Sunday, July 31, 2011

No humans were injured during the installation of this headliner.

Test fitting
I finally convinced several of my good friends to come over and help install the headliner in the Jag.  It is notorious for being a difficult job. Rodney McDonald, Mike Darby, Noel Eagleson and Michael King were all on hand ready to tackle this task.
Our "Inside" guy
Trying to eliminate any potential scratches

 I had the glue, Mike furnished the spray gun (and a fair amount of experience), Noel was the "inside guy", Michael, Rodney and I were in charge of getting itinto the car and lined up to the center line.  I must say, it went off without a hitch. Mike first started spraying the glue and immediately realized that we needed to thin it significantly.

Mikes new XK, parked behind my XJS
Not having any MEK (thinner) Michael and I took off to Lowes in his newly purchased Jaguar XK convertible. Probably a little overkill for a quick trip to Lowes, but well worth the ride nonetheless.  When we returned, Mike, was installing Rodney's newly rebuilt SU carbs on his MGB, which was on the list of things we wanted to get accomplished today anyway.  I added the thinner to the glue. 
When Mike was through with Rodney's car, he started spraying the glue on the underside of the roof in the E-type. Once that was complete, he sprayed it on the foam side of the headliner.  We then took a break while the glue dried to a tacky feel.

Once we felt like it was right, we all grabbed a corner, Noel assumed his station inside of the car and we carefully passed it through the rear hatch. 

Aligning the headliner to the center line.

 With Rodney in the front of the car, standing where the engine goes, he could easily manage aligning the front edge with our center mark and I was able to align the rear.  Mike and Michael kept the sides from sticking to themselves or anything else and Noel began gently pressing down the center line from fore to aft.

How many old farts does it take to do a headliner?
 Once that was done, he began to roll, using a small foam paint roller out from the center to each side. It was immediately obvious that the glue we had was some kind of supped up magic glue that once stuck, it was NOT going to allow for any adjustment.

Noel using the foam paint roller

Me and my Exacto knife
Fortunately, this crack team of experts had it perfect the first time. All that was left was to trim the edges with an Exacto knife and press it under the cantrail.  Even this turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be.  I had recently bought some plastic tools from Harbor Freight which turned out to be the perfect thing to use for this task. The most amazing part is that I used that Exacto knife like a surgeon but never drew any blood.  Something very out of character for me.

Rodney's MGB was running again and my headliner was in, all in all, it was a good day and a lot of fun hanging out with good friends..  so good, in fact, that we ordered pizza and opened some beer.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

You can't take too many pictures!


I can't believe I didn't take more pictures of the interior before I  ripped it all out. For some reason I have tons of them with no upholstery in the car, but only 2 from before.  Fortunately there are a number of people that have restoration websites that have taken lots of pictures of their finished product.

This week I have been working on the upholstered panels. I bought some foam from the upholstery shop just around the corner and set about covering panels. Fortunately the old vinyl, though severely faded, made for some good patterns to cut the new stuff. The foam padding I got was slightly thicker than what was used before but I like it, it seems to make it look more plush or something.  I'll get it all finished once I get the rest of the vinyl.

Here I'm working on the door panels and quarter panels

 I got the materials, carpet, vinyl, moquette, headliner, wool & leather from BAS Jaguar Interiors.  They came highly recommended and I am very pleased with the quality of the materials.  Unfortunately, I didn't order enough vinyl to cover everything I need to. Maybe, at the time, I was thinking that I wouldn't recover everything, since a lot of it was in pretty good shape.  Of course, as I've said before, I never really expected to be doing a "full blown" restoration.  Nonetheless, I have now ordered some more vinyl.  I sent a swatch off to BAS to have them match the dye lot as close as possible.

 I have never done any upholstery work in my life, I'm mostly a wrench turner. Working on the various flat panels has given me a little confidence.  I made a few minor mistakes on the instrument panel vinyl earlier, nothing I can't fix, but you live and learn.  This panel is from right behind the seats in an area they call "storage".  Ha!  Anyway, I stripped it, cleaned off all the glue and rust and painted it with Hammerite

If you ever need to remove a lot of glue, especially contact cement, this 3M General Purpose Adhesive Remover #08984 is the absolute best thing I have ever run across.  You should be able to get it at any automotive paint store. It doesn't smell, it doesn't affect a car finish at all and it doesn't leave any kind of a residue that I can detect. Not only that, it works spectacularly.

I started taking the door handles apart and discovered that some more red vinyl had been covered.  I guess this car really was red at some point in its life. The foam padding was totally disintegrated.  I'll have to shape something and pad it.

In other news... We picked Stuart's Stag from the media blaster. It's all primed and ready for a lot of body work.  Stuart, if you don't know is from Scotland and is over here on a visa that is good for only 6 months at a time.  His 6 months was up 4 days ago so he took off for Scotland and won't be back until sometime in January..  Maybe I'll work on it a little while he's gone. I have become pretty good with body filler and sand paper. ( ha ha ha  Don't hold your breath Stuart!!)
Also, Rodney's MGB is in the garage.  He and I took the carbs off and he is having Mike Darby rebuild them, new shafts and all. We'll probably get that back together sometime next week.  (No rush Mike)

I'm hoping to attempt to put in the headliner this weekend.  I have talked the guy from the local upholstery shop into stopping by and supervising.  We'll see if that comes to pass.  I'll keep ya posted.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Details, Details

It's getting down to the smaller details that are not necessarily my long suit.  I got the rear bumpers mounted which, I must admit, was not an easy task for one person.  My car is one of those that was on the cusp between the end of 3.8 liter engine and the introduction of the 4.2 liter engine.  There were quite a few subtle changes made and a number of significant changes.  One change was the way the bumpers mounted. On the later cars, there were cutouts under the bumper allowing access to the mounts.  On my car however the only way to mount them was to run bolts almost blindly from the inside.  I managed to finally get them mounted and only put one little bitty nick in the paint. Inexcusable, I know I'm sure it won't be the last (actually it's not even the first but I'm not tellin').

The bumpers and overriders were in, what I thought to be, pretty good shape, since I had not planned to make this a concours restoration.  Well, the car is looking a LOT better than I had imagined it looking and when I pulled out the overriders, I realized that they had some small but very noticeable dents and the chrome was all cracked so I had to take them to the chrome shop.  The re-chrome job looked outstanding, all the dents were removed and it was very reasonable.

I also decided that I had to replace one of the taillight assemblies.  Actually the only part that was badwas the chrome part, but you can't get JUST the chrome part, you have to buy the whole assembly, so that's what I did.  I don't know why someone can't make a rubber gasket that fits these lights, but I have several, they are each different and none fit very well.I have done the best I can though and they look pretty good.

Next I decided to tackle the dash top.  I ordered a new vinyl cover and set out to recover my dash.  The dash top cover that was on it was made of LEATHER!  I'm not sure who did that or why, but that's what it was and evidently, as you can see, it was originally red leather. 

I had never attempted anything quite like this before, but after the way recovering my instrument panel came out, I was enthusiastic about it.  The first thing I realized was that I needed my heat gun.  The dashtop is preformed in a heavy vinyl with a pad attached. with a little contact cement, some heat and a lot of patience, I got it done and am very pleased with how it turned out.
gluing down the vinyl

Dashtop, heat gun and a big drink.

repainted the vent tops and added them
I managed to salvage all of the old vents

Rodney helping me test fit the new dash.

The next thing is going to be the headliner and interior upholstery. Anyone wanting to help is welcomed.  I'll keep ya posted.