Getting the Fordson home

We have recently acquired a 1941 Fordson ECU from Alan Patmore in Hertfordshire. Alan has owned it since the late 1970s, and restored it from the brink of destruction. It has a working escape ladder, (a Merryweather “War Pattern” escape) with steel wheels (rather than the unsafe wooden wheels). It has a water tank (which is currently not connected), and a Barton pump driven by the crankshaft. It all looks very good, and was collected from Hertfordshire in mid-April 2011. Unfortunately, this did not go exactly to plan – We got there to find that an inner rear tyre was flat, and that took some time to change for the spare.  The car was loaded with loads of parts, spares and equipment, to take some weight off the Fordson, and we set off.

We only got 200 yards. The vehicle lost power and came to a stand. We restarted it, and got a further 100 yards, so Alan came out and towed us back the 300 yards to the farm. We thought it may be due to a weak spark, and so set off in search of a new ignition coil. Halfords don’t sell coils any more – it seems that modern cars don’t use them any more – but we eventually found an autofactor before they closed. This was fitted, but the engine wouldn’t start as the battery was nearly flat. So we used a jump lead, and got going. The vehicle still wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding, but after leaving it running while we thought about it, the engine speed suddenly increased, and its power was back.

So we set off again, and stopped at a local pub for a very late dinner. Unfortunately, the battery was still nearly flat, and after dinner, it wouldn’t start, until a very nice man in the pub lent us more jump leads. The vehicle ran very well for a few miles, then spat oil and exhaust fumes out the oil filler for a few miles, and then settled down to running very well for 30 miles or so.

Then the trouble really started – a lot of fumes and oil, so I pulled in to a layby. At that moment, she boiled over, and decided that recovery would be wise to avoid any serious damage to the engine.

Eventually we got home around midnight! Subsequently, I have found that the fumes blowing by the pistons is due to stuck piston rings, and having poured Redex into the bores, I think it is starting to work OK. The weak battery has been replaced, and the cause of the overheating traced to a split radiator hose.

About lowdhamstation

I am a director of a small (and very technical) business, a committed Christian, a Reader (and preacher) in my local village church, husband to my dear Frances, am interested in heritage railways, and heritage fire engines. I currently run a group that displays wartime and early post-war fire engines at 1940s re-enacting events and steam engine rallies. O yes, and vintage cars and motorbikes, and we live in a Victorian railway station.
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