I had a fortnight off work, so lots of opportunities for Corsair driving time. The first major trip was to take Nigel (Christmas Tipple post) and his son out one afternoon for a spin, so I took a familiar route down the A30 to Fovant and onto Barford St Martin and back via Dinton and Tisbury. The hay lorry over-take at Compton Chamberlyne was an exhilarating experience as well as a necessity due to the fact we were getting covered in hay as it was being raked off by the trees and bushes the lorry scrapped past. Once at Tisbury, I let Nigel drive the Corsair for the last part of the journey and he quickly had a feel for the car and the proper driving experience it provides.
All was OK, on later trips, I traced the hissing noise from the engine as being a pin hole water leak in a core plug at the rear of the right bank cylinder head. The radiator water was rather low and since topping it back up it hadn’t dropped any more in about 150 miles. There had been several local trips out and about before I took it to a drive-in event at Henstridge Airfield for the Wings and Wheels day. The Corsair was well received especially as it was the only Corsair there and also because of it’s history. A week later it was a nice cruise down the A303 at a steady 55mph, but in the other direction, towards Sparkford to go to the Breakfast Club Meet at the Haynes International Motor Museum. Once parked up, the Corsair drew some immediate interest for some former Seventies Ford mechanics and again was the only Corsair in attendance among the many hot hatches, Triumphs and Jaguars.
A few more trips are planned before further work commences in replacing the leaking core plug and at the same time replacing a rear crankshaft seal as the engine is dripping oil. Both jobs will require the engine to be lifted out of the car.
Following on from the last blog post, the next day (Saturday) I took the Corsair for a worthwhile drive to Blandford as a good excuse to do a bit of shopping. I was soon leading a line of cars through Melbury Abbas and then pulling up Spread Eagle hill out of the village at about 25 mph still with a long line of traffic behind me. As the car got to the top of the hill and then constrained by the road’s 50 mph limit, the Corsair settled in at 50-ish and I managed to shake off the long line of traffic behind as I cruised the straights and glided round the bends on the way to Blandford.
Friday evening (10th Aug), I had just eaten my dinner and I get a phone call from John saying he was at the side of the road on the B3081 just before Zig Zag Hill and was I available this evening? The washing up could wait until I got home. And no, he hadn’t broken down – there was plenty of that the day before, but John said the Corsair was running well and he had been out to Six-Penny Handley and back without a hitch or hiccup and could come over to pick me up in it. After collecting me and with John driving it back to his workshop, I could feel the car was running so much smoother, even as the passenger and it seemed responsive on the throttle.
Once back at John’s, the Corsair was switched off with no over run even if the temperature gauge was, probably incorrectly, reading hot. John then went on to explain the shenanigans he had on the Thursday with it breaking down on him most times he took it out. It was as if the fuel system was being starved every so often and he thought it was the fuel tank not having a breather pipe (it does, as I fitted a new pipe with the recent tank re-install). He drilled two tiny vent holes in the filler can to help alleviate this, but still the problem occurred intermittently. He then noticed the over flow return pipe running back to the fuel tank had a leak, so he cut out the bad section and replaced with a section of pipe. From there the Corsair would continue to be starved of fuel but seemed worse on the next test drive, so he disconnected the return pipe from the carburettor running back to the fuel tank, and then the Corsair ran/drove normally.
An overflow pipe had since been connected and re-routed to over flow away from the engine bay, but not to the fuel tank, for now. At least all seemed well with the Corsair. John said he had tuned it with about 10° Advance and with the new carburettor, the mixture screw now allowed for more finer tuning. Test drives over the weekend beckoned but I had to have a quick cruise through the town’s high street before I took it home to put away in it’s garage.
A few little jobs to do over the coming months will be to replace the flexible brake pipes as the bores of them maybe too small and possibly causing a temporary lock up of the brakes, as John experienced when the car was parked up. I’ve also to put the drivers window back in, now that John has also repaired the window glass runner utilising a window runner from a MGB.
Since the tale of two fuel tanks and one breakdown, I did manage to get the Corsair to John’s (AJ Restoration) just and I mean only just. For the last half mile and going up a gentle hill, the car was reduced to chugging along at 5-10 miles an hour in first gear while I was waving on the stream of traffic that built up behind me. It was only so I could have a clear run up to John’s gates for it to stall and then roll the last bit to be left unceremoniously in the middle of his yard. That was early July and the arrangement was as before, to fit it in with his other bigger paid jobs. Around this time I decided to buy an new old stock (NOS) Zenith Carburettor 36 IV (3046) with a 28 choke from the Carburettor Hospital, based in Essex. The photos below don’t do it justice – the camera on my phone was struggling to digitally process the clean flat grey colour.
Saturday morning was when I had a spare hour and I could fit the replacement fuel tank knowing it wasn’t a too arduous task having taken the fuel tank out before. I was hopeful about the fuel sender would work that came with this fuel tank but unfortunately it didn’t. Anyway the new tank looked so much better and was much cleaner (clean metal) inside, so I transferred about 2 gallons of clean looking fuel from the old tank. That is where my glory ends.
Being somewhat dismayed with life and other things, I had left the Corsair well alone – there was no need to involve it in any work, feeling the way I was. Typically though, the weather had been extremely nice from the first May Bank Holiday weekend with it still continuing to be hot and sunny, including today, the day I finally ran out of excuses not to do something for the Corsair. So, feeling brighter and more confident with myself, I chose to use the day to clean up the spare fuel tank I bought way back in February.
A few months back… yes it was that long ago, the window dropped down rather swiftly when it was wound down. No problem I thought at the time, it’s popped off the runners as before as I wasn’t sure the securing clips were any good anyway. A few weeks back I bought a Triumph Drop Glass kit with new washers, clips and bolts etc. Now, with the weather finally being warm and sunny, I was able to to get the Corsair out of the garage for a bit of tinkering. I left the engine rough idle alone for the day as I wanted to fix the window winder mechanism and do other minor jobs.
Chasing the electrical fault recently, led me to Youtube to teach me how to use my multimeter properly. With the new found wisdom I tested the coil. I got a low reading of 1.6 ohms on the Primary circuit (between the – and + posts) which should have been 3 ohms or more. On the secondary circuit, the one that goes to the distributor, the reading was 1, meaning there was a fault or the coil was dead.
So in early March, I was going to try and do an electrical test of my circuits to the fuel pump, but wasn’t sure how to use my tester unit properly. I therefore took a peek at the ignition switch which threw up this horror to me… evidence of things getting hot and a potential fire risk. Could something else be causing this? or was it the switch mechanism shorting out? There was fair bit of corrosion on the terminals and I wouldn’t be surprised if the internals were in a similar condition.
So, Easter Sunday (1st April) and I finally get the energy to go out in to the garage, plus it wasn’t too cold, wet or snowy. I plugged in the new ignition starter switch that I got some time ago and cleaned up the terminals by cutting off the old melted insulation material. With the wires and spade connections exposed they looked to be in good shape and I didn’t think they needed a rewire, so wrapped them with insulation tape for further protection.
So, with the battery reconnected it all fired up, and the engine stayed running. I just need to re-tune the carburettor just as John had last year because I still had the flat spot even after putting in new jets.
Update 2nd April: The engine fired, ran for about a minute and then cut out, for it not to re-start – so back to square one.
Since the Corsair spluttered to a halt on the on the driveway back on Christmas Eve, I’ve been tinkering away trying to solve the fault. Testing the fuel pump, checking the points and condenser, rebuilding the carburettor and fiddling with all manner of idle mixture settings, had not made any difference. The Corsair would start, fire on the first turn over then cut out.