Sep 202013

There wasn’t time to investigate why the bonnet wouldn’t shut the last few inches, so I had a chance to sleep on it. The problem was that it’s not possible to see inside the bonnet area at the point its travel begins to be obstructed.

Only the engine and radiator has been installed so it shouldn’t be too difficult to work out. I remember reading somewhere on the E-Type forum that the Series 2 had an extra spacer somewhere in the engine mountings. Although I thought this only affected the carburettor clearance but these were still to be fitted.

Some off-cuts of the foam rubber Dynaliner were place strategically on all the high points. I was aiming to lower the bonnet to the obstruction and then inspect the Dynaliner. The foam would take a little while to return to its previous state so the indentations of any impact would remain and be easily traced.

The radiator support struts had been fitted at a jaunty angle so this was almost certainly the cause of the problem .... or was it?A couple of attempts still didn’t reveal an area of compression in the rubber …. more head scratching. It was definitely not the engine as this was almost entirely encased in Dynaliner.

It finally dawned on me – it must be the radiator support struts impacting the vertical sides of the air intake channels. When they were first installed, it was mentioned whether they should be fitted on the inner or outer side of the damping rubber grommet.

With hindsight, they did look angled when mounted on the outer sides. The brackets were removed and the bonnet was lowered to prove the theory. Spot on …. the bonnet reached the landing rubber without being obstructed.

The struts were reinstalled but this time on the inboard side of their grommet. The bonnet was lowered, having finished the job, only the problem was still happening!

I thought I'd found the issue had been caused by the radiator struts. Re-fitting them differently resulted in a gouge in the paint workHowever this time, when the bonnet was raised to investigate, it revealed a 4-5 inch scrape in the paint on the air intake duct. Gutted.

The strut positioning was only part of the problem. They were causing the ‘springiness’ of the impact because the bonnet edge was hitting the strut and just pushing it aside.

Once it had be repositioned and was out of the way, it allowed the bolt head, securing the strut to the radiator, to take a gouge out of the paint work.

The bolt head was sitting too proud because I’d used a washer between the radiator and the strut and one between the strut and the bolt head. Without them, it would probably have been ok. However I’m going to remove all the washers, fit a thin-headed bolt and reposition the radiator on the bottom mountings to try to centralise it with the bonnet.

 Posted by at 8:59 pm
Sep 192013

It has only been just under a month since the rear suspension was put in, in which time the weather has started to turn, with leaves falling and a persistent dampness on the ground. The hope was to recruit John and Martin again to put the engine back in and set up the front suspension. However doubts started to creep in whether a leave of absence would be forthcoming from their higher authorities.

Still we pencilled in the last weekend in September for the engine install just in case permission was granted! It was the last free weekend before the clocks change but the problem would be if the weather wasn’t favourable on the day. The next available weekend would not be until early December.

I decided it might be better to go it alone earlier, on the next fine day, but keeping the September weekend as a reserve. So the BBC weather forecasts were monitored for a suitable, sunny day. A whole day with only light cloud cover and sunny spells was forecast, so last minute arrangements were made to have a days leave to finally install the engine and front suspension.

The original plan was to remove the front ‘picture frame’ and simply wheel the engine into place and then refit the frame behind it. I should know by now that nothing is ‘simple’ when rebuilding an E-Type! As the rear suspension had taken all day and we’d run out of time, the revised plan was to install the engine from below. The same way it had been removed.

At least this time, the engine was on a low trolley so the front of car wouldn’t have to be raised quite as much to gain the necessary clearance. The positioning of the engine within the frames went without a hitch and the trolley castors made fine adjustments in its position a breeze.

Although there was almost a numpty moment as the engine was being rolled into position – it generally helps to have the propshaft fitted before the engine goes in!!

The car was then lowered until the front fulcrum mounts could be supported on axle stands, enabling the lifting frame to be moved and redeployed to lift the engine on to its mounts. The clearances around the bellhousing are quite small, especially round the torsion bar mounting points, so the lowering progressed very slowly to ensure the paintwork wasn’t damaged.

Lifting the engine was an equally slow process for the same reason. It was also very marginal whether the lifting frame would have sufficient height due to generous length of the lift strop. Fortunately there was, but only by a centimetre. It would have been possible to shorten it by putting a knot in but I suspect it wouldn’t have come undone once the full weight of the engine had pulled it tight.

The gearbox mounting bracket and damping spring, which sits in two rubber mouldingsI had wrongly assumed that once the mounting brackets had been fitted to the engine, the weight would naturally align their bolt holes with the engine mounts fixed to the frames. After a considerable struggle, not dissimilar to the fitting of the rear suspension, everything was lined up and the front engine mounts could be secured.

A strong spring sits between the gearbox and the rear mounting bracket to dampen the vibrations of the engine. Fortunately is was only a matter of jacking up the bracket to compress the spring sufficiently to get the bolts in place. Although some care was taken to make sure the spring was located centrally on the trolley jack.

There’s very little room to get in to fix the engine stabiliser so it’s a fiddly jobI thought it would be easier to fit the central engine stabiliser once the engine was in place, as it’s one thing less to keep an eye on when the engine is lifted. It’s was fiddly job as there’s very little room between the engine and the bulkhead to get your fingers in. I think I’d prefit it next time.

Once again the progress was considerably slower than hoped although this was partly due to the accuracy of BBC weather forecasting – light drizzle and grey skies were the order of the day. As dusk approached, the installation of the torsion bars was abandoned for now.

The radiator and cooling fans had already been built up so these were quickly bolted on before the bonnet was refitted. It was time to wheel it inside and head off to the pub for a celebratory meal …. so it wasn’t the best time to find out that the bonnet no longer closed. Something was stopping it about 2 inches short of the landing rubber.

It wasn’t a solid contact you’d get between two hard objects. It was more springy. Some of the wiring looms still had to be re-routed so these were moved well out of the way. Still no joy. The problem is that is almost impossible to see into the engine space when the bonnet is almost full closed.

It can only be one of two things as the engine and radiator were the only items fitted but at the moment I’m stumped. Some padding has been inserted between the bonnet and bulkhead until I can it work out!!

Sep 162013

The heater valve was another part that was difficult to remove, as the bulkhead heater pipe had seized solid into the valve body. I didn’t want to apply heat in case it damaged any internal rubber seals and so I tried to break the joint by rotating the valve body. All this achieved was to deform the pipe, which eventually had to be cut to remove the valve.

There were signs of weeping from the valve so I suspected an internal seal had started to deteriorate and it would need replacing. The valve consists of a pot metal valve body and a plated end cap. The body has protrusions around its circumference which interlock with corresponding hook shaped protrusions on the end cap and then a single rivet stops the end cap rotating relative to the valve body.

The rivet was drilled out and then it was fairly easy to split the valve in two by rotating the end cap. This revealed the cause of the weeping – a sprung rubber diaphragm, that is used to control the passage of water, had become furred up.

The deposits had compressed the rubber seal in several places so it no longer made a complete seal. The rubber had also hardened over time so wouldn’t spring back fully once the deposits had been removed.

Even after extensive internet searches, I haven’t been able to find a supplier that just supplies the internal rubber diaphragm. Unfortunately the options are very limited.

Either purchase a complete repro valve or a repair kit from an American site, which includes everything but the valve body. However the kit was considerably more expensive than the repro valve, so I went for the latter.

Overall the quality of the new valve was fine, only let down by the finish of the valve body casting. It wouldn’t make any difference to the operation of the valve but I would have preferred to keep the original body.

Sep 142013

The lock barrels are of the wafer tumbler design where five sprung loaded wafers protrude at the top of the barrel. They align with corresponding slots in the handle’s push button and stop the barrel from being rotated inside the push button.

A retaining pin then stops the barrel from being withdrawn from the push button.

The profile of the matching key is such that, when it’s inserted, it draws the wafers inwards until they are all flush with the barrel’s circumference. The barrel is therefore able to rotate unhindered within the push button.

Another feature of this design is that it is not possible to remove the key when the wafers and slots in the push button are not aligned. The wafers need to be allowed to protrude in order to release the key. In effect, they are clamping the key within the lock.

The return spring fitted to the lock barrel ensures the lock always returns to the position allowing the key to be removed A spring is fitted to the inner end of the lock barrel which ensures it always returns to the aligned position, allowing the key to be removed.

Slotted on to the rear of the lock barrel is a profiled plunger which has two ‘ears’ at its base. The plunger is not attached to the barrel but its movement of travel, both rotationally and in/out, is limited by the shape of the rear of the lock barrel.

The plunger serves two purposes; the operation of both the door latch locking mechanism and the door latch release lever.

Operation of the Latch Locking Mechanism
The rear of the lock consists of a spring between two washers, the lock operating lever, lock end housing and plunger fixing screw. The operating lever and housing both have a hole matching the profile of the plunger.

The fixing screw ensures that the ears of the plunger are positioned in line with the end section of the lock barrel (when the button is not pressed).

In doing so the plunger is always engaged in the hole in the lock operating lever.

When the key turns the lock barrel, the plunger ears will come into contact with the edges of the lock barrel. At this point the plunger and operating lever will also turn.

The installed door lock with the latch release lever immediately behind and the sprung linkage to the latch locking leverA sprung linkage is attached between the operating lever and the locking lever of the latch mechanism, mounted below on the rear face of the door. Therefore the latch lever will either be pulled (unlocking) or pushed (locking), depending on the direction of rotation of the key.

The purpose of the spring is to provide some resistance in the rotation of the operating lever and engaged plunger. As a result, when the key is turned to lock the door, the operating lever and plunger will remain in the locked state when the key is released which affects the operation of the latch release lever, describe below.

Operation of the Door Latch Release Lever
The hole in the lock end housing allows the plunger to pass through when it is correctly aligned, which is when the door is unlocked. At which point, the plunger ears will be engaged with cut outs in the end of the barrel. Pressing the button will push the barrel inwards and with it the plunger. The plunger passes through the housing until it hits the latch release lever allowing the door to be opened.

In the locked state, the plunger ears are aligned with slots running the length of the rear part of the lock barrel. This time, when the button is pressed and the lock barrel moves inward, it simply slides past the plunger and the release lever is not activated.

Rebuilding the locks
The first issue was only one key was provided which only operated the drivers door and not the passenger door or glove box. So the both door locks must have been changed at some point in time. I could live with having a separate key for the glove box but it would become annoying for the doors.

Unfortunately replacement sets of matching lock barrels haven’t been available for a number of years. After quite a bit of searching I found a classic car lock specialist who could replace the wafers to produce a pair of matching barrels. A couple of days after sending them, a match pair were returned.

By chance, a month or so later, a friend contacted me asking about replacement locks on behalf their friend who has an E-Type out in Harare (their car was first registered in Zimbabwe on 6 January 1970, only 5 days after mine was registered!). I mentioned they’d been unavailable for some time and the hassle I’d had with the locks. When he made some enquiries with SNG Barret, complete barrel sets including the boot and glove box were available and had just come back in stock, for little more than I paid to get mine matched – another case of poor timing on my front!!

With the lock internals removed, the handles and push buttons were sent away for re-chroming. Overall I was pleased with chroming work, except for the handle and push buttons as the plating process had deposited too much material (I think this is quite a common problem). This stopped the buttons from moving once inserted into the handles and also stopped the barrels from being inserted into the buttons.

They were sent back but even when the returned the fit wasn’t good so I carefully removed some material from the inside of the handle with a Dremel. Not only that but I’d accidentally left one of the retaining pins in the button for safe keeping. It was then firmly re-chromed in situ and was not that easy to drift out. I can hardly complain about that as it was my fault!

Stoneleigh is a great place for picking up obscure parts such as a new lock housingOther immediate issues were one of the alloy lock housings had broken around one of its mounting holes and the inner washer, inserted before the large spring, was missing.

To my surprise I found a stall at the Jaguar Spares Day at Stoneleigh that were selling reproduced alloy housings so that issue was easily resolved. As yet I’ve not sourced a replacement washer which I have subsequently found out causes a problem.

The operation of both locks had started to suffered due to a build up of dirt and greaseBoth locks had become clarted up with dirt and grease over the years. One so much so that it was difficult to rotate the key.

I think the problem is that grease and heavier oils tend to pick up more dirt. I’ve used Lock-Ease graphited lock fluid when putting the locks back together which will hopefully reduce the build up in future. It’s also designed to reduce wear and keep them working in freezing temperatures.

I rebuilt a lock without replacing the missing washer to see if it was absolutely necessary. The lock worked fine which was good news …. until I’d operated it half a dozen times and it began to seize up. The washer sits between the two springs within the lock. Without it the springs start to entangle. I now suspect this was why one of the locks was harder to turn rather than just a build up of grime.

I’m a bit stumped on how to resolve the issue as I’ve not been able to find a replacement yet …..

Sep 122013

The window regulators and door latches had come back from the platers looking almost like new. The interior space within the door will be subject to a lot more moisture than most of the other areas of the car, so these were given a coating of Dinitrol hard wax.

It seemed a good time to tackle the drop glass while the wax dried overnight. A job I’d been putting off since attempting a trial fitting.

The drop glass is retained in the glass support channel by a thin strip of rubber. Unfortunately both channels had suffered from quite bad corrosion.

The first was so weakened that it bent when the glass was removed. Fortunately replacements are available but as usual they’re a long way off the quality of the originals.

The trailing edge slides within a channel in the window frame and was originally made out of brass. The repro items are just folded steel.

I was half tempted to try to replace the trailing edges by cutting off the steel and brazing on the old brass sections. On further inspection it wouldn’t be that easy to achieve and I’d probably do more harm than good.

The first trial was to place the rubber in the channel and then trying to insert the glass. As there wasn’t any lubrication, this mainly compressed the rubber into the channel. The rubber had more of a tendency to push the glass out of the channel than hold it in place.

The problem with the second trail, trying to place the rubber along the length of the glass and then pushing both into the channel, was that it was very difficult to keep the rubber evenly spaced all the way along. Not that it would really matter as, hopefully, it won’t be seen for quite some time after the car is finished!

In the end I used strips of duct tape to temporarily hold it in place. The tape was only needed until the full length of the glass was just in the channel. At which point the rubber is compressed sufficiently around the glass so it can’t move. The tape could then be removed before it became trapped between the rubber and the channel frame.

A short length of rubber strip is also needed up the trailing edge of the support channel so two wedges were cut out to stop the rubber ruffling up where it rounded the corner. The rubber was given a liberal covering of slightly diluted Fairy washing-up liquid before the support channel was knocked into place with some sturdy taps with a nylon hammer. It was easiest to get the trailing edge tapped home before working the way along the length of the channel.

In the end it was a lot easier than I thought it might have been. The window regulator runs in the two channels at the base of the support channel. A stop is used to limit this movement thereby setting maximum height that the window can be raised. Unfortunately the stops were missing so I will have to fabricate some later.

Sep 122013

Quite early on the radiator had been sent off to Northampton Autorads to be ‘re-cored’. It was then stored for a number of years as progress with the restoration ground to a halt. Partly due to lack of time but also a lack of enthusiasm once it became clear how much work was involved in a full restoration.

It was only once the rebuild had restarted in earnest that the cooling fans and shroud were refurbished. Both, in different ways, had been a trial in perseverance to get the desired finish. So it was a real disappointment to find out all the mounting holes down each side of the radiator were too far from the edge to enable the shroud to fit.

There was no way I was going to hack the shroud to fit after the palaver to get the correct crinkle finish. Northampton Autorads usually have a stand at the Stoneleigh spares day, so I took it up on the off chance that they might be able to have a look at it and suggest the best way to modify it.

To my amazement they agreed it was wrong and simply replaced it on the spot, despite the considerable time since it was manufactured. I was quite willing to pay for the modifications as I should have reported any issues when it was first returned. I was impressed with their customer service!

Generally you learn from your mistakes, however I wrapped up the radiator on my return and set about tackling the ever growing list of rebuild tasks. It was some nine months later that I started to prepare for the big installation weekend, transforming it from a bodyshell to a rolling chassis, when I again tried to reunite the radiator and shroud.

I couldn’t believe it – the mounting holes were again out of alignment. Neither the shroud nor the radiator mounting brackets could be fitted. I sheepishly emailed them with the pictures below and they immediately arranged to collect the radiator by courier. This time the shroud and brackets were included so they could ensure it all fitted.

Only two shroud mounting holes aligned Radiator mounting bracket holes were also wrong
The lower mounting hole for the shroud didn't align. The problem is that this hole is also shared with the radiator mounting bracket The radiator mounting bracket holes were only marginally out but enough to stop the brackets being attached

Less than a week later, everything was returned all made up. I really can’t fault their customer service as they addressed the issues without question. I’m not sure why the manufacturing process is such that positioning of the mounting holes is so prone to error. I think nowadays, when a radiator is re-cored, all but the top and bottom sections are replaced so the original sides are thrown away.

At least the unit is now ready to be fitted when the engine goes in ….

The radiator, shroud and cooling fans all ready to go on as a single unit

Handbrake puzzle – one step forward, two back

 Brakes  Comments Off on Handbrake puzzle – one step forward, two back
Sep 072013

The missing handbrake parts for the warning light switch were ordered from SNG Barratt – the bracket, switch and ‘S’ shaped spring. It looked fairly obvious how it should all go together but what puzzled me was the parts list indicated only two nuts are required to secure both the switch and spring to the bracket.

The switch is actuated by a finger-like protrusion at the base of the handbrake arm, which should press against the spring as the handbrake is nearing the fully released position. This causes the spring to depress the switch’s plunger, breaking the circuit and so switching the warning light off.

The handbrake warning light switch set up - something's wrong but I couldn't work it outThe only way I could get the switch’s plunger anywhere near to the ‘finger’ protrusion was to mount the switch to the bracket and then use two locking nuts to position the spring at the end of the switch – as shown in the photo.

I’ll be swapping to half nuts to secure the spring but pressing the spring just about operates the switch. However the problem is the ‘finger’ protrusion of the handbrake only just brushes the spring and doesn’t push it against the switch.

I posted the photo on the E-Type forum and within no time at all the moderator, Angus, had responded, directing me to an image of the correct set-up on a S2 car currently going through his workshop, Moss Jagaur.

I went backwards and forwards between the two set-ups but still couldn’t see how mine was so far out. After all, the geometry is fixed. Eventually I noticed the length of my cable fork was much longer and then it dawned on me what was wrong.

The correct position for the switch mounting pointMy handbrake had been hacked about at some time in the past. The bracket attachment has been cut off and welded further back.

There had been some obvious welding around the attachment point but I had assumed this was just a repair to strengthen it and, as it has come off the car, was correct. It now explains why they hadn’t refitted all the switch parts!

The annoying thing is all the parts have been re-plated and the ratchet teeth are all in good condition. I think I’m going to keep it ‘as is’ and adapt the bracket, although it’ll bug me now!

Further responses to my forum post pointed out that the handbrake cable is an incorrect reproduction item, which would explain why the clevis fork is longer but more importantly that they cables are too long to get the handbrake to work correctly.

The repro cables have been on sale for many years, and still are!, and it points to a previous owner having gone the wrong way trying to find a solution to the problem. The repro cable problem had been picked up by Jaguar Enthusiast Club, who now offer the correct cable so one is now on order.

It’s cases like this where the E-Type forum is invaluable. There are members with a wealth of knowledge of these cars who are happy to spend time offering others advice and solutions to their problems.

Repairing the plenum chamber

 Air Filter  Comments Off on Repairing the plenum chamber
Sep 062013

Ropey would be an understatement when describing the plenum chamber. It appears that it was manufactured by bonding two halves together as, once the superficial layers of dirt were removed, cracks were found along the joining lip between the top and bottom halves.

Also, for some unknown reason, a previous owner had drilled a 3/4″ hole in the underside and, looking at it, presumably while blindfolded.

The first thing to do was to remove all the grime and paint in order to make repairs. I was a little bit apprehensive about using strong paint strippers such as Nitromors as I’d heard it damaged fibreglass. Then someone recommended using Fairy Power Spray – I think it’s one of their oven cleaning liquids!

I must admit I was rather sceptical to sat the least. Still, the oven needed cleaning, so if it didn’t work, it wouldn’t be wasted! To my amazement it acted as a very mild paint stripper. Whereas the paint starts to bubble up within a second or two with Nitromors, the Fairy stuff took 5-10 minutes and needed 5-6 applications to remove all the paint.

I guess it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise as it is designed to cut through oil and grease. The original paint would have been oil based and presumably traces of oil are retained even once the paint has dried.

The air intake brackets were drilled out to provide better access for the repairs or, probably more truthfully, a case of shipwright’s disease. At some stage the brackets must have been painted silver as underneath and in areas that were not visible they were painted black.

I decided to make a fibreglass repair rather than just use filler. The main reason was an attempt to strengthen the join where the two halves had started to come apart, at each side of the opening. The repair sections were built up with three layers of fibreglass which should be sufficient. The mystery hole was also covered over at the same time.

It was then just a case of filling all the various cracks, chips and the repaired hole with Isopon filler before spraying the plenum and air intake bracket with numerous coats of silver Hammerite.

One thing I’ve found with Hammerite paint from painting the wiper motor housing, is that it takes many months to fully harden. Even though it’s dry enough to handle, it’s still quite easy to damage the soft finish for quite some time. Overall I was quite pleased with the end result.

A milestone is reached – back on 4 wheels … almost!!

 Front Suspension  Comments Off on A milestone is reached – back on 4 wheels … almost!!
Sep 042013

The issues getting the rear suspension fitted meant that there wasn’t time to fit the front suspension let alone the engine.

The front frames were removed to fit the tiny radiator support brackets. As the frame bolts pass through the front suspension mounts, these and the roll bar were refitted at the same time as the frames.

I must mention to Andy at Hutsons that it would be a good idea to fit the radiator brackets on S2 cars before bodyshells are returned to customers.

I started with the easier upper wishbones and found the castellation nuts need to be fully tightened to compress the rubber bushes. This pulls the front and rear fulcrum mounts together so the bolts holes line up.

The original camber shims had been re-plated and were fitted behind the front and rear mounts. I suspect the shimming will need to be changed when the geometry is finally set up because the new engine frames have been fitted.

At least it should be a good starting point. The rear mounts also have a strengthening plate fitted on the reverse side on the engine frame, under the nuts. One of these was missing so I suspect at some point the suspension had been dismantled and they’d forgotten to refit it.

The castellation nuts were then backed off as they should only be fully tightened once the full weight of the car is supported by the suspension to avoid damaging the rubber bushes. The wishbone pinch bolts were also not tightened as the fulcrum shaft will need to be rotated during the final setup to set the castor angle.

The upper wishbones were fairly easy to install as they simply bolt on The lower wishbones were much harder as both the front and rear mounts need slotting into the engine frame

For now the aim is to get the car back on four wheels so it can be moved around more safely. The front suspension can only be completed once the engine has been installed when the torsion bars are fitted. This will require the upper ball and steering arm joints to be separated. So at this stage, only the lower ball joint was fully tightened. Without the torsion bars the car should just settle on the shock absorber bump stops.

The moment had arrived. The lowering of the car back on to its own four wheels. Something that hadn’t happened for many, many years. The trolley jack was lowered very gently …. touch down (pats on back etc) …. then lower …. and lower …. and lower …. and so it carried on. I had to close the bonnet and control the jack from underneath but I was getting worried that the bump stops wouldn’t be reached. Do they even have bump stops?!

Will the bump stops ever be reached? ..... No! The car had to be put back onto the axle trolley.

The trolley jack finally reached it’s lowest height so I had to revert to Plan B – back on to the axle trolley until the engine and torsion bars are fitted. Ho hum …. a FAIL! I really should have just measured the compressed shock absorber length when it was off the car and then done some simple Maths. Another lesson learnt!

Bonnet storage

 Miscellaneous Ramblings  Comments Off on Bonnet storage
Sep 022013

One of the main problems during the rebuild was the lack of space to store the bonnet out of harms way. It was therefore safer to kept the bonnet on the car and only remove it when absolutely necessary.

It made the fitting of some of the engine bay components slightly more tricky although my limbo-dancing skills have improved no end!

When I was visiting Hutsons, I noticed how they had stored a bonnet while it was off the car. At the front they’d used a steel bar through the eyes of the hinges and then supported the bar on axle stands. Lengths of angled steel were bolted in place of the side bonnet catches to support the rear.

This seemed an ideal solution for the temporary storage of the bonnet and would no doubt be useful in the future. I had some left over ‘L’ shaped stock fence supports so cut these down to size for the rear support legs and purchased a metre length of 3/8″ steel bar.

To give it more rigidity a length of timber was drilled to slot over the support legs. The steel bar is a bit too thin and needs the axle stands to be place adjacent to the hinges to avoid it bending. At some stage I’ll replace it with a 5/8″ bar.