Restoring a 1962 Jaguar E-Type

April 13, 2008

Aching beauty, aching hands

Filed under: 1962, auto restoration, car restoration, E-Type, Jaguar, restoration, XK-E, XKE — Penforhire @ 2:33 pm

Did you see the blog comments from Patrick McLoad? He owns a stunning award-winning E-Type. I’ll put a link to his site ( in my blogroll at the upper right. Check out the story in his The Cars/The Jaguar E-Type links. The images of his car are what I call “achingly beautiful. I see them and they make my breath catch.

His body shop horror stories fill me with dread and anger. Yikes! I need significant body work. If there is one auto service that gets more bad mouthed than any other it is body work. Maybe it is because the paint and body are the most obvious impressions a car makes on you. Or maybe the industry just overflows with spastic monkeys who think they know how bend metal and paint.

Anyway, my vision for this car is to be a driver not a show car. I don’t want it to be clearly bastardized, like a small block Chevy V8 under the hood. I mean, if you want a kit car why destroy an authentic original classic car to do it? At the same time I want it to be as reliable, comfortable, and safe as is reasonable. Oh, and slightly improved engine power wouldn’t hurt either. I have no ethical problem upgrading the radiator & fan, changing to tubeless rims, converting positive Ground to negative, better-insulating the cockpit, and maybe some brake upgrades. But, for example, I am hesitating over the thought of a T-5 tranny conversion. Restoring my later-year 4-speed synchro box is a bit more authentic while the 5-speed T-5 is probably an all-around improvement. My father-in-law says the original non-synchromesh Moss tranny is in his garage somewhere but that is just TOO authentic!

Back to the garage.

Here’s an image of some rusty studs from an air intake manifold. I pulled all the studs off to sand all the intake sealing surfaces clean and flat. I put the sandpaper on a piece of glass and drag the part across it to maintain flatness.

I’m using a cheap stud remover and it tends to slightly damage the studs where it tightens. Should not be a problem since the entire blank area and some of the threads are dead space at the center of whatever the stud holds down. Regardless, I probably should have run a die over the studs AFTER I replaced them not before (like I did), eh?

I found something new (to me) to remove rust. I saw an ad in Eastwood’s catalog for a non-toxic rust remover that is not an acid and isn’t even toxic. I was familiar with phosphoric acid (naval jelly) and hydrochloric acid (a.k.a. muriatic acid). Those work but are hazardous to handle, disposal is restricted, and they eat the base steel or iron after removing rust. Sand blasting works but it alters the surface and is messy for me to use (I have a tiny cabinet). I was thinking Eastwood’s product couldn’t possibly work well but I figured I give it a shot. Just as I was about to order some I found a number of references to an identical-sounding chemical sold as Evapo-Rust. Seems to be about half Eastwood’s price. And local Auto Zone stores carry small containers of it. Off to Auto Zone.

This stuff actually works! You have to keep the part submerged or wet. You can flow it over a large part with a recirculating pump. Most parts had to sit at least overnight. They claim the active ingredient chelates rust but will not touch uncorroded metals. You can touch it with bare skin and, in theory, you could swallow some and not die (I’m not testing that). Oh yeah, it is still expensive. I main-ordered one gallon from an seller and it cost about $45 delivered.

Now since then I discovered an ever cheaper version, D-Rust-It. If I need more than I have I’ll be trying their concentrate. Somewhere around $50 of concentrate makes up 10 gallons of working solution. If you know of a cheaper source than D-Rust-It post a comment!

I tried it on the sludge in the coolant path of the air intakes but that stuff must not be mostly rust. I ended up scrubbing those pathways by hand. There is a dead-end section in each intake and I can’t understand why it was designed that way. Coolant has to be stagnant in that corner?

I decided I wanted to polish both valve covers because, well, you already know I’m insane. Job duration is entirely dependent on surface area to clean and polish. And the valve covers are huge!

Here is the starting point of the passenger-side valve cover.

Here is the engine without the cover. This is the first overhead cam engine I have poked around in. It is shocking to see the camshaft lying naked on top like this.

Here is the rear section of camshaft.

Here is the front. Note the chain drive.

There is some very slight pitting on the lobe surfaces. Hard to capture on film but here you go.

So how much is too much pitting? I’m thinking I shouldn’t see ANY damage. This is also in, to me, an odd location, along the flat of the lobe. Not enough lubrication? Well, not yet time to plan the engine rebuild. We’ll see what’s what down the road.

I cleaned the crud off the valve cover with Simple Green (and a lot of elbow grease).

Next I went through a couple of sandpaper steps. Here is what it looked like after 220 grit.

Believe it or not, I should have gone down to an even coarser grit. I had to work long and hard with 220 and some areas could use a deeper cut.

This was followed by 400 grit. Just about right for cutting through the 220 grooves.

I maybe could have gone to 600 grit but I jumped to emery compound on a polishing wheel. Here it is after the first pass. About a day’s work!

Nowhere near done yet. You know I have patience but this much surface area is ridiculous. I started to whine to myself after the first pass.

I used a “polishing bob” on a die grinder for areas too small for a 6″ polishing wheel to reach.

I’m sorry if this seems like a short amount of work for the time past. It isn’t. If you don’t believe me you can come over and help me start on the OTHER valve cover!

All work and no play? That’s not me. BMW Joe and I went on a charity ride for And there was a miracle! Gary came out riding too. So we knew the temperatures (his bike has our only thermometer). Much warmer than our last club ride but we just kept asking Gary for the temperature anyway. Here are our iron horses at the start, Santa Clarita Motorsports.

That’s Joe standing in front of his BMW K1200RS (last generation). Gary’s Honda ST1300 is just behind and my Yamaha FJR1300 is in the rear. I go out in what I call “dreadnaught mode.” With that Givi top case I’ve got a lot of storage and I try to be prepared for trouble. The guys used to kid me about having the most electronics mounted on my bike but Joe took over as lead geek after he mounted a new Garmin made-for-bikes GPS, while my GPS now rests in a saddlebag just for emergencies.

We had a great ride through the high desert where California poppies were in full bloom. Had to dodge tourists. I should have stopped for a photo of the amazing sea of orange flowers but we had places to be. We got lost (bad directions). Before Joe could find a correct route using his GPS Gary got directions the old fashioned way, he asked at a gas station. Score one for old tech.

We actually made several wrong turns. Worst directions we’ve seen in years. But we had a good time anyway. Our poker hands (it was also a poker run) were not worth mentioning, neither high nor low.

Here’s Joe holding up a $10 bill at the end of the ride.

He won a Harley hat in their raffle. Look again at our bikes, three variations on state of the art sport-touring. Think we promote Harley Davidson much? Joe found someone right there willing to trade $10 for the hat. Gary won a windbreaker.

I happened to win a $20 gift certificate… from Harley Davidson. I guess you take your ride sponsors where you can find ’em. I give it to my wife. I’m sure she’ll re-gift it to someone soon.

Next time I should have the first valve cover done. Oh my aching hands!


  1. Penforhire:

    First, thank you for the very kind words and for posting my website. I want to apologize for over-doing the replys I’ve been sending….nothing worse than a big mouth who thinks he knows it all! I will refrain from such long posts in the future.

    But it’s always cool to watch your car come apart piece by piece; takes me back to the good old days!

    Just a couple of things I wanted to mention. In regards to the studs, I think a stud remover like you are using is okay, but you can also just put two nuts on a stud, tighten them against each other, and just screw them in or out. Be careful on the exhaust side…I would soak those threads for about a week. Nothing worse than busting a stud in an engine block! By the way, those exact same studs are available at almost any hardware store such as ACE. I wouldn’t re-use them. Make sure to use anti-seize on the new ones. (I used stainless steel).

    On your cam lobes, those should be absolutely smooth. At the very least, have them polished at a cam shop as well as the tappet. Lack of lubrication is the only reason for this. At the back of the engine is a small oil tube that branches to a “Y” to feed oil into the OHC gallery. Make sure this tube is not blocked. Low oil pressure could be the problem too.

    Yes, polishing aluminum is a PITA and a very dirty job. I generally use 600 grit on an orbital palm-sander before going to the wheel. Gouges need to be filed first. I realize you are using black compound because it is course, but make sure to switch to white compound on a new clean wheel for the final buffing pass.

    The water in the intake should not be stagnant. Notice the rectangular holes in the block for the passage of water into/out of the intake manifold. There should also be tubes in the rear for your heater connection as well as vacuum (see I would not run a thermostat unless you live in a very cold climate.

    Last but not least, I vote for your keeping the original gearbox. If the engine is the heart of the car, the gearbox is the soul. I think it’s important to keep the running gear original so that you can experience 60’s technology. This will also save you a lot of coin, which could be put to use elsewhere…say, an engine rebuild?

    Sorry for another long post. Keep it up, you’re doing fine!

    Patrick McLoad

    Comment by mcload — April 15, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

  2. The work we are willing to do to keep our favorite cars alive.

    Comment by Hubcaps Unlimited — April 16, 2008 @ 6:32 am

  3. Patrick, don’t shorten your posts. These are exactly the sort of comments I appreciate and the community at large will benefit from. The way WordPress handles comments thy don’t interfere with the flow on my blog at all, regardless of how long you write them. Invite any other Jag enthusiasts to participate. Let me know if you ever want me to remove the link to your site. As a personal site, I should have asked first.

    The “dead space” I am thinking of is inside the air intakes. Right below the water manifold connection there is a passage through it. The rear-most wall of this passage (toward the carbs) is a rectangular dead-end. I had a ton of brown goo accumulated there. I imagine it was easier to cast this way, rather than using a smoothly curving back wall or a solid copper insert?

    Your linked photo shows a different water manifold than mine. If you look at the earlier post (Luck of the Irish) I only have one outlet at the rear! I’ll have to check the exploded parts view but I think my set-up matched it. Did that change over time?

    Comment by penforhire — April 16, 2008 @ 7:22 am

  4. Penforhire:

    I took a look at your old posts on the E-Type, back to the first.
    Man is that E-Type in bad shape. It’s a shame it sat for 35 years!
    You say it belonged to your father-in-law who bought it new? You need to pester him for any and all paper work that came with the car! At what time was it re-painted?

    I can relate to the crushed floors. Some kid thought they were jacking points and put the lift arms under the floors. One minute later, they were ruined. Thats one thing I dislike about E-Types: they don’t have a ridgid frame under the body; it’s pretty much all sheet-metal. And the little square “jacking points” are a joke.

    Where are you located? Over in the UK?

    One other question: I just started a blog on, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out HOW to get the same subscriber box that you have. I’ve been to “Fireburner” (or whatever you call it, have registered, but can’t find that particular widget. The closest I came was by using the text widget and then adding a line of code in the box. From there you are directed to a big confusing list of search engines, and well, it’s just too complicated. Can you give me a link to where I find the SAME style subscriber box that you have? You can e-mail me at

    Many thanks!

    Comment by mcload — April 16, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  5. Penforhire:

    Patrick’s car is a 4.2L engine I believe, which is why his intake looks different.


    I never thought about putting the car on a lift, that explains my crushed floor boards. I always thought that was from running over speed bumps too fast or something.

    Where do you recommend jacking up the car?


    Comment by Mike — April 17, 2008 @ 8:33 am

  6. Mike, you may be right about the source of the intake difference!

    By the way, anyone who wants to follow your link needs to add a “/cars” before the first “/jaguar.”

    I’m curious what Patrick will say on best jacking points. I read a piece of wood can be fitted under the front engine frame (downward U-channel) to make an excellent front jack point. Maybe I got lucky but I used the side jacking points (onto a piece of wood) to lift an entire side of the car at a time (then placing ramps under the tires)! Nothing snapped in half or sagged?

    Somewhere I read the suspension arm pivots make sturdy locations (if you are on the fixed pivot casting ONLY).

    Comment by Penforhire — April 17, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  7. penforhire,

    I was at Spring Carlisle this past week and I am wondering if you stopped by the D-Rust-It booth in the Midway. Our product is certainly chelant based; however, it has a bit different formulation which allows for all around better performance. I remember speaking to a gentleman there concerning the restoration of a Jag E-Type and thought perhaps it may have been you. I am curious to know if you have tried D-Rust-It on any project. It does indeed cost $59.00 per gallon of industrial concentrate and for a limited time, we are offering free ground shipping to the lower 48 states. When you mix enough to make 10 gallons, it is still sronger than the other rust removers. You can read more about our products here:

    Comment by Lee Johnson — April 28, 2008 @ 12:42 pm

  8. Unfortunately that gentleman was not me. Would love to attend a Carlisle gathering some day but it is on the wrong coast!

    So far I have only used Evapo-Rust and it works very well. Got any links to unbiased life comparisons between these similar products (I would lump Eastwood’s in there too)?

    Comment by penforhire — April 28, 2008 @ 2:59 pm

  9. Penforhire,
    I know these are very dated comments; however, I would like to extend the opportunity for you to provide an unbiased test of D-Rust-It vs Evapo-rust by providing you with a sample @ no charge. We have done extensive side-by-side comparisons and D-Rust-It has outperformed Evapo-rust. Obviously these tests cannot be considered ‘unbiased’. We would welcome publishing your results as we feel that our product is superior. If you would agree to provide feedback, go to my website You will find my e-mail there. I look forward to hearing from you. We had planned to be @ Fall Carlisle, but the increase in internet sales has precluded us from attending.
    Regards, Lee

    Comment by Lee Johnson — October 8, 2008 @ 4:06 am

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