Jun 282016

The car was delivered to Suffolk & Turley in early June for the hood fitting. Hurrah! Just before it went, a fellow restorer, John, and his son dropped in and we had a very pleasant natter about our respective restorations and the problems encountered. He was over in the UK all the way from South Africa. I take my hat off to him as he’s currently restoring both a S1.5 OTS and a S2 FHC.

John’s primrose yellow S2 FHC – it makes me want to do another one!

It’s bad enough securing parts while based in the UK, with incorrect or poor-fitting parts often being delivered. Planning a restoration from so far afield from the usual parts suppliers must be a logistic nightmare. By chance I’d accumulated a couple of spare parts which John was looking for.

The delivery to Suffolk & Turley was not without incident. One thing I hadn’t done since it passed its first MOT was to confirm the speedo was calibrated correctly. Travelling in tandem enabled various test to be made en route. The plan was to have the lead car sit at various speeds (50mph, 60mph & 70mph) while I matched their speed and checked my speedo reading. Using a GPS would be more accurate due to the inaccuracies of speedos but it would be sufficient for now. Speedos are typically calibrated to read between 0-10% higher than the true speed, with most around 5% over.

However the results were quite alarming – following at 70mph, my speedo was only reading 56mph! Reading 20% lower than it should, so travelling at an indicated 70mph would equate to almost 88mph (ooops!). I had always thought it felt quite a bit faster than it was indicating and had put this down to a similar feeling driving my Elise. Being so low to the ground heightens the sense of speed. At least now I know to factor in the inaccuracy until it can be calibrated ….

…. that was until a few miles from their workshop on the outskirts of Nuneaton, when a whining noise started coming from the gearbox immediately followed by the speedo packing up completely!

Dropping the car off at Suffolk & Turley for hood fitting Brand new Robey canopy need fixing first, it was that bad Gaps at each ends but front of middle section is too curved

I had given up trying to trial fit the new Martin Robey canopy as it was so far out. Luckily RS Panels are next door to Suffolk & Turley and were given the task of fixing the shape of the canopy.

They had to weld an additional 1″ strip to the leading edge of the canopy, re-profile it to the shape of the windscreen’s top chrome and then repaint. There’s no way I would have been able to get this ‘brand new’ canopy to fit without their expertise. Another issue was the canopy didn’t have any mounting holes for attaching the wood bows. Pretty poor really.

Additional metal tack-welded to canopy Wood bow pre-fitted to aid fettling Re-profiling canopy to windscreen chrome

After the re-worked canopy was trial fitted it was taken off to get trimmed in the standard light sand covering. I had provided S&T some tacking strips but these didn’t pass muster due to the poor fit. Replacement tacking strips were attached to the rear hood channel and covered with matching red vinyl.

Final trail fitting of the canopy before trimming Rear wooden tacking strips covered in vinyl

A few pictures of the trimming of the hood canopy. They’ve done a fantastic job:

Covering the rear wood bow Awaiting the various fixings Front clamps & tilt warning added
Tie down strips will pass through chrome escutcheons Tie down straps clip to front wood bow when not in use Completed hood canopy ready for fitting

The canopy was then reunited with the hood frame ready for the hood canvas, in dark navy blue. Photos covering the fitting of the canvas:

Canopy refitted to frame Rear is attached to tacking strip
Rear is nailed to tacking strip and covered with chrome trim The front edge is bonded into thee rubber seal channel The drop glass was adjust for alignment and maximum height

The final touches were added to the hood – the front and rear finishing chrome strips:

Finished rear with hood envelope hooks Front finishing chrome

My intention wasn’t to create a ‘trailer queen’ to be cosseted and polished. At the same time I don’t expect to be testing its watertightness too often. I certainly hadn’t expected to test it so soon after collecting the car. The trip back was peppered with downpours, some torrential.

First watertight test!

It was quite possibly the most scary drive I’ve ever had! The woefully inadequate wipers merely smeared rather than actually wipe so I couldn’t see anything. The springs on the wiper arms appear to be too weak to actually compress the rubber against the screen.

I certainly don’t want to repeat that experience and so will be applying some Gtechniq Clearvision. It’s similar to the Rain-X product although (hopefully) harder wearing. It leaves a hydrophobic layer on the glass which causes the water to bead and simply roll off the windscreen. In theory it’s possible to drive in rain without needing to use the wipers.

I’m also going to see if a slight bend can be put into the wiper arms to apply sufficient pressure to compress the rubber.

I would like to report that the hood is completely watertight but it’s not! There was a slight leak on both sides at the top of the A-post. Although this was largely my fault for cutting the A-post rubber slightly too short. I should have left rubbers with a generous excess for Suffolk & Turley to trim back when they fitted the hood.

It’s not a disaster as I should be able to detach just the length running up the side of the windscreen and stretch it to fill the gap to the hood rubber.

May 272016

The opportunity to go travelling for six months, neatly avoiding the whole of the UK winter, was too good to miss! The finishing line of the long running restoration was tantalisingly in sight, with only a few minor trimming tasks to complete before taking the car up to Suffolk & Turley to have the hood fitted.

The final few months of last summer was spent desperately trying to arrange for the hood to be fitted but circumstances were against me and time ran out. Still it’s a good excuse for yet more gratuitous holiday snaps to explain the lack of progress:

  • Che Guevara, Plaza de la Revolución Havana

While travelling, I had at least managed to come to an agreement for Suffolk & Turley to schedule the hood to be fitted towards the end of May. I would take the hood frame up as soon as I returned to the UK at the start of May so they could address the canopy issues. The car would follow a two weeks later to have the hood fitted at their workshop, weather permitting!

It will have been a long time coming, the car has been hoodless for almost a year since it was MOT’ed. The two weeks would give me enough time to complete the few other trimming jobs beforehand. Suffolk & Turley had suggested leaving off the door cards and a few of the vinyl-covered metal panels as it’s best to fit them after the trimming of the hood.

I was pondering whether to fit the chrome hardtop mounting brackets as they might get in the way while fitting the hood. These brackets have a Tenax fastener stud for securing the hood envelope. As the envelope was missing when I got the car, I became side-tracked trying to understand how the envelope fitted over a lowered hood.

Tenax stud on hardtop mounting bracket Operating manual show stud positions

It then dawned on me that I’d forgotten to fit the other two Tenax studs which are mounted on the rear bulkhead to attach the hood envelope straps. The studs pass through the bulkhead vinyl and are secured by a nut and washer within the boot space. The realisation soon turned to a sinking feeling – getting out of this pickle was a cyclical conundrum of my own making.

Spot the deliberate mistake
(no – not the missing seat!)
These tiny Tenax studs should have
been fitted through the bulkhead Hardura

I had spent some time trying to make the installation of the inertia reel seat belts as neat as possible … and I must admit I was quite pleased with the outcome. However it had now come back to haunt me. Needing to retro-fit the studs had created quite a dilemma. It was now impossible to locate the holes for the studs in the bulkhead since it and the boot space had now been covered with Hardura.

The only option was to remove the Hardura trim in the boot to reveal the mounting holes. However I had mounted the seat belt inertia reels over the boot trim in my quest for neatness. So the reels would have to be removed before the Hardura. However the removal of each inertia reel is via a single bolt passing through the bulkhead from the cabin. Again the bolt heads had been covered by the bulkhead Hardura to keep everything neat and tidy.

Inertia reels were mounted
over the boot Hardura trim
… and secured by bolts which
were then hidden under Hardura

Therefore I would also have to remove the bulkhead Hardura too … but I needed the bulkhead Hardura in place to mount the studs!!! Hmmmm ….

After some thought, a plan was hatched to lift as little as possible of the bulkhead Hardura. Just enough to provide access to the bolt heads. The difficulty was the studs are located quite close to the inertia reel mounting bolts. In addition, I’d been rather diligent in making sure the bulkhead Hardura had been well and truly stuck down in the first place.

The internet can be a wonderful source of information at times and a suggestion was to use Zippo lighter fuel to weaken the contact adhesive’s bond. This worked a treat and had the benefit of not damaging either the Hardura or paint work and evaporated fairly quickly.

Bulkhead Hardura was carefully lifted Lighter fuel reduces contact adhesive bond Both boot Hardura & Dynaliner were trashed

Although it was a very slow and messy job. One that I hope never to repeat! The lighter fuel slowly dissolved the contact adhesive which enabled various implements and fingers to lift the Hardura without pulling off the jute backing. However it soon evaporated causing said fingers to stick together and to anything else they came in contact with. The reinforced tape used to cover the anti-drumming/strengthening indentations was a great help in lifting the trim and enabled large areas to be lifted quite easily.

Unfortunately the same could not be said for the trim in the boot. Both the Hardura and Dynaliner underlay were destroyed when they were removed. Fortunately I had enough left over of both to re-trim the boot. I decided to repeat my ‘tidy’ installation because the lifting of the trim, whilst messy, hadn’t been as bad as I had feared.

So the order of re-fitting was:

  • Fit the two Tenax studs to the bulkhead!
  • Re-trim the boot Dynaliner and biscuit coloured Hardura
  • Fit the boot side boards and mount the inertia reels
  • Stick down the lifted bulkhead Hardura
  • Refit the seat belt webbing and boot release cable

Once the boot trim had been removed, a needle was pressed through the holes for the studs to indicated their positions from the cabin side. A drill bit rotated by hand was sufficient to create the necessary hole in the layers of trim into order to fit the studs. With the Dynaliner in place, the Hardura was bonded to it with spray contact adhesive. I found it easier to bond the middle third first before tackling each end.

Position of Tenax stud located! Dynaliner fitted and masked for bonding

After the inertia reels were bolted in place, the top of the bulkhead was re-covered with the reinforced tape. This was initially done to stop the indentations showing through over time but has the added benefit of making the trim removal easier in future. Heaven forbid!

Plenty of reinforced tape was laid down before bonding the lifted section of Hardura

The seat belt webbing was then fed through the bulkhead and connected to the inertia reel. It’s not a job I enjoyed as it’s fiddly, hard to get at and there’s a potential to ruin the reels. The spring in the reel has to be at it’s most coiled state when the end of the webbing is fed through the centre of the reel. There’s a real risk of accidentally letting go of the centre which needs to be held against the spring pressure. If it’s allowed to uncoil freely then the spring becomes unseated and breaks the internal mechanism which is sealed.

Laying out webbing to avoid kinks Apart from a final clean, all sorted

After rectifying the stud problem it was rather disappointing to find out that they still can’t take the car to fit the hood. It has now been delayed until the start of June. At times I wonder if it will ever have a hood!

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.

Nov 062015

An opportunity to take a career break to go travelling for the duration of our winter was too good to turn down. So the fitting of the hood had started to become quite urgent!

My intention was to put it into the care of one of the car storage companies that specialise in classic cars. Most store the cars in cocoons in a temperature controlled environment and offer additional services such as tyres shoes (something I didn’t know existed!) and to run the car periodically. Obviously all at a cost.

Numerous phone calls had been made to Suffolk & Turley in a desperate attempt to get the hood fitted before I departed. I didn’t want to pick up next year in the same position waiting for a slot to trim the hood.

With only weeks to go it became fairly obvious that it wasn’t to be. To be fair to them, the issue is that the hood required a new metal canopy as the original one had been butchered and was rusted beyond repair. The fit of the new canopy supplied by Martin Robey was so shocking, it would require extensive panel work (shaping and cutting) in order to get it to fit. Only then could they start to fit the hood.

The specialist metal work is not something they are able to provide although they farm out such work to RS Panels, who luckily are just next door. RS Panels main line of work is producing high-end, bespoke bodyshells and body panels. Unfortunately a healthy order book has ruled out being able to take on any small one off jobs like mine in the near future. So I will have to wait, most likely until the new year.

It was therefore going to become a logistics exercise while overseas, arranging transportation to and from Nuneaton, once dates were confirmed.

Numerous offers had been received to ‘look after’ the car whilst I was away. I think (hope!) mostly in jest. The lack of the hood and having to arrange transportation could become a real problem, especially if put into commercial storage. It would also be preferable to be driven rather than just turned over every couple of weeks or so …. and be relieved of the best part of £1,000 for the privilege!

It didn’t feel right to be paying for it to be bubble wrapped rather than being enjoyed. I mentioned my dilemma to John, who’d helped with putting in the IRS and resolving numerous other issues during the restoration. If he could clear out enough space in his garage and I was sure of entrusting it in his care, he might be able to re-home the cat!

A tentative plan was coming together and it was fitting John would have the first opportunity to drive it after all the help I’d received, admittedly being limited to dry days due to the lack of hood. The other advantage would be another pair of eyes to critique the restoration and suggest any improvements. Something I soon came to regret ….

A trip to its potential new home was organised, so the garage could be measured up for size and the garage clearing task assessed. Although really it was just a good excuse to take it for a spin. The deal was done …. but not before John had pointed out my shockingly poor tail pipe alignment!!

It might also be possible with his contacts to have the ignition mapping done while I was away. After the garage re-homing reccee, it was taken back to the local independent Jaguar specialist who finally got the engine running smoothly by correcting all the valve clearance shims. They had suggested putting 1,000 to 1,500 miles on the clock before doing so, which was sensible advice so I’ll leave that until next year.

I had a long list of small tasks to complete before I went travelling. The mudguards and torsion bar guards had been trial fitted but still needed refitting, one of the radius arm bolts needed nipping up as it was causing a slight knocking on acceleration and to gather all the bits and pieces for the hood.

While struggling under the car, cursing the near on impossible contortions needed to get spanners onto the bolts for the torsion bar guards/mudguards, I happened to glance up at the passenger footwell. To my horror, the whole of the front end of the sunken section had been push in by several inches. Distraught didn’t come close.

It was so near completion and, at that moment in time, in my (somewhat moist) eyes, the whole restoration ruined. I started retracing where it had been driven but it hadn’t been out of my sight and it would have been some impact to cause that much damage.

It was some time before I could even face getting back underneath to assess the damage. But when I did, something was odd. There wasn’t any hint of paint damage and the paint layer was still intact. It must have been caused by compression from below rather than an impact while driving …. and then it dawned on me. I’d visited the garage when it was in having the engine issues resolved and it had been hoisted up a couple of feet using a two post lift.

Damage to the passenger footwell Similar damage on driver’s side The only possible cause …..

They’d used the floor pans, rather than the jacking points, to raise the car. By chance I’d taken a photo for the blog while it was on the lift, which confirmed this could be the only possible cause. The pads on the lift arm must have has some dum-dum like substance on them as they had left a round shaped deposit on the now buckled floor pan.

I was mulling (read raging) over how I would tackle the garage the following morning when I noticed the driver’s footwell was similarly damaged. I was far from a happy frame of mind and it was heartbreaking after all the care and effort put in. With only a couple of days before I flew off on my travels, it had the potential to ruin that as well. Although it categorically pointed to lift damage.

I abhor confrontation but in this case I was up for giving them a piece of my mind and some! It was just as well I was able to sleep on it, anger wouldn’t solve anything, so I went to the garage with the approach that accidents happen (no matter how amateurish) but I wanted it resolved.

To give them some credit they initially put their hands up, accepted liability and agreed to do whatever was necessary to rectify the damage. So I felt reassured it could be resolved while travelling. Discussions are on-going so I won’t add anything further at this stage.

Speaking to people from the E-Type forum and Hutsons, this type of damage is apparently becoming an all too common occurrence as mechanics who are used to working on older cars are becoming harder to find. They also suggested that, even though it looks awful now, a good panel beater can reverse the damage so you’d have difficulty telling. We’ll see.

The intention has never been to have a ‘trailer queen’. I’d rather have a car that I’ve restored to the best of my abilities and then have the enjoyment of driving the car, accepting it will pick up the odd scar here and there. I just hadn’t expected major surgery so soon.

The final task was to deliver it to its ‘snug’ new home and hand over the keys so it can hopefully have a good few runs out while I’m away. Although track days are strictly off limits!!

Shocking tail pipe alignment.
Ooops – how did I miss that!
A snug fit in its new home … Hopefully it can get a few
trips out while I’m away

As the UK disappeared from view, I’ll sign off until next spring …. unless there’s progress on the hood front. Fingers crossed!

 Posted by at 10:00 pm
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.