Category Archives: Maintenance

New water pump for the Zodiac

How hard is it to get a new water pump for a Ford Zodiac? It all started with a little trip on a sunny day…

new water pumpAfter a stop at a cafe I noticed that the big Ford was spilling (a few drops of) coolant on the parking floor. Because we were only a few miles from home, we decided to go home, drive slowly and hope for the best.

During the short drive the car lost more and more coolant, the temperature indicator went in to the red area and at our destination almost all of the coolant was gone. Inspection of the engine bay revealed that the coolant was leaking from the water pump.

The search for a new water pump.

Although the car is over fifty years old a lot of new spares (door cards, rear light lenses and most engine parts for example) are easily available. A new water pump for the big ford, unfortunately, is not one of them.

Very quickly I became aware that the only pumps available were refurbished ones. When I found one on a British site for a reasonable price and tried to order it the site crashed.  I send them an e-mail but the response took some time so I continued my search. This is when I found motomobil

These guys are from Germany but they have a lot of spares for old British Fords including the Zodiac MK1, MK2 and MK3.

I placed my order and within a few days the new water pump arrived. Complete with a new gasket and installation instructions. It even came in the original box from Ford! And when I send them my old water pump (in the original box and with the installation instructions) I even got some cash back!

Replacing the pump was straight forward and after topping up the coolant the big Ford was running smoothly again 🙂





Classic car oil, my thoughts

Classic car oil a must for classic cars or not? Some people do not tolerate anything else in the engine of their classic car, others think it is a lot of b*****!

classic car oilIn this post I will share my thoughts about this topic with you. I think that every serious gearhead knows that the price of engine oil for premium brands is too high. Marketing / branding tries to make people believe that a premium oil is a must have and budget brands are no good. But why? Financial gain! I personally have driven roughly eight cars for private use in the last twenty three years and have never noticed any significant difference in reliability or performance. Both with premium brands and with budget brands. The only thing that I look for is if the specifications meets the minimum requirements for that perticulair engine!

But these cars where modern cars and not classic cars. I believe that in certain cases classic car oil is the right thing to use.

I would use classic car oil if:

  • The car is a high end classic.
  • You drive a classic car every day for a long distance.
  • You go for a very, very long roadtrip.
  • If you believe it is the best thing for you to do!
  • If you think it is the best thing to “give” to your car.

I would not use classic car oil if:

  • The car is a classic that you enjoy but is not a high end one.
  • If you try to keep your classic car in shape but the maintenance cost low.
  • If your classic will not be driven daily.
  • If you think a premium brand is just all about marketing.

Classic car oil or budget oil, keep the following in mind:

  • Use what feels right for you and your car.
  • Modern engine oils can affect some seals and lines. Check if this is the case with your car (car – club, manufacterer).
  • Check your seals and lines periodically.
  • Most classic engines do not thrive on semi or full – synthetic oils. Unless the manufacterer of your car says otherwise, use a full mineral oil compliant with the manufacterers requirements!

These are just my two cents about classic cars and classic car oil…

If you want to know, I use a budget brand engine oil for the Ford Zodiac MKIII and it runs fine!




Electronic ignition and classic cars

Electronic ignition for Z-cars

electronic ignitionElectronic ignition is one of the best improvements for a classic car. Electronic ignition does not interfere with the authentic look of a classic car. But electronic ignition will improve the reliability, overall performance and gas mileage! It is true that a classic ignition system will do the job, the downside of a classic system is that it requires regular maintenance. For someone like me (that has a lot of hobbies but is always struggling for time) fitting an electronic ignition is a win / win situation.

Installing the electronic ignition

There are two different ways you can convert the classic ignition system on the Ford Zodiac. Both ways are very easy to do and will take someone with modest d.i.y. skills only 30 – 60 minutes of his time. As long as all the necessary bolts and components are easy to remove and reinstall  🙂

Method number one is to replace points and condensor with an electronic ignition kit. Method number two is replacing the old distributor with a new one. One that has an electronic ignition kit installed. I opted for method number two. Installation of the new distributor is pretty straightforward. Do not forget to take your time, read the manual, pick the right tools, use common sense and label the parts that come off!

I also fitted a new ignition coil and new leads. And naturally I changed the sparkplugs also. If you want to know the modern equivalent of your old sparkplug than check this document.

The installation of the electronic ignition (and replacing the coil, leads and sparkplugs) has had quite an impact on the old Z-car. It starts better, the engine runs much smoother, torque has improved and somehow it feels a much more “solid” ride. I have not checked the gasmileage but I can imagine this has also been improved.

Improvements for a classic car

Next step… Improvements

Improvements for a classic carOk, so now I was the proud owner of a 1964 Ford Zodiac MKIII. What to do next? Like most classic car owners I like the idea of Improvements for the car but I do not want to lose the ‘authenticity’. For me this means that improvements that make the car more reliable for everyday use are acceptable but they may not be seen on the outside.  I do not think that to improve a car like this means putting a big V8 into it.  For me that is modifying not improving your classic car. That does not mean that I do not like or enjoy the creative mindset of other people!

What to improve?

The Zodiac looks pretty decent on the outside and the interior is clean and complete. To get the big Ford looking any better it would require a bare metal respray together with a complete overhaul of the interior. And that just is not happening any time soon. It is the age old story of time and money that stands in the way. Sounds familiar? 🙁

For now I will concentrate on Improvements for the running gear only. Starting by replacing the coil, ignition cables and sparkplugs. And a electronic ignition unit will be fitted. This will make the car a lot more reliable, improve fuel economy, torque, power output and make the car more enjoyable overall.

There are lot of other (regular) things that have to be done. Like  changing the oil and brake fluid. Adjusting the valve clearance and checking other components of the six cylinder engine.

One thing that does not require changing or replacing is the exhaust. it is an aftermarket stainless steel  replacement that gives a nice ‘burbling’ sound. At low and higher RPM’s the sound this exhaust makes turns heads 🙂