The Fuel Shenanigans

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.

August Update

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.

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Two Tanks and a Breakdown

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.

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The drought 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.

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The Starting Problems Continue

Moprod fuel pump and filter. Original set up.

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.

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Fuel Tank MkII

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.

ebay screenshot
Ebay screenshot of the Fuel Tank

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Problem Solving and a Carburettor Rebuild

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.

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The Corsair Christmas tipple

Gallon of 97 Ron fuel
A gallon of 97 RON fuel

OK, been a bit quiet of recent as I’ve not made the time to take another look at the carburettor or even have a bit of a tinker. However, I was prompted to make this post as a thank you to a person from my place of work. Now, I’ve done plenty of favour jobs in the past and never sought anything in return. Recently, I have been doing some software tuition with a colleague down a couple of corridors and I was asked my tipple, obviously as a show of thanks for what guidance I had given… being a non drinker I said not to worry maybe a gallon of fuel for the Corsair. So to my utter surprise and amazement on Thursday I was handed this can of fuel even the high octane  (more expensive) stuff in a new can too! Thanks Nigel Cook… I think you may have booked yourself a passenger ride when the weather improves.

Running problems and carb farts…

On the Saturday (8th April) I fitted a battery to use the fuel pump to suck fresh clean fuel from a fuel can to flush through the pipes, electric pump and in-line filter into a jar. The first wave of fuel was quite dirty, the second was cleaner and then the third batch was better still. The fuel wasn’t wasted – it went straight in to the lawnmower. The original battery was fitted – as the one I initially used didn’t have enough charge to turn the starter over properly. This one eventually fired the engine to life, after a few sluggish turn overs and then ran using fuel from the fuel can still sited on a wooden block at the other end of the car. After being satisfied with the car starting and running for a few minutes it was shut down and then the refurbished fuel tank was refitted with the remnants of the fuel can put in the tank.

On the Sunday a gallon (5 litres) of Tesco Momentum fuel was added – have been “Internet” informed it doesn’t contain ethanol, which can harm old fuel lines and components. With the help of my son, the brakes were re-bled (the system had a slight leak last summer and the reservoir became empty) and another fire up loomed with a test drive.

The test drive was down an access road to a car park, just across the road from my driveway, but it didn’t go to plan and the Corsair cut out as I was about to manouevre the car around at the bottom of the car park to come back! Then the Corsair wouldn’t start, not enough battery juice, at which point my son had been sent down to investigate as my wife couldn’t hear the Corsair’s engine running. We managed to push the car out of the way in the car park and then I jogged back to get the jump leads and the Passat.

The Corsair started fine but would only run for about a minute – so adjustment to the mixture screw enabled the engine to run without dying so quickly but with a fair bit of popping through the carburetor under load or acceleration. At least I could keep it going and drive the Corsair back into it’s garage. Disaster averted, but I’m none the wiser for getting the Corsair to run smoothly.

Fuel Tank Refinements

A spare half hour spent in the garage resulted in fitting the fuel sender with a new seal from my local Ford dealer who said (a while ago) they didn’t have any old stock left… The Ford Corsair Facebook came up with this gem though and somebody quoted the part number (6085380) and sure enough for £1.81 I had a brand new seal. The old one came off without too much drama, then a quick wire brush to clean off the residue of rust and any other dirt.

New seal on the left and old and crusty seal on the right
Old sender unit seal being prised out
Fuel sender fitted to the fuel tank nice and snug with the new seal

Sorted, I just need to flush the fuel pipes and fuel pump with clean petrol and then another start up looms…

Dom