Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Getting The Doors To Fit

Putting the doors back on an E-Type is a somewhat daunting task.  Even though a test fitting was done back before the car was painted, it still requires a lot of patience and some minor adjustments and, if possible, some help from a friend or two.  First of all, the passenger door was off of our 1969 parts car. It was in much better condition that the original door, which had obviously been in a wreck and then filled with Bondo.  Ther is only one difference in the 69 door and the 64 door that I could see.  The 64 had an extra hole near the latch where an alignment post comes through.  Evidently, this was not a requirement in 1969... seems odd to me.  I had to make a template and then drill a hole in the door to accommodate the alignment post.  I had 3 sets of eyes watching, Rodney's, Mike's and mine.  Fortunately it and its accompanying screw holes were close enough to only need a little attention with a rat tail file. 

My garage is a mess, I have upholstery scraps, foam scraps, boxes and all sorts of other stuff scattered about. I have work going on on 3 different tables.


I got the rubber seals installed in the door jams with little difficulty, and now it was time to mount the doors.  Mike helped me mount the driver's door.  We took turns holding the door and trying to get all the hing bolts started.  They are positioned in a location where you can barely get 2 fingers on them.  After a number of tries, we finally got it hung.  I managed to get the passenger door hung the next day with not nearly as much effort for some reason.  Probably because we took a good bit of time before painting to make sure that the 69 door would work.
I was anxious to make sure that my little modification to the 69 door would work properly, it did.  I only had one minor problem with a screw that was 1/16 inch too long.  Once fixed, the door worked nicely.  I then installed the rubber seals into the window frames using a generous amount of Gojo to lubricate the seal so it would slide into it grove.  
Having gotten all of the frame seals in, I put new felt into the channel where the window slides.  On a recommendation from Mike Dollard at SNG Barratt, I used the Series 3 felt because it's already shaped in the form of a U and is much easier to install .  I set about installing the windows and their winding mechanisms.  Then I had to adjust he window frames so that the door would close and seal up... sort of.  This all went surprisingly easy too..  but it still took the better part of a day. 

 With the window and door latch working, it was time to mount the door panels.  They are kind of fidgety things, and putting the re-covered 64 panels onto the door from the 69 meant that I had to drill several new screw holes to get everything to fit. Opening and closing the door carefully while fitting everything is a much to make sure that nothing is scraping the upholstery inside.
 I finally got the passenger door finished, opening and closing and with a window that will wind up and down.  Whew!

Now the driver's door.. it went much easier because not only was it the same door and door panels that came off of the car, I had the benefit of experience on my side now. I got it done is probably one third the time.  Let me add here that the experience I gained back in college while working at Freeman's Sports Cars, the local Triumph, Rover, Land Rover dealer I had little trouble with the door and window handles, but I can imagine that these things have given many people fits.

Now that both doors are done, and just about all of the rest of the interior is complete, I continue to do all the little things that can be done before the engine goes in.

 I got the new radio in from Retro Sound.  I installed it into the radio console, put the new "original style" speakers from S/M Electro-Tech.  They have very small magnets, just like the originals but the magnets are Neodymium magnets (commonly referred to as super magnets) and are 1/10 the physical size of round ceramic magnets found on most modern speakers but provide the same or higher field strength.  Side by side, they look just like the originals.  The radio, in addition to AM/FM, it also has an analog AUX input and a USB/SD card adapter for playing MP3 files and it comes with a remote control!!!  Pretty cool radio.  I have it hooked up to a battery on my workbench and have been listening to my tunes.

 I purchased two new exterior rear view mirrors a long time ago.  I put them on with no problems at all.  The holes for them had been drilled before the car was painted.

Now that I had done all I could with the interior, I mounted the rubber bonnet seals onto the mudguards, again, this went fairly smoothly.  I still have to fix the pieces to the inside of the bonnet. That'll come later.

Masking the piping
Half sprayed

Earlier today, I went up to the shoe repair place to pick up a pair of shoes that Donna was having repaired.  While I was in there it just dawned on me to ask about dying leather.  I had resolved myself to the fact that I would probably have to get the seats re-covered or I would never be happy with them.  They had the old seat covers on them but re-covering them is a fairly expensive proposition.  I asked the guy there about dying the seats in my antique Jag.  He said that dying was no problem really.  He then took me around the corner in his shop and showed me a rack that much have had a hundred different colors of dye.  I saw several that had possibilities.  I told him I'd be right.  I returned with a seat cushion and the piece of leather that I had cut out of the radio console to install the radio.  He took me to the back of his shop and 
Compare old on left
One seat cushion done.
we tried several colors on the underside of the cushion, none were perfect, but one was close.  I figured "what the hell", my choice was to spend $18 on spray dye or spend $1000 getting them recovered. I opted for the dye route. 

At his suggestion, I cleaned the leather good with rubbing alcohol, let it dry good, masked the piping and began spraying.  
The color isn't perfect, but it's a lot better than it was and the leather looks brand new.  I was definitely impressed.  At this point, I'm calling it  good.  It will remain to be seen if I am ultimately happy with the color.  If not, I'll just spend another $18.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Filling Some of the Big Holes

Putting in the final cantrail screws.
I've had a very productive week and with it being a long weekend, I managed to convince Rodney that he needed to be over here helping me.  We finished up getting the cantrails installed and they look very good, if I do say so myself.
I'm very proud of how it's all going.  The cantrails are a tight fit, they are installed with small screws that come in from the outside, through the rail that holds window gasket on. 

Cantrail's in, "B" post is in...

Next came the "B" post, that is the chrome piece that divides the door window and the rear quarter window.. The quarter window hinges on this post. I first had to install the rubber gasket before we could put the quarter windows in.  There is a rail that accepts the "T" shaped edge on the gasket.  It's not exactly easy to get the rubber squeezed into the rail, but as with most of this stuff, with a little practice it gets easier.
Rodney, looking for the latch's screw holes.

Quarter windows installed
Once this was done, Rodney and I were able to install the quarter windows.  This actually went fairly smoothly.  Getting the rear latch on was a little more tricky.

Good ol' Rodney voluntarily climbed in to help mount the latches.  These windows swing out at the rear to allow for some ventilation.  He was a little tentative about poking a few holes in the newly covered wing panels but I convinced him to poke away.  I held the glass.  It didn't take long and we (Rodney) had the latches mounted and operating flawlessly. 

This had been our goal for the evening but it went so well that we decided to press on.  I had been dreading installing the glass in the rear hatch.  I had never done anything like that.  We decided to tackle this little task... kinda like the blind leading the blind.
I put the rubber gasket surround on the glass and then ran a piece of nylon cord around into the grove that fits the opening in the rear hatch.  By doing this, it will allow me to put the glass over the hole in the hatch and pull the string and thereby forcing the lip of the groove in the gasket onto the edge inside the hatch.  I guess I would have to just show you, it's hard to explain, and harder to do, but we got it done, miraculously without breaking the glass or scratching the new paint on the hatch.

Gojo = good slickum

Next came the rubber insert that squeezes into a slot in the rubber gasket.  This spreads the gasket out, holding it securly in place.  Installing it is a tedious job, but once you get the hang of it and using a generous amount of Gojo on the rubber for lubrication makes it go a lot easier.
The helps keep me from scratching the paint

Next is the chrome trim, it's two half moon shaped pieces that surround the glass.  It has to slip between two slits in the gasket and is then held in place by these slits. It really helps to have a second pair of hands when doing this because just when you think you have one end in, the other end tries to jump out.  Creme Gojo also helps with this step, along with a right angled pick of some sort.

The rear hatch is nearly complete
We stuck on the chrome Jaguar emblem, stepped back and admired our work.  It was a major step in the restoration process completed.

We did a test fitting, got the hinges all aligned and called it a night.  I broke out my bottle of 18 yr old Single Malt Scotch and poured us a drink.

While we were enjoying our Single Malt, we started looking at the vinyl covering and fitting it to the inside of the hatch.  It was immediately apparent that we needed to take the hatch off to cover it.  We made plans to do this the next day.

When Rodney arrived the next day, we removed the hatch and prepared to do the upholstery.  The panels came to me pre-covered and fit nicely.  I had to install the clips that snap into the holes on the hatch interior.  Then we glued the upper part onto the top of the hatch and let it set up for a while

The vinyl pieces needed a good bit of trimming (Rodney cringes), and then it had to be tucked under the rubber seal!?!?!?!?  How the heck am I going to do this?  Well, turns out that it wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be.  Using the same right angled pick that I used on the seal earlier, along with a plastic chisel looking tool, I managed to get it tucked in without too much of a struggle. I then painted the latch.  Once it's dry, the hatch will be done and installed for good, I hope.  Then Rodney and I polished off the last of the Single Malt.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Interior Successes and Woes

I have been working diligently on completing the interior.  Sometimes it seems like things are just working against me.  I ordered all of the interior materials from what was considered a very reputable company that specializes specifically in Jaguar interiors.  I also sent them my console and the hinge and latch covers from the rear hatch because I wanted them to be "professionally" covered.  The covers are covered in moquette, a material that has a coarse fuzzy texture used in several places in the early Jag E-Types. All of the moquette is supposed to be the same color.  As this upholstery project proceeded, I pulled the moquette out of storage and began calculating just how it all would install when I thought "wait a minute there's something wrong here".  I went and got the hinge and latch covers from their box and they were covered in a totally different color moquette.  As I learned when I had to order more vinyl, these people NEVER answer their phone.  You have to listen to a very long sales message before you can even leave a message.  Then they call you back at their leisure.  I was appalled at their lack of concern, but I won't get into that, although I'd like to.  I think I have finally gotten it all straighten out and they are making it good, although I did have to pay to send the pieces back to be recovered.

All of this moquette is suppose to be the same color
The original seat doesn't quite match,
but that's not anybody's fault, I just can't
afford right now to get them redone, but it's on the list

That's not the first difficulty I have had with this particular supplier, but life goes on.  Considering that I know nothing about what I'm doing, I'm making good progress.  The little courtesy boxes just behind the seats, on the quarter panel, needed to be covered, originally they were flocked in gray.  Mike Darby gave me some very fine wool cloth very similar to the headliner, it was perfect but as it turned out, there wasn't enough there.  I went up to Bay Auto Glass and Upholstery and rifled through their remnants and found something that looked pretty good.  Now covering them was another head scratcher.. I managed to get it looking a lot better than I thought I would though.

Quarter Panel box (covered)

Original Quarter Panel box (uncovered)
Quarter Panel box installed
These small boxes were included in only the earlier cars.  I found them still in their place when I was removing the old interior.  They were hidden by the newer style quarter panel that a previous owner had installed.  I think it's pretty neat to resurrect them, and they might actually be useful.  I'm thinking... I'll come up with something to put in them.

Quarter Panel installed
I got the quarter panels installed.  It wraps around the door jam  and screws into place. There is another vertical piece that has to go in there too, making it pretty difficult to get it all lined up.I actually don't see how they could have built even one of these cars in
a month, let alone in the numbers that they turned out.

Installing the cantrail
The cantrails are some upholstered pieces that surround the rear window and door opening.  If you have been following the blog, you will remember when I was struggling with getting them covered.  Turns out, getting them covered was the easy part.  Getting them aligned and screwed in was more of a challenge.  Rodney came over tonight and was able to help with the driver's side, making it a lot easier.  It was completed.  In fact, nearly all of the interior is done now.  In celebration, we shared a glass of Glenfiddich single malt, and talked about how great we were. 

Both cantrails are installed.
it's nearing the end
I do lots of researching of pictures

The colors aren't different, it's just
a reflection or something.

I'm ready for a drive, just need to put the engine in.
There are actually quite a few other things that need to be done, but the single malt stilled seemed like a good idea.  I have to figure out where I'm going to mount the retractable seatbelt thing. The luggage rails in the back still need to be mounted, then there's the doors, I haven't even started on them yet.  That'll probably be the next big thing I work on.  I'm expecting the rear brakes and transmission very soon, then I can put the rear suspension in, it's all ready except for the brakes.  I have to finish making the clutch and brake lines, the fuel line, install the guts into the fuel tank, none of which is major, but it's gonna be hard driving the car without getting it done.  I'll keep ya posted.