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A buyers’ guide to the 100E

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Important A buyers’ guide to the 100E

Post  ford100e.com on Fri Oct 15 2010, 18:09

A buyers’ guide to the 100E

The 100E was introduced as the two door Anglia in October 1953, the four door Prefect joining it in January 1954. That year also saw the introduction of the 5cwt van, the 7cwt arriving in 1955, along with the Escort estate, based on the Anglia’s trim level, and the Squire Estate, based on the Prefect trim level. The Popular, a de-trimmed Anglia, was launched from October 1959 and remained in production, in deluxe form, until June 1962, the last of the 100Es. Contemporary with the launch of the Popular came the 107E Prefect. This vehicle had a slightly modified Prefect shell with similar but superior interior trim, the same suspension, steering and braking systems, but with the engine and drive train derived from the new 105E Anglia. Consequently, comments on those parts derived from the 100E are valid for the 107E also, but the engine and drive train were entirely different and not covered.

All these cars are now or rapidly approaching or have exceeded fifty years old, and while the shell was both strong and corrosion resistant (compared with many contemporaries) many have suffered the ravages of time.

Production came in four stages:

(i) The original Anglia and Prefect from October 1953.
(ii) The original models down trimmed, to allow for the introduction of the Deluxe versions from October 1955, including a revised dash layout.
(iii) The revamping of all models, now with a 25% larger rear screen, updated chrome work and yet another dash revamp, from October 1957.
(iv) The replacement of the 100E Anglia with the 105E type, which launched the 100E Popular based on a downgraded 100E Anglia, and the 107E Prefect based on the 100E shell but with the new engine and drive train, from October 1959.

Body.

Despite the above comment, fifty years provides plenty of opportunity for rust to take hold, and the shell does include a number of built in rust traps. It should be examined carefully, both for rust damage and poor repair work.

The first point is the lower rear corners of the front wings, behind which is a pocket, open at the front, guaranteed to collect road dirt thrown up by the front wheels. This damage isn’t critical: the wings are bolt on and repair panels are available, but the corrosion spreads inwards into the sill structure behind it. The sills in fact, both inner and outer, should be examined through their full lengths, both of them where they meet at their lower seams, the inner also where A, B, C and D posts meet them, the inners at the seams to the floor and all outriggers. The outriggers, including the jacking points, must also be checked in this area, not forgetting the large, triangular-shaped one adjoining the extreme rear of the inner sill. Other chassis areas to check are the front rails behind the anti-roll bar mounting (only in extreme cases), the centre section below the front seats, the rear rails either side of the spring shackle, and the extreme rear end where it joins the rear valance, plus the valance itself. This area does rust badly, and while this will involve the loss of the rear bumper mounting, it is structurally important as body weight is fed into the rear rails and hence the springs through it. Repair sections are again available, as are inner and outer sills, jacking points and centre sections.


Last edited by ford100e.com on Tue Jun 05 2012, 07:27; edited 1 time in total

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Important Re: A buyers’ guide to the 100E

Post  ford100e.com on Fri Oct 15 2010, 18:22

The bodywork itself can rust in many places: the bolt-on front wings and similar front panel along the seams between them, the wings also at the rear corners, as mentioned, and along the seam between their upper and lower parts. This area is very difficult to repair. Moving rearwards, the front suspension mounts, while much stronger than later Ford models, can rust across their top and front faces. The scuttle panel can rust at its front corners and also at the base of the screen pillars. Inside the front wheel arches, the inner wing adjacent to the battery is prone to rust (RH side only usually), but the complicated wheel arch / A post / bulkhead assembly should be very carefully examined. Serious rust here will extend into the floor and A post, requiring the wings’ removal for effective but difficult repairs.
The floor itself needs careful scrutiny, particularly at its outer edges, and the rear end in the rear seat mount area. Likewise, the bottoms of all door pillars should be looked at, although the filler panel at the base of the Prefects’ rear wheel arches isn’t structural. It is, though, a difficult repair.
Two door rear arches are usually quite strong, but four door rear arches have a seam between their front and rear sections, the resultant pocket harbouring moisture and initiating rust. Repair panels are available.
The boot aperture contains a rain channel which can rust right through, and while not structural, is difficult to repair, and allows water to enter the boot if left as is. The seam between the roof and quarter panels also traps water and bubbling of either or both panels is possible. The bottoms of the quarter panels trap water between themselves and their inner flitches, and both rust quite badly. Again, repair panels can be had.
The front doors can rust through at each lower corner, but rears are far less resistant and rust all around the wheel arch section. Check the frames as well as the outer skins. The mild steel window mouldings also rust away, although good inners from scrap doors can be used to replace the opposite side outers. Some were stainless steel, so obviously this doesn’t apply. Bonnets rust in the front lower corners, as do boot lids.

Engines.

The 100E engine is a long stroke, sidevalve unit developed from the Model Y engine of 1932. On introduction in 1953, the 100E was considered a very fast car and could easily out-perform all others in its class, and while others improved their performance throughout their production periods, the 100E remained competitive to the end.
But that was a different, pre-motorway era, and the car is not fast by today’s standards, although faster than people generally believe. The engine though does not like motorway cruising, even at moderate speeds, and regular motorway use will see a life of about 16,000 miles. Otherwise, overhaul mileages vary greatly, and while some have succumbed at 30,000, 50,000 is more typical, some going on far beyond this. But overhauling the 100E engine is an expensive job.

Pistons: The long stroke gives a high piston speed, and the cast iron piston rings wear their grooves, allowing them to ‘float’ at the end of each stroke. This in turn causes the rings to break, usually the top one. An engine will run happily if noisily with all top rings broken, but once a second ring breaks on any piston, blow by will compress the crankcase and force oil out of any available exit. Replacing the rings is false economy as the worn grooves will shatter these again in about 6,000 miles, so new pistons are essential. Bore wear is about average, unless broken rings have caused scoring, when a rebore becomes essential.

Big ends: These were always originally direct metalled and, while stronger than the contemporary 10hp type, will be the next cause of concern. Having the rods remetalled is a very expensive and skilful process, and not all engine rebuilders have the knack. The rods can be bored out to accept shell bearings, and while the cost is about the same as remetalling, future replacement is obviously cheaper. The white metal of the shells is harder than the original Babbitt, so crankshaft wear is greater.

Little ends: These are phosphor bronze bushes and should be replaced with the big ends, and certainly if any rock can be detected between the rod and the piston along the line of the gudgeon pin. Wear is common.

Main bearings: Unlike the big ends these are shells and have a large surface area. They give few problems.

Camshaft: Neither the camshaft nor its bearings are prone to wear. The tappets though have a self-locking stud to allow valve clearances to be adjusted, which can break loose. This is very rare.

Valves: These can burn as with any other engine, but generally need attention only at overhaul periods. This is just as well as they are very difficult to access. They are not particularly adversely effected by unleaded fuel.

Timing chain: This is a double roller chain, whose short length requires no form of tensioner. Be aware that some engines were fitted with oversized sprockets to take up previous chain wear, so a new chain will not now fit.

Cylinder head: This rather thin and bows easily; it should be checked each time it is removed. There is a large, flat area between the middle cylinders which is difficult to seal, so blown gaskets are far from unknown.

Tuning: There are many remanufactured tuning parts available for the 100E, and they can raise the performance substantially. They can also raise the fuel consumption substantially unless done properly, and reduce the engine’s lifespan if full use is made of the increased power. Mostly they are aluminium alloy, and look particularly impressive at a concours if kept polished.

Transmission.

This too is a development of that from the Model Y, and can develop many oddities with age. It does generally keep going, though.

Clutch: This is hydraulically operated and of adequate size. Its main complaint is judder, especially in reverse, and while the usual pressure plate / disc problems can cause it, the gearbox mounting is more often the culprit.

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Important Re: A buyers’ guide to the 100E

Post  ford100e.com on Fri Oct 15 2010, 18:26

Gearbox: This is a three speed unit with a massive gap between second and top gear. Driving the car is less pleasant because of this, as acceleration and hill climbing are badly curtailed. Having said that, the box itself had two main problems:

(i) poor synchromesh on second gear (there is no synchromesh on first); and
(ii) (ii) jumping out of second on the over-run.

The first can be tackled by replacing the gear, synchro sleeve and balk rings, but the latter is due to a worn circlip groove in the mainshaft behind second gear. End thrust on the over-run pushes the gear rearwards and the circlip up the taper worn in the groove, the gear coming out of mesh with the synchro sleeve and hence jumping into neutral. At that point, the circlip reasserts itself and returns to the bottom of its groove, so the real problem isn’t immediately apparent.
It must be said that this is possibly the easiest gearbox to rebuild, there being no needle rollers within it.

Rear axle: This is spiral bevel unit so noisier than later hypoid types, a noise which increases with wear. It will though continue to run noisily for many thousands of miles. The main problem area is the underside of the axle ends: the wheels’ roller bearings run directly on the axle casing, and the weight causes this area to wear and pit. Repair sleeves were once available.

Running gear.

The 100E was the second car in the world to use Macpherson struts for its front suspension, and it’s handling and road holding were regarded as excellent when new. Technology has moved on since then, but a 100E can still hold its own on the winding roads it was built for. The three link steering can feel a little vague compared with today’s power assisted rack and pinion systems, and while the car can wander a bit on a straight road, the steering box is more than adequate. The original 7” brake drums were inclined to fade and were replaced by 8” types in January 1955, which are good enough for the car’s performance, and quite a bit more. Again comparison with a modern servo-assisted disc set-up with ABS control cannot, in fairness, be made, but they stop the car well enough.

Suspension: The Macpherson struts on the front give good handling when in good order, and inserts are available should they be worn. Available also are track control arms (and repair kits) and all bushes to bring a worn front suspension system back to first class condition.
The rear end was supported on seven-leaf semi-elliptic leaf springs, which can settle with age. It is possible to have existing springs retempered or new ones made. Bushes for both ends are available. Rear damping was not the cars strong point and hopping on rough surfaces was always noticeable.

Steering: The worm and roller peg steering box was notorious for oil leakage past the pitman shaft seal, and unless the level was maintained, wear would result. The main wearing part was the peg, which develops a flat spot about the straight ahead position. New pegs are not available. Otherwise, a steering box in good condition is as positive as such a system can be, and is fairly light despite needing only 1¾ turns from lock so lock. All parts of the linkage are available if worn.

Tyres: These were originally 5.20x13 crossplies, with 5.60x13 available as an option. Today, crossplies are very expensive and many owners have fitted radials, 155/80R13 being the nearest equivalent. Besides being cheaper, these dramatically improve the road holding and almost eliminate the rear axle hop.

Brakes: There were three braking systems fitted to the 100E:

(i) 7” drums all round,
(ii) (ii) 8” drums all round, from January 1955, and
(iii) (iii) a modified 8”system, from October 1957.

The 8” system can be easily fitted to the fronts of early cars, but a an additional bracket to anchor the outer handbrake cable is needed to modify the rear. Parts for the 7” and early 8” systems can be difficult to find, but the later 8” system can be retro-fitted. To do this requires a change of almost all parts, including the rear handbrake levers going through the rear brake backplates, and the provision of hold-down pins, springs and cup washers for all brake shoes.
Shoes and cylinders for this last system are still available.

Interior.

Interior space isn’t generous, especially rear seat leg room, and even more so if the occupant of the seat in front has it adjusted right back. Seats were usually covered with vinyl, although leather was sometimes an option. Headlinings were originally cloth, but about late 1955 converted to vinyl. This was continued from 1957, although the pattern changed. Vinyl is a hard wearing plastic, but becomes brittle with age, so some tearing of both headlining, including the cloth type, and seats is common. Both are also prone to discoloration. The seat frames and springing might also at this age be showing signs of distress, with sharp, broken spars emerging through the cover. Comfort was never a selling point, and this situation hardly improves it.
All 100E models had ribbed rubber mats as a floor covering. Again, these are often torn or missing altogether, replaced by domestic or ready made carpet. Remanufactured rubber mats are available, but do not conform to the original specification. The 107E had loop-pile carpets as standard, and boasted higher specification, even compared with the 105E Anglia Deluxe.

Ancillaries.

100E electrics are entirely conventional for the period, using standard Lucas 12V components. They are positive earth, but can easily be converted to negative if required, There was only a single fuse fitted, which protected the indicator circuit, all others being unprotected. A heater was available only as an optional extra. It was a recirculatory type, but quite effective at maintaining a comfortable temperature within the car; it’s abilities to keep the screen demisted not being so good. The windscreen wipers were the notorious vacuum system, which, despite a tank to maintain some vacuum under full throttle conditions, tended to stop at the most inconvenient times. Some consider this as part of the period charm, but others less impressed by the opinion have easily converted the system to electric operation, usually utilising and entire assembly from a Mini.

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Disclaimer:
You are responsible for any work or modifications carried out on your car and you undertake any such work at your own risk. Neither the site owner or ford100e Owners Club nor the original authors in this thread can be held liable for anything that may happen as a result of you following this thread's posts.
Any modifications should be reported to your insurance company.
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Important Re: A buyers’ guide to the 100E

Post  ford100e.com on Fri Oct 15 2010, 18:30

The headlamps are semi-sealed units with 50/40W bulbs (early cars had 42/36W bulbs). They aren’t very bright, but can be replaced by 7” sealed beam units (60/45W), or Halogen units, ex-Landover, for instance.

General.

The 100E is regarded by most owners as a friendly, characterful car which can give many miles of enjoyment. If properly maintained, they are reliable and capable of daily use. They are very much at home on winding roads, but aren’t happy on motorways or areas where long, medium hills are common. They cruise happily at 50-55 mph, are easy to maintain and fun to drive. What more needs to be said?


courtesy of Mr Jim Norman

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Any modifications should be reported to your insurance company.
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