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Auto Psychic
Auto Psychic, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 1437
Experience:  semi retired mercedes benz master guild technician
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Triumph Spitfire 1500: I have a 1980 Triumph Spitfire 1500.

Customer Question

I have a 1980 Triumph Spitfire 1500. The car seems to be running on only 2 clinders. I have tested the compression on all 4 cylinders and they are within 5 lbs of each other. The timing is set at 2 deg ATDC (Per spec). The spark plugs are new (NGK Iridium). I have used the timing light to confirm that all 4 spark plug wires are generating a spark, I confirmed this as well with the spark plug pulled out of the cylinder an it sparks this way as well. I have confirmed rocker valve clearance and adjusted one of them, #1.
I can tell I have an issue because if I run the engine with spark plug wires #3 and/or #4 pulled there is no change in engine behavior at idle, if I pull #1 or #2 it runs quite rough.
I have swapped #1 and #4 Spark plug wires to see if I have an issue here, no change. I ahve confirmed that the spark plug wires are correctly connected to the distributor 1,2,4,3. The distributor cap has no obvious cracks. The car has an electronic ignition.
The car was working fine before I did a partial rebuilt the carburator, the fast idle portion of the auto choke broke and I got an older carb and swaped the pieces.

I am at a loss as to what to look at next.
Marc Loranger
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Auto Psychic replied 1 year ago.

Auto Psychic :

hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX i'll be happy to help you with today.

Auto Psychic :

as you might imagine its been a while since i worked on a spitfire lol

Auto Psychic :

please tell me about the carburetion (for the life of me cant figure out how to spell that lol)

Auto Psychic :

a big 2 barrel, 2 i barrels?

Auto Psychic :

anyway how about a big vacuum leak near cyls 3 and 4?

Customer:

This is a Zenith Stronberg CD150 - single carb.

Customer:

What could cause the vacuum leak?

Auto Psychic :

2 barrel?

Customer:

1 barrel

Auto Psychic :

sorry i was distracted by the picture.

Auto Psychic :

very pretty car.

Auto Psychic :

i guess in one sense a 1 barrel simplifies it.

Auto Psychic :

so one and two plug color is ok and 3 and 4 are white?

Customer:

If it ran it would be even better. I have changed much of the rubber things and now have new tires and a new rear spring and rear shocks and sway bar bushing in the front.

Customer:

Let me go look at the older plugs, just a minute

Auto Psychic :

ok, if i'm with you this all started with a carb rebuild?

Auto Psychic :

i'm still thinking vacuum leak.

Auto Psychic :

spray carb or brake clean all over the intake manifold but not in the carb, any change?

Customer:

No the other way around

Auto Psychic :

ok, so you rebuilt the carb in an attempted repair?

Auto Psychic :

1342 on the firing order right?

Customer:

I did replace the diaphram in the carburator with a new one.

Auto Psychic :

bad intake manifold gasket between 3 and 4.

Auto Psychic :

does it have air injection, god i hope not lol

Customer:

Yes I did. I got an old carb so I could understand how it really went together and replaced the diaphram and cleaned the piston in the carb

Customer:

No injection

Auto Psychic :

thank god on the air injection.

Auto Psychic :

so to summarize its running on 1 and 2 but not 3 and 4

Auto Psychic :

so as long as the firing order is ok its fuel

Auto Psychic :

try the carb clean deal, how are the brakes?

Auto Psychic :

where does the vacuum line for the brake booster connect to the intake manifold?

Customer:

Yes on 1 and 2 based on pulling the spark plug wires.

Auto Psychic :

you get what i'm driving at.

Auto Psychic :

gotta love this remote diagnosis.

Customer:

the brakes work fine.

Auto Psychic :

just to be sure 1342 right?

Customer:

I do not believe there is any vacuum assist on the breaks

Customer:

The firing order is 1, 4, 3, 2 actaually.

Auto Psychic :

wow, no vacuum assist, must go better than it stops.

Customer:

Photos of the distributor on other web sites are the same as the one in my car.

Auto Psychic :

well i just looked it up, humor me try 1342

Auto Psychic :

what have you got to lose.

Auto Psychic :

i'll double check while you do that.

Customer:

I have to press hard on the breaks,

Customer:

it is 1, 3 4, 2 clock wize with the #1 in the 10:00 position

Customer:

Also in this car if I remove the oil filler cap I can see the valve tappets and using the timing light wiht the cap off the valve tappets are all the way up, so closed when the spark is firing.

Customer:

That is for the #4 cylinder

Auto Psychic :

double checked 1342 looks right.

Auto Psychic :

humor me, swap 3 and 4.

Auto Psychic :

looking into the brakes/vacuum issue.

Auto Psychic :

looks like you have an external vacuum brake booster, similar to the mercedes 190 sl.

Auto Psychic :

its not between the master cylinder and brake pedal as on most cars

Auto Psychic :

so, heres what i think, you either have a firing order issue 3 and 4 or a big vacuum leak at the rear of you intake manifold.

Auto Psychic :

nothing else makes much sense.

Auto Psychic :

what do you think?

Auto Psychic :

gary

Auto Psychic :

so where are you anyway?

Auto Psychic :

beautiful car by the way, did i mention that? lol

Customer:

I am in No California.

Customer:

How do I determine if I have a vacuum leak in the intake manifold.

Auto Psychic :

spray carburetor cleaner or starting fluid all over the intake manifold near 3 and 4 if the rpm changes you've got a vacuum leak.

Auto Psychic :

look for any hoses pipes etc that connect near the rear of the intake manifold, disconnect and plug or pinch off.

Auto Psychic :

so, are you 100 percent sure on the firing order??

Customer:

I have to try that in the morning as it is 11 here and will make too much noise. If the engin changes then I have to change the gasket.

Customer:

The fireing order is as i described, Is it possible to add a photo so that you could help me verify?

Auto Psychic :

11 hear to i'm in morro bay,

Auto Psychic :

really humor me, swap 3 and 4.

Auto Psychic :

vacuum leak beyond that.

Auto Psychic :

cant think of anything else.

Auto Psychic :

if i do you'll be the 2nd to know.

Auto Psychic :

get some sleep.

Auto Psychic :

talk to you tomorrow.

Auto Psychic :

gary

Customer:

Gary, I will try these in the morning. I have attached an image of the distributor firing order - front of engin #1 to the left

Spitfire 1500 Distributor
Full Size Image

Auto Psychic :

great picture, you had me going at first with the oil filler cap in the rear lol

Auto Psychic :

can you send a picture of the intake manifold?

Customer:

Gary,

Customer:

OK, so I finally got back to the Spitfire 1500 with the apparent ignition issue.

Customer:

I used carb cleaner on at the junction of the intake manifold and the engine block and the sound clearly changes. If I swap 3 and 4 there is not change in sound or behavior nor does the carb cleaner have an effect.

Customer:

I guess then I have an intake manifold leak.

Customer:

Guess I will try and tighten down the manifold bolts to mfg spec torque.

Auto Psychic :

tightening it down probably wont help.

Auto Psychic :

as you know english engines are notorious for poor mating surfaces.

Auto Psychic :

your best bet is to remove the manifold and make your own gasket using rtv silicone or equivalent.

Auto Psychic :

i think your good to go.

Auto Psychic :

please take a moment to rate my seervice.

Auto Psychic :

may the force be with you.

Auto Psychic :

gary

Customer:

Gary,

Customer:

You are correct the bolts were no where near the 25 lbf feet of the spec and it did not help. It needs a new gasket as using the carb cleaner still makes a change.

Customer:

I will try to make my own and if not then get a performance intake manifold gasket on the internet.

Customer:

You have been very helpful. Tahank you an I will rate your service execelletn

Customer:

Regards,

Customer:

Marc

Auto Psychic, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 1437
Experience: semi retired mercedes benz master guild technician
Auto Psychic and 4 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Auto Psychic replied 1 year ago.
hi marc,
thank you for using pearl/justanswer and for trusting the auto psychic.
always happy to help.
gary

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