The “heater side” of the engine bay is fairly close to complete. As usual, fitting everything was a chore, and I don’t expect Eagle is worried about the competition, but it’s looking pretty good for what it is.
My list of yet-to-be-done engine bay tasks is down to:
- Rubber sealing strips along mud-guard edges. Hopefully these will be fairly painless to install.
- Right-side under tray and torsion-bar shields. I know that the reproduction stone guard I have doesn’t fit well, so this will be an exercise in files, hack saws and the like.
- Install bonnet plug. This is hugely annoying for many reasons:
- I have never seen a wiring loom offered with the plug already attached. Note to yourselves, wiring loom manufacturers, I would gladly pay for such a thing. What makes it stupid is the looms already have the rubber sheath sewn in. That sounds nifty, however, the reproduction plugs also have said sheath installed, crimped onto the plug permanently. So you have to decide which to keep, usually striping the one on the loom, which is hard to do without damage, but it has a better outcome than trying to remove it from the insanely fragile plug. It’s nuts, short-sighted and idiotic. Offer a loom with plug for $loom + $plug + $labor, offer a plain loom with no rubber sheath and sell a plug with sheath, or offer a plug which requires the existing loom sheath to be crimped on, for those who have a loom with the sheath already in place (ie, what is sold these days).
- The original plugs are usually not salvageable, mainly because they were not designed to be taken apart–and they take a lot of abuse on the car. So you buy a new one, for about the amount on a small domestic car or time-share property. The larger suppliers claim the bonnet side of the plug isn’t available–which is comical, since the craptastic item they sell has a different pin pattern than the original bonnet piece. They simply don’t fit together. I have found a company which sells both sides, I have one on order…hopefully it won’t be a piece of shit like a lot of the other repro parts are–they are generally vague approximations of the original (yet expensive!), rarely fit, and often are shadows of the original’s quality, which, given it’s a Jaguar, is saying something. (Sorry, did that sound bitter?)
- Sorting the windshield washer wiring. The original motor had, and the new wiring loom has, three wires. The reproduction motors have only two connectors for those three wires. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do here, but I’ll figure it out.
- Check the engine timing. I think it’s close, but haven’t actually checked it officially.
On the fluids front, I added engine oil, water (plain–no coolant–until I can see where it’s leaking; I’ll drain some later and add a couple gallons of coolant to get it to a 50/50 mix) and the clutch and front brakes are gravity-bled. I ran out of LMA hydraulic fluid, so it will be a bit before I have the rear brakes bled. I want to have brakes before starting the car so I can trundle around in it.
So far, I have the following remedial engine-room tasks:
- The heater valve is leaking. I knew it was going to, but hoped (yet again) that the parts place was right and my eyeballs and common sense were wrong. I never learn. The o-ring they supplied was way too small to seal what is a pretty iffy design on the best of days. So the valve will come out, get cleaned up, and I’ll have to find an o-ring that will actually do the job.
- The rear brake bottle needs different clamps. I used vaguely original-style clamps on the hoses, and I just couldn’t get the front brake bottle’s hose to seal on the steel line using said clamps. So I substituted everyday-worm-style clamps, and they sealed the line. The clutch bottle still has the reproduction clamps and seems to have stopped leaking, but I’ll probably replace those clamps with worm-style clamps as well. The reproductions weren’t particularly compelling with their very large engraved “14MM” lettering, in any case.
- I have a different air-filter can to replace the one on the car. The replacement needs a bit of filler work, but will be a bit nicer than the perfectly OK one on the car. Low on my list of priorities…
Outside of the engine room, but before initially firing the motor (hopefully it will start, and hopefully no literal fire!), I need to:
- Ensure all of the non-hooked up wiring is safely taped off. Speaking of electricity…
- Hook up the battery and check that the smoke stays inside of the wires. And that the various switches, motors, etc. do what they’re supposed to. (Installing the battery took several days due to, you guessed it, crappy repro parts. The battery clamp was too large to physically fit in the space, so I had to modify it. The expensive cables with the unreliable Lucas helmet ends don’t actually fit onto the expensive reproduction Lucas battery, so much filing and working of those. In addition, the braided ground-cable had so much solder in it that it was effectively two short bars connected by about three inches of flexible cable. Not good, since the cable is just long enough to reach where it was supposed to reach. I had to get a torch to melt some of the solder to make it less like rebar, and more like a cable.)
- Put fuel in and chase the many and varied places it will leak from, if past experience is any indicator. This assumes it decides to pump from the tank in the first place…
My grouchiness aside, I’m close to the point where we can see if it runs. And then it can really leak in earnest, and things can annoyingly rattle, and maybe there can be exposed some mechanical faults which require complex and expensive fixing…
I note my car is sitting dead level, but about an inch or two high. The interior isn’t installed and bonnet isn’t on (and fatso isn’t driving), so it will be interesting to see how much it settles. The fact that it’s level is fairly reassuring, and too high is better than too low. Cars settle, they don’t rise, with use. We will hope!