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.
Recently, the carburettor had been opened up, double checked and minor adjustments made and it seemed to had done the job when the Corsair was started up and ran for about 2 to 3 mins even when running it from a fuel can before cutting out and then not starting. It seemed that the fuel pump was intermittently working and therefore seen as the problem.
Cue the following week when I ordered and took delivery of a new Huco fuel suction pump from Southern Carburettors. With the new pump fitted I thought to test it by pumping fuel into a jar and remove any air from the system. The pump cut out after a bit of fuel pumped into the jar, but I wondered if the new pump sensed a resistance pressure in the jar that triggered an auto cut off. Anyway, hooked up the fuel line to the carburettor, switched the ignition on for there to be one small click from the fuel pump to pressurise. I started the car, it fired, ran for a couple of seconds and then cut out.
Considering the same occurred on the old pump as well, but that time using a fuel can, I’m certain it is not a fuel blockage in the fuel tank, so now my attention must focus on the fuel pump not getting power after the ignition is switched on.
Could it be the ignition switch? More to follow, I’m sure.
The Corsair has been with John at AJ Restorations for 2 months now, however my brief to him was to tinker between his bigger paying jobs to keep the costs down, only thinking it would be a carburettor tweak and a few other bits of tuning to get the car running properly. Well, nothing is ever simple. There are problems with the carburettor possibly having the wrong idler needle and jets but the main issue now is that the distributor appears to have seized in its mounting and won’t turn for adjustment.
Visiting John’s today, I got to chat with Peter who helps out twice a week and is Ford trained from the 1970’s so he is quite familiar with the Corsair. However, the distributor is stuck, seized, no move. The internal weights had seized up too but they free’d off after a good soak with oil. So, the Corsair is looking rather sorry for its self at the moment.
I also took down the distributor I bought some months back and after taking delivery had a suspicion that it was for another Ford car. It is quite different to the one in the Corsair which is probably a Lucas type and the new old stock one I had was a Bosch. Anyway, it was hard to identify the numbers on the box but John knows a man that can and if isn’t suitable then I should have the right info to re-sell it.
Last week – too much of a crap mood to write anything then – I looked at taking the Corsair out for a bit of test drive around the nearby garages/flats access road. While it took a bit to get started, the engine ran lumpy with popping and back firing through the carb, just as before. All I could think of was the fuel was dirty and contaminating the jets and other fine points of the carburettor. A message on Facebook about this and it was suggested that the electrics were at fault, but the other week the engine was running sweet, however the fuel did look dirty in the carb float chamber. So I have decided to remove the fuel tank (at some point), clean it best as I can and flush through the fuel lines, filter and pump, clean the carburettor (again) and hope this will solve the carburettor set up problems. I have also bought a NOS Motorcraft distributor, but upon closer inspection suspect it is for a Pinto (Ford) rather than for Essex V4.
I will get on to it when I feel like it and I need to buy a cleaning agent for the fuel tank.
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…
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.
Had a tinker last Sunday to try and trace the fault with the ignition. With help (and I mean it) from my 11 year old son, we are sure it is the coil that is faulty. Using my screw driver test lamp with crocodile clip I checked the points and condenser which according to the instructions in the Haynes manual appeared to function fine. I later re-learned what was the Low Tension (LT) circuit and the test light glowed when on the + terminal of the coil when it should have not… or something like that.
Anyway, I’ll need about £35 for a new one, so it’ll have to wait. I didn’t test the clutch this time, forgot, but will try to next time.
If you have advice you can pass on, please comment below.
A couple of hours on Saturday saw the Corsair being prepped for it’s first crank over. The cooling system was re-filled then it was plugs out and checked. The engine was hand cranked over just to ensure it hadn’t seized and things moved freely. The mower fuel can was set up as a temporary fuel source.
This was the moment that hadn’t happened for over eight years, the engaging of the starter motor and cranking of the engine. I kept the key turned and after an initial slow turn over everything seemed fine… except the engine didn’t fire. Out with each plug, and test. Well weak spark at No.1, ok on No.2, not sure about No.3 and ok-ish at No.4. Tested the HT lead from the coil, well it sparked. Checked the points gap was fine and condenser ok. Turned over… several times. Checked the fuel was getting to carb, all ok. Re-checked dizzy cap etc, looked ok. Re-checked HT lead to dizzy, prodded the wire that would make contact with the distributor and it broke off. Answered that then!
So, the battery was taken out of the Corsair and reconnected to the trickle charger with the next task to obtain newer HT leads. I came away happier that the battery was good and man enought for the job, the fuel was getting to the carb, the carb linkages were freed up and now aware of the dodgy clip mounting on the distrubuter body.
Two old (dead) batteries were swapped today at a breakers near Stalbridge. I decided to keep the one I had been trying to resurect, but still had two old spares (one possibly being off the wife’s bug) kicking about. Luckily, I hadn’t disposed of them at the local recycling centre (dump) as the breakers yard took them in as a swap for one good fully charged one. Result!
I’ve not tried it out but attached it to the trickle charger for now. Fire up day looms…
First thing Saturday I decided to put the battery back on charge. There was hope after the first round of charging a few weeks ago, as it then had enough to power the lights but not engage the starter motor. So, I drained the battery some more by attaching a lamp to it for a couple of hours last weekend, in readiness for a second & third charge session. After two days of ‘high’ power charging the battery was then hooked up to a solar panel battery conditioner. This was rediscovered in a recent garage tidy up. The solar panel was fixed to the back of the garage and the cables fed through the gaps in the rear wall (sectional garage). They only just reached the battery on blocks on the floor.
I told you it was going to be long and drawn out process however, things are further down the line than a few monhs back. Next week I’ll be mostly dithering over what to do next!