Restoring a 1962 Jaguar E-Type

November 11, 2007

Mechanical advantage

Filed under: 1962, auto restoration, car restoration, E-Type, Jaguar, restoration, XKE — Penforhire @ 4:14 pm

Hmm, no answer to last week’s mystery letters. I’ll have to ask the Jag-Lovers forum.

I’m still learning the best use of vibratory bowl cleaning. I think I’ve accumulated media dust in the bowl and I need to wash it out and sieve the media. What happens is when I clean bolts now, the threads get packed with plastic-like debris.


I have to use an edge to scrape it out, like the back side of an Exacto knife blade or a proper thread-die (but very hard to turn). The debris is resistant to even steel wire brushing.

I’ve been ill this week. Just the common cold but it knocked me on my ass. Otherwise I would have gone to the LA county fairgrounds Saturday to watch flat-track dirt bike races with Brad. But it was all I could do to get any work done. I only had one agenda for this weekend, bonnet removal.

I took off as much attached crap as I could. Here are the left and right horns inside the bonnet. They weigh a few pounds each.



You can see the backside of the bonnet harness multipin connector above the left side horn.

I found more evidence I’m not the first guy to tear into the bonnet. Each horn had some hand markings by the electrical connectors.


The right side here has a “B” above the right terminal (black wire) and a “?” on the left. My kind of marking!

Here are the two horns. I cleaned one up as best I can but it still has some corrosion and I don’t yet know if they function.


Inside the opening they are marked “L” and “H.” I assume they are two-tone set, high and low. Too bad Jaguar didn’t have Colin Chapman’s (Lotus automobiles) obsession with weight reduction. These suckers are relatively heavy! Just like the horn on my bike, they are riveted together.


So much for the idea of taking them apart for cleaning and repair, if needed. The good news is they are almost completely hidden inside the bonnet mouth so if they get replaced nobody will notice. I need to rig up a 12V supply and test ’em.

Well, that’s the end of what made sense to strip out of the bonnet right now. My friends suggested a bonnet removal party, since four or more people are recommended to handle the whole bonnet. After stripping off all the pieces except the internal dividers (or breaking it into three chunks) it still weighs 250 lbs or so. I read and re-read the Haynes manual instructions on removal and studied the problem. You’d have chuckled at me walking back and forth, studying it like the lay of the balls on a billiard table. I made some decisions and dove in. I said to myself, “self, if you’re so smart you should be able to do this by yourself!” Feel free to cringe now.

The car sits too low for me to get some of my bonnet-lifting ideas under it. So the first step was to put the front wheels on ramps. Consulting the manuals I found there are side jacking points designed under the doors.


A bit nasty under there. At least the side did not collapse when I stacked some wood on top of a floor jack and lifted.


Voila! On ramps. The bonnet hinges rotate, one pivot on each side of the car. The hinge is held onto the pivot by a single bolt that can be removed with the bonnet in just about any position. The book recommends opening the bonnet against some wood at the front to remove weight from the pivot. Nothing happens because the bonnet hinges are still sitting on pivot points, just not secured —


There is also a spring-assist arm on each side, held to the frame rails by a single shoulder-bolt & nut, with large brass washers on each side. The shoulder of that bolt is another pivot surface. These should be removed with the bonnet nearly closed. Otherwise the springs are pulling on them. Once you remove these the bonnet loses its counter-balance and is heavy to lift at the rear end. Maybe 50 lbs or so to lift. So before I pulled the spring assist bolts I rigged up my mechanical advantages —


That is an ATV/motorcycle lift at the front. Don’t try this at home, kids —


I know. I can hear you yelling at your screens now. Bear with me.

I would not suggest this technique for a perfect bonnet. But mine was so messed up I had to pry the back left louver open (louvre to you Brits) to pass the strap through! As I mentioned above, we’re only supporting 50 lbs or so at the back end. No louvers were harmed in the filming of this movie. Okay, so now you’re yelling at me for lifting off to one side. I could not reach the center (ramps under wheels limited hoist position) and since most of the weight was at the front I did not expect any massive swings from the off-center lift.

Here’s the hinge and spring hardware I mentioned above —


The book says at this point I can loosen just one of the hinge attachments to the bonnet (four bolts hold each against reinforced bonnet sections) and my crew of bonnet assistants should be able to pull sideways and pop both hinges off the frame pivots and lift the bonnet off. My bonnet assistants were not as flexible as live people so I ended up loosening both hinges before I could get them to release off the pivots. Note that loosening the hinges means I completely lost the bonnet position adjustment. I figured that was no big deal since I anticipate replacing the front frame and THAT, along with body work on the bonnet, requires a re-fit anyway. I think Classic Jaguar sells replacement hinges with a greater range of adjustment if needed.

Aside from that, removal went smoothly. After the pivots were free I had to lift both ends more to clear the tires, pulling it forward.

I had previously cut some 3/4″ plywood to fit the end of the bonnet and set that on some furniture dollys ($9 each at Harbor Freight). I set the rear end of the bonnet on the edge of the wood and lifted/tilted the front end up. The front weighed just a bit more than I was comfortable dead-lifting-to-shoulder-press myself so I asked my wife to give me a hand. Ta da!


I suppose this lift technique could damage the two bottom bonnet corners I pivoted on but I figured that would be a drop in the bucket-o-body work to be done on the hood. As it happened I did not notice any additional damage. This wheeled arrangement fit to the side of the car in my garage. It blocks one set of shelves but I can move it effortlessly if needed.

Mind, and mechanical advantage, over matter. I figure my body shop will be assembling the bonnet back onto the body, not me. I have some experience with paint and body work, enough to know that someone has to do it for me! When I was in high school I helped my dad fix up a 1954 Volvo 544 (looked like a split-windshield Ford). That involved hammers, body dollys, Bondo, and many cans of Rustoleum (dad’s favorite paint). I sure am glad that car finally burned up (can you say “car-b-que?”) when he was driving it and not me. He’d never have believed it wasn’t my fault!

Here are some pictures of the current state of the front end, now that the bonnet is off. Those SU carbs are tempting but I’ve still got the rear body lights & trim or the entire interior to chose from too. A target rich environment! I’m trying not to get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the big picture. I figure if I chip away at enough small stuff and stay somewhat organized I’ll come out the other end with my sanity intact.



Here’s a close-up of the right suspension. The arrow points to the bonnet pivot point.


Notice anything unusual? That’s right, no coil spring. There is a “torsion bar” instead. Peculiar and probably a pain to adjust.

That’s it for this week. I’m thinking of trying every-other-week blog entries. There really is not enough action on a weekly basis in a project of this duration. So unless something more exciting than “look at the bolts I cleaned up!” happens I’ll see you in two weeks. Cheerio!

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