All posts filed under: Repairs

Passing California Smog Test – Replacing the Catalytic Converter and Oxygen Sensor on an Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce Part 2

Having looked at the high HC, CO and NO numbers on the last smog test two years ago I decided to replace the catalytic converter on a 1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce (see Motorphile 2016/02/24) before taking it in for a biennial test.  As the unit was clearly rattling when shaken I figured it was time to replace. Now there are so called “49 State” catalytic converters and then there are the 50 State or CARB cats that are legal for use in California.  Often the California legal catalytic converter can cost about double the price of the 49 State model for the same car.  Forget about trying to save money if you live in California by buying the cheaper 49 state model.  First,  the California Air Resources Board (CARB) requires that all legal California model cats be stamped “D-193-88″  which is the State Executive Order (EO) mandating the higher performance converters.  They will also have a unit number, manufacturing date and arrow indicating air flow.  If the converter does not have these large (5”) …

Passing California Smog Test – Example of an Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce Part 1

In California an older car built after 1975 has to pass a rigorous smog test every two years. If your car does not pass you generally cannot register it for operation on the street.  That year is fixed and means that as time goes on classic cars built after 1975 could be many decades old and will still need to pass the smog test for registration in California.  If a car fails the test you have to repay the $50 or more fee for the test agfer you fix the problem and retest the car. Worse though – that fact is listed on the record and even if the problem is rectified the past failure of the car and could raise concerns with future purchasers.  It is wise to take a close look at the numbers of your test certificate each time you test and note if you are creeping towards a fail.   If so you should take action before two years are up and you need your next test.  For many people, this testing …

Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: Removing and Replacing the SU Fuel Pump

The Jaguar XKE / E-type has an electronic SU fuel pump typical of many British cars of the 1950’s-70’s.  These pumps are simple devices that work on a set of points that activate an electromagnetic field and cause a rubber diaphragm to move and pump the fuel. They are low pressure, relatively robust and can go for long periods of time.  Problems typically include worn points and electromagnetic apparatus, failed gaskets and perished diaphragms.  The ethanol content in modern fuels is thought to be destructive to the older rubber diaphragms.  New ethanol-resistant diaphragms are available as are solid state SU pumps that recreate the look and function of the originals, but without mechanical points.  It is debated whether the old points-based systems are better because you can replace worn points, but when a solid state circuit fails you are stuck. Failure of the SU pump on an E-type Jaguar can be detected in a couple of ways. First if you turn on the ignition, do not hear an initial set of clicks from the pump …

Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: Engine Won’t Run Due to Faulty Low Tension Lead.

Here is a problem that is is pretty common in 1960’s Jaguars and other British cars with the standard Lucas points and rotor distributor.   You are driving along and the engine simply stops or you decide to go for a Sunday and drive and the engine simply won’t start.  Sometimes this problem can be intermittent, but often it is a sudden failure.  You can hear the fuel pump ticking, see gas in the glass filter bowl and know fuel is not the issue. You then test for a spark on one of the plug leads and there is nothing.  The coil and distributor leads are firm, the coil tests ok and the distributor rotor and cap look fine. What is going on? It is very likely, particularly on Jags of this age that the low tension lead inside the distributor has broken.  This lead is a special highly flexible wire that connects the condenser and the coil negative terminal to the points.  With time this wire becomes brittle and will eventually break – severing the …

Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: Fitting Bumpers

The front and rear bumpers on the Series II E-types are pretty easy to refit. This is in contrast to the rear bumper on the Series I which requires removal of the gas tank.  All of the attachment bolts are accessible and can be inserted and tightened from under the car.  The rear bumper is a three piece   section that bolts together and bolt to the body. There is play in the connections that allow fine fitting to get the gaps right. I found it easiest to fit the bumper rear bumper loosely on the car and make sure the gaps were correct before tightening the bolts that hold the three pieces together.  Both the rear and front bumpers take some fiddling to get the fit right. It is wise to protect the body with thick tape near where the bumper fits to avoid gouges and scratches.  

Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: A Distraction – Work on a Jaguar Series III V-12 – Detailing, Driving and Delivery

With the rebuilt carbs, new starter and new cooling tank the Jaguar V-12 drove fantastic. It was a 4-speed and had a lot more torque and power delivered to the rear wheels than my Series II with the automatic transmission.  The interesting thing is that for the Series III E-types they used the long 2+2 wheel base for both the coupe and convertible. So, the feel of the car in terms of size, and the interior comfort was similar to the Series II 2+2.   The use of the long wheel base (9 inches longer all in the door area) allowed Jaguar to put an automatic transmission in the cars and also rationalized everything around one platform. Here are some pictures of the finished and detailed car prior to delivery back to the owner. He has told us that he loves the easy starts with the gear reduction starter and that the car has never run better.  It really is a lovely car – long may it run! Enjoy –             …