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View Full Version : Spitfire Triumph Spitfire Brake Response



noKYtour
04-29-2012, 07:00 AM
I have a question that's been hanging out in the back of my mind since I test drove a 74 Spitfire on Friday. The brakes had very little feel or response and I was wondering if this level of performance was normal. When I pressed the brake it took a lot of travel to get any effect and I felt like I was downshifting for engine braking more to get the car slowed down and stopped.

Now, this might just be normal but my test drive on Friday night was the first and only time I've ever driven a LBC so I wanted to get your thoughts. When I talked to the seller about it he said the brakes had been checked out by his garage when working on the parking brake and the mechanic said everything was fine. After we got back he looked in the reservoir and thought it might need a little fluid. I'm going out to test drive a 79 MGB tonight so brake response will definitely be one of the things I watch for. Thanks for any thoughts or advice you might have.

Mickey Richaud
04-29-2012, 07:08 AM
Hydraulics in all the British cars are similar, and the proper feel should be a very solid pedal with not a lot of travel. My sense is that his car needs some attention.

The '79 B has power brakes, so it's going to feel a bit different. Still, should be solid.

noKYtour
04-29-2012, 07:17 AM
The proper feel should be a very solid pedal with not a lot of travel. My sense is that his car needs some attention.

Should you be able to lock up the brakes on one of these cars? That would not have been possible with the one I drove.

Mickey Richaud
04-29-2012, 07:20 AM
Yep. I would say he definitely needs to have that checked.

noKYtour
04-29-2012, 07:24 AM
Thanks for the info, that's good to know.

TR3driver
04-29-2012, 07:29 AM
Should you be able to lock up the brakes on one of these cars? That would not have been possible with the one I drove.

Yes, absolutely. As Mickey said, the pedal force is higher without the power booster, but you should have no trouble locking all 4 wheels if you want to. If you could not, then there is something wrong with the brakes, no matter what the mechanic said.

One possible problem is the linings may be contaminated with oil, grease or brake fluid. Having to add fluid all the time is not normal, either.

noKYtour
04-29-2012, 08:04 AM
Thanks gents. Sadly, I think I'll scratch this car off my list. It was a good looking car so the brake issue makes me a little sad. Oh well, onward!

3798j
04-29-2012, 08:29 AM
Addressing brake problems on the Spitfire is a straightforward and not terribly expensive undertaking. If it's only this one problem, I wouldn't rule the vehicle out.

Mickey Richaud
04-29-2012, 09:08 AM
Addressing brake problems on the Spitfire is a straightforward and not terribly expensive undertaking. If it's only this one problem, I wouldn't rule the vehicle out.

X2! VERY easy fix.

noKYtour
04-29-2012, 09:32 AM
Ok, thanks. What type of expense would be involved with making the brake system better? This car is already at the high end of my range and will probably be ruled out because of the initial cost, especially if it needs a lot of brake work. I can do the work myself but would definitely need advice.

JodyFKerr
04-29-2012, 10:12 AM
My $.02.

My mum's '79 Spitfire had very similar brakes when we picked it up. They worked, but weren't very reassuring.

3 new brake hoses ~$15.00 Each
2 Wheel cylinder rebuild kits ~$15.00 each
Fresh brake fluid ~$20.00
And about 5 hours of time.

All fixed. The brake response was immediately improved. If you opt to go back and look at the Spitfire again take a really good look at the rubber lines that go from the caliper to the hard brake line.

This how to article will give an idea of what's involved with refreshing the brakes: https://theymightberacing.com/Projects/InSitu/TS78/BrakesRefresh.aspx

Keep in mind, you can always use the spongy brakes as a negotiating point on the price of the car.

Jody

noKYtour
04-29-2012, 12:30 PM
Keep in mind, you can always use the spongy brakes as a negotiating point on the price of the car.

Thanks for the cost breakdown and thoughts. If I decide to try for this car I'll definitely use the brakes as a negotiating point because the seller seemed to think they were normal. Thanks again.

Andrew Mace
04-29-2012, 02:32 PM
There's always the outside chance that a: five minutes' worth of rear brake adjustment and b: a few miles on the car with a few stops to burnish off rust on discs and drums would drastically improve things! What you describe is "normal" only for a Spitfire that hasn't been properly maintained, and my fear about the rest of the car is that it might have had the same (lack of) care....

sd80mac7204
04-30-2012, 10:56 AM
I also agree on an easy fix. Mine sat for many years and it took me an hour to replace the rear wheel cylinders and the brakes have been great ever since. Locks up all four no problem!