As the gauges had arrived I decided to fit the fuel gauge sender
unit. First problem the sender has a six hole fitting whilst
the tank is drilled for a 5 hole fitting!.
It would seem the best idea would be to re-drill the tank, using
the gasket as a template, I was worried about swarf getting into
the tank, so borrowed my daughters horseshoe magnet. This worked
fine ensuring al the swarf stuck to the magnet, I also stuffed
a big rag into the tank as well.
Now the hole were drilled the only way I could think of fitting
the sender was to push a bolt up though from the inside, twist
a bit of wire around the screw to stop it falling in, place the
gasket on top , sender unit and then put the nut on, then pull
out the wire and tighten up the bolts.
Well the theory was sound but I did not twist the wire tight
enough on a couple of the screws which fell down into the tank
!!, bu**er. A long rod with a bit of stick tape inside out on
the end picked up the screws and all was well.
Just as a
precaution I also gaffer taped a length of hose to the wife’s
Hoover and gave the inside of the tank a good clean out, just
rang Vehicle Wiring Products to enquire about a battery cable,
and the next day I was holding a nice 1.1 metre cable complete
with the correct ends, only took 2 mins to fit , fitted the
coil next and the ballast resistor, now to fit the loom...
loom comes with good instructions and plenty of connectors
as you have to re-use the ford connector blocks on the steering
column, ie a lot of cutting an re-joining, but Pilgrim do give
you the corresponding Ford/Pligrim wire colour.
I laid the loom out over the chassis as instructed , feeding
the front loom through a hole in the bulkhead. With the bulkhead
between the brake switch and brake fluid warning wires everything
seemed to be in the correct place. The loom continues to run
around the front chassis to the nearside bulkhead. Most of
the wires end up in the vicinity of the required connection.
Al the wire are over length to allow for different engines.
supplied relay's and fuse boxes are mounted up in the offside
bulkhead out of the way.
back part of the loom travels along the offside sill and round
the back , once again the wire appear to be in right area.
Next , starting from the back I labeled up all the wires I
could identify, there are a couple I have been unable to trace
but most worryingly, the Ford Indicator wires colours as indicated
by Pilgrim do not match mine, although all the other steering
column wires match okay. Hmm... have to sort that one last
unless anyone can help ?,.
job of the day was to make up the thick return lead from the
alternator to the battery, a bit of a pain as my alternator
had the spade type
connectors, whereas the Pilgrim loom has the 'eye' type. The
coil/distributor and ballast resistor are different than the
Pilgrim loom, so I referred to the Haynes manual to connect
in the ballast resistor, coil and distributor wires.
I need to get enough of the loom installed to try and start
the engine, the main battery leads were now in place, time to
look at the ignition electrics.
I am keeping the original Rover 35DE8 dizzy and ballast resistor,
at least to get it started then maybe change. I wired the ballast
resistor and dizzy as per the Haynes Manual along with a new
coil. Connected up the ignition switch next and while I was at
it, laid in the missing n/s indicator circuit, next came the
horns and fuel pump. At this point I also connected up the Oil
pressure, Oil light and Rev counter ready for when the engine
The entire front loom was then covered with split convoluted
tubing, looks nice and tidy now.
I had forgotten the grommet for the hole in the bulkhead, so
cut one in half, placed it over the loom then super glued it
back together .
Right lets check if anything works, turned the key and heard
the fuel pump working, good sign, turned a little further and
the starter motor engaged and turned the engine over, good now
check for a spark.
Nothing, not a bl**dy thing no spark at all , even at the HT
lead from the Coil. Opened up the distributor, removed the rotor
arm, and then the pickup unit, ahh noticed part of the PCB board
was broken off.
Luckily I had a spare dizzy which had another good pickup unit
inside. After about half an hour managed to swap over the required
bits, tried turning over the engine again, and we now had a spark
at the HT lead, but.. it looked very weak to me.. anyway tried
one of the plugs.. nothing.. oh bu**er.
the Dizzy cap and Rotor arm, still no good, and now , once
again no spark at the HT lead. It seems the words of wisdom
I chose to ignore concerning the ‘flaky’ 35DE8 electronic
ignition were well based. Totally fed up now I ordered an Optical
replacement kit with separate amp module, which I am told will
solve all my problems.
Until the replacement parts arrive I thought I would fill the
engine with water, true to form I had a couple of leaks to fix,
but eventually had a full engine with hopefully no air locks.
I had kept the heater hoses open until water flowed to help dispel
the air as the engine filled up.
Right, might as well fill up with oil and prime the pump, trotted
off to Halfords and bought 5 litres of Oil, only to get home
and find the engine holds 5.5 litres !!. Got some more oil then
filled the engine, no leaks there anyway..
the dizzy to get at the drive for the oil pump and clamped
special tool, (a bar with a slot at the end), in my drill.
I had been told that the pump had already been filled with Vasaline
and should prime okay. So turned on the drill while watching
the rockers for signs of oil flow.. guess what nothing… then
a very small dribble, this can’t be right, what’s
gone wrong now for Christ’s sake, (getting a bit fed up
by now). Now matter how long I continued to use the drill, (which
was getting very hot and smelly by now), no substantial flow
Only one thing for it, the pump will have to come off for a
pump is held on with little ‘star’ headed screws,
guess what, no socket to fit the screws !!, off to Halfords again,
(they know me quite well now). Finally got the pump off and at
first could see nothing wrong, now starting to feel depressed… then
I noticed that the pressure relief valve was not fully home in
its seat, in fact I could even see the end face which is supposed
to be seated down in the bore. I just touched the valve with
my screwdriver and it shot down into the bore as it should be,
it couldn’t have been assembled correctly in the first
that’s the reason for the lack of pressure,
relief valve more than fully open.
Now I have no more Vaseline left,, have to wait until tomorrow.
Good weekend I suppose, No Spark, Water leaks and No oil pressure
re-packed the pump , re-fitted and tried again… success
! Oil light goes out and the gauge measures around 45 psi with
my now knackered drill. Replaced the dizzy, re-checked the timing
and turned the engine over on the starter, Oil light goes out
, pressure gauges gives good reading, at last sorted.
optronic electronic ignition kit has arrived, from S & S
Preparations, so next job is to fit it and try to start the beast.
optronic kit from S & S Preparations is made by www.newtronic.co.uk
and is a very simple set-up indeed. Simply take all the guts
out of the dizzy, fit the new simple flat base plate complete
with it’s ‘lamp’ fitted. An 8 bladed plastic
rotor slips over the dizzy shaft replacing the magnetic one,
the blade passes between the beam of the lamp, triggering an
external amp. The external amp is mounted in a convenient place
on the chassis. The instructions are very simple and even take
into account the ballast resistor connections.
all connected up and double checked, now lets see what happens… turn
the engine over with the ‘king lead’ held
near earth…nothing no spark at all, now what !, re-checked
the connections , tried again nothing and noticed the external
amp was starting to smoke !!!, bl**y hell switch off quick.
double checked the connections and hoped the amp was okay,
connections were correct, but as soon as I applied power
to the amp it started to overheat. As I was using the ballast
resistor and this was the only thing not replaced now, I checked
the connections one by one, all volts at all points were as they
should be, the only connection with no volts is the ‘piggy
back’ one for connecting power to the ‘+’ coil
and the amp. On further investigation I found this connection
was a dead short to earth, no wonder the amp was not happy..
The only thing was to remove the ballast resistor from the circuit,
but that would mean 12 Volts would be going to the 6Volt coil
, but at least I would be able to see if this was the problem.
It was not too difficult to re-arrange the wiring excluding the
ballast resistor and find home for the six wires, (my electrical
knowledge was increasing fast).
I took this opportunity to test the coil and switching amp as
per the instructions in the kit, all tested okay, so I had not
damaged the amp, phew !!!.
With everything connected up , I turned on the ignition and
this time no smoking from the amp, looking good so far, then
turned the engine over, and YES a nice spark from the HT King
the HT lead in, put the petrol pickup in a petrol can and tried
to start the engine, turned over for about 30 sec,,,
nothing, nowt, not a pop. Hmmm advanced the dizzy slightly tried
again, still nothing… waited a bit and tried again, this
time a little pop from one of the cylinders , then a little more
art least a couple of cylinders were trying to catch,,, then
ROOAAARRR all eight came to life , I revved it a bit then she
spluttered and stopped, tried again but the battery was now nearly
dead, but at least it was still trying to catch..
Well at least the beast has roared, will try again tomorrow
with new 12Volt coil and charged battery.
Still having problems with the ignition system, getting quite
However I do think I am getting closer to solving the problem,
it always seems strange to me that the engine will only fire
up, (eventually), with the timing way to advanced.
So I put
the timing light on cylinder No1 and watched whilst cranking
over the engine, basically to check I had a constant
spark. Yep a good bright ‘flash’ on the timing light,
but… as I moved the dizzy round into the correct position,
the timing light ‘flash’ got weaker and weaker indicating
a very weak spark.
So no wonder the engine would not fire up and run with the dizzy
in the correct position (8 degrees BTDC), there was little or
no spark, but move the dizzy round to about 40 degrees advanced
and we had a nice fat spark.
was fundamentally wrong with the dizzy and or electronics.
My first reaction was to chuck it all away and buy a Mallory
Unitlite dizzy with coil and ballast resistor, but before shelling
all that dosh, I wanted to try another dizzy first . Luckily
a member in the Cobra Club offered to sell me Two Lucas dizzy’s
complete and with a ballast resistor for £40. I have arranged
to pick up the dizzy’s during the week, so we will have
to wait and see.
Meanwhile a bit of good news the body has arrived !!, and very
nice it looks too.
I ordered the body kit, all hinges and full lighting set, along
with the GRP dashboard and roll bar. Guess what not all the parts
arrived, the dashboard and roll bar were missing, still I have
plenty to be getting on with.
The body finish is very good with minimal flash lines, the flash
lines are covered in bits of white putty, (apparently used to
touch up the mould), and this can be removed with soapy water.
The doors boot and bonnet need quite a bit of trimming to fit
but again are very good quality.
To trial fit the body all that was needed was to trim a small
section at the rear of the sills to clear the swinging are bolts.
It can be lifted on and off quite easily by myself and the wife.
The first trial fit also highlighted the fact that my radiator
was too low, no problem, just moved it up and back a bit. It
is quite surprising how difficult it is to get to things with
the body on. Luckily everything else seems to clear okay, if
I had put the header thank another inch to the right and I would
not have been able to get the cap off.
I could now
see that the steering wheel had to be moved back about 3 “,
(otherwise the stalks would be behind the dashboard