How to mount an XKE bonnet

Not a pretty picture. The bonnet is waaaay out. Not sure how much of this is because of alignment, but its not even close. When I first mounted the bonnet it wouldn't close because the air ducts were mounted incorrectly and were hitting the sub frame and the bonnet helpers. After I removed both air ducts I found this mismatch. The good news (if there is any) is that the wings seem to have the correct contour. The center section appears to be bowed, not sure how this happened.

Removing the Air ducts was fairly simple, fortunately I didn't use Sika-Flex when putting this together. The body seam sealer didn't work very well. I'm sure I would have ended up doing this over anyway. Its best that I'm doing it now instead of after all the paint work is finished. I'll have to sand the color and rocker guard down to primer and rebuild the bonnet once I figure out what needs to be reshaped. I took out the front supports and found that this helped get the shape closer, but still other problems were going to have to be solved. I will clean all these parts up, true up the mounting points on the lower bonnet tub and put back together and do further fitting.

I made an exact template to match the body shape with the cowl and used this to determine how much of the mismatch is due to fitting verses the actual shape of the center section. Once I have a good quality inside and outside template I can get a pretty close match with out having the bonnet on the car. I am hopeful that I won't have to remove the rear bonnet support and reshape it to meet the body contour.
I shimmed up the front of the bonnet as much as I could and determined that something is wrong. The lower bonnet tub is to far off to get a good fit, This tub will need to be cut apart and straightened out. The firewall looks straight, but even a small tweak in the firewall could translate into a major problem at the end of the fulcrum. I took many measurements and found that the firewall and sub frame were perfectly aligned (thank goodness). After this I formed the hypothesis that most of the problems were in the lower bonnet tub valance.

I use a magnet to hold the center section at proper alignment. It appears that there is a similar amount of mismatch on each side. This doesn't add up to accident damage, If this was caused by an accident it would most likely not be the same on both sides. Maybe this is an alignment problem? more work will be required to determine what is out.

With no shims in the front of the bonnet I have way to much gap at the rear. The sub frame is all new so I'm pretty sure this is correct. Could it be that the tub on the front of the bonnet is bent enough to produce this 1 inch gap? I noticed that there is slightly less gap at the lower corners of the bonnet than in the center. This would lead me to think that the nose is still lower than it should be.

I guess that the wings can be brought in line by slightly bending the mounting edges on both the center section and the wing and some slight cutting on the inner wing supports. This can only be done after the center section is close to the proper shape. Its going to be a slow process but nothing that can't be done with enough time an effort. I am estimating a 3-4 month problem.

Fixing Bonnet Mounting Problems

Author: Bill McKenna