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!