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How to Adjust the Valves on My Triumph Spitfire

by Michelle Schaefer

The Triumph Spitfire is a classic British sports car that requires regular tune ups and adjustments to maintain peak performance. Part of a comprehensive maintenance schedule includes routine valve adjustments every six months or 6,000 miles. A valve adjustment is a simple maintenance procedure well within the abilities of the average weekend mechanic. Spitfires are, by design, very easy to work on with the right information and a few simple tools.

Step 1

Apply the parking brake, shift the car into neutral and chock the wheels.

Step 2

Remove the spark plugs, valve cover and valve cover gasket.

Step 3

Number the rocker arms and valves from #1 to #8, starting at the front of the engine.

Step 4

Rotate the engine with a 1 13/16-inch socket and 3/4-inch breaker bar until the #1 valve is fully open and just starting to close. Adjust the #8 valve to .010 clearance with a 1/2-inch wrench and screwdriver.

Step 5

Rotate the engine with the 1 13/16-inch socket and 3/4-inch breaker bar until the #2 valve is fully open and just starting to close. Adjust the #7 valve to .010 clearance.

Step 6

Adjust the valves from front to rear using the "rule of nines." The "rule of nines" is: 9 - (# of the valve fully compressed) = the # of the valve to adjust. For example, when valve #3 is in position, it is time to adjust valve #6 (9 - 3 = 6).

Repeat Step 6 until all valves have been adjusted. Replace the spark plugs, valve cover and valve cover gasket.

Tips

  • Petroleum jelly can be used as a gasket compound so that you can reuse the valve cover gasket several times before replacing it.
  • Use a fender cover or blanket to protect the car's finish when working on the engine.

Warning

  • Always rotate the engine clockwise. Rotating the motor counterclockwise will result in inaccurate valve adjustments.

Items you will need

  • Wheel chocks
  • Metric socket set
  • 1 13/16-inch socket
  • 3/4-inch breaker bar
  • 1/2-inch combination wrench
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Valve cover gasket

About the Author

Michelle Schaefer began writing in 1998 for "The Pennsylvania Homeschooler" with advice for parents educating their handicapped children at home. She earned a bachelor's degree in education from Kutztown University in 1991.

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