Blimey have I been gone that long! Things piled up here. For anyone reading the blog, yep I still have the Cortina!
The brakes seized the other month, after buying the car a few years back I freed them off but in all honesty they needed a proper rebuild. I did have a couple of spares but the bleed nipple was seized on one of them. I decided to get the original calipers rebuilt by Bigg Red I figured it'd be worth having stainless pistons too which were only another 20 quid, I mean, what will £20 buy you these days? hopefully less chance of stuck pistons in the future, I hope!
I also went for the powdercoat option in a ford-ish blue. All-in these were 150 odd quid which I though was pretty good as there were retailers at the last autojumble I went to selling (what looked to be rattle-canned) M16's for £75 each which weren't a patch on the ones I had sorted at bigg red. Even the raised cast lettering came up perfect.
Its one of the few times I have spent good money and been really pleased when I opened the package, they look great and work!
I gave them a couple of coats of wax before fitting. No shots of fitting them I'm afraid I was rushing to get it done before starting a work shift and it's the sort of grubby job I don't like getting gunk on my phone to take progress pictures of.
Only one dilemma, of sorts, the hard line between the caliper and the flexi on the O/S had developed a couple of pinholes in it when getting it off the old caliper unbeknownst to me, so when did I discover this?? As the fluid reservoir began draining rapidly while I had 16 psi of pressure from the easybleed kit pumping it in a perfect fan shaped cloud making rainbows in the sun half way down the side of my paint job and all over the car cover. I'd like to say I swore a bit when I saw it happen but I probably just yelped like a little girl before unhooking the bleed kit and rushing to get a bucket of soapy water.
In the end I had to get a couple of lines made up, a very kind and generous person on MTOC did this for me as I don't have a brake flair tool, he did both sides for me and posted them out to me within a week. Plus they're made from copper this time around so no more rot! I also fitted a new flexi from the bulkhead to the front clip which is something common to the early MK3 Cortina. (you can just about see it in the photo)
When fitting these calipers, I did notice some blast material in the threads where the pipes connect so I used a powerful magnet to get it all out. Now this is probably a complete fluke and not the usual thing you'd find after a pro remanufacture job but I thought I might mention anyway. It would be a sure fine way to cross thread your new calipers if you have the same thing sitting in your threads and you overlook it, the blast media is small metal beads and they are probably quite hard.
This is really a temporary solution as I will be fitting some 4 pot calipers that I bought in a year or so along with capri vented discs but I am quite pleased to have given the old calipers a new lease of life and they can sit on a shelf.
So now the brakes are working, onto the wheels.
I've had a set of wolfrace turbovecs sat under my desk, around the house and under various chairs for the best part of a year and a half. The wheels had been powder coated silver and looked great considering what I paid. I needed nuts and tyres which, to be honest, added up to too much expense all in one go and consequently this is why the wheels took so long to find their way onto the car (and became the subject of much derision every time my wife noticed them under the sofa) I got the nuts from the guys at Speed Shack in London. This company must have been around for years, when I had my first Cortina I remember going on the uni computers in my spare time to look at their website and that was around 14 years ago. You can get two different sizes of sleeve nut (the wolfrace sleeve nut with washer is what I needed) in 41/64 (16.27mm) but they also come in 11/16 (17.46mm) the MK3 Cortina uses M12 nuts with a 1.5 thread, which is quite common, so they were easy enough to find.
I'd now like to show you a photo of my nuts. They are shiny and hard.. and in this picture I have three of them...
..One was trail fitted to the car.. Aren't they dead retro. Cosmic wheel locks (which use actual keys):
Here's the wheels fitted. They are 6" x 13" and after reading some tyre reviews I settled on some MAXXIS 185/70/13 (rear) and 175/70/13 (front) they are really good, very grippy and the car is a lot quieter. For a budget tyre I'm very pleased, so far.
As you probably know the offset on the Cortina is quite high (like a FWD car) I think it is positive +38.. anyway I measured the rim and the backspace of these wheels, which came out as +12. Fortunately they sit in arch (front wheel offset is greater than rear, which is worth knowing). I'd be dead reluctant to go trimming or folding arches just for some wheels. My mate says 6 inch wide rims on a cortina is about right to start with and I can see that depending on the offset of the wheels and certainly the width of the tyres he's probably right. Whatever wheels you fit, you don't want to be doing this.....
Also got to see my mate Paul's GT. He's done the works to it over the last couple of years, taking it off the road for a full body resto and it looked totally spot on. One of my favorite Cortinas.
Also his wife Karen makes epic sandwiches, that needs a mention.
He's building another 2 door MK3 Cortina, a Zetec next time, with parts from Retro Ford. If it's up to the same standard as his GT it will be a very nice car.