Jun 092015

My list of tasks to finish off the interior trim has been getting shorter and shorter, without even lifting a finger …. meanwhile Suffolk & Turley’s list has been getting longer and longer! The two vinyl-covered panels for each B-post were offered up and it appears that some metal might need to be removed from the panels. So I thought it best to consult them before getting the grinder out!

The first panel is attached to the face of the B-post and creates a ‘closing’ flange against the door card. It needs to be positioned to:

  • allow for the thickness of the door card
  • finish level with the top of the B-post
  • allow the doors to close beyond their natural closed position in order to latch

Ensuring there is sufficient room to latch means there will always be a slight, ideally parallel, gap between the panel and the door card.

Uneven gap between panel & door card The panel also protruded into the cabin Outer panel was missing mounting holes

However the panel’s inside edge protruded beyond the face of the B-post. This in turn pushed the second outer panel, which wraps around the face of the B-post and into the cabin, away from the body. It became a trade off between achieving a parallel gap and how much it protruded.

Making sure the top of the panel was flush with the top of the B-post determined the size of the gap at the top, between the panel and door card. Closing this gap would require the panel to be raised slightly and metal removed from the top of the panel to return it to being flush.

Alternatively, sticking to this gap down the full length of the B-post would require the panel to be rotated, moving the bottom of the panel inboard. This could only be achieved by taking metal off the lower edge as it is already hard against the sill. It would also cause it to protrude further into the cabin and so need the inner edge to be cut back as well.

Trim panel was welded!

Also I was expecting the larger wrap-around panels to have two holes in the metal for clips to secure them to the B-post. Another difference was the replacement trim panels were much wider at the base.

The open day at SNG Barratt was an excellent opportunity to look over a number of different cars to see how these panels should be fixed.

On a couple cars, notably a lovely OSB S2 OTS, both panels were fixed with chrome screws with cups. Although my original panels didn’t have any screw holes. One thing is for sure … I definitely won’t be attaching it as I had found it …. welded!!

Also I can’t for the life of me work out how the outer sun-visor brackets fit with the A-post finishers. I had assumed it should be fitted behind the finisher but it would then be impossible to fit the nut on the visor attachment.

Door card clips also used to fix A-post finishers Although stumped how the visor bracket fits!

For now I’m leaving the sun visors off and will ask Suffolk & Turley about it when it’s up having the hood trimmed.

Boot Space

Dynaliner used in place of jute

Originally the bulkhead in the boot space was covered in jute which was then overlaid with Hardura. The trim kit didn’t include this piece of jute so some 1/4″ Dynaliner was fitted in its place.

Fitting the inertia reel in the boot caused far more trimming issues than I’d expected, taking two attempts at the Hardura until it was acceptable. The reels are located as far outboard as possible which required the side cards to be fitted before the reels.

The downside of this and the desire to make the installation as neat as possible (hiding the bolts securing the reels under the rear bulkhead Hardura), means that if access is needed to either the fuel filler area or fuel pump in future, the side cards may have to be sacrificed. Also the new cards would probably need to be modified with cut-outs for the reels in order to re-fit them.

Boot bulkhead and side cards Side cards secured by #4 screws & cups

The side cards were simply held in place along the upper trailing edge by three #4 self-tapping chrome screws & cups.

The boot boards weren’t original and needed replacing anyway but were useful in providing templates for the replacements in marine grade plywood. I believe the originals were also painted black but it seemed daft to go to extra expense and lose the wood finish. So they were treated with finishing oil to keep out moisture.

The left hand board is permanently secured by three #10 self-tapping screws – for some reason the front two are slotted countersunk screws & cups and the rear one with a hex head & washer! A metal bracket is also attached to the underside of the board to support the RH board.

Boot cable passes through oval hole Front attachment of LH boot board

A number of rubber pads are inserted into the bracket to stop the RH removable board from rattling. However the repro pads were quite tall so the only way I could get the two boards to lay flat was to fit a strip of wood under the bracket.

Additional strip of wood under bracket Strip matches height of rubber pad

As the RH board needs to removable, the rear is held against the boot board flange by a clamping bracket, which is riveted in place. Its shape acts as a spring pressing the board against the flange but allows it to be withdrawn by pulling it forward.

The front of the board is held down by a stud that presses into a retaining clip, riveted to the flange. The stud was attached to the board using a Tee nut insert. Originally the board just had a finger hole cut into the board to lift it, although I decided to fit a brass ring pull instead.

Rear clamping bracket Front stud and clip

The only way I could get the petrol tank to fit was to remove the stud clip. So it had to be riveted back in place. Although I’m not convinced this should have been the case to remove the tank!

Measure twice, cut once – locating stud position The stud clip riveted back in place

The final task was to fit the four pop-fasteners to hold down the Hardura covering the floor of the boot. I used some blu-tack spread onto the boot floor/boards to locate the required positions of the male connectors. Pressing down on the Hardura stud left a suitable imprint.

Boards in-situ Marking pop-fastener positsons

The wires hanging down on the left hand side are for an LED boot light that will be operated by the boot hinge making contact with a mirco switch.

Radio console and central console

Angling the centre consule
under the radio console

I was expecting trouble fitting the radio and centre consoles …. and I was not disappointed! The radio console with all the stereo wiring was relatively easy to put in place, although not secured at this stage.

The centre console needs to be slotted under the radio console and then lowered at the rear, while feeding both the handbrake lever though its slot and the gear stick into its gaiter. Easier said that done!!

No matter how I positioned the handbrake and gear lever, I just couldn’t get the console over them both at the same time. Some advice posted on the forum for troublesome consoles was to disconnect the handbrake cable to provide a greater range of movement.

Still no joy! Success was finally achieved by detaching the whole handbrake from its mountings. Although it was short lived. The whole console then couldn’t be pushed forward to enable the rear to be lowered to the floor.

It needed quite a bit of Dynaliner underlay to be removed from underneath the radio console and easing the sides of the console apart before it fell into place. It was so tight I was questioning the wisdom of adding the 3mm foam under the lower bulkhead Ambla!

Seats and seat belts
The under-seat Harduras were next. Holes were cut, or more accurately drilled, for the seat bolts and the seat belt anchor bolt. The location of the holes was found by pushing a thick needle up through the bolt holes from beneath the car.

The seat’s front mounting points have a thick spacer to raise the seats so the slider release bar doesn’t foul the carpeted floor strengthener.

Seat mounts and belts installed Gratuitous interior shot as it nears completion!

I wasn’t sure if these spacers should fit above the Hardura or pass through them. In the end, the length of the mounting bolts dictated larger holes were needed so the spacer could pass through to the floorpan.

Spacer sized holes had been cut in the Koolmat when it was fitted, which wasn’t necessary for the rear seat mounts. So two spacers were used – one inserted to fill the hole in the Koolmat and one to raise the seat runners off the Hardra.

A needle was press through Hardura
to locate the mounting holes
The seats slide onto the front mounts &
secured by screws & spacers at rear

The buckle ends of the seat belts were then mounted to the transmission tunnel through holes in the centre console. At last the seats could be put in to finish off my side of the trimming.

Rear view mirror

Loctite kit worked a treat

I made the mistake of purchasing some double–sided tape from Halfords, sold specifically for the task of attaching rear view mirrors. As with all of their products, it was monumentally useless for the task it was designed. The mirror was found lying in the footwell the morning after it had been fitted. It hadn’t even been subjected to the expected vibrations of normal driving or being adjusted.

The second attempt was made with a Loctite kit and was much more successful. The mirror button is bonded to the windscreen with a strong adhesive, activated by a mesh fabric. The bonding only takes a minute to secure the button and is fully cured in 15 minutes.

Apr 192015

Static safety belts had originally been fitted to my car. However I’ve never really got on with static belts the few times I’ve driven cars fitted with them. The main issue is at junctions, when it’s often helpful to be able to lean forward slightly. Something that would be even more desirable with such a long bonnet.

Inertia belts were an optional extra
(Image courtesy of E-Type forum)

I had therefore decided to ‘upgrade’ to more modern inertia belts for practicality reasons. Having made the decision, the next dilemma is how to mount them. They can be fitted to brackets mounted on the rear bulkhead (as Jaguar did as an optional extra).

The other alternative is to mount them to the rear bulkhead inside the boot space. The downside with the boot mounted belts is slots for the belts would have to be cut into the bulkhead.

I think mounting large inertia reels behind the seats spoils the look of the interior. So a boot mounted kit was ordered from Quickfit Safety Belt Services. I had toyed with either blue or red webbing. In the end, deciding to keep them inline with interior colour scheme. Although their range of reds is rather limited: a burgundy or vibrant red. The burgundy looked too dark so I opted for the red …. and sunglasses!

Quickfit’s seat belt kit

Quickfit were very helpful, guiding you through the various options. They also warned me that they make their belts for classic cars in batches, once sufficient orders have been received, so the order may take between two weeks to two months to fulfil. Supplier delays for some of chrome fittings pushed this out to three months before they finally turned up!

The inertia mechanism is designed for the belt to be pulled out from the reel at a specific angle (or range of angles). For the boot mounted installation, this is at 90 degrees to the reel’s mounting plate which must also be mounted vertically. At any other angle the locking mechanism stops the belt, so the same reel could not be used for mounting inside the cabin.

The seat was fitted in order to get the correct mounting position, with a length of webbing held horizontally against the shoulder back to the bulkhead. Ideally the belt should approach the wearer’s shoulder horizontally or slightly downwards. The problem is the rear bulkhead on the OTS E-Types isn’t particularly high, so the placement of the reels is compromised to a certain extent.

They were mounted as high as possible so, for me, the driver’s belt is horizontal in my normal driving position, with the seat back partially reclined. If the reels were fitted low down at the base of the bulkhead, the forward force due to an impact would be redirected downwards through the wearer’s shoulder. Not ideal!

Locating the best mounting position Marking out the areas to drill/cut

I’d made a card template so the mounting points and slot for the belt could be accurately marked out on the rear bulkhead. It’s something that really ought to have been provided in the kit and the instructions were rather vague at best. It didn’t even mention the measurements for the slot for the belt!

By chance, the central bolt securing the reel mechanism aligned with the deepest part of one of the bulkhead anti-drumming/strengthening indentations. This enabled the bolt head to sit completely within the indentation and would therefore not be visible once the interior bulkhead Hardura trim was fitted.

The height of the slot needed to allow the buckle and webbing to pass through was not inconsiderable. I really didn’t want to cut such a large hole in the bodywork so I investigated the end attached to the reel.

The belt is jammed after passing through reel Using the reel end would need a smaller slot

The reel end was found to be finished by folding the webbing back on itself and stitched to form an open pocket at the end. This passes through a slot in the centre of the reel and then a retaining plastic pin is inserted into the pocket, which stops it from being pulled back through the slot.

The belt can be withdrawn once
the retaining pin is removed
The reel needs to be jammed
while the belt is removed

The retaining pin was pushed out of its pocket in the belt without any difficulty, allowing the belt to be detached from the reel. At the same time the reel mechanism was jammed to stop it from rewinding while the belt was removed. Initially a screwdriver was used but this was replaced by a short length of 3/16″ brake pipe as there’s not much room once the reel is mounted in the boot.

More importantly whatever was used to jam the reel would have to be removable downwards. Once the reel is fitted there’s minimal space above it.

The pipes were subsequently replaced with cable ties as a pipe was almost knocked out by accident while fitting a reel. Quick fit SBS recommended using the cables ties and they remained in-situ until the belts were refitted, which was only be possible once the interior trimming has caught up. The bulkhead had to be trimmed first as the belts must pass through similar slots cut into the Hardura, which in turn needs all the rear wheel arch Ambla to be in place.

I decided to mount the reels over the Hardura in the boot rather than make suitable cut-outs. What I hadn’t realised at the time was the Hardura provided in the kit is marginally narrower than the rear face of the boot. The side cardboard panels would normally cover the shortfall. However, as I’d mounted the reels as far outboard as possible, they pushed the side cardboard panels hard against the sides of the boot revealing a gap between the Hardura and side panels.

On top of that, for some reason even lost on myself, I’d cut holes in the Hardura for the wiring looms rather than hiding them underneath. It looked at real mess so I ordered some more Biscuit Hardura to have another go. The second attempt was much better.

The first attempt was a bit of a mess! Take 2 – a vast improvement

A finishing chrome escutcheon is mounted to the rear bulkhead which also acts as a guide for the belt. The slot in the bulkhead was made marginally larger than the one in the escutcheon to avoid the belt chaffing on the metal edges.

Overall I’m pleased with the modification although the belts are quite red! Burgundy webbing might have been easier on the eyes.