Tuesday 11 June 2024

Sunday 9th June - A nice run out.

 After my long day in the garage yesterday, I decided to take the Zetec Cortina out for its first proper run since its rolling road session last September. 

Gavin decided to bring his Triumph out for a run as well, so we headed for a lovely cafe at Latchingdon named 'On the Latch'. We been here before and the service and food is very good. 

We had a great drive out and I was able to give the Zetec some stick while going through the country lanes. The sun was shining as well, which made it all the more nicer.

On returning home, I had a play with the Triumph's fuel sender unit as I'd found recently that it's reading high. Hopefully I've cured it, but I will only really know the next time I fill it up. 

Whilst in the garage, I decided to check the fluids before next Saturdays trip, but found that the brake master cylinder was only half full. A full inspection of all brakes didn't find any leaks, but removal of the brake master cylinder itself revealed that fluid had been leaking past the seals and back towards the servo. 
It seems this car doesn't want to go to Norfolk on Saturday. I've now got to find a seal kit and get this repaired during the week somehow, otherwise the trip wont be happening. 

Saturday 8th June - Triumph Oil leak!

 Whilst running my new engine in I had discovered to my horror that it was freely distributing oil to where it shouldn't. Really not an ideal situation, especially when it stained my new block paving driveway. 

The green Cortina was already in the garage though and I needed to carry out a few jobs on that first before I could get the Triumph in for investigation. The first job was to level up the driver's seat as it was leaning in towards the middle slightly. This didn't take long and with a few more careful measurements, the use of some spacers and the help of a spirit level, it was soon done. 

The next job was to replace the starter motor with a brand new one. I also swapped this from a three pin one to a two pin one. The three pin one is a nightmare to remove and re-fit as there is very limited space between the engine and front axle to fit the starter motor through. The two pin starter will provide much more easier access. The last job was to adjust the clutch cable which was a five minute job. With this all done I went to move the Cortina only to find the battery had gone flat. Bugger! 

While I was waiting for the battery charger to do its stuff, I checked the oil on the Triumph and found it was down to three quarters. It shouldn't have been that low as I have only covered about 160 miles since the rebuild, so the leak was proving to be quite severe. I also removed the spark plugs to see what colour they were and was pleased to discover that these weren't far off where they should be. If I can get time, the car will be having a rolling road session before its European trip in September anyway, so this will tune it up perfectly. 

With the cars finally moved around and the Triumph in the garage, I was able to investigate the oil leak. The first thing I noticed was that oil seemed to be forming at the bottom of the dipstick tube. 

I first thought that this was coming from the dipstick tube, but it turned out to be coming from the oil gallery plug just above. I managed to get about quarter of a turn to tighten this which cured the problem. However, this wasn't the only leaking point! There are another two gallery oil plugs, so I checked them and they were loose as well. This can be the problem with a new engine sometimes, bolts, nut and plugs etc are tightened when the engine is cold and then metal expands when it gets hot and things have to be re-torqued. 

Even though all these three plugs had been leaking, but were now not, I still had oil dripping from underneath. I then checked the rocker box cover gasket as my leak was right at the back of the engine. Sure enough, once removed there were signs that oil had been escaping from the back of the cover. You could see where the gasket hadn't been doing its job. 

So I set to work removing the gasket. This was no easy task as some idiot had siliconed it in place (Probably me years ago) and it had stuck solid. The gasket had also been on there a number years and had gone rock hard. It wouldn't come off in one go and the use of various screw drivers and stanley knives had to be employed. eventually, though, it was all off, although in millions of pieces!
So, with the new gasket fitted, had this finally stopped the leak?????? Had it buggery! I was still losing oil at the back of the engine! I then tried the oil filter housing. This is tightened with a single bolt and when I tried this, I managed to get half a turn on it. This seemed to do the trick as another check of laying on the floor showed that I was no longer dripping oil anywhere. I left the car running for another ten minutes and everything was finally dry and as it should be. Success at last! 
So, looking back I didn't just have one oil leak, I had five separate ones, but the leaks on all of them were running back down the engine (The engine tilts back on a Triumph) and all meeting at the same point. At least I had resolved the issue in time for the long drive to Norfolk next Saturday. 

Saturday 8 June 2024

Sunday 2nd June - Little Easton Breakfast Meet

 With promises of more glorious sunshine, Gavin and I decided to have a drive up to Great Dunmow for the Little Easton Manor breakfast meet. We met at around 09.30 and had another lovely drive up through some great driving roads and arrived just after 10am. 

Good friend Andy Wharton was there as well in his BMW 840i. Andy has a vast collection of classic cars including my old Ford Consul GT which I sold him back in 2009. His collection also includes a Volvo 144i, a Hillman Super Minx, an Austin A35, a stretch limousine Bentley and various Mk1 & Mk2 Ford Granada's. (He's probably got others that I don't know about as well!)

Little Easton Manor is a beautiful location and a very pleasant place to visit, especially when the sun is shining. The only downside is that to attend you have to make a 'donation' of £5, which isn't a problem as it was for charity, but then they also ban you from bringing your own food and drink in which I think is a bit much. We've noticed more and more of these shows and meets have started to charge exhibitors entry fees lately. Us exhibitors have already got a massive cost of keeping these old cars on the road as well as the petrol to get to these shows. These breakfast meets and car shows need to realise that without us classic car owners, they haven't got a show anyway, because without us, there would be nothing for the public to look at. 

Anyway, I had to leave at 12.45 as I had to drive to Enfield to attend my Nephew's 30th birthday Barbeque. I went straight from Little Easton as it seemed a good reason to get some more mileage on my new engine, and by the time I got home, I had added another 100 miles, bringing it to 160 in total. However, when putting it away, I also discovered an oil leak, so investigation will be needed before its next journey.

Bank Holiday Monday 27th May- The new engine's first run out!

 After finishing a few little jobs on the Triumph the two previous days, it was time to take the Triumph on its first run with the new engine installed. 

Gavin had found a car show up near Halstead, which is about 30 miles away, so this would be a decent distance to bed the engine and not to far away to be recovered if need be. (God forbid!-I had enough break-downs last year!)

It was a beautiful sunny day and we had a lovely drive up through the country lanes. It was perfect for the engine with a good mix of single lanes, dual carriageways and town roads as well. All good for running the engine in.

It was a good show and due to the glorious weather, very popular as well. I also met another friend I know through the Mk1 Cortina club who was there with his very early, and very nice 1200cc Mk1 Cortina, (See pic below) so it was good to have a catch up with him as well. (We also used to do banger racing at the same time a good few years back, so we had a catch up on that as well.)

It was a lovely day out, but by early afternoon, grey clouds were starting to make an appearance, so Gavin and me (and a few others) made the decision to make a move. We had a trouble free run home and by the time I had arrived back at mine, I had clocked up 58 miles on the new engine. Only another 442 miles to go then!

Sunday 26 May 2024

Saturday 25th May. New electric fan for the Triumph

 The new electric fan arrived this week, so I was able to complete the job I wanted to finish last week. The car already has a fixed manual fan, but with the impending 10 countries rally due in September which will involve driving a lot of alpine passes, an electric fan is a very good addition. 

I used my original frame work that I had used on the original fan, so it was straight forward enough. (Although getting to the nuts and bolts is a nightmare) With the fan tested and working fine, I pulled the car out of the garage and took it for a drive round the block. The throttle was stuck open a little bit, but a small adjustment with a spanner soon cured that. I now need to get some miles on it and get it run in now. 

Saturday 18th May. The Triumph's first big fire up!

 My friend Dave Harvey came down this weekend to assist in the first firing up of the Triumph's new engine. Gavin was free as well, so he came round to help and also witness the big occasion. 

After a few small jobs of adjusting the tappets and fitting an oil pressure gauge, and the distributor, we were ready for firing. I had also borrowed some long hoses from another mate on Friday night with the hope of creating some kind of exhaust fume extractor so that we didn't all get gassed to death in the garage. Because the engine has a new camshaft it would have to be run at 2000 revs for ten minutes to harden the metal, so we needed to create a fume free environment. Unfortunately, the hose wasn't up to the job and after five minutes had melted and had fallen off the exhaust! Luckily my carbon monoxide alarm alerted us to this before things got too smokey.

So, we had to abort the mission and remove both Cortina's out of the driveway so we could get the Triumph out of the garage and into the open air. 

With this done, we started again and after adjusting the timing, the engine started and was running well. The oil pressure was excellent and apart from the radiator belching loads of water out due to an air lock, all was fine. 

During the testing we discovered that the electric fan had packed up, so reluctantly, the radiator had to be removed again in readiness to order and fit a new one. Whilst I had some help, we then refitted the bonnet and called it a day. 

The new engine seems good and strong so I'm looking forward to getting some mileage on it. Let's hope the weather allows me to do so. 

Sunday 12 May 2024

Sunday 12th May - Battlesbridge Autojumble

 We had some beautiful sunshine today, so it was looking good for our little trip out. Gavin came round to me in his Triumph and due to ongoing repairs, my only choice of car was my 1964 Goodwood Green Cortina. A nice leisurely run down to Battlesbridge in the sun was the order of the day and we arrived there fairly early. 

A cup of coffee and a bacon bap was first on the agenda and we just sat in the sun before having a look round. I wasn't shopping for anything in particular and neither was Gavin, but we met a few friends over there and it was good to have a chat and a catch up. 

I spotted a couple of other Mk1 Cortina's there which I hadn't seen before, but unfortunately neither owner of them was there to be able to have a chat with. 

It was a smaller show than normal and by 11.30 we had walked round it three times and had two cups of coffee each, so we decided to call it a day. It had been a pleasant morning though and it was good to get the Green Cortina out on the road again. We just need some more sunshine now, so that we can get out to some more shows.