From simple jobs to saga
This was not part of the plan. A year in Phil’s E-type life is supposed to run like this: spend the dark, wet winter months fixing accumulated problems from the previous season; then a crescendo of late nights in the garage to get it back together for spring; put off non-essential jobs that will disable the car during peak driving weather; repeat.
This year I broke the cycle, working through a list of minor winter jobs early. My reward for being so organised? A trip back from Le Mans that created a fresh job list and a return to dry dock – gearchange problems, speedometer failure (again) and fuel leaks. I didn’t want to push my luck by using the car further with so much wrong.
None of the faults looked particularly difficult to fix so I estimated a week of dismantling, ordering parts and fitting them. Yes, I know, after more than seven years with the Jaguar I should know better.
The speedometer, seized only a few hundred miles after rebuild, is easy to remove. Next I tried to rotate the cable – it shouldn’t while the square drive at the far end is engaged in the gearbox angle drive. It turned. Broken cable? Nope – withdrawing it revealed it to be in perfect condition, though it seemed a tighter fit that it should. Must be the angle drive unit – also previously repaired. Replacing that would involve removing the centre console and gearbox cover, which first requires removing the seats and disconnecting the handbrake cable at the rear brakes. Nothing is simple on an E-type. Sure enough, the square drive on the angle drive unit had sheared where it engages in the gearbox.
With the interior of the car strewn around my garage I attacked the engine bay, removing undertray, air cleaner and carburettor trumpets to access the clutch master cylinder, then part-bleeding the front brakes so that the pedal could be depressed enough to clear the clevis pin securing the clutch master cylinder rod to the clutch pedal. By the time I’d removed the clutch slave cylinder from the bellhousing, I had received new seal kits to rebuild both cylinders.
Progress was looking good, until I stripped the cylinders. The master looked perfect inside, but it was from a later E-type so the seal kit wouldn’t fit. When I removed the rubber boot from the end of the slave cylinder a flood of rusty water and brake fluid sloshed into my bench. Cleaning out the brown sludge revealed a heavily corroded bore. So, I ordered a later master seal kit and a new, stainless steel slave to avoid a repeat of the problem.
The new clutch parts, repaired speedometer head and drive, plus a new cable, arrived the day before I was due to set off for a Jaguar run in south Wales celebrating 60 years of the E-type prototype, E1A. I was running out of time, and now I’ve run out of space. Catch you next month.
Extracting the clutch master cylinder was involved
Slave full of rusty water