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Triumph Repair/Spitfire 1500 Thrust Washer Problems


Thrust Washer Damage
Thrust Washer Damage  

Bearing Cap Damage
Bearing Cap Damage  
Hi Howard,

I have a 1975 Spitfire 1500. I took the engine out because of a bad knock, planning to replace the bearings. However, when I removed the sump, I found the dreaded thrust washers in it. They must have been there for a while, since the crankshaft flange has caused a deep gouge in the main bearing cap (maybe as much as 1/10 in.) and the crankshaft flange itself is also pretty grooved. The thrust washer recess in the block that faces the crankshaft flange may also have been gouged a little (see photos). From online research, it appears I could have the bearing cap machined and a custom thrust washer pinned to it, but what’s your opinion of the rest of the damage? Is it generally possible to machine the crankshaft flange or is the entire engine likely to be uneconomic to repair?

Many thanks


Hi Nigel,

Unless you have found a good used engine to start over with, most any good auto machine shop can make repairs to yours. Several of the Triumph engines were designed with only half of a thrust washer instead of full circle thrust washers used on most other engines.

This resulted in the thrust washer dropping into the pan when they were worn down a little. They should be able to machine the crank and adapt a thicker then normal thrust washer and machine the block to accept the newly designed washers. They will be familiar with what is needed. They may even be able to make a full circle set instead of the half bearings that the Spitfire came with.

I believe they should be able to modify and correct the problem for less then the cost of buying and rebuilding another engine.

Not all auto machine shops are created equal, so if it were mine I would tear it down and take it to more then one to get an estimate and what method they can use to correct the problem. Some machine shops are equipped and have experience correcting that type of problem even if not on Spitfires.


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Howard M. Fitzcharles III


Triumph TR-4 up & Spitfire, and Engine theory


Dealership line mechanic on MG, Triumph, Jaguar for 15 years, Instructor in commercial mechanics school 2 yr. Product information manager for piston and valve manufacture, Instructor & hotline answer man for import car parts importer 15 yrs.

Associate member SAE EAA member

Import Car magazine

ASE Master Auto with L-1 certification up to 2000

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