I finally got a round to trying out the Gunson Colortune I got last October. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be with the instructions in clear English and to the point. The most difficult part was putting in the spark inspection plug in, without burning my fingers on the exhaust manifolds.
On the instructions it said you only needed to use one cylinder on a single carburettor and one inlet manifold design as per my V4. It was a simple task of removing a spark plug from any one of the four cylinders and replacing it with the Gunson spark inspection plug. It advised on having a clear view as possible of the plug which would become evident later. As mentioned earlier, the awkward part was fitting the inspection plug with its copper washer as it was quite a lot shorter and stubbier than a spark plug and difficult to get a decent grip with finger tips especially with a warm/hot manifold nearby. A deep 14 mm socket would have been best to tighten the plug but finger tight with a normal socket was good enough. After that, a long thin rod from the set was screwed in place so the HT lead could be connected.
It was a good start to the year with the New Years Day run, another pleasure drive 10 days later and the MOT pass. With the weather taking a turn for the worse I took the opportunity to send off the distributor base plate to H&H Ignition for the screw threads to be repaired. They didn’t disappoint and returned the base plate with new screws a week later – so I fitted it at the weekend and ensured I didn’t over tighten the condenser or points in!
At the beginning of the year, I also started to use a fuel stabiliser due to the fuel in the UK now having 5% ethanol. The additive claims to prevent ethanol fuel from going stale and improve starting as well as engine running performance. After fitting the repaired base plate in the distributor I had to fire up the Corsair to test and it fired straight away – well by the third attempt it kept going without dying. This was good, and much improved from previous starting occasions especially as it was a cold and very damp day. So I was believing the fuel additive has improved the fuel igniting properties for an easier start, 6 pumps of the pedal were still required though. For the Lucas brand, I added 5 ml to 5 litres of fuel and should have 45 litres of treatment – bottle cost about £13 from Amazon.
I have another brand to use when the Lucas one is used up that claims to have similar claims/properties but it is a smaller bottle and treats 25 litres of fuel but in proportion a similar cost. For the coming months I hope to sort the nearside rear bake cylinder and get some more driving in before embarking on the front strut insert replacements task I need to do this year.
At the beginning of October I attended, for an hour or so, the Sturminster Newton Saturday morning vehicle gathering, after which I took an errand run to Gillingham before heading home. Earlier that morning I had bled the brakes and they felt firmer and much improved to the very spongy feel I had the previous week on the New Forest Tour.
Towards the end of October the weather had deteriorated to rain and more rain, so I tried to start the Corsair up just to keep it turning over, but it was stubborn to the point that I flattened the battery. I tried a few more times after re-charging the battery but to no avail and the bad weather continued through November to December to be too wet to take the Corsair out. Later in December, I ordered a new battery (UK spec 038 – 45aH 330 CCA) and finally fitted it just before Christmas and it fired up the car almost straight away. Which leads me to this write up, as I rounded off the year with a spirited drive on Sunday 29th December. The Corsair took a few turns to get going but once on the road I had a fairly clear run all the way to Sherborne along the A30 and then, on the return trip, once clear of Milborne Port it was a swift drive with other modern traffic home.
To round off the year I have ordered two type s of fuel additives that I hope will aid starting the Corsair but also because the unleaded in Dorset now has 5% ethanol content (E5) and as the car sits unused for a few weeks at a time I felt the additive will help preserve the quality of the fuel and also for my lawn mower. I use the premium unleaded (Tesco Momentum or Esso Super) mainly for the higher octane and better performance, so time will tell if there is a noticeable improvement for me to let you know.
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.
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.
Forever perusing Ebay for those odd elusive items for the Corsair, I came across this petrol tank with the fuel sender for a Corsair way back in November 2017. The seller initially was asking £50 buy it now, so it went on my watch list and then the listing ended without being sold. A week or so later it re-appeared but this time for a £60 buy it now price. Again on my watch list and with a week to go I offered £40 but was countered with a £45 offer that I turned down. Another fortnight leading up to Christmas it came back on again, and then it appeared to have sold a week before its end date.
A short jaunt out in the Corsair on Christmas Eve ended with the car spluttering the last ½ mile home and cutting out on the driveway. A bit of a tinker a few days later couldn’t get it started and I suspected a condenser problem.
Today, I had a whole afternoon to fiddle with the Corsair, after ordering new points and condenser as a back up/ precaution from a local motor factor (Automotive). Tests showed the fuel pump was working fine and that the condenser appeared to be in good order. So my attention turned to the carburettor which was due a rebuild as I had bought new jets a while ago as John from AJ Restoration had suggested.