Front Suspension Chassis Rear Suspension Interior Bodywork Engine Bay Electrics







Site Last Updated 06/12/2016

Toolmanweb 2003-2016

Engine Bay
22 March 2003 or thereabouts
I started by removing the spare wheel and then the cover to the radiator box. The fan assembly was removed together with the radiator and the horns to give access Unfortunately the front chassis extension crosmember was rotten so after much wielding of the grinder I managed to remove it. The extension plates were lightly corroded with a few holes so I decided to patch them with good metal cut out from the remains of the crosmember. I ordered a new crosmember from South West Scimparts and this together with the repaired chassis extensions, Fan assembly and horns was treated to a generous coat of smoothrite. Meanwhile the radiator was removed and sent away for repair as the bottom mounting bracket had rotted away. I also had it re-cored at the same time.
29 Jun 2003
Decided to do some work in the engine bay. Started by refitting the chassis extension plates and the new crosmember. I had to jack up the front of body a small amount to refit these parts. I assume that it had sagged when they were removed originally. Refitted the radiator (previously recored) and the electric cooling fan and its mounting bracket and the horns.
03 Jul 2003
Refitted the radiator hoses with new jubilee clips as they all seem in good condition. Charged up the battery and fitted that. I need to move the car out of the garage and put it back in the other way round to work on the rear suspension, so I have decided to try and get the engine running.
05 Jul 2003
Well it runs. Pulled the choke and with a little coaxing of the accelerator the engine burst into life. Tried to put it in 1st gear but couldn't! The clutch had stuck to the flywheel. Gave the pedal a good shove and it cleared with a bang. After that it worked ok and I managed to drive it up to the end of our close do a three point turn and then back into the garage the other way round. Then the engine died! Turns out that although the fuel gage still showed some petrol in the tank, it was in fact empty. I confirmed this by putting a drop in from my lawnmower petrol can and it fired up again.
15 February 2004
Did some work tidying up the engine bay. Removed the fuse box and the mounting bracket. There was an old headlight relay underneath so I removed this also. Gave the bracket a generous coat of smoothrite and refitted it together with the cleaned up fuse box. I intend to replace this and the relays at a future date with a more modern blade fuse type from vehicle wiring products. Removed the coil and mounting bracket and gave it a good clean. Its actually red anodised so I presume that it was changed when the 'Luminition' electronic ignition was fitted to the car. Also cleaned up and straightened the brass terminals on the coil. I will fit new spades to these when they arrive in the post. Whilst I had the fuse box out of the way I took the opportunity to paint the body mounting plate underneath. I also painted the metal re enforcing plate where the loom passes through the inner wing, the battery strap mounting brackets and the wipers bundy cable.
16 February 2004
Refitted and tested the windscreen washer motors and only one worked. Rather than buy 1 new motor I decided to buy 2 fit them and keep the other as a spare. Removed the old plugs and redid them with new spades and covers.
17 February 2004
Since I got the car it has not been possible to lock the bonnet down. The pull cable had seized and the fibreglass section that holds the catch had split. I had previously tried to repair this with some fibreglass matting and resin but this was no good. I removed my bodged repair and decided the best way to fix this problem was to reinforce the area with a metal plate. I cut a section of aluminium out to fit under the fibreglass lock section and drilled all of the holes in it to match the existing ones. I drilled out the rivets that hold in the return spring, cable holder and also the ones holding the aluminium antifreeze warning plate. The reinforcing plate was bolted in place and then drilled and the previously removed items re riveted in place through the fibreglass and the plate. This has made the whole area much stronger and is completely invisible from the engine bay area. I brought a new release cable from vehicle wiring products and this was then fitted. I aligned the lock and the bonnet pin and gently pushed the bonnet closed. There was a reassuring click and it stayed down. Job sorted.
19 March 2004
Decided to service the engine. Removed all of the spark plugs and they were nearly new. Cleaned them with a bit of emery paper and gapped them. Re fitted them to the engine. Drained the engine oil and removed the oil filter. I had to use 2 filter wrenches to remove it as it was very tight. The new one I have is about 2 inches shorter than the old one but seems to fit OK. I left the distributor alone as I have Luminition ignition fitted. Took the opportunity to drain the radiator and remove the steel pipe that comes from the thermostat housing. Removed the housing and the thermostat. The hoses were in excellent condition so just cleaned them and refitted with new jubilee clips. The thermostat housing was a bit cruddy but this came up like new with a good wire brush. The thermostat was cleaned and refitted as I had already established that it works fine. Cleaned and painted the bracket that holds the ignition leads.
22 March 2004
Drained and refilled the gearbox with 80/90 multi grade gearbox oil.
23 March 2004
Decided to clean up the rocker covers as they were quite rusted. Removed them and my brother in law bead blasted them at work for me. I gave them a couple of coats of primer 2 undercoats and about 3 top coats in gloss black. I am quite pleased with the results.
25 March 2004
Whilst I had the rocker covers off I reset the valve clearances as the left hand bank was a little noisy. To make this easier I also removed the carburettor and the servo vacuum pipe. Unfortunately in the process of removing the crankcase breather I broke the pipe off the plastic spacer under the carb. The pipe had gone hard with age. The problem then was that this spacer is no longer available as Ford have discontinued it. After several phone calls Nigel at QRG came to the rescue with a second hand one from a car he is breaking. I ordered new gaskets for the carb and the rocker covers at the same time together with a new fan belt and a new crankcase breather pipe.
29 March 2004
Refitted the rocker covers with new gaskets. Removed the throttle cable mounting bracket cleaned it down and gave it a coat of hammerite. Fitted the new fan belt. Fitted a new length of fuel pipe to the carb.
30 March 2004
Degreased and cleaned the carb. Painted the accelerator rod mounting bracket and refitted it and the carb with the new spacer gaskets nuts and washers.
31 March 2004
Removed the chrome switch bracket in the interior of the car together with the choke cable. There were several switches mounted to this which I have removed together with the associated wiring. I have replaced this with a single bracket for the choke and refitted the other end to the carb. Fitted a new length of fuel pipe between the carb and the fuel pump. I had to turn the engine over for some time to pull some petrol through to fill the float chambers but eventually it fired up ok.
22 April 2004
With help from my father in law Brian I have managed to eventually obtain a satisfactory brake pedal. Despite using the eezibleed several times the pedal still felt spongy. With Brian working the brake pedal and me on the brake nipples the job was sorted. The pedal is now nice and firm with no travel.
26 April 2004
Cleaned down the brake servo and bonnet hinges and gave them a coat of black smoothrite. Painted the fibreglass cover to the heater fresh air intake. Sprayed the recessed area that it fits in matt black ready for refitting. I will refit with stainless steel screws and I have brought some foam draught sealer to fit round the edge before fixing.
04 May 2004
Cleaned down and painted the cooling system expansion tank.
09 May 2004
Further update on the brakes. The pedal became worse again with 2 pumps needed to get them to work correctly. I have fitted my new wheels and decided to grease the axle bearings at the same time as they are quite noisy. I then discovered that the drums were very loose and needed tightening up. This made me check the brake adjusters and I was able to turn them several times without them tightening up. The poor brakes were caused by the rear shoes being too far away from the drums. Thus the first push of the pedal merely moved them forwards and the second push actually did the braking. The brakes are therefore now officially sorted out and seem to be reasonably effective.
17 July 2004
Cleaned and painted the last of the under bonnet nose support plates (the one that sits under the spare wheel) and fitted it together with new bolts and washers. Prior to this being fitted the electric engine fan was coming on even when driving normally and struggling to cool the car when stood in traffic. This was due to cool air entering the front of the car not being funnelled to the radiator and generally filling the engine bay. I had noticed the bonnet moving around a bit but put that down to it not fitting correctly. All is now much better although it does take a minute or to for the fan to pull the temperature down when the car is parked on the drive.
01 August 2004
The exhaust was blowing a little where the front down pipe meets the manifold. Undid the collar mounting bolts and cleaned up the flare and seat with a wire brush. Refitted with some exhaust assembly paste and tightened the whole thing up again. This has done the trick and it runs much quieter. It seems to be a bit cooler as well so I assume the leaking hot exhaust fumes were heating the engine bay. The collars are badly corroded and are starting to split. Whilst having my tracking done I asked about replacements. The fitter mentioned that I might be able to get replacements from scrap exhausts that they remove from cars. They are all thrown into a skip so I will take a look when I have more time.
12 August 2004
The exhaust had been getting steadily noisier as time went on to the point that it sounded like a tractor. I took a look at the exhaust to manifold joint on the drivers side and the fixing collar had split allowing the nut to slide inside it and opening it up. I undid the two nuts and refitted them to the  collar with two large washers and some more sealing compound. This seems to have fixed it again for a while but I really need to sort out some replacements.
26 September 2004
Some time ago I had a go at adjusting the tappets on the engine (when I painted the rocker covers) but did not manage to quieten all of them. I noticed them again today when visiting the auto jumble at Newark with my father in law. Whilst there I brought some new rubber pipe for my brake servo and decided to try and adjust the clearances again when fitting it. The cover on the left hand side of the engine (looking from the front of the car) is difficult to remove with the alternator in place so I decided to remove this as well and clean it up.
10 October 2004
Following a successful bid on EBay I purchased a second hand 13" Kenlowe cooling fan. I have fitted this to replace the original Reliant item. This was because in the heat of summer it was failing to maintain the engine temperature when stood in traffic. I used a Kenlowe fitting kit brought straight from the manufacturer and it was really easy to do. The fixings are like large round cable ties and they pass through the fan housing and the radiator core fastening with push on clips and rubber pads on the other side (see picture). This 13" unit fits like a glove and is the biggest that the radiator could support. I used the original otter switch to control it and this switches a relay wired via a fuse directly to the battery. This is only a temporary measure and will be removed and rewired when I fit my new fuse box and relay set.
11 October 2004
Put all of the metalwork back at the front of the car and took it for a spin. Got the engine nice and hot and pulled into a lay-by. The temperature crept up and the fan light came on. Then the temperature kept climbing! The 15A fuse I fitted to the Kenlowe had blown (according to the Kenlowe site it should take 12A). I quickly got underway again and the forced cooling brought the temperature gauge down to normal levels. When I got home I fitted a 20A fuse and let the car run on the driveway. The fan cut in as expected and then cut out again about 10 seconds later. This is much quicker than the old fan and therefore I assume that it is working much better to cool the radiator.
3 January 2005
Late last year I discovered brake fluid dripping down the pedal inside the car and thought it was about time to give the master cylinder the once over. To remove it I had to unbolt the servo and associated pipe work. Because of this I took the opportunity to clean up that side of the engine bay as it was in a bit of a state. It all came undone quite easily with no snapped bolts or stripped threads. The master cylinder was quite easy to dismantle and was rather dirty inside.
I cleaned it all down and fitted a new seal kit from QRG. The hardest bit is getting the main seal over the piston. This I did by clamping the piston in a vice (taking care not to damage it) and using some of the red rubber grease supplied to ease on the seal.
20 Feb 2005
All re assembled with the fluid in and bled. No leaks and the brakes are working a treat.
17 April 2005
Went out for a drive and was not happy with the tick over. Checked the engine timing with a strobe light and it was bang on. Checked the carb bolts and they were quite loose. Tightened them up and it was much better
20 May 2005
Took the car for its MOT at our local station. I was a little worried that it would fail as the engine has been randomly stopping once it gets warm. It made it there OK and sailed through the test. However when I tried to start it to move it out onto the forecourt it refused to go. The staff helped me push it out and I started checking the electrical connections under the bonnet. I could not get it to go so I asked my father in law to come with his Pajero to give me a tow. The usual happened in that when he arrived I tried it again and it fired up first time. he followed me home to make sure I got there OK. I had convinced myself that the problem was the coil so off I went to the scrappers and got a replacement. I warmed up the car in the garage and sure enough it stopped dead. I replaced the coil and it started straight away. I thought I had fixed it but left the engine ticking over as a test. When I came back 5 minutes later it had stopped again. I have in desperation even tried swapping the fuel filter as the one on the car was a bit mucky to say the least. Still the same. My next avenue of investigation will be the Luminition electronic ignition. I have obtained a set of points and a condenser so I will remove it and try them instead.
04 June 2005
Spent some time removing the Luminition and stripped the top end of the distributor. Cleaned and lubricated the advance weights and the vacuum advance unit and refitted them to the car with a new set of points and condenser. Started the car up and it ran a bit lumpy. Got out the timing light and reset the timing. Took it for a run and despite a slight misfire at about 4000 rpm everything now seems fine.
05 June 2005
Took the car out for a run and was followed home by a huge plume of smoke!!!
06 June 2005
Borrowed my father in laws compression tester and went through all of the cylinders. Got 155 to 165 psi on all except one which was 0 !  Looks like I might have thrown a ring or something on this cylinder. I will strip it down this week to take a look.
08 June 2005
Removed the alternator, distributor, carburettor, inlet manifold and rocker covers. With much heaving I removed the offside cylinder head complete with exhaust manifold and took a close look at the cylinder. There was no scoring and the piston looked fine - if full of oil. Turns out the head gasket had blown on the inlet manifold side causing the piston to pressurise the crankcase thus blowing the exhaust and engine oil out of the engine filler and through the carburettor via the engine breather pipe. This is a relief as at least the bottom end is all OK. It was full of oil because the gasket had blown just where it pools above the tappets and had been seeping in since it blew.
09 June 2005
Started cleaning up the cylinder head for gasket replacement. Removed all of the valve components and carefully bagged them up in sets to ensure that they all go back in the same place. I have considered getting the heads converted to run on unleaded however this is 180 + VAT and I cannot afford this at the moment. I will check the head for straightness before refitting - it might need a light skim.
13 June 2005
Bit the bullet, flashed the plastic and got the heads converted to unleaded. Also had all of the valve seats re cut and a light skim done. Removed the starter motor, stripped and cleaned it. Tidied it up with a coat of paint. Repaired the wiring to the starter as the ends had gone brittle with the heat. Refitted it all with new terminals including the earth braid.
09 July 2005
Ground in the valves and re fitted the springs, collets, stem seals etc. Cleaned down the exhaust manifolds and gave them 2 coats of silver VHT pant. refitted them to the heads with new gaskets, stainless cap head bolts and washers.
16 July 2005
Cleaned down the block and loosely fitted the heads with new gaskets.
19 July 2005
Cleaned down the inlet manifold and painted with some silver VHT paint.
22 July 2005
Torque'd down the heads using the recommendations of John Wade (THE man for Essex engine builds - I brought my gasket set from him) to the following sequence:
30 lb/ft  first pass
60 lb/ft  second pass
90 lb/ft  final pass
Then I did the inlet manifold. Smeared some sealing compound round the inlet and cooling ports as per John Wade's suggestion and Torque'd it down to the following sequence:
5 lb/ft  first pass
10 lb/ft  second pass
22 lb/ft  final pass
Then again to 22 lb/ft about 5 times leaving an hour between each one
Then again the following morning just to make sure
Each time I re-did it the nuts did actually move a fraction so this is well worth it.
Re-fitted new cooling pipes to the heater matrix with new jubilee clips. I have re routed the pipes as per advice from my local noggin. My car used to have an auto choke but this was removed before I got it. This means that the heater matrix is connected directly to the inlet manifold and the thermostat bypass connects directly to the water pump using the previously blanked off pipe. Given the state of the pipes I am surprised that they did not leak anyway.
Brought a new Aluminium timing gear set for the engine. I will fit this before I start it again as the fibre one has been stood now for a few years and I cant trust it!
July 2015
Decided to fit the new timing gear. Removed the front chassis turret brace and the fan belt plus idler pulley. Then whipped off the fuel pump, crank pulley and timing cover to reveal the old fibre wheel. Don't forget you have to remove some of the front sump bolts to do this. It was in fairly good condition but had to come out for piece of mind. It was a little tricky to remove but a couple of levers one each side and it rocked free. You have to be careful as its easy to bend the thin backing plate and also make sure that you have the timing dots facing each other to aid refitting. Oh and don't drop the woodruff key. The kit came with all the gaskets timing wheels and new oil seal for the crank pulley. Cleaned up all of the gasket mating surfaces as its easier without the wheels in place. Fitted the new crank and camshaft pulley ensuring that the timing parks matched exactly and lubricated it well with engine oil. To do this you have to start it a little off as the gear is helically cut and kind of twist it into place. Once that was done I turned my attention to the timing cover. I gave it a thorough clean and fitted the new oil seal. Also gave it a couple of coats of flat black paint to neaten it up a bit. Then refit but don't tighten until you have refitted the crank pulley as it may move the cover slightly when it is fitted. I gave the gasket mating surfaces a thin coat of blue Hylomar to aid in sealing. Then refit all the other bits like fuel pump, idler wheel and fan belt. Lastly refit the strut brace. I had to jack my car up in the middle under the tubular cross member to get the towers to move slightly further apart to get it in and fitted new bolts.


As I hope to make this car my daily driver and in the interests of reliability I decided to fit a new carb to the car. Brought a new 38DGAS from AJL electronics who specialises in Scimitar spares. I also decided to go back to a manual choke. Because of that I brought new silicone heater hoses from QRG. Also removed the Chrome K&N filter and replaced it with one from an SE6 with the automatic heat distribution valve (my new carb has the vacuum take off to suit). Prepped and repainted this in satin black.