The Classic Mechanic

Welcome to The Classic Mechanic, the new web-based resource showing you how to get the most out of your classic car.

Whether you drive a classic daily or have a restoration project in the garage, you'll find all the information you need to improve your car and stay on the road to reliable motoring!

From step-by-step guides, histories, explanations and tips, it's all here on TCM.

MM, AF, BSW, BSF Spanner Conversion Chart

If your classic was built - or at least designed - before 1960, there is a strong chance it will contain a combination of Imperial AF and Whitworth bolts and fixings. If it's Continental, metric fittings will be the standard.

The following chart allows you to convert easily between all of the major standards - MM, AF, BSW and BSF - making it a lot easier to find a spanner or socket to fit.

Testing an Ignition Coil

The Ignition Coil is the unit that generates the sparks to be sent to the plugs. They are quite robust units and rarely cause trouble, but if consistent rough running presents itself, and all other diagnostic tests have revealed nothing, the coil should be suspect. The following test will determine whether or not it is working correctly.

Reading Spark Plugs

As the only easily removable component from within the combustion chamber, the humble spark plug is an invaluable aid in diagnosing running problems.

Ignition Timing with Modern Fuels

Getting the ignition timing of your classic's engine right is a critical part of getting it to run properly. Get it wrong and you can adversely affect performance, economy and even engine longevity. Get it right and you can enjoy smooth, responsive and practical classic motoring. 

But now that the leaded fuels our cars were originally designed to run on have been withdrawn from garage forecourts and replaced with chemically different unleaded petrol, vehicle owners handbooks can no longer be relied upon to provide accurate ignition timing figures. 
The following tutorial explains how to set up a classic engine to make the most of modern fuels and minimize the risk of damage to your engine.