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Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: Cloth Wire Harness Cover Refinishing

Although the wiring on the Jag and the connections were solid and the plastic insulation in good shape, the cloth covering on the wiring harness was pretty tatty in a number of places. Now, lots of people simply use black electrical tape to clean things up – but this really does  not look that good to me. Another approach is to use the segmented black plastic tubes which you can fit over stereo wiring and computer wiring bundles. That does not look quite right to me either. So, what do you do when you want to tidy-up the wiring harness and  have it look original and not have to rewire the whole car with an expensive replacement harness???

There is a really nifty product out there that is great for making old cloth harness coverings look great – and pretty closely replicates the look and texture of the original cloth harness. The stuff is called braided, side entry sleeving and although it is plastic it has a braided texture much like the old cloth harness. Since it is a slide entry cover with a 25% overlap you can fit it over the existing harness where that is is good or simply replace the cloth with the new side entry harness. You can order it indifferent diameters and lengths here at    –   It really looks super – and very much like and original cloth harness. Check out the pictures below.

Old tatty cloth harness and taped repair.

Side sleeve braided cable organizer to replace worn cloth harness cover.

New braided cable organizer installed on harness.

4 comments on “Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: Cloth Wire Harness Cover Refinishing

  1. Jim Bancroft says:

    Very interesting to know–thanks. May I ask which variety of cable organizer you used, or recommend? There are several listed on the website you linked.


    1. gmmacdonald says:

      Thanks for the comment. Good question! I used Bentley Harris® Roundit® 2000 split side cable organizer in various diameters. It has a tight weave that looks like cloth, is heat-treated to retain shape and withstands temperatures of 125 C. I thought the end result was clean and does look like a cloth type harness. One thing to be careful with – if there is failing insulation on any of the wires themselves all that the harness cover will do is hide a potential disaster. Have a close look at the individual wires before deciding on if you might need a whole new harness or just a refresh of the cloth cover. Have fun!


  2. Jeff Cathcart says:

    I follow your posts and have a request. I have the same make, model and year car.

    Could you send me a photo of where and how the drop down cable attaches to the throttle linkage? All I have is the cable sticking up in the air.

    Thank you very much,



    1. gmmacdonald says:

      Thanks Jeff – I think you are referring to the “kick down” cable for the automatic transmission. It pushes the tranny into a lower gear when you punch the gas to pass for example.

      The cable is adjustable from the firewall – but the typical Haynes Manual drawing does not make that much sense. I am not sure you are in US or UK – so I will refer to engine and carb locations rather than passenger and driver sides.

      The cable (black plastic coated and small diameter) comes out of the firewall towards the exhaust manifold side and runs towards the carb side. The fork area where the cable ends and where you can adjust it is on the firewall and is more or less behind the carbs and intake manifold area (directly above the starter and under where the water hoses from the intake manifold run into the firewall). There is then a long shaft behind and under the carbs running along the bottom of the intake manifold that is connected to the carbs by an arm that runs from the center linkage between the two carbs. That shaft rotates when the gas is pushed and pulls the kick down cable at the fork area.

      The Haynes Manual has instructions for adjusting.

      Have fun!


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