Jan 292013

Even though the pipe end centres were 6mm too wide, there wasn’t sufficient flex in the pipe to ‘persuade’ it to go in. When I originally measured the centres distance of 22¾” (578mm), the accuracy of the measurement wasn’t helped by the fact that there wasn’t a clear line of sight between the holes on the bulkhead as the engine stabiliser bracket is in the way.

At least the fabricated pipe could now be used to obtain an exact spacing of the bulkhead holes. The pipe was cut in half, shortened and a dowel inserted. The two halves could then be adjusted on the dowel to fit the bulkhead. The correct centres distance was 3/32” shorter than my original measurement …. ooops!

A while later, the MkIII heater pipe was dropped off …. would it fit and would the saga be over?? As soon as I got back from the office I dashed into the garage to trial fit the new pipe. It was spot on, much to the relief of all concerned!

A mock up of the bulkhead was made in aluminium sheet to ensure everything would fit this time around

It was suggested to re-title the blog entry to ‘How my F1-engineer-mate made a bl00dy great meal of remaking a simple water pipe’. The irony is even that was too long for the blog title field! Anyway, the reason the first pipe didn’t fit was as much down to my inability to use a tape measure as it was in the fabrication.

The photo shows the difference in the bend radius between the two pipes. The tighter bend in the MkIII version means the pipe is perpendicular where it passes through the flange.

The heater pipes are one of the first items that need to be installed on a rebuild so I was looking forward to fitting them at last and cracking on with the rebuild.

I should have known better …. the collar on my rivet gun is too wide, so it fouls on the protruding pipe and can’t reach the rivet head! How can something a simple as a heating pipe cause so much grief?!?

Jan 232013

The brake reservoir caps house electrical connections for the float operated switch for the brake fluid warning light and appeared to be quite corroded. It was only once they had been opened that it became clear that what I thought was corrosion was probably crystallised hydraulic fluid.

Both the reservoir caps appeared to be corroded but it was actually crystalised hydraulic fluid This was most of the contents of the first reservoir! The second reservoir was not much better!

The float should be enclosed in an aluminium cylinder but most of this had corroded away. I had little option but to replace the reservoirs which was a shame. Replacements are readily available however an alarming number of people had reported problems with them splitting and the resulting leak causing havoc with the paint work.

Reading other people’s woes with the repro products, I think the splitting might be initiated either when the black low pressure rubber tubing is pushed on, as a reasonable amount of force is required, or by over-tightening the hose clamps. Basically the new parts are not particularly good quality and no doubt originate from China.

The original bottles had a metal insert inside the supply protrusion/outlet which would avoid the over-tightening issue. The insert also had a gauze nylon filter, again missing from the new ones.

The clutch reservoir was better as the fluid hadn’t crystalised, which I’m now thinking might be caused as the aluminium float shroud corrodes. However there was a lot of gunk at the bottom so I thought it wise to replace as well.

Reservoir cut open to retrieve the metal insert

I decided to salvage the metal inserts by cutting the bottles in half. These were zinc-nickel plated along with the bracket clamps before being inserted into the new bottles. The method I use to insert them was to pass a piece of string through the supply outlet to act as a guide.

A rod was then used to carefully push the insert home while supporting the other side to minimise the stress on the plastic bottle. The reverse was done when pushing on the low pressure rubber tubing, opposing the pressure with the same rod. Hopefully it will be ok.

I couldn’t work out a method of refitting the nylon gauze filter on to the metal insert once it was in place. The filters were not in the best of shape so they have been omitted.

Brake and Clutch reservoirs reunited with re-plated bracket Brake Servo reservoir showing the aluminium shroud around the float

However this does lead on to my next dilemma. As the calipers have been reconditioned and the reservoirs and hydraulic pipes replaced, I have the opportunity to switch from DOT4 to silicone brake fluid.

I like the idea of using the silicone fluid to avoid potential future problems with leaks damaging the paint work, especially in light of the problems others have had with the new reservoir bottles. Conversely there are views that the rubber seals can be damaged over the long term by the silicone.

It seems there isn’t a general consensus on which is the best way to go and it’s difficult determining whether advice is based on fact or merely that the person went down that route themselves and therefore it must be the right choice! Hmmmmm ……

Jan 202013

Several people had mentioned issues with heat soak due in the footwells due to the proximity of the exhaust. I was interested in avoiding this because I’ve had the same issue in my Elise while on long continental drives. I also remembered an article in one of the Jaguar magazine years back recommending lining the transmission tunnel with a reflective heat covering to reduce the heat coming into the cabin.

My main concern was to rebuild the car and then regret not fitting a reflective heat shield as it would be far harder to change my mind later on. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, I decided it was best to line the transmission tunnel now rather than later – probably overkill but hey ho.

After a little research into reducing exhaust heat, I went for a product from Zircotec which seemed to fit the bill. Their heat shield material comes in sheets and in three different thicknesses. The thinnest sheet should be sufficient as additional heat insulation was also being installed within the cabin. I’m glad I didn’t go for the next thickness up as I subsequently used the middle thickness Zircotec sheet to make a replacement exhaust heat shield. It would have been a little too rigid to mould to the curves of the transmission tunnel.

Paper templates were made to determine the smallest size of sheet needed (it's quite expensive!) Four pieces were required: two for the front footwell area, two for the transmission tunnel around the gearbox

Paper templates were made up to cover the transmission tunnel from the front of the footwells back to where the transmission tunnel becomes enclosed, near the handbrake. The templates could then used to determine the size of Zircotec sheet required and then to cut out once it arrived.

The installation was really helped by making accurate templates to cut out the Zircotec sheets rather than try to re-shape in-situ. I ditched the original paper ones as they were too flimsy. In the end I used the clear sticky-backed plastic sheet that was often used to cover my school books of old.

Next is the installation of the Koolmat cabin insulation ….

Jan 162013

Various sections of the exhaust heatshield which protects the brake servo unit had snapped off. I believe the material used contained asbestos and, for obvious reasons, is no longer available. So I needed to look for a replacement and wasn’t too impressed with what I found on offer, mainly the price!

A top corner and a considerable portion of the other side of the heatsield had snapped off The brackets used to mount the heatshield to the engine space frame

I suspect the fragility of the original heat shield is a common problem as a number of others had reported sections had broken off. The repro offerings from the usual players where simply bent sheets of either stainless steel or aluminium plate.

They would provide a physical barrier to limit the areas affected by thermal convention. However, without some form of insulation on the surface facing the exhaust, I thought the shield would get very hot and then conduct heat to the surrounding areas. Some form of heat insulation might be a good idea.

A photo posted by a member of the E-Type forum showing the difference between the original and aftermarket heatshieldsThe photo to the right (posted by a member of the E-Type forum) also shows the differences between the original and repro shields. You’d have thought they would have at least made an attempt to get the size correct but I guess it would provide a greater physical barrier.

The forum member was also kind enough to post the overall dimensions of the shield. That, coupled with the piece I had remaining, meant I could at least have a stab at fabricating my own.

Also the price was excessive as usual, coming in at around £45 once P&P had been added. The sheet of aluminium purchased to make my own was only £7.50! (Although I ended up far exceeding the £45 when I decided to add the thin heat shield material!!)

The original is approximately 3mm thick so I ordered a suitable sheet of 3mm aluminium plate. With hindsight I probably should have opted for 2mm plate as this would easily have been sturdy enough and less weight. The aluminium plate was first cut to size using a jigsaw run along a straight edge to ensure neat edges.

The mounting holes were then drilled and the lower oblong mounting slot profiled from two 5/16″ holes using a dremel. Being aluminium it was very easy to work with, both cutting and drilling.

A length of steel angle (actually some shed roof edging) was used to make sure the aluminium plate was cut to size with straight edges The fixing holes and various dimensions were mapped out on the protective covering - measure twice, cut once etc! Another photo posted by the forum member showed the two bends were roughly the same angle

I now had the problem of getting neat bends into the flat sheet as I didn’t have any sheet metal equipment. The 3mm plate is quite rigid so I was concerned a DIY Heath Robinson solution to bend it would more than likely end up with me making a pig’s ear of it. So I popped out to a local fabrication company to see if they could help.

I think they’re more used to large volume commercial clients! However as it was lunchtime they weren’t busy and one of them kindly offered to put the bends in there and then. The machine used to bend sheet metal was computer controlled press about 15′ long. A few taps later, to program the sheet thickness, distance of the bend from the edges and the required angle, and hey presto! A neatly bent heatshield was returned. Not only that but he wouldn’t take any money for his time!

All that remained was to cover the exhaust side with a heatshield material, rather than leave as bare sheet metal like the repro items. I obtained some self-adhesive heatshield material from a company called Zircotec to line the transmission tunnel area and so also purchased a sheet of their thicker Zircotec II for the heatshield. It might provide a little more protection.

A sheet of Zircotec II was cut slightly oversize to cover the exhaust side of the heatshield The finished heatshield!

The Zircotec sheet was cut 20mm oversize to provide a 10mm excess which could be wrapped around the edges. I was quite pleased with the final result.

Jan 152013

Unfortunately the number and quality of the photos taken of the routing of the wiring looms during the dismantling was woefully inadequate! The three photos below were the only ones of any use but at least they gave a starting point for the main and dash looms.

The main, dash and alternator looms route behind the glovebox. The dash loom joing the LHS body harness in this corner The fuse boxes and wiring looms behind the centre console The dash loom behind the steering column mount

Dash Loom
The dash harness was first to be fitted and it’s fairly obvious how it is routed as it is just held in place by the protruding tabs along the dash length. The tabs were covered with heatshrink to avoid chafing. Its lateral positioning was determine by referring back to the dismantling photos and the group of mainly green and purple wires needs to be directly below the right hand fuse boxes.

Main Engine Loom
The engine and front lighting loom was next to be added. The length running in the cabin also runs behind the same protruding tabs. The loom then passes through into the engine compartment via a hole in the left hand footwell and along the upper tube of the left sub-frame. The alternator spur is fixed to the sub-frame with a P-clip. The remainder of the loom passes down, across and then up the picture frame and finally back along the upper tube of the right sub-frame. Two more P clips, on the bottom bolt of each of the upper front wishbone brackets, are used to secure the loom to the picture frame.

Alternator Loom
The alternator loom follows a similar route as the main engine loom using the same hole in the footwell. Obviously only going as far as the alternator.

Fan Looms
The fitting of the fan looms will have to wait until the fan relays and fans have been installed.

Re-wiring starts with the dash loom

Left & Right Hand Body Looms
The routes of the two body looms are a mirror image. They start just below the windscreen pillar where they are connected to the dash looms. From here they drop down and travel forward running behind a protruding tab which can be bent back to secure it in place. They then run within a indented channel on the inner sill until they reach the rear bulkhead.

They pass up the bulkhead/wheel arch join, entering the boot space via holes in the vertical section of the rear bulkhead. Inside the boot space, they run directly upwards and then rearwards behind more tabs before passing into the wheel arches via holes just behind the bootlid hinges.

EDIS Megajolt Looms
As I had opted to install EDIS Megajolt electronic ignition system this will need to be installed before the other dash components are put in but I’ll cover this installation in another entry.

A problem solved ….
One issue has now been resolved. During the labelling of the looms I found that they were missing the green & brown wire for the reverse light switch. There’s a sundries wiring pack that is needed in addition to the six main looms and it contains the separate wires such as the reverse wire, dash illumination and a few switches/gauges wires.

Jan 152013

Sound Insulation
The original sound deadening was provided by thin, perforated sheets of a bitumen type substance. I’m not sure if this is still available but there are a number of alternative products available, all of which have self-adhesive backing. Essentially all a sound deadening material does is add mass to the panel to stop or reduce its tendency to resonate. The more mass, the greater the sound deadening.

The product I decided on was Dynamat which is 1.7mm sheets of butyl rubber, covered in a metallic sliver foil to reflect heat. It normally comes in 18″ x 32″ sheets which can easily be shaped with a Stanley knife. Quite a few have used it in restorations covering the whole floor, footwell and transmission tunnel areas to stop heat soak from the engine bay into the cabin. Although I wasn’t convinced of its suitability for heat insulation and so will only be using it for sound deadening, in the following areas:

  • Door skins
  • Rear bulkhead in cabin
  • Boot floor

The only difficulty was the door skins due to the limited access. A paper template was used to obtain the shape necessary to cover the door skin, leaving an uncovered 1cm strip around the perimeter. This was to allow the waxoyl to seep as far into the door frame to door skin joint as possible.

Tapping the large flat panel under the fuel tank resulted in quit a loud drumming sound so soundproofing was added to this area The doors were quite difficult. No only just to get the Dynamat into the door space but then to remove the adhesive backing while in-situ The rear bulkheads got the same treatment. I'm still undecided whether to do the vertical panels up from the floor due to the type of trim used there

The main mistake I made was to try to cover the area high up on the leading edge of the door, above the hinge area. There’s barely enough room to get the sheet in so the backing had to be removed before it was put into position. So it naturally stuck to the surrounding areas as it was manoeuvred into place.

I’m not sure whether it is a good idea to use Dynamat on the vertical panels coming up from the floorpan as these will be trimmed with moquette, which is quite thin so the imperfections (creases) in the Dynamat may show through. I’ll decide later when I come to install the trim.

Heat Insulation
The reason why I wasn’t convinced about the Dynamat for heat insulation was that the reflective layer was innermost – ideal if you wanted to retain heat within the cabin but possibly not that effective against heat soak from the engine bay.

The Koolmat at the top is woven glass fibre covered with a grey cured silicone. Below is the type of fibrous trim backing that needs to be bonded to the silicone sideAnother product on the market is Koolmat which looked far more promising. It’s woven glass fibre covered with a grey, cured silicone layer and is designed as a barrier for conducted heat. Being quite dense, it also act as a sound deadening layer.

Koolmat is much cheaper in the US and, as luck would have it, a relative was coming over so I asked if they would be able to it back for me. I think it took up almost half of their luggage weight allowance!

The Koolmat kit for the E-Type contains 20 pre-cut pieces and some high temperature silicone sealant. The white glass fibre side is bonded to the car body with a high temperature contact adhesive and the sealant then used to seal the butt joints where two pieces meet.

A short time after, I was dropping the seat frames and centre console off at Suffolk & Turleys. They had come across Koolmat but weren’t too keen on it, as it’s difficult to get anthing to bond to cured silicone. I had a similar reaction from Andy when I dropped into Hutsons.

A comparative test was done to select the best method of bonding the trim to the Koolmat's cured silicone sideNow I was really concerned that I’d gone for the wrong product. However one of the knowledgeable folk on the E-Type forum suggested it was a good product and they didn’t have any problems.

However I wanted to make sure it would be possible to bond the underfelt to the silicone side before even considering installing the Koolmat.

The Alphabond AF178 contact adhesive simpy peeled away. This will be used to bond the Koolmat to the body but Allbond Silicone Sealant will be used on the grey side.Several phone calls later to get advice from various adhesive companies and it was time to perform a comparative test. Off-cuts of jute and Koolmat were used to test the bond for number of different adhesives and sealants.

The best by a significant margin was your standard bathroom silicone sealant! I guess that shouldn’t have been such a surprise – the only thing that sticks to silicone is silicone!

The image, above right, shows problem of bonding to silicone. It shows the test of Alphabond AF178 contact adhesive verses the eventual winner, Allbond Silicone Sealant. The Alphabond AF178 is the contact adhesive that will be used for bonding the glass fibre side of the Koolmat to the body. However when used on the silicone side, it simply peels away from the silicone. With the sealant, the bond is strong enough so the fibrous jute fails before the bond.

So a clear (rather than bathroom white!) Allbond Silicone Sealant will be used to bond the interior trim to the Koolmat. I’ll cover this at a later stage.

I’m also planning to cover the area in the engine bay around the gearbox and transmisssion tunnel with the Zircotec I heatshield material. With luck, this should reflect much of the exhaust and engine heat back into the engine bay.

Jan 012013

The backlighting of the dash gauges is provided by incandescent bulbs inserted into the rear of the gauges and is fairly poor by modern standards. The green hue of the backlighting is achieved by coloured plastic covers within the gauges and green plastic tape behind the switch legend strip. However the heat produced by the bulbs had melted several of the covers.

The backlighting can also be set to Bright, Dim or Off via the 3-way Panel Switch. The light produced by these bulbs is almost linear to the applied voltage. When bright is selected, 12 volts is applied across the bulb terminals. While switching to Dim introduces a resistor in series with the bulb. This produces a voltage drop across the resistor and therefore the voltage applied to the bulb and the emitted light is reduced.

One popular ‘upgrade’ is to replace the bulbs by LED strips mounted around the perimeter of the inside of the gauges. LED strips are available either containing a single LED colour group (eg white, red, green, blue, yellow) or all three of the additive primary colours; red, green and blue.

The latter, for obvious reasons referred to as RGB LED strips, can output different light colours by adjusting the relative intensity of each LED colour group. The LED strips also have the advantage that they are more efficient and do not generate a large amount of heat.

The upgrade is well documented in Stéphane’s guide on the E-Type forum. One of the members had tried the upgrade with blue LEDs and I thought this would suit my car, being Opalescent Dark Blue, but I was undecided whether I wanted to lose the original green.

I couldn’t decide which I preferred so I investigated the possibility of being able to switch between the two. In the end I decided to use the RGB LED strips and somehow try to use the spare dash switch (used for the heated rear window on the FHC) to toggle between green and blue. This would lead to numerous problems that would only become apparent as work progressed.

The LED strips currently on offer vary in the number of LEDs per metre; typically 15, 30 or 60 LEDs per metre but also in the strip width; either 8mm (3528 chipset) or 10mm (5050 chipset) and with or without waterproof covering. The aim was to increase the brightness of the backlighting but with the constraint of space within the gauges. So I thought the thinner strips with the waterproof option would be sensible, so I ordered the following:

  • 2 metres (min order) of 3528 Pure White 60 LEDs/m – for the dash map light
  • 5 metres of 3528 RGB 60 LEDs/m – for the gauges

The strips with 60 LEDs per metre can be cut every three LEDs, ie every 5cm. This was ideal as the inner circumference of the smaller gauges would allow a 10cm strip. However the first problem came to light, excuse the pun, when I tested the 3528 RGB strip. This chipset used has one LED for each of the three primary colours in a 5cm strip. When either blue or green is selected, only one of the three LEDs was illuminated. So in the 10cm strip possible, lighting would only be provided by two LEDs – hardly an improvement!

After a few calls to suppliers, it became clear that I needed the wider 10mm strips for the multi-colour option. Each LED in the 5050 chipset is effectively made up of three LEDS; one for each of the red, green and blue colours. So all six LEDs in the 10cm strip would provide light. If the additional width caused a problem I would give up on being able to switch colours and revert back to a single coloured 8mm strip.

While I was planning how to incorporate the upgrade into the existing switch layout I noticed something really odd in the wiring diagrams which I couldn’t understand. The power for the dash illumination is only provided when either the side or main headlights are on. This made perfect sense – if it’s dark enough to need lights then you’d always want to illuminate the gauges. So why did the Panel switch have three settings: Bright, Dim and Off? Why on earth would you ever want to have the side/head lights on and not the dash?

I started to doubt the wiring diagram and so posted the question on the forum. Apparently in the 60s it was a legal requirement when parking at night to have the side lights on. In which case the dash illumination was turned off to conserve the battery. I don’t think I’ll ever need his feature so I’m considering swapping to a two state Panel switch – Bright and Dim.

With the planning done, the next step was to start to dismantle the gauges ….