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77' Spit 3000 miles European tour successfully completed

To: triumphs@Autox.Team.Net
Subject: 77' Spit 3000 miles European tour successfully completed
From: (Romano Kroemer)
Date: Fri, 5 Sep 1997 00:01:25 +0100 (BST)
Hi all,

I'm back from a 3000 (!) miles tour with my 77' Spit! I am alive
and the Spit is as well! 

In 5 weeks I did roughly the follwing tour: 
Oxford (U.K) - Dover - Calais (France) - Bruge (Belgium) -
Brussels - Luxembourg (Luxembourg) - Strassbourg (France) - 
Munich (Germany) - Innsbruck (Austria) - Verona (Italy) - Genoa -
Monte Carlo (Monaco) - Cannes (France) - Avignon - Lyon - Paris
- Calais - Oxford.

It was great fun! I stayed especially in region of Genoa (Italy)
  for a while and made many day trips to various beautiful places
  in this region of northern Italy which is called Liguria.

The major events from a technical viewpoint: 
In Germany my speedometer suddenly stopped working. During an
  extended stop in Austria (my parents live there) I was able to
  cure this problem. Many of you will have noted my postings to the
  list at the end of July. After having taken out the speedometer
  and the speedometer cable I traced back the problem to the
  connection of the cable to the overdrive and reconnected it.
In Italy (Liguria) my cylinder head gasket decided to give up!!!
  I had just started one of my day trips (five minutes after
  starting the car, the car had definitely not overheated yet)
  when the engine suddenly sounded like a VW Beatle and a cloud
  of white smoke emerged from the exhaust. I stopped immediately
  and investigated the problem. There was water running
  down through the exhaust manyfold and two of the spark plugs
  were wet (with water) when I unscrewed them. With the help of
  some friends of my Italian girlfriend (who used to live there)
  the car was recovered the next day (my birthday :-( ) from that
  place to a parking space right next to the house where we stayed
  that time. After having recieved a new head gasket from England
  (next time I'll have a spare one with me, I promise), which took
  slightly longer than expected (in the middle of August many shops/
  companies including transport enterprises are closed in Italy) I
  started my first big repair job I have ever done on a car.
  Fortunately I had a decent set of tools and a Haynes manual with
  me (the torque wrench I borrowed there). I replaced the gasket,
  exchanged oil and water. And indeed, after the fourth try the engine 
  started up. This was quite a satisfaction and relief after having 
  worked already for approximately 7 hours under the Mediterranean sun.
After that event I did already 1300 miles without problems (I bought 
  then a torque wrench in Italy and re-tightened the cylinder head
  nuts on a parking space in France on the way back).

My conclusions:
  - next time I have a head gasket with me when I travel. Also a
      torque wrench, a big hammer and a piece of wood (for getting off
      the cylinder head), an oil plug spanner is also helpful.
  - apart from having great holidays in general (I saw many beautiful
      places, had a lot of sun and great fun driving the Spit) I
      learned a lot about the car. I was a complete novice in repairing
      cars, the Spit is my first Triumph. During this trip I learned
      a lot about the car, how to repair it, and how to do some
      essential maintenance (like handeling a grease gun for example).
      This gave me a great satisfaction, and now I know why these cars
      are not only fun to drive (or just to look at), but also fun
      to work on. 

One question to the list:
  How is it possible that the cylinder head gasket blew when the car
     was virtually still cold? The only explanation I have is that
     in the days before I did some "difficult" trips (steep roads
     uphill on hot days/evenings), affecting the head gasket already
     so much that its lifetime was limited to some miles more. However,
     during those "difficult" trips the car never showed signs of
     extreme overheating, the temperature gauge never the crossed
     the 3/4 mark.

It is definitely an unforgettable experience to drive a Spit on a
  sunny afternoon on one of these curvy roads at these rocky coasts
  in Liguria when you have the dark blue sea just below you and some
  palm trees above you.......

77' Spit

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