3 Events and an Alternator

When I got the Corsair back on the Friday (26th July) my main goal was to get it to the local classic and bike show at the Barton Hill Recreation ground, on Sunday. There was an existing problem that I had forgotten about which was the ignition light staying on and glowing brighter with more revs. I spent an hour or so on the Saturday diagnosing it to be a failed alternator. The Barton Hill show wasn’t far, and I sensed the Corsair had enough battery life to at least make it to the show which I had missed for the last 3 years. The show was a peaceful informal affair, with a few people taking an interest in the car.

Barton Hill, Shaftesbury 2019
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Engine Work

Corsair empty engine bay
The Corsair’s empty engine bay.

Earlier, back in May, I got the Corsair to John Midwood’s for some long over due engine work to be carried out, as the oil leaks were getting worse and the nearside cylinder head, rear core plug needed replacing. In readiness, I had got new core plugs and crankshaft seals (front and rear) on eBay, but then needed a bottom end gasket set available from Burton Power which also came with crankshaft seals and ‘O’ rings. Also, John advised I got a gearbox front oil seal which I purchased from Bearing Kits UK but ended up getting a gearbox oil seal set just in case.

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How the hood goes up

Short animation showing the process of putting up the hood. You’ll understand why it comes down in March/April and goes back up in September.

The Corsair will be going away for some engine work (core plugs and oil seals) and to ensure it keeps the weather out or away from the car I decided to put the hood up. I also trial fitted the new car cover I bought on Amazon for £25 as for additional protection and then discovered the source of the rattle that had me most concerned for the past few weeks. The rattle that I was thinking was clutch related turned out to be a loose bumper, yes, you read it right a loose bumper! Thankfully the chrome bolt was still in situ but the nut and washer were long gone and the bumper just rattled about on its mounting bracket. So, I dug out a washer and another nut from a tub of old Corsair bits and then took the car for a test drive. No rattle! Though I still seem to have issues with my ignition circuit as the car still ran with a miss-fire under load.

Sturminster Newton classics turn out

The Corsair parked up at the informal gathering in Sturminster Newton

Saturday 4th May, and I popped along to a small gathering of classics and sports cars organised by local chap Chris Spackman. I had an issue on the way down that necessitated with me pulling over at the shut down pub (the Plough) in Manston as the brakes had seized on, again. A few minutes with periodic pedal pumping and checking the fluid reservoir seemed to release the pressure on the brakes and I continued on my way. Soon, I was parked up on the pavement alongside two porches and was joined by a Landrover, Jensen Interceptor and two Delanges. A few other classics later arrived that parked on the road as well as some motor bikes, including a Brough Superior.

The engine/gearbox rattle seemed to be getting quite bad and the journey home wasn’t helped by possibly another condenser failure. The Corsair will be booked in, hopefully, by the end of the month for the engine to come out and have a the crankshaft oil seals replaced, the leaking core plugs changed and check the condition of the clutch.

One Hot Easter

At the entrance to Pythouse near Semley, Wiltshire
At the entrance to Pythouse near Semley, Wiltshire

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.

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March update – Spring driving

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.

B3081, just prior to going down Zig Zag Hill, Dorset
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February 2019 Spring-time Sunshine

Ford Corsair after a quick mop with the waterless cleaning system

The first fortnight of February it was snowy, cold and gloomy and by contrast the last weekend of the month was gloriously warm and sunny with record breaking seasonal temperatures. On the Saturday (23rd), after failing to start, the Corsair was rolled out of the garage on to the road to be assisted with a jump start from the daily driver Passat. It took a while of turning over and by not using much choke the car eventually fired up. With the engine warming up there were no excuses left not to go out in the Corsair, so for the sheer fun of it, a drive was done on a familiar circuit. The A30 section to Barford St Martin was a bit slow following another motorist for much of the way, then I had trouble getting past a large, wide and bouncy tractor on the way to Dinton. Once past the big and bouncy tractor I had an open road (B3089) before me and a BMW Z4 coupe lurking in my rear view mirror. It made for a pleasurable swift drive passing through the villages of Teffont, Fonthill Gifford and Hindon with that BMW still contentedly following. Once at the traffic lights on the A350 I turned left to Shaftesbury only to join a quicker stream of traffic than I had endured earlier.

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New Year, New MOT

The Corsair had been a bit tricky to start since it’s last outing to Blandford before Christmas. Unfortunately, it let me down on New Years Day as I had planned to go to a classic meet at Sturminster Newton but it failed to start and I drained the battery in the process. A couple of weeks later, with the battery on trickle charge, I tried it again and after several turn overs I just caught it enough for it to cough in to life on minimal choke and after several pumps of the accelerator (gas) pedal.

Ford Corsair in for an MOT inspection at 5 Square Motors, Shaftesbury
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November to December

Footman James Classic Restoration show – Bath and West Show Ground

It was a good start to the month with a run out to the Footman James Classic Restoration Show at The Bath & West show ground. The weather was gloomy to start with but brightened up by late morning and was very mild too. It was a smooth drive with a lovely brisk run from Gillingham on the B3081 towards Wincanton and then a clear run from the Hunter’s Lodge to the other side of Bruton. At the show ground in the classic parking, I was guided to a good central  position. I put up my windscreen info board and then wandered off to the auto jumble for a browse.

The Crayford badge that I had got as a recent present was painted and fitted around this time in time for the show. I think it will need a bit more work to look right, the black is a bit flat and the pewter metal work could do with more of a polish/buff.

Plenty of interest was shown in the Corsair and it was pleasure to see people reading the info board and taking pictures of it. By 2 pm I decided to leave, but the trip back wasn’t as much fun with other traffic slowing things down. The engine still seemed a little flat in places at the low cruising speeds of around 34-45 mph  and improved once average speed got to be over 45 mph.

Footman James Classic Restoration show – Bath and West Show Ground
Crayford Badge (a reproduction item obtained from eBay)

A later look at all the spark plugs showed them to be in good condition except for cylinder 2 that was a little coked up, so I’m not sure what to do about that. From there the weather for the month took a turn for the worst and the Corsair wasn’t to be subjected to the cold and wet – although when left for a while it was not keen to get started either.

December rolled around all too quickly and nearly passed me by, but with a trip required to Blandford for pet food, a DIY shop and a supermarket and with the weather being dry and mild it seemed right to take the Corsair. It hadn’t been started for a few weeks so I had the foresight to start and warm the car up the day before, which took several attempts. Come the Saturday for the trip out, starting was much the same as the previous day, by catching the fire up after several turn overs and then increase the choke to raise the tickover. I stayed local first, delivering Christmas cards to family and the drive was fine although somewhat constrained by the compulsory 50 mph speed limits and other traffic. It was great to be behind the wheel after what seemed a while and put on those miles of smiles.

October round-up

To start the month I took the Corsair to the Hampshire Capri Club meeting at the New Inn pub/hotel at Heckfield. Where the ‘heck’ is that? Heckfield is a small village off from the A33 between Basingstoke and Reading, just inside the North Hampshire border to Berkshire. It therefore became 70+ miles each way journey for the Corsair, which drove fine with no problems and cruised happily at 60mph on the A303. I didn’t take it on the M3, opting to go through Basingstoke and negotiating the multiple roundabouts which wasn’t too daunting mixing it up with all the Sunday shopper traffic. I hadn’t lost my touch on the traffic lights either, successfully burning up a Fiesta on one occasion. The weather was glorious and warm but the hood stayed up as it was now in the winter mode (after a cooling off at the end of September) and will stay that way until after March next year.

Corsair at the New Inn, Heckfield, near Basingstoke, Hampshire.

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