My JC Locust: Arctic Fox
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By July 2005, I hadn't been to any car shows due to an overheating problem. The first thing that was spotted was the oil cooler was not getting even warm after a long drive. This was due to the thermostat failing, causing the oil cooler not to get any oil at all.To solve this, I bypassed the cooler, and put some straight pipes in. At the same time, the cooler was replaced (with one which was about 50% larger as well). This kept the oil and water temperature low.

However, while the engine's key temperatures were now much cooler than before, it still suffered from overheating - something I found out on the way to the Newark show in June.

After discussing this with Pete, it was decided that I try some cooler spark plugs. Initially, I was running NGK BPR6E, but I changed them to BPR7E.

The engine was working fine - although the weather wasn't as hot as it was when I went (or tried to go) to Newark.

One thing that I did notice was that the water system was being pressurised - after stopping the car after a long run, water was being pushed out of the radiator cap, and also the top hose. During the rebuild of the car, it didn't have an expansion tank - and we didn't believed that the original Mk1 Escort had one, so while we initially planned to put one in, we removed it to make removal of the engine easier, and also keep the engine bay tidy.

For some reason, it didn't (appear to) do this last year, but as it was now doing it, I decided it was time to put the expansion tank in. Luckily, I hadn't thrown away the one we were looking at fitting (which came from a later Escort) - and it still had all the pipes attached to it. So, I got some new Samco hose from Demon Tweeks, along with a pipe that would allow me to fit the bottom hose of the expansion tank to the exit pipe of the radiator.

This is what it looked like before:

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After an afternoon fitting it (along with a quick trip to get some additional hose when I found out we'd used 5/8" pipe instead of 1/2" pipe), it was ready:

Click to download Click to download Click to download

I'dve liked to get some black hose instead of blue - however, the spark plug leads are blue, so it's not too out of place!

After fitting it, I started it up, and ran it until the radiator fan came on. When this had done, I released (very slowly, and with a welding gauntlet on) the expansion tank cap, and was relieved to see that the air was under compression. I then left it to cool down, and did up the expansion tank cap.

Car show at Thorney Island

The day after fitting the new hose, there was a car show at Thorney Island, close to Portsmouth. This would be the ideal time to give it a blast. This car show is a complete random assortment of cars, ranging from classic, custom, kit and modified. There were also a large number of bikes and trikes.

We arrived early, and got a spot fairly close to the drag racing (I have a feeling we blagged our way to the race track - I was just following the others in our group!). Since this was being hosted on an army base, the security had been tightened, with searches of cars on the way in. For some reason (perhaps my car is very small), I wasn't searched, and waved straight through.

There was then a lot of slow driving in the baking sun. The car had been running well, albeit hot, for a while, but during the last five mintes, it started overheating again - water and oil was fine, so it's probably the cylinder temperature being too hot. My guess is that the carbs may be a little lean. I'll get that looked into when I get it on a rolling road - when I get the exhaust replaced! Ahh - it never ends...

I left early - if you leave too late, you can spend 2 hours leaving the army base; something I knew my car wouldn't appreciate. The journey back was fine, and actually enjoyable (although I did get a little burnt!).

Anyway, next thing to sort out is the bonnet - I've made some slight alterations, but I want to get some Dzus clips to hold it in place instead of the spring clips. These should keep it in place!

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