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.
How time flies, and the annual MOT inspection was due at 5 Square Motors, Shaftesbury. Technically in the UK, cars over 40 years old do not require an annual vehicle safety check. But for about 45 minutes of an inspectors time with the car up on the ramps and myself being there to assist, it was worth being done for the peace of mind. On the day the car was booked in for the test, a storm was looming and I had chosen potentially the wettest afternoon to take the Corsair but at least the wipers and lights worked as they should. The Corsair passed with an advisory, as per last year, but this time I’ll need to change the front damper inserts within the front struts over the coming months. The rear nearside brake cylinder was also something to look at aswell judging by the results on the brake tester.
The Corsair was still a ‘pig’ to start, but a fresher battery meant I had plenty of cranks to get it going. The morning was cool, foggy and a bit damp but I had a good drive down to the Sturminster Newton New Years Day car run. I was reasonably early and directed to park in a good slot near the front of the starting pack. I was soon accosted by one of my neighbours who had come down to see the cars and we had a brief chat. Later, I also caught up with Chris and Bob from the Saturday meets at Sturminster as well. There was also a very nice Mk2 Cortina 1600GT (in Lotus colours) that was a Crayford conversion, and the owner knew of Hugh F-W and seemed pleased to know that the Corsair was still about. I decided to give the driving tour a go and registered to get my bumper tags. The car park in Station Road, Sturminster Newton was packed by 10.30am with all manner of classic cars, trucks and military vehicles. Watch the Youtube video further on down, the Corsair makes an appearance with a drive-by at 3.37.
I thought I would have a closer look at the condenser issue this month (April). The old condenser I put on at the end of last month, to get the car back in to the garage, was also faulty but good enough to run the engine on tick-over. I only found out it was dodgy because I thought I would take the Corsair for a quick spin to warm it up in readiness to taking it out to the Haynes Breakfast meet the following day. I barely got out from my road and the car was lurching all over the place under light acceleration, very quickly suspecting the condenser, I headed back for home and put the car away. A week later, after some contemplation I decided to go the electronic ignition route (Powerspark) but also bought a new coil and couple of spare condensers as back up.
Spring had definitely sprung by mid March and therefore no excuses for not taking the Corsair out for a good drive. The first decent run (Sunday 17th March) was to Blandford on the A350 but I was soon frustrated by a large and slow camper vehicle, so once at Fontmell Magna, I turned off to head up to the higher road and then had a hassle free swift drive until I made it to Blandford. I then took the A345 towards Salisbury, and some time after Tarrant Hinton I took a left turn off via the lanes towards the Larmer Tree to later pick up the B3081. This particular ‘B’ road is superb with a long fast section (after the Ludwell turning) with grand views across the Wiltshire/Dorset countryside towards Shaftesbury and then to go down Zig Zag Hill finished that section off nicely. It was a very pleasant run of 28 miles with no issues.
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.
Chasing the electrical fault recently, led me to Youtube to teach me how to use my multimeter properly. With the new found wisdom I tested the coil. I got a low reading of 1.6 ohms on the Primary circuit (between the – and + posts) which should have been 3 ohms or more. On the secondary circuit, the one that goes to the distributor, the reading was 1, meaning there was a fault or the coil was dead.
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.
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.
Went to see John today as the Corsair is now up and running very nicely, especially now that it can be tuned properly and has many new ignition components. It has been booked for an MOT on Thursday – just to see if anything more needs doing. Fingers crossed, eh?