E-Type cylin­der head and new head­lights

Classics Monthly - - Driver's Diary -

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.

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