All posts tagged: Repair

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: The Distractions of a Bentley Mk VI and a MG TD

As I mentioned in my last post – in addition to doing a bit of work on various people’s car I have also been working on a 1949/50 Bentley and a 1953 MG TD.  Of course, there is also my wife’s Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce that needs to be kept on the road for her!  Hard to get time to blog on the Jag. I plan to switch to a more general classic and sports car blog to cover all the bases so watch for that.  In the meantime here are some teaser pictures of the progress on the Bentley and the MG TD –          

Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: OMG – Almost a Year Since I Last Posted! What is the State of the E-type?

I cannot believe that it has been almost a year since I last posted on the site!  Too many distractions with a new house and workshop, change in my position at work, travel, and spending time on other projects – most notably a 1949/50 Bentley and a 1953 MG TD.  Well  – just to let you know the E-type is in fine shape and I hope to show it this summer.  After some shake-down driving and tuning there are a few things I have attended to that I will post on.  In case you were wondering – here is the car today.   I will update with more pictures and details on some of the finishing work shortly.        


Welcome! Motorphile is an online magazine that focuses on classic cars from 1920’s through the 1950’s and sports cars of all types.  Articles include news, musings and events along with the history of some of the cars.  The main focus is repair, refreshing and restoration that can be carried out by the proficient car buff.