanks for posting ton of pictures
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Old December 30th, 2017, 09:00 AM   #11
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Oh snap. I thought these were unibody
Nope! That is why I have always been sold on them. On my first one -I lifted the engine out by hand and by myself. I don't know if I can do that now -but it can be done. And it took two of us to lift the body off. This time around -and since I didn't have a helper -I lifted it off with an engine lift.

The frame is very nice because you can make an entire rolling chassis and modify it and then later modify the car body some to fit over it.

Got the Axles yesterday and Getrag diff this morning. Seems like the 12 days of Christmas for me!

Diff and axles:



Miata to CTS axle compairison:



Miata to CTS diff compairson:



Before deciding to go with the Getrag -I was going to use a Lexus IS300 Torsen diff -as I assumed it was reasonable sized -as the IS300 is not a huge car. However -that bastage is big -and to top that off -it is heavier than the entire Miata rear subframe with arms, axles, hubs and diff. I can't have that. My goal is to not increase the weight significantly. I realize that there is no way that I can keep it the OEM weight (approx 1600 lbs) -but I would not like to see it creep up over 1800 if possible.
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Old December 30th, 2017, 05:03 PM   #12
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Jigged and ready for welding

Jigging the rear subframe was extremely easy since there were already 4 thru holes in the right places. It is squared up nice and neat and ready for welding:

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Old December 30th, 2017, 09:43 PM   #13
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Wow that thing looks absolutely tiny. Growing up, I was always in large vehicles, and when I got in my probe the first time, that felt really small(used to it now). I can't imagine a car that small... How tall are you?
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Old December 31st, 2017, 05:30 AM   #14
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Wow that thing looks absolutely tiny. Growing up, I was always in large vehicles, and when I got in my probe the first time, that felt really small(used to it now). I can't imagine a car that small... How tall are you?
I am 5'10" -and when I drove my last one -it wasn't too hard to fit into. It is somewhat about the same feel as a BMW Z3 or Z4. That is why I am going to put Z seats into it. Similar cockpit size means the seats should work. I am sure now that being nearly 40 years older than I was back then -that it will be hard to get down into the car since it sits so low to the ground. But I am sure I can manage.

Some people have put Miata seats in them with no problems. But I like the look and quality of the Z4 seats so much better.

Yes it is a very small car. When driving it -it has the feel of a very fast go cart. But put some power to the wheels and then it feels more like a 4-wheeled crotch rocket. In my last one -I used solid motor mounts -and when you do this in a spitfire -you feel the engine extremely well. It gives the feel of riding in an extremely overpowered hot rod where the entire car shakes and vibrates to your bones.

The first time I got my wife to ride in it with me -she said it scared the hell out of her. And it was indeed very scary because the vibrations are very low toned and deep -which have been shown in studies to produce fear. So I guess you can definitely call them the go cart from hell!

There are several reasons why I decided to go with Miata suspension. One is unlimited wheel selection. Two is upgraded braking resources. And three is that the rear transverse leaf spring arrangement sucks unless you are only pushing 50 hp or so like in the original configuration. There is only one lower control rod on each side. There is nothing on the top portion of the knuckles. So the only thing that keeps the top side of the wheel from coming forward under power launches is the torsion of the leaf spring. There was a lot of forward motion on the rear wheels in my last Spitfire build because I stuck with the stock suspension.

I ended up welding a piece of pipe with a bracket from the upper portion of the knuckles to near the forward pivot of the lower control arms to make them into more of a triangle -and then when I would launch I would get real bad squatting in the rear that caused severe tire rub. Miata rear suspension with upper and lower A-arms should eliminate most of these problems.
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 07:16 AM   #15
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I had a Spitfire for a while, and my first thought when I saw the thread title was, "How's that going to fit?" Can't wait to see the final results.
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 12:45 PM   #16
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Matt, I sent a Probe circle track car owner your way and told him that you were probably the best source for an engine management system to fit his needs. I told him that you might also be able to help him out with tuning software and other info. He is the car owner -but I don't think he is the driver. From the photos he sent -they look like a fairly professional team. They were holding a first place giant check (quite a few zeros) for one of their races. I don't know as though I have ever seen another Probe in a major circuit first place win.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 10:26 AM   #17
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Thanks! I think I spoke with him on the phone yesterday.
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Old January 7th, 2018, 12:45 PM   #18
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Aren't the Getrags also known to have issues? I did marginal research more than 3 yrs ago and didn't like the results of the V8 guys with the GM pumpkins. Ford 9" is 'slight' overkill but the innards are nearly infinitely customizable and the volume means prices are reasonable.

Spotting a T-bird/Ford aluminum IRS pumpkin might be a bit of work though.
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Old January 7th, 2018, 02:38 PM   #19
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Aren't the Getrags also known to have issues? I did marginal research more than 3 yrs ago and didn't like the results of the V8 guys with the GM pumpkins. Ford 9" is 'slight' overkill but the innards are nearly infinitely customizable and the volume means prices are reasonable.

Spotting a T-bird/Ford aluminum IRS pumpkin might be a bit of work though.
Yes they are -found out after purchasing. But then I researched more and found that they have problems of leakage. If leaks go undetected and unattended -this could explain grenading diffs.

And yes the Ford aluminum IRS pumpkins are a bit harder to locate. That is why I chose GM. I guess they are more available due to the reported problems. But I know there are a lot of GM products out there using this pumpkin which makes the failure rate fairly low.

I also do not intend to put lots of miles on this car -and it would be hard to put lots of load on the pumpkin due to the weight of the car. I am going to press on with the Getrag -unless I spot a Ford one for fairly cheap.
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Old January 7th, 2018, 04:54 PM   #20
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I think you went in the right direction - was just wondering if you found out new info about the GM line. I agree that for your TQ output the Getrag will do the job just fine, and since you'll be spending as much time under it as in it, you'll be on top of maintenance

Looking forward to the progress!
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Old January 7th, 2018, 05:55 PM   #21
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...I was just wondering if you found out new info about the GM line...
I had done a lot more reading up on the problem and found way more people saying they haven't had any problems with them under much power. So I think I should be OK. I plan to at least peek into this one to see the internal condition and then do a really good seal job on it. I may even add a thin gasket if it doesn't affect shimming.
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Old January 10th, 2018, 01:12 AM   #22
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Im glad to see you are still playing around with some funky stuff. Your threads and also Dan[Sac]'s builds are what made me decide to do build a KL-miata
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Old January 10th, 2018, 09:59 AM   #23
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Im glad to see you are still playing around with some funky stuff. Your threads and also Dan[Sac]'s builds are what made me decide to do build a KL-miata
The day that I die -will probably be the day that I stop playing around with "funky stuff". For me -it is the spice of life! Spicy girls cannot be the spice of life for me -so cars come in from 2nd place for a strong 1st place win!

P.S. Please be sure to post up that KL Miata. I love anything and all "KL-ified".
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Old January 20th, 2018, 09:08 PM   #24
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Rear A-arms re-finished and bushings installed

Here is the latest. I burned out the old decaying rubber bushings and installed all poly bushings. Before installing the bushings -I sandblasted and refinished the A-arms. I thought about getting them powder-coated -but the chances of them seeing lots of time outdoors or exposed to corrosive things or leaking oil etc. are extremely slim to none. This will be a definite garage queen when finished. It will see occasional sunny weekends or perhaps a car show or two -and so I don't think the durability of powder-coating is a necessity. And besides -at some point -I may even have a full set CNC machined from billet 6061. So these will do for now:



I am still in the holding pattern for welding. The friend that is supposed to do the welding for me has been extremely busy. So if his time doesn't free up soon -then I may be investing in my own MIG welder and learning how to MIG. My daughter says it is easier to do than stick welding and I used to be fairly good at stick welding -so maybe I will pick it up quick.
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Last edited by KLZE Porsche; January 20th, 2018 at 09:10 PM.
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Old January 28th, 2018, 07:03 PM   #25
KLZE Porsche
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Alabama
Age: 56
Posts: 5,861
And just when I was beginning to think it would never happen...

I was starting to think that my friend would never have enough time to do some welding for me -when I got a call from him yesterday and he asked if 2pm today would be good for me and I said "sure".







So now it is time to start hacking on the main frame. I am thinking that I will definitely have to go with a cantilevered strut system and so as soon as I have the basic frame layout -I will then need to spend some time in the CAD software to design up something that I can do with some aluminum cantilever arms.

I have ordered a few different motorcycle -used rear shock knuckles which look to be a good cantilever arm with roller bearings. If these turn out to be beefy enough -then I think I can work with them:

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Last edited by KLZE Porsche; January 31st, 2018 at 05:28 PM.
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