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Pedals #3

After doing a test fit with the 1.3l Capri clutch cable, which had come highly recommended as an appropriate cable by other Haynes builders, I decided I really wasn’t happy with the cable run OR the fact that the pedal end of the cable was going to try and occupy the same space as the brake line for the front left caliper, as it exited the master cylinder. Funnily enough I found a photo of someone else having exactly the same problem as me …


A quick ask on established that plenty of people were using longer clutch cables than the 700mm-ish Capri part (although at least one person was happily using the setup pictured above). After a bit of research I bought a Mk4&5 Cortina clutch cable (Quinton Hazel part number QCC1010) – with the same fittings at each end as the Capri part, but a length of around 1200mm.

To get the desired run of the cable out of the pedal box (avoiding the brake cylinder outlets) I have welded on a 100mm length of tube exiting the rear of the pedal box, with a flange welded on the end to get the cable outer end to sit squarely. This is set at 90 degrees and contradicts the ‘Book’ design, which calls for an angled tube to allow the inner cable to run cleanly. Unsurprisingly I found that the inner cable chafed, so I have used a length of garden hosepipe to act as an additional section of ‘outer cable’ for the clutch cable. I don’t suppose an OEM would have gone with that solution but the movement is nice and free, so i’m hoping it turns out to be suitable! The only task left will be to secure the cable at it’s midpoint with a p-clip, but for now a cable tie shows that the desired run can be set with the outer secured in one place…

Oh – and the pedal activates the clutch no problem now…



Engine recommissioning #3

At the same time that I painted the block I decided that I’d go a bit further with the paint. So I took off the timing belt sprockets, and the auxiliary pulleys, and gave them a lick of paint as well. And, having done all that, I decided to do the same for the sump and the block lifting eyes. The sump went back on when I fitted the engine, the rest of the parts were wrapped up and put on one side, until I had checked that the steering column and the alternator would not all try to occupy the same place at once. With that done I have now refitted the waterpump, timing sprockets, timing belt and a modified rocker cover (the oil fill neck is moved to the back to avoid any clearance issues with the bonnet).



Running gear refurb #3

Despite my chassis coming with 4, still boxed, freshly reconditioned brake calipers back in 2012 I’ve had to do a surprising amount of work to get my brake calipers to the point where I can bolt them to the car.

The front calipers I had were for the smaller, 240mm, front discs, but I was missing the caliper brackets which mount the caliper to the front upright. I had a grotty calipers which I could take a bracket from, but they were for the larger, 260mm, disc setup. I tried unsuccesfully to obtain some brackets, but understandably they’re not regularly available unless they are attached to a set of calipers. In the end I got a very good offer to buy a ‘new’ set of calipers, also freshly refurbished, from another builder who had decided to upgrade to some serious Wilwood brakes.

The rear calipers were more straightforward, I had all the necessary parts (and more besides) either already refurbed or in a pile of rusty parts ready to clean up, but after a run through the wirewheel I found I really did need to replace one of the sets of sliders. Bigg Red did excellent service, answered questions on eBay withn the hour and a set of sliders ordered from them via eBay turned up within less than 24hrs on their standard ‘free’ post option.

Some VHT caliper paint which I bought back in 2013 was finally pressed into service, after the calipers had been given some stern going over with wirebrushes, white spirit and panel wipe. A slight weep of brake fluid from one caliper caused a little run to the paint, but I even managed to sneak them into the kitchen oven for an hour each at 95degrees in an attempt to cure the paint.

I still need to pickup some copper grease before refitting the front pads, and to spec the pads for the rear calipers, but for now the brakes are insitu, where the wheels protect them from any bumps and scrapes, and I can think about how to best route the flexi-brake lines.



Engine recommissioning #2

After making it all look better from the outside, I dealt with the first part of a meaningful refurb (or at least ‘recommissioning’) of the engine and gearbox with the jobs easiest/best done whilst the engine was on the stand and the gearbox was out.

With the engine upside down on the stand I swapped the sump for a shortened replacement, to give more ground clearance. I scraped the old gasket off using a razor blade, and cleaned everything up as best I could using white spirit. I used one of the Burton Power ‘competition’ gasket kits, apparently more forgiving if there is the possibility of a minor leak. Whilst the sump was off I also fitted the cut down oil pickup pipe and learnt that a standard hex socket will fit into one of the splined bolts that Ford seemed to think it helpful to use on occasion…

Once I had the engine back upright it was apparent that the brace between engine and gearbox on the offside was fouling the ‘wing’ that makes up the oil volume on the shortened sump. The original was 3mm steel, with a bend in two planes that I assume was pressed during manufacturing. I decided to make a replacement with a ‘wiggle’ to fit, but went for 6mm steel to make up for the indirect route between the mounting points. In order to replicate the 2-way bend I used a couple of lengths of box section to make a buck against which I could position 2 separate strips of 6mm before welding into one piece.

I’ve also replaced the rear oil seal on the gearbox. Removing the old one was a nasty job despite having a Sealey seal remover. I gouged the aluminium casing with the harden steel tool and so had to carefully dress back the ridges I left and then wipe some Hylomar blue around before drifting in the new seal with a brass rod i’d bought to do the same on the wheel bearings.

The last job was fitting a new clutch, without knowing the age of the one in my donor car it just seemed a sensible precaution to take.

Taking advantage of the chassis being back on four wheels I rolled it out on the driveway for a 3-point turn, then it went back up to the the garage for the gearbox and engine to be fitted.

I dropped the gearbox into the chassis, using the original gearbox mount for now, and then (with the trusty load leveller – great purchase) lowered the engine into the bay and mated the two parts together. Lining up the gearbox input shaft with the clutch friction plate was still a tough job, and I still don’t know what I did that meant it suddenly slid into place! The engine mounts, which have rested so patiently since they were cut in 2014, welded in 2015 and painted in 2017, are finally put to their proper use.

Running gear refurb #2

The Sealey bearing greasing tool proved unsuitable for the rear hub bearings despite it’s ‘Universal’ label so I ended up packing the bearings by hand. Messy and practically impossible to know how much had gone where, but there is certainly at least *some* grease in each hub now, even if it is not the optimum amount….

The stub axles/hubs then slid in fairly smoothly only needing gentle persuasion, benefitting no doubt from their dip in the electrolysis bath. I had even given them a lick of paint although I expect them to be practically invisible eventually.

This meant I could then refit the differential, after brushing off the worst of the loose paint (some one had painted it black before I got it, but obviously not prepped well as the outer casing now has rather a ‘distressed’ look to it) and the driveshafts (with just a bit more CV grease packed into each end), bolt everything together and then get the car back onto its wheels.

After gauging popular opinion , not once but twice, about which way to position the rear brake calipers, and a bit of time considering what would then go where (handbrake cables, flexible brake lines) I had hoped to fit the brake calipers too, but found that I did not have the right brackets for the front calipers, so have put back fitting of all the brakes. I want to get it all done in one go, as i’ll touch up some paint once the calipers are bolted up.

I had also been hoping the 13″ steel wheels from the Sierra may fit but they won’t, so for now I have some 14″ alloy wheels on. This is just to make it easier to move the car about, nothing is permanently attached, and the final fit of all the running gear will come once the side panels are fixed, the brake calipers are all ready and I’ve got my coil-overs.

From this ‘dry’ build I’ve also found that several of the bolts which were on the rolling chassis I bought were cut off far too short, barely showing thread through the end of a plain nut, never mind on nylocs. So I will be starting to keep track of which bolts need to be replaced because they are too short, ready for the final fit.

I had also been hoping that I could torque things up fully and get them fitted as I went, only to discover (for example) how hard it is to tighten the bolts on a CV joint when the whole drive shaft is trying to turn in your hand… So as well as a list of ‘too short bolts’ I have a running list of bolts which need to be fully torqued at a later stage.

Running gear refurb #1

Some of the hard work with the running gear I am using had already been done when I bought my project, insofar as the driveshafts and CVs had already been refurbished, the diff had been given a lick of paint (and I believe an oil change), and the front hubs had already been reamed to accept the ‘maxi’ ball joint which is required for fitting to the lower wishbones. And, in fact, all of these parts demonstrably worked given that way back in June 2012 it was a rolling chassis that I collected… In addition my project also came with some brake calipers neatly boxed up in what appears to be ‘just back from the refurbishers’ condition and, less appealing on the eye, I became the owner of a box full of various rusty parts including a full set of un-refurbished calipers and an assortment of stub axles, front hubs and hub carriers in equally rusty/greasy state…

In preparation I had to make a couple of purchases, eBay provided a 41mm impact socket for the Sierra rear hub nuts and I decided to take a £30 punt on an electric impact driver from Lidl. Much reviewing of contradictory information on the internet confirmed that ‘yes’, Sierra hub nuts are handed for each side of the car but without giving me confidence that I knew which side the left-hand-thread nut was supposed to be fitted on…

Anyway, once I started stripping everything back completely I realised that the rear hub carriers that the refurbed driveshafts sat in looked rather grotty, as did the rear wheel bearings. So I dug out a matching pair of ‘spare’ hub carriers from the big box of bits, baked them in the oven (turns out 40 mins @ 200c works well) to assist the process of bashing out the old bearing races that remained, and then gave them a good stint in the electrolysis bath. The brake caliper brackets got the same treatment.

In bashing out the old bearing races I did cause a bit of damage as I foolishly used a screwdriver as a drift, so had to use some wet’n’dry to smooth out the small nicks I had made in the machined faces (and in fact had to do the same on the gearbox output where I had completely mangled the old oil seal as i had levered it out)…

I had, very previously, given the front hubs (and pedal box, and pedals) a couple of coats of Fortress metal paint and can confirm that it holds up reasonably well when kept indoors in a garage for 3 and a half years (it has also held up on my washing line pole in the back garden OK too)… Despite this positive experience I decided to use Hammerite for everything I had newly strippped although I will re-coat the front parts with Fortress once the back end is all together. But first off they got a couple of passes with etch primer. I masked up to keep the mating surfaces clean but still had to do some gentle rubbing down with 600 wet’n’dry to make sure bare metal surfaces meet when they are all bolted up.

An order to Burton Power meant I recently received a bundle of parts for the engine and gearbox rebuild but also two sets of Sierra rear wheel bearings. A chap at the local garage was kind enough to lend me a bearing drift kit and so, with only minor tapping to correct misalignment with the brass drift I had recently purchased, it was a relatively simple job to drift the new outer races back into the repainted hub carriers.

I am now waiting on the arrival of what promises to be a neat little tool that will make short work of thoroughly squeezing grease into the new bearings before I can fit the grease seals and then get the whole back-end put together.

In the meanwhile I have bolted the rear wishbones and uprights back onto the chassis, and have trial fitted one of the rear brake calipers to gauge popular opinion on what the right orientation is…

Engine recommissioning #1

The engine for my car is getting superficial treatment rather than a comprehensive rebuild. It ran fine in the Sierra (more on that in the next post about the engine), the 69bhp it apparently produced when new (or what is left of that now!), is plenty for me for now, so the first step i’ve got through is mainly making it look nice, the second step will effectively just be giving it a bit of a service.

There are three modifications I will have to make to the engine itself:

1 – Shorten the sump (and the oil pickup pipe). This is just to allow better ground clearance given the engine sits rather lower in the Haynes than the Sierra. I part exchanged the offside door from my Sierra some time ago with a chap who had an already modified sump and oil pipe so that saves me the hard work of modding the original parts myself.

2 – Shift the oil filler spout on the rocker cover. As standard it sticks straight up from the front of the engine and would foul the bonnet, so it’s better relocated to the back and angled. Again I picked up an already modified one via someone on LocostBuilders.

3 – Relocate the alternator. In its standard position it gets in the way of the steering shaft, so I fabricated a revised mount. This will need a non-standard auxilliary belt too once i’ve measured up for the right length.

But before doing all that I thought it would make things look much better all round if I painted the block (and the gearbox bellhousing and maincase too whilst I was at it)… Cleaning everything up took several hours of scrubbing with various degreasers including some cheap Simoniz engine degreaser and a spray bottle of Cillit Bang. Both worked well. Once the oil and grease was gone everything had a good blast with a drill mounted wirebrush then a final wipe down with some panel wipe before I masked off the various ports, etc. Two costs of Hammerite Smooth then went on by brush – and so far it all looks OK.

Before paint (but after some serious degreasing and wirebrushing)


Block before paint

After two coats of paint…

Gearbox painted (1)Gearbox painted (2)


There has been one optional step too, which I had to tackle as part of stripping down the engine to paint it: removing the original fan (which will be replaced by an electric fan mounted straight on the VW Polo radiator which replaces the massive one from the Sierra)… I got the necessary offset spanner several Christmases ago, but it still took about 90 minutes to get the fan off. In the end I had to resort to clamping the fan pulley still using the old auxiliary belt held in some mole grips to stop it turning as I tackled the left-hand thread that secured it.


The next step will be the mechanical work….