May 2006

Date Event


I refilled the gearbox with fresh oil.  I can't fit the gearbox cover until I have refitted the gear lever' I mad full size cardboard templates for the dash panels and mapped out the instrument positions for the centre panel



Gear Lever

Yesterday I shortened the gear lever by about ",  so that the new extension fitted as close to the anti-vibration bush as possible.  John Hopkins had promised to fit and pin the extension in place once I had cut the gear lever to length, so I took it round to him. John manufactured a taper pin, accurately drilled a hole through the centre of the extension and the gear lever, reamed the hole to match the taper pin.  He locked the extension in place with Loctite, inserted the pin and cut it off flush with dies of the extension. A light  dressing  with a file and you could hardly see where the pin had been inserted. I picked up the completed gear lever today and refitted it to its gearbox mounting. I then refitted the complete assembly back on to the gearbox.  I did a further trial fit of the gearbox cover to check the clearances around the hole for the gear lever now that it was fitted.  While I was doing this I noticed an oil leak from the back of the gearbox.  I will investigate later.

I cut out the dash centre panel.



I needed to bend 10mm flanges around the centre dash panel I made some bending bards from 25mm angle iron.  These formed extensions to the vice and bolted together at the ends to clamp the panel between them. I inserted the panel to the line marked 10 mm from the edge and clamped it in place.  I checked that the line exactly matched the line of the bending bars along its length.  The initial bend was started by hand applying pressure to the base of the plate, just above the bending bars.  The final bend to to a right angle was achieved with a hammer and a block of wood. The block of wood protects the panel from being dented by the hammer.  The result is a clean straight bend.  I repeated this for each edge of the plate.  When I had finished the dash panel was an exact fit between the panel brackets on the bulkhead.



Central Dash Panel

Using the the full size template I made as a guide I marked the instrument positions on the dash panel.  To cut then out I had the choice of using a hole saw or to drill holes around inside the the circumference of the instrument hole then cut these to break out the centre. ?the dash panel metal was very thin and I thought the chance of making an error using the hole saw to great a risk  so I opted for the old fashioned method.  I drilled around inside the circumference of the instrument holes using the pillar drill making sure each hole was inside the line.  I cut out the holes for the Rev counter and Speedo with a junior jack saw blade inserted in the holes and cutting the spaces in between.  In opened out the hole to the correct size for the instrument with a half round file frequently checking the hole against the instrument until it fitted.  The Rev counter and Speedo are from the donor XJ6, I had had them refurbished by "Speedy Cables" ages ago.  They are retained by spring pressure against 3 lugs  inserted through slots in the panel and held by twisting the instrument so that the lugs are  behind the panel. I used the dashboard of the XJ6 to as a template to determine where the slots should be cut. marked them on the dash pane l and checked them against the instrument. The slots were cut with a junior hacksaw and small flat file,



Central Dash Panel


I cut out the 4 remaining holes for the fuel, oil , water and voltmeter gauges. I opened out the holes to size with a half round file frequently checking against the instruments  until they fitted.  these instruments are retained using U brackets  fitted to the back of the instrument to clamp then in place.  Now the holes were cut I put a strip of masking tape down each  side, at the back of the panel, where the brackets will fit.  I put the panel in place and using a bolt dipped in engineers blue, inserted though the panel mounting holes in the brackets, marked where they came on the panel.   I drilled the panel to match the holes. I temporarily removed the dash panel brackets from the bulkhead and fitted M5 alloy Rivnuts to them to secure the panel. I refitted the bracket and fitted the peel using M5 pan head set screws.  Using rivnuts certainly made the job easier that trying to fit nuts to the screws from  behind the panel. I took the panel off and fitted the instruments. I make sure the Rev counter and Speedo are mounted vertically I will need to fit a stop at the back of the panel to prevent the top lug from going past he vertical.  I temporarily fitted the panel with the instruments just to see what it looked like.


Dash Panel


I made a couple of stops out of  10mm aluminium angle. I checked the instruments were vertical and positioned the stop against he top lug. I marked its position  I removed all the instruments and drilled the panel, I secured the stop in place with a small pop rivet.  I refitted the large gauges and checked that they were vertical against the stop.  I gave the panel one coat etching primer and two coats of Hammerite smooth black and left it to dry.

Whist the paint is drying I took the gearbox cover off to investigate the oil leak.  I discovered two missing bolts at the back (probably removed when I removed the original XJS mounting bracket. I will need to get some M8 x 60mm bolts in the morning to replace them.


Dash panel

Transmission cover

Though Wednesdays is my day off from work I never seen to get as much done on the car as I would like.  I got some M8 bolts for the gearbox and fitted them.  It seems to have fixed the leak.  I say leak but it was more like a weep from the joint.  I can't remember for sure, but I think the most likely cause for the missing bolts was when I removed the XJS mounting bracket.   I finished painting the dash centre panel and refitted the instruments, finally fitting the dash panel on to the mounting brackets .   I have sealed the transmission cover to the rear bulkhead and left it to dry. I made a cover plate for the LH inspection plate in the rear bulkhead.  I painted it in Acid #8 etching primer and left it to dry.


Rear Bulkhead

Painted the bulkhead cover with 2 coats of Hammerite Smooth Black


Fitted the rear bulkhead cover



Gearbox cover


Speedo Cable

I was determined to finally fit the gearbox cover today, The gearbox oil leak is definitely cured.  I did one last trial fit tightening   down add compressing the seal  to make sure that the holes in the cover for the gear lever and handbrake lever were big enough so that no contact with the cover occurred whine the levers were operated.  As I tightened the bulkhead bolts I though I felt the top one go slack as I tightened it down .  Sure enough, I found when I undid the cover and removed it, the top rivnut had once again pulled through the bulkhead.   The hole was too badly mangled to insert another Rivnut but I had an alternative solution - Make a captive nut and pop rivet it in place.  I inserted an M8 Rivnut in to a piece of 30mm strip aluminium 60 mm long. the rivnut was positioned to correspond with the hole in the bulkhead,   I drilled a hole 10mm from each end of the aluminium strip to accept a 3mm pop rivet.   I positioned the strip in place from inside the cockpit, aligning the rivnut with the hole in the bulkhead.  I drilled through the pop rivet holes in to the bulkhead. I painted the aluminium strip back so it would not show.   When it was dry I  positioned the "captive nut" on the engine bay  side of the bulkhead  and held it in place  with a short M8 bolt.  I aligned the pop rivet holes and riveted it in place  While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I fitted the rubber (sleeve) grommet to the speedo cable securing it with a cable tie at he bottom.  I'll fit another to the top once the speed cable and  cover  are finally in place.  Because it was going to be easier without the gearbox cover in place I checked and adjusted the clutch release clearance (HM Xj6 Series 3, page 73)



Gearbox cover

I checked all the bulkhead rivnuts and all were secure.  I trial fitted the gearbox cover again to be satisfied all the clearances  and securing hole alignments were correct. I removed the cover one more time and placed sealer on e transmission cover n the area that would be overlapped by the gearbox cover.  I finally put the gearbox cover in place, threading the speedo capable though the hole in the top if the cover and making sure the rubber grommet was in place protecting the cable.  I inserted the bulkhead bolts first partially tightening them until I could insert the floor retaining bolts.  I partially secured the cover to the floor with M5 bolts and plain nuts from underneath  the vehicle. This is a two person job and Mary helped me by holding the bolts in place in the cockpit floor while I worked from underneath. This established the position of the gearbox cover and transmission cover. To get to the final position with the seals compressed and the gearbox cover , / transmission cover joint sealed Greg came over to give me a hand.  We systematically worked from the bulkhead backwards tightening each bolt.  Once it was all tightened down and in position we replaced each of the floor bolts (one at a time) with M5 x 25mm pan head screws, 2x penny washers (1 x above and below) and nyloc nuts.  this latter exercise was to make the fastening easier to hide under the carpet  when the car is trimmed.  I fitted the speedo cable to the speedo routing it from the exit point in the gearbox cover  thought the upper part of the bulkhead near the RH demister pipe through a hole behind the speedo  to back of the speedo.   

The rest of the day I started to look again at the dash side panels.




Dash panels

I spoke with Nostalgia again to day regarding the dash side panels.  I wanted to make sure that when we spoke a few days ago we were not at cross purposes, we weren't  I seems that now they use wooden dash panels, they overlay the wood  panel on the centre instrument  panel, but use just wood with no metal under panel for the side panels.   However since I need to get the car electrics and engine running before the car goes for finishing at Nostalgia I will need to make a dummy panel fro the drivers side. because that is where I want to mount the warning lamps and the light, heater and fog lamp switches.  Once the electrics are proven then the "trimmer can transfer the lamps and switches to the wooden panel.  I spent he day making a cardboard template of the panel and then cutting out and bending the panel to shape from 20 gauge aluminium( Build Manual fig 3-27)  I transferred the template  outline to the aluminium panel checking the dimensions against the drawing and the vehicle.  This was important because the dimensions, given on the drawing, for the steering column housing was misplaced by 70mm and too shallow when compared with the vehicle.  The panel was easy to cut out and with care, using the bending bars I made for the centre instrument panel, I was able to bend the flanges.   A couple of trial fits were  to get the end of the panel to match the underside of the scuttle. The panel almost fits, I have to decide on the  how to make some distance pieces  between the panel and the scuttle mount to get the position right and then if I need to make a cut out in the panel  for the back of the ignition switch.



Ignition Switch

I decided to make a cut out at the bottom of the panel for the ignition switch.  From all the trial fits of the panel it looks like I need one.  The barrel of the ignition switch is about 35mm I placed the panel as close to the final position as I could get, and marked around the ignition switch on to the panel. I did the usual trick drilled a number of holes around the circumference, just inside the line.  I cut between them with a hack saw, finishing off the cut out, to a smooth semicircle ,with a half round file.  I did a guesstimate of the size of the distance piece I need to bridge between the panel and the mounting bracket.  As near as I could tell 30mm should do it.   I made a "U" channel from an off cut of  aluminium sheet 20 mm x 30 mm x 20mm.  I found it easier to work with the steering column unbolted from the mounting brackets and lowered to the floor of the car.   I drilled the scuttle mounting bracket and inserted 2 x M5 Rivnuts. I put the distance piece in position on the scuttle mounting bracket and clamped it in place.  I dipped an M5 bolt in engineers blue and screwed it in from the back until it touched the distance piece. The resulting mark showed where to drill the distance piece.  I drilled the two holes with 5.5 mm drill and bolted the distance piece in place. A trial fit of the panel showed the the distance piece to be too big. I wont bore you woth the detail but I made a distance piece this time 20mm x 25mm x 20mm but this also proved to be too big.  To get it right I inserted two long M5 bolts from the back. With the panel in the correct position the bolts were screwed in until they just touched the panel. I measured the length of the bolts ,  22 mm  Throughout the day at each trial fit I found I needed to adjust the panel to fit around the brackets and the underside of the scuttle to achieve the best fit I could.




Dash side Panel

Ignition Sw


So that my hard work of yesterday was not a complete waste of time I made a new distance piece by combining the two I made yesterday.  I cut off one leg of the "U"  on each distance piece to make an "L" bracket . I  trimmed the "L"  to dimensions of 20mm a 18mm. The 18mm legs were overlapped and clamped together to make a "U" channel 20mm x 22mm x 20mm. I drilled 2  x 4mm holes in the overlapping brackets and fastened them together with pop rivets.  This time the trial fit was satisfactory.  With the panel in its correct position, I drilled two pilot holes through it and the distance piece, taking care that it did not interfere with the pop rivets or the  securing bolts holding the distance piece to the scuttle bracket.  I too the panel and distance piece off and opened the holes in the panel to 5.5mm. I inserted 2x M% rivnuts in the distance piece to secure the panel. The distance piece was proving difficult to fit to the scuttle bracket because the "U" channel was too narrow to get my fingers in to start the screw thread. I overcame this problem by drilling holes in the opposite side of  "U" channel through which I could insert a screwdriver and securing the distance piece to the scuttle bracket with M5 Screws. 

Now that the panel is in position  I  marked the position of the mounting brackets and any other obstruction like the demister vents on to the panel. this gave me the free areas where I could mount the switches and warning lights.   Adopting the driving position , as best as I could without seats , I marked where I could easily reach and see where the switches  should go. I repeated the exercise to make sure I could easily see where the warning lights. should go.  The switches were placed just to the right of the ignition switch, 2.5" (63mm) from the bottom of the panel and at 1.5" ( 35mm)  centres. the warning lights were mounted in a 3x3 matrix at 1" (25mm) centres, centred on the steering column and visible through the steering wheel. I fitted the switches and the warning lamps and trial fitted the panel again to check the positions. It looks and feels OK. 

The panel is only a temporary  to enable me to plot the position of the instruments, switches and warning lamps and complete the wiring. If any of it is incorrect or turns out to be obscured in any way it can be adjusted once the wooden dash is fitted.



Veent Boxes

This entry began last Wednesday and is the cumulative total of 2 hrs  here and there since then.  I started work on the vent boxes in the front wings.  Using my usual habit of marking on to masking tape I masked up the vent indents. Using some 10mm aluminium strip placed against he edge of the indent I marked a 10mm border around the edge.  I drilled 4 holes  in each corner to and joined then up to form a right angled slot big enough to take the blade of a pad saw.  I cut out the inner rectangle just inside the border line.  I opened out the hole up to the border line to make a 10mm flange all round the hole.  the flange is used to bolt the front of the vent box to the body.  I positioned the vent box inside the wing and lined up the front with the hole in the wing,  The vent box fits with the sloping edge at the top and the operating lever point rearwards.  I clamped the vent box in place with some small "G" clamps. From inside the car I marked where the fixing brackets came on the bulkhead and how much of the bracket overlapped the side of the bulkhead.   I took the vent box off and drilled the fixing brackets with 2 holes in the rear bracket and one in the front. I fitted 3 x M5 Rivnuts in to the bulkhead holes and fitted the vent box with 3 x M5 pan head screws.   I clamped the front face of the vent box to the wing  I marked the centre of centre of the flange, top and bottom, I drilled through the wing in to the vent box with a 4.5 mm drill and secured the vent box with 2 x M4 x 15mm, countersunk screws and nyloc nuts. I marked 2" (50 mm) from the top and bottom of the vent box indent and drilled through these points  in to the vent box.  I secured the sides of the vent box with 4 x M4  x 15mm , countersunk screws and nyloc nuts
The flaps on the vent boxes are the exact size of the indent in the wing In order to get them ot operate they need ot be trimmed to get an even gap all round and shimmed to get them flush with the body. also they y need to be sealed with some sealing strip glued to the flange of the indent. I spent some time experimenting with stick on foam rubber sealing strip and aluminium ships in the hinge. I abandoned trying to get the flap correctly fitted on  the LH vent box for lack of a suitable seal.  I ended up with the flap fitted exactly in to the indent but not operating because it needs trimming. I think it is unsafe to trim the flap until the seal is in place and the flap correctly shimmed to make that any variation in the mounding of the indent is then catered for.  

I repeated the operation for the RHS vent box and will continue to fix it to the front wing tomorrow.



Vent Boxes

It was Mary's birthday today so I had limited time to work on the car.  I had made sure that the vent box was aligned with the aperture in the wing clamped it in place. this was slight departure from how I had positioned the LHS vent box and an attempt to centralize the vent box around the hole and thus  get the holes to be drilled in vent box more central.  I marked and drilled the rear fixing brackets and with the vent box in position drilled the fixing points in the bulkhead.  I fitted 3 x M5 Rivnuts to the bulkhead.  On testing the position of the vent box by fitting the flap I discovered it was too low.

To make the best use of my limited time I cut out and drilled the remaining  inspection plate to be fitted to the RHS of the rear bulkhead. 



Rear Bulkhead

I finished making the inspection plate and fitted it to the rear bulkhead with 5 x M5 x 20mm pan head screws and M5 Rivnuts.  I removed the plate, degreased it and painted it with Etching primer , followed by 2 coats of Hammerite Smooth Black. 

Back to the RHS vent box. I removed it and slotted the fixing holes both front and back so that I could move the vent upwards. I refitted it and tried the flap again to check the position. I repeated these operations several; times until I was satisfied with the fit.

Total hours this month = 71


Total hours to date=1680.0