Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Actualizing the Plan

Dateline - Dec 28 - It's been a busy weekend. I had four days off from work, so I decided to take advantage and put some serious time into the car. Friday I started actualizing the interior, but I wanted to make sure everything would work, so I reinstalled the steering column and slipped on the wheel to make sure everything worked ergonomically. Boy does it ever! It felt really good to sit in the car as if it were running. Everything was placed perfectly!

With that out of the way, I started on the center console. This is the center focus of the car, and I wanted to start laying it out so that I can get the overall look. I'm using the original console as the base so I had to get it in shape. I had pulled all the old vinyl and foam backing off, but there was still a lot of residue, so I spent some time rubbing it off. I thought of using acetone to remove the foam, but I didn't know how this would affect the rubberized paper that the console is made out of. So I just rubbed it off instead! Then I had to deal with rust. Yes, even the center console has rust! Anything made of metal in this car has rust of some kind!

I also had to work on the left and right foot well heater outlets which had some serious rust on them, partially because they were covered with vinyl, which held in the water, and partially...well...because they are metal and rust! Once I had everything sanded, I painted it with my rust encapsulating paint. Here are some pictures of the heater outlets before, during and after:

Because I'm extending the console up the dash, I had to create a steal framework and attach it to the console, using pop rivets. Once that was done, I cut out sections of one inch pink insulation foam and epoxied it to the frame, after which I sanded it into shape. I'm not completely happy with how straight-edge everything is right now. I think I will end up adding some more curves to the frame, but at least I know how it will look.

I also did a job that I've been wanting to do for some time. I welded in some blind nuts for the shifter quadrant. It was such a pain trying to reach between the transmission and the tunnel to get washers and nuts on the bolts for the quadrant (see previous post http://leapingv8s.blogspot.com/2009/06/steering-wheel-shifter-and-tunes-plus.html). Since I had everything out, I decided that now was the time to weld in some blind nuts so that I will not need to struggle with that again!

Saturday (Christmas) I took the day off and went and visited my friends Matt and Karen, who sold me the car in the first place (Yes, they are still my friends =). I've asked Matt, who is an accomplished wood worker, to build my wood dash for me. He showed me a piece of "birds-eye" maple that he had in his shop to see if it would do for my dash. It's a grand piece of wood! I hope we can make it work.

Sunday, back to the car! Since I couldn't do too much more on the center console at the moment, I decided to start the buck for the right side dash fascia. The Jags (like most British cars of the time), did not have a fascia below the dash. Instead, they had a black plastic edging that went around the bottom of the dash and a tray below to hold sundries. Since I'm building a custom interior, I've decided to add a fascia that will also incorporate a glove box. To do this, I need to create a fiberglass panel in the correct shape, which I will then reinforce to handle the glove box, and then cover in vinyl like the rest of the interior. To create the fiberglass panel, I first need a "buck" to lay the fiberglass upon.

The buck started out one inch pink foam. I cut each piece out individually and epoxied together. Once the epoxy set up, I took my sanding block and started sanding it down to the correct shape. I'll tell you, all those years of building scale model R/C aircraft really paid off here! It gave me the skills I needed to do this work. Here are some pictures of the process:

Monday was a day to work on more mock-ups. I needed to figure out how the kick panels that will run from the center console into the foot wells would work, especially with the heater air outlets. So, I broke out the good old construction paper and blue tape and figure out how they will fit. I will probably make these out of light gauge aluminum. I could make them out of fiberglass, but it will be just as easy and less time consuming to make them out of sheet aluminum. They will be covered in vinyl anyway, so that should work well.

I also started mocking up the door panels. The first thing I noticed was that my original renderings were not really to scale! Once I got a chance to see what was really in the car, I realized that I would have to change my plans a bit. But not to worry. I'm going to be able to keep my original idea of carbon composite insets with Jaguar Leapers in silver leaf! And with the narrower seats, I have more room for armrests and door pockets. I'm even going to be able to move the speakers out, making them more directional. Sadly, it looks like I'm going to loose that wood door trim that I wanted, but c'est la vie. Oops! That's French! This is a British car! Let's try the immortal words of John Cleese in "A Fish Called Wanda", "Right! Well! That's it then!"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2011 Almost Here And The Clock Is Counting

Dateline - Dec 15, 2010 - Well, the clock is counting down to June to get the car done. I have a lot of work to do and need to focus as much as possible. I've stopped body work for a while, since it is way to cold in my garage to bondo, sand and paint. So I'm working on the interior. In my last post I reported that my gauges have come in. Since then, I've put a good portion of the dash back together by putting the air box back in. I wanted to removed the A/C Coils from the air box first, so I spend several hours drilling out pop rivets and prying things apart with a screwdriver. Of course, I did have a slip and managed to tear some skin off my finger with the screwdriver!

After I got the air box in the car, I started mocking up the dash using the gauges and foam core poster board. I was concerned about having enough space behind the dash for the new gauges, since they are significantly thicker then the stock versions. The good news is that without the a/c coils, I can reduce the size of the air box significantly. This will make it much easier to mount the five center gauges, and the GPS/Radio! I was pretty happy about that.

Also, I'd like to report that I got my new racing seats in! They look really nice in this car! They came with sliders already, but I needed to make brackets because the seat is about five inches narrower then the originals. Of course, just a piece of metal would not do the trick! I had to make brackets the lowered the seats about an inch so that I have enough head room. Here are the brackets:

And here are the seats in the car:

I thought that I could possibly put race seats in the back too, but I tried to fit them and there just is not enough room. So I'm going to need to source a new back seat, or custom make one. I have some ideas there...

After getting the seats in, I started mocking up the center console. I started with the original console with the vinyl removed, then stared added construction paper until I had the idea roughed out.

Then I cut the center sections out of mat board and taped construction paper cutouts of the different items like air vents, switches, heater controls and GPS/Stereo. I also added a section of the bottom fairing so that I could get an idea of how it would look:

Now I need to wait for some components before I can move forward. I've ordered my climate control box and heater control value, one of the new air vents. I order and received one of the aircraft switches that I plan to use which helped in determining that I can not do my original idea of having four pairs of switches on the dash. I will need to put the switches together in a row, very similiar to the original Series I layout.

I still have to source 1) Carbon fiber for the door panels and the center console, 2) Vinyl of the same color and texture as the seats for the interior, 3) a used heavy duty sewing machine, 4) emergency brake handle and 5) Carpets. But things are starting to go well. Still lots of work, but I really feel like I'm moving forward.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving and Gauges

Dateline - 25 November 2010 - HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

The car is moving forward! I now have all the doors hung, the front driver's fender on, and the filler done on the driver's side back fender. The driver's side front door needed to be moved back to give a better seam line, so I made some steel shims and installed them. Much better panel lines now!

Also, I ordered my gauges from eGauges.com and they arrived this week! I ordered AutoMeter Arctic White gauges that have white faces, red pointers, chrome bezels and slightly domed lenses. I also ordered green LED bulbs to make the faces brighter.

The gauges I ordered are: Electric Speedometer with sender, electric tach, electric oil pressure, electric water temperature, volt meter, gas gauge and clock. Yes, a clock! Don't all high end cars have a clock? Here is the picture:

Now, I need to get some card stock and foam core and start mocking up the dash! FUN!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sitting But Not Forgotten - One Year on Jackstands

Well, the Jag has been sitting since July. The summer saw a lot of other interests of mine come into play, including road bicycling (got a really cool Felt road bike this year ), and other things. Now that the winter is starting to set in, and the car has officially sat on Jack stands in the garage for a year, it is time to start going again.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've done some new virtual renderings of the interior of the car using my 3D rendering software "Blender" (http://www.blender.org). I've added a GPS system, removed a lot of the extra gauges and changed the ones that I kept to white faces, and found these really cool aircraft switches that I'll be able to use for the interior to make it look uniform. I've also added two new air vents in the dash to help increase circulation in the car. This has been a real problem in the Series 1 cars. Here is the results thus far

Also, this weekend I started working on the car again. I've hung both the front and back left side doors, and added the metal around the headlight on the left fender for the headlight surround. I'm still stripping paint, but I should have that done soon and can hang the front fender. The drivers side of the car is in a lot better shape then the passenger, and I think I will be able to get a lot more done quickly.

The plan now is to get everything done on the inside and outside of the car accept the paint. I will get all the interior built, rewire done, etc. and then pull it out, truck the car to the painter in the spring, have them do their magic and then bring the car back, install the interior and drive it! I've decide to not try to spray the car in the garage. Just too much hassle and I have a much better chance of getting a good job done by having a pro do it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Passenger Side Done - Work on Back

Dateline – June 1st - July 25 – The last two months has been passenger side bodywork. I received my gallon of Evencoat Rage Gold and started filling. The passenger side of the car was in pretty bad shape, with the rot on the rear scuttle, front fender issues, back fender issues and several creases in the doors and a few door dings. Suffice it to say that it took an entire gallon of body filler to repair the damage, even after a lot of hammering, smoothing and welding! Fortunately, the results speak for themselves!

Front Fender: Needed to fill the area around the antenna hole, as well as the large dent. There was a dent in the front by the side marker that needed to be filled also, as well as around the headlight nacelles that I welded on. I also welded in the holes that the old Jag emblems used, and that required the back side of the fender to be filled as well. The edge also needed to be filled so that the panel lines would be smooth.

Back Fender: The back fender had been crushed in and accident much earlier in the cars life. I needed to remove all the old filler, then rebuild the back edge around the tail light and fill in the body from the back to the front over the rear side marker. The front wheel arch needed to be filled also to match the panel lines on the door. Also the back scuttle needed to be filled for the metal repair that was completed. Finally, the inside of the boot channel needed to be filled to smooth out the panel line between the fender and the boot lid.

Doors: Both doors had some serious work done due to damage. The back door had two large creases in the sheet metal, the front door had some damage done to the front edge that needed filling, plus some work to match it up to the front fender. Also, both doors had several door dings that needed to be filled.

Back: The area around the back bumper had been pushed by several accidents. This has required a significant amount of work and filler to get straight.

Good news is that everything is very straight now! The doors line up well and are very smooth. Now, as soon as I get my next gallon of filler I can finish the boot and move onto the driver’s side of the car!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday & Doors / Boot Lid On Car

Dateline - May 31st – Well, it’s been a year since I brought the Jag home and what a year it has been! A lot has happened in my life in many ways, as well as with the Jag. I got the car running and fixed the bad alternator/battery, spent some time driving it, worked on the carburetor extensively, rebuilt the brake master cylinder and replaced the right hand tie rod end, added a fun gas peddle, opened the doors up to fix stuck power windows and door handles, and assessed some rust issues with Duct Tape. Then I put the car up on jack stands and really went to work!

Now the car is moving in the other direction. Parts are starting to move off the shelf and back on the car! That’s really cool!!!!

This weekend I hung the trunk (boot) lid and assessed how much more work the back of the body needed. There was a lot of filler back there before, but I think all the body work I’ve done has really reduced what I will need to do. I’m not faulting who accomplished the prior work because they did a really good job and I’m sure it was done in a body shop where time is money. Since I don’t have the time constraint, I was able to do more to get the body straight.

I also hung the passenger side doors and right front wing. The doors needed just a little tweaking, but in general, this car is really straight. The center seam lines right up and the door seams are very square, considering this is an almost 40 year old car that has had a few shunts, this isn’t bad at all!

The right front wing, on the other hand, was pretty nasty! A screw-in dent puller was used to pull out a bad dent around the radio antenna hole which left holes in the body, plus the dent was never really corrected. There was easily a 1/4 inch of filler on this part of the body! The front of the fender around the side marker had also been severely dented and needed to be hammered out. And finally, the modifications done on the headlight area to hold the round chrome surrounds and larger size headlight needed to be ground away.

I spent a good three to four hours hammering, sanding, hammering again, fitting, un-fitting, hammering, sanding, etc. I welded the antenna hole closed with a small piece of sheet metal (I’m using an internal hidden antenna), and all the dent puller holes. I also welded closed the holes on the bottom of the wing in which the Jaguar emblem used to fit. I’m not sure if I want the emblem on the car with the leaper that I’m putting into the paint, so I figured it’s better to fill the holes now and re-drill them later if I want them. I also had to weld a couple of areas around the bottom of the fender to strengthen the metal where it had cracked.

Finally, I decided to fill in the gap that is between by the non-standard headlight surround and the fender by welding in new sheet metal. I could have used the bondo method used before, but since I own a shrinker/stretcher and a welder, I just could not go with that option! Here are pictures of the gap before and after:

I’m feeling good now! I probably have another month of body work to do before paint, but that’s OK. Just about the time I get tired of working on one thing, I finish it and something else needs to be done. I can live with that!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More On The Car Then Off

Dateline – May 22 – Wow! I really feel like I’m making some headway. I wanted to get the entire interior and trunk painted this weekend as well as start to work on hanging doors so that I can work on the actual exterior body work (This has been a long time in coming!). I needed to finish some welding on the left had rear fender and, of course I ran out of welding wire five small holes from being done!

After completing the welding, I filled all the seams in the inside and trunk with Eastwood Seam Caulk, let it set up then primed the interior and truck.

I needed to let that dry, so I took a little trip over to O.O. Deny Park in Kirkland to view some Citroens that were gathering there for a small weekend outing. I know! A British car guy going to look at French cars! But really, I’m just a car guy! Got a chance to ride in a DS! OMG, the Brits really don’t have anything on this car unless it’s a Rolls! What a ride! I also got a comparison ride in a 2CV. Yes, very different, but some the same. Kind of makes me want to venture into new fields…HOLD ON! I need to get what I got running first!

So back to the garage and the paint can! Painted the entire interior and most of the trunk, until I ran out of paint. Very happy with the results and feel like I’m really moving forward.

To prep for doing the exterior body work, I need to re-hang the door, but I wanted to take all the insides, glass and chrome off first that way I can get a good re-spray, as well as kill any rust inside the doors (thankfully, very little!). However, I have never taken the glass out of these doors before and found out that there are some tricks! It took about three hours to get the right hand front and back doors stripped completely. But they are done and painted with rust encapsulater. So I’m ready to hang them. And now that I know how to do this, the left hand side will be much easier!

An interesting note: The power window motors are AC Delco parts! I’m glad they are not Lucas!

I pulled out the truck lid, which I had stored away since I took it off in October and realized just how much rust was inside this thing! I removed all the shinny bits and started scrubbing out the inside. I need to remove some of the adhesive used to hold the sound deadening padding (which was good at holding condensation and rusting the metal) before I can paint with rust encapsulater. Since a good portion of the trunk lid will be visible, I’m going to paint it with the exterior color and clear coat it. It will look really nice.

Finally, I put the trunk lid on the car and just to see how much work I need to do to the body and found that it fits pretty well. I did a good job at getting the right corner of the body the correct shape, which is good. I’ll need to do some filler work, but I expected that. The biggest problem is around the left rear where the car had been rear-ended. There was a lot of filler in this area before and I really don’t want to fill it back, so I think I’m going to concentrate on getting the metal back out to the correct shape. There is also a problem around the top right back corner that will require some serious hammer work. But I knew I had work to do there.

So, I’ve got a gallon of Evencoat Rage Gold on order from Eastwood that I hope to have by the weekend! I’m looking forward to doing the body work. It’s been a long road here, but it finally feels like I’m really moving forward!

Front Window Frame, Battery Box, Rear Right Fender, Trunk and Back Seat Tub Welding

Dateline – April 15 - I decided to take care of most of the remaining body issues this weekend by welding up areas around the front right window frame, back right fender, holes in the trunk and back seat tub area. The window frame just required some spot welding to fill small holes that appeared. The back fender required spot welding as well as a metal patch around the back of the wheel arch. This hole was just too big to fill by hand.

I also took time to weld in a metal panel over the hole in the front scuttle that usually holds the battery box. This is a hole that is left in the body for the right had drive cars so that the brake and gas peddle assemble can be installed. For the left hand drive, a battery box is bolted in place. My battery box is gone and I plan to replace it with a chromed version. So I decided to just weld in a new piece of metal to cover the hole and give me a good foundation for the new box.

I had a couple of holes in the truck that required filling. The trunk saw a lot of sitting water and really needed some care. So I fabricated five metal pieces, welded them in, sealed them (and the whole trunk) with Eastwood Seam Caulk, primed and painted.

The back seat tub had some areas of rust, plus some holes had been drilled to mount the non-Jaguar rear seats. I made little metal plates that I welded into place, sealed and painted.

Finally, I painted the inside of the right fender well and gas tank cavity with rust encapsulating paint. Since a lot of rust happens around where the inner wheel well and fender are welded together, I took a turkey baster and “basted” this area with the paint. The interesting thing was that I found a couple of other rust holes were the paint came poring out of unexpected areas! I had a little more welding to do!