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© Toolmanweb 2003-2016
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.