Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Luggage Cover

Posted on June 23rd, 2014 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Estate cars of the 70’s made little or no concession to hiding whatever you were carrying in the luggage area behind the rear seat. Modern hatchbacks have large rear parcel shelves and estate cars have spring loaded covers but the Cortina mark 3 has neither.

IMG_2160Over the last year or so I have pondered this problem coming up with a wooden shelf behind the rear seat, this was about a foot deep and together with a car blanket covered my tool box. The rest of the luggage space remained uncovered. I also looked at the possibility of fitting a cover from a modern car but these are usually made for a certain model and difficult to adapt,  Paying out for something I might bin was not on.

Enter a £12.99 roller blind reduced to £10.38 at a local store. It was a blackout blind 4 feet wide and 5 feet long. The width across the car being slightly wider than 4 feet allowed space for the fittings.

IMG_2162I attached the roller mechanism to the top of the rear seat; this being metal allowed a good firm fixing with self tapping screws. I now raided the garage for inspiration on how to attach the other end of the blind. My brief was it had to pull the fabric tight but be readily removable to allow bigger items of luggage to be loaded.

IMG_2164Cutting a piece of chromium plated copper water pipe to the width of the car I then fabricated an “L-shaped” bracket to which I attached a pipe clip. I again used a self tapper to fix this bracket to the metal structure at the rear of the car. A second bracket and pipe clip was attached to the other side of the car. I removed the length of plastic supplied and fitted into the hem of the blind and replaced it with the chrome tubing. The chrome tube being wider than the blind allowed it to clip into the pipe clips.

IMG_2165Having proved the system worked I removed all the brackets and fitting and sprayed them black to match the car. If I need to carry a large load I simply unclip the pipe and roll up the blind, I can then tip the rear seat forward. The type of blind I used is one with a continuous loop of cord on the side to operate it, but I imagine it would be possible to use the spring loaded type.

IMG_2161Whilst I am a believer in keeping cars as original as possible it is also necessary to address modern issues of car crime etc. By keeping the installation of this blind as simple as possible it has provided a effective screen for my luggage with the only permanent impact on the car being the drilling of six small screw holes for the brackets.

Nissan Primera Rear Light Bulb

Posted on May 14th, 2013 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

A diversion from my usual tinkering with the Cortina was brought about recently by the failure of the offside rear lamp on my Nissan Primera. (Yes I do have a “modern” as well.)

Having discovered the failed tail lamp I was perplexed by a seemingly sealed lamp unit which appeared to be invisibly affixed to the body. Now, on the Cortina, you simply unscrew four self-tappers and, low and behold, you have access to the bulb, not so on the Primera. Time for the owners manual.clip_image001


The tiny drawing in the manual gave me a clue. Pulling off a piece of plastic trim, located between the boot lip and the lamp unit, revealed two 10mm bolts, which I undid.





The lamp unit now wobbled around but stayed resolutely attached to the car. It appeared to be clipped.Further study of the manual indicated pulling the lamp away from the car. I gave a gentle tug, nothing happened. Knowing the love manufacturers have for plastic clips, and knowing how  easily they snap I tried again, and again. The lamp unit came away from the car body, the clips stayed intact, success.


The secret is to pull the lamp unit straight out from the car and not to twist it, easier said than done when the clips are both on the same side and there is not enough room to get your fingers in the gap.

clip_image003Although the lamp unit is now free it is still connected by a  multi-plug, which the manual indicates you simple pull out. It does not however indicate how tight it is, and I had to resort to gentle prising with a screw-driver. (Make sure the lamps are switched off before doing this or your next job will involve changing fuses.)


One the unit is free of the car place it face down on a clean cloth, (the plastic lens scratches easily), and remove the three self tapping screws holding the plastic bulb holder assembly from the lamp unit.




The relevant failed bulb can now be changed.

Assembly  is simply the reverse of pulling it apart, I would however recommend checking everything works before attaching the lamp unit back to the car, otherwise a second fight with the plastic clips will be required.



Despite initial misgivings I was pleasantly  surprised with the thought Nissan had put into this. Being able to remove the lamp unit from the car to carry out fault finding and diagnostic work is really useful, especially as the car gets older and contacts get tarnished.

The only downside is that this is not a five-minute job on the side of the road, especially on a cold wet night. (I was working in my drive on a warm pleasant spring day). I always carry at least one bulb kit in my cars, but I had to use a 10mm socket to undo the two securing screws and a socket set is not something I routinely carry around in a modern car in case of bulb failure. Maybe I will in future or perhaps I will just call out the AA.