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Engineering solutions to common classic issues
Lets face it, there are many times when you think to yourself ‘I wish my classic did XXX better!’ There loads of electrical upgrades that can make a huge difference to the drive and reliability of your classic. The following are a list of the most common electrical upgrades, but we are happy to talk through any idea you might have.
H4 Headlamp Upgrade
If you have got a set of 7 inch sealed beams or basic halogen headlamps in your classic, then this quick swap can transform night driving. 7 inch round beams were fitted to a massive list of cars from Mini’s to Rolls Royces. We can simply remove the old lamp units, solder in some H4 connectors and get you fitted with modern headlamps in just a couple of hours.
Electric power steering really got going in the late 90’s when Peugeot and MINI started fitting them to their supermini’s. The technology is simple and easy to package into most classic cars. As long as you are running a healthy alternator these bolt in units are as close to ‘plug and play’ as you can get.
We have fitted a number of kits from EZ Power Steering. They provide a complete set up for an amazing array of cars from Alfa Romeo through to Volvo. The kits take approximately two days to fit and offer adjustable assistance so can be ‘dialed in’ to the drivers requirements.
Dynators and Alternator upgrades
Dynamo’s are just hopeless compared to a modern alternator. They have to be running at some pace to charge the battery, so do little to ‘top up’ the charge when the engine is sat idling. A few years ago you would have swapped it out for a modern unit. But there are plenty of companies putting alternator internals in Dynamo bodies. They retain their original looks, but provide the power of a modern unit. Most swap in with very little modification to the mounting points and electrics.
If you have a basic 55 AMP alternator and have power hungry modifications you can find that the battery quickly runs out of juice. This is especially true when the car doesn’t get out for a long run very often, With a little research it is often possible to replace your alternator with an 80, 90 or 110 AMP unit, giving plenty of spare capacity.
Fast-wind starter motors
Traditional starter motors are huge, great, heavy, power thirsty things. If you drive a British classic you probably know that they are not the most reliable component on your car too! Help is at hand. A modern, fast wind starter motor has more torque, takes less cranking power and is significantly smaller. We must have fitted over a hundred of them and never had one back.
Electric cooling fans
One of the biggest issues that classic cars have is cooling. Fitting a dirty great Kenlow fan to the front of the engine compartment isn’t a new idea and is one of the most effective, but here at Project Shop we like to be a bit cleverer.
The first question that needs to be asked is ‘do I actually need a bigger fan, or is it something else’. Before we start we will:
- Check your complete cooling system using our infer red thermometer.
- Make sure the core of the radiator is not full of silt.
- Check your thermostat is opening and closing correctly
- Confirm the water pump is giving sufficient pressure.
By watching the system through the complete heating up and cooling down phase we also gather information that helps us set up the fan. Electric fans are controlled by thermostats and we make sure it will cut in and switch off at the right time. After all a cold engine is almost as bad as a hot one.
When we do fit upgraded electric cooling fans, we like to make a nice job of it. Wiring it in with a chunky fuse, wrapping the new loom and fitting the fan with bespoke brackets, instead of pushing plastic grommets through the radiator core. We can also wire in a manual override switch for use in an emergency.