Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wax Day, Driving Weekend, General Cleanup

Dateline - June 27th - 28th. This was the Greenwood Auto Show weekend ( and I wanted to see what was going on in the hot rod world. I spent a good portion of the morning finishing the wash and wax job (removing all the old sap on the body), then took a drive to Greenwood. This was the longest drive I've taken the car on, and it ran fine! Love the V8 power. I even lit the tires a little off a stop light, and I didn't even mean too! I am going to need to watch this!

After getting back from the show, I decided to put the back bumper back on, which I got installed, and did a little more cleanup in the car.

Sunday I spend about four hours vacuuming the foam off the ceiling. The head liner had been pulled out by the prior owner, but the thin foam was still partially attached. I noticed as I was driving around that parts of the foam were falling down and I really didn't think it would be a good idea to breath this stuff. So I got the shop vac out and got rid of the foam.

I also installed a hidden radio antenna, getting rid of the old one that was in the pictures from a couple of posts ago. Finally, I installed a switch plate to hold the power window switches. I'm finding that I am using the power windows a lot, and it was getting a bit hard to use the switches when they were flopping around in the center console. So I made a plywood frame to mount them on.

Bit by bit, I'm getting the car in good driving condition. I've got a transmission TV cable coming next week which should allow me to better tune the transmission performance. While I'm down there, I am going to try to figure out why the speedo is not working. After that, it is all just cosmetics!

Sealing Windows

Dateline - June 18th - Last weekend it rained and I noticed that I got a lot of water in the car. A LOT! So I thought I would try sealing around the front and back window to see if this helps. I masked off the windows and got some black RTV. After everything cured, I tried it out by washing the car. No water! So looks like I have some work to do around the windows this winter. The seal should hold until then.

Trying out some ideas

Dateline June 16th - I'm thinking about doing a really radical interior with carbon composites on the dash, center console and doors. They make a Green Kevlar and Carbon Comp fabric that I wanted to try out. So I got a picture of it on the web and printed it out with a color printer. I then glued it to a piece of plywood door skin and put think clear vinyl over it to simulate a clear coat. I'm glad I did because I'm not sure I like it. I may order some just to make sure, but I think it may be too much!

I also installed the rest of the shifter housing. Nice to have that closed in!

Doors Unlocked, Rust Rust Rust

Dateline - Jun 20th - 21st - Had a pretty busy weekend and was not able to spend a lot of time on the car. This weekend concentrated on getting the passenger front and driver back doors unlocked. This required pulling the door panels off. A little harder to do when the door would not open, but was able to get the panels off.

The reasons the doors would not unlock was corrosion. I spent some time with WD-40 and got the locks to work correctly. Both back door windows were working slowly also, so I pulled out the power windows and cleaned them up. Now they work fine. I also inspected the inside of the doors and found them surprisingly clean of rust. I was really worried that there would be a lot of hidden rot here, but the drain holes stayed clean so just some surface rust.

I did get the steering wheel installed and then started pulling out more of the old interior panels. I have a lot of rust on the floorboards, especially on the passenger side. As I was cleaning up the rust, I managed to push the screwdriver through the floorboard! Yup! rotted right through! Fortunately, there are floor panels available for this car, so now I need to make the choice of getting new panels and welding them in. or making some of my own. I have other rust issues that I am going to need to deal with this winter, so I'm going to hold off doing anything until I know more about the condition of the body. Until then, Duct Tape will keep the exhaust out! (Yes, that is a radio antenna in the picture! I'm taking care of that next week!)

Note the picture of a pile of interior stuff! A lot of rotten fabric, vinyl and carpet!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wax Day

Dateline - Sunday June 14 - Most of my day I was busy with other things, but around 5:00 pm I just could not hold off any longer. The car needed a wax job! The problem was that there is a lot of pitch on the car. LOTS of pitch! It had been on the car for a long time too and basically required a razor blade to get it off. So I worked on the roof and hood, and got both pitch free, and three coats of wax by 7:30 p.m. This car does not have a lacquer finish, or even a clear coat, so it doesn't have the really deep color, but with a coat of wax, it still looks really good! (sorry, no pictures today. It got too dark to take any decent ones!)

Steering Wheel, Shifter and Tunes, plus highway miles

Dateline - June 13th - Got the shifter installed today. Took about 7 hours of work to get the special bracket made and the shifter installed. In order to install the handle, I had to drill holes in the floor and then reach up through the special transmission cross member, between the transmission and the car body, and then slip a flat washer, lock washer and nut onto the bold sticking through the floor. There are advantages to having long, thin arms! I resorted to using grease to hold all the washers in place while I spun the nuts onto the bolts. A lot of work. I don't know how many times I crawled under the car, crawled back up, then crawled under again!

I cleaned up the wiring around the center console and got rid of the old "mobile phone" cables that where still under the dash. Then I checked out the radio. My original guess was right, the fuse was blown. Radio works fine! I installed the center console and radio.

Finally, I installed the newly finished Steering wheel (2 coats of amber lacquer, 10 coats of clear and hand rubbing! Very Sweet!) After I got everything in, I decided to take her for a ride, so I took the back roads down to Woodinville, then took the highway back home. Everything worked fine and the car can really go on the freeway. It is going to be very dangerous! Must watch speed!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Shifter Came In

Totally unexpected, my new shifter arrived on Saturday, two whole days earlier then expected (good job Summit Racing Equipment)! So today I decided to see if I could at least get it installed. Oye! One problem after another. I crawled below the car and found that the people who installed the exhaust put the pipe too close to the tranny case, which means that the normal way to install it will not work. I'm going to need to create my own bracket and run the cable from the front of the engine with the lever pointing up, instead of from the back with the lever pointing down. It should work either way, but it means that I have to make the bracket! Oh well! It is a custom car, right?

Also, I pulled the center console out the car. As with all British cars I've worked on, there are a myriad of different sized screws, blink nuts and other fun that you have to take out in order to get this thing loose. Once out, I found strands of old stereo wire that are no longer connected to anything, vacuum pipes that are used for the climate control that are just hanging around, and dirt, dirt, dirt! I ran out of time, so I was not able to put in the shifter or connect anything up. I do have a good idea of how much space I have available and am putting together some ideas for the new interior (e.g. Using vacuum controls for the floor/facia flapper vents which are currently mechanical, perhaps using a GM climate control panel to control heat, air direction, fan and rear window defroster, which would get rid of three switches on the dash, etc) .

I also found a possible reason why the stereo was not working. I thought it may have been the bad alternator, but a fuse that was buried deep in the console was blown. I still have to test the radio out, but I am holding hope.

Since I am going to be completely redoing this interior, probably this winter, I don't know how much of this I'm going to re-install. It is going to look rough for awhile, but that's OK, as long as it is drivable.

Fuel Sender

Dateline - Saturday June 6th - While I was painting the wheel, I thought I would try to figure out why the fuel sender was not working on the left take (the only one with gas in it). I started out by troubleshooting the wiring in the car, but all looked good. I then drained the tank and pulled the lower valance off thinking that I would get at the sender from there. With the valence off, I found an access hatch that you can get at from inside the wheel well (makes you think that there are lots of problems with fuel senders! "Lucas! Prince of Darkness!"). I pulled the wires and tried to see if I could get the gauge to move. It would not, so I thought it was the switch. I took one from my spare panel and put it in and it moved when I shorted the hot to ground. So all the wires are good, it must be the sender. I pulled the sender and opened it up, and sure enough, a wire thinner then a hear that run from the potentiometer to the external plug was broken! I piece of copper wire and some solder fixed it right up. Put the sender back in the tank, but before I filled the tank up, I wanted to replace the old glass (yes GLASS!) filter that was in the trunk with a new plastic one. I cut out the old filter and replaced it with a new one, which should be much safer!

Finally, I filled the tank back up with about four gallons of gass and the gauge worked. I then re-wired the original switch back in, and it still worked. Maybe a bad connection at the switch too! Pictures show the work I did, plus evidence that the sender is working!

Steering Wheel

Dateline - Saturday June 6th - One task for today is steering wheel refinish. Friday night was spent chipping the old lacquer off the wheel and sanding in prep for panting. Saturday was tape and paint day. I started with two coats of Antique Amber colored lacquer, to give it that really deep look. Then, six coats of clear. Attached are pictures of the wheel before painting. I still have a few more coats to put on, then a good rubbing out to get the really smooth finish.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Shifter Ordered and Work for This Weekend

The battery is holding up very well. I've checked it every day and the car
starts right up. I'm going to try putting the #2 fuse back in to see if
that was really draining the battery, or if it was truly the alternator
that was the problem.

I've selected the new shifter for the car:

I measured everything out and this seems to be the one that will fit the
best. It's about 1 inch taller then the handle in there now. I'm not
overly happy with the big T-Handle. It seems massive for the delicate
steering wheel/Jaguar interior. But because the handle/shaft can be
removed from the shifting unit, I may be able to "modify" the Jaguar handle
to fit! That would look really cool! But that is low on the priority list
at this point. I just want to make sure that the tranny is being shifted
correctly, at the right time, and that the car does not come out of drive
when I'm driving. That is really not a good thing to happen when you are
tromping on the throttle. A quick shift into neutral at full throttle is a
guarantee for doing serious and expensive engine damage (e.g. spun bearing,
thrown pistons, bent rods, etc.)!

I've also decided to refinish the steering wheel, so I ordered some
lacquers used for guitars from the Stewart MacDonald last night. I ordered
an amber colored clear as well as high gloss clear. I'm thinking of
putting one coat of the amber on the wheel, then stenciling "JAGUAR" across
the top of the wheel in green, then applying several coats of gloss clear.
That will look way cool.

This weekends work items:
- Pull the left gas tank to get the sender working.
- Find out what is leaking in the right tank
- Replace the glass filter in the trunk
- Figure out the Speedo issue
- Check the gauge/dash lights to figure out why most of them are not coming

The car is almost to the point were I am going to start driving it more,
maybe daily. I want to get some miles on the car so that I can break in
the engine and transmission.