May 162016
 

The trimmers, Suffolk & Turley, suggested that it would be useful to trial fit the hood frame before bringing the car up to fit the soft top. The only two adjustments I could find were moving the mounting brackets fore and aft and adding shims underneath the bracket to raise the frame away from the body. So it shouldn’t be too difficult …. I really should know better by now!

Parts problems
S & T had inspected the hood canopy and condemned it to the scrapheap but, by chance, Martin Robey had just one remaining in stock. It was purchased on the spot to avoid any further delays, despite the eye-watering cost. When it failed to turn up several days later Robeys received a chase up call. It was only then that they admitted they didn’t actually have any in stock. It would be several weeks before a new batch were manufactured. The new canopy eventually finally turned up some two months later. It was very frustrating, although worse was to come …!

The ‘complete’ hood frame bolt set (SBS9069) from SNG Barratt wasn’t much better! The one thing you could say about it, it was anything but complete! Some smaller washers didn’t fit any of the bolts in the kit and all the brass washers (2x BD541/22 & 2x BD541/23) were missing for the pivot joint between the links and the front canopy.

Their bolt set appears to be just for the parts to attach the folding links to the hood frame sticks. The four ‘special’ bolts and brass washers securing the frame to the chassis need to be purchase separately; the bolts pivoting the main sticks (BD19160) and the bolts fixing the control link to the chassis body (BD19393).

The SNG website suggests 8 brass washers (BD541/30) are required for these four special bolts. However the bolts have different diameters, so I found it required only four of these larger washers for the pivot joint for the main sticks. The control link bolts require four of the smaller washers, BD541/23.

To be fair to SNG Barratt, the parts of their website had been taken from a parts lists produced by a third party which I suspect is incorrect. SNG even supplied the missing/incorrect pieces free of charge which was a nice gesture. However the toing and froing added yet more unwelcome delays.

Trial fitting the hood frame
The first task was to loosen the various pivot points in the frame links which had been locked in position by the powder coating and re-tap all the screw threads. A sharp blade was sufficient to break the paint seal on the joints to allow a light oil to be worked in, until they were well lubricated and operating smoothly.

The hood sticks pivot on the special bolts which pass through the chassis mounting brackets. It was a tight squeeze inserting the brass washers that sit either side of the pivot points to aide rotation. A screwdriver was needed to prise open the brackets to insert the second washer. Fortunately the bolt has a tapered shoulder which helps pull the final washer into alignment.

Shouldered pivot bolt screws
Note: lubrication hole for pivot joint
Two brass washers are fitted per side.
Brackets are handed & bolt heads face inwards
So far so good – the hood sticks fitted! Shims may be needed under B-post brackets

The two folding mechanisms (or links) are attached to the hood sticks by two bolts each side. A further bolt secures their control link arm to the chassis, on inside of the B-post. Again brass washers are fitted to each joint. One thing I’ve noticed on most cars is the control link arms rub against the vinyl covered B-post trim, causing unsightly wear damage. When I have more time, I plan to investigate whether a spacer can be fitted, to lift the control link away from the trim.

The cantrails are simply bolted to the folding mechanisms and don’t have any adjustability.

Folding mechanism in place Cantrails and canopy link added

A watertight seal between the hood and drop glass (don’t laugh!) is created by sections of rubber moulding attached around the cantrails and the vertical main pillar posts. A lip to receive the rubber is created by small angled brackets which are just riveted to the cantrails (the lip is integral to the main pillar pieces).

There was some evidence that these brackets had been repositioned as there were several sets of drilled holes. I had assumed this was to fine tune their alignment with the drop glass. However, rather oddly, only one set of holes matched those in the cantrail. So I’m a bit mystified what had gone on in the past. I do know, from the bodging of the canopy, the hood has been apart at some stage.

Riveting brackets to cantrail rubbers

The range of travel of the canopy is limit by a stop stud attached to the link mechanisms. From the closed hood position, the front of the canopy can be raised slightly, until the stop studs are reached. At which point, pushing the canopy further up causes the link mechanisms to start folding.


New & old hood stop studs

Unfortunately both studs were rusted firmly in place and so the only option was to carefully cut each nut off with a Dremel. The remains of the studs were then used as a pattern in fabricating replacements in stainless steel.

The studs have clearly been designed to allow for a small degree of adjustability because the threaded section is not concentric with the main body of the stud. Rotational adjustment is made via the screwdriver slot. I’ve not been able to work out why this is needed.

Finally the hood canopy was fitted. As the strengthening wood bow still needs to be fettled to fit the canopy, it was only possible to fit the outer two hood retaining clamps at this stage. The fit of the brand new Robey canopy was truly shocking. It wasn’t even close.

The curvature of the front of the canopy is all wrong. The front centre section bends downwards too much so it is in hard contact with the windscreen chrome when the clamps are engaged. Also the outside corners protrude too far and there’s a substantial gap to the same chrome trim. I’ve had trouble with some replacement parts but this is about as worse as it gets.

The new Robey canopy fitted Fit along windscreen is atrocious
Daylight through the gap Each side also protrudes too far

The fit is so poor I had to abandon thoughts of completing the trial fitting and called Suffolk & Turley to discuss my options. It will take extensive sheet metal work to rectify. Fortunately RS Panels are next door to S&T. They will be asked to undertake the panel work to obtain a good fit before the trimming of the hood canvas.

It was not the first time they had come across this problem with Robey canopies. Something that really shouldn’t be necessary on a new panel, especially when charged such an extortionate price. I suspect they just churn them out thinking if they look about right they’ll have got away with it. By the time the customer finds out, it will probably be too late. There’s no excuse for it.

The impact was that it hadn’t been possible to have the hood fitted before heading off travelling for six months. I had hoped to arrange for the hood work to be done while I was abroad, so I could return to a completed car. However the logistics and available slots in people’s calendars meant it wasn’t to be.

  5 Responses to “Rebuilding the hood frame & attempted trial fitting”

  1. Im FHC fan, but have run into very similar “compatability” issues with parts supplied from main Troika companies. Solomon, Socrates and some un-named North Yorkshire Fell Walking Wise Shepard is generally required at these moments.

    I know its late in the day re your project, a people I have tried many times and have been helped is Norman Motors (Jaugar) based in North London, Im sure you have them on your radar but just in case here is the head up, Info on the web.

    Peter
    Jakarata

  2. This blog is an absolute delight. Fantastic. From France and a Silver Shadow owner.

    • Thank very much for the comment and it’s pleasing to know it’s of interest to others, especially from other marques!

  3. Thank you for all of the effort that has gone into giving us all of this information.

    • Thanks – sometimes it feels as though I have spent an equal time of the blog as the car. Although it’s a great way of documenting a restoration and looking back at the early post makes me want to do another car!

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