May 082014

The pipes hadn’t fitted first time (probably due to an oversight on their part) but you can’t fault PD Gough’s after-sales service. The problematic tail pipes were returned within a couple of days.

They had replaced the section of the tail pipe, which needs to slide over the silencer exits pipes, with a larger diameter pipe. These now fitted easily and snugly onto the silencer pipes.

One of the other issues was the geometry rearward of the silencers. The problem was the mounting brackets on the resonators were approx. 4-5 inches below the rear exhaust hanger bracket.

The returned pipes had reduce this to about 3″ so significantly less force was now required to raise the resonators to be attached to the hanger.

I’m still not 100% happy with the fitting as the rubber mounts are still subject to the fitting loading but it will do for now. When just the tail pipes had been refitted, they had a clear downward slope when they should be running horizontally under the IRS.

I think the remaining alignment problem is either due to the angle of the pipes exiting the silencers or the initial upward bend of the tail pipes. The latter will be easier to make so I’ll do this once the engine is up and running.

Apr 292014

The trial fitting of the exhaust system had highlighted a couple of alignment issues. The geometry of the pipes to the rear of the silencers was amiss somewhere. The result was that a considerable amount of force was required to push the resonators up sufficiently so they could be attached to the rear mounting.

This in turn raised the rear of the silencer on their mounts so one of the exit pipes was in contact with the floor strengthening panel. This was made worse because the silencers were not welded centrally on their mounting straps.

Also all the load would have to be borne by the small flexible rubber mount, which is merely to stabilise the rear of the exhaust system and not designed to take much load. I don’t think it would have lasted 5 minutes out on the road!

At the time, the down pipes from the manifold hadn’t been fitted. So the makers, PD Gough, suggested everything would be brought into alignment once they were fitted. I was far from convinced. So it wasn’t too much of a surprise that the exhaust system didn’t fit once the engine was installed and the down pipes were in place.

The issue was now getting the entire system back to them to sort it out. I thought it would be easier in the long run to make the 300 mile round trip to be able to discuss the issues in person. To their credit, they were very helpful and offered to remake the tail pipes that pass under the rear suspension and remount the silencers to their mounting straps.

They also showed me around their workshops and the many 1,000s of original exhausts they use for templates. I suspect my fitting problems were simply because of the compounded effect of a couple of the bends being slightly out.

Fast forward several months; the underfloor heatshields had been fitted, the damp winter weather had passed enabling the touching up of the chassis rails where the chassis had been mounted to the painting rotisserie and the final adjustments made to the handbrake.

It was finally time to fit the exhaust in preparation for starting the engine.

The downpipes and silencer sections fitted without any major issues. Although I’m slightly concerned about the clearance between the rear down pipe and the torsion bar. Next to be fitted was the re-made tail pipes …. they wouldn’t slide over the exit pipes from the silencer section. Aaaargh!

The silencers were removed to see what was going on. The silencer exit pipes had an outer diameter of 45mm yet the tail pipes had been made from 44.5mm piping with a wall thickness of 1.2mm. So the internal diameter was almost 3mm too small – they’d forgotten to swage the pipes to accept the 45mm pipes.

These are meant to slide into …. …. these. I don’t think so!!

I can’t believe they hadn’t bench fitted it when it was re-made. Perhaps they overlooked this step in the rush to turn it around on the same day. Rather frustrated, I took the offending pipes to a local exhaust fabricator to see if they could open out the pipes rather than return them again.

Unfortunately their view was that the swaging could easily cause the pipe to crack due to the combination of a relative thin wall thickness of 1.2mm and the fact that the expansion slots had been cut at the ends of the pipe could.

Reluctantly the tail pipes have been returned to PD Gough to fix. So the starting of the engine must wait for their return.

Trial fitting the exhaust

 Exhaust  Comments Off on Trial fitting the exhaust
Aug 242013

The exhaust system is another area where there are a plethora of options available and with them, opinions on which is best. These range from a standard bore with cast manifolds through to straight through, big bore pipes with either long or short tubular manifolds and all combinations in between. Advice often just reflected what the owner had decided to put on their car rather than comparative tests.

The Classic Fabs long tubular manifoldsIt was tempting to go for one of the tubular manifold systems from companies like Classic Fabs, which are a work of art.

However the administrator of the E-Type forum had done a fair amount of research backed up by practical experience, having fitted most of the different types available.

The general consensus from the forum discussion was that the original cast iron manifolds were very well designed; providing optimised gas flow to speed up the exhaust gases therefore improving low down torque but also heat management. The larger bore systems, specifically when used for the secondary pipes, can result in a torque dip lower down in the rev range.

The other issues are that they are more prone to grounding and tubular manifolds generally radiate far more heat which is then likely to cause other problems, such as brake issues due to the proximity of the brake servo and blistering of the paint work.

The Mikalor style clamps were used instead of the typical U clampsIt therefore seemed sensible to stick to the standard cast iron manifolds and 1.75″ bore system, which was purchased from PD Gough based in Nottingham.

I’d also decided to deviate from the original look at the rear after seeing others who had successfully avoided the slab-like appearance by removing the rear, brushed aluminium panel. The car will be fitted with a long rather than square number plate which enables straight exhaust resonators to be fitted instead of the standard S2 splayed ones.

The final decision to make was whether to have the system made in mild steel or stainless steel. Apparently mild steel gives a much nicer exhaust note but in the end I went for stainless for longevity. Another recommendation that I also adopted was to fit Mikalor style clamps as they apply the clamping force more evenly and avoid distorting the pipe joints.

Some ‘reject’ manifolds were picked up quite cheaply at the SNG Barratt open day – they had some tiny imperfections in the vitreous enamel finish which I still struggle to find. This finish was never very robust and had a tendency to crack and flake off. So I’m expecting it won’t last too long and will need to be removed in order to paint/treat the manifolds.

The engine installation weekend was fast approaching so I decided to trial fit the exhaust system. At this stage, without the engine in place, all that could be trial fitted was from the muffler section backwards.

The combination of not having the down pipes installed and the car being on axle trolleys meant it was extremely difficult to build the exhaust on the car. The pipe ends were unblemished so the system clearly hadn’t be bench fitted when it was manufactured. Therefore all the joints were still very tight even with a generous coating of Copperslip.

It was necessary to build the system off the car to have any chance of aligning the brackets on the intermediate pipes and to push the resonator pipes fully home to be able to mount them onto the rear hanger.

It was then fitted as a single unit, first fitting the muffler section to the four rubber mounts fixed along the chassis rails. I was struggling underneath the car trying to hold up the exhaust up to the mounts while feeling for the 1/2″ spanner that I’d dropped when I noticed I had an audience – a metre long grass snake was observing my progress a couple of feet away. I assume having taken refuge from the hot, sunny weather.

Mounted centre muffler section My new helper! Resonator pipes mounted at rear
The muffler section fitted fine .... until the resonator pipe were mounted which caused it to rise at the rear A grass snake had sought shelter from the hot, sunny weather The resonators had to be pushed upward with a fair amount of force in order to attach to the rear mount

The connecting brackets between the intermediate pipes and the resonators were all fixed so the whole exhaust was now quite rigid. The muffler section was already mounted but the resonators needed a reasonable amount of effort to push them up to reach the rear exhaust hanger. In doing so, it caused the muffler section to raise significantly at the rear so the output pipes hit the rear floor stiffener.

The output pipes from the muffler section foul the rear floor stiffener so something's amissIt didn’t seem right because the small rubber mount at the rear would be under considerably more stress than just supporting the exhaust’s weight. Apart from varying how much overlap there is in each joint, there is no other scope for adjustment and the geometry is fixed so, without modification, the pipes would almost certainly foul the rear floor stiffener.

I emailed PD Gough with the photos above explaining the issues I was having and the purpose of the trial fit was to ensure it fitted correctly before the engine installation weekend. I didn’t want to find out it didn’t fit during the installation weekend and therefore stop the testing of the engine.

I felt their response was more of a fob off and so wasn’t too impressed – “they’d never had any fitting issues before and would be surprised if I had fitting problems once the front pipe are fitted as they would generally bring the system into alignment”.

Personally I’m not convinced because the front pipes are flexible and so their ability to bring the whole exhaust into alignment would be limited. Also the forcing of the muffler section towards the horizontal to stop the clearance issue will only add to the stress on the rear rubber mount.

I’m going to be extremely annoyed if I end up having to ‘surprise’ them by informing them it doesn’t fit.

Jan 162013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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