When I first
got my 1979 Spitfire the clutch did not work. The clutch like so
many had the dot 4 fluid dried up to a white yuk. I rebuilt the
master cylinder and replaced the slave cylinder. I replaced the
4 fluid with DOT 5. Then I found out that the clutch was frozen.
After reading several ideas on how to free it I set it on jack
stands and put it in gear, started it and kept revving it up and
applying the brakes, well it worked the clutch broke free. I
drove it this way the first year, but the clutch was starting to
slip. I now had my winter project.
the clutch, twice, I put it in backwards
the first time, throw out bearing, and the pin that it pivots
on. Success it did not slip any more. But every time I drove the
car I would run out 4th gear and it wanted another gear. On the
hi-way it needed an over drive or a 5 speed to feel right. After
the trouble some were having with the over drive, I decided on
the 5 speed. I know it not original but it’s what I wanted. Yes,
another winter project.
the Frontline conversion kit from Quantumechanics.The
kit came with:
Directions, always good.
A rebuilt Ford Type-9 trans.
An adaptor plate that fits the 5 speed to the Triumph bell
All hardware required for the conversion.
A new drive shaft,
A new clutch kit,
A new pilot bushing,
A new speedo cable,
A new trans mount,
A new shifter,
A new tunnel. I did not need this I adapted my plastic one.
A new tunnel carpet, black, I did not use this I used the plush
carpet from Spitbits.
I removed the
entire interior since I was going to replace it after the 5
speed was in. I took the 4 speed out through the inside of car,
did not pull the motor. I had to drop the exhaust to remove the
drive shaft. Since the trans was out and the flywheel off I also
replaced the rear engine seal, after all it was 29 years old. I
put in the new pilot bushing and put the flywheel back on. While
putting the flywheel on I found end play in the crank so I also
replaced the thrust washers while I was at it.
adapting the new 5 speed to the old bell housing.
I removed the bell housing from the 4 speed along with the
release bearing. Fitting the new adapter plate to the 5 speed
and the Triumph bell housing required transferring 2 holes and
drilling clearance holes for the bolts into the bell housing and
cutting clearance in the bell housing, about an 1/8” had to come
off of the new adaptor plate where the slave cylinder goes.
clutch. I made a clutch alignment tool, the one for the old 4
speed was to small.
to install the new 5 speed into the Spit it did not clear the
tunnel below the hand brake. To get the 5 speed in with out
cutting the sheet metal below the hand brake I loosened up the
motor mounts. This gave me the 1⁄4” I needed to clear the
tunnel. It lined up well and went in just like the old 4 speed.
new trans mount. The plate for the trans mount did not line up
to the old holes so I drilled new holes in the trans mount
the slave cylinder into the new adapter plate. The Slave
cylinder is held in with one setscrew, I used lock tight on the
the new drive shaft. I extended the wires for the back up
I hooked up the new speedo cable, a notch had to be cut in the
floor pan by the tunnel to get the clearance for the cable. The
speedo will need to be calibrated but for now I will use a GPS.
I did a clutch bleeding.
Then I cut the old paper tunnel to see how to adapt my plastic
original tunnel to fit the new shifter, the new shifter position
is 2” aft of the original 4 speed shifter. I cut the tunnel just
in front of the hole for the shifter and added a 2” piece of
sheet aluminum so the shifter hole would line up with the
shifter. The tunnel fit well I made sure it was sealed well. I
also insulated it with bubble wrap sandwiched between foil. I
also did the floor and bulk head with this. This insulation made
the inside quieter and cooler.
My new 5 speed was in, but
to take it for a true test drive I had to finish the interior,
so I just put in the drivers seat and off I went. Driving at
60mph in 5th gear the rpms are only 2800-2900. All I can say is
WOW this is a different car. The 5 speed is quiet and smooth
shifting and solid.
Now all I had left
to do was install the new interior I got from SpitBits,
last year. I worried that the carpet would not fit around the
tunnel because with the 5 speed the shifter is 2” aft of the
original location. I used the plush carpet from SpitBits and it
fit the extended tunnel very well. I was also able to use the
knee pads, a tight fit but they look good. As you can see by the
photos the interior looks original, you need to look close to
tell that the shifter moved 2” aft.
own a 2003 C5 Z06 Corvette.