One of the great things about the Jaguar XKE / E-type is the ability to open that huge front hood and get relatively easy access to the engine, suspension and brakes. However, when the car is on its wheels and your open the hood in a normal manner – the angle is shallow enough so that access to the front suspension, brakes and radiator is still restrictive. However, there is a trick to really open up the front of the Jag and get unrestricted access to the whole engine, radiator, suspension and brakes. I thank Mark for this tip.
First though – someone was searching this blog recently on how you open up the hood on a Jaguar E-type / XKE. So a word on that. On the very first Series I cars there were little chrome units on the outside of the hood between the wheel-well and the door. These opened and allowed you to use a square ended key to lock or unlock the hood. This is similar to my TR3 – which has two Dzus fasteners at the top front corners that lock and unlock the hood when turned with a T-handles Dzus key. Very quickly this was replaced by two chrome hooks at the front of the cockpit on the front door posts. You pull these towards you and twist. This pops the hood. On the Series II there is another little lever between the hood and firewall that you then push to release the hood fully. By the way – the back hatch on the coupe and 2+2 is opened by pulling a very classy little countersunk chrome ring on the passenger side of the car aft of the seat back.
Now – to really open the hood wide you need to place a 2 inch thick piece of wood along the frame channel just under the radiator. Do not try this trick without putting a good solid piece of wood across this part of the frame or you will wreck your frame. Block and handbrake the rear wheels. Now, use a floor jack placed in the center of the car and against this piece of wood to jack up the front of the car. You need to jack the car up enough for the front tires to be well clear of the ground – hopefully you remembered to loosen the lug nuts or the wirewheel center spinner before you jacked the tires off the ground…. Place jack stands under the wood on both sides of the floor jack, lower onto the stands and then remove the floor jack. Ok, remove the front wheels from the car. Now, open the hood and undo the strut (on later models) or the hood-springs balance links on earlier models. Get a piece of rope to tie the hood off against the frame or engine and also to tie off against something in front of the car if you are worried about it clamming down on you while you are working.
Now, you can really open up the hood to vertical. The car is high enough so that the bumper will not strike the ground and with the front tires off it can swing well back. Be careful though as you can open past vertical and the hood is heavy to manage without the springs of strut in place. Tie off the back of the hood and front and you have incredible access to the whole engine, steering, suspension, brakes and radiator!