Spitfire Rear Braking Components
The rear brakes are usually a rusty mess!
Take everything apart, blast and paint the back plates, and fix or replace the rest of the parts…
We now have most needed parts in stock at sale prices.
There are a few pointers that we’ll mention when preparing to do this job:
-Getting the brake back plate off the axle assembly will first require you to “pull” the wheel hub off of the axle shaft. Not an easy job. It is probably best to combine the rear brake job with rear axle bearing service. This will allow you to kill two birds with one stone. You can probably find an automotive machine shop that is capable of pulling the hub off for you.
If you don’t wish to pull the hub or backplate, you can still do a full brake overhaul; it just won’t be as easy. You’ll have to settle for cleaning up your backplates “on the car”.
-That little brake pipe that “curls” around the backplate will almost certainly need replacement. We have yet to find a source for it. It is standard 3/16” brake line tubing with flared ends. We do have both the male & female tube nuts in stock if you need new ones. This pipe is difficult to make at home because of the tight, compound bends that it needs to fit on the backplate. Care must be taken to make up a new pipe (to copy the shape and size of it) before you attempt to remove your old one. Chances are that the old one will get trashed when you attempt to unscrew the tube nut from the wheel cylinder. (Most of the pipes are dreadfully rusty anyhow).
If you aren’t comfortable making a new pipe, go see your friendly mechanic at the corner garage.
-Speaking of the above-mentioned brake pipe, care must be taken when separating the other end of the brake pipe from the rear flex hose. This threaded connection is supported on a small sheet metal bracket that is welded onto the brake back plate. Don’t just “reef” on the nuts with large wrenches to unscrew them. They are often seized solid and will not easily unscrew. Excess force will rip this bracket off the backplate, resulting in yet another problem to fix…
If things won’t unscrew, use a hacksaw and cut through the side of the brake hose end fitting just below the bracket. If you work carefully, you can saw through the steel hose end immediately adjacent to the bracket. The hose will then fall off and the remains of the brake pipe can be removed without damaging that bracket.
This will mandate the installation of a new brake hose, but I bet your old ones are in pretty sorry condition.
The two spring plates that retain the wheel cylinder onto the backplate seem to be daunting to remove or install. Actually, they are not!
There is a narrower, springier plate that mounts innermost, right up against the backplate, and a flat, wider plate that mounts against the inner spring plate. The inner plate has two small “dimples” that stick out, while the outer plate has two corresponding holes that the dimples fit into. You can slide these plates in quite easily with a screwdriver. You’ll need to give a few small “love” taps onto the screwdriver with a hammer to get the clips fully engaged and seated.
The rubber dust boot then slips over the wheel cylinder shank and parking brake lever.
Here is a fully assembled rear brake unit. Notice how nice and shiny it is…
With a little work, you can transform your ratty and corroded brakes into something like this too.
This brings to mind another little assembly tip:
Those two horizontally mounted springs that attach to the brake shoes. You MUST install them (especially the lower one) before you mount the brake shoes onto the back plate. If you examine the hooked ends of the lower spring, you will see that you cannot engage the hook in the spring hole with the shoe mounted against the back plate. There is not enough room to manipulate the spring into position. Attach both springs between the shoes and then stretch the shoes open enough to slide into their slots in the wheel cylinder and adjuster.
Fits most 1963-1981 cars. One set includes four shoes to service both rear wheels.
Fits 71-73 cars
This is a new Lucas boxed kit. I sure wish we had these available ten years ago! For a long time you just couldn’t get Spitfire rear brake springs. I can remember trying to salvage rusty old springs so people could overhaul their rear brakes. This often involved bead-blasting and repainting badly rusted pieces.
This new kit contains the clevis pins, springs, and cup washer “things” that hold the shoes down against the back plate. Also includes the upper and lower shoe return springs (listed below).
Kit services both rear wheels.
Does not include the handbrake springs.
Fits any 63-81 car.
Included in the kit above*
The return springs are the long coil springs that mount horizontally between the brake shoes.
These springs are mounted on the back side (between the shoes and the back plate) and their ends hook through small holes in each shoe.
The upper spring has a double coil, while the lower spring has a longer single coil.
Upper Brake Shoe Return Spring
Lower Brake Shoe Return Spring
Spitfire Rear Brake Adjuster
These adjusters are always seized solid.
Do you get the feeling that your Spitfire brakes aren’t as effective as they once were?
It’s possible that the rear adjusters are “not adjusted”.
Very commonly you will find that the adjusters are totally seized up. Consequently, even with brake pedal pushed down as far as it will go, the brake shoes barely contact the drums! In this condition the brakes won’t do much stopping.
The easiest solution is to install new adjusters. This will make it possible to remove the slack in the rear brakes.
The adjusters are easily removed from the back plates after removing your drums.
Adjusters are secured to the brake back plates with two threaded studs and nuts. Undo the nuts, remove the shoes, and then the adjusters can be slid out.
It might be possible to free up your old adjusters. Work the steel adjuster shaft back and forth while thoroughly dousing the adjuster body with penetrating oil.
If you have a torch, it may be possible to free up the adjuster threads with the judicious application of heat. Be careful!
Freeing up seized adjusters is a dodgy proposition. Sometimes it works out.
We have new adjusters on sale now…
Fits all Spitfire & GT6 from October 1967 onwards.
Fits LH or RH.
Spitfire Rear Wheel Cylinders
There were three different wheel cylinders used during Spitfire production from 1963 – 1981 .All three are essentially the same. There is a small difference in bore size, depending on the year of the car. It probably matters more that you have a matched pair of rear cylinders than exactly which size they are. Otherwise, unbalanced braking will result.
Back in the 1980s, new wheel cylinders cost at least double what they are today. When those cylinders were fifty or sixty bucks, I wholeheartedly recommended rebuilding the old ones. The kits were only five bucks; so who cared if it didn’t work out.
Now the cylinders cost half as much and the kits cost twice as much. This really changes the economics of rebuilding your old parts. Added to this is the advanced age and “crustiness” of thirty or fourty year old parts. Most old Spitfire wheel cylinders are a corroded mess, not usually suitable for overhaul.
Only one cylinder leaking? Take our advice and replace both. The other one probably isn’t far behind!
High quality cylinders made in Italy. Some are Delphi-Lockheed brand and some are an Italian brand that I can’t pronounce. Includes bleed screw.
Fits LH or RH, 2 needed.
1963-4/1970 cars. Bore size 19mm (.748”)
05/1970-1974 cars Bore size
1975-1981 cars Bore size 17.5mm (.6875”)
Spitfire – GT6 Wheel Cylinder Mounting Kit
The wheel cylinders are held onto the back plates with special flat spring-steel clips. These clips retain the wheel cylinders onto the back plates, while allowing them to slide in their slotted mounting holes. This is necessary to allow for even braking. If the wheel cylinder were not free to move, all the braking would occur on only one shoe on each side!
Kit includes mounting plates, lock plates, and rubber dust boots for both rear wheel cylinders.
Order a kit-you’ll almost certainly need it during wheel cylinder replacement. If one or more of the spring-steel clips aren’t damaged or missing, you can bet that the rubber boots will be in dire need of replacement.
Fits all 63-81 cars, including GT6.
Spitfire Rear Brake Flex Hoses
2 needed. Fits LH or RH
There is often a discrepancy regarding the rear brake hose length. Check your old ones against the dimensions listed here.
Approximately 13” long. HO-BRREA-BH123
Approximately 11 1/16” long. HO-BRREA-LH1668
Approximately 13 1/8” long. HO-BRREALH1651
Spitfire Brake Drums
Brake drums on a sports car become pitted with rust. Most cars sit all winter without being driven. That shiny machined face inside the drum is bare cast iron, and it isn’t painted or otherwise coated. Rusting occurs quickly.
If you are doing a complete brake job, new drums are probably a good idea. Most Spitfire drums have been “turned” several times by now. Chances are that the drums are too thin to safely machine another time.
We have drums on sale now.
Spitfire 1963 – 1981. Fits LH or RH.
Spitfire Rear Brake Cable
As with all Triumphs, stretching of the brake cable renders it ineffective.
You don’t pay much attention to the hand brake until the day you really need it!!
Installing a new cable will restore hand brake operation to a useful level and it is not a difficult job.
Fits 73-81 cars.