Restoring a 1962 Jaguar E-Type

May 11, 2008

The Three Amigos

Filed under: Uncategorized — Penforhire @ 1:04 pm

One of the problems with having a public blog like this and having co-workers follow it is the hard time they give me at work. “What have you done for me lately?” That’s okay, it’s another incentive to keep moving ahead.

By the way, I’m dabbling in the stock market with intended future Jag funds. I’ve never been an active market investor so I’m learning a lot. Jim Cramer is my new best friend. Brad, overhearing Gary teaching me a few things, suggested a three month fantasy stock challenge with some arbitrary constraints. We’ve got five guys in it, including Gary and Bob. Now I fully expect Gary and Bob to leave my picks in the dust. Or at least I wouldn’t be embarassed to be schooled by them. Brad decided to replicate the monkey-throwing-darts technique. So for his picks he blindly dropped a pen onto a Wall Street Journal spread on his desk.

Here’s the problem. After the first week his dart-throwing monkey picks are kicking my ass. So please e-mail me your illicit insider information. It’s a good cause and … good enough for Martha Stewart, good enough for me!

That Verizon FIOS install went smooth as a baby’s butt. The internet sure is snappier at 5/2 MPS speed. I didn’t want to make a polishing racket while the installer dude was here. Maybe I’d be able to hear him falling off the roof. So I didn’t finish the valve cover. I started rebuilding the SU HD8 carbs instead. Move valve cover polishing next time, I promise. I know you want it.

I’m getting smart. Well, smarter anyway. Here I am, wearing my personal protective gear for polishing.

Ready to rock and roll. That’s a dust mask, face shield, and ear plugs. The polishing motor is pretty loud. Technically those are isolating ear phones going to an Ipod so I can be mellow while I polish. Polishing debris still gets everywhere but this seems like a reasonable compromise.

Here’s an exploded view of the challenge.

No, not quite as organized as the repair manual photos. This book (see below) was helpful in showing a good rebuild order and some tips on techniques and settings. It does not have exhaustive step-by-step but the important points seem to be covered. I don’t believe this book alone would be enough for me to rebuild the engine by myself. And the Moss DVD I mentioned below was also useful.

Speaking of books, I happened to purchase Jaguar World’s “Jaguar E Type Restoration” book from an English seller recently. That book is a collection of the magazine’s photo coverage of two E-Type restorations, a Series 1 4.2 and a Series III (V-12). While not exactly my car, the other Series 1 is close enough to be of interest. If you go to Amazon or other American book sources you’ll see absurd prices on this book, somewhere around $200 !! I think it is the Jag club in the UK that promotes reprints. Anyway I got it for 23 GBP, with shipping, from . Now that I have it I wouldn’t call it a must-have item but the more texts I can find the better.

Here is the “Grose jet” replacement for the original carb float valve I mentioned before.

You can see the big lower ball that pushes up against another ball you can’t see. Its random rotation means it should continue working long after the needle on the right starts leaking. You wouldn’t think the Series 1 fuel pump pressure of 3.5 PSI or so would be a big deal but fuel leaks on a hot engine are bad news. Sort of like water leaks for a boat.

Here is one of the end caps for the throttle shaft. These retain a spring against the cork seal and its dished washer. They are difficult to remove from crusty carbs without some pry damage.

The Moss DVD taught me a neat trick. Slide it over a close-size socket.

Now flip it upside down against a flat hard surface and tap the socket with a hammer.

Not perfect but very serviceable.

The new cork seals in rebuild kits should be soaked in oil for a while before installation.

This reduces the chance of damaging them when you insert them and when you push the throttle shaft through.

Here is the replacement kit for the “slow run screw” I showed you before that was a bit chopped up. Can you believe the screw was not separately available? There are a couple of parts, like those small springs and screws that must belong on other SU carb versions.

Here is one way to measure the float height. The forked arm is supposed to fully engage the shut-off pin (now Grose jets) 11.1 mm above the ridge of the float lid.

You bend the arm at the end of the straight section to adjust. This is the hard way of doing it. As shown in a prior post, I purchased a small SU carb tool kit. One of the items was an oval tube with just the right width.

Still sort of an awkward task. The usual reason carb float shut-off height is important is because it affects how lean or rich the carb runs by changing the fuel height that the main jet draws fuel from. If fuel is sitting too high it’ll run rich and vice versa. I assume that is also true of the SU’s?

Here is the stack of parts that screws the overflow tube onto the float bowl. I believe the identification tag is supposed to be above the banjo fitting, not below as shown here.

Strange thing. Not ONE of my manuals, including the official Jaguar parts manual, shows the carb ID tags. What’s up with that? It also means I’m not sure if the tag is just inserted under the top washer or if I need to sandwich it with an extra plain washer. One of mine came apart that way but the other two did not. Probably not a critical item. All that seal has to resist is a 1/4″ or so of fuel height before it flows down the open overflow tube.

Here is the first little jewel, the front carb, finished on the bench. Yeah, I know, the ID tag is still wrong. Don’t bother e-mailing me on that. I fixed it after the photo op.

Now I got into a rhythm by the third, rear, carb and (can you see this coming?) I assembled its float bowl backwards. I knew it was reversed but my brain was on cruise control. Not too much work to fix it but I was tired and dopey at that point. Okay wise guy, dopier than usual.

The throttle shaft return spring is connected between the shaft and an arm that is bolted under the carb. The paint on those arms was peel and rusty. A soak in Evapo-Rust worked on the rust. Some Krylon primer and gloss black brings us to this.

One of my new favorite phrases comes to mind, not perfect but serviceable. Maybe that’ll be on my future family crest?

I pushed on into the night because I was close enough to taste carb victory. The rear carb’s main jet was also the most stubborn to center. I must have moved the jet holder five times until I found a satisfactory fit. It still has a little more stiction than the other two carbs but I think that is slight piston corrosion. The piston still drops freely to the bottom. We’ll see if that’s a problem later.

And here are the three carbs, mounted to their intakes and with outer gaskets taped on. I figure that’s as good a place as any to keep the gaskets, no?

I dub thee, The Three Amigos!


  1. Looks like you’ve done a fine job on the carbs Eric. For those who might be about to undertake this job, I would suggest that you keep the pistons with their respective cylinders as they are matched. Also, when polishing the cylinders, it is easy to over-heat them which can cause them to warp. Best to keep a bucket of water nearby, and when the piece gets too hot to handle with bare hands, cool it off in the water. It is also a good idea to put a large moving blanket under the buffing wheel, as it is very easy for the wheel to grab the piece and fling it down hard against the ground…and I am speaking from personal experience! Among other things, I busted an original water temp send unit that way, but SNG Barratt had exact period-correct replacement.

    On the overflow cap, I personally didn’t trust the aluminum washer to provide a good seal, so I put a fibre on each side of the small banjo…but again, its only the overflow tube; not like it’s going to have gas pressure on it at all times. I’ve also cracked one of the bowl lids when tightening down the 3-way petrol tube…they are very thin and fragile!! Be sure the overflow tubes go below the oil pan. There is an oval clip/bracket that bolts to the oil filter housing. All three are supposed to fit in there…pain in the butt!

    Again, good work!!


    Comment by mcload — May 12, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

  2. Interesting…the butterfly valve shafts are steel, not brass?

    Comment by mcload — May 12, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

  3. Trivia: The small hollow nut that bolts down the fuel-bowl cap is the ONLY Whitworth-size hex head that I recall running into. Of course, a Cresent wrench is SAE, Metric, and Whitworth all rolled into one!


    Comment by mcload — May 12, 2008 @ 4:21 pm

  4. That jet carrier is a tight fit for a crescent. I SHOULD get the Whitworth wrench. An 18 mm works but you can’t torque it much before it’ll slip around the corners.

    The float shut-off (Grose jet here) is also Whitworth but a small crescent is an easier fit on that.

    Joe Curto mentions both shaft materials were used, didn’t say which went where or when. He did say the steel shafts hardly ever wear enough to need replacing. Makes sense since they run in brass bushes. After over 100K miles supposedly on them I cannot detect even a half-mil (0.0005″) of wear.

    Great idea on the extra fibre washer. Hadn’t thought about the petrol feed being a weak spot. I’ll be sure to crack that later! Why doesn’t the parts manual show the ID tags?! Thanks again for the insightful comments. Keep ’em coming!

    Comment by penforhire — May 12, 2008 @ 8:02 pm

  5. I don’t know why the spares catalog doesn’t mention the ID tags except that possibly the numbers changed from time to time, and it would be impossible to order a set from Jaguar with those specific numbers. That would be my guess. Since SU is now up and running, I’m wondering if an enthusiast can get a set stamped with his own specific number (if he had to, say if missing a couple of them). They originally had a light green anodizing finish to them.

    What are you going to do with your radiator? Are you going to have it rebuilt or is it too far gone? I have a new 1961 radiator and fan shroud I will sell you for 100 bucks less than the going rate. This radiator is authentically incorrect for my ’66.


    Comment by Patrick McLoad — May 14, 2008 @ 8:12 am

  6. Hmm, I didn’t see any trace of anodizing but after 100K miles maybe it’d worn off. It does look like we could fabricate our own if we had to. The shape isn’t too odd, no vertical features, and the stamping font looks fairly generic.

    I haven’t examined my radiator closely yet but I was planning to do the whole Cool Cat or similar aluminum radiator & fan. A new 1961 radiator?! That sounds tempting. Is there a reason to avoid the aluminum replacements?

    My father-in-law does recall that even in the best condition it ran too hot in So Cal weather. I know a replacement fan, versus the pathetic original two-blade, should cure some of that.

    Comment by penforhire — May 14, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

  7. I may be mistaken about the anodizing of the carb tabs on the early cars…wouldn’t be the first time! (Those are the least of your worries).

    There was a discussion of sorts about the Series-1 fan blade on the JCNA forums. One guy, George Camp, whose opinion I highly regard, says there is no problem with running the original fan as long as all things like timing, radiator health, shroud, water pump are all working correctly. Even the inventor of the Cool Cat fan chimes in, and basically agrees. (These guys either live in Canada or never drive their E-Types on HOT days!!)

    However, there are just as many others who disagree and who have continual problems with over-heating. As long as my car is actually moving, and if it’s not too hot a day, then yes, the original fan and motor probably does okay. But I am not about to chance having to sit in stop and go traffic while watching the temp needle continually climb until it pegs. You can read this thread at:

    In regards to aluminum, I have often heard that they do not help your car run any cooler than a good clean stock radiator…but yeah, they are lighter in weight. If it matters to you, you will not find an authentically correct aluminum radiator, and you will still need to run a high-velocity fan on it. I haven’t priced aluminum rads lately, but they aren’t cheap…and some are poorly made. But ultimately, they are not worth the extra amount of money. You might ask around.


    Comment by Patrick McLoad — May 15, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

  8. Hello,
    the aluminium tags must be placed on top of the banjo!!! Notice the gaps on the inner diameter of the fibre washer to let fuel pass into the banjo! You run the risk of not being able to vent the carb thus possibly raising internal fuel pressures in the carb.


    Comment by Graham — November 17, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

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