Monday, August 27, 2012

Steering bushings turned to dust.

I got the Jag on the road the other day, after driving it for just a little while, I started noticing some up-down & side to side play in the steering column.  Then I noticed small pieces of plastic falling on my leg. The more I drove, the worse it got.  Obviously the bushings were coming apart.  I ordered a new set and they came in today. After cleaning the oven for Donna, I went to my lair to install these bushings.  I got the steering column out and bushings in.  Not too big of a job. There is a tiny bit of play that now doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the bushings. It could be the outside U joint or some slack in the rack. It is very minor, but probably noticeable now because I replaced the bushings inside. 
Steering wheel’s out.
I pulled the steering column out down to the first U-Joint at the firewall.
The bushings were crumbled to nothing.
Rebushed and ready to go back in.

All better now.

I’m knocking out the issues one by one.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ride to Fairhope

Rodney came by this morning, we took the Jag out for good 8 or 10 mile run to get everything up to temperature and to see if we had managed to stop that pesky oil leak that was somehow leaving fair sized puddle of oil on top of the heater box, which is nowhere near any oil supply.  The best we could figure was the cam cover gasket.  I tightened them a couple more times to the point where I was afraid of going further in fear that's I'd strip some threads or crack the aluminum cam cover.  After our drive, we checked it and it appears that the leak has ceased.  Now, the only oil leak is one at the oil pan gasket.  Nothing to worry about, it drips slightly but no more than any other British car I've had anything to do with.
The clutch was releasing very near the floor such that if you weren't very deliberate with your left foot, you would grind a gear.  We put the car up on the lift and I adjusted the clutch a little. I also tightened the oil pan bolts another time, again, as tight as I dare, for fear of breaking something.  Next we tried to track down a clunking sound in the rear that would show up whenever the rear end would squat or when the car would go over a bumpy road (like my driveway).  We couldn't find anything definite, but it appears that it's nothing crucial.  I checked all the crucial stuff and it looks and feels good.

After feeling good about what we had accomplished, we set out to ride and shoot a little video of the car.  We headed to Scenic Hwy 98 and to Fairhope.  Enjoy the video... and the sound.  :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Big "Thank You"

I have pretty much finished with my E--Type restoration.  I took it on a little shakedown trip yesterday of about 75 miles.  It ran like a top, had tons of power and rode nicely as well.  I was really impressed that all of the electrics worked perfectly and that gets a big "thank you" to Stuart Waddington for all of his expert help in getting everything hooked up right.  It was all new wiring and took some patient testing to get it all right.
It has one oil leak that is a little annoying, I need to get fixed, an odd "clunk" sound in the rear and I have yet to put the dashtop on.  Other than that, I'm calling it finished.
Other than Stuart, I have a multitude of others to thank for their help. Rodney McDonald and Mike Darby especially for the many hours that they put in to this project with me.  Most especially I want to thank my wonderful, patient wife who seemed as excited about the restoration as anyone.  My father, rest his soul, wanted so bad to see the car run and to go for a ride, but I just wasn't able to make it happen before his death in March of this year,  For that I am disappointed, but I'm sure that he was with me yesterday.  There were many other experts that I had met online in forums and such...  Dick Maury, President of JCNA and expert rebuilder at Coventry West, Ray Livingston and Jerry Mouton, widely known as Jaguar E-Type gurus.  The multitude of people that so generously posted pictures and blogs of their restorations and participated in forums online so others could benefit from their experiences.  All of these people deserve huge thanks from me.  A really big THANK YOU to Uryk Dmertyko of E-Type Fabs in Darlington, England for all of his outstanding help support.

On my shakedown ride, I stopped by Rodney's office, interrupted his workday and made him drive my E-Type...  Here is a short video

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Big Cat moves

It's Sunday morning, August 19, 2012 and I'm a happy boy.

A couple of weeks ago, I was about to bleed the brakes, Mike Darby had come over to give me a hand and when I filled the reservoir with fluid, one of them started leaking brake fluid all over the place.  Fortunately I was using DOT5 silicone brake fluid so it won't damage the new paint.  I pulled out my old reservoirs which were nasty looking but much better constructed than the only new ones available now. It was late so we aborted the bleeding session.  The next day I started cleaning the old reservoirs, bought some more brake fluid, then cut the grass, which had been sorely neglected with my attention focused on the car. A few days of work at my "real" job and the week was gone.

Last week, after installing the old fluid reservoirs, I set about to bleed the brakes again. Mike came over to give me a hand again. We worked like crazy to get them to bleed out with no luck.  Bleeding brakes isn't something that is new to either of us but everything we tried, failed. All indications led to a problem with the master cylinders (the 3.8 Liter cars had 2 brake master cylinders, one for the front brakes and one for the rears).  I took one of them apart and could not find anything that looked wrong, but they just weren't pumping properly.  Being anxious, and just not wanting to run the risk of future brake problems, I just ordered 2 new master cylinders. They arrived in a couple of days and I immediately set about installing them.
They are slightly different than the original Dunlop ones and I had a few minor modifications to the brake line routing. I removed the lower brake cylinder, leaving the push rod on its mount and removed the rod from the new ones.  To remove the old push rods requires removing the pedal box, a job that I was definitely not wanting to tackle. I got the new cylinders all installed and that night Rodney came over and we bled the brakes (I didn't want to bug Mike anymore..  ha ha).  It went pretty much without a hitch.  Just a few leaks where fittings needed to be tightened. Whew!!!  That's done.

The next day I started to mount the head pipes to the exhaust manifold and realized that the studs had been installed by backwards by one of the previous owners, I assume.  The fine thread end had been screwed into the coarse threaded manifold flange.
I just didn't like that, and beside all of the brass manifold nuts that I had were fine thread.  I ran up to the parts store and got some new studs, then I removed the manifold and began removing the studs. They all came out fairly easily until I got to the LAST one.  Why is it always the last one?  It broke off and I had to drill it out and tap in new threads.  I installed the new studs and remounted the manifolds. 

Thursday evening, Rodney came over and we installed the exhaust system. This, in itself, is a job. It is mounted with rubber mounts all around but once it's in place, it's almost like it's solid mounted.  One of the mounts has already begun separating and needs to be replaced.

Friday I installed the heater box and got all the hoses hooked up. That's not as easy a job as it might sound either. It's getting tight in that area and I have fairly large hands.  Hooking up the hoses was a challenge.

Yesterday my plan was to start the engine.  I filled the cooling system with coolant.  Pressure checked it with Mike's pressure tester. I had to re-tighten a few hose clamps and fiddle with the thermostat gasket, ultimately removing it and putting Hylomar gasket sealer on it instead of the "official" silicone "Water Pump & Thermostat Sealant" that I had originally used.  Put it back together and no leaks.

I poured about 2 gallons of fuel in the tank, hooked up the battery and was ready to spin it over.  It spun fine, but no fire.  I knew I had fuel at the carbs because the fuel rail was leaking at all 3 carbs (I had forgotten to tighten those.. sigh)  Fixing that still didn't help get fire to the cylinders.  I checked the voltage at the coil, it was fine.  Knowing that I had a little trouble with the connection where the low tension wire connects to the distributor, I pulled the distributor cap.  The connector inside was touching the base plate, grounding out and causing no juice to get to the points. I pulled it away, tightened it down and replaced the cap.  Fingers crossed, I hit the starter button.  Vrooommm... it started immediately and ran smooth as silk.  The idle was a little high, but I didn't care at that point.  I started looking around for fuel & coolant leaks to make sure that everything was connected and tightened.  It was and I was a happy boy.  After gloating a little (unfortunately I was alone) I started it again and began setting the idle.  There was no black smoke, or anything to indicate that the mixture needed to be adjusted.  I lowered the idle to 800 rpm and it just ticked away without any stumbling.  I was tickled.

I raised the lift up a little and put the wheels on.  Rodney had mentioned that he was going to come over after lunch so I wanted to wait till he got there to actually put the car in gear and drive it off the lift. I came inside, made a ham sandwich and waited for him to arrive.  It seemed like it was taking him forever!!  Actually he was here in about 45 minutes.  I gave him my video camera and got in. It started immediately and I put it in reverse.  I got a little grinding at first, pumped the clutch twice and it slid right in (need to bleed the clutch a little more).  I backed off the lift but couldn't get out of the garage because my XJS was parked in the doorway with a dead battery. I had left the key switched on accidentally when I had to roll up the windows during one of our frequent rains. I put the charger on it and got it started and moved it out of the way.  Rodney climbed into the navigator's seat and we set off down my long gravel driveway and up the street.  As we got to the end of the street, the exhaust side of the engine had started smoking a little more than I was comfortable with so we headed back. I figured that it was just oil dripping from somewhere onto the exhaust. It appear now that's exactly what it was. Driving back I ran through all of the E-Type Fabs Gearbox's 5 forward gears, just to make sure that the "5" printed on the shift ball wasn't just there for looks.  Shifting was very positive and the throw on the new transmission is very short and precise.

We got back to the garage and I tightened the feed lines to the cams on the back of the engine, hopefully that will cure the smoking problem. We didn't go back out because a lightening storm had moved in so we put the car back on the lift, tightened a few more things and bled the clutch.

Next we sat down, poured a single malt and talked about how wonderful our world was at that moment.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The wheels aren't on just yet, but soon.

Wow, it's been quite a while since I last posted on this blog.  As many of you know, I have been waiting for several things to arrive from England.  Well...  they have all arrived.

The new 5-speed transmission looks outstanding, except for the fact that it is aluminum, it looks almost just like the original. I mounted the 3.8 bell housing to the gearbox and there were no fitting problems at all. In fact, there is no exposed bearing or seal in the front, therefore requiring no gasket between the bell housing and gearbox.  The pilot shaft bearing is sealed and will fit perfectly on either the 3.8 or the 4.2 bell housing.  After I got the bell housing mounted, and installed the clutch throw-out bearing, I then started to put the clutch disk and pressure plate on.

I had forgotten that I had requested a late model clutch from Uryk at E-Type Fabs (the same place I got the transmission).  He had gotten me to send him a picture of my flywheel some time ago to see which one I had.  It turns out that apparently there is a "transitional" flywheel that will take either the early coil spring type pressure plate or the later model leaf spring type.  As I started to mount the new pressure plate, I discovered that it required 3 dowels, whereas the older plate only needed 2.  Also they needed to fit a smaller diameter plate.  I thought I was in for a struggle, but then I remembered a bag of nuts and bolts and some other odd looking things that Uryk sent with everything else.  Well, after pouring the contents of the bag out, I found that the odd looking things were new dowels.  Uryk thinks of everything!

Without much trouble, I aligned the pilot shaft and stabbed the transmission onto the back of the engine.  This was a big step, I stood back and admired the whole package.

  Next I planned to tackle the rear brakes. 
I inspected everything, read carefully the instructions.  One of the first instructions, written in bold, was to put the driveshaft into the tunnel.  This is necessary because once you get the engine/gearbox and the differential cage in place, you cannot put the driveshaft in without removing one of them.  I immediately put my driveshaft into the tunnel.

The brakes were gorgeous works of art in my opinion.  I started assembling them, checking the centering of the disk in the caliper as instructed by Uryk.

Meanwhile, Mike Darby and Rodney McDonald were working on installing the coil springs onto the new GAZ adjustable shocks.  I had to borrow a spring compressor from Mike.  They got all the coils installed without losing any fingers, eyes or tearing anything up, I was proud of them.

  Installing the new shocks went well and the rear end was all together. Now I needed to put the brake tubing on.  these were supplied but not pre bent except for a tight 180 degree bend that would be difficult to do without a special tool.  As it turns out, I should have put the remote bleed pipes (the ones with U bend) in before I installed the shocks.  Rodney and I finally, after struggling a while, decided to just remove the top bolts on the shocks, move them out of the way and get good access to the tube fitting.   

With those all installed and tight, we replaced the shocks and made ready to put the rear end into the car.

Don Pritchett came over to see how we were doing and Rodney recruited him to help with hooking up the hand brake mechanism. I was busy talking on the phone.

 So with engine and transmission sitting on my rolling table and the rear end ready, I suggested to Rodney that we go ahead and put the engine in, since it was still early in the evening.  We raised the car on the lift and rolled the table under it. In less than 45 minutes, we had the engine mounted in the car.

That pretty much did it for us for that day, with the engine in, we sat down and reflected on our accomplishments and solved a few of the world's problems, while enjoying a glass of single malt.

The next day, if I remember correctly, I got started on installing the rear suspension cage.  This goes probably easier than putting the engine in, when you have a lift.  Simply sit the cage on a cart, roll it under the rear of the car and lower the car down.  Make sure that the rear mounts are attached to the car and the front mount is attached to the cage.  The top two nuts of the two rear mounts are nearly impossible to get to otherwise.  Plus, getting them all to line up is much easier this way.  Connecting the 2 radius arms are the next struggle. Using some chocks and a pry bar and some brute force, I
 finally got them bolted up. Then I connected the brake lines and the job was
complete.  Nothing to it.

Mike came over and we just looked at the underside .  While there he ran the bolts up on the transmission mount.

Now time to start hooking everything up.

Rodney wanted to sit in it too
First I wanted to get the interior put back together...  just because I wanted to sit in it.  I managed to get the center console in, then the seat belts, then the seats and when I started to put the radio console in, it appeared to me that it wouldn't go in unless I removed the center console, which meant that I needed to remove the seats, the seat belts (which bolt THROUGH the center console) and then the console. (the reverse of the installation, to coin a British phrase).  I got the radio console in, the radio hooked up and working and commenced to re-install everything again.  Once I got it all installed and looking satisfactory, the radio no longer worked.  It was at this point that I realized that with some persuasion, you actually CAN remove the radio console without taking the whole interior back out. Turns out that it was a ground problem and I got it rectified. I put the radio console back in and all is good.


 Now on to the torsion bars. The first thing I did was to fit check the reaction plate. The reaction plate is a heavy steel plate that fits between the 2 structural pieces on either side of the transmission tunnel.  It takes the strain of the torsion bars which exert a good bit of torque when the car is sitting on its wheels. A previous owner, or his mechanic, had left it off of my car and it wasn't there when I bought the car.  I secured a used one and as luck would have it, it didn't fit around the engine.
Now I have a pretty full history on this car and early on in its life it had the block replaced by the Jaguar Dealer in Jacksonville, FL.  The notes I have said it was replaced with a new block assembly after a connecting rod let go and destroyed the original block.  After researching the engine number on this block, it appears that it came out of a Jag 3.8S.  ANYWAY... the reaction plate had to be slightly modified to keep from being interfered with by some brackets on the engine.  A cut-off wheel did the trick.  It's not very pretty, but it's effective.  After installing that, I was able to, using the proper suspension links, install the torsion bars.  It all went about as easily as I had expected...  a little hammering, a big brass drift, some more hammering and I finally got the safety bolt in and secured.

 Next to go on are the carburetors.  As most of you know, the Series 1 E-Type has 3 big SU carburetors.  the linkage is a bit confusing and difficult to reach in many cases, but after several hours and a number of bad words, I managed to get everything installed (the accelerator stick a little right now, but I'll get that sorted out)

Now it's time to bleed the brakes.....  I'll leave that story until the next time I sit down to write.