Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New Wheels and calipers.


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.....

 I also went to the MK1 nats this year. Another good event but the turnout of cars felt a bit less than last year. Good trade stand from Lotus Outlaws, who I must mention as he offered me a good price on some rostyles he had for sale but realistically I didn't have the money to spend on yet more wheels (despite the generous discount he offered) and my mate Mark suggested I would be wiser spending money on service items than more wheels (boooo) (which my wife thought was very sensible advice as she doesn't want more wheels in the house!!) (double boooo) so I bought a spare handbrake cable instead. To be fair Mark is older :) (but therefor wiser) than me so I take the advice when offered.

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.

It's a turbocharged 2.0 pinto. I've driven this beast and it is a blast, the turbo really ramps up and the car stays very level (whiteline arb kit and poly bushed throughout) honestly you can get carried away with the adrenaline buzz of boosting, hearing the thing dump it's charge while you work your way through the gearbox! All this basically means that you can reach stupid speeds without even noticing, not that we did anything like that on our run out. I could have easily taken that car home, I loved it and Paul was lucky to get the keys back! 

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.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Another bit of artwork.

Hello!! I've had a rare couple of evenings free to do some more artwork.

I decided to have a bash at a more traditional comic book style and it was a piece I hadn't worked over and rather than work on a whole new bit of artwork I figured I could just develop this piece. It's my mate Pete's car, which was found in a swamp... it is nearing the end of it's two year resto now. 
Copyright for the illustration is owned by me, please don't use it or elements from it for reproduction without asking first, this applies to all my work.

The Cortina passed the MOT again this year, no advisories either.  I used the same place again and they are very thorough which is both disconcerting and a blessing as I'd rather know about something I may have missed to get it sorted before next MOT.

I decided to change the steering coupling, as it was an advisory on the previous MOT, which is a fairly straightforward job requiring the removal of three bolts and nuts then releasing the splined shaft from the coupling which requires a bit of prying to get apart, especially if they haven't been separated in 40 odd years, but that and restricted access is all that potentially makes the job take a little longer (which was about 15 minutes to swap them over). 

Sorry no photo's, I've been really slack with doing that of late just because I want to get things sorted quickly in whatever spare time I have.

To do the repair I used a NOS steering shaft I had spare from the collection of parts I purchased from Graham, I swear that was the deal that just keeps giving and I'm still grateful a year on!! I have kept the original coupling and will eventually get it powder coated and instal a new rubber bush so I have a good spare.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mad Max 4 apocalyptic Cortina TC

Hello, I managed to get a chance to do another artwork for the collection.  This time my idea of what a Cortina could look like in a Mad Max film, I mean hell Cortinas are really popular in Australia (and cheaper than a XA Falcon!) so you never know.. 
I've been eagerly waiting for years to see a mad max film at the cinema with gritty locations and action scenes brimming with battered muscles cars and an old school vibe limiting the use of CGI. I really hope this is what gets delivered, George Miller is a genius at this and I believe that he returns to direct it which can only be a good omen. It would have been my dream job to be even remotely associated with any of the concept art / development work on this franchise and my god if they ever make another I would drop everything to work on it! Just incase anyone influential is reading this, ey!!!!!

There is another reason for the Australian connection here but you'll have to wait a couple of months to make it clear what I'm on about.   

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Been away not much to report.

Hello, I'm still doing bits on the car and artwork etc, I produced the Christmas card for the MTOC club last year, it features my mate Mark's 3.0 Savage, he's a really great club member always doing people favors and lending out tools, even delivering bits half way across the country for me so it's nice to sometimes do something for folks in the club and the club were happy with the card: 

Next up is a painting I created for my mate Pete in lieu of some parts he's going to send me which I need for my car.  He wanted one for a T-shirt but it seems a few people are wanting one now, it's really nice when to hear this as an artist as I figured it'd be a fairly personal illustration to him and didn't expect others to want one. As I did the job for parts rather than cash I also thought it'd be good if the Buy Sell Cortina website benefitted in some way too so some of the funds from the t-shirt sales will go to help the site.

A close up of the girls.  The artwork is way larger than this so the resolution is nice and clear.

It jogged my memory, a couple of years back I produced this for Pete for the Wings and Wheels show Wings and Wheels website it was the anniversary of the awesome Avro Vulcan (one of my favorite planes) and the Cortina. It's a show I didn't get around to visiting (maybe this year) but it's a great day according to others so well worth a visit.

I produced this one for a laugh, it's just a sketch, but it's designed to look like those old B movie posters.

Anyway Pete has a load of YouTube vids, where he saves a Cortina mk3 from a swamp and subsequently restores it, they have become really popular in the Cortina community: 

If you are or have been a resident in the UK for the last few months you'll know what the weather has been like, utter shite. There have been a few good days scattered about but rarely fall when I have a chance to do work on the car.
I am lucky though as it's only impacted on doing work whereas some areas of the UK have been flooded for around the last 5 weeks.

I have been collecting some bits though, I got some prop mounts for the split piece prop I have which will help when fitting the 2.0 pinto. The alternative was to get a single piece prop made up but it's good to have the option of using the proper one I have.

At some point I'll blog about the stereo I've fitted.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Taking the Cologne V6 out.

Last Saturday was engine out day for a friend's poorly Cologne 2.8i (with early EFi setup) in his early 1971 Cortina Mk3 GXL. After a rebuild oil pressure was lost, possibly by the faulty NOS oil pump so the engine came out and he'll inspect. I guess we'll put it back in next year.  It was sitting on 2.3 mounts and mounted to a V6 HD Type 9. First things first we started with an EPIC bacon buttie, loads of crispy bacon with a slice of fried bread in between and a mug of coffee.

Joe had done a really nice job on the instal and consequently everything came apart without too much fuss, manifold lower bolts were the only awkward ones to access.
The inlet had to come off to disconnect the injectors as the multi plug was cut and soldered during installation due to bad contacts in the plug but with three of us there we soon got everything disconnected.    
We didn't start work until around 2:00pm so were losing daylight by this point, tea breaks included we managed to get it out in about 4hrs but by this point I thought we'd have to re-bolt the mounts and drop it back to alter the straps which we had tied off bit long. You need to give yourself enough room to get over the slam panel. When securing the hoist it's worth having the handle on the balancer the other side as it makes turning it easier I think. 

Things I learnt; You need enough clearance for the slam panel so dont tie the straps too long, you can get a v6 over the slam panel the last couple of inches (using actual muscle power rather than the crane) but my back now tells me cologne engines are HEAVY. Possibly the finest lesson; Joe's Mum makes the worlds best bacon butties, but future bacon sandwich testing will be required (and appreciated!!!) to confirm this as fact.

On the way home my high-beams failed, I cleaned up all the contacts and the earths and which appears to have helped.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cortinas & Zombies. Artwork again.

What would be cooler than driving a V8 Cortina in a Zombie Apocalypse, if your companions were a samurai sword wielding girl and a AK47 toting chimp with a penchant for chain smoking cuban cigars? Not much that's what! 
South westerners might notice Bristol's Clevedon suspension bridge in the background. Does any of this make sense? Not really! But I had a laugh painting it.

Incidentally I drove my mates V8 engined Cortina last weekend and I'm still on a high from it, so much was the case I didn't even take a video or any photos at the time. What a total cop out.. I'll have to arrange another trip out. I have ran a V8 before & I enjoyed the sound and the torque of it but now I can see what the fuss is about, yes a V8 Cortina is something I need now. I might have to put that idea on hold for a few years though, it looks a much bigger (expensive) job than the V6 conversion which I already have mounts for.

Here's the bay this past summer. It's now got Edlebrock Rocker covers and associated fitting kit from the states, also an oil catch tank for the breather. I used to clean the breather fire trap out on mine every few months and it felt like it went a lot better afterwards but Joe's system is better.

Making the engine mounts / bellhousing adapter is a skilled job that I'd struggle with.

I did try on some wheels while we were outside, but they were a bit wide for my ride. They did look cool, offset has a bit more poke on the front of the Mk3 so I am guessing with my old boaty suspension it'd be catching tyres.  Odd thing is they looked fine on Joe's car but his is lowered by an inch so maybe that makes it look better (it is parked on a hill in this pic so leaning quite a bit the opposite way and opening up the arch gap..) He's having the Atlas narrowed so he can get some 8 inch wide rims on the back which we agree will look awesome.
Main things is I do want some new tyres, mine have plenty of meat on them but they are a bit old. I'll be putting some new rubber on the spare set of wheels I have when I've saved a bit more.
Weather has been frigging lousy again for working on cars this week its proper bitter outside so tools are like ice cubes at the moment. Winter has officially set in. As mentioned previously I'll get some pics up of the past couple of jobs at some point. 

Anyway.. Here's a couple of the characters from the Zombie painting so you can see how they are sketched and painted.
Sketch then inked

 Colour & Tone

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Some more artwork.

I seem to have had a really busy few months and just had very little time to do anything for fun but I managed to get on with some more art this last week.

As far as my real Cortina; I need to take some photos of the last few jobs I have done, the weather has been pretty bad so I haven't taken any photos or had to abandon work when the rain starts hammering down. I'll update hopefully over the weekend.