Tag Archives: aaron

October 2007 – Engine in place

Engine in place

I wanted the engine to go in this fall, and it did! Aaron and I fiddled with the fit of the torsion bar reaction plate — the bane of the removal of the engine renewed in reverse! — and the next day slipped the engine into place. Here’s how it looked just after it was put into place.

The actual installation was on my birthday, so it was a very good day. As a matter of fact, I think it was my best birthday in years.

Aaron and I dropped the engine in from the top. Bill McKenna opted for the bottom, and there is some feeling that the bottom-up method is easier than dropping the whole hulk from the top. When we took out the engine the first week we had the car (over five years ago!), we lowered it and lifted the subframes to allow us to pull the engine and transmission forward. I recalled fighting with the motor mount brackets to get them to clear on the way down, so this time we put the engine in from the top. My father had warned about chipping the paint on the subframes, and so we put a couple of layers of masking tape on the frames. The tape did provide protection from the inevitable bumps.

It is a fairly tight fit from the top, and you do have the raise the engine high enough that it feels a little scary. The touchiest part is tipping the tranmission end down, though the hoist we have includes a nifty worm-geared adjustment that makes pitching the engine angle a matter of turning a crank. The process of setting the engine into place really amounted to easing it into place by gradual leveling of the engine and lowering it in steps. We did have some extra — perhaps even necessary? — wiggle room because we did not have the crankshaft pulley attached to the crankshaft dampner. (I actually haven’t bought it yet.) This meant we had a couple centimeters to play with when the oil pan was just below the top of the picture frame.

Not only has the engine changed…

It’s fair to say that the engine would still be sitting on the floor in front of the car were it not for Aaron, who worked to resolve some of the fitment issues that I had wrung my hands about over the past several weeks. Literally, I had fretted about things so much that I had avoided doing much to resolve the issues.

Well, I had actually fretted not so much about things in plural as a specific thing: that terror-inducing construct having to do with the torsion bars. As I’ve said before, I hate torsion bars. And our experience five years ago with the torsion bar reaction plate still is amazingly fresh in my mind. The thing was a beast to get off, especially since we were cramped under the car and hadn’t really too deep an understanding of the dynamics of the front suspension. The role of the reaction plate in the front still seems a little mysterious to me, since it has been claimed that the reaction plate actually imparts something between the two torsion bars, allowing them to communicate in some advanced engineering sort of way. Perhaps. All I know is that the plate goes in after the engine is in place, and the plate either fits or it doesn’t, since the fittings just won’t give.

To make sure that the reaction plate was going to fit, I actually used it to set the location of the two halves of the replacement floor (right and left), but that was before the POR-15, undercoating, primer, and paint. The coatings made enough of a difference that additional futzing was required. Believe me, it takes very little to make the reaction plate tighter than works well. Bill McKenna had to do the same, he reported, though he used a grinder to take off the excess powder coat and such. Aaron and I didn’t resort to that, but we did whack and bump a fair amount. I suspect that professionals might actually take better account of the coatings when they use the reaction plate to fit new floors. I didn’t think of that when we were installing the new floor panels.

It’s important to get all of the bolts fitted without having to contend with the engine and transmission, so if you’re doing a restoration like mine, fit the reaction plate before dropping the engine in. That little extra time will take hours off the work.

We took the tension off the torsion bars, of course. It actually isn’t that bad a job to do, but it is a hassle — seems too much a sideline in relation to the real show of the engine going in. And, of course, there’s no graceful way to get at the bolts for the torsion bars and the reaction plate once the engine is occupying all that space.

I was struck at how much Aaron has changed from the time when we first took the engine out (and he had managed to mangle a bronze bolt or two) and the time when we put the new engine in. Pictures say it all. He’s grown up to be a handsome man.

I’m now beginning to collect the parts I need to do all of the cooling and fuel and ignition work. Cooling hoses are the first thing on the list. I’ve found that bringing the old hoses into the parts shop works just fine. Gates replacement hoses are available, and Mike Frank has published a list of them. I’ll add to the options with another list in the near future. Several of the old hoses are either Jaguar replacements or (heaven forbid!) the originals. They’re in pretty tough shape.

March 2003 – Left door cleaned and fitted

(Done 23 March 2003.)

I did some final touches to the left “fillet” and fit the taillight chromes to the body. (The taillight chromes were often hand picked and adjusted to fit the specific car bodies when E-types ran through the Coventry assembly line.) The body shell is getting close to the point where I can move on to other things more permanently. Aaron and I turned to the left door for the most part of Sunday. I disassembled it and truly appreciated Mark O’Neill’s comment when we picked the car up some six months ago: “Jaguars are very complicated,” he said. “That car door alone is more complicated than an entire MG ‘B’.”

It is apparent that the internal pieces of the doors come out (and, I imagine, go in) in one specific order. Once I got it apart, I inspected the integrity of the door itself. The “skin” of the left door looks quite good. The lower section where the internal box-like door body attaches to the external metal sheet was a little rusted, with a few small corrosion holes poking through. But the metal resisted pressure all right, and we will go ahead and repair the corrosion from the inside of the door. I suspect that the doors corrode in that section because of the weird way that moisture is handled. Water that spills from the body on top of the door falls through a small drain hole, and that drain hole spills into a rubber hose that diverts the water around the internal section of the door hinge attachment inside the door panel. But the strange thing to me was that the hose simply dumps water into the door panel. I would have thought that the hose would have diverted the water all the way through the door to an external hole. As it was originally designed, the water flows into the door panel and then out through two slits on the bottom of the door. The effect is that water can easily collect inside the door panel, and may even be retained by the anti-drum material fitted inside of the door. This material looks like a rubberized felt, but it seems to be still somewhat absorbent. I will probably just replace the hose as I found it, but I have thought that maybe I should alter the door a bit to give the water flowing in a more direct way out. The interior of the door panel will at least be well rust-proofed, so the next generation can renew the door skins if they need to.

Aaron did the sanding and sandblasting of the door panel and the hinge (after we had removed the hinge from the door panel). Then we refitted the hinge to the door and fit the door once more to the body. It was wonderful to see the door frame filled with a door! We took a look at the channels between the body and the door, and decided that the front channel had to be expanded between 1 and 2 mill1meters (something I noticed when we first inspected the car). Since the hinges are already set on the door panel, I decided that we’d alter the space by using spacers (really, just washers) where the hinge attaches to the body. This worked just fine. The rear channel will need a little attention at the point where the lower part of the door meets the body. This channel is too tight, so we’ll have to grind and weld a little. Once that is done, we can remove the ripples on the door skin and get it all ready for paint.

I’m hoping the right door is in as good shape as the left. I’m thinking that the right door will be about the same. We stripped the paint from it long ago, and so we could see the skin. It’s in solid shape, too, I’d bet. I don’t recall the status of the bottom part of the door. That’s still a question, but one soon resolved.

March 2003 – Rack and very evil rust

Rack (15 March 2003)

It would be nice to have a “rotisserie” to mount the car body on. Such things are do-able, and I’ve seen them around, but I’ve not wanted to invest the time into building such a fancy rotating mount for the car. I suppose it would be nice, but we’ll flip this car over as need be. That said, I did need to create something to make it easier to move the body out of the way when we weren’t going to be working on it. I used lumber we had saved from an old chicken coop and four middle duty casters from the lumber yard to build a rolling rack. It stands about two feet high, and it carries the car quite high — perhaps a little too high. But it’ll do. And it was really nice to be able to roll the car body to the side to sweep the floor and clean up. It’ll practically be necessary once we need to move larger parts (like the bonnet) out of the garage to work on. The fact that it’s fairly high is also a nice feature, since I won’t have to be bending down all of the time to work on areas in the interior.

Aaron and I continued to disassemble the tubular steel frame, especially the right side suspension and frame pieces. We got everything apart, except for the lower wishbone and the torsion bar. these are still stubbornly affixed to the frame. The wishbone is free, but it is held to the frame by the torsion bar. I suspect that we’re either missing a piece to remove or the thing is just plain stuck. We ran into some difficulty removing a couple of the larger bolts, and we had to resort to heating up the nut after penetrating fluid failed to loosen things up. Heat worked like a charm. Thank goodness we have a pneumatic impact wrench!

Very Evil Rust (16 March 2003)

We did run into something I had dreaded, however.

I was thinking that the tubular steel frame was untouched by rust, but that proved not to be the case. When Aaron and I flipped over the frame assembly in order to get at some bolts more easily, we found two badly corroded areas on the left frame. One section near the picture frame (the central section the runs across the front, spanning the gap between the two side frames) was rusted through on the bottom. And a section below the battery area, on the underside of the tube, was rusted clear through. This damage wasn’t apparent from the top of the vehicle, though when everything was flipped over it was very easy to see.

I was hoping that I could avoid buying a new frame, since the things are pricey. But there is no way that I would attempt fixing this part. There is too much quite literally riding on it to test my skills. The tubular steel was also a very high tensile strength, and I simply do not have the tools to do the job. I think that the side frames cost around $ 750, and I should be needing to get one. The right side frame looks very good. I’ll know more about it after sandblasting it. I’m almost afraid to see what lies under the old paint.

February 2003 – Left floor, wheel well, “fillet” repair

Left floor installed (20 – 22 February 2003)

This actually went quite quickly, even though our logs say it took two days. The issue was amount of time spent on each of those days. I set up a fair amount of welding, and Aaron did the welding, for the most part. As I said in the last entry, the floors look like Real Headway Being Made, even though the preparation — essential as it is — consists of putzy little stuff. We push to make the putzy little stuff as painless to do as possible.

As with the right floor panel, we used a (non-standard) bolting strategy, with the bolts along the front end, the inside of the panel facing the transmission/engine space, along the cross member, and along the back of the panel. Size of bolts and attachment strategy for the left side was the same as for the right.

Symmetry is good.

The outside edge of the panel (along the seam of floor panel and outer sill) had a very natural fit. We basically just laid the panel on the car and welded. However, the central portion of the panel (behind the cross member where the right and left floor panels meet) seemed to bulge a bit. We will bolt that area in any case, and probably weld it as well. As I recall, the original floor panels had a separate panel attached in this area, which is the part that forms the “floor” of the drive shaft tunnel. I don’t know that this original panel was an original part, in any case. (I haven’t look at the notes or at the parts themselves, but this piece may actually have been something other than metal.) The pictures I have seen of this area don’t show a metal cover over the area. And yet, a sheet covering the area where the floor panels meet actually doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

I might just do it, since I’ve seen enough nasty rust form in that area.

The fitting of the entire floor means fitting the parts that straddle each floor panel, and this means the “rear floor stiffener” which I had fabricated earlier. As of 25 February, we had just fit this piece using clamps, and we haven’t welded or attached it to the floor yet. Here again we will be a bit out-of-the-ordinary, since I want to use 1/4 inch bolts to attach the stiffener. We’ll use eight bolts, four to each side. In between we’ll spot weld.

Left wheel well repaired

With the car flipped over, it was easy to get at the rust damage at the top portion of the left wheel well and the so-called “fillet” where the rear portion of the cockpit interior meets the lower edge of the convertible top. This area has been badly corroded, and crudely “fixed” with Bondo and wood strips (!). We had removed this blodged repair, and intended on doing some metal work. That we did, with two pieces of 20-gauge metal. The first piece was aligned with the curve of the upper portion of the left rear quarter panel, and the second piece (welded on top of the first piece from inside the wheel well) formed the fillet wall. As with other fixes, we ground off the welding excesses, and used Bondo to smooth the surface. We were actually less worried about how this fix looked, since it is in a place where you really need to want to look to see it at all. After the application of Rock Guard to the area, this fix won’t be easily visible. But trained eyes will see it, I guess. If they look for it….

I should say that cleaning the original rock guard from the inside of the wheel wells and the IRS corridor between them has been a real chore. I believe that the original coating remained, but a later owner must have applied some “rust-proofing” to some areas, especially where we found significant rust damage. Fortunately (or not), these gunky areas were removed in order to repair the rust. But residues of the goo remained in other areas, and just made a mess to clean off. An acetone-based solvent seemed to soften the coatings, but not entirely dissolve them. We were able to scrape off a good deal, and then the solvents took off the rest. Or, at least the solvents made it possible to smear it around a bit. For the record, the coatings were a yellowish color, though that might have been their age showing.

November 2002 – Ugly hole fixed, car flipped, more nasty rust

An eventful weekend, this was — though not because too many things got done. It was mainly because things changed visually so much. Now when you enter the garage (a.k.a. “The Cat Cage”), you see the bottom of the car, not the top. Of course, this opens up many new possibilities, since the ugly old floors are very visible; and, more importantly, they are supremely accessible. The sills on the sides of the car are also very accessible and quite easy to work on.

Ugly Hole Fixed (16 November 2002)

But before the boys and I flipped the car, I finally got the ugly loudspeaker hole welded shut with sheet metal and smoothed with Bondo. I had decided to place a sheet of 20-gauge metal over the hole and weld along the perimeter. This looked to me fairly straightforward, but the actual doing of it was a bit more complicated. The top two-thirds of the sheet welded tightly to the body panel, but the bottom portion did not. At the bottom edge, the metal was sticking out about 2 centimeters — a significant bulge to finesse with Bondo. I actually thought about just leaving well enough alone and using Bondo to cover the lower portion, and yet that seemed a bit sloppy. I ended up cutting off the portion of the metal that wasn’t tight and fashioning a plate to refit into the hole. I ground off the messy weld-metal, and refit the portion. It fit nicely. I then welded the two pieces together along the seam, and then ground off the excess weld. Bondo flattened it up well enough. Since the hole was inset the thickness of the sheet metal inside the trunk area, I sanded and cleaned up the area around the hole and bondoed the indent so that it is flat. Of course, the fix lacks two of the creases that are normally found on this body panel, but this fix was good enough. It is strong, and since it is covered by upholstery, it will also be invisible.

Car Flipped (17 November 2002)

Actually flipping the car over was quite easy. I used the same kind of body supports as I had before, except that I added some styrofoam shapes and padding to make sure that the more-or-less ready top part of the body shell was not damaged by the supports. We did have to be careful about the “A” posts that form the side edges of the windshield. These could not bear the weight of the body, and we made sure that theynever touched the floor as we lifted and turned the body over. This was mainly a matter of placing the rear (the so-called “boot”) of the body on a pad on the floor, then removing the support from the front. Once the entire body rested on the floor we literally rolled the body onto its side. Then after having placed the support for the front where it could accept the body and support it, we lifted the front part of the body up, leaning a portion of the body weight onto the rear section. We settled the front onto the frame support, lifted the rear section and put the supports for the rear into place.

The process wasn’t particularly difficult, with the exception of worrying about keeping the “A” posts off the ground. It did take the strength of the three of us and a bit of organization.

With the car upside down, removing the rusted floor panels is greatly simplified. I got the right side floor panel nearly completely off on Sunday evening, and I managed to clean up much of the tab where the new floor will attach. I discovered a few places where replacement sheet metal will be desirable, and, for the most part, not too difficult to install. One of the last sections I removed was the bottom of the “tranny tunnel” — the hump in the center of the vehicle that covers the drive shaft (or, as the Brits call it, the “propeller shaft”).

More Nasty Rust

I hadn’t expected to find anything particularly remarkable inside the tranny tunnel, since from the top it appeared to have been spared any ravages of corrosion. As a matter of fact I had figured that the piece had been replaced at some time, since it seemed pretty much untouched. I was wrong, it turned out, since the bottom of the tranny tunnel hadn’t been well enough protected from moisture. The tunnel has a bit of an indentation on the driver’s side, where the emergency brake lever is situated. This piece contains the hinge for the lever, an electrical switch sensor that lights up the emergency brake light, and the cable housing leading to the rear brakes that are engaged by the emergency brake. (Incidently, the E-Type has a separate set of brake pads that are engaged by the emergency brake.) The bottom of the housing for the brake mechanicals and switch was completely absent — eaten away by moisture seeping and spraying from the road, presumably.

Anyway, since I can’t fabricate the entire complicated part, I’ll have to replace the entire tranny tunnel. That will delay the installation of the floor panels, and I’ll have to put my mind to firming up the mid section of the body shell, since the engine covering and tranny tunnel do give the mid section some rigidity.

November 2002 – Various small parts

Right Engine-Tranny Cover

A previous owner of the car must have been a happy owner of a pneumatic cutting tool, because he made some interesting cuts to gain access to the transmission or the transmission bell housing. It’s not particularly clear what exactly required such invasive and destructive work to be done. I was thinking that perhaps there was simple laziness at the root of it. For typical adjustments, the E-type has adequate portholes going into the transmission area. But perhaps this was starter work? A clutch job (unlikely, I think)? We shall probably never know.

Anyway, I fashioned a replacement piece for the front engine/transmission housing wall out of 18-gauge steel, and I cut out the damaged piece from the transmission cowel. That piece we replaced with another piece of 18-gauge steel. Aaron did the welding and the grinding.

It is amazing what was considered acceptable repair for previous owners of the car. The pieces we took out were welded, of course, but the welds consisted of blobs of metal with vast voids between them. There were no additional pieces of metal welded into a lap over the holes that were cut (roughly, as is always the case with pneumatic impact cutters). Even the roughly cut slices apparently weren’t even hammered the slightest bit to make them straight. It was, apparently, simply jack-hammer cut and splotch-welded.

I find I have little patience for this shoddy workmanship.

This was not a difficult repair to do. It was really a matter of cutting metal and welding it into place. Aaron did a very good job at putting it all straight, and now the piece is markedly more sound and complete. A good success for a first welding job on the Jag.

Some Painting — Black Stuff

In short, one of the IRS supports, the engine mounts, the IRS access plate, the water pump pulley, the passenger-side (right) air vent, and (primed only) the mounting bracket for the voltage regulator. The voltage regulator bracket is supposed to be silver color.

Radius Arm Cup

The couplings between the floor panels and the two radius arms extending from the rear suspension need to be installed before the floor panels are installed. We looked at the existing cups and one of them was corroded beyond repair. I ordered a replacement for it. The other one still lingers in my mind as a repairable piece or as a replacement piece. We did go ahead and repair the cup that still has structural integrity, though questions remain because of the threading in the center of the coupling. They are not exactly well defined. I could, perhaps, go ahead and retap the threads with some success. At this point, we are going to wait until the new part arrives (sometimes after the Thanksgiving Holiday, I was told) and then we’ll make a decision about the replacement. I definitely do not want to install a restored part that will fail after a few thousand miles!

The replacement “radius arm mounting cup” costs US$55.00 plus shipping. I took the restored piece into the hardware store to see what I could find for mounting the piece onto the floor panel and to see what the threads inside could actually do. It appears that the rust damage didn’t corrode into the piece, but rather filled into the threads. I think as metal rusts, it expands, so this might be only partially reassuring. I could, of course, tap the piece into a larger thread size, but then I would need to use a larger attachment bolt — a risky proposition, since the bolt also goes through a bushing assembly. I could also add metal to the threaded area, and then drill and tap it, but I’m not clear that the strength would be as good as it should be.

Rear Floor Stiffener

This is a part I had to fabricate, since it was not available from my US supplier, and there were no plans to import any more (from what I could tell from the supplier, anyway).

It is a simple part to fabricate, though I’ve found that any fabrication is putzy. I created a template from the original part, transferred the pattern to 18-gauge sheet metal, cut it out, bent it, welded it, and drilled it. This part probably took four hours to create, all told. I did do a bit of extra work on this piece, just to make sure that it served the purpose of “stiffening” well. I reinforced the attachment tabs with a double thickness of metal (two times the 18-gauge metal, that is). It’s currently ready for priming and installation, once the floor panels are in place.

The number written on the piece, by the way, is for the part tracking system I developed.

Repair of Trunk Floor

We fixed the bondoed hole that was located next to the hole where the fuel filter cup extends below the body. This was damage that didn’t become apparent until we had removed the paint from the inside of the trunk. The fix entailed cutting out the corrosion and the entire fuel filter cup hole, even though the rust damage was isolated to one side of the hole. I figured it would be easier to create an entire hole than it would be to try to fashion a piece and attach it flawlessly to the “good” metal of the original hole. Once again, this was a matter of exactly fashioning a replacement piece, welding tabs to the hole, and welding the new piece onto the tabs.

The picture is, perhaps, not so very informative, but it does have a certain artistic quality, I thought. It is almost an impressionistic rendering of the repair. Monet in the Cat Cage garage! This is the metal after most of the grinding was completed and before I put a layer of Bondo on. At least my Bondo application is over real solid metal, not fiberglass mesh.

September 2002 – Fetching and dismantling

We’re off! (13 September 2002)

1963 Jaguar E-type on car trailer with family posing

Wouldn’t you know that this adventure in car restoration would begin on an auspicious day: Friday the Thirteenth. This follows a revered tradition (well, perhaps it creates a tradition) in Jaguar restoration by transporting on auspicious days. The restoration of the “first” Jaguar E-type, known by its UK registration number “HD9600,” began on April Fool’s Day 1999 (see Philip Porter’s The Most Famous Car in the World). Sons Derek (the big one) and Aaron (the one near the front of the car) travelled with me to pick up the car from a farm near Suffolk, Virginia. We rented a U-Haul auto transport trailer and used Arlene’s truck, which was itself a special event.

With a few pushes, some consultation and hammering, and a come-along borrowed from Mark O’Neill (the photographer of this family picture and former custodian of this Jag), we were on our way to Rougemont.

Dismantling (14 – 22 September 2002)

OK, just so you won’t have to scroll down the page — here’s what the old thing looks like after we pretty much took everything off of the monocoque body. The thing is virtually ready for sandblasting with just a couple of parts yet to be removed. (This was my goal for the week, and I took time off from work to do it. The boys, and especially Aaron, put in hard hours to make this dismantling happen as quickly as it did.)

The E-type learned lessons from its successful racing predecessor, the D-type, which won the Le Mans in the late fifties. That car was of tube construction. The E-type we are familiar with is partially tube construction (the area in front of the “bulkhead” which begins in front of the dash) and partially structural sheet metal construction (everything else behind the dash). This is an enormously strong construct.

The two concerns I had with this forty-year-old monocoque structure were

  • the integrity of the tubular steel, especially around the battery area (left side) that has a reputation for rusting due to battery acid leakage and
  • the state of the inner sills, which form about a half of the outer edge structure from the front bulkhead toward the rear wheels.

Even before I purchased the car, I had already written off the outer sills — the section from the front wheel wells to the rear wheel wells that people see on the lower sides of the car below the doors. These were “replaced” with galvanized sheet metal and were too small a gauge for a structural component. (The outer sills were but one of the strange fixes done to the car.)

The front tubular steel was intact and in good shape, thank God. Those parts are not reparable, and the replacements are pricey.

I suspect that the repairs made to the car were largely cosmetic. The outer sills got rusty, so they were replaced. The trouble was that the areas behind the outer sills and internal to the sill structure overall were (probably) ignored. Because the inner sills lay behind coverings of the interior or were less easily accessible, they were ignored. In short, the trouble is there, but it’s harder to see and harder to repair. Deterioration of the inner sills became apparent after we removed the interior trim — the carpeting (such as it was) and the felt padding. Rust damage was especially bad in the front left foot well inner sill. It’s not clear in my mind whether the entire inner sill on the left side will need replacing. I am now thinking that it will not, though repair is required. The final verdict will be clear after sandblasting.

We removed the two seats. They were not attached to the floor, and they were not of the original Jaguar style for this model (and they might not even be Jaguar make at all). The front parts of both sides of the cockpit floors were carefully replaced with plywood. They had rusted out. However, when these were installed, the center steel reinforcements that follow the drive shaft tunnel were retained, so the structural integrity of the body was aided in some measure. These floor panels will need to be entirely replaced, from the front bulkhead to the rear bulkhead.

The rear of the body is actually in pretty good shape. Some minor dings and bumps have been bondo-ed up, but nothing appears particularly badly done. I will need to replace both “fillets” (sections are the rounded corners of the back section of the cockpit, where the convertible top attaches). These were rusted through and repaired with bondo. We’ll fashion a metal replacement, of course. Other rust damage in the rear was related to the deterioration of the sill: the rear quarter panel on both sides were bondo-ed — perhaps the most shameful of the early repairs, since the bondo hides a multitude of sins. The areas immediately behind that bondo were in bad need to replacement. We will tear that bondo out (as we will do with all the bondo) and probably open up the rear quarter panel in that section. This will allow us to replace the internal structure.

Overall, I am pleased with the state of the body. There is nothing that is particularly daunting at this point. I suppose that the repairs will be challenging, but they are well within our abilities.


I was told that the engine turned when I first began seriously looking at the car. We removed the engine from the bottom (contrary to the shop manual instructions which say remove from the top). We had a bit of trouble with a pesky bolt holding the cylinder head, though we finally removed with with some crafty use of a high-speed drill and a cutter. We had trouble loosening the top two timing chain sprockets, but we circumvented that by removing the cam shafts. The cam shafts look quite good, and their bearings look practically new. The valves show some normal wear and tear, but none is compromised with a blow hole. Pistons are blackened, but everything moves nicely in the cylinders. We haven’t removed the oil pan to look at the connecting rods and the crank shaft.

It may have been a while since I’ve taken apart an engine, but the gasket cement that was used on this engine seems a bit unorthodox. It looks like silicone glue or rubber cement. I’m used to something more substantial and gooey. We were able to remove the cylinder head without damaging the gasket, but we’ll probably replace it with a new one anyway.

I’m not worried about the transmission on the car. It came out. It looked OK. The Moss transmission had a reputation for being durable. I suppose that this one will be good.

The independent rear suspension (IRS) came out well. Only the hand brake connection was feisty and we had to work around a big black spider until we could wrestle enough room to remove it. (This was one of two big black spiders we ran into.) It dropped like a charm. Read the shop manual instructions carefully to get the details on easy removal.

I don’t foresee problems with the IRS either. We’ll replace seals and bushings and such, and I believe it’ll be good as new.

Indispensible things

We used a good amount of penetrating oil to loosen the bolts and nuts. In general, these were sprayed a few times, often with the applications spread across many hours. We had only a couple of bolts that we had to break or cut out, and we removed scores of bolts and nuts.

A good digital camera sounds like a frill, but it will no doubt prove invaluable. Over the course of the first week we took about 200 photographs to document the way that things fit together and came apart in stages. Initially, the photography seemed a bit of a hassle, since we constantly had to retreat into the house to download photos. But looking at the photographic record after the dismantling reveals many of the details that will be important to building it all back up.

We suspect that reinstalling the wiring harness (which we removed intact with some effort) will be eased by the photographic record. But that wiring is fearsomely complicated and it will be tough nonetheless.

Decent tools are a must, of course. Our collection has been very adequate thus far. We have a pneumatic tool set, including impact wrench, air hammer, sandblaster, and curious blowing tools; a complete set of English measure wrenches and ratchet set; screwdrivers, chisels, and putty knives (great for paint removal); and hammers of various sizes and shapes (ball pein, regular old nail hammers, and a rubber mallet).

A useful system to organize and store removed parts is an absolute must. — That and a very large store of Zip Lock bags (freezer size and sandwich size). I’ll detail our parts organizing system later, when we put the entire thing on the web. Basically, the system I devised locates the part to a section of the car and records the approximate order of its removal. This should greatly increase the likelihood that we’ll know what part goes where, and this will be especially more likely once we have the photographs organized in a similar fashion.

Lots of space to store parts. A given. We stuffed bagged parts into my old chicken coop office, and a couple of boxes rest beneath the back workbench in the shop. It’ll do.