Classics World



Q I have a 1974 Hillman Imp which has suffered from a flickering oil pressure gauge. When this first occurred, I carried out an oil and filter change and during this discovered that the oil filter housing had a build-up of creamy sludge. As the oil filter housing connects to the cam cover, I also removed this and cleaned out the cover and the flame trap, as well as the connecting pipe. Once I had completed this and with the fresh oil in the engine, the oil pressure gauge remained steady and I had no further problems for a while. However, the gauge has once again begun to flicker, and upon checking the cam cover I have found that the creamy sludge has reappeared. I have not needed to top the cooling system up and so I am convinced that this is not a head gasket problem, and is likely the result of the short journeys I undertake. Are there any easy steps to stop the reoccurren­ce of this problem? Keith Kirby

A As you have mentioned, I would expect the problem to be related to a number of short journeys, which do not allow the engine to reach a sufficient temperatur­e to steam off the condensati­on which occurs within it. This then allows the moisture to emulsify with the oil and creates the creamy sludge that has resulted.

There are a number of possible actions you can take to help minimise the problem, and the first would be to check the thermostat – the standard Imp thermostat should be 88°C, but a summer stat was often fitted opening at 71°C which would make it run cooler. There are other options which involve insulating the top of the engine to lessen the effects of the cool air causing condensati­on, but due to the problems that this engine did have with overheatin­g, this may not be advisable. It will of course depend on the usage of your Hillman, but ensuring that the engine is always run up to temperatur­e once started may be the best course of action.

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