End of Summer Review 2023

Crayford Corsair
The Corsair parked at Gillingham, Dorset

Since the June update the weather hadn’t really been favourable for driving the Corsair with only a couple of local trips achieved. I did get to visit The Old Ford Rally at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon which was a 200 mile round trip. The weather was a bit damp that morning, with the chance of a shower or two for the day so the roof stayed up for the whole trip. It was also nice to be accompanied by my son who had just become the owner of a 2008 Ford Fiesta for his first car. Several Corsairs attended and mine wasn’t the only convertible this time and the weather stayed dry for the duration of the show. At least it wasn’t baking hot like last year and the Corsair ran nicely without any issues.

The next major trip was in late August to see a friend in Devon and made for a 130 mile round trip. I chanced it with the weather to keep the roof down but with a few traffic hold ups on the A303 Ilminster bypass it inevitably rained while at crawling speed. The Corsair took the slow traffic in it’s stride and cruised happily at 65mph on the open stretches of dual carriageways and clear roads. I eventually arrived at my friends place after a missed turning or two down some single track lanes in amongst the Blackdown Hills. The return trip was slow (with another shower) on the single carriageway section leading out of Devon but once on the open road and dual carriageway the Corsair cruised nicely in the late afternoon sunshine. It was a good run and the Corsair coped with the slow traffic without over heating at all.

At the end of August I took the Corsair in for an MOT inspection and unfortunately it failed on a few points this time. Not only that, for the 4th MOT day in a row, it had rained. I will need to save up to necessitate the repair to the body work where the steering box mounts to the chassis. I will also consider more restoration work, hopefully to be done by John Midwood, in this area while its off the road.

.gov.uk MOT fail sheet for the Corsair

Mid Year Review – June 2023

Due to a wet and miserable March through to April I didn’t really get much chance to use the Corsair. The last decent outing was to the Sturminster Newton meet up in February and that was with the roof up due to being a bit chilly. It was on the return trip that the speedometer stopped working and I assumed it had slipped out from the gearbox as it had done before. It had been problematic in the latter part of last year by showing the speed but randomly not operating the odometer. For as long as I can remember with the car (as I fitted the speedo cable in the early years) it never had the official bracket to hold the end point into the gearbox. For years I relied on a crude clamp screwed into the floor to keep the cable located which in turn held the end point in the gearbox well enough to get a reading.

A few weeks later (on a dry March day) I fabricated, from a rear brake cylinder ‘U’ clamp, a small bracket to keep the speedo cable from falling out of the gearbox housing. I sourced a bolt (possibly metric) that with some effort I made it fit the thread in the gearbox to hold the speedo cable in place. It was in the most awkward place to reach as the gearbox cross member and transmission tunnel both hindered the ease of access but I tightened up the bolt and it kept the speedo drive in place. Upon the checking the other end of the speedo cable behind the speedometer I found the cable had completely come adrift – problem solved, so I thought. A test drive later showed it hadn’t resolved the issue.

During May, I had used the Corsair for a couple of local joy rides, the recycling run, two fifty mile round trips to work and on none of the occasions did the speedo spring into life. With another long bank holiday I had the time to get the Corsair up on the ramps and have another look at the speedo. This time (with the ramps) it was easier to get to on the nut holding the clamp on the gearbox and lift away the speedo cable. With the ‘other half’ watching the speedometer gauge I vigorously turned the cable in the sleeve and got the all good response that the speedo needle moved on each occasion. However, this time refitting the cable end point, ‘U’ shaped clamp and my dodgy bolt I made sure it wasn’t tightened up to much allowing for a bit of lateral movement. This looser configuration worked and the speedo was now operational and clocking the miles. I decided not to extract the clutch slave cylinder on this occasion.

Another reason for not using the Corsair so much was that I had been working on the Beetle project car. You can read the latest blog at this link or click the picture above.

Thanks for reading.

Autumn 2022

ford corsair convertible
At the Sturminster Newton car event – 1st Saturday of each month

After all the Summer activity with the Corsair it had gone a bit quiet since passing the MOT in early September. Apart from attending the Sturminster Newton car event on the first Saturday of September & October it was local runs to the recycling centre and errands to Gillingham (Dorset) being the main journeys.

By October I had a few minor jobs on the car, one was to source the occasional ‘clanking’ noise from the front nearside when I went over bumps at low speeds. It turned out to be the front hub brake disc back plate vibrating on the brake calliper. A tweak of the offending bit of metal with a screwdriver and it was sorted. The other job was to top up the clutch master cylinder – there is a minor leak on the clutch slave cylinder – a job for next year. The final task was to fix the gear lever housing, it had come undone or popped off, however the rubber gaiter had kept the gear lever in a useable position for a time.

A brisk 9 mile test drive on one of my favourite roads (B3181) was needed to check the tighter gear lever and that the clanking noise had gone away, which it had. The Corsair will see less use over the coming winter months unless the roads are dry and free from road salt. Thanks for reading the blog.

Driving About

Corsair at Upper Woodford, near Salisbury

The Corsair saw plenty of use after the Old Ford Show as I finally got to honour my pledges of taking some friends out for a ride in the car. The first was a trip to Amesbury via the beautiful Woodford Valley near Salisbury, a route I used to regularly drive in my younger ‘Capri’ days. We had a drive out to and around Bulford/Durrington and back to their home. The following week I went to Warminster to see another friend for a drive through the town and then a spirited run on the by-pass.

In early August, I went to the Woodford Valley again to meet friends for lunch with all this taking place in fantastic sunny hot weather. The Corsair ran well and driving was a real pleasure. A couple of weeks later it was another good drive out to visit friends at Burley in the New Forest which made for a great day out and the Corsair seemed to be in its element cruising at 40mph on the New Forest roads. The Corsair had been used for many local trips including those to the local recycling centre, where one person was surprised I used the car for such trips, but my reason being that it was easier to use to lift out the loads from the rear seat and I didn’t need much excuse to just drive it, plus it kept the daily driver car a bit cleaner!

Old Ford Day

The Corsair at the 2022 Classic Ford Show, British Motor Museum
The Corsair at the 2022 Classic Ford Show, British Motor Museum

It had been a long time since I went to a specific car show that wasn’t local. Having driven the Corsair to the British Motor Museum back in April, I felt it was quite within my reach for another trip to attend the Old Ford Day. A member of the Ford Corsair Club had booked a stand on the site and it only required individual entries to gain access to the reserved Corsair area. I booked my ticket for an excellent value for money £9, which included entry for the car, driver and one passenger to the Old Ford Show, Rootes Group Show and the Museum & Jaguar Collection buildings. I took a friend who lived on route as my passenger, so he got an exceptionally great value day out to see the museum collections and reminisce about his past ownership of XR3s and XR2s seen at the show.

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Ignition Woes & Water Pump Replaced

After the trip to the British Motor Museum, at Gaydon, the Corsair was running a bit rough, so a bit of a fettle with the points gap and it ran nicely on a mid week local run about on a cool sunny evening. Come the following Sunday, I had planned to see a friend but the car ran lumpy under load and was basically undriveable, so the trip out was cancelled until I could fix the problem. One thing to note, I refuelled the car to the top again after the Gaydon trip (200+ miles) and estimated the fuel economy to be about 30mpg.

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British Motor Museum & EBMV BB 1985

The Corsair at the British Motor Museum

The big day came for the Corsair, and the weather was forecast as dry with a cold easterly wind and the threat of the odd shower. Based on the forecast, the previous evening I put the hood up as it would make for a more comfortable (warmer) drive up to Gaydon, near Banbury. On the Saturday with a full tank of fuel (45 litres) I set off at 7 am. The drive was smooth and reasonably swift following the A350 to Warminster on to Chippenham. The journey took longer, as per usual once on the A429, a winding section of road over several miles with very few opportunities to pass slower, perhaps over cautious, drivers. After a toilet break and on the other side of Cirencester, I was back on the A429 (Fosse Way) so the pace picked up with the Corsair cruising happily at 55mph. By 9.30 am I had arrived at my destination of the British Motor Museum, at Gaydon near Banbury to meet with the Enthusiasts of British Built Motor Vehicles Built Before 1985, a Facebook Club group.

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Exhausting exhausts

Way back in December 2021 I bought a couple of exhaust manifolds on eBay with the intention of fitting them over the Christmas holiday. Three months later I finally get around to finding the energy to do something about them. With the car turned around in the garage and supported on axel stands I begun to undo the exhaust clamps and manifold bolts. I knew I had a bent manifold bolt to deal with and used my Christmas money to purchase a Dremel drill. Thankfully I chose a Dremel 4000 (175W) kit to cut off the bolt that a socket or spanner could no longer get a purchase on. It was just as well I had gone for the kit with the flexi extension, as the Dremel would not have got in to the tight space under the manifold to cut the bolt head off. The job of removing the manifolds had taken about 1.5 hours as the down pipe clamps to the exhaust system were tricky to reach from under the car. As can be seen in the picture (below) they were in a poor state and the gaskets had crumbled away to nothing hence the severe blowing experienced.

Ford Corsair exhaust manifolds
Ford Corsair exhaust manifolds that were removed
Ford Corsair & exhaust manifolds
Corsair (V4) in the garage with it’s exhaust manifolds removed
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February Update

Nothing too much to write about other than the Corsair saw regular use from September to November 2021 when visiting the workshop where the VW Beetle we have was being worked on – See this link to the WordPress blog about the story of our Beetle. It was running nicely even with a blowing exhaust. I had purchased replacement exhaust manifolds before Christmas but hadn’t found the enthusiasm to fit them, yet as there is a problematic bolt on the offside that I know about and, at the time of writing, ignoring it for now.

Corsair at South Coast Customs & Classics workshop (mid November 2021)

Over the Christmas break I did get around to fitting the new oil pressure switch and rewire the loose brown wire that had been attached to the coil at one point. For the first time in my ownership (remember since March 2000) the oil light on the instrument panel illuminated when the ignition was turned on! The weather had been very damp from there on as well as the roads being generally filthy so it hadn’t been driven since a short run before Christmas.

Electrickery and the MOT (again)

I got the Corsair back from John’s in mid July after he restored the nearside jacking point and the floor chassis sections in front of the rear spring hangers on both sides. He had also cut out previous repairs on the rear chassis sections under the rear seat and restored to like new. When I collected the car, John informed me the side lights and a head light were not working, but when I tested them on my way home all seemed to be working.

some nasty wiring under the dashboard
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