So giving the car a barnfind style wash down isn’t a restoration, next came some actual tool work to start looking in to the car’s issues and check for other problems, as yet unknown.
The whole reason the car was parked up was ultimately the overheating. Having just spent a decent wedge having work done on the engine to cure an overheating issue, also a rebuild of the driver’s electric window, my father took the car for a drive on a sunny summer day, mid 2001.
When it got to being a bit longer than expected, my mother and I weren’t that surprised when an AA flatbed trundled up the street. The electric window had jammed down, after being opened to let the extra heat out, the extra heat coming from running the blowers full chat to try and add cooling to an overheating engine.
Many 4 letter words were thrown at the car, it was allowed to cool in the street, then driven in to the garage where it was left to think about just what it had done.
Hence my priority number 1, was to try and check the overall health of the engine. Pulling the radiator cap, I wasn’t entirely surprised to find it was not full to the brim. Some crystallising and residue left in it wasn’t that much of a surprise. When I removed the top hose and plugged the radiator boss and the thermostat boss with rubber gloves, I discovered there was still coolant in the system though.
For a long time I have felt the cooling system has a glaring issue on the car and in other engine bay shots I’ve found online and on local racecars I’ve managed to have a nosey round, they have taken steps to address or mitigate this. The system inherently wants an air pocket.
Slightly difficult to get a good shot of, but the radiator sits wonky and this puts the top of the tank on an angle, where the cap is lower than the top of the tank on the opposite side. The same elevated side of the tank is the one with the radiator top hose boss, which is above the thermostat elbow. This will be addressed via a header tank when being rebuilt.
Next up was checking the plugs, to get an idea how the car had been running in general. Each plug was pulled, numbered and inspected in turn.
Overall, actually not too bad, although Cylinder #3 appears to have been running richer than the others.
Last check was the oil, to check for any signs of emulsion suggested a breach in the headgasket.
Whilst obviously in need of an oil change, no signs of emulsion or water/coolant present. As a side note, how brilliant are old dipsticks?!
Danger! Needs filled. It’s full. So simple!