Running gear

Whilst I am starting on the running gear, I do still have some remaining tasks to do to the underside.  I have bought some Gravitex underseal which I need to apply, but prior to that I have been giving the inside floor a once over.  I’ve found a few pinholes which I’ve welded up, and it would have ruined the underseal had I done that already, so it was wise to wait until everything else has been completed first. I’ve also given the floor a coat of paint, well, half of it has had a coat of paint, I’ll do the other half on the weekend. 

I managed to find the rear axle and front subframe under the pile of parts I’ve removed more recently, and wheeled them outside for a quick power-wash.  They came up quite well, but the object of the exercise was purely to remove the crud prior to striping them down rather than to make them ready to refit. I intend to replace all of the seals, gaskets, bearings and bushes with new, also all four hubs need to be replaced to accommodate the chrome wire wheels.  They need a splined hub instead of the current five stud versions.  The front hubs are relatively straight forward to swap, but the rear hubs are infamously difficult to remove.  Regular hub pullers will break and a specialist tool is required.  Even then, many people ‘mushroom’ the end of the shaft with the pressure being applied, so caution is required as the shafts are not easily sourced.  The problem is that the taper fit is a very shallow one, and takes an enormous effort to overcome the friction fit. 



The front coil springs are also difficult to remove as the subframe design does not leave enough room around the springs to fit regular ‘coil spring clamps’, so a different technique is required.  This involves removing each of the lower spring plate bolts (one at a time!) and replacing with a length of threaded rod with a nut.  Then, when all are fitted, slowly and equally, run the nuts down the rods to relieve the pressure.  These cars are no lightweights, and the springs obviously need to be powerful, so care will be required here too. 

The observant amongst you will have noticed that there’s only one brake caliper.  I’ve no idea what’s happened to the other three, I guess the previous owner wanted them for something!  I have managed to buy some replacements though, which are currently soaking in Plusgas, and I will attempt to strip those down too in a few weeks. 

The steering is an old design with a steering box and apparently takes 5 full steering wheel rotations from lock to lock. The ratio needs to be this low as the car is heavy and has no power assistance. Many owners have replaced this set-up with a more modern power assisted ‘rack and pinion’ system from an XJ6.  Because it’s longer than the original, it does change the dynamics and introduces slight bump steer and puts out the Ackermann
 angles. As I do not intend to be pushing the boundaries of performance, and really don’t mind if the tyres squeal on full lock, it’s something that I also intend to.

Before I fit the running gear, it makes sense to spray the engine bay as access will be restricted after the subframe and engine is refitted.  I took it down to the metal to ensure a good finish, and have applied a coat of primer.  I’ve decided that the original ‘Sherwood Green’ of the car is not for me, and my intention has always been to change the colour to a metallic grey, so the engine bay will have a couple of coats of that when it arrives.  I just hope it doesn’t get too damaged when I refit everything. 


Yesterday I had an opportunity to attempt to remove the rear axle hubs.  I am going to replace all of the seals and gaskets on the rear axle, so to do this the removal of the hubs is required.  Another reason to remove them is that they are for the 5 stud steel wheels, and not the new wire wheels I’ve just bought, so they had to come off regardless.  The removal of hubs in general is not easy, but the shallow taper of the shafts on these old Jaguars made them so tight and difficult to remove, a special too had to be produced to facilitate this.  I did try to obtain a loan of one of these, but they are very difficult to source, so I bought the best puller I could afford and used other recommended techniques which also help.  The first thing I’d been told was to reverse and leave on the castellated nut on the end of the shaft as the threaded end can mushroom or balloon such is the pressure involved.  Then I’d read to insert a copper or bronze spacer between the pushrod of the puller and the end of the shaft.  This apparently acts as a buffer between the two steel surfaces to stop damage.  I didn’t have any copper rod or bronze, so I used a couple of old pennies instead.  They were perfect as they are the same diameter as the shaft and just fitted inside the nut.  I drilled holes in them so that the pointed end of the puller didn’t wander. 



To prevent the hub rotating as I tightened the puller, I chopped a bit of angle iron to act as a stop.  But then the puller legs wouldn’t sit straight on the hub because of the thickness of the steel under two of them, so I had to make up three spacers for the remaining legs to ensure the whole assembly sat flat and true.  Initially I heated up the hub with a blowtorch, but then also enlisted the help of my hot air gun too.  I set both up to direct their heat at the assembly and left for an hour. 



Things got hot, too hot to touch that’s for sure, but not as hot as I’d have liked. The problem is that it’s a lot of metal to heat, and it’s hard to add heat quicker than the large circular heatsink can dissipate it.  Anyhow, I started to increase the pressure on the puller with the aid of my 24” breaker bar, stopping after every quarter turn to give it a good whack in an attempt to shock it off. Just as I got to the point where I thought that something was going to get damaged, there was an almighty ‘crack’ and the hub popped off. To say I was jubilant would be somewhat of an understatement.  I disassembled it all and everything looked good with no damage to the shaft which is the best news.
 




Armed with my ‘winning formula’ it was time to try on the other side.  The pennies were destroyed, so I had to replace those and all went exactly the same except the hub popped off without quite so much pressure required.  All in all a fantastic result.  Others have really struggled, so it was a job I’d not been looking forward to.  Here’s a link to a video of a guy called Vic attempting the same job. His YouTube streams are quite interesting and entertaining.  It will give you an idea of just how difficult this job can be and well worth a watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0kTkwGQjhQ&t=935s



So the rear hubs are off and I removed the front ones too.  The fronts are a piece of cake in comparison, the hub nut on this design isn’t even tightened up.  When assembling them, you tighten until the wheel has just a little bit of resistance, and then back it off a turn, then pop in the split pin.  It’s quite unnerving that it’s all so loose, but apparently it’s because the bearings heat up quite a bit in use, and they would start to bind once warmed up.  One other unusual thing I found is that the rear disks are actually a larger diameter than the fronts.  I’ve never seen that before.



I now need to get the disks to someone who can give them a quick skim, not so much because they are worn (in fact there appears to be next to no wear at all) but just to clean them up a little and ensure they are true with no throw. 



Using the engine hoist I lifted the rear axle onto my old trusty BT trolley so it’s at an easier level to work on.  The workbench would have been better, but would also have taken up all of my workspace.  I managed to remove the differential sump plug and drained out the old oil.  Not very pleasant at all, it was really dirty, but fortunately no sludge.



The rear cover was popped off next to expose the gears of the diff, it was only at this point did I realise that one of the driveshafts had actually seized.  Not really what I wanted and had a sleepless night worrying about where it was seized.  If it was one of the gears of the diff, then the rear axle would be toast, and a new one would need to be sourced (and paid for!).  The only way to confirm where the problem was is to remove the driveshafts.  As luck would have it, a few weeks ago, a neighbour of the garage gave me an ancient old puller.  The weight has broken, but still works fine. 





After I’d removed the driveshafts it quickly became obvious where the problem lay.  The outer bearing (wheel bearing) had completely seized and the planetary gears of the diff could now spin freely.  A big, big relief. So with the driveshafts and propshaft flange removed, it received a final clean over before a lick of paint.  I fitted a new oil seal on the pinion and then refitted the flange, but I haven’t had a chance to fit the new wheel bearings just yet.  They are an extremely tight fit and I want to take my time and not damage them in the process.  I’ll probably use some heat to ease them over the driveshafts.




Yes, I know the pinion retaining nut is loose, I didn’t have the torque settings at hand.  Better to leave it ‘obviously loose’ so it’s not missed on reassembly.




After refitting the diff cover, I started to dress the axle, starting with the brake pipes and fittings along with new wheel bearings. I’m unable to refit anything else as the brakes are not refurbished yet, the disks need skimming and the guards need painting.



These are the torque arms which, along with the leaf springs and Panhard rod, hold the rear axle in place.  Needless to say the bushes needed replacing.  They were so badly rusted in place, that neither my biggest hammer nor the vice were able to shift them.  I managed to drill out the rubber section and remove the bush centre sleeve, which gave me hacksaw access to the bush outer.  I cut through it taking great care to only just break through so that the arm did not get damaged. Then the bush outer was twisted to remove. 



New bushes ready to be inserted



Despite cleaning up the mating surfaces and applying grease liberally on both parts, it was a real struggle getting the new bushes in, and the pressure required bent the arm of my vice. I really need to make myself a hydraulic press.




Eventually however, they all went in OK.



The next item to get some attention was the rear leaf springs. Each leaf had to be carefully praised away from its neighbour and the end bushes of these need to be removed and replaced in a similar fashion to the torque arms. Ready for paint now.






As you may remember, the car came without brakes except for one at the front.  I bought some rusty rear brakes from eBay, better ones are just so expensive and I intend to completely overhaul them anyway, even if they were in good condition.  I removed the pistons from both callipers without too much of a problem until the last bolt.  It’s always the last bolt!  It started to round off with the correct imperial spanner, so I applied some heat and hammered on the next smallest metric spanner.  It was a tight fit, but not, apparently, tight enough.  That started to round too. Last resort was to attempt to use a nut remover tool.  It’s never failed me before…..until today.  Even that didn’t grip so it was down to the last, last resort.  I’ve never done this successfully, but I have seen many YouTube videos of it working, so worth a shot.  I welded a larger bolt to what remained of the jammed one.  I’m not sure if the extra heat of the welding helped too, but I gently eased it around with a long lever on the larger spanner and managed to work it loose.  That was relief. 

 

 

It probably would have been better if I’d managed to weld it on straight!

 


I bought these callipers a few months ago, and since I’ve had them, they’ve been in an old washing up bowl and every few days I’d spray them with some Plusgas releasing fluid.  But even after all that time, and all of that fluid, the bolts and holes were completely dry.  As you can see above, even the area under where the piston attached is bone dry.  So are we wasting our money with these expensive products?

Anyone else think these rear brake callipers look like lobsters?  No… Just me then.

 

So they’re completely disassembled ready for cleaning and painting.



The main parts are intact, but unfortunately some of the smaller components (return springs, pads, bolts and retainers) have suffered over time, so I need to order some more before re-assembling the rear brakes.

 

I gave the springs a coat of paint ready to put back together but the clamp bolts had long gone due to rust.  New replacements weren’t an option as the threads in the side of the clamps had suffered the same fate. So I made some new ones from some stock bolts.  They needed grinding down to remove the thread and a taper put into the head so that they sat flush.



I welded in the side which was previously threaded, but I don’t foresee them ever coming out again, so that’s fine.  Here they are in their new home on the fully assembled springs. As you can see, the bushing, centre mounts and rubber pad have all been replaced with new. The pads between each leaf were still serviceable, and were reused along with a liberal coating of motorbike chain-lube.  This sets like paste almost, so won’t drip out and will hopefully stop them from squeaking for many years.



I hate working under cars these days, so I’m doing as much as I can whilst it’s on the rotisserie. Here I’ve run the petrol and brake line. They’re fitted into rubber covered ‘P’ clips which in turn are screwed into Rivnuts along the chassis rail. You can see the exhaust heat shields have been fitted on the near-side, and now that the lines have been run, I’ll fit the off-side too.



Bit of a messy image, but this is the front subframe on the trolley ready to be dismantled. 



Dismantling was straight forward enough, but unloading the pressure from the springs was a little hairy. I'm never keen on working with coil springs, but you can't even use clamps on these due to the lack of room. I'd read online a few methods and opted for what I considered the safest, or rather least dangerous.  First off I bought a huge pair of nuts (no, the threaded variety) a length of M16 studding and a handful of washers. After removing the shock absorber, I made up a small plate for the lower spring retaining plate and inserted the studding instead. I used 2mm steel, but it bent quite a bit when the full pressure was applied (see the photo!), so I'll be using something thicker when refitting, much thicker! I chose to drill a hole in the top nut and inserted a split pin to prevent the top nut undoing instead of the intended lower one. All went as well as can be expected and now the subframe is completely bare, but yes, thicker plate next time!

Here you can see the plate at the bottom of the threaded rod, bending under the load of the spring.  I am just glad the hole didn’t enlarge enough for the washer to pop through!

The wishbones, uprights and springs were cleaned up and given a quick lick of paint, along with new bushes.





Then the same fate for the subframe.

Having got away with using 2mm plate for the removal of the springs, I thought it wise to use something much thicker to re-compress them. 



Long studding threaded into the lower wishbones to guide the bottom plate up onto would have been the best option.  But in the absence of any, I used a couple of old bolts with the heads cut off.  Not ideal, but it worked rather well.  I don’t think 'comfortable' wouldn’t be the right word, but it's the first time I’ve not been absolutely shitting myself when compressing coil springs.





Rinse and repeat for the other side….

One of the last things I needed to do on the underside was to route and terminate the petrol pipe.  I had some trouble with finding the correct size fittings, and after buying three unions, I still didn’t have one that was a direct fit, so I modified what I had and it seems to work well. It looks innocent enough, but this is one job that would have been very tricky to do under the car as I needed to access the top section via the boot whilst also tightening up underneath.



I did originally intend to re-use the brake disks and have them skimmed, but after some investigation, it appears that they were supplied on the cars as a ‘consumable’ item.  They were machined and supplied such that there isn’t enough material to be able to skim the disks and still maintain the minimum thickness.  So, new disks it is.  However, they are so reasonably priced that I think having them skimmed would have actually been more expensive than buying new.  Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the new hubs.  The old steel wheels use a standard five stud fitting, but as I’ll be using the chrome wire wheels, they need to be fitted onto splined hubs.  Buying them hit me hard in the pocket, but when the chrome wire wheels are fitted, I’m sure the improvement to the look of the car will be worth the cost.

 

So, the rear axle is ready to be fitted.  Not too much of a problem, I sat it on a pair of axle stands and lowered the car down on the rotisserie to meet the axle.  I’ve assembled everything, but nothing has been tightened up as I want to ensure that it’s all sitting correctly first.  Also, if the rubber bushes are tightened at their lowest position, they will be stretched too far at their highest position.  Better to set correctly at the centre point, then this way the flex will be half each way.  I’ve not yet bought the rear shocks as they are easily fitted at a later point, unfortunately I need to prioritise my spending on components that will hold me back if not available.  One thing I needed to change was the OS rear brake pipe which was damaged during the installation.  It got trapped between the axle and a support.  It’s an easy fix, and didn’t take very long, but still annoyed with myself to allow it to become damaged in the first place.  Also in view is the new Panhard Arm which prevents lateral movement of the axle during cornering.
 


So, with the rear axle almost ready to accept the wheels, it’s time to refit the front subframe.  I will wait until the subframe is fitted before adding all of the ancillary items.  The subframe is incredibly heavy on its own and is a handful to move around whilst refitting.  If the hubs, disks, shocks and brakes had also been attached, it would have made the job far more difficult.  I managed to scratch some of the underseal coating on the inner wings as it was, but with the additional weight, I’m sure it would have suffered further.   I will refinish this when everything has been completed.

 

In the 1960’s, the Jaguar MK2/Daimler V8’s were the first production car to feature rear brake discs as standard, but the Achilles heel is the single circuit pipework which operates them.  This means all four brakes are operated on one brake pipe and introduces a single-point-of-failure.  As the car is also an automatic, there’s not the option of engine braking as a last resort either.  The only way to overcome this, is to upgrade the brake master cylinder and servo to a more modern dual circuit system.  I wanted to keep with Jaguar components, so I bought a complete unit from a more modern vehicle.  Because the car has large wings, the engine bay location for the unit sits further to the middle of this car than its donor.  This resulted in the brake pedal being too far to the left in the cabin.  I didn’t want to bend or weld the pedal arm for obvious reasons, but fortunately a pedal sourced from a Left-Hand-Drive version of the car from ebay, returned the foot pad back to the correct position.



The footprint of the new unit is far larger than the old.  Above you can see the difference in size and I needed to fabricate a sturdy 3mm steel plate to ensure a solid mount.



Fitted loosely in place.  I need to lift the front so the pedal rests at the correct height and there is sufficient travel to accommodate the maximum braking position, then I’ll weld it into place.



The new unit, which previously housed the accelerator pedal too, required trimming to fit around the engine bay brace. I’ll be retaining the original rod accelerator system as it also incorporates the auto-gearbox linkages, so I won’t be using it anyway.  The only issues I currently have is that I’ve taken up some of the room that the battery and the wiper motor previously occupied. It will require a creative solution…….The battery will probably be mounted in the boot (I’ve already fitted rivnuts for the cable along the chassis leg in preparation for this) but the wiper motor is something I’ll deal with that later.  Below you can see the two brake line outputs under the reservoir.  I’ll be using a simple front/rear split system, one circuit for the front brakes, and the other for the rears. 



Before I complete connecting up the brake and fuel lines, it makes sense to paint the engine bay first to save me from removing it all again later.  The colour I’ll be spraying the car is Jaguar Pearl Grey which is far nicer in my opinion than the Sherwood Green it was born with.  It’s quite a new colour and was never an option back in the 60’s, but my aim for the car has never been for absolute originality so I chose the colour I liked.  Many people choose Gunmetal Grey, but this is slightly darker and has some red in it too, which lifts it a little compared to the more monochrome of the Gunmetal.  Anyhow, I covered the wings with the free masking paper that Cardiff Council provide, and set about spraying the bay.  You can see the finished plate that the new brake servo sits on.  For this relatively small area, I opted for rattle cans.  A couple of base coat followed by a couple of clearcoat.



Once this had all dried, I started to reassemble the bay components. The brake servo, minus the master cylinder, was loosely bolted followed by running the pipework.  I had to deviate the original routes as the servo is now in a different position. Once they were clamped to the inner wing struts I fitted the lower steering linkage and steering column. The steering is now complete and once I lower it off the jacks, I will be able to steer it around the garage and outside which will make things a bit easier.  I replaced all of the bushes, universal joints, rubber boots and bolts here, same as the rest of the steering system.  I was very pleased to feel that there is zero slack or movement and the steering wheel input feels very positive indeed with the wheels responding instantly.



To complete the rolling shell, I just need to refurbish and refit the brake calipers and handbrake cable.  You will have already seen the rear calipers being refurbished, but the pistons for these, along with the front pistons will need some attention.  The calipers hold two pistons each, so that’s a total of eight pistons to refurbish.  After an inspection, I would say that there is only one, possibly two, which are good enough to use as they are.  The rest will require a re-sleeve.  This involves boring out the old sleeve, pressing in a stainless steel insert, boring it out and then honing to the original diameter.  This will enable me to reuse the original pistons.  I have all of the new seals I need, but unfortunately the re-sleeve will be a little costly and I’ve not found anyone to do them yet.  Here are the best and worst for comparison.





I’ve been working on the engine for a while, but I’m waiting for some parts to arrive, so in the meantime I’ve revisited getting the chassis not only rolling, but stopping too!

I failed getting the brake caliper bores re-sleeved, so I instead refurbished the best of them from the large collection I seem to have accumulated over the past year or so.  Some were good, but a couple were just ‘Acceptable’.  So I cleaned up the caliper frames …….

 

….. and mounted the pistons/hardware/pads/pipes.  Oh, and painted them too.



On the car they look quite nice and the red will show through the wire wheels.



BUT! The bores aren’t 100%.  So, after a few restless nights, I decided that less than 100% would just not be good enough.  They would never fail, and at worst I may have a few drips where they could leak a little. But I’d rather get them the best I can.   Buying new pistons was an expensive option, (£400 for the fronts only), and would only replace the brakes, rather than improve them.  A common upgrade is to use the four pot calipers from a Volvo 240.  These are much more powerful, only require a little fettling to get them to fit and are only £69 per side.  Plus they are brand new! No more sleepless nights. So, off with the old ones.  The work on them is not wasted though, I can use them for the rear calipers where they’ll be less important.  Obviously they’ll also get replaced if they do happen to drip any fluid in use.

So, whilst I wait for them to arrive, I did some plumbing.  The master brake cylinder is now dual circuit as you may remember, so the brake pipe from the rear of the car was fed into the one circuit and other for the front was run in around the engine bay.  The old master cylinder and booster (old name for servo) was located through the inner wing.  As this has been ditched, the hole that remained has been filled with a patch panel bolted in instead.  I may end up welding it in, simply to improve the aesthetics, but it doesn’t look too bad, and when the engine is back in it probably won’t be seen anyway. 



 

They’re here already!!  This is a comparison of the old and the new.  They are far beefier than the old ones and will provide far superior braking, plus they are a more modern design, brand new and will be easier to service in the future. I’m super pleased with them but they will need a little fettling to get them to fit.  The mounting holes need drilling out a smidge, the offset needs correcting by a few millimetres (shims) and the standard discs are too large by a few millimetres too.  Oh and they’ll need painting red obv’s.



All of that is easy enough to rectify.  I started with the discs.  I could have removed the discs and taken them to an engineering shop to be cut, but a far easier and simpler solution is to grind them at home, oh and did I say cheaper too?  As luck would have it, I had just bought a new grinder, so the stones are nice and square.  They took about an hour each.  I have seen companies that actually skim the discs this way too. 



One thing about using these calipers, and something that I only realised yesterday, is that there are two independent inlets.  One inlet feeds the top opposing pistons, and the other feeds the lower opposing pistons.  This is all fine and dandy, but when you have a single hose to attach, there’s something of a mismatch. The only way to connect things up to work correctly, is to use an inline splitter.  I have fitted these on the rear axle and also under the bonnet for the pipework to feed each side of the car.  The problem here is that there is very little space, and when you are working with bespoke solutions, you can’t simply buy something ‘off the shelf’.  However I tackle this, it needs to be operationally perfect whilst not fouling on anything when the steering moves from lock to lock.  A neat look would be desirable too, but obviously lower in importance than the other prerequisites.

So I spent far too much time today, trying out different configurations, increasing in complexity as I tried to make things that weren’t designed to fit, fit.  In the end I pushed the pipework to the extremes and crammed it all in behind the pistons.  I realise that it looks a bit like an airing cupboard from the 80’s, but this is the best I could come up with. The saving grace to all of this though, is that it will be totally hidden behind the caliper when in use.  Only myself and the MOT man will know, oh and you lot of course!

 

And here it is fitted. I need to get the pads in there of course and connect the pipework, but you can already see what a massive improvement it is over the stock components.  So, I have to do exactly the same now on the passenger side.



And after some paint …..