WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Cor­ro­sion calamity?

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -

Cor­ro­sion can run ram­pant, re­duc­ing a Stag to parts-only sta­tus. Even cars that look solid can be rot­ten so if in doubt call in an ex­pert. You need to check ab­so­lutely ev­ery­where but fo­cus on the sills, floor­pans, whee­larches and in­ner wings. Also scru­ti­nise all of the seams around the car as rust breaks out in these then eats its way into the sur­round­ing pan­els. If the sills are rot­ten the front wings will have to be re­moved (or the bot­toms cut off) to al­low access for proper re­place­ment. If these are crusty, the out­rig­gers prob­a­bly will be too. There are two on each side and the front one is usu­ally the first to go, the rust then spread­ing to the sills and the rest of the floor­pan. Other ar­eas to home in on for cor­ro­sion in­clude the trail­ing edge of the boot lid, the boot floor (es­pe­cially where the fuel tank is lo­cated along with the tank it­self) and the hard­top. With the lat­ter, ex­pect cor­ro­sion around the side win­dow aper­tures, the gut­ter­ing and the header rail. The A-posts also need to be checked care­fully as these rot out once they’ve filled up with wa­ter that’s drained from the wind­screen pil­lar gut­ter­ing. The B-posts are no bet­ter; these rot and are a pain to re­pair as three pan­els all meet at the base.

En­gine is­sues

The en­gine can be a li­a­bil­ity with­out ex­pert main­te­nance and a cou­ple of up­grades, but if set up prop­erly re­li­a­bil­ity isn’t an is­sue. It’s worth fit­ting a header tank to raise the coolant level above the wa­ter pump. A more ef­fi­cient ra­di­a­tor is also a good bet. Anti-freeze lev­els must be main­tained to stave off in­ter­nal cor­ro­sion of the heads, so check that things aren’t al­ready clogged up by mak­ing sure the en­gine doesn’t over­heat when left idling. Also check that it gets up to tem­per­a­ture on a run – if it doesn’t, the ther­mo­stat has prob­a­bly been re­moved. Make sure that the Torqua­trol vis­cous-cou­pled fan cuts in as it can fail. A fas­tid­i­ous owner will prob­a­bly have fit­ted an elec­tric fan too, such as a Ken­lowe.

Trans­mis­sion tri­als

Most Stags have an au­to­matic gear­box but manuals are more sought after – es­pe­cially those with over­drive. Any Stag gear­box should last around 120,000 miles be­tween re­builds – an over­hauled au­to­matic box is avail­able for £630 (ex­change) from Rim­mer Bros. Over­drives tend to be re­li­able; prob­lems are usu­ally elec­tri­cal and eas­ily sorted. Once a man­ual gear­box has worn ex­pect crunchy changes be­tray­ing tired syn­chro­mesh. On a man­ual Stag, lis­ten for chat­ter­ing from be­hind the en­gine. Dip the clutch and if the noise dis­ap­pears it’s be­cause the clutch thrust bear­ing has worn. Re­place­ment is straight­for­ward, but de­cent-qual­ity units are hard to source. More prob­lem­atic is a re­ally stiff clutch caused by the en­gine and gear­box run­ning out of line with each other. There are no dow­els to lo­cate the gear­box, so there’s no way of know­ing if it’s

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