Wednesday, 30 January 2013

16x8" lattice wheel refurb part 1

Before I get started hears a picture of the Sov under the recent snowfall, just before I brushed it off!

Now for the main theme, I got around to taking my lattice wheels to the refurb' outfit on Saturday, having been threatening it for a little while. The crowd are called BJV Engineering, based in south Hertfordshire.

I had a look over some of the colours they do. Went for a mid grey gunmetal metallic powder coated finish as I planned to, but it was good to get a feel for how the colours looked in the metal. I liked the darker grey that they use on M3 wheels but thought I'd lose a bit of the detail from the appearance of the intricate lattice spokes if I went too dark. I'm also having the lips diamond cut as I wanted, they couldn't do the cutting process on the protruding wheel centre though unfortunately. I decided not to have the lips lacquered as if it gets chipped moisture can get under and corrode the metal. With them unlacquered I'll be able to periodically polish them with autosol to keep them looking shiny.

The cost isn't too unreasonable at around £50 a corner, I decided to have all five wheels done. They're being done this week, I'll be picking them up next Saturday, if not before.

Next thing I need to decide is what size and brand of tyres to fit and which wheel centre badges to plump for. The wheels are 8" wide so thinking of going for a 225, don't exactly want a stretch but don't want it baggy on the rim. I want the wheel diameter to be smaller overall as it'll move the gearing lower and thus improve acceleration, hence I'm thinking of choosing a 50 profile aspect ratio. As my car is lowered a smaller tyre will ensure it won't rub.

I want the proper '40 growler wheel badges not the naff modern ones. I'm not yet sure what background colour to go for, I'm thinking maybe the red will look striking but am also considering black as the safer option. Quite liked the idea of a flash of colour and red can be nice as a detail colour like on a coach strip or as piping or stitching for instance. I've considered the grey ones but thought grey badges on grey wheels on a grey car might look a bit dull.

Depending on what the stance is like when I get the wheels back on, I might fit some spacers to sit the wheels closer to the outside edge or the arches and get a bit more poke. The 8" wheels already sit quite a bit further out than the standard 7J wheels but I'll see how much extra I can get without the tyres rubbing.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

XJR bumper repair part 1

I've decided to make a start on repairing my XJR series 1 front and rear bumpers. I was planning to have the skirts and spats painted and to fit them them initially but I've decided to get the whole kit painted in one hit.

The bumpers are in quite a bad way condition wise with several cracks and areas of damage, but they are complete. As can be seen from the pictures they have areas where the fibreglass is damaged and requires repair, to do this I have bought a repair kit with the items I'll need. Once the fibreglass is repaired I'll fill any cracks and imperfections and sand the whole lot down ready for paint.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Front subframe refurb part 1

I've decided to refurbish a front subframe to fit to my car. This part is made from pressed steel and filled with foam for vibration absorbtion. It carries the engine, wishbones, anti-roll bar and steering rack. It is fixed to the body by two round inserted bushes at the back and two vee mounts at the top.

The condition of the subframe bushes do feel okay at the moment so there's no pressing need to fit a new subframe at the moment but I want to start work now so it's ready as a spare. My car does have 170k miles so I want to eventually replace all the suspension components that wear and repaint and protect the underbody metalwork. I have already once refurbished a subframe for an XJ40 but it was fitted to a previous car, see earlier posts.

The top picture shows my newly aquired subframe, this is apparently from a low mileage, late example. It has quite a few areas of surface rust, none of it has gone through though, the condition is serviceable. I'll be treating this rust, painting, and fitting new bushes and vee mounts. The subframe will carry my previously polybushed wishbone that haven't been fitted to my car as yet.

To help remove the rust I bought some wire brush tools for my drill and angle grinder

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Parts organisation and clear out

I'm feeling quite fired up to get some work on the car done at the moment, before I got stuck in though I wanted to have a good tidy and sort out of my parts shed and get rid of some stuff. I've quite a lot of useful spares but it's surprising how much gets accumulated. Over the last week I've binned, sold and given about quite a few bits, it's now much tidier. I bought a number of transparent stackable boxes and organised the various types of parts into each. I'm thinking of going as far as making a spread sheet itinerary of all the spares I have just so I can keep track of things.

The top picture show's the three cylinder heads I have at the moment, two 3.6L heads and one 4.0L XJR head. One of them is going on the car when I change the head gasket, quite possibily the XJR one. I found my spare bumpers and a set of decent chrome bumper blades, I've been in two minds about whether to fit them onto the car. I've decided I'll probably stick with the body colour blades for now until I get around to repairing and painting the XJR series 1 bumpers.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New daily driver

Whilst life continues with my XJ40 project I've had a change in the daily driver arena. I had a shunt in my Golf GT TDI and it was deemed a cat B write off by the insurance company. Whilst I wasn't especially attached to the car it had proved a very reliable mile muncher and I was sorry to see it have the end it did. The below picture shows it being taken away on a car transport, the last we saw of it.

Whilst we awaited the payout the insurance company gave us a courtesy car, a brand new BMW 116D Sport which turned up with only 125 miles on the clock! We had it for a couple of months and it was a decent car overall, very refined as you'd expect and economical. There were a few relatively minor things I didn't like so much about it though. It had low profile run-flat tyres which were a bit noisy and comprised the ride somewhat. The rear visability was quite poor, just as well it had parking sensors. The gearbox was surprisingly notchy feeling and the engine seemed to have fairly little torque below 1500rpm. A decent car overall but I would hesitate to pay the list price for a new one. 

I've a full time replacement now, an '02 Ford Focus Zetec 1.8 TDDI. It's a tidy motor and has proved a good runner so far. Over the Xmas holidays I did some basic servicing including an engine oil and filter change and new air filter. I've put some new number plates on too as they were looking passed their best.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

"To do" list for the new year

2012 has been a good year for the Sovereign. I've just counted and realised I've had the car about 14 months now having bought it in early August '11 so this was it's first calender year here. It passed it's first MOT with me this summer with relative easy. I've had some enjoyable use from it, it's been to the annual XJ40.com members meet, used as our wedding car and away on holiday. 

Over the Xmas holidays I've been giving some thought to how I've going to take the project forward in 2013. I've compiled a list of work I want to carry out on the car, I've decided to get stuck into some of the bigger jobs before summer arrives. I'd like to take it to some classic car shows and things, it's quiet a long way from proper show car standard at the moment but I aim to get it towards that.

Engine work - As detailed previously I've an oil leak from the head gasket area, compression still appear to be good but I'm going to tackle things and swap the all the gaskets. As the engine is fairly high mileage I though I'd freshen it up with a low mileage cylinder head that I have, plus I'm going to fit the Jaguarsport XJR inlet cam and inlet manifold for what I hope will be a small boost in performance.

Wheels and body - I hope to have the lattice wheels refurbished very soon. I've decided to have them powder coated in gunmetal grey with the rim lips and center diamond cut then lacquered. It's a fairly unusual finish and I'm hoping it'll be something a bit special and different. I'll then need new tyres, I'm thinking of 225/50r16's, a lower profile than previous.

I had a go at painting the XJR bodykit parts but wasn't happy with the quality of finish so I'll get these sprayed by my local coachworks outfit. I think these body additions coupled with the refurbed wheels will really bring up the look of the car to the more sporty one I'm after.

Engine bay tidy up - The engine bay has been embaressingly dirty since I've had it so I'm going to be giving it a deep clean. I'm thinking of having the cam cover power coated when I have the wheels refurbed, I also want to paint the radiator cradle top panel.

Interior electrics - Some of the electrics have either never worked. Two windows fail to go up and down and the heater only works on full so I need to investigate.