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The Ford Capri Laser Page



Please bear in mind this article is historical and was written circa year 1997.  This Capri was sold around 2002 when our second white Laser was purchased.


Improvements

After the first twelve months, I started getting more ambitious with my car. I found that servicing it was a doddle. The Pinto engine must be one of the easiest to work on and there is plenty of space under the bonnet. Please visit my other pages for the service guide. The first improvement was the fitting of an electronic ignition system which I bought for £25 in kit form. This still requires the points but uses them as a low current switch to 'time' the spark. This addition has improved the performance and reliability of my car no end.

Next was the stereo. I replaced the average Ford stereo with a Blaupunkt radio cassette. I also replaced the Ford speakers with 50 watt equivalents. Finally, a graphic equaliser resulted in an excellent 'budget' sound system.

Some Mechanicals

With the Capri clocking up over 15K a year, things obviously began to wear out. First concern was the timing belt which had done over 60K. I replaced this myself using a Ford part (£8). The job took all morning because I was learning the hard way, but it is actually reasonably easy to do. With that under my belt, I was on a roll ! Next was the fuel sender unit on the petrol tank which packed in. This again was an easy job although it helps if you have a multi-meter. Make sure that you get the right part as late model Capris like mine had a send and return petrol pipe (you will have to get this from Ford although I have been warned that they are no longer stocked). I have learnt how to replace front and rear brake shoes which saves a lot of money. The rear drums are tricky at first because it appears impossible without a third pair of hands. You have to be a bit rough with them to get them in place.

I have changed one of the steering gaiters that was split. It is essential to do this as soon as possible or you are looking at a replacement rack. The new gaiter was £4.50 but was a bit of a pig to replace. You need to remove the track rod end which is attached by a ball joint to the road wheel. A good tip I got was to undo the nut on the ball joint so that it is flush with the thread and then tap it (hard) using a hammer and piece of wood. The track rod end should eventually come away and then you can undo it and change the gaiter with relative ease.

My most ambitious project was to change the track control arm bushes as the front end of the car was wandering over the road. This job turned out to be a total nightmare. I managed to get the anti roll bar off OK (with lots of pulling ) but the bushes are very hard to get out and even worse to replace. I confess that I gave up and cut the bushes in two and super glued them back in place (if you've ever done this job you will know what I mean). Getting the anti-roll bar back on is no fun as it is spring loaded. It took all my strength to get it on and I nearly gave up ( one trick is to pre-tension the bar with a rope tied across the two ends and twisted with a screwdriver). Eventually with everything back in place I was relieved to find that my Capri drove in a straight line again. Capri owners note that if your car drifts when you take your hands of the steering wheel, I can guarantee that this will cure the problem.

One other job that was lots of fun was replacing the rear wheel bearings which start to make lots of noise after a lot of mileage. These are pressed onto the axle half shafts and are easy enough to get to but you will need to take them to a garage to get them pressed off and replaced. I carried both half shafts in a rucksack to a local garage where the guy did it for £5. The bearings were £11 a pair.

Since writing this article in 1995, I have updated my page with details on many of these jobs with the view to making them less of a nightmare for you ! Please visit my service guide and Jobs pages for the gruesome details.

Disasters

We had two disasters with the Capri. Both were relatively minor thank goodness. My ex-wife reversed into a parked Toyota Celica (very old one) and crushed the bumper on the Capri and dented the Celicas. Fortunately, there was no other damage and I managed to get a brand new non-Ford bumper for £25. The Celica was more tricky because it was £175 to replace. Fortunately, because the car was old and knackered and the owner was very reasonable, he allowed me to repair the original bumper. I spent the evening in his garage knocking out the dents and straightening the brackets. At the end of it all we were both pleased with the results and I was chuffed with the money we saved.

The next disaster was more serious. Someone ran into the back of us in a petrol station. The damage didn't look too bad at first and the bloke was offering me cash on the spot to repair it. I decided to wait and see and I'm glad I did because when I got home I realised that the whole rear end had been pushed back about 1" and the tailgate would not open. The insurance company were excellent at sorting it all out although we had plenty of witnesses so no problems there. The repair bill was somewhere in the region of £1000 ! I even insisted that the decals were replaced instead of being sprayed around. The Capri club supplied these as Ford do not stock them any more.

And that was that, until the day my Company decided to relocate me to the USA. What did I do with my beloved Capri ? I've saved this part of the story on a page of its own!

This web page is owned

and operated by Mark Swetnam

Last updated 1/1/17
© 2015

E-mail: Mark@Swetnam.co.uk


Keeping 'The Legend Alive' on the World Wide Web since 1995!


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