View Full Version : Need Sockets

11-27-2002, 01:28 PM
Ok I need some sockets for my Spitfire. As far as I understand it there are a couple of different type. SAE (US Imperial), Metric and British Imperial. I have the SAE and metric but need the British sizes. I have been into a few stores and they all look at my blankly when I ask for the British size. Anyone know of a decent place or web site to get the British sized sockets? Would perfer a Canadian supply (we get raped by exchange rate) but anything would be great. Thanks.


Ken G
11-27-2002, 06:35 PM

I think you need to look at
#SOCKETS%20&%20WRENCHES%20(SPANNERS) (run the # right up against the .htm; I have no idea why the forum won't let me send the message with this address complete; I was forced to split it). This gives a table of dimensions across the flats of spanners/wrenches for many standards.

I would imagine (but others would really know) that many of the threads in a Spitfire would be BSF (British Standard Fine), although a few might be BSW (BS Whitworth, much coarser and as far as I can see from my 1925 Rover, used mainly in soft metal, e.g. aluminium). However the bolt heads and nuts may not conform to the expected sizes specified for a particular thread, and I have found a problem with my "Whitworth" sockets that one (5/16 inch, I think) is ever so slightly undersize; the flat wrench works but the socket won't quite fit.

I obtained wrenches from British Tools and Fasteners in southern California, https://www.mrcybermall.com/machine_tool_parts/, who provided an excellent and fast service and I think reasonable prices.

Ken G, 1925 Rover 16/50

11-27-2002, 07:47 PM
I have SAE and Metric sockets. Does mean I need more to work on the TR250?

11-28-2002, 11:36 AM
Hello 78Z,
I don't think that you will find any B.S.Whitworth
sizes on your Spitfire, with the possible exception of fuel line unions on S.U. Carburettors
if they are fitted. Even on my 1962 Jaguar there are very few Whitworth sizes, again on the fuel system and one on the engine. Incidentally U.N.C. threads are very close to BSW.
Same goes for the TR250.

Alec graemlins/thirsty.gif

12-01-2002, 03:49 PM
I was going through the Target ad (discount department store, nationwide, I think) looking for gift ideas, since they've got everything from clothes, toys, electronics, sporting goods and on and on. Listed under Home Improvement, I happened to see something called the Gator Grip universal socket. The picture is small, but it looks like it has a bunch of steel rods that conform to the size of the bolt being inserted - would this solve the problem of fastening/unfastening non-standard nuts and bolts?

12-02-2002, 09:17 AM
Re the Gator grip,
I have seen it but never used it and I would guess it may work, but I wouldn't rely on it for the following reasons:- bulky so there may be an access problem if the head is close to something,
rusted fastners would be more likely not to be unfastened and damaged and how long will it last?
Alec graemlins/cheers.gif

John Turney
12-03-2002, 12:53 AM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by kindofblue:
Adjustable wrenches are bad bad bad...<hr></blockquote>

Oh, you mean a "crescent hammer" graemlins/hammer.gif

Moss motors does sell Wintworth sockets. You should have very few on a '74. On my '57 Austin Healey, the only place I've found Wintworths are on the SU carbs.


12-03-2002, 04:38 AM
Gator Grip is probably another time saver for the careless. The best way to work on any fasterner is to use the most correct socket and or wrench to fit the fastener correctly. Using the wrong size can lead to breakage, stripping, and other problems. Adjustable wrenches are bad bad bad...

12-05-2002, 03:33 PM
Hi All,

Thanks for the info - guess I won't rush out and buy a Gator Grip!

12-15-2002, 09:24 PM
The Spitfire was built primarily for export to the U.S. In my experiences I have yet to find a bolt or nut that was not of standard SAE (fractional) size. If the sockets and wrenches you are using are of high quality they are often hard to fit due to the close tolerances of manufacture and the corrosion build up on the fastener. I keep a cheap set of 12 point sockets and a cheap set of openend wrenches handy for just such situations. Also you will find that you can often get a loose fit on some fasteners by using a metric socket the is slightly larger than the SAE wrench. To find the metric equivalent convert the fractional size to its decimal equivalent and divide that number by .0394.
Example: 5/8=.625 .625\.0394=15.86. Use a 16 MM and it will work just fine. Hope this helps and saves you some bucks for other things you need for the car.

Bob Hamilton
12-28-2002, 11:07 PM
I have had excellent luck finding used Whitworth and B.S.F. sockets and spanners on eBay. Good quality and prices and mine came from Australia.
1953-1954 Sunbeam Talbots and 1953 Alpine

12-31-2002, 06:23 AM
I have had no trouble fitting S.A.E. sockets and wrenches to my spitfires, the only problems i've had have stemmed from the DPO's "repairs" like the crossthreaded nylock nuts on the driveshaft, as well as other fun finds. One of my favorites; one of the bolts for the left motor mount broke, or was lost, so the DPO decided that he should replace it. He did so using a steel rod and a welding machine!

I've gotten a dedicateed set of tools collected for the spit, they include things like wierd bent wrenches that you need for some things (lower manifold studs) and various other cobbled together tools of various descriptions.

The basic point of this post is to say that sae should do what you need.