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 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!!

Feb 262015

The brakes have been connected and plumbed in for quite a while now. The system only had to be filled with brake fluid and bled, so I had assumed the brakes were essentially complete and wouldn’t be noteworthy. I should have known by now that was almost certainly going to be wildly optimistic …

I had dithered on the type of fluid to use, glycol base or silicone, changing my mind almost on a daily basis before finally making the decision to stick with glycol based DOT4 fluid. The ‘this is absolutely my final decision’ was subsequently reversed to silicone following an interesting article on the subject sent to me by Chris Jackson, whose restoration is being covered in the E-type Magazine.
DOT5 Silicone Brake Fluid

The debate regarding DOT4 (Glycol) verses DOT5 (Silicone) seems to be quite polar in nature. A bit like Marmite – people are either for it or hate it and never the two shall meet! At the time I’d just been working through fixing leaks in the cooling system. Reports of leaks from weeping hoses and splitting repro reservoir bottles are all too common. The thought of brake fluid leaking onto the paint work and remaining undetected paid a significant part in opting for silicone.

However some have raised concerns that silicone fluid might cause rubber seals to swell. Possibly but the composition of the rubber seals has changed over time, with natural rubber no longer used. Modern rubber should now be compatible with all types of fluid.

Automec DOT5 Silicone Fluid

The manufacturer’s blurb suggests silicone fluid is a ‘fill and forget’ solution but I think this is a little wide of the mark as water will find its way into the system. As it doesn’t mix with the brake fluid, it would then pool and cause local corrosion so I’m still planning to replace the silicone fluid periodically, although less frequently than would be the case for DOT fluids.

Apart from the additional expense, the down side of silicone is that, when it is agitated, it has a tendency to absorb tiny air bubbles that are not visible to the eye. This can cause a spongy pedal as the bubbles compress under braking. The simple solution is to leave the fluid to settle overnight before bleeding the system, although that would be more problematic if it ever had to be refilled on a trip.

All the compression joints were checked and tightened. Now the front calipers were bolted to the uprights, sufficient torque could be applied to the bolts clamping the two caliper halves together. Correct torque settings are not published but a brake refurbishing company recommended to torque the 7/16″ diameter bolts to 70 lb-ft and the 3/8″ diameter bolts to 40 lb-ft. I’ll need to keep an eye out for any initial issues.

Remote rear bleed kit

Stevson & Fosseway kits

Another of Chris’ suggestions was to fit one of Fosseway Performance’s remote bleed kits. The standard bleed valves are hard to reach at the best of times, so moving them to a more accessible position on the IRS cage is quite a popular modification. In fact I’d already fitted a similar kit sourced from Stevson Motors prior to installing the IRS unit.

My kit was definitely more agricultural than engineered so I had been a little disappointed when it arrived. The mounting brackets were just pieces of brass sheet that looked as though they had been hand drilled and then bent in a vice.

Still their function is fairly basic and the aesthetics is not a great issue, being tucked up underneath the car, so I had fitted the Stevson kit. It was only later, when I was working underneath the car to re-fit the handbrake cable, did its design start to irk me. My patience was wearing thin after catching the sharp corner of the brass bracket for the umpteenth time.

The revisiting of the handbrake was because I’d routed the cable incorrectly. It should pass through an eyelet on the inside of the transmission tunnel, with a rubber grommet protecting the cable. The cable was too stiff to re-route in situ by disconnecting the cable from the handbrake mechanism. So the entire cable had to be removed.

Re-routing couldn’t be achieved by just disconnecting at compensator linkage Correct routing of cable through grommet in transmission tunnel eyelet

The final straw came when I found that the seat for one of the bleed valves had been machined too far. So the coned face at the end of the valve could never make contact with the seat, let alone form a seal. Longer valves are available … but not in the course thread used in the kit. There was no alternative – it had to be replaced.

I’m sure Stevsons would have rectified the problem but I now had the opportunity of fitting a better quality of kit. An order was placed and the Fosseway kit arrived the next day! The main difficulty was, with the IRS now in place, access was severely limited. The front pair of springs and dampers had to be removed to access the calipers.

Forward rear springs removed for access The Fosseway kit has better banjo attachments Fosseway kit uses sprung bleed valves

The Fosseway kit uses a banjo attachment at the calpiers which is a neater solution and much easier to fit, as it doesn’t require the flexible pipe to rotate when tightening it into the caliper. The other difference is the style of bleed valve used, sprung valves rather than standard solid valves. The sprung valves help with bleeding as the spring stops air entering the system between pumps of the brake pedal. In the end, replacing the remote bleed kit was easier than I had thought and only took an hour and a half.

Brake Bleeding Woes!
This was another task that proved far more troublesome than I had expected. Most methods of bleeding require the help of an assistant. The exception to this is vacuum pumps, such as the Mityvac, which can be operated single-handed. The vacuum is applied to the bleed valve to draw the fluid through the system so both the vacuum and bleed valve can be controlled from one location.

Mityvac vacuum bleeding tool

It was for this reason I purchased a Mityvac pump to replace my old Eezibleed tool. The Eezibleed pressurises the reservoir to push fluid through the system but still requires two people to operate. So doesn’t really offer anything over the traditional method of pumping the brake pedal.

The correct bleeding sequence according to the service manual is the near-side followed by the off-side, starting with the rears and finally moving to the front brakes. The reservoir bottles were filled, the RH reservoir feeding the front brakes and the LH reservoir the rears … let the bleeding begin!

After about 1/2 hour of trying with the Mityvac, absolutely nothing had come out of either of the rear valves. Time for plan B – the Eezibleed was rigged up to the reservoir. All this achieved was pressurising the bottle to what looked like bursting point and spraying fluid everywhere from around the cap. Thank goodness I’d gone for silicone fluid! Still nothing was coming out at the rear calipers.

Plan C! The traditional approach – the good old brake pedal and a patient helper! The resistance started to build after 20-30 pumps of the brake pedal. However this would dissipate after about 30 seconds. Frustratingly there was still no fluid coming from the rears. I suspect pumping the pedal was only pushing fluid into the front circuit and the resistance felt at the pedal was due to the air in the pipe being compressed. Once the pumping stopped the air pressure would force the fluid back into the reservoir.

Stumped, I decided to search the web to find out if there was a specific technique or trick that might help. At least I found out that I certainly wasn’t alone in having trouble bleeding the rear brakes, especially filling a dry system. One tip was to try bleeding the brakes with the engine running as the servo would be boosted by the vacuum. Still no joy!

Another suggestion was to first check the operation of the valve located in the output port of the servo cylinder. Once it had been confirmed fluid was coming out of the servo cylinder, simply loosen the rear bleed valves in turn, allowing the system to bleed naturally, under gravity. Note: the sprung valves need pressure to compress the spring to allow fluid out and so had to be removed for this method

The height of the reservoir above the remainder of the system provides a sufficient head of fluid to allow gravity to do the work for you. Whether the removal and inspection of the cylinder valve had fixed the restriction I’m not sure, but fluid was now coming out of both rear bleed valves.

Success was short lived …. when the brake pedal was depressed, fluid leaked out of the three way union mounted on the IRS cage. The problem was found to be the new flexible Goodridge brake pipe. Although sold as a direct replacement for the E-Type, the rear attachment was too short. It was a similar problem to the remote bleed kit – the attachment could never make contact with the seat and therefore create a seal.

Short end of Goodridge brake hose was too short! The additional mechanical brake light switch

Several days and a new hose later, the system was finally bled. At the same time the last few braking tasks were completed: the brake pedal was much higher than the accelerator pedal and the mechanical brake light switch was fitted.

The height of the pedal is set by adjusting a ‘stop’ screw in the pedal housing, which was set to remove any free travel in the brake pedal. Unfortunately the clutch pedal is too high as well but this doesn’t have any adjustability. Other owners have had the same problem, caused by the push rod being 1/2″ too long on the replacement master cylinders. Another job to the list!

May 232014

There was slight play in the upper steering which was found to be caused by a broken wave washer in the lower bearing components. Otherwise it appeared to be a simple matter of giving the painted parts a fresh coat of paint before rebuilding.

The ignition switch introduced for the S2 cars incorporated a steering column lock and is secured to the steering column housing with a security bolt. The hexagonal part of the bolt is designed to shear at a certain torque. Therefore, once in place, the only way of removing the switch/lock would be to drill out the remaining rounded head.

Steering column components Steering lock security bolt Ignition switch secured

First the outer column shaft needs to be secured into the column housing. The shaft is fed through the upper roller bearing into the housing and then locked into position by the lower bearing. The lower bearing and seat fit under a larger retaining cap and then a series of washers is fitted before the final circlip.

Outer column shaft Upper roller bearing Lower roller bearing

One of the washers under the circlip is a wave washer which provides a spring pressure once compressed. This preload removes the free play of the column shaft within the column housing.

The inner and outer shafts engage on splines so the torque applied at the steering wheel is transferred from the inner shaft to outer shaft and finally on to the steering rack. However the inner shaft can slide longitudinally into the outer shaft to provide a level of adjustability in the steering wheel position. The rightmost picture below shows the inner and outer column shafts at both ends of their adjustability.

Fitting splined bearing race Retaining cap over bearing race Adjustability of column shafts

The stop button screwed into the outer shaft protrudes into a slot machined into the inner shaft, thus limiting its length of travel. A locking nut in the shape of a large black cup (not shown) is attached to the split collet by a circlip. When the cup is rotated clockwise it screws further onto the thread at the end of the outer shaft, compressing the collet and locking the inner and outer shaft together. Similarly rotating it anti-clockwise allows the collet to expand sufficiently, to unlock the shafts and enable the steering wheel to be adjusted.

The photo also shows the two nylon pins that enable the steering column to collapse. If the steering wheel is hit with sufficient force, such as in the event of an accident, the pins shear allowing the lower section of the outer shaft to slide into the upper section. At the same time the lattice structure of the column housing will also compress.

Finally to the trickiest part of the rebuild – the fitting of the indicator stalk mechanism. One which caused quite a bit of head scratching! Although in my defence, this was because one of the critical parts was missing. A previous owner had obviously taken the indicator off at some stage and bodged the refitting.

The missing item was the retaining clip (19). The correct fitting is the two screws pass through both the clip and a packing piece (16) and into the threaded holes in the indicator body. The combination of these two parts ensures that the rotational parts of the indicator are concentric with the column shaft.

The previous owner, Cap’n Bodger, had used the packing piece as the retaining clip as they are fairly similar in shape. However without a packing piece in the correct position, the indicator housing had been pulled too close to the steering shaft.

Over time this had worn down the white nylon ring operating the indicator mechanism. Unfortunately you can’t buy the nylon ring on its own and so the only solution was to purchase an entire replacement indicator stalk unit. However this still wouldn’t resolve the problem of the missing clip, which is no longer available from all the usual suppliers.

Even Google and eBay searches hadn’t found anything so the only option would be to fabricate one based on the packing piece. The completion of the steering column was put on hold for a month or so while I pondered what to do. When it was picked up again, I made one final eBay search, just in case …. a USA auction for a clip had finished two weeks ago although without any bidders.

A speculative message was sent on the off chance they still had the clip. Shortly after came the reply that they did and a deal was done within an hour of contacting them. Result!

Back to the rebuild. The indicator stalk unit (13) followed by the indicator drive clip (9) are passed over the inner column shaft. The indicator packing piece (16) can then be placed in position but the corresponding clip (19) isn’t fitted at this stage as it will be necessary to move the indicator stalk unit and drive clip around to fit other parts. However once these parts are fitted it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to insert the packing piece. I fitted the split collet at this stage although this can wait until the cup-shaped lock washer needs to be fitted.

The packing piece has a small round protrusion which is aligned to fit into the corresponding hole in the indicator unit mounting bracket. This ensures the indicator stalk is at the correct angle once everything is mounted to the bulkhead. (Note: my mounting bracket had two holes and therefore possible indicator angles, I’ll adjust later to the preferred position)

Protrusion on packing piece Hole in mounting bracket Exposing stop button hole

The indicator stalk unit and the drive clip need to be pushed towards the steering column housing to fully expose the hole for the Stop Button so it can be inserted. The raised section of the stop button should end up near to being perpendicular to the column shaft.

The drive clip must then be push away from the steering column until it rests against the raised section of the stop button. This will expose the screw holes for the clamping bolts which secure the drive clip. Once clamped, this will obviously also lock the stop button in position.

Drive clip locks stop button Drive clip bolts & washers Finally the clip is fitted

The clip to lock the indicator stalk unit and packing piece tightly into position can now be attached.

The tab on the drive clip needs to engage with one of the slots in the white nylon indicator ring. Therefore when the column shaft is turned the nylon indicator ring turns at the same time.

A tooth on the rotating nylon ring will then engage with the cancelling arms to automatically cancel the indicator when the wheel is turned.

When connecting up the whole steering column on its various splines, the wheels will need to be in the dead ahead position and the indicator cancelling tooth mid-way between the cancelling arms.

The final components to go on are the split collet (although I had added this much earlier) followed by the large black cup shaped locking nut, which needs to be fully screwed onto the outer column shaft to reveal the circlip groove inside.

Fitting the circlip locks the two together and completes the upper steering column rebuild.

Later the steering wheel & boss will to be attached to the inner shaft. Once the split cone has been located in its grove, the splined steering wheel boss slides onto the inner column shaft until it meets the split cone and the central nut locks everything in place.

Steering Rack Fail Safe

Although the steering rack had been fitted for a while, I hadn’t added the steering rack fail safe bolts. Now the upper steering column had been completed it was time for a complete check of the steering system and fathom out the fail safe set up.

Note: this is only my understanding/interpretation of the fail safe as I see it, based on common sense rather than any qualified knowledge.

Rubber steering rack mounts are used to absorb some of the impact that would otherwise be transmitted directly through to the steering wheel if solid mounts were used. Therefore the ability to steer is totally reliant on in the integrity of the rubber and its bonding to the metal mounting plates.

The purpose of the fail safe set-up is therefore twofold; to maintain a level of steering input if the rubber/bond failed but, in doing so, avoid introducing any harshness to the steering feel that the rubber mounts were designed to remove.

Essentially the fail safe needs to allow the rack to move unhindered on its rubber mounts but to ‘catch’ it and limit its travels if the rubber fails.

Large retaining washers are fitted under the heads of the fail safe bolts. The bolts then pass through holes in the steering rack before being secured to the picture frame.

However retaining washers do not exert a clamping force on the rack and the holes in the steering rack are almost twice the diameter of the bolts. Therefore the rack is free to move on the rubber mounts.
Jaguar used different components for the driver and passenger sides but both are designed to achieve the same result; to stop the fail safe bolt & washer exerting a force on the rack.

Passenger Side Fail Safe – with lock nuts Driver Side Fail Safe – with spacer tubes

On the driver side, spacer tubes are fitted over the bolts. The length of the spacer ensures retaining washers are just proud of the steering rack. The spacer diameter is marginally smaller than the holes in the rack so rack movement is still not restricted.

On the passenger side, lock nuts are fitted to the bolts (or more correctly setscrews) instead of the spacer tubes. The lock nut and Nyloc nut secure the bolts to the picture frame so that the washers under the bolt heads are just in contact with the rack. Again, as it is only lightly in contact, it does not restrict the free movement of the rack.

If either rubber fails, the rack will only be able to move a small distance until the fail safe bolts or spacer tubes come into contact with the edge of the holes in the steering rack.

The question of why Jaguar used different components on each side of the car has been asked many times on the E-Type forum but there’s never been a definitive answer.

My guess, and it is a guess, is that the use of spacer tubes is a compromise between allowing the rack to move freely on the rubber mount and the need to provide sufficient steering input in the event of a failure by limiting its free travel.

The manual specifically states the spacers are to be fitted on the driver side of the car, so regardless of whether the car is LH or RH drive, the spacers will always be at the pinion end of the steering rack.

I suspect, if the rubber has failed, limiting the range of free travel is more critical at the pinion end where the steering column attaches. The spacers would reduce this range considerably. The trade off, in normal use, would be that the spacers are more likely to impact the edges of the steering rack holes on heavier impacts and therefore transmit more unwanted harshness to the steering wheel.

Mar 272014

At some stage the previous owner had fitted an aftermarket 16″ Moto-lita steering wheel. Even though there was absolutely nothing wrong with it, I was toying with the idea of swapping for either a 15″ or possibly even a 14″ wheel, which a number of owners fit to increase the leg room. The steering would also be more direct with the smaller wheels with the obvious trade off being progressively heavier steering around town and parking.

Still, the unanswered question was, how much heavier would the steering become? Finally I decided to stick with my approach of keeping to the standard specification and only making changes once I’d driven it for a while. However, while I was dithering on what to do, I got distracted by an original rather ropey 16″ wheel on eBay. The wood had dried and split beyond repair so it needed to be re-rimmed … as though I didn’t have enough to be getting on with already!

16″ Moto-lita wheel Original wheel from eBay Splits in the wooden rim

The splits in the rim ran almost for the full circumference which made its removal very straight forward. Fortunately there are a couple of people offering replacement mahogany rim kits. The new rims are ever so slightly thicker and so will have the benefit of being more rigid.

Unlike the very early E-Type steering wheels, the aluminium ring is entirely enclosed, in a groove cut into the bottom half of the wooden rim. The two halves are then bonded and a gloss varnish applied to the wood.

Splits made removal a doddle Aluminium section freed Replacement rim kit

The Series 2 steering wheels changed from the polished finished to avoid the reflective surface. I wasn’t convinced I’d be able to get a satisfactory brushed effect and so have decided to go for a polished finish.

The numerous scratches and light pitting in the aluminium section were too deep to be removed by polishing alone. So it was necessary to lightly sand it to remove the blemishes, prior to polishing. Initially 600-grit paper was used and then 800-grit until the scratches had disappeared. It was rather worrying at the start as you tend to question whether you’re making it worse rather than improving things!

Sanding started with 600-grit Followed by 800-grit

The grade of paper was then progressively made finer at each pass, finishing with 2000-grit. The aluminium started to gain an even sheen during the last few passes and then it was ready for polishing.

Fortunately I had a second bench grinder and so replaced the stones with two 6″ polishing wheels; one for use with a cutting paste and one for the final polishing paste. I’m sure it would have been a much more difficult task without it or trying to fit a polishing wheel to a power drill.

Getting close : 1500-grit 2000-grit produces an even sheen After polishing with cutting paste

The polishing cutting paste soon obtains a smooth shiny finish. Once the majority of surface blemishes have been removed, the polishing paste is used to obtain the final finish. The key point is to polish evenly rather than over polishing by concentrating on a specific area. It’s surprising how much heat is generated during the polishing process so there were frequent breaks to allow the wheel (and motor) to cool.

The steering wheel boss was also given the same treatment.

I believe the aluminium spokes were originally protected by a clear lacquer. I used Pro-XL two pack clear lacquer which should provide a tough scratch resistant layer, with both the steering wheel and boss given three coats. The curing time is 24 hours after which it can be mechanically polished.

However, once the aerosol is activated, it only has a pot life of about 24 hours. So it’s not possible to address imperfections in between coats. It was a fine line between getting an uneven orange peel finish and over-spraying causing runs.

I managed to get a combination of the two! Plus a few high spots due to dust pick up and areas where the lacquer flowed through the holes in the spokes and pooled underneath.

The wheel and boss were then rubbed down with 2500-grit wet & dry paper to correct any imperfections, adding a little water to the surface before sanding. A sanding block is a good idea for the wheel to ensure a flat finish.

The lacquer takes on an opaque appearance once sanded so removing areas of orange peel was very easy. Once the glossy low spots had disappeared, producing a uniform opaque finish, it was ready for buffing up with some standard polish. In this case, Menzerna Fast Gloss FG400.

Finally, it was time to re-rim the wheel! A suitable epoxy that had been recommended to bond the rim was Pacer Z-poxy. Several types are available, having different curing times. I opted for the 30 minute variety (PT-39) to provide plenty of time to make any adjustments! Like many epoxies, the resin and hardener are mixed in equal quantities.

To be on the safe side, I chose to tackle it in two stages; first bonding the aluminium wheel into the grove in the lower half and then once cured bonding the top half. The only issue was to make sure the countersunk side of aluminium wheel was the right way round!! Numerous clamps were used when bonding the second half of the rim, alternating between clamping the two halves together and ensuring the edges of the two halves were perfectly aligned.

One of the reasons for choosing Z-poxy was that it can be sanded. However any excess squeezed out by the clamping was quickly removed with methylated spirits. If I were to do it again, I’d not use the clamps to keep the edges of the two halves aligned. Clamping in this way did not squeeze out all the excess epoxy, so there is a slightly more visible join in places. Nothing too disastrous but not perfect.

A better approach would have been to use all 8 clamps to squeeze the halves together a firmly as possible. Any slight alignment issues could then be addressed when the rim is sanded down before the final finishing.

I believe many of the steering wheel restoration companies then apply a hard polyester lacquer to the rim. Although I’ve decided not to go down that route for a number of reasons; it’s not readily available, difficult to apply and I think not as pleasant in the hand.

My preference is just to apply Colron finishing oil to keep the natural feel of the wood. The aluminium spokes were masked off and the wood sanded down with 240-grit and then 320-grit sandpaper.

The finishing oil was then wiped on with a lint-free cloth and allowed to dry for approximately 5-6 hours between coats. Once each coat had dried, the rim was rubbed down with ultra fine Steel Wool (0000) before applying the next coat.

Initially the oil produces a matt finish which progressively becomes glossier as additional coats are applied. In the end I had applied about 12 coats until I had the finish I wanted.

To keep the wheel in tip top condition, it should only be a matter of rubbing down with steel wool and reapplying additional coats. Far easier maintenance wise than varnishes or lacquers.

The downside of finishing oil is that it doesn’t offer the same protection against damage that a hard lacquer would provide. I’ll just have to be careful.

After multiple coats of finishing oil …. the final finish

The final problem was the central E-Type motif (or horn push for the earlier cars – the S2 horn being operated via the indicator stalk). The clear plastic had numerous fissures on the surface and some had propagated to reach the base, causing these areas to lose the gold colouring.

Surface cracks on horn push Comparison: Repro (L) v Original (R)

I’d hoped that it might be possible to repair it, in a similar manner to repairing cracks in windscreens. However my investigations so far have not found a suitable method to repair it. The general consensus on the E-Type forum was that it wouldn’t be possible to repair.

A reproduction motif was purchased as a fall back but I hadn’t noticed the differences between the originals and the repro ones until the moderator of the forum pointed them out; the colouring is more of yellowy silver than the deep gold of the original.

Why they can’t get simple things like this right I’ll never know. Chinese no doubt! So I’ll fit the repro one for now until an original comes up on eBay. Fingers crossed …..

Jan 202014

It was frustrating to have gone through the process of re-plating/re-chroming all the individual components and to have rebuilt the handbrake, only to find that the ratchet had been butchered to fit an incorrect cable. Rather dispirited, I decided to keep the rebuilt handbrake as is and reuse the offending cable.

I’d hoped that it would be possible to rig up an alternative method of mounting the handbrake switch. However I wasn’t able to come up with a solution that I was happy with. Plus I’d found a number of forum postings of issues setting up the handbrake mechanism even with the correct, unmolested parts.

Old & New Clevises Correct cable is shorter

The existing cable was either incorrect for the car or a poor reproduction part. Both of its clevises were far too long, resulting in an inner cable length that was over 1/2″ too long.

I’m fairly sure that a previous owner/garage had relocated the cable abutment on the ratchet about 1″ rearward as a bodge to compensate for the oversized clevis.

The knock-on effect is the distance between the outer cable abutment on the ratchet and that at the handbrake compensator mechanism on the IRS has been reduced by the same amount. Squeezing the outer cable into this shorter distance effectively reduces the overall inner cable length by 1″ – so a net shortening of approx. 1/2″.

The handbrake compensator offers some adjustment to cater for stretching of the cable over time. Even so, 1/2″ would almost certainly put it at the limit of its adjustability. I’d probably be on a losing wicket trying to get it to work correctly. It was better to bite the bullet now rather than later. So a correct cable was obtained from the Jaguar Enthusiast Club, who now offered them via their online shop.

RM & J Smith were able to supply new ratchets which came as a relief, so it wasn’t necessary to buy a complete new handbrake. The only obvious difference is the pivot bolt spacers are welded to the replacement ratchets.

The fitting of the new ratchet was a simple task but the completion of the handbrake was foiled yet again. The bore of the outer cable abutment was 1/32″ smaller than the 3/8″ cable diameter. It has a slot machined into its circumference and is designed to allow a slight expansion, so I didn’t think anything was amiss.

The bolt securing the switch bracket then clamps the abutment onto the outer cable.

The only way I could get the outer cable into the hole was by continually twisting and pushing it. It didn’t feel right the more I progressed. Considerable effort had been needed just to get the cable half way home. So I decided to remove it and have a re-think. It might be possible to re-drill the bore although I was concerned the slot might cause problems.

I needn’t have worried. As soon as the cable was twisted in the reverse direction, disaster struck …. one half of the abutment fitting snapped clean off.

Aaaaargh and much cursing of repro parts!! Another case of what I now refer to as the Restoration March …. 1 step forward, several back!!

Looking at the fracture, it appears that the whole ratchet is hardened during the manufacturing process, presumably to provide the necessary hardness in the ratchet teeth. The downside, as I found out, is it makes the part brittle and prone to stress fractures. Not ideal for clamping parts which need a degree of ductility, such as the cable abutment.

RM & J Smith have been an excellent source of difficult to find parts and, to their credit, were very good, offering to send out a replacement immediately free of charge. They had identified the problem with the size of the hole and returned the ratchets to their manufacturer to be corrected. I had received one that slipped through the net. The following day the replacement arrived and it fits perfectly.

Getting the warning light switch properly set up proved to be much trickier than I’d anticipated and quite frustrating. The switch is activated by a ‘S’ shaped spring striker. When the handbrake is fully released the protrusion at the base of the lever presses against the striker, which in turn depresses the switch.

The main problem was mounting everything far enough forward so there was sufficient pressure on the striker to operate the switch.

Both the switch and striker are mounted to the bracket by two locking half nuts. So there is very little fore and aft adjustment that can be made. Mounting the switch progressively nearer to the striker starts to pre-engage the switches’ plunger, making the switching more hairpin-like until ultimately it’s permanently on.

I finally got it set up and working on the bench although I still wasn’t 100% happy. The switch had to be angled slightly and the warning light would be on as soon as the lever was moved off the end tooth of the ratchet. The plan was to mount the pre-built handbrake and switch but much to my dismay, I’d completely missed that fact that the cable has to be fed forward into the cabin through a guide bracket in the transmission tunnel.

All the set up was then lost, as the handbrake switch needed to be removed to free the cable. In situ, it wasn’t possible to reproduce as good a set up as before because the floor pan was stopping the angling of the switch. I found the best fit to mount the ‘S’ shaped striker horizontally.

I’m tempted to add some packing washers between the striker and bracket to allow the switch to be moved forward slightly. I think I’m going to leave the fitting the central console until after its first MOT so I’ll still have access to the handbrake.

Nov 162013

One of the first modifications I’d decided to make was the change to an adjustable reaction plate for the torsion bars. In part the decision was due to the enormous trouble I’d had removing the torsion bars and reaction plate.

Also, even though the front suspension should only need to be set up once, if there was some settling of the suspension after the rebuild, subsequent fettling would be far easier. So I purchased an adjustable reaction plate from Rob Beere and followed Bob Skelly’s excellent installation guide.
– PDF Version

The bolt tubes on standard reaction plate are flush with the outer edges .... unlike the adjustable plateI’d planned to install the front suspension and torsion bars on two previous occasions. However, both times, progress had been thwarted due to some other fitting ‘difficulties’ that had been encountered. The first when installing the IRS and subsequently the engine.

So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that fitting the reaction plate would be equally challenging! The first problem was the adjustable reaction plate was approximately 3-4mm wider than the original. The tubes for the bolts securing the plate to the underfloor channels protruded much further beyond the outer edges.

Rob Beere suggested using a pry bar and the need for a tight fit, which may well need hammering to ‘persuade’ it into position. If this didn’t work, the ends of the tubes could be ground down slightly to fit. No matter what I tried I couldn’t get it to fit and so had to resort to the latter.

The large Allen bolts are fitted first. Some paint repairs are now needed due to the tight fit and the need to tap the reaction plate into positionEven so, it still required hitting home with the nylon hammer. The various attempts to get the reaction plate to fit resulted in some damage to the paint work, which will need to be repaired.

Fortunately there are a number of other adjacent areas that still need to be touched up, where the chassis was attached to the support frame during painting. So these can all be tackled at the same time before the exhaust is fitted.

It was surprising to see that the new clutch slave cylinder had started to show some surface rust, even in the short time since the transmission was installed. I’ll have to treat it with some Dinitrol hard wax asap.

Bob’s instructions suggested tightening the large Allen key bolts once the upper bolts had been inserted. However I had slight alignment issues with all the mounting bolts and the torsion bar ‘ear’ brackets. Once the Allen and upper bolts were tightened, it was impossible to fit the remaining bolts and brackets.

The torsion bar 'ear' bracket and the upper & lower mounting bolts were all fitted before everything was tightened upI found it was necessary to have everything initially finger tight, which enabled a screwdriver to be inserted in bolt holes to pry the other mounting holes in the frame into alignment with those in the reaction plate.

The fitting order that worked for me was the large Allen bolts followed by the ‘ear’ brackets, the upper bolts and finally the lower pre-cut bolts.

Only once all these were in place could everything, except the bolt through the ‘ear’, be fully tightened. It is worth reiterating that:
i) the Allen bolts need to be tightened before the adjusting cam is fitted, as the nut securing the cam obstructs access to the head of the Allen bolt
ii) the ear brackets needs to be at the top of their permitted travel before tightening the lower pre-cut bolts.

Labels were added to mark the steps in the adjusting camI also followed the advice of labelling the cam steps and then painting the outer face with some clear lacquer. However I didn’t bother highlighting the edges of the steps as I thought this was a bit of overkill.

With hindsight, I think not adding the highlights was a slight mistake. It would have provided a better visual guide to ensure the step of the cam is parallel with the edge of the torsion bar ‘ear’ bracket.

It’s not a major problem, provided there’s sufficient light when setting the cams. If I were to do it again, I’d use two bright, contrasting colours to paint alternate step edges.

I’d not been looking forward to fitting the torsion bars. I hadn’t been able to dismantle them in the conventional manner, described in the various service manuals. There wasn’t even a slight hint of movement in the torsion bars despite some very hefty blows wielding a club hammer. In the end, as an act of self-preservation, I conceded defeat and removed each side of the suspension as single units.

Time for some (dubious) Maths – the torsion bar setting link
The shock aborber is replaced by a fixed length link to provide a datum point when setting the torsion bars. This should then give the correct ride height, although the adjustable reaction plate would then come into its own if it needed subsequent tweaking. The setting link for the early cars was 17 13/16″, however this had increased to 17 31/32″ for the S2 cars.

I’d obtained some replacement torsion bars at Stoneleigh but hadn’t realised at the time that almost all new torsion bars are ‘uprated’. The standard bars are 0.77″ in diameter while the replacements were 0.85″. As a result, the bars will be stiffer, so using the recommended setting link length would result in the ride height being too high …. but by how much?

A plot of Classic Jaguar's recommended setting link lengths against Torsion Bar diametersAfter some research I found that Classic Jaguar in America had produced a chart with recommended setting link lengths for various torsion bar diameters.

Unfortunately they don’t have a figure for 0.85″ bars so I thought I’d plot their recommendations in order to determine the link length required. The graph wasn’t what I was expecting, with a linear relationship between the setting link length and the torsion bar diameter.

Hmmmm! Perhaps I’m missing something as I thought the torsional stiffness or angular deflection of a solid bar was inversely proportional to the diameter to the power of 4. Still, without anything better to work from, using a linear calculation the setting link length needed was 43.1cm.

Fitting of the torsion bars
Replacing the shock absorber with the setting link provides a datum point for setting the ride heightThe calculated length of the setting link should give me roughly the correct ride height (fingers crossed etc). So I chose to set the reaction plate cam to the mid-setting ‘4’ and will be able to raise or lower the ride height if it’s not exactly right. With the setting link in place and the ‘ear’ bracket locked at setting ‘4’, the rotational positions of the front and rear splines in the suspension are fixed.

The torsion bar has a different number of splines at each end – 25 at the rear and 24 at the front. This provides a high resolution vernier adjustment, allowing the torsion bars to be set very accurately and therefore the ride height. The fitting of the torsion bar is now a matter of trial and error, rotating the bar by one rear spline at a time until the front splines are perfectly aligned with those in the wishbone.

A rotation of one rear spline is equal to 14.4 degrees while it needs 15 degrees of rotation to move on by one front spline. Another way of looking at it is when the bar is turned by one rear spline, the relative position of the front splines is altered by 0.6 degrees, in the opposite direction to the direction of rotation. The front splines will align perfectly for one of the 25 possible orientations!!

The torsion bars need to be passed rearward all the way through the 'ear' bracket. The torsion bars were protected to avoid the splines damaging the paint of the barsI had passed both splined ends of the torsion bars through their corresponding mating pieces a dozen or so times until I was satisifed it would only need three or four solid blows to hammer them home.

The torsion bar need to be passed rearward through the rear ‘ear’ mounting and then forward again until the front meets the splined hole in the lower wishbone. However the splines were still too tight a fit. It was necessary to carefully file the spline faces on the torsion bar until it only took one firm tap to fully engage the splines.

This enabled the torsion bars to be pushed forward by hand until the front was 1mm or so from the rear face of the wishbone. A tap with the hammer would then bring the bar up to the wishbone, at which point it was possible to determine if the splines were correctly aligned. I used a 12″ pointed concrete chisel for a drift, so the point could sit in the indentation at either end of the bars.

The mistakes I made were:

  • Smothering Copperslip over the front splines on both the bar and within the wishbone
  • Blindly accepting the view that it’s a matter of trial and error to find the best fit

The Copperslip did a splendid job of masking whether the splines were properly aligned and so it was all wiped off. The best time to apply it was once the correct orientation had been determined and the front splines had just engaged.

I followed the advice of adopting a methodical approach of rotating one spline at a time until an exact fit was achieved. After completing one full rotation I wasn’t convinced I was any the wiser. The correct orientation had probably been missed under the cover of Cooperslip!

It was only at this point did I sit down and work out the Maths of the relative 0.6 degree movement of the front splines for a rotation of one rear spline. A couple of minutes of thought up front would have saved several hours of grief and frustration with a club hammer! Armed with that knowledge, it was then quite easy to quickly home in on a small area of splines spanning the best fit.

As an example:

Front spline need clockwise rotation Result of rotating anti-clockwise by one rear spline Eventually an exact alignment is reached

In the left photo, gaps can clearly be seen between the splines. The front splines need to be rotated clockwise to close these gaps. The middle photo was taken after the torsion bar had be rotated anti-clockwise by one spline. The gaps have clearly been reduced.

Eventually an exact or best match is achieved. Although I found when viewed from the lower inboard (7-8 0’clock) the front spline alignment would look spot on. However when viewed from the top outboard position (1-2 O’clock), gaps would be visible.

I think this is because the angle between torsion bar and the wishbone isn’t exactly at 90 degrees. So the lower inbound splines start engaging before the top outbound splines. Hence why gaps are still visible from one view and not the other!

Finally the torsion bars were both in and I’ve now less fear of tackling them again in future.

Oct 152013

One of the safety features introduced during the production of S1 4.2 cars and carried over to the S2 was a collapsible steering column. The lower section of the steering column housing consists of a lattice structure. In the event of an accident where the steering wheel is impacted with sufficient force, the column’s two upper mounting points are designed to shear and the lattice structure collapse to absorb some of the impact and allow the steering wheel to travel forward.

To enable the column to collaspe, the total length of the inner steering shaft must also be allowed to shorten. To achieve this, the inner shaft is comprised of two sections which are fixed in position by two nylon pins. An impact will cause the pins to shear, allowing the two halves to slide over each other.

The same design is used for the lower steering shaft, connecting the steering wheel column to the rack. Therefore some care needs to be taken when handling and refitting the steering shaft to avoid any heavy impacts and the use of mallets to fully engage the splines!

The steering wheel’s fore and aft position can be adjusted by rotating the large black cup-shaped locking nut to release the clamping pressure on a split collet, thus allowing splined inner columns to slide over each other.

Another difference between the early S1 and later cars was that the horn was now activated by pressing the indicator stalk rather than the E-Type motif in the centre of the steering wheel. I assume this might have been partly due to having to make the steering column collapsible but it does simplify the dismantling.

The E-Type motif is normally held in place by three grub screws in the aluminium steering wheel boss but for some reason a previous owner had also glued it in place! It’s removal provides access to the nut clamping the boss against a split cone located in a recess in the inner shaft.

A split cone is located in a recess in the inner shaft. The central nut clamps the steering wheel boss against the cone.I was surprising how much force was needed to loosen the nut. It was necessary put on full lock and then use an extension tube over the socket wrench handle to get enough leverage.

It’s just as well I didn’t take it off the car as a complete unit as it would have been a struggle without having the resistance of the steering rack at full lock.

As mentioned, the adjustability in the steering wheel position is achieved by two splined inner columns being able to slide over each other. Their travel is limited by a ‘stop button’ which is screwed through the female inner column and locates in a machined slot in the male inner column.

The steering wheel is then locked in place by a splined split collet, which is attached to the underside of the cup-shaped lock nut by a circlip. When there is no clamping force, the male column is free to move on the splines. However, by screwing the lock nut onto the female column, the collet is compressed and clamps the two inner shafts together.

Once the circlip is removed, the lock nut can be unscrewed and withdrawn, followed by the collet. Next is the stop button to allow the male inner column to be removed.

The black cup shape lock nut can be withdrawn once the circlip is removed The split collet can then be removed by sliding it over the inner column splines The stop button which limits the travel of the male inner column within the female column.

The female inner column passes through the indicator mechanism, attached to the main steering column housing by a semi-circular bracket. Automatic indicator cancelling is built into the mechanism by the use of a control striker attached to the inner column.

Removal of the semi-circular bracket securing the indicator mechanism to the steer column housing The indicator control striker is secured by two set of screws and curved washers/spacers

The striker interlocks within a white nylon ring in the indicator mechanism so that the ring rotates as the steering wheel is rotated. Protrusions moulded into the nylon ring hit ‘cancelling’ cams which force the indicator stalk back to its non-indicating state when the steering wheel returns towards the straight ahead position.

All that remained was to liberate the female inner column from the steering column housing. The inner column rotates in roller bearings at each end. The lower bearing is held in place by a retaining cover which itself is secured by a circlip and a number of washers. One of which is a wave or spring washer which takes up any free play and provides a small amount of load bearing capacity.

Once the cover and washers are removed, the splined inner bearing race can be slid off the inner steering column and the roller bearing withdrawn. The outer bearing race is simply a press fit into the steering column housing.

The lower bearing and a series of washers are secured in place by circlip Removal of the inner bearing race and roller bearing

The steering column housing’s upper end cover can be removed by releasing the three small retaining bolts.

At which point the key needs to be turned in the ignition to withdraw the steering lock. This enables the female inner column to be removed.

The ignition switch and steering lock housing is secured to the main housing by a security bolt, which needs to be drilled out in order to remove the lock. The security bolts are designed so the hexagonal part used to tighten the bolt shears, removing the ability to remove it easily.

It’s worth noting that it would be possible to remove the whole inner column as a single unit, even keeping the steering wheel in place, by:

  • Removing the lower roller bearing circlip and withdrawing the washers, cover and inner race
  • Undoing the three bolts securing the steering housing’s upper cover
  • Turning the key in the ignition and withdrawing the entire inner column

This would enable the roller bearings to be replaced without resorting to dismantling the entire steering column.

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.