Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's December and It's Time To Work on the Car Again

Dateline 12/13/14 - Winter is almost officially here, but it feels like it's here anyway, so now it's time to get going on the car!  First of all, I've talked to my paint guy and he will have an opening for my car at the end of January 2015.  So, yes, the car is going to paint!  I found this picture of a Mark II on the internet and I just love this color!

Love the color of this beautiful Mark II

So it looks like I've got several months of parts cleaning ahead of me.  I started cleaning random parts on the car, like the brake peddle mechanism (and it is a mechanism with springs and levers!), the power brake booster and the boot lid hings.  Like most things British, the boot lid hings are extremely over engineered and under constructed.  There is a massive spring that goes into the hing that, over time, wears out the parallel arms so that that the pivot holes become elongated.  To repair this, I had to drill out the pivots to get the arms off the mechanism, insert steel tubing into the holes and weld it in.  Here is a picture of one arm in original state (top) and one repaired (bottom)

Boot lid hing parallel arms before and after repair.

Once welded and ground down, the hings were put back together with stainless steel bolts and self locking nuts.

Repaired boot lid hing.  Note stainless steel bolts for pivots

This should last the life of the car!

I have also been looking for sources for weather stripping.  There is a clip on rubber weatherstrip that goes between the front fender and inside wheel well.  Very difficult to source.  I've found several companies that seem to carry it, but all have been out of stock.  I think I may have found a supplier though.  Let's hope.

Also, looking window track weather stripping.  I can't seem to find this from any of my Jaguar parts sources, so looking for aftermarket supplier.  Again, I thought I had it, but they since told me they are out of stock.  So looking some more.

Finally, I did find the weather stripping I need between my new door panels and the windows.  This is a special type of weatherstrip but found a generic type I think I can use.  I've ordered it and it should be in soon.

So, what's next?  I've got milk crates fill of parts to clean, paint and polish.  That should keep me going for quite some time.  It will be nice to get the car back from paint and just focus on putting it together!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Starting Fall/Winter 2014 Work

Dateline - 10/11/2014 - Well the leaves are starting to turn, as is the weather here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, which means it is now time to start working on the car again.  To do so, I have to transform my car from a SUV (Storage Utility Vehicle) back to my working project, which means moving all the junk that has piled up on it during the summer to some other place in the garage, as well as cleaning my workbench.  Fortunately, neither were the herculean tasks they were in prior years and in about 1/2 hour I had both tasks done.

So, were I left off in the spring was that the car was getting ready to go to the paint shop.  I thought I was ready, but as I moved things around, I realized that I had not finished sanding under the bonnet, or the boot lid.  So, that was my project for the weekend.  I finished sanding everything and as far as I can tell, the car is ready.  I need to get my paint guy out to look the car over before I have it towed to the paint shop, just to make sure it is as ready to go as I think it is.  Maybe this week or next.

After the car goes to paint, I'm going to focus on cleaning and painting all the parts that are going back on the car.  There are a lot of odds and ends that I've taken off that will need to be cleaned up before they are re-installed.  This is good work to do because each piece finished means one step closer to getting the car back together.  It's pretty exciting actually!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Not a Project Car Weekend

Dateline - 06/14/2014 - I didn't spend much time on the car this weekend.  The weather was a bit nasty (they call it the "June Gloom" in the PacNW) and I didn't feel like working in the garage, so I spent time doing artwork instead.  But I did do some work in the evenings while relaxing in front of the TV.  I fit the upper glove box door with the new hinges and mounted the cool little Jaguar glove box handle.  I also started to modify the actual glove box, which is made of densely pressed paper, to fit in the new dash.  With all the new wire running behind the glove box, I'm going to need to make modifications so that it will fit.  Finally, I did some more sanding on the carbon fiber center console.  I have just a few holes I need to fill and sand, but it is getting close to time for the finish coats of lacquer.

So, what is remaining on the dash?  I need to get the center instrument section sanded again, and cut the veneer to shape.  Do a little routing on the back of the left and right sides so that I can mount the air vents, and give the wood a final sand down with 600 paper to get it baby butt smooth.  Then it's finish time!

On the paint front, I stopped by my paint shop and talked to the guy who will be painting the car.  He said he was about four weeks out before he could take the car (end of June).  I need to call him at the end of this week to make an appointment for him to come over and take a look at the condition of the car.  At that point, I think he will be able to tell me how much it will cost as well as give me some idea on when it will be done.  Right now, I'm leaning toward having them do all the work.  I just don't think I can spend another couple of mouths sanding the car again.  I've already spent a year doing bodywork.  I'm thinking I should leave the final work to a pro!  We will see once I get the estimate.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Good Weekend to Clean and Sort

Dateline - 06/07/2014 - I didn't do a lot on the car itself this weekend.  I did cut the hole in the right dash board to fit the Information Center.  This took some time because I had to cut the hole with a coping saw which isn't very accurate.  So it took a lot of sanding and filing to get the plastic insert to fit, but I eventually got it.  It's going to look pretty cool!

I also worked on getting the upper glove box door fitted.  We used the original door as the base for the new one and I had to fill the holes for the original lock (gone) and the hinges.  I used body filler, which worked fine since I'm going to paint over these areas anyway.  During the week I ordered some 3/4 butt hinges for the door.  When they came in, I realized that they were too big, but I was able to modify them to make them about 1/3 their original size, so they loop pretty good.  Once I got the hinges, I was able to start sizing the door, which took a lot of sanding to get it to the right size and shape.

The real work this weekend was cleaning the shelves in my garage, which had gotten out of control!  I'm at the point that I need to start thinking about all the parts that are going to go back on the car.  So I started pulling all the boxes and milk crates of parts off the shelves and going through them, separating those that I no longer need and those that I do.  I was surprised to find that I had three crates of parts I don't need any more and three of those that I need to clean up!  Most of the parts are for the doors (hinges, latches, linkages, window actuators, etc.).

What was a real surprise was a box I found that the original owner gave me with the car.  He had been buying some replacement parts when he owned the car and I found a bunch of turn signal, side marker and tail light lenses that I forgot I had.  I had bought some myself over the last couple of years, forgetting I had these, so now I have more spares then I need.

A nice surprise was a set of B-pillar courtesy light lenses.  I got into a bidding war on eBay over a set of these, which thankfully I lost.  Otherwise, I'd have another set of these since I forgot that I had a set already!

The real find was the special backup light lens I have been looking for but have not been able to find.  Let me explain. Unlike modern cars, the tail light lens on the early Series 1 cars do not have reflectors built into them.  To meet the requirement for reflectors, the early cars had a backup light lens that had a red reflector recessed into it.  This is uses on some European spec cars too.  This did not meet later US requirements, so Jaguar replaced the back up light lens with a pure clear (white) one and mounted a red reflector on a big block of rubber right underneath the taillight.  I never liked this because it really spoils the flow of the curve around the fender, which is one of the subtle shapes that make the car so appealing.  So, I've been looking (on and off) for the backup light lens that have the red reflector, but have had very little luck finding one.  Well, you can just image my surprise to find a set of lenses sitting in a box in my garage, totally forgotten about!
'68 Series 1 with reflector in backup lens

My car with clear backup lens and reflector below the taillight.

So, I'm at a point that there really isn't much more I can do on the car short of sending it to the paint shop.  I think I'm going to pull the gas tanks out one more time so that they can paint inside that area and not get red paint all over the tanks.  Less masking to do also.  Now I need to make a choice.  Have the paint shop do the entire paint job, or have the car towed back after the primer is put on and spend several months block sanding the car.  I'm starting to lean toward having them do the whole job.  More expensive, but I don't know if I can sand the car for a forth time!

Monday, June 2, 2014

More Wiring!

Dateline - 05/31/2014 - Last post I said that I needed to reroute some of the wiring because there wasn't enough room to put in the center gauges.  Well, that is what I did this weekend. I unlaced a bunch of wire bundles and moved the wires so they run toward the front of the dash and over the top, instead of down along the bottom of the instrument panel.  This gave me enough room for the gauges.   So hopefully that's the last of the wiring I'll need to fiddle with, at least until I get the car back from paint.

Since I had the dash pieces installed, I was wondering what it would look like with the carpets.  So I pulled out the box and laid out the carpets as best I could.  Some of them need to be cut to fit, and I wasn't going to do that yet, but at least you get a feel for what it will look like!

Interior from rear window

Interior driver side

Interior passenger side

A couple of things I have been working on over the week have been finishing up the center console carbon fiber work.  I needed to put some more epoxy on the some of the low spots and fill in some areas, and of course, sand most of it back off.  I'm pretty close, but I still need to do a bit more touch-up before it will be ready for the final coats of lacquer. It's getting close though.

And finally, I've glued the last piece of maple veneer to the center gauge cluster dash piece.  I will need to take that to Matt's to have him sand it down flush with the rest of the piece.  I will then cut it to fit and I should be close to ready for final dash finishing.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dash Fitting

Dateline - 05/17/2014 - Worked on fitting the center wood dash pieces in the car this weekend.  I have not had the whole dash in the car for a long time and I need to finish up the woodwork on the dash, so I thought this would be a good weekend to work on that.

The situation is that the center dash piece that holds the five smaller gauges was cut a bit too small in height originally  Matt and I did the best we could, but changes happened in the dimensions of the car over the build out and there was a significant amount of space to fill.  So last fall, we added a piece of the backing material (9 layer plywood) to the bottom to extend it about 1/3 inch and also so that it would "wrap" around the edge of the center console.  We cut it as best we could to fit, but knew that some sanding would be needed to fit it correctly.  The sanding is what I did this weekend. This is very fiddly work because I need to sand the wood down to precisely fit between the left and right hand wood panels, the dash pad and the center console.

Now that I have the shaping done, I need to glue a book matched piece of maple veneer to the backing and shape it to fit.  Then it will need to go through the flat bed sander to get the faces even.  Then I can concentrate on final finishing of the wood (shellac, grain filler, lacquer clear, polish)

Since I had the whole dash in the car, I thought it would be a good idea to test mount the five gauges and see how they fit in the car.  I was very disappointed to find that they don't!  They are much deeper then I thought and with all the wire in the center area from my re-wire, there is just not enough room, especially around the oil pressure and water temp gauges.  So, I am yet again re-routing the wiring!  I will be glad when the wiring is done!  It sure turned out to be more work than I ever expected!!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Still Cleaning Under Hood and looking at Upgrades

Dateline - 05/10/2014 - I just realized it's been a couple of weeks since I posted last.  During that time, I've been concentrating on cleaning up the engine bay and getting ready for paint.  There is a lot there and it required more work then I expected, of course!  But as of last night, I have the engine bay completely degreased and the rusty areas painted with rust inhibitor.  I've welded the hood latches and sanded the underside of hood.  So, except for a few details, the engine bay is ready.

Of course, now that I have the hood off, it really made sense to look at the engine detailing too.  I pulled the alternator, power steering pump, water pump, crank pulley, carburetor and distributor off to give myself some room and gave the engine a good degreasing also.  This will also make painting the engine bay much easier.

Last week, I started looking around on the Summit Racing site, which is never a good thing for my bank account.  I found a set of billet aluminum pulleys that I really like that use flat grooved belts instead of V-belts (  I thought of going with a serpentine belt setup but the conversion kits run over $1,500 and that seems extreme, even to me!  So I'm going with the pulley replacement which will allow me to use the original equipment, but will look really cool too.  I like the fact that the alternator will be moved from the high mount position to a lower mount.  It will make the engine look a lot less cluttered.  I've got plenty of room for it, so that should be no problem.

The aluminum pulleys will get rid of the horsepower robbing belt driven fan, so I will also install an electric fan on the radiator.  This has always been something I wanted to do, so now is the chance.

I also found a polished Edelbroch intake manifold to replace the one I currently have which is stained and really doesn't look very good (  A new polished one will go well with the pulleys and really make the car stand out.

I think I'm going to keep the cast aluminum Micky Thompson valve covers.  These are really worth quite a bit and are pretty rare.  I'll take them off and clean/polish them up so that they look nice.

So, I'm going to put these on order so that when the car comes back from paint, I can do all the detailing on the engine while the fenders and hood are off.

Here are pictures of the car from this weekend.

Engine Bay Front - Engine Stripped

Engine Bay Right Side - Engine Stripped
It's funny when I look at the car now, I'm thinking, "Hmmmm.  It sure would be easy to take the engine and tranny out right now.  That would make it really easy to paint."


Monday, April 28, 2014

Cat in the Sun!

Dateline - 04/26/2014 - Even though the weather forecasters said it was going to rain on Saturday, it never materialized.  So I rolled the cat out into the sun so I could start decreasing under the hood.  Getting the car out of the garage was easier then I had expected.  once I got it in the sun, I sprayed everything down with "Simple Green" which is my favorite degreaser.   I took a scrub brush and in some places a tooth brush and gave the fenders and firewall a good scrubbing.  Lot and lots of grease, particularly in the corners!  40 year of collection!!!! 

There were a couple of other items I had to remove off the fenders in order to get to all the corners.  The radiator overflow tank and the front brake lines which ran along the bottom of the fenders.  The overflow tank was interesting because I could not figure out how to get it off the fender.  The nut on the back side of the fender well was welded onto the fender well as a blind nut.  I tried everything I could think of the get the nut loose, but it was sold.   So I ended up hammering and prying the tank out.  It didn't hurt the tank and all I have to do is re-cut the treads on the tank bolt, drill out the nut on the fender and use a regular nut to secure it.  I still have no idea how that tank is installed!  Magic I guess.

The brakes lines were much more simple.  It's really funny though how the bake lines work.  It's very obvious this car was engineered to be a right hand drive.  The main pipe that leads to the back brakes and the tee the splits the front brakes are on the right hand side.  To convert the car, they ran two pipes from the master cylinder (front and back brake mains) to the rear brake tube and front brake tee the right hand side.  From the front brake tee, two hoses run, one to the right break, and one that runs to the front of the car, under the radiator and to the left hand brake.  Jaguar must have been getting a kickback from a steel tubing and pressure fitting company to use so much pressure tubing and fittings!

I also needed to degrease under the hood, and realized there was no way I could do that with the hood on the car, so even though I wasn't going to, I pulled the hood off.  It was surprisingly light!  Lighter then my Spitfire hood.  Easy to handle by myself, although I don't know if I want to reinstall it by myself once the paint is done.  Too big and bulky.  Once the hood was off, it was a simple matter of laying it upside down in the driveway and scurbbing it down.  I need to do a little welding on the hood latches.  Both had been welded before and one had come loose, causing the hood to pop open when driving.  I plan to weld them back and clean up the bad weld job done before.  Probably done with the hood on the car, which would be pretty hard to do well.

Of course, once I had the hood off, I realize that it really makes sense to take the radiator out.  It will make it infidelity easier to paint, and I can clean up the radiator supporting bracket that runs across the top to the radiator.

Once I finished up the degreese, I pushed the car back into the garage (again, easier then I expected), and went inside.

In the evening, I focused again on the windows.  I took the rear quarter lights out of their frames so that they can be painted and I can replace the rubber gaskets.  Again, rust was an issue and I did quite a bit of sanding to get ride of it.  I also pulled the front quarter lights of their frames, and pulled the gaskets, which appear to be in pretty good shape.  Rust again rich required yet more cleanup.  Finally, I all parts with rust inhibitor.  The good thing is that all of these parts or hidden behind chrome, so you really don't see them.  But I will not that everything is clean and in good working order.

So, next on the agenda is to weld the hood latches, fill in some gaps in the firewall with body sealer, rough up fender wells, hood and firewall to take paint, and put some rust inhibitor on some rusty areas under the hood.  Then, off to paint!

Here are some pictures from the weekend:

OMG!  Empty Garage!
Cat outside enjoying the sun!

Hood off, radiator out, fenders clean.

Hood off, radiator out, fenders clean, other side.

Monday, April 21, 2014

OMG! It's On Wheels!

Dateline - 04/19/2014 - I know some of you believed it would never happen, but it has.  The Jag is back on its own wheels!  For those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning, you will remember that the Jag went up on jack stands in October of 2009 (see post  Note the title of the blog post: "Down for the Winter."  Oh if I only knew then what I know now! Four an a half years later it is finally back on its own wheels and I have pictures to prove it:
Still on jack stands

On the ground at last!

So, now that the car can be moved, I need to get it outside and degrease the engine bay and do a little more welding, remove a few more items from the firewall and inside fenders, and rough up the paint.  Then it will be ready to go to paint!  Yes!  Paint!

Also on Saturday I cleaned up the garage. It was really a necessity because I forgot how much stuff I had stored under the car!  I had to find a place for it all so that I could park my other car in the garage.  So, with the wheels back on, I had a lot of room against the wall and was able to rearrange things and throw out a winters worth of stuff that had collected!  Nice to have a clean garage!

Sidebar:  I've not had the XJ6 on wheels since I purchased my XK-8.  Now that I have them both on the ground, I took a look at overall length and even with the bumpers on the XJ6, the 2002 XK-8 coupe is LONGER than the '71 saloon!  the XJ6 is significantly taller though.  It just goes to show that, even though these cars were considered "full size" they were never as big as others on the road. One just has to remember the England of the 60's (my car was designed in 1967 remember) to realize why.  Not many freeways, lots of B and C roads that are barely two lanes wide, parking was at premium, gas was very expensive (for the time) and you paid higher taxes depending on the weight of you car.  So there was a lot of incentive to keep cars small, light and economical.  Remember, the Morris Mini, MG Midget, Austin Sprite and Triumph Spitfire all came from England and these cars were built until British Leland went out of business in the early 80's.  

In the cleanup, I found all the side windows (eight of them in all) and brought them into the house for cleanup.  On Sunday evening I started the long process of cleaning the windows, window tracks and chrome polishing.  Someone in the car's past had Mylar window tinting installed, most of which had gotten pretty clouded over time.  So I peeled all of it off, which is a major job because the glue sticks to the windows.  The way you get that off is to soak the window is Windex, then use a single edge razor blade to scrape it off.  It turns into a gooey mess pretty quickly and I went though half a roll of paper towels before I finished.  Took about three hours.  I've also got some rust issues on the window tracks (Rust! Go figure!) that I need to take care of, and chrome to polish, but I can take care of that another night.

So, pretty productive weekend I'd say!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Headlight are done

Dateline - 04/05/2014 - Finished off the headlights this weekend.  Boy was that a job.  Again, trying to graft something from one car onto another is a real pain!  But I now have the headlights figured out.

The entire exterior of the car is now sanded to an inch of it's life!  All the doors are off,  hinges are off, fenders are off, boot lid is off.  Now, I need to get some air in my tires so that I can roll the car into the driveway and degrease the engine bay.  Once done with that, I need to rough it up with some sandpaper then the car will be ready to go to paint!  Hard to believe that this car will finally come back together!  It's been a long haul!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Bringing Light to Headlights

Dateline - 29 Mar 2014 - Continued sanding on the car to remove all the primer and get it ready to go to the paint shop.  This weekend it was focus on the front fenders.  What I had forgotten was that I needed to do some more metal work because of the front headlights.  As I had put in a previous post, the outside headlights had been replaced in this car.  The original headlight buckets, which had 6 inch sealed beams bulbs had been removed and 7 inch bulbs were put in their place (as well as Chrysler Cordoba light bezels!).  The way the light buckets had been mounted into the car was, well how should I say, not the best (read, "Sheet metal screws drilled through the light buckets directly into the fenders.")!  The buckets themselves were also in pretty bad shape with rust and bad attempts at welding new pieces to fix them.  Several years ago, I made a mental notes to myself that I needed to spend some time on the headlights to get everything working before I sent the car to paint.  Well, I forgot about the note!  So as I'm sanding on the fenders, I realized I still had a couple of days work to get these sorted. 

The first order of work was to sand the fenders.  Done! The second was to repair the headlights. I have no idea were the headlight buckets were sourced (Chrysler?).  There was a part number on them, but three hours on Google did not bring up a match.  So repairing them was the order for the day.  One reason these buckets were originally installed so badly was that parts of them were missing (broken or rusted off) and since they are not the correct buckets for the car, they were missing tabs needed to mount them.  So I pulled out the trusty sheet metal tools, bench vice and welder and went to work.  I was able to add the tabs and weld new metal where needed.  Not the best welding job in the world, but far better then what had been done before and should work to hold the lights.  I will even be able to adjust them, which I could not do before! 

The chrome bezels, being from a Cordoba where mounted on this car by by screwing them directly into the fender.  Ideally, there would be a nut plate that the bezel would screw into but these have to be designed into the fender.  To mount the bezels correctly requires screwing into the fender in a place were there is no metal! So in the prior installation, the bezels were turned about 10 degrees off center.  Well, I could not have that!  So I welded new metal into the fender to allow for the bezel to be mounted correctly.  This would also aid in headlight adjustment since the indentations in the bezels designed to allow a screwdriver between the bezel and the bulb now line up!  I finished the work on the left hand fender and started on the right, but ran out of time before I could finish.

Finally, I had to source two chrome headlight retaining rings.  These rings hold the headlight bulb to the bucket via three sheetmetal screws.  The rings on the car are in pretty tatty condition.  Both had been welded in the past and the heat flaked the chrome, which rusted pretty bad.  An hour on the interwebs and I found universal mount stainless steel rings for $10 a piece!  They should be in this week and I can see if they will work.  I may need to cut off a couple of tabs that are not needed.

So, as usual, I didn't get as much done as I wanted to, but I've definitely improved on a shoddy job and I still keep moving ahead, and that's the point!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Still Sanding

Dateline - 03/22/2014 - "Still Sanding" says it all.  I wish I would have known that I didn't need to spray all that primer!  It sucks to have to sand it all off.  Good news that I found a few wobbles in the finish that I'm getting cleaned up (e.g. Body filler) and I've finished all the doors, back two fenders, boot lid and back end.  All I have left are the two front fenders!

Next, I need to get some air in my tires, get them mounted and get the car off of jack stands!  Yup after over five years!  I need to get the car into the driveway so I can spend some time de-greasing under the hood with some simple green and water.  Don't want to do that in the garage.  Once that is done, I'm pretty sure the car will be ready for the paint shop!  Pretty exciting!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Slow Plodding

Dateline - 03/15/2014 - I noticed that I have not posted anything in a couple of weeks.  I'm still recovering from my cold, so haven't felt up to working much on the car.  Over the last two weekends I've finished up the soundproofing, which took much more time then I thought it would, but I'm also way to annal about how nice a job is done, so I could have probably been done a lot earlier if I could just let go!

This weekend I cleaned up my garage (which had gotten into a bad state between some home repairs that required cleaning out the attics and crawl space, and just general "piling on" of stuff on my work bench.  I did manage to start sanding the primer off of both the right hand doors and right rear fender.  I found that the rear right door had a pretty good sized dip in it that I had not noticed while it was hanging on the car, so I did some more bondo work to get it flat. 

After I get all he primer sanded off, I can take the car in for paint.  So that is were my focus needs to be now.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Slow Progress

Dateline - 03/01/2014 - Still feeling under the weather fighting a cold.  So I decided to do as much work on the car as I could before I got too tired.  Turns out that I was just about able to finish up the soundproofing.  I would have finished if I had not ran out of foil tape.  So, I still have a few more hours left on the soundproofing before it’s done.  Then I get to focus on sanding!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Couple of Weeks Sick Curtail Work on Car

Dateline – Feb 21, 2014 – Over the last couple of weeks, I've had slew of illness, starting with a very, very bad stomach virus that almost put me into the ER, followed immediately with a head cold.  So I haven't felt like doing much more than resting and watching TV.  I did do about six hours of wet sanding on the carbon fiber center console and it is getting close to ready to put the lacquer coats on.  It’s a lot of work, but I’m going to be happy with the results!

Hopefully I'll feel well enough next weekend to get back at the car, finish off the sound proofing and start sanding primer off the car.  I would like to get it into the paint shop soon!