The Unhinged E-Type - Faine 447

By: Jon Faine

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jaguar e type repair 4 jaguar e type repair 4

Young Mr Faine discovers that sometimes the quick way is sometimes the scary way

Marvellous how much easier it is to do a job when you know what you are doing, eh? I have just replaced the rubber seals on the E-type Jaguar quarter lights and it took half a day on the passenger side and a little more than an hour on the drivers side. If there was a third one, I reckon I could do it blindfolded!

The old rubber seals were utterly perished. Assuming that they are the originals, it is hardly surprising that fifty years in the Australian sun has reduced them to disintegrating brittle twigs resembling parched liquorice sticks instead of soft and pliable pillows to keep out rain and wind.

It was remarkably easy to source exact replacements and, along with a box of other goodies – including the hatch-back seals, bonnet shut seal and other bits and bobs still to receive attention – the parcel from the UK was here within a week of the on-line order being processed. Give that postie a bonus Cartier watch!

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At first I was timid, terrified of dismantling the chrome strips that hold the quarter lights in place. The easiest approach seemed to be to pursue the path of least resistance – remove as few pieces of car as possible so as to disrupt things as lightly as practicable. Risk averse – and gutless.

The windows hang off a chrome full length hinge. The hinge is attached to the separator strip between the door and the quarter lights. That seems to be held by a bracket which in turn is held in place with two chromed domed counter-sunk screws. The bracket sits in a now tatty rubber housing which I did not have a replacement for. I decided to leave it alone. But if the bracket and hinge were to be left in place, could I get access to and remove all the old rubber without removing the entire window? Too much of a scaredy cat?

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50-year-old seals present a challenge, however metal and paint are good

I assembled a small army of utensils and implements. There was the trusty dental pick that has turned out to be one of the most used tools in my shed. Then the selection of interior trim removing tools made of something in-between soft metal and hard plastic that came from NASA. Next an impressive selection of squirt bottle and aerosol glue dissolvers and degreasers - all the major food groups. Each was cautiously tested on painted surfaces that no one can see before attempting a liberal dose on the duco where it really mattered.

I narrowed down my weapons of choice and got stuck in. Dental pick in and under the perished rubber, a smooth and gentle lever action and up she popped, about a fingers length at a time. Underneath was a previously invisible lip into which the new seal will have to be secured. That channel had not rusted at all and to my delight there was almost no loss of paint anywhere that mattered. I had been terrified that the paint would stick to either the glue or the rubber and would peel off as I tugged away. I need not have stressed.

The long sharp tip of the dental pick got me into the awkward narrow gap where the window hinge meant very cramped access. Because I was too scared to remove the hinge, I had to squeeze into the narrow wedge where the window met the hinge. The opposite wide open end of the window has a catch that was held by two tiny counter sunk screws that I managed not to lose.

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Liberal application of degreaser also served to lubricate the channel for the new rubber to squeeze in. This little project is ample proof that the imagined problems are usually far worse than the actual job once you get into it. The rear face of the rubber was able to be prodded and poked into the channel with the bluntest of my trim tools, so no risk of tearing or cutting. Just a good strong poke required every centimetre, bit by bit, until it started to pop in. The areas where the window opening was widest were easy, but then I got to the squeezy bits and was stumped -– there was no way I could get my poking tool into the narrow gap available.

A cuppa, a walk around the garden, a break for lunch, another cuppa, a lot of staring and I finally bit the bullet and undid the screws securing the hinge after all. Nothing happened. It came off, the screws went into a tin, the full channel and cavity was readily accessible, I poked the rubber into the channel all the way, and the job was nearly done. All I had to do now was re-introduce the window to the chrome hinge and "presto" job done.

Not so fast. This exercise turns out to require a great deal of staring, trial and error, a dropped but not smashed window and a few annoying searches for tiny screws that have a habit of vanishing as soon as they fall from your clumsy fingers. It seems to be a four handed operation. One hand to hold the window in the exact required place. One hand to hold the hinge flush to the window to line up the screw holes. Another for holding the tiny screw in its equally tiny threaded hole. Fourth hand to turn the screwdriver. Hmmm.

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The genius solution eventually arrived. Three small clamps were called into service to tightly secure the window to the hinge, and the screws were held with a magnetised tip screw driver. Window installed, adjusted for clearance top and bottom and a smug self-important smile spread slowly across my dial.

The second side was done in a flash, the technique having been established on side A could be readily replicated on side B. I feel like a qualified E-type quarter vent window installer now. Why so scary?

 

From Unique Cars #447, December 2020

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