Built in England between 1953 and 1962, the Ford Popular, commonly referred to as the Ford Pop was one of the lowest priced cars in Britain. It's basic features can perhaps explain it's inexpensive nature. For instance, it did not have a heater and had very little trim. It had painted chrome bumpers and one vacuum-powered wiper. Between 1953 and 1959, there was a total of 155,340 Ford Pop 103E produced. In 1959, the 103E was replaced by 100E which remained in production until 1962. In modern times, the Ford Pop remains one of the best and most inexpensive classic cars.
Some of the issues you could experience from time to time after buying the Ford Popular include:
• Engine problems – at best, Ford Popular’s engine lasts as little as 40,000 miles between rebuilds, that is, if you carry out oil changes after every 3,000 miles. If you skimp on several oil changes, your engine could last as little as 25,000 miles between rebuilds. Lack of durability extends to how the white-metalled bearings are fitted.
Whilst converting them to shell-type bearings would be a little costly it will help cut on rebuild cost. However, this does not increase it's longevity due to bore wear. Should you notice fumes from the oil filler cap, this is a sign of wear. With the engine idling, remove the cap. More pronounced fumes are a sign that a rebuild is due.
• Corrosion – Ford Popular has relatively thick body panels. Although this means that terminal corrosion is rare, you will still need to check the vehicle’s part for rust. Begin with the top of the MacPherson strut mounting. Check the inner wings, the bottom edges on the front outer wings, and the seam where the wings connect with the front valance. Check the jacking points, rear spring hangers, sills, and the door edges. Finally, check the outer and inner wheel arches and the spare wheel too. Make sure that all repairs are seam welded. Inspect all the previous restoration works carefully for signs of rust.
• Gearbox – with the engine’s lifespan being 40,000 miles, it is inevitable that the gearbox will weaken over time. However, the gearbox and the back axle will have a longer lifespan if the oil is renewed regularly. When it gets worn out, a Ford Popular’s diff gets noisy. You can easily overhaul the 107E model’s diff, but you will have to take the 100E model to the repairer shop.
• The overhead-valve engine – for the 107E, the overhead lasts typically for as little as 70,000 miles between rebuilds. Be on the lookout for rumbling main bearings. Rather than overhauling the unit, some Ford Popular owners substitute it with Anglia 105E’s unit.
• Fuel supply – although the Ford Popular is fairly fuel economical, running it on insufficient fuel could affect both engines. This results in misfires or hot starting. Usually, the mechanical fuel pump is positioned close to the exhaust manifold. This is why fuel evaporates at an abnormally high rate. Most people try to remedy this by substituting it with a post-1956 fuel pump.
• Wheel bearings – should you notice any rumbling from the wheel bearings, this is usually a serious problem as they run directly against the axle’s casing. Whilst nothing can stop the wear, make sure that you service your vehicle per requirement.
• Clutch – a jerking clutch is as a result of a worn out gearbox mounting or engine. Worn prop shaft universal joints could also lead to clutch judder. Make sure that you lubricate the joints after every 1,000 miles.
•Steering – steering problems are common because the unit has nine grease points which should be lubricated after every 1,000 miles. However, the steering box is still predisposed to wear and tear which accelerates if it runs dry.
If you notice any of the following problems, schedule an appointment with your repairer as soon as possible:
1) Loud noises within the engine
2) Fumes coming from within the vehicle’s hood
3) Fluid leaks
4) Noticeable damage to a component within the engine
5) Abnormal lighting up or turning off of engine lights
• Make use of authorised parts. Whether you replace your Ford Popular’s parts yourself or have someone else replace them, using authorised parts will help replacements last longer and the vehicle to perform as per the manufacturer’s specs.
• Prepare it for every season. Each one takes a significant toll on your car. Such could include antifreeze potency for the winter or air conditioning for the summer. Evaluate your needs before the onset of each season and prepare appropriately.
• Change the oil regularly. Friction, heat, and general movement all put a strain on the moving parts of your Ford Popular’s engine. It is the engine oil that keeps these parts functional. Therefore, make sure you change the oil as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Keep it clean by washing, waxing, and vacuuming it regularly. This is the easiest way to maintain the vehicle’s exterior. The longer you let the dirt accumulate on your Ford Popular, the higher the chances of it acquiring minute scratches that eventually etch at the vehicle’s coating.
Preventive maintenance plays a vital role in extending your Ford Popular engine’s lifespan beyond the intermittent repair. Take your vehicle to the repairer shop as soon as you notice a slight problem before it gets worse. Preventive maintenance also makes your Ford Popular run more efficiently with an improved fire efficiency of up to 40%.
Surprisingly, Ford Popular’s spare parts are easily available. There is a host of Ford Part Dealers in the United Kingdom from whom you can obtain genuine parts. Using genuine Ford Popular parts relieves you of the stress of searching for aftermarket spare parts that might not even fit properly. You can also buy Ford Popular spare parts from eBay.