Restoration or Repair?

The next step with the Corsair has been decided and after a chat with John from AJ Restorations he came back with a a plan and two prices on tackling the front chassis/anti-roll bar mountings problem. It was either the repair job that was cheaper but only would use part of the repair panels I bought and be worked around the bumper mounts and other non-essential chassis work. The second quote was for a restoration of the front chassis legs and I was assured it would look as good as new.

To help get the car ready I had a spare half hour in the garage that enabled removal of the radiator to give more access to the chassis area as per the photos. The front bumper still needs to be removed but climbing around under the car is needed and can be done another day.

I decided to go with the restoration, though it is more expensive and will use up a lot of my budget it will be for the long term, an investment in maintaining if not enhancing the cars value. The corsair is booked to go in for it restoration from next week and done over August.

Tappets and Tidy

Another nice day last week (Tuesday 5th July) and I had the Corsair out on the driveway to adjust the tappets and refit the drivers side window winder mechanism.

Adjusting the tappets wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be, the only thing I had to keep an eye on was the sequence of adjusted inlet and exhaust tappets with the corresponding feeler gauge size. I’m sure I missed one or two, while the engine sounds a lot quieter there is still a tappety noise, something I’ll revisit another time.

Broken winder mechanism from an earlier fix from 2001/02
Broken winder mechanism from an earlier fix from 2001/02
A fixed window winder mechanism
A fixed window winder mechanism

I had welded the broken winder arms together again a few weeks back and it looked and felt a lot stronger this time. Fitting wasn’t too traumatic the only tricky bit was getting the clips to clip on and hold the arms in place. With the welding repair done, what I didn’t do last time and that was to drill a hole and tap a thread so a screw could be fitted to hold the winder handle in place. Just got to do the same on the passenger side. I seem to remember these window winder mechanisms are from a Triumph Spitfire and cost me £22 for the pair back in 2001/02 and then I had to chop them up to fit. The inside runners were all rusty and falling apart so the glass rattled against the door top when wound in the up position.

I had a visit from John from AJ Restorations the other day to look at pricing the front chassis welding repair. I bought some repair sections from the MK1 Cortina club and have become a member of the club as well.

Dom

Rust stops progress

Had some time to scrape out a fair amount of rust from around the front anti-roll bar mounts, problem was I couldn’t loosen or remove the bolts with one shearing off all a bit too easily. The welding shouldn’t bee too difficult but it is relocating the anti-roll bar mounts or sorting out the sheared bolt. Cost is also a factor – but I have a couple of options but may have to wait.

I’ve other jobs to be done (tappets & carb rebuild) but while the car is still drivable they can wait until the welding is organised or done. Reading up on the carburettor refurbishment the other week has highlighted the probable cause of the problems and a rebuild should sort them out.

Thanks for reading. Dom

No MOT but direction to take it carefully

Got the Corsair back home without an MOT. It needed a fair bit of welding to the front end just behind the front valance where the anti-roll bar mounts are. The estimate for the welding was over £200 so I decided to have the car back and do as much my self in preparation and cleaning the affected area ready for welding by some one else.

The plus side to the pre-MOT inspection is that I got advice on other areas needing attention as well as several minor fixes done along the way. The Tappets need to be re-gapped/adjusted and the carburettor needs rebuilding and cleaning as the throttle doesn’t appear to move to full throttle. I also need to source a new or working main beam/indicator steering column stalk due to the full beam light switch not working. On tick over the car ran fine after some adjustments by Hill Top Motors but possibly due to the throttle not opening up enough, driving under load was still tricky with back fire and lacking power. If I was very gentle with the throttle it would be OK.

It would have been nice to have had it on the road for June, but I have got this far taking my time, I don’t want to rush into paying for a welding job that I could help with to save costs.

 

Pre-MOT check up

The Corsair at Hilltop Motors for a present MOT inspection.
The Corsair at Hilltop Motors for a present, a pre-MOT inspection.

It was time to get the Corsair to a garage for a pre-MOT check up to see how much more was needed to be done. Driving the old car over to Hilltop Motors, Shaftesbury at 7am was a bit stressful as it was back firing, running rough and the first time I had driven it any distance for over 13 years. I never got fast enough to get beyond third gear but the car felt good with the steering what with the new tie-rod ends and steering idler.

First impressions from Martyn weren’t too bad, a few minor faults like rear brakes were a bit sticky, the full beam light switch was faulty and water leak from the lower cooling hose from a corroded clip. But the main issues were the front anti roll bar mounts which were close to some corrosion on the front cross member. The Corsair will be at the garage for a few days with the hope that it comes away with a MOT.

Cooling Down

Tackling the cooling system was meant to be a fairly straightforward affair, but this is me we’re talking about here. Last week I took a long way around of missed turnings and going back on myself to get to Yeovil to drop off the Corsair radiator at Rayson Radiators for them to recondition. In the afternoon they called back with the price and that they may get it done by the Saturday (in 2 days). So that evening in the garage I decided to prepare the engine for flushing by removing the thermostat housing on the inlet manifold only to shear one of the 2 bolts. Calmly, I set about drilling the broken nut before stopping for the evening and leaving it for a couple more days.

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Steering in the right direction

A successful and productive day sorting out a few minor niggles (Sunday 1st May). First the blowing exhaust was sorted out, one of the joins on the left hand down pipe hadn’t completely slid in. Then the return fuel line was re-installed, luckily I had kept it along with the old fuel delivery line, though I had to dig it out from a shelving collapse in the carport. It took a while to wiggle it all in to place which necessitated the prop shaft being dropped down again, the hand brake cable being detached and trim off the rusted and damaged pipe ends.

Fuel sender unit all plumbed in properly with fuel return now re-installed.
Fuel sender unit all plumbed in properly with fuel return now re-installed.

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Ignition, Alternator and dodgy wheel nuts

Had about 2.5 hours out in the garage fiddling about with the Corsair – got the new alternator fitted OK this time and looked at changing over the dodgy ignition barrel – but I bought the wrong one that had 3 main terminals not 5… So liberal amounts of lube oil and WD40 into the old one (it was sticking on starter turn over) and cleaned up the terminals and then it took a few attempts working out which wires plugged into the terminals – I tell you, I don’t do things very well in my haste and forget to make notes before taking apart or unplugging…

Ignition switches, new one on the right but had less pins for all the wires I had.
Ignition switches, new one on the right but had less pins for all the wires I had.

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New Boots

I had the cleaned up rims get new tyres fitted on Tuesday (19th). OK, so some may say why didn’t I clean the wheels some more? I just needed to get the tyres on, it added psychological momentum to the project. Chris at Shaftesbury Tyres and Batteries was very helpful and gave that personal touch ensuring a good seal on the old wheels. I also sorted out the new alternator bracket problem, it was a simple undo the 3 bolts on the alternator casing (body) and then rotate one of the body brackets to line up with the other hole to convert it to a left hand swing, so it will be ready for install next time.

In the post I received a new ignition switch, seemed a bit cheap and flimsy, but it will be better than what is there. The original ignition switch is sticking and getting difficult to turn and won’t spring back on turning over. Also in the package was another battery clamp as the last one I got was just a bit too small and a variety pack of split pins – It will make a change that I can put in ‘new’ split pins on jobs where I have had to take them out and preserve them to put back in!

Dynamo to Alternator conversion

It was a nice day [Sunday 17/04/2016] and I decide to bite the bullet and convert the Corsair from a dynamo charging system to an alternator. Armed with a guide from a March 2008 issue of Classic Ford, I had all the components needed; mounting bracket (off an Essex V6 – Capri or Scimitar) and a new Lucas alternator.

First problem was finding long enough bolts of imperial sizes to fit the new (Essex V6 – ebay) bracket to my my V4 block. With the bracket on, it was then unwrapping the new alternator and now my next problem… the tensioner mount hole was on the wrong side. I’m sure I selected one for an Essex V6…

New Alternator (65amp) but something is wrong here - but 24 hours later I had the solution
New Alternator (65amp) but something is wrong here – but 24 hours later I had the solution

Reluctant to put the dynamo back on I dug out two ‘spare’ old alternators that I had for a Pinto engined Capri. One was seized solid the other, although knackered, at least had a rotating pulley. So after some more rummaging for nuts and bolts (I could go metric here) I got it fitted so at least the fan belt could be used to drive the other components when I start the car up to get it back into the garage.

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