E-Type cylinder head and new headlights
Having returned home to Australia after my recent visit to England where I enjoyed three warm, sunny days on my first visit to the Goodwood Festival of Speed enviously looking at the spectacular cars on display. I’ve been to the Revival on a number of occasions but decided to coincide this visit with the July Goodwood event. My return luggage contained a box of goodies for the E-Type and Stag from David Manners that included gaskets, a heater valve and an assortment of filters for a service.
After taking it easy over the weekend to recover from jet lag and attend to things around home, the next job was off to the machine shop to collect the E-Type’s skimmed head. When the head was dropped off, I’d asked them to clean it thoroughly after machining, but they had overlooked the request. So rather than leave it for an extra day, I brought it home and used my own parts washer to give it a good flush out, taking special care to clean out the oilways to the camshaft bearings.
Prior to delivering the head to the machine shop, I had cleaned off much of the old gold paint in the centre, which now required a repaint. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any suitable coloured brush-on paint, so purchased a spray can of gold engine enamel. The central area was degreased and masked off with tape and newspaper and old spark plugs were screwed into the plugholes to protect the threads from any overspray. Following the instructions on the can, several light paint coats were applied prior to a final heavier wet coat, allowing time for the paint to flash off between coats. After leaving the paint for a couple of days to harden, the masking tape was removed, resulting in a smart looking head.
I utilised the paint hardening time by restoring the shine on the polished aluminium cam covers and front cover. Using my large bench grinder, which has a spindle attachment for fitting a 200mm buffing mop, a flash of fine compound soon made light work of the task. Although all the parts buffed up to an excellent shine, they will require a final shine with metal polish once the cam covers have been refitted.
I also started cleaning the old valves, as I intended to reuse them and was sure that they were all replaced eight years ago, but the cleaning process revealed a crack in one of the exhaust valves. So to be safe I took the decision to replace all the inlet valves as well as the exhausts, which introduced another delay waiting for replacements. A tap was run down the large dome nuts that go
I was sure all the E-Type’s valves had been replaced eight years ago but the cleaning process revealed a crack in one of the exhaust valves
on the head studs to ensure they were not too tight, as this could possibly adversely affect the gasket crush when tensioned with a torque wrench.
As I intend to use the E-Type on a more regular basis for attending club evenings, I wanted to upgrade the lighting by replacing the existing old sealed beam headlights with a new pair of headlight reflectors that can take high performance H4 bulbs in an effort to improve illumination on our local country roads. As I’d previously purchased all the components, the delay waiting for new the new valve to arrive seemed like a good time to install the new headlights, which I knew was going to take time, as I also wanted to fit a relay to minimise any voltage drop to the bulbs.
On a Series 1 E-Type the glass aperture cover has come off to access the headlight. On the offside after removing the light unit, the recess panel had to be unbolted so the relay could be concealed in the nose of the car adjacent to where the front wiring loom enters the bonnet. I found a large heavy duty headlight relay in my box of electrical components that I'd intended to fit to the Stag, but had decided against due to its size and space constraints.
As there weren’t any space issues in the nose of the Jag, wiring for the relay was easy. After disconnecting the original bullet connections that came from the light switches and connecting them to trigger the relay, a new fused power supply was run from the battery to the relay. This will ensure maximum voltage at the bulbs, as the length of cable and number of connectors in the headlight circuit has been drastically reduced. I fitted high performance halogen 60/ 55 Watt bulbs to the reflectors, although the wiring is capable of handling 100w main beams and may investigate fitting if I am still not happy with the light output.
If upgrading to 100w bulbs, I would be concerned about the additional heat generated and would upgrade the bulb holders to ceramic ones based on previous experience with melting plastic connectors using 100w bulbs on my 4WD. After fitting the new reflectors, the upgraded bulbs were then screwed in place and the glass cover refitted once the headlights have been aligned. When that’s done it will be interesting to see how the upgrade has improved the E-Type’s forward illumination.
With the lighting upgrade sorted, the Jag's replacement valves arrived and they were given a quick lap with fine compound to ensure a good seal ready for installation. I used a small diamond tipped engraving pen to number each valve so they could be returned to the correct cylinder after everything was giving a final clean up in preparation for fitting the valve springs.
The E-Type’s cylinder head required masking before being painted with a rattle can. Old spark plugs prevented any paint ingress into the threads.
After the final coat of gold paint had thoroughly hardened, all the masking material could be removed to reveal the result.
All the new valves for the E-Types refurbished cylinder head were given a light lap with fine grinding paste. Next job was to fit the valve springs, retainers and collets. The E-type’s alloy cam covers were polished on a bench-mounted buff. All these highly visible parts will be hand polished once they’ve been refitted to the rebuilt engine. One of the E-Types replacement light units in place complete with a new upgraded bulb. The alignment will be checked once the car is back on its wheels. A headlamp relay was installed whilst swapping the E-Type’s old sealed beam headlights with new reflectors and high performance bulbs.