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.
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.
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…
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!
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…
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.
Made some more time with the Corsair on the Sunday morning before the expected rain for the afternoon. With the right foot help of my son, we bled the brakes all round – and now they work. May need doing again, but I can stop the car without using the handbrake. Set about using my 80 grit flap wheel polisher (bought at SSR Wheels Day) on the Cragars and Cal-Chromes and it brought the inner rim up well enough for new tyres soon. I’m not going to get the outer faces of the wheels in much better condition now – though they still have some hard to remove paint on the alloy parts of the wheels. But they look heaps better than they did 9 months ago.
The Corsair came with a pair of original 4 stud (unilug) Cragar SS wheels and a pair of Cal Chrome wheels of unknown origin and date. They were in poor condition as can be seen in the photos. I started way back in June 2015 a technique I had seen on the internet (where else..) by rubbing down the chrome with aluminium foil and water. I think the photo (8th image) shows it worked well for the Cal Chrome even though they were in a rough state.
I took a closer look at the brake discs to see what could be done with them. They had a lot of surface rust from nearly 14 years of being idle, however I had seen on a forum and then a Youtube video about cleaning rusty brake discs with a poly-carbide disc. Unfortunately I couldn’t get hold of a disc for my angle grinder but the got one for the electric drill instead, which was OK, but I think the angle grinder version would have done a better job, so will re-order another from Amazon. The front face was quite heavily pitted after the clean up and wipe down with clutch/bake cleaning fluid. The back face wasn’t too bad, but I am hoping the brake pads will bed them in more as they get used.
I had a successful day refitting the fuel tank and putting in the new copper fuel line. Removing the old fuel line (steel) and fuel return pipe was awkward as it necessitated taking out the prop shaft and uncoupling the hand brake cable. It meant the tricky process of putting the new 4 metres of copper fuel line in was made a bit easier. I tried to copy the pattern of bends on the ‘bench’ in the garage but it was proving difficult with almost disastrous consequences of kinking and flattening the pipe with my pipe bender. So, the alternative approach of one long length of pipe was positioned up under the car and bent up in situ.
Been shopping of late, new fuel pipe with the fixings in stainless and stainless braided pipe in the top picture and new brake lines all in stainless including one for the master cylinder to match the clutch hydraulic pipe in the one below. I’ve still to remove the rear flexible brake pipe but I have been soaking it in WD40 for a while now – I don’t want to snap anything at this stage!
This weekend I hope to nip over to Hill Top Motors and get the pistons out of my front callipers to un-seize them and then will be looking forward to a day off, get the Corsair up on axle stands and spend a day plumbing the fuel tanks and new lines in along with the overhauled brakes. Well, that’s the plan!