Oct 162015

Default 4.2 ignition mapping

The EDIS Megajolt electronic ignition kit for the 4.2 engine was supplied with an ignition mapping that closely replicated the advance curves of the original Lucas 22D6 distributor.

The aim is to produce a mapping tailored to my actual engine by taking it to a professional outfit with a rolling road. Although I’ve been told it’s not for the faint-hearted. The engine is taken through its paces with sustained running all the way up to the red line!!

For now, I’ve followed a suggestion from the E-Type forum to load different mappings into the Megajolt controller to compare. A number of owners have produced maps for their engines and uploaded them to the forum for others to try. As the controller can store two different maps at any time, a discreet switch has been mounted in the glovebox to enable switching between two maps.

Checked into the Jaguar specialist
for further investigation

Although the final tuning and mapping is some way off as neither the garage that did the MOT nor Powerbell, a local independent Jaguar specialist, had been able to tune the carburettors to get the engine running smoothly. The latter suspected there might be either sticking valves or valve clearance issues which would require further investigation.

The engine had sat without being run for quite a long time since being reconditioned by VSE, which is far from ideal. The plan was to run the car for a while to see if the layup had resulted in a slightly sticking valve which might clear with use …. ever the optimist! Alas it didn’t! So the car was returned to Powerbell to get to the bottom of the rough running.

The first task was to perform a compression test and measure the valve clearances. The manual indicates that the expected compression pressures are 150psi for 8 to 1 compression ratio and 180psi for 9 to 1. The test showed mine were way off and in some cases almost non-existent:

Cylinder: 1 2 3 4 5 6
Pressure: 125 130 125 120 65! 10!!

The thicknesses of the valve adjusting pads under the tappets were miles out so everything was far too tight. The guys at Powerbell were shocked that they could be so far out in a newly reconditioned engine. Had I not decided to get it resolved now, they said the likelihood would have been burnt valves and a much bigger problem to resolve.

The compression test revealed very
low pressure in cylinders 5 & 6
Calculating the correct thickness
for the valve adjusting pads

I was relieved but at the same time not impressed with VSE who had rebuilt it. Unfortunately it’s way past the standard one year warranty they offer but I’ll not be using them again. It really shouldn’t be necessary to correct a simple measuring job that could have had expensive repercussions.

Removal of the camshafts to correct the valve clearances … on a newly reconditioned engine!

It was with some anticipation that I headed off to pick up the car when the call came to say it was ready. I really didn’t know what to expect but it had been transformed! It was now able to idle at the intended 700rpm, the rockiness had gone and it was running so smoothly.

They did recommend putting on another 1000-1500 miles on the clock, so the engine is properly run in, before mapping the ignition on rolling road.

 Posted by at 8:45 pm
Sep 292015

Progress has been slow of late and the finishing line still feels some way off. I’m still waiting for the trimmers to have a slot to fit the hood and some of the outstanding internal trim. At least the enforced delay would allow some teething problems to be addressed. The most pressing being issues with clearance of the gear lever and gear selection.

Removing gear lever gaiter
revealed lack of clearance
with the gearbox cover

Something was seriously amiss with the positioning of the gear lever in relation to the central console. The lever was too far back making it difficult selecting either 2nd or 4th. Even once selected, the convoluted rubber gaiter was being compressed against the console, resulting in a tendency to pop out of gear into neutral.

The console couldn’t be moved rearward as it was already in contact with the rear bulkhead. Likewise there’s no adjustment in the positioning of the lever so it couldn’t be moved forward. The only option would be to undo the engine mounts and stabiliser to prise the whole transmission forward, but this would only gain a millimetre or two at best.

I’d been forced to remove the centre console in order to drive the car, which allowed me to swap over the rubber gaiter to one used on the later v12 models. The bulbous, convoluted design had been changed to be more slim-line. Several members of the E-Type forum had suggested using the later design to alleviate minor clearance issues with the centre console. Although I wouldn’t consider the lever impacting the metal gearbox cover as minor!

Convoluted S2 gaiter versus
slim-line V12 gaiter
The gaiter is secured to the
gearbox cover by a clamping ring
V12 gaiter is more suited
to the shape of the console

At this point I just happened to notice the mounting of the gear lever mechanism differed from the diagram in the parts catalogue. The company chosen to recondition the gearbox had missed out some fibrous Tufnol washers and mounted the main spring washer on the wrong side of the gearbox lid!

Repositioning the spring washer to its intended location gained around 8mm of clearance and, with the addition of the Tufnol washers, removed all the free play in the gear lever action. Much better! It should be sufficient to stop popping out of 2nd & 4th once the central console is refitted.

Parts manual shows correct
location of spring washer
Incorrect location
between jaw and lid
Lever mechanism components
(now including missing washers!)

Although the clearance problem was just masking a potentially more serious issue. More often than not, changing down into 2nd gear would result in awful graunching. It was fine double de-clutching so I suspected there might be an issue with the synchromesh. I was trying to kid myself that the reconditioned gearbox just need ‘bedding in’ simply because I just couldn’t contemplate having to fix an internal gearbox issue!

Synchromesh relies on friction
between the two cone surfaces

However, from my limited knowledge of gearboxes, it uses standard interference fit synchromeshes which helps engagement by matching the speed of the chosen gear to that of the output shaft.

Therefore a gearbox with a new synchromesh would have ample friction. Graunching would point to a lack of friction and the need to replace the synchromeshes.

It was time for a second opinion so again I turned to John and Martin who’d installed the IRS many moons ago. Their advice was to perform some investigative tests; first to rule out the clutch disengagement, which might result in similar symptoms, and the second to check the action of each synchromesh to confirm which, if any, were the route of the problem.

I hadn’t considered the clutch but if it wasn’t disengaging properly, the layshaft and gears would still be driven by the engine and the synchro would be acting as the clutch. Therefore likely to produce graunching, although I guess in all gears.

The suggested test to rule out a disengagement issue was to depress the clutch, with the hand and foot brakes off. Wait for around 10 seconds to allow the layshaft and gears to stop spinning and then select a gear. If the clutch wasn’t fully disengaging, the gears would still be spinning and the car would show signs of wanting to pull away.

On the positive side, the outcome was that the clutch was operating correctly. Although it was therefore pointing more to a dreaded synchromesh problem. Their next tests were of a similar nature, depressing the clutch from neutral. However rather than waiting to allow the gears to stop spinning, the gear lever was pushed immediately and firmly into the chosen gear without any wait. This would be done for each gear, selecting with both a fast and delayed lever push.

The theory being that a worn synchro would not develop sufficient friction with the selected gear to enable their speeds to be matched before their dog teeth engaged. The faster the action the less time there would be to synchronise the speeds.

The test should be repeated several times for each gear, doing a full ‘re-set’ each time (from neutral and clutch up), to see if a pattern emerged. If the synchros were working correctly there wouldn’t graunching on either the fast or delayed action. A suspect synchro, in my case 2nd, would graunch in the ‘no-delay’ fast instances and possibly on the delayed selection.

A run in the car without the cover
revealed the cause of the problem
(note – relocated spring washer)

I was very relieved that no graunching was evident in any gear, for either action. Perhaps it wasn’t an internal gearbox problem after all, which would require an engine out fix. I took the opportunity to take the car for a spin, while the gearbox cover was off, so I could see the selection mechanism at work in more realistic road conditions.

What I observed surprised me and explained the graunching that I’d been misdiagnosing as a synchromesh problem. The corrections in the lever mechanism had made subtle changes to the geometry by moving the lever directly over the quite narrow 1st/2nd selection rod. Previously it had been at a slight angle so the lever could also catch the reverse selection rod at the same time.

More importantly the reason for the graunching was actually caused by selecting reverse gear instead of 2nd!! A sprung plunger is used to avoid accidentally selecting reverse while using the forward gears. However the resistance it offered was so weak it was quite easy to go beyond 2nd all the way into reverse without realising.

Gearbox lid removed to check
selector rod operation
Selector arrangement and
reverse plunger & adjustment

A sprung ball bearing presses into a groove in the plunger to create the resistance and can be adjusted via a setscrew. Even so, for a given setting, there was a noticeable difference in the effort required to depress the plunger depending on whether the lever was starting in the 1st/2nd or 3rd/4rd planes in the gate. This was simply due to momentum, with less effort required from the 3rd/4th side of the gate.

I opted to set the desired resistance from this position which should minimise the frequency of accidentally selecting reverse while changing down from 3rd to 2nd. The compromise is that it needs a good shove to select reverse when the lever is in the 1st/2nd plane, but this would typically be while stationary.

It was a great relief to get to the bottom of the gearbox problems although the only slight niggle is occasionally not being able to engage 3rd from 2nd. The 1st/2nd selection rod doesn’t always quite reach its neutral position but allows the lever to cross the gate for 3rd. As it hasn’t reached neutral, the interlock is doing its job and prevents another gear being engaged, in this case 3rd.

If baulking occurs going from 2nd to 3rd, the lever must be returned to the 1st/2nd plane to ensure its knocked into neutral before going for 3rd again. I took the top of the gearbox off to see if the ‘O’ rings were causing too much resistance in the movement of the 1st/2nd selection rod for the detent to pull/hold it in neutral. But all seemed in order.

It appears that this is not uncommon and can be avoided by a more sympathetic gear changing technique using light finger pressure and ‘palming’ the lever to guide it. I had been changing from 2nd to 3rd by applying a constant forward and sideways force rather than three distinct movements.

The double de-clutching I had used to overcome the graunching, adding weight to my synchromesh diagnosis, had worked simply because it changed my technique of changing gears. Therefore avoiding accidentally selecting reverse.

Fingers crossed this will be the end of the gearbox issues!!

Jun 172015

I was keen to get the car roadworthy as soon as possible in order to drive it up to Nuneaton to have the hood put on. The difficulty at the moment is booking it in for work as it needs to coincide with dry weather!

Fortunately the day of the MOT was a fine sunny day enabling it to be dropped off as soon as the garage opened. It had been booked into a local Jaguar specialist the following day to have the suspension geometry set up. There was a chance, with a following wind, that it might be road legal by the weekend!

After a few anxious phone calls during the day, it became clear that they wouldn’t have time to complete the MOT. They hadn’t even had time to get to the bottom of the front carb running far too lean. The car was returned to base and a second MOT appointment made for the weekend.

Back for MOT attempt 2

I decided not to cancel the wheel alignment the following day, planning a quiet route for the 2 mile journey that was not frequented by the Rozzers. Alas the car only made it about ¼ mile before conking out. After all the years of effort, it was a particularly low moment. I was certain it was due to fuel starvation and that wretched air lock.

Luckily it was possible to get the car back in 100 yard stints, by waiting a few minutes between each spluttering halt. The second MOT was essentially a repeat of the first with no progress made and the car returned yet again, without any work done either on the tuning or MOT.

I took the opportunity to take the front carb off to look into why it was causing the front two cylinders to run too lean. The jet was properly centred but the float lever arm was found to be 3/16” off resting on the specified standard, a 7/16” rod.

More dismantling to investigate the front carb The float lever should rest against a 7/16″ rod

A few days later it was back for the third attempt. The revised plan was to leave the carb tuning as historic vehicles aren’t subject to MOT emissions testing and just do the MOT checks. As they say, third time lucky …. this time it proved to be just that! It had passed the MOT and was ‘road legal’ … the first time in over 20 years!

A hurrah moment!
Passing the MOT

Although it had taken three trips to achieve, I’m considering it as passing first time! However there were obviously issues to address before it could be considered truly roadworthy. In fact, the MOT brake test has to be done out on the road due to the limited slip diff. They only just managed to perform the test and get it back to the garage before the fuel starvation ground them to a halt!

It was time to get some advice from my fellow trusted petrolists who had put in the IRS and come up with a plan. My worry was that it was the pipe running under that car that was a fault. Renewing it would require the IRS to be dropped and all that entailed – something I really wanted to avoid!

Their suggestion was to replicate the pipe run off the car using some flexible hose of the same bore. This would provide a more accurate flow rate that one could expect to achieve. If it is significantly different from the output of the under floor pipe, then it would point to this section being the root cause.

There were no kinks or collapsed bends in the pipe. The only other explanation was a blockage of some sort, but it’s a single length of (brand new) pipe which is open at one end and terminated at the other with a soldered connector that just mates with the bulkhead union. Hmmmmm …. could the soldered joint be causing a restriction and hence the reduced flow? It should be possible to poke a rod from the boot space through the union and into the pipe to get a feel to whether there was a restriction.

Rather embarrassingly, all my woes were of my own making. It wasn’t an air-lock, just my dreadful soldering! I’d almost completely blocked off the pipe by applying copious amounts of solder which had flowed into the bore. Worst still, I had compounded the error by not checking my handiwork before fitting the pipe.

My shocking soldering skills! Fabricated drill bush worked fabulously!!

Further advice was sought on how best to removal it. Within no time at all, John had kindly arranged for a 3/8” BSP bolt to be machined/adapted to act as a drill bush to screw into the rear union. This would ensure the drill bit was perfectly aligned with the centre of the pipe and I would not be making matters worse by damaging the pipe itself!

The flexible hosing that had been used find out the expected flow rate was rigged up to pass fuel back up the wrong way to blow out any swarf. The same flow rate test was repeated with the re-bored pipe.

Testing the expected flow rate

A flow rate of 1.5 litres was achieved with the flexible pipe and surprisingly an even higher rate of 1.75 litres per minute is now flowing in the pipe. Compare that to the 250ml before the re-bore! I’m just so happy and relieved we got to the bottom of the problem and resolved it!

Not surprisingly this has cured the fuel starvation problems and the engine is running much more smoothly. Although it still needs a good tune.

A couple of items were corrected as part of the MOT – even though I’d checked every suspension nut and bolt, I had still missed putting on the lock wire on the radius arm bolts. I’d also left off the jockey wheel for the water pump tensioner and the alternator fan was slightly loose. So these were corrected.

Other recommendations were to ditch the original nylon style fuel pipe in the engine bay in preference for some flexible rubber hose and always carry a fire extinguisher!! The nylon pipes are very hard and I had noticed occasional leaks if they were knocked out of position. I’d rather have a traditionalist tut-tut than run the risk of a fire!

Even though the suspension geometry still needs to be set up, I couldn’t resist taking it out on the road for its first real spin. It was actually the first time I’d driven an E-Type and I wasn’t disappointed!

The first drive in the E-Type
Jun 162015

It feels as though the list of outstanding tasks is getting longer rather than shorter. So they have been prioritised into those required for the MOT and those that can wait. Due to the age of the car the MOT is essentially limited to checking the suspension, fuel/brake lines and lights. However, knowing the person doing the MOT, I’d asked them if they would cast a more critical eye over the whole car.

I’d been having trouble balancing the carbs and, although it’s not part of the MOT, I thought it best to have a second pair of eyes look over them. The front two cylinders are running too lean, even though all three carbs have been set to the standard reference point for tuning. So it will be tuned and the headlights aligned beforehand.

I also have concerns about the fuel flow. Last year the petrol tank had be put in-situ to just to start the engine for the first time. The tank was then removed to be painted and since then I noticed that the fuel flow seems to be rather low. Although I suspect I just hadn’t noticed the problem before.

Testing fuel flow from pump Comparing the fuel flows per minute:
250ml at front bulkhead in bottle,
2litres at rear bulkhead in jug

The measurements of the amount of fuel pumped in one minute was taken at the rear bulkhead union and then at the other end of the pipe at the union on the front bulkhead. Although it’s not really a valid test, as there wouldn’t be any back pressure at the rear union, it did provide a feel for the drop off in flow – 2 litres per minute measured at the rear bulkhead union and only 250ml per minute at the front bulkhead union.

Suspicion is that it may be due to an air-lock created in the pipes. However advice from the forum suggested that a pump in good working order would have more than enough ummph to purge any air locks. Some further checks will be done to get to the bottom of the problem.

Longacre Camber/Castor Tool

The intention was to set up the suspension geometry myself and so I’d purchased a Longacre electronic camber/castor tool and a Trackace tool for the wheel alignment. The camber/castor tool has three legs which rest against the wheel rim with an accurate inclinometer attached in the centre. However I wasn’t thinking things through and had completely overlooked needing clearance for the central spinners.

The prongs on the legs don’t have the reach so I’ll have to have some made up. Unfortunately the MOT centre no longer has accurate electronic measuring tools for suspension set up. This will have to wait until after the MOT.

For some reason one of the dash indicator tell-tale lights had stopped working and the fault traced to the switches in the indicator stalk. It was easier to take the whole steering column off and investigate further on the bench. A loose back-plate on the switch mechanism had allowed the indicator contact to move about and be bent out of shape. So it was easily rectified.

The clamping bolts on the upper and lower steering column’s UJs had been taken off to aid the removal of the upper column. However, I’d become side-tracked and had not refitted them before attempting to tick off another pre-MOT task … making sure the speedo drive was working.

Needless to say, as I was turning round, after completing a successful straight 40 yard speedo run up the drive, the lower column dropped out of its splines. All steering was lost, blocking a now busy communal drive!
Apart from being stupid, it was a rather timely reminder! The complete suspension parts list was used as a check sheet to ensure every suspension nut and bolt was revisited to make sure everything was correctly torqued.

Mudguards, shields and undertrays
The various mudguards, shields and undertrays aren’t strictly necessary for the MOT. However they were fitted, as the horn relay needs to be mounted on the LH mudguard. John Farrell had produced a good guide to the locations and orientations of the five different types of brackets:

Front frame bracket locations Five different bracket sizes

The first to be installed was the air in-take shield which is attached to bracket A at the top and B at the bottom. The leading face is also bolted directly to the frame. It’s worth noting that bracket E for the floor undertray needs to be put in place around the frame before the shield is attached. In fact it’s worth putting all the brackets in place before attaching any of the mudguards, shields and undertrays.

A & B brackets for air intake shield Bracket E for undertray is fitted
before in-take shield!

The bracket attachments to the frames are identical on both sides of the car, with the obvious exception of the air in-take shield. The torsion bar shields are attached by three brackets – the rear two have the tab with the bolt holes pointing upwards while the front one points downward. Note: the middle bracket on the LH frame is also used to secure the bottom of the exhaust heat shield.

Alternate rear torsion bar shield
& undertray brackets
Shield bracket also attaches bottom
edge of exhaust heat shield
Front torsion bar bracket (L)
and mudguard bracket (R)

The two floor undertrays are simply bolted in place. Although the right hand undertray has a cut out with a separate cover to provide access to the oil filter.

Left hand undertray Right hand undertray,
without oil filter access panel

There wasn’t any point in completing the fitting the mudguards because they will have to be removed to provide access to set the camber and castor. So at this stage they were only bolted to the sill end panel and attached at the front to a side frame bracket. At least this allowed the horn relay to secured for the MOT. Normally the alternator and aircon (when fitted) relays would also be attached to the LH mudguard, but by modifying the alternator it no longer requires a relay.

LH mudguard temporarily in place just for the MOT Location of horn relay. Alternator relay isn’t needed

Air Filter
I was regretting not trial fitting the air filter earlier. The new fuel pipe I’d made protruded too far from the face of the toe box, hitting the air filter. Fortunately it was possible to remove a short length from the filter end which resolved the fitting problem but re-introduced all the air bubbles causing the air locks.

It took a while to work out the best method of fitting the air filter element, canister lid and air plenum. Once the canister lid and rubber grommet are in place, there wasn’t sufficient access to pull the grommet up around the lip of the plenum chamber. Eventually I found the best solution was to connect these components off the car and then fit and remove as a single unit.

Filter canister was hitting the fuel pipe Adjusted fuel pipe now narrowly misses it Fitting canister lid first didn’t work

Alternator testing
Another task was to ensure the alternator was charging properly when the engine was running at higher revs. The outcome wasn’t as I’d hoped – it wasn’t charging at all, measuring only 12.5 volts! The converted alternator is now self-energising – the AL terminal, normally used for monitoring the alternator output via the ignition warning light, now provides a DC supply to power the field coil. Finding earth via the field coil through the 4TR voltage regulator.

Testing the alternator

The AL terminal was reading zero voltages at idle rather than the expected 14.3 volts! The voltage regulator controls the alternators output to avoid ‘run-away’ where its output would continue increasing until it burnt out the various internal components and/or windings. Increasing the voltage across the field coil increases the alternator output voltage, which in turn increases the field coil voltage.

The 4TR regulator acts as a fast-acting on/off switch. When the output of the alternator increases above a determined voltage (around 14.6v), the regulator switches off the current flowing in the field coil and therefore the alternator voltage drops. Once it has dropped sufficiently, it switches the current in the field coil back on and the alternator output starts to increase, until the cycle repeats.

A passing peacock offered
no helpful advice!!

Suspicion fell naturally on my modifications to the alternator and also the 4TR regulator, which are known to be fragile. A faulty voltage regulator can easily be identified by removing it and using a jumper lead to connect the F and ‘-‘ leads in its connector.

If it is faulty, starting the engine will cause it to start charging (indicated by the alternator output voltage or the battery gauge rising above the battery’s normal 12.3-4 volts) If so, the engine should be switched off immediately and the 4TR unit replaced. It was a great relief to find it was the 4TR unit that was at fault and not my handiwork! A replacement was ordered which confirmed the diagnosis and it is now working as expected.

Crossing fingers
I didn’t want to drill holes in the bodywork for side mirrors and so some clamp on mirrors have been attached to the window frames. That just about completed all the pre-MOT jobs.

Clamp on side mirrors fitted After all this time, it’s finally ready for the MOT!!

For the first time in several decades, 1R1421 hit the road …… on it’s way to the MOT centre! …. fingers firmly crossed!!

Jun 102015

Rear bumpers
Both sets of bumpers had been trial fitted before the bodyshell went off to the paint shop, so I wasn’t expecting any issues fitting them. For once, this turned out to be the case with the rear bumpers!

Comparison of S1 (top)
& S2 rubbers

The rear bumpers were fitted a while back as they needed to be in place before the two rear light clusters. Or more accurately, they just had to be in-situ otherwise the vertical fixing bolts cannot be fitted once the rear lights are on. Similarly the overrider bolts have to be in-situ when the outer quarter sections are bolted on.

The outer quarter sections were fitted first but just hand tight so that they could still be adjusted once the centre section was added. The final tightening waiting until the rubber was in position.

The tweaks to the rear end aesthetics continued by fitting the much thinner S1 rear bumper rubber rather than the S2 rubber, which seems unnecessarily thick and unsightly. Fitting the bumper rubber to fill the gap to the body proved to be the hardest part. It has to be fitted in a single run as the overriders are shorter than the full depth of the bumper, and therefore can’t be used to hide a joint.

Plenty of protective masking tape! Quarter sections fitted first Overrider bolt needs to be in place

A notch had to be taken out of the underside (not seen) section of rubber to enable it to go round the tight curvature at the ends of the outer quarter bumpers. However the main problem was as the various bolts were tightened. The ever decreasing gap to the body caused the rubber to either pop out or ruffle up.

Aligned & centred, awaiting rubbber Locating notch to take out of rubber Completed rear bumpers with overriders

The rear bumpers were completed by the addition of the overriders and their thin strips of rubber.

Front bumpers
Unfortunately the same could not be said for the front bumpers! The first task was to re-tap the four mounting holes as their threads had been clogged with overspray.

The thinner S1 bumper rubber was carried over to the S2 front bumpers and were held in place by a metal clip at each end. Although I used a small dab of superglue instead. Again the two outer quarter sections were loosely fitted first, followed by the centre section.

The mounting holes needed re-tapping Yet more protective masking tape!

However I couldn’t get the centre section to slot neatly into the RH quarter bumper, thinking it must be due to a horizontal alignment problem. After a lot of head scratching and standing back to check the alignment, the cause became clear. The RH quarter was drooping downwards at quite an angle.

Damage to bonnet panel

On closer inspection the inner most mounting bracket was found to be bent. At some point, it must have been involved in a front end knock. But worse than that, the retaining nut on the new bonnet has been welded set back from the bonnet panel by quite some distance and also pointing slightly downwards.

This and over-tightening due to using a ratchet spanner has resulted in the panel being deformed. I’m really kicking myself for not using normal spanner and taking a bit more care!

The annoying part is the bumpers had allegedly been fitted before the body was painted and the bumpers re-chromed. So I would have thought the alignment/bent bracket would have been spotted. At least the panel damage will be hidden from view once the bumper is on …. although it will bug me, as I know it’s there!

I think the best solution will be to fabricate a pair of matching chamfered washers. However this will have to wait until after the MOT, which is only days away! Bumpers aren’t required for an MOT so I’ve got plenty of time to address the problem.

Rear Number Plates
Framptons had been chosen to supply suitable period front and rear number plates. The original square plates at the rear were being replaced with a more typical oblong shaped plate, to enable straight exhaust pipes to be fitted rather than the splayed type.

Other changes were the dropping of the number plate mounting bracket (specifically designed for a square plate) and the stainless steel rear finishing panel.

Rear plate fits between
reverse lights …. just!!
Characters start to be obscured
when viewed from a height
The characters start to become obscured when looking for a higher angle.

Fortunately the registration number is quite short so, by making the plate as narrow as legislation would allow, it could be mounted directly to the car body between the two reversing lights.

The vertical positioning of the top of the plate was made the same as it had been originally. However, without the number plate bracket, the plate is mounted further inboard, causing the bumper to partially obscure the top of the plate when observed from more lofty (camera!) positions.

Quite pleased with the revised rear

The local MOT tester indicated he was happy with the location as it just has to be visible directly from the rear.

In this position the lower inch or so protrudes below the vertical body panel. The aluminium number plate chosen is only little over 1mm thick and so the lower edge would be prone to accidental damage.

To avoid this, it was first mounted to a piece of 4mm acrylic sheet. Everything being held on with double sided number plate tape.

Front Number Plates

Horizontal & centre guide tapes

I was a lot more apprehensive about mounting the stick-on number plate to the bonnet! Some time was spent marking out a horizontal length of masking tape approx 15.5cm below the bonnet bulge to act as a guide.

For the front, I’d opted for silver characters on a black background. The characters had been applied centrally to what I assume was a standard sized adhesive background. Therefore there was a lot of black space at either end due to the short registration number. The first job was to trim each end by approx 3.5cm and recreate the curved corners.

The centre line of the car was marked on the guide tape and the corresponding centre of the plate marked with a strip of masking tape.

Initial placement once
sprayed with soapy water
Fine adjustments can easily
be made at this stage
Finally excess water was
squeezed out

The fixing advice was to give both the bonnet and the adhesive side of the plate a generous spraying with soapy water (a squeeze of washing-up liquid in a pint of water). Then place the plate in position, trying to avoid trapping air bubbles.

While there was a film of soapy water between the plate and bonnet, there was plenty of time to manoeuvre it into its final position. It was only once the water was squeezed out, working from the centre out, using a soft cloth, that the number plate became semi-fixed in position.

Using masking tape to mark the centre of the plate wasn’t such a good idea. It tended to lift the plate when it was removed. It would have been better to wait until it was completely dry and firmly stuck before removing the tape …. or just memorise where the centre line is on the plate!

In the end, fitting the front number plate wasn’t as nerve racking or difficult as I’d imagined. Although I did have my trusty niece to assist with the difficult bits!

Boot badges

Finishing touches – boot badges

Even the simple task of mounting the boot badges took longer than expected. The retaining nylon cups were pressed into the holes in the boot but there was no way the legs of the badges could then be pressed into the cups.

A little heat was applied to make the cups more pliable, without success. The only way I could get them to fit was to drill out the cups, one drill size smaller than the badge legs. I’m sure I’d been sent the wrong sized cups!

No matter how simple a task, it was quite satisfying putting on the finishing touches.

Jun 092015

My list of tasks to finish off the interior trim has been getting shorter and shorter, without even lifting a finger …. meanwhile Suffolk & Turley’s list has been getting longer and longer! The two vinyl-covered panels for each B-post were offered up and it appears that some metal might need to be removed from the panels. So I thought it best to consult them before getting the grinder out!

The first panel is attached to the face of the B-post and creates a ‘closing’ flange against the door card. It needs to be positioned to:

  • allow for the thickness of the door card
  • finish level with the top of the B-post
  • allow the doors to close beyond their natural closed position in order to latch

Ensuring there is sufficient room to latch means there will always be a slight, ideally parallel, gap between the panel and the door card.

Uneven gap between panel & door card The panel also protruded into the cabin Outer panel was missing mounting holes

However the panel’s inside edge protruded beyond the face of the B-post. This in turn pushed the second outer panel, which wraps around the face of the B-post and into the cabin, away from the body. It became a trade off between achieving a parallel gap and how much it protruded.

Making sure the top of the panel was flush with the top of the B-post determined the size of the gap at the top, between the panel and door card. Closing this gap would require the panel to be raised slightly and metal removed from the top of the panel to return it to being flush.

Alternatively, sticking to this gap down the full length of the B-post would require the panel to be rotated, moving the bottom of the panel inboard. This could only be achieved by taking metal off the lower edge as it is already hard against the sill. It would also cause it to protrude further into the cabin and so need the inner edge to be cut back as well.

Trim panel was welded!

Also I was expecting the larger wrap-around panels to have two holes in the metal for clips to secure them to the B-post. Another difference was the replacement trim panels were much wider at the base.

The open day at SNG Barratt was an excellent opportunity to look over a number of different cars to see how these panels should be fixed.

On a couple cars, notably a lovely OSB S2 OTS, both panels were fixed with chrome screws with cups. Although my original panels didn’t have any screw holes. One thing is for sure … I definitely won’t be attaching it as I had found it …. welded!!

Also I can’t for the life of me work out how the outer sun-visor brackets fit with the A-post finishers. I had assumed it should be fitted behind the finisher but it would then be impossible to fit the nut on the visor attachment.

Door card clips also used to fix A-post finishers Although stumped how the visor bracket fits!

For now I’m leaving the sun visors off and will ask Suffolk & Turley about it when it’s up having the hood trimmed.

Boot Space

Dynaliner used in place of jute

Originally the bulkhead in the boot space was covered in jute which was then overlaid with Hardura. The trim kit didn’t include this piece of jute so some 1/4″ Dynaliner was fitted in its place.

Fitting the inertia reel in the boot caused far more trimming issues than I’d expected, taking two attempts at the Hardura until it was acceptable. The reels are located as far outboard as possible which required the side cards to be fitted before the reels.

The downside of this and the desire to make the installation as neat as possible (hiding the bolts securing the reels under the rear bulkhead Hardura), means that if access is needed to either the fuel filler area or fuel pump in future, the side cards may have to be sacrificed. Also the new cards would probably need to be modified with cut-outs for the reels in order to re-fit them.

Boot bulkhead and side cards Side cards secured by #4 screws & cups

The side cards were simply held in place along the upper trailing edge by three #4 self-tapping chrome screws & cups.

The boot boards weren’t original and needed replacing anyway but were useful in providing templates for the replacements in marine grade plywood. I believe the originals were also painted black but it seemed daft to go to extra expense and lose the wood finish. So they were treated with finishing oil to keep out moisture.

The left hand board is permanently secured by three #10 self-tapping screws – for some reason the front two are slotted countersunk screws & cups and the rear one with a hex head & washer! A metal bracket is also attached to the underside of the board to support the RH board.

Boot cable passes through oval hole Front attachment of LH boot board

A number of rubber pads are inserted into the bracket to stop the RH removable board from rattling. However the repro pads were quite tall so the only way I could get the two boards to lay flat was to fit a strip of wood under the bracket.

Additional strip of wood under bracket Strip matches height of rubber pad

As the RH board needs to removable, the rear is held against the boot board flange by a clamping bracket, which is riveted in place. Its shape acts as a spring pressing the board against the flange but allows it to be withdrawn by pulling it forward.

The front of the board is held down by a stud that presses into a retaining clip, riveted to the flange. The stud was attached to the board using a Tee nut insert. Originally the board just had a finger hole cut into the board to lift it, although I decided to fit a brass ring pull instead.

Rear clamping bracket Front stud and clip

The only way I could get the petrol tank to fit was to remove the stud clip. So it had to be riveted back in place. Although I’m not convinced this should have been the case to remove the tank!

Measure twice, cut once – locating stud position The stud clip riveted back in place

The final task was to fit the four pop-fasteners to hold down the Hardura covering the floor of the boot. I used some blu-tack spread onto the boot floor/boards to locate the required positions of the male connectors. Pressing down on the Hardura stud left a suitable imprint.

Boards in-situ Marking pop-fastener positsons

The wires hanging down on the left hand side are for an LED boot light that will be operated by the boot hinge making contact with a mirco switch.

Radio console and central console

Angling the centre consule
under the radio console

I was expecting trouble fitting the radio and centre consoles …. and I was not disappointed! The radio console with all the stereo wiring was relatively easy to put in place, although not secured at this stage.

The centre console needs to be slotted under the radio console and then lowered at the rear, while feeding both the handbrake lever though its slot and the gear stick into its gaiter. Easier said that done!!

No matter how I positioned the handbrake and gear lever, I just couldn’t get the console over them both at the same time. Some advice posted on the forum for troublesome consoles was to disconnect the handbrake cable to provide a greater range of movement.

Still no joy! Success was finally achieved by detaching the whole handbrake from its mountings. Although it was short lived. The whole console then couldn’t be pushed forward to enable the rear to be lowered to the floor.

It needed quite a bit of Dynaliner underlay to be removed from underneath the radio console and easing the sides of the console apart before it fell into place. It was so tight I was questioning the wisdom of adding the 3mm foam under the lower bulkhead Ambla!

Seats and seat belts
The under-seat Harduras were next. Holes were cut, or more accurately drilled, for the seat bolts and the seat belt anchor bolt. The location of the holes was found by pushing a thick needle up through the bolt holes from beneath the car.

The seat’s front mounting points have a thick spacer to raise the seats so the slider release bar doesn’t foul the carpeted floor strengthener.

Seat mounts and belts installed Gratuitous interior shot as it nears completion!

I wasn’t sure if these spacers should fit above the Hardura or pass through them. In the end, the length of the mounting bolts dictated larger holes were needed so the spacer could pass through to the floorpan.

Spacer sized holes had been cut in the Koolmat when it was fitted, which wasn’t necessary for the rear seat mounts. So two spacers were used – one inserted to fill the hole in the Koolmat and one to raise the seat runners off the Hardra.

A needle was press through Hardura
to locate the mounting holes
The seats slide onto the front mounts &
secured by screws & spacers at rear

The buckle ends of the seat belts were then mounted to the transmission tunnel through holes in the centre console. At last the seats could be put in to finish off my side of the trimming.

Rear view mirror

Loctite kit worked a treat

I made the mistake of purchasing some double–sided tape from Halfords, sold specifically for the task of attaching rear view mirrors. As with all of their products, it was monumentally useless for the task it was designed. The mirror was found lying in the footwell the morning after it had been fitted. It hadn’t even been subjected to the expected vibrations of normal driving or being adjusted.

The second attempt was made with a Loctite kit and was much more successful. The mirror button is bonded to the windscreen with a strong adhesive, activated by a mesh fabric. The bonding only takes a minute to secure the button and is fully cured in 15 minutes.

May 202015

With the vinyl and Ambla fitted, attention turned that next phase of the trimming – the underfelts (or Dynaliner in my case), Hardura and carpets. The decision to fit Dynaliner rather than the jute underfelt was largely driven by the ability to bond the two materials to the silicone side of the insulating Koolmat.

The preferable order of fitting would normally be from the footwells backwards, to avoid needing to clamber over installed trim. At the time, the primary focus was to complete the installation of the inertia seat belts – these would have to be fitted for an MOT, the carpets wouldn’t! However the trimming is quite satisfying so I decided to press on and complete the interior.

Rear of cabin
Before the rear bulkhead Hardura could be glued, I first had to rectify the lack of jute/Dynaliner. The excess Ambla bonded to the silver Dynamat had to be lifted so a layer of 1/4” Dynaliner could be inserted. The outer edges of the Dynaliner were cut marginally shorter to provide a channel to hide the body looms.

Underlay on bulkhead was overlooked Re-bonding the Ambla to the Dynaliner Ambla with Dynaliner added to bulkhead

The fitting of the bulkhead panel was fairly uneventful. The strengthening/anti-drumming indentations in the bulkhead panels were taped over beforehand with reinforced cross weave tape. The Hardura was bonded to the Dynaliner in four stages; initially just the leading few inches to fix it in position, then back to the vertical section. This allowed a reasonably tight curve to be made when bonding the vertical section and finally the upper horizontal section, which required a little trimming to butt neatly to the body.

Indentations in body panels were taped over Hardura bonded to vertical section

The thin vertical section, from A-post to A-post above the rear bulkhead and wheel arches, is finished with two pairs of vinyl covered panels. Suffolk and Turley suggested leaving these and the door cards off as it would be better for them to fit these when they trim the soft top. The door cards need to be left off so they can make fine adjustments to the angle and maximum height of the drop glass, to ensure the glass seals against the hood’s rubber seals.

Gearbox cover
For some reason a previous owner had butchered the gearbox cover by hack sawing off a section around the gear lever. Presumably not satisfied with that, they’d then proceeded to knock seven bells out of the front apron! New metal was welded in to repair and the dents knocked out with a hammer and dolly.

Many of the cover holes were distorted The front apron was a real mess!
Otherwise it appeared to be fine! Gearbox cover back in shape

The soundproofing foam that sat between the gearbox and the cover hadn’t stood the test of time so a replacement was ordered. I was expecting to have to cut the foam down to size to fit, however I wasn’t expecting by how much! The 2″ replacement foam made it impossible to even come close in aligning the mounting holes.

The foam also tends to grip the cover rather well so some silicone lubricant was used to help push the cover into place. Even so I had to admit defeat, taking a sharp carving knife to remove foam from around the pinch points. Eventually I managed to get and hold it in position long enough to secure it with a few self tapping screws. If I were to do it again, I wouldn’t bother obtaining a repro foam from one of the usual suppliers and would just make it from a small sheet of 2″ cushion foam.

The replacement foams are ‘generous’!! Secured with self tapper & oval washers

Floor strengthener carpets
I’m not sure why but I decided to fit the carpet pieces covering the floor strengtheners next. These really should have been fitted at the end, just before the final transmission tunnel carpet is glued in place. So all the trimming of the footwells was spent clambering over them.

The pieces were marginally longer than the circumference of the strengtheners, in part due to the thickness of the additional Koolmat. So they were fitted with the small amount of excess under the seat sections, rather than cut them down to size. I might have to trim them back if it lifts the front edge of the under-seat Hardura too much.

Masking to bond the front face Clamps used to hold in place Carpet edging gives neat joint to vinyl
Clamps were used to hold the carpet in place while the contact adhesive dried.

The three sides of the floor strengtheners were tackled in turn with clamps and/or weights used to hold the carpet firmly in place. The aim was ensure each bend in the carpet was tight against the panel. Although it really wasn’t necessary in the end and it could have been tackled in one go.

Footwell trimming
The general order of fitting for both footwells was:

  1. Under-dash, toe box and transmission tunnel underlay
  2. Under-dash Hardura panel(s)
  3. A-post/Sill Hardura
  4. Floor underlay next to transmission tunnel
  5. Transmission tunnel carpets
  6. Toe box carpet
  7. Underlay for sunken floor section
  8. Removable floor carpeting

The reason the two underlay pieces for the floors (4 & 7) were not done at the same time as the other underlay was again to avoid working over them while fitting the other trim. The Dynaliner can be susceptible to tears if not protected.

However there are slight differences between the two footwells. Before any underlay is added to the left hand footwell, a vinyl covered conduit panel needs to be fixed along the upper, outer edge. This hides the LH body loom, alternator loom and main loom where the latter two enter the cabin space along the run to the bottom of the A-post.

The conduit panel wasn’t part of the trim kit, which is a bit strange since it needs to be covered in coloured vinyl. The ‘originality’ thread on the E-Type forum was, as usual, very helpful. The shape of the conduit panel changed to a shallower profile during the production run although I think the part number remained the same. The later shaped conduit is available from RM & J Smith Ltd.

Covering loom conduit Accidentally covering the screw holes The ‘tail’ will be cut back later

I made a mistake with my first attempt, making the vinyl covering to its exact shape. Again from the forum, the A-post end should have a ‘tail’ of vinyl that isn’t bonded. This covers the looms as they bend around the corner of the dash and let in through a cut-out in the under-dash card. The other mistake was to forget to mark the location of the two holes for the self-tapping screws before covering them over! Fortunately I was able to use the previous photos to help locate them with a pin.

The other differences in the footwells are i) the RH underdash trim is in two sections, sitting either side of the steering column and ii) the LH rear transmission carpet is fixed with snap clips to the floor so it can be lifted to expose the access cover for the gearbox oil filler.

1. Under-dash, toe box and transmission tunnel underlay
The photos below show the difference between the two footwells – the vinyl covered conduit is the first item of trim to be added to the LH footwell. Also the rear section of the LH transmission tunnel is not covered in underlay to provide access to the gearbox oil filler, via the large, black, circular grommet.

LH footwell RH footwell RH under-dash underlay

2. Under-dash Hardura panel(s)
It doesn’t matter which order the under-dash and A-post/sill Harduras are fitted for the LH footwell, as both butt up against the loom conduit. However, for the RH footwell, the outer under-dash Hardura needs to be fitted first so the A-post/sill Hardura butts up against it.

The outer edges of the under-dash Harduras (apart from the smaller of the RH pieces) are each secured by two 1/2″ #4 self-tapping screws & cups. The excess will be hidden beneath the cardboard dash cards.

Single Hardura for LH Two pieces of Hardura for RH

3. A-post/Sill Hardura
The surface that these Hardura pieces are glued to is not flat due to the curvature of the sill, the recess for the body loom and the ‘alcove’ in the footwell A-post. More reinforced cross-weave tape was applied to cover these voids to enable the Hardura to be kept as flat as possible. Even so, there didn’t seem to be anything that could be done at the lower toe box corner, due to a strengthening strut.

These Harduras are held in place on the face of the A-post with two #4 self tapping screws & cups (and the bonnet release handle) but bonded inside the footwell.

A-post footwell voids taped over LH Hardura – note #4 screws RH Hardura

4. Floor underlay next to transmission tunnel
Next was the floor underlay beside the transmission tunnel as the transmission tunnel carpets need to be fitted before the toe box carpets.

LH floor underlay RH floor underlay

5. Transmission tunnel carpets

Transmission tunnel carpet

The transmission tunnel carpet turned out to be the most difficult part of the Hardura and carpet trimming. The carpet bends around two 90 degree bends making it difficult to keep the top edge tight against the Hardura trim above. There’s excess carpet along the lower edge so it’s only the upper edge that needs to be focused on.

I cut out wedges to enable the carpet to be navigated around the two bends and also cut a slit where the tunnel narrows at the rear, near the gearbox cover.

A slot also needs to be cut into the carpet to let in the lower radio console mount. The top edge was simply tucked under the upper console mounting bracket.

‘Durable’ snap fastener LH transmission carpets RH transmission carpets

The rear LH transmission carpet needs to lift to gain access to the gearbox oil filler so it is only attached to the floor by two snap fasteners. The upper edge is held under the centre console so no gluing is necessary. Both RH carpets are glued.

6. Toe box carpet

Transmission tunnel carpet

The toe box carpets have finishing edging on three sides. The unfinished lower edge needed to be cut back to provide access to the holes in the floorpan for the carpet retaining studs.

Again, the lower outer corners have to cover the same strengthening strut as the A-post/sill Harduras so it was impossible to get completely flat.

I believe a foot board was also fitted to the passenger footwell to provide the occupant with a foot rest. I’ll have to do some investigation and will possibly fit one at a later stage.

7. Underlay for sunken floor section
The Dynaliner underlay pieces for the floor were bonded by first treating the silicone Koolmat with Loctite 770 (Polyolefin primer) and then using Loctite 406 to bond it.

LH lining of sunken floor RH lining of sunken floor

8. Removable floor carpeting
The final trim is the removable front carpets. These are held in place by four plastic carpet studs. Although I’ll be adding these later, during Part 3 – ‘Finishing off the interior’, which will include the installation of the consoles, under-dash cards, seats and seat belts.

Completed LH footwell Just the consoles to go! Interior finally coming together

The trimming often required the skills of a contortionist and, at times, would best be described as working in a coffin! There’s not a lot of room in the footwells which made masking and the trial fitting and fettling of the various trim quite a challenge. Often all that could be seen from the outside were two legs sticking in the air!

Burning of the trimming rags

The confined space also didn’t help with fumes from the spray-on contact adhesive. At times the nozzle became partially restricted causing unpredictable spray patterns. This required the trimmed areas to be well protected from possible overspray.

So there was great pleasure in marking the end of the trim gluing with the ceremonial burning of the sheets and rags used for masking!

May 142015

The intention was to leave the trimming until after the MOT but this wasn’t possible due to the decision to install inertia seat belts. The next plan was to only trim the rear bulkhead and seat areas – just sufficient for the belts and therefore the MOT. However it’s quite satisfying (when it goes well!), as it’s putting the finishing touches to the car. I’m now going to finish off the trimming before it heads off to the MOT centre.

Until now I hadn’t really considered what I was going to do regarding fitting a stereo. By bringing forward the trimming, this was now more urgent as I didn’t want to have to take out the central and radio consoles once they had been fitted. The options considered were:

Kenwood W707 appears as a
blank panel when switched off
  • A modern unit which has a blank panel when switched off
  • Converting a period radio, with modern electronic innards
  • One of the ‘retro’ looking units made for the classic car market
  • Not fitting one at all and just listen to the sounds of a straight 6!

A few years ago Kenwood offered a stereo with a motorised head unit, aimed at deterring thieves. The rear of the head unit was a featureless flat surface. When it was switched off the head unit rotated to display the rear face, mimicking a blank panel. Unfortunately I found out that they had since dropped this range – presumably because the thieves now just take the whole car!

The conversion approach appealed until I saw one in operation. It certainly wasn’t intuitive. It therefore came down to a close call between the last two options. The hope is to take the car on continental trips which tipped the balance in favour of a period looking stereo.

The other problem is the lack of space within the radio console. Modern speakers have a much greater depth so fitting two speakers and a single DIN sized unit becomes very marginal, if not impossible. Others have overcome this by fitting smaller 4″ speakers in the A-post recesses.

Retrosound’s Model 2

Retrosound’s Model 2 seemed to fit the bill on the appearance front. More importantly, due to its very compact size, the two main speakers would easily fit within the radio console. I say ‘main’ as I was soon to be drawn into the scary world of car audiophilia, making the mistake of contacting a car audio centre to purchase some speakers that would ‘just fit’!

Apparently the location of the speakers isn’t ideal as most of the high end frequencies would be lost. The sound quality would be greatly improved by adding some discreet tweeters at the ends of the dash. Again it made sense to add them now rather than regret it and have to pull the dash apart later on. The same advice had been given on the E-Type forum, suggesting a pair of 1″ Boss tweeters would be ideal so I decided to fit these. Although I suspect any sound quality will be long gone at speeds over 50mph with the hood down!

Small 2″ aerial from Blaupunkt

I wanted to avoid drilling holes in the body for aerials/wing mirrors etc which does limit the options for a suitable AM/FM aerial. The feedback on screen mounted aerials isn’t that favourable as they have a tendency to only pick up the strongest stations.

Blaupunkt now make an amplified screen mounted antenna which I’m hoping can be disguised to some degree behind the period tax disc. I hardly listen to the radio anyway so it won’t be a great loss if it doesn’t pick up every station.

The final specifications were:

  • Black Retrosound Model 2 Becker pinstripe
  • Rockford Fosgate P16 full range speakers
  • Boss TW17 tweeters with built in crossovers
  • Blaupunkt AM/FM disc aerial
  • Good quality 16 swg speaker cables

The spacing of the mounting studs on the speaker grills severely restricted the choice of main speakers to just a handful of 16cm speakers, rather than the more common 16.5cm and 17cm varieties.

The Rockford Fosgate speakers were chosen simply because their mounting slots exactly matched the stud spacing. Although it was only when I tried to fit them did it became apparent that 1) the stud lengths were too short and 2) additional spacers were needed to move the central cone inward away from the mesh grille (making the stud issue worse!).

Rockford Fosgate speaker size and mounting points were spot on Apart from the centre section which protruded, hitting the grill The solution – spacers and the nut/post section of Chicago bolts

I knew I should have gone with the option of not fitting a stereo! As luck would have it the Chicago screws used in leatherwork and I believe menu bindings have the same 8-32 thread. The nut or post pieces were modified by adding a screwdriver slot in the head so they could be screwed down onto the stud ends.

The Retrosound unit has a very flexible mounting system to enable it to fit most classic cars. The blurb suggests the distance between the two knobs is ‘infinitely’ adjustable to suit any application. Although in reality the distance is limited to two distances due to the position of the holes in the final trim pieces.

The unit is mounted on the knob spindles and the desired fore and aft position is achieved by adjusting the positions of the various locking nuts. All fairly simple. The difficult part would be the plumbing in of all the various inputs and outputs.

The mounting spindles slide in slots
so width can be set to suit
Depth of speakers accommodated by
narrow width of the radio unit

The Model 2 has numerous inputs as well as being Bluetooth enabled. So the musical input can be via two USB ports, a standard 3.5mm jack or streamed from a paired device. It also has hands-free functionality and is supplied with a small microphone.

When off – fake tuning decals are displayed When on – LEDs display music information

Initially I’ll just be using one of the USB outputs for a permanently wired iPhone lightening connector in the centre console cubby box. This will enable an iPod/iPhone to be charged at the same time, as well as being accessible while driving. The advantage of a hard wired connection, over Bluetooth, is that the display shows the music information, scrolling between artist, album and song title.

The small Boss tweeters were simply stuck to the trim at the ends of the dash with double sided adhesive pads.

iPod/iPhone connection in central console Tweeters mounted at the ends of the dash

In an attempt to hide the Blaupunkt disc aerial as much as possible, a mock-up of the original tax disc has been placed in the lower corner of the windscreen and the aerial stuck to the back of the tax disc holder.

When it was purchased, I thought the whole aerial was contained within the disc. However there are two thin clear adhesive strips which need to be stuck to the windscreen, 6cm away from the metal surround. These strips contain a small metal wire to pick up the radio waves, which are then amplified by the circuitry within the disc. Fortunately the natty blue light feature can be switched off.

Marking out two thin wires that are
stuck to the windscreen to pick up the signal
(white is just backing tape!)
The aerial body was stuck behind a
mock-up tax disc to keep it out of sight

The microphone for hands-free mode will be fitted at a later stage when I can try to work out the best location. Although I’m not convinced it will pick up much above the wind noise!

The stereo was run through its paces off the car and initial results were positive.

Apr 192015

Static safety belts had originally been fitted to my car. However I’ve never really got on with static belts the few times I’ve driven cars fitted with them. The main issue is at junctions, when it’s often helpful to be able to lean forward slightly. Something that would be even more desirable with such a long bonnet.

Inertia belts were an optional extra
(Image courtesy of E-Type forum)

I had therefore decided to ‘upgrade’ to more modern inertia belts for practicality reasons. Having made the decision, the next dilemma is how to mount them. They can be fitted to brackets mounted on the rear bulkhead (as Jaguar did as an optional extra).

The other alternative is to mount them to the rear bulkhead inside the boot space. The downside with the boot mounted belts is slots for the belts would have to be cut into the bulkhead.

I think mounting large inertia reels behind the seats spoils the look of the interior. So a boot mounted kit was ordered from Quickfit Safety Belt Services. I had toyed with either blue or red webbing. In the end, deciding to keep them inline with interior colour scheme. Although their range of reds is rather limited: a burgundy or vibrant red. The burgundy looked too dark so I opted for the red …. and sunglasses!

Quickfit’s seat belt kit

Quickfit were very helpful, guiding you through the various options. They also warned me that they make their belts for classic cars in batches, once sufficient orders have been received, so the order may take between two weeks to two months to fulfil. Supplier delays for some of chrome fittings pushed this out to three months before they finally turned up!

The inertia mechanism is designed for the belt to be pulled out from the reel at a specific angle (or range of angles). For the boot mounted installation, this is at 90 degrees to the reel’s mounting plate which must also be mounted vertically. At any other angle the locking mechanism stops the belt, so the same reel could not be used for mounting inside the cabin.

The seat was fitted in order to get the correct mounting position, with a length of webbing held horizontally against the shoulder back to the bulkhead. Ideally the belt should approach the wearer’s shoulder horizontally or slightly downwards. The problem is the rear bulkhead on the OTS E-Types isn’t particularly high, so the placement of the reels is compromised to a certain extent.

They were mounted as high as possible so, for me, the driver’s belt is horizontal in my normal driving position, with the seat back partially reclined. If the reels were fitted low down at the base of the bulkhead, the forward force due to an impact would be redirected downwards through the wearer’s shoulder. Not ideal!

Locating the best mounting position Marking out the areas to drill/cut

I’d made a card template so the mounting points and slot for the belt could be accurately marked out on the rear bulkhead. It’s something that really ought to have been provided in the kit and the instructions were rather vague at best. It didn’t even mention the measurements for the slot for the belt!

By chance, the central bolt securing the reel mechanism aligned with the deepest part of one of the bulkhead anti-drumming/strengthening indentations. This enabled the bolt head to sit completely within the indentation and would therefore not be visible once the interior bulkhead Hardura trim was fitted.

The height of the slot needed to allow the buckle and webbing to pass through was not inconsiderable. I really didn’t want to cut such a large hole in the bodywork so I investigated the end attached to the reel.

The belt is jammed after passing through reel Using the reel end would need a smaller slot

The reel end was found to be finished by folding the webbing back on itself and stitched to form an open pocket at the end. This passes through a slot in the centre of the reel and then a retaining plastic pin is inserted into the pocket, which stops it from being pulled back through the slot.

The belt can be withdrawn once
the retaining pin is removed
The reel needs to be jammed
while the belt is removed

The retaining pin was pushed out of its pocket in the belt without any difficulty, allowing the belt to be detached from the reel. At the same time the reel mechanism was jammed to stop it from rewinding while the belt was removed. Initially a screwdriver was used but this was replaced by a short length of 3/16″ brake pipe as there’s not much room once the reel is mounted in the boot.

More importantly whatever was used to jam the reel would have to be removable downwards. Once the reel is fitted there’s minimal space above it.

The pipes were subsequently replaced with cable ties as a pipe was almost knocked out by accident while fitting a reel. Quick fit SBS recommended using the cables ties and they remained in-situ until the belts were refitted, which was only be possible once the interior trimming has caught up. The bulkhead had to be trimmed first as the belts must pass through similar slots cut into the Hardura, which in turn needs all the rear wheel arch Ambla to be in place.

I decided to mount the reels over the Hardura in the boot rather than make suitable cut-outs. What I hadn’t realised at the time was the Hardura provided in the kit is marginally narrower than the rear face of the boot. The side cardboard panels would normally cover the shortfall. However, as I’d mounted the reels as far outboard as possible, they pushed the side cardboard panels hard against the sides of the boot revealing a gap between the Hardura and side panels.

On top of that, for some reason even lost on myself, I’d cut holes in the Hardura for the wiring looms rather than hiding them underneath. It looked at real mess so I ordered some more Biscuit Hardura to have another go. The second attempt was much better.

The first attempt was a bit of a mess! Take 2 – a vast improvement

A finishing chrome escutcheon is mounted to the rear bulkhead which also acts as a guide for the belt. The slot in the bulkhead was made marginally larger than the one in the escutcheon to avoid the belt chaffing on the metal edges.

Overall I’m pleased with the modification although the belts are quite red! Burgundy webbing might have been easier on the eyes.

Apr 132015

Trimming wasn’t something I was looking forward to! My kit had been supplied by Suffolk & Turley. The only thing that appearred to be missing from the kits from all the various suppliers is any form of guidance, let alone detailed installation instructions!

It was very much a case of trial and error, never having trimmed a car before! So what follows is the approach that worked for me (and in some cases not!!).

A simple jigsaw puzzle!!

The kit consists of all the jute underlay, vinyl, Ambla, Hardura, vinyl covered panels and carpets. So one would assume it’s all fairly obvious how it should be installed. It’s the subtleties that are not explained! The trimming of the seats and central console were beyond my capability, so these had been supplied ready trimmed.

The initial focus was to get the car through an MOT and then do the interior trimming. However the decision to install boot-mounted inertia seat belts had put paid to that! They required most of the trim behind the seats to be fitted first.

The kit contained some 5mm open-cell foam underlay for the sills and rear wheel arches. The problem with this foam is that it isn’t very robust, losing its spring quite easily and disintegrating over time. I therefore decided to replace this with a denser closed-cell polyethylene foam, sold under the brand name Plastazote and available in a variety of densities and thicknesses.

As it’s denser, it won’t compress as much as the open-cell foam and so the edges would be more pronounced through the vinyl covering. I decided to purchase both 3mm and 5mm medium density sheets (Plastazote LD45) with a view to playing around chamfering the edges to get the finish I wanted. The decision was to use the thicker 5mm foam for the sills and wheel arches as it gives a softer, more luxurious feel. The lower rear bulkhead is normally just covered with Ambla (vinyl with an expandable knitted backing) but this would be covered with the 3mm foam first.

The trim covers recesses in the rear bulkhead and the wiring loom channels in the sills, which can become visible over time if the material pressed in. In an attempt to stop this, these areas were covered with reinforced cross weave tape. I also ran guide strings within the loom channel in case I need to run power to the rear of the car in future, eg for powering security/tracker devices.

Guide strings added – just in case! Then loom channels were taped over

Lower rear bulkhead
The 3mm foam was bonded to the rear bulkhead with a spray-on high temperature contact adhesive, purchased from Woolies Trim. It was more manageable to tackle it in two sections with the join above the transmission tunnel. Each section was then glued in three phases: the outer flat section, the concave area behind the seat and finally the small area around the transmission tunnel.

This approach allowed the non-glued section to be held against the bulkhead to make sure it was square across the full width before pressing the bonded area onto the bulkhead. The contact adhesive doesn’t allow a second attempt so it really does have to be right first time.

Each side was started at the sill end Next the concave section Foam in place … now the vinyl!!

I’d read other restoration websites covering the interior trimming, where they explained the vinyl should only be bonded to the perimeter of the foam underlay. So I followed this approach for gluing the Ambla to the rear bulkhead. Again I decided to tackle it in smaller manageable areas – the order as shown in the left photo below.

Areas and order of gluing the Ambla So far so good … section 1 bonded!

It was all going well up to section 3. To avoid wrinkles, the Ambla needs to be ever so slightly stretched as it is bonded to the foam. However, when the lower area (4) of the concave section was glued to the foam, the un-bonded area between (3) and (4) pulled away from the foam, as the Ambla contracted.

I tried to pull the Ambla away from the foam as soon as I realised but this just resulted in the latter being ripped apart. Aaaargh! Both the Ambla and foam were ruined. It took many messy hours to remove the remains of the foam, back to the painted bulkhead so I could start all over again.

The revised plan was to bond the whole contact area between the foam and Ambla. This time the process followed the sequence of bonding the foam, although in reverse – working from the transmission tunnel out to the sill, as the whole area needs to be covered by a single piece of material.

Revised area and order of gluing Bonding area limited by matching masking
The second attempt worked well The lower bulkhead trimming completed!

The main difficulty with the rear bulkhead Ambla is it needs to cover the body looms to the rear lights, fuel pump and tank sender. The sills have a recess to hide the looms but they stop just before the end of the sills so there is no tidy solution.

Sometime later, I was trying to find the best method of hiding the wiring looms as they travel around the lower edges of the wheel arches before entering the boot space. I couldn’t disguise the looms under the Hardura trim covering the rear bulkhead and so dug out the remains of the original trim to see if I could get any clues.

The (non-vertical) areas should first be covered by a layer of jute before the Hardura goes down and the excess bulkhead Ambla bonded over the jute. The trim kit didn’t include jute for this area, and indeed some for the rear face of the boot, so it was easily missed.

Although I had already fitted Dynamat sound insulation, it is much thinner than the original jute layer, and therefore not able to disguise the looms. The solution will be to fit some 1/4″ Dynaliner, with suitable channels left for the looms. The down side is that the excess Ambla will have to be lifted and re-bonded over the Dynaliner.

The Ambla was bonded over the looms Different bonding was needed against the Koolmat

The other issue was trying to bond the vinyl and Ambla to the silicone Koolmat, used to insulate the cabin from heat soak from the engine bay. I’d previously tested various adhesives such as contact adhesive and silicone RTV adhesive. Since then I’d found that Loctite produce a silicone surface preparation fluid (Loctite 770) which enables the ‘superglue’ Cyanoacrylate family of adhesives to bond to it. The combination of Loctite 770 & Loctite 406 superglue provided a very good bond and was used to secure the overlapping vinyl and Ambla to the grey Koolmat.

The 5mm foam and vinyl covering the sills were fitted, again in stages, working inwards from the outer edge. The foam was cut so there was a 1cm gap to where the sill meets the A & B-posts and also the floor. This was to provide a bare area of sill for the vinyl to securely bonded to.

For the gap to the sill edge, the chrome finisher was offered up. A gap of approx. 13mm would avoid foam being trapped under the chrome trim as it’s a fairly tight fit at the best of times. I didn’t want foam underneath to make things worse. The vinyl wraps around the sill lip and should be held in place by a number of metal clips.

A gap was left between the foam & sill edge First stage of bonding the foam underlay

I had a trial fitting of the clips using some scrap vinyl to see if they would stretch the vinyl as they were pressed on. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the clips on. I mentioned this to Suffolk & Turley when I was up discussing the hood – they don’t bother with the clips! They just run a bead of silicone RTV adhesive in the chrome finisher, wedging it in place while it cures. A tip I will be using once the sill door rubber is in place.

The approach of applying adhesive to the whole foam/vinyl contact area worked well with the rear bulkhead and so would be repeated for both the sills and rear wheel arches.

The vinyl was started by just bonding the 13mm strip at the sill’s edge. The aim was to anchor the vinyl in place as it would require cutting to shape as it was applied. The spray adhesive doesn’t give any room for adjustment once the two surfaces have been pressed together. So I thought it best to use the brush on Alfabond AF178 for gluing the sill edge and then pressing on the chrome finisher to hold it all in place, while it set.

Marking out the excess vinyl Excess can cause door rubber problems Bonding underneath the sill edge

Adhesive wasn’t applied to the underside of the sill edge, which allowed the vinyl to be pulled out to cut off any excess before being bonded. Too much excess can lead to problems fitting the sill door rubbers later on.

The edge of the vinyl is visible for a few inches; forward from the door opening to the A-post; reward to the B-post and 2-3″ along the outer face of the B-post (before it is hidden by a vinyl covered panel). The vinyl was doubled over to keep these edges neat and tidy.

The visible edges were doubled over to keep them neat

As the vinyl doesn’t stretch like the Ambla, a number of cuts were needed as it turns down towards the sill. There were a number of scares along the way where I didn’t think it was as smooth as it could be. The on-the-fly remedies often made matters worse. Fortunately the foam regained its shape overnight!

Again, bonding was done in stages Trimming around floor strengthener Sill vinyl almost completed

Overall I was quite pleased with the results. If it were to repeated, I would probably only leave a 5mm gap between the foam and the A & B-posts.

Rear Wheel Arches
The trimming of the rear wheel arches appeared to be much trickier due to the double curvature …. and so it would prove to be!! The pre-cut material has a very odd shape as it covers the wheel arch and a flat section underneath the hood mounting brackets.

Area covered by the wheel arch Ambla …. hence the odd shape of the trim provided

Numerous dry runs were done before deciding on how best to tackle it. Initially I started with bonding an outer section of the wheel arch, and the working down towards the lower rear corner. It soon became apparent that this wasn’t the way to go.

It left too much foam being pressed into an ever decreasing area, causing ruffling. Fortunately it was possible to cut out a section of excess foam and make a joint that would be invisible through the Ambla. This wouldn’t be an option when the Ambla is fitted.

Initial area bonded on 1st attempt Resulting in section cut out of foam

For the Ambla, it was decided that it would be best to glue a 2” strip down the shoulder of the wheel arch but stretching it as it went down. The reasoning was it would therefore reduce the excess material in the corner of the wheel arch.

Bonding this area first caused numerous problems!

Unfortunately this didn’t prove to be too successful and it was a real fight to get the lower edge glued without it puckering up along the join between the wheel arch and the bulkhead. Occasionally some Heath Robinson techniques were needed to weigh down the Ambla until the adhesive had dried. I shouldn’t have been surprised as it was not too dissimilar to the approach for the foam. A re-think was required for the other wheel arch!

Weighing down the edges to stop it lifting Bonding the lower edge worked better

The other tricky area was where it transitions between the curved wheel arch and the flat section. The Ambla just had to be stretched in the right direction to get a smooth finish.

For the second wheel arch, a 1.5” strip was glued along the lower edge. The foam could then be stretched up to the corner where it meets the top of the rear bulkhead. This ensures the Ambla is ripple free as it is being stretched over the curvature of the wheel arch. Initially this appeared to be a much better approach although it simply transferred the problems encountered later on to another area. The conclusion is that the wheel arches are just difficult to trim.

An Ambla covered wheel arch. Phew!

The trimming of the vinyl and Ambla was quite tricky and took over two weeks to complete, mainly due to putting off tackling the difficult areas and procrastinating too much! It would have been almost impossible to complete without the assistance of my trusty helper who patiently held the material up, while it was being smoothed into place and took the brunt of frustrations when things didn’t go as planned!

In hindsight, I wish I’d have bought shares in 3M with the amount of blue masking tape I ploughed through!!

Hardura and carpet fitting will be covered in Part 2 ….