So we’re off on what is hopefully one of the last few trips on the back of Glen’s tilt tray to Brent Parker to have the roof lining installed. It was also the first time I’ve seen the painted car out in the sun and the colour is spectacular. Not long now until it’s back home for good and I can get onto final assembly.
The doors have now been painted and put back on the car. All the hinges were sandblasted and painted first. Two of the check straps were fractured and one was completely broken so four reproductions have been ordered from the Cortina Club. The door strikers and lock mechanisms were installed today. I spent a bit of time cleaning and polishing up the strikers a while ago and other parts were plated. The only part I didn’t touch was the inner mechanism so it was just given a clean. All the doors close nicely and will be re-adjusted when the rubbers go on.
Warwick painted the car body this week. Straight off the gun it looks spectacular. 3 coats of silver metallic grey and 4 coats of clear. Next step is to paint and hang the doors and arrange for the headlining to be installed so that I can fit up the front and rear glass.
I ordered a test wheel to check fitment before ordering all 4. I did this because when looking at my existing wheels it looked like a staggered offset from front to back would allow me to fit some bigger rubber at the back and fill out the guards better. The wheel I ordered was a Performance Superlite 15 inch x 7 inch wide. The test wheel was P14 offset and was fitted with a 195/50 Michelin Pilot Sport. When fit up the front looks perfect so I ordered another one the same. On the back that offset had about 10mm clearance to the guards and at least 20mm to the springs and inner guard. To better centre the back two wheels were ordered in P24. The second test was fitting up a 225/45 Hancock RS4. This wheel comes in both 195 and 225. I was a bit apprehensive about it fitting but it seemed to fit up well. It was a tight fit to the guard but still had plenty of clearance on the inside. My car is sprung pretty tightly in the rear so it shouldn’t rub (fingers crossed).
Lots of work over the last few months getting the mechanicals sorted. Dad and I put the engine and gearbox in. I fitted a new gear reduction starter and a new alternator designed to look like a generator. Both were sourced from Mike at Yesterford in Melbourne. I made up new braided fuel line complete with an inline fuel filter and fit the tank. Best of all the car fired up first go which is nice considering I had changed the polarity of the car and run new electronic ignition so it wasn’t exactly the same wiring as what it was when everything was pulled out. Finally the car was shipped off to Performance Exhaust at Northmead for a new stainless exhaust. The boys did an awesome job with quite a bit of fabrication required to make everything fit. The headers are Pacemakers and while they are made for Mk1 Cortina, they touched the alternator and cross member. To get some clearance required the #1 runner to be cut with a new section welded in. The car has now headed back to Warwick for final paint while I get the headers ceramic coated.
I finally got the wiring completed. Well it was about 6 weeks ago but have been a bit lax in updating the blog. The final component was fitting everything up and putting the battery in so that I could test all the connections. I had to fix up a few earths but once that was done I was really pleased that everything worked. Headlights are nice and bright running off the relays and all the new globe holders work as planned. I even managed to blow a couple of fusing when installing the interior light as the live wire is very close to the body. That was pleasing as without the fuse I would have had a smoke show. I had a couple of dodgy instrument globes so I ended up changing all of them. There are a couple of small things I would like to fix but overall very happy. I also installed most of the dash and rebuilt the eyeball vents. I had the centre piece re-chromed and the rest I pulled apart and repainted the centre and had Warwick repaint the fascia. I though riveting them back together but they went back surprisingly easy, you just need to trim the back of the rivets so that the eyeball doesn’t foul.
Been a couple of months since I posted but plenty has been happening since then. Coronavirus has meant my work has closed and so I’m temporarily out of a job until the pandemic has passed. Lots of time to work on the car which is good, but the lack of income means a couple of things might have to go on hold. I have completed the brakes and suspension as well as almost completing the wiring. I will post the wiring update in a separate blog.
With the suspension I had an issue with my track rods. The new tie rods did not move freely which would have meant a lot of issues trying to adjust the wheel alignment. After plenty of WD40 and a few hours trying to work them free I came to the conclusion that they needed to be re threaded. Lots of googling and a trip to United Fastners to determine the thread pattern and I was able to source the correct tap for left and right threads. After running the tap through everything moves smoothly and the track rods and drag link were fitted up. Next up was the rebuilt steering box. Warwick repaired and painted the firewall cover plate and everything was assembled. It was, of course, at this point that I realised that the steering tube had been assembled 90 degrees out of alignment. Fortunately it was a simple fix and I was able to unbolt the tube and clock it 90 degrees without pulling the box out. It did mean that the painted bolts will need a touch up.
The hubs were assembled with new bolts courtesy of United Fasteners and new locking tabs courtesy of Yesterford. The backing plates have been freshly powder coated and new wheel bearings fitted. New disks, brake lines and brake hoses and rebuilt callipers capped off the brakes. With a bit of help from my 16 year old the brakes were bled. Inside the car the refurbished hand brake mechanism was fitted with a new firewall grommet installed.
The pedals were installed. I had the accelerator pedal re anodised but they did a fairly average job and I ended up having to take it out to free up the movement.
Track rods needed to be re threaded
Drag link assembled
Freshly powder coated backing plates and new bolts
New bolts and locking tabs were used to fit up the brake disks. Everything was torqued to the specs in the Gregory’s manual
New brake lines into the existing fours way junction which was cleaned up
New brake lines and hoses
New brake lines were made up
The steering box installed
Springs were re-coated and hand brake mechanism re-furbished
With the wiring almost complete, I’ve started putting the car back together. First stop was to get some suspension back under it. All of my suspension pieces have previously been sandblasted and powder coated and the diff was sandblasted, rebuilt and given a fresh coat of 2 pack. Everything is being put back together with new bolts and new Superpro polyurethane bushes. Front springs are lowered King springs and the rear leafs have been reversed with an extra leaf added. They were also pulled apart, sandblasted and reassembled by Warwick. Shock absorbers are Spax adjustables with the fronts having a shorter throw so that the spring remains captive.
First step was to jack up the car and remove the front caster wheel setup. With the front on stands the cross member was installed with new bolts and new steering stop bolts inserted. The sway bar was mounted up and the control arms were fitted with new bushes and bolted into the cross member. This was a bit of an ordeal at first but a quick check with the helpful Cortina forum had me reassured that I was on the right track. The bush really distorts hard when they go in and I was sure it was going to tear first time around. Once you’ve got the knack of it, the next ones only take a couple of minutes. Some I pulled in with a bolt and washers and others I was able to press in with my wood vice. I was also sent the wrong bushes for the outside of the control arm which did cause a bit of confusion at first.
Next step was to bolt the rebuilt ball joints to the bottom of the struts. Then the springs were compressed and the struts bolted up to the car and attached to the control arm. The first side I compressed the shock by hand and then had my wife guide the ball joint in. Was a bit of an ordeal. For the second side I compressed the shock and then cable tied it to the compressed spring. Much easier and I was able to comfortably do it on my own. All bolts have been torqued up to factory specs but I won’t torque up the strut top bolts until I get it on the ground with some weight on it. I’ve gone for Suspension Concepts adjustable strut tops but have a set of originals as well if I ever want to go back to factory.
On the Aus Day public holiday Dad came over and we put the rear suspension in. We first had to get the dolly wheels and old GT springs out that had been put in to move the bodyshell around. We then re-bushed the rear springs and fitted them up. The diff was then installed and new U bolts fitted. The ones I purchased new were way to long and had to be cut down. I may have been sent ones suitable for a car with lowering blocks by mistake. For the front eye of the rear leafs the pin that came with the new Superpro bushes was too long and I had to cut about 5mm off to make them fit. With everything bolted up it was time to fit the GT tramp bars. This is where things got a little more interesting as each one was about 1mm short of fitting comfortably. After much pulling and pushing we eventually got them bolted up. I couldn’t find any suitable new bolts for where these mount to the diff so the original bolts were fitted up. I will find some suitable new lock nuts and replace those but the original bolts actually feel superior to new bolts. I will just paint the heads on them. Final step was fitting up the rear shock absorbers. All in all everything went back together really well so far and only a few pretty small marks to touch up which is a bonus.
Cross member installed
Underside of cross member
Sway bar mounts. New washers are quite soft and it’s hard to stop them spinning when torqueing up the bolts. I might make up some of my own
This is how I installed some of the bushes. You need to really distort them hard. This one is about 30% compressed and you need to quite a bit more before they practically fold in half and pop through.
Bushes installed in freshly powder coated control arms
Ball joints have been rebuilt. The new ball joints use nyloc nuts rather than castellated nuts with a split pin. I think I would prefer the split pin.
Front strut fit up with new King springs. I’m still not sure that I shouldn’t have changed the colour of the springs to black.
Adjustable strut tops. I didn’t like the big washers so have changed them to something smaller since I took this photo.
Stub axle ready to be fit with new hubs and brakes
Rear spring hangers with new bushes. I was very liberal with the grease. Bottom of the car is also a bit dusty.
Rear shocks in place.
Diff in place
U Bolts had to be shortened but I may take a bit more off.
In this pic you can see the extra leaf in the rear spring.
When I got round to my indicators I could see that they were in pretty poor shape. One of the indicators had a damaged globe holder and both of them had extremely perished rubber caps at the back, with wires that had been butchered over the years. I came to the conclusion that the best course of action would be to try and find some new globe holders. That set of a chain of hours of searching to find some new holders that could be adapted to fit the existing indicators. I finally settled on some Narva replacements that use the same globe as original. The indicators were stripped down, cleaned up, given a coat of new white paint and reassembled. I departed slightly from the original wiring by running an earth back to the central earth point for all lights. In hindsight I would have liked to have the indicators re-plated but it wasn’t worth getting just these two pieces done and at the time I had other items plated I wasn’t considering re-building the indicators. For the main wiring loom the new relays and fuses have been test fit to go under the battery tray. They should be out of sight but easily accessible if required. I finally finished most of the main loom. I took it off the board and test fit it into the car so that I could finish off the last couple of things. The fuse holders have been mounted high up under the passenger side of the dash. Again, accessible but out of sight. The 12 volt socket will be mounted on the under dash tray at the back and the electric washer pump has been fit off with connections soldered on. I still need to mount it up as I’m trying to find somewhere close to where the tubes come into the car without drilling holes into the firewall.
Indicators before refurb.
The original bulb holders were removed.
Once removed everything was given a tidy up.
Masked up ready to repaint the white.
New bulb holders were assembled.
New wires were soldered on in the correct trace colours.
New fittings were soldered on.
Front headlight relays and fuses.
New fuse holders installed. Next step will be to clean and re-wrap the entire loom.
The fuse holders sit just above where the kickboard finishes.
I made up new pigtails for the front headlights. The old ones were non original but in pretty good condition. I wanted to run heavier 30amp cable so I had a look and worked out that I could easily retain the three pronged plugs and build new pigtails from them. The original connectors were stripped and new cable wired in. I was able to pull the wires from the rubber grommets and drill out the hole to fit the heavier wire. I then test fit the headlight buckets, measured up the new pigtails, soldered new ends on and wrapped everything in original loom tape. They came out really good and should provide for nice bright headlights with the new relays and heavier cable.
Removing the connectors from the existing headlight plu
New heavier gauge wire was soldered onto the existing plugs
The new cable was run through the existing rubber grommets
The new pigtails were measures, cut, new bullets soldered on and wrapped in original loom tape
Test fit into the headlight wiring block
New pigtails test fit to the freshly powder coated headlight buckets
View of the cable and grommet fit from the front. The connectors needs a little clean and tidy up but very happy with the result.