How to do bonnet finial fitting and block sanding (part 3)

The work on this page has taken about 1 month and was during February and March 2004. I would estimate about 40 hours of work.

Gluing in the vent supports with Sika-Flex was straight forward. I had scribed the exact place of each while the bonnet was together and mounted on the car. I sanded out all the primer and filler from my previous attempt at gluing them in to give a good scuffed surface for adhesion. Sika-flex is interesting stuff, it dries slowly and turns into a hard rubber. It gives a slight amount without cracking, and is nearly impossible to get off once its dry. One calk tube was more than enough to do the entire bonnet.

Before finial gluing in the vent supports I did as much as possible to get a flush fit. This involved some minor bending of the braces. The fit was nearly perfect in most areas with less than 1/8" gap in the worst places.

There was one area where the fit was hard to get perfect, I had no way to bend the part enough to get a perfect fit. I ended up using Sika-flex to fill in the gap. It was less than 1/4". I have noticed this area having a larger gap on many if not all E-types.

A nice tight fit on most the vents is best, here its pretty much dead flat on the bonnet. I opted to strip all the old paint off the mounting hardware before re-installing it. After three or four coats of paint and being taken on and off a few times, the hardware was looking pretty bad. Stripping was simple I just soaked all the fasteners in parts cleaner and the paint came right off.

Its just about ready to go back on the car now. I didn't glue the front panels in until after painting so you can see the white Sika-flex on the right side. I'll touch this up later when the last coat of primer is shot on the outside of the bonnet.


The sill gussets, came out pretty well, I will need to do a little minor dressing on the front edge, and see how the fit is after I mount the bonnet again.

The sill looks a bit wavy from this angle, but this is the shape that worked when the bonnet was dialed in.

After getting the bonnet back together and painted, it was remounted to the car and the final fitting was done. I had previously done some blocking around the cowl so things were close, however not close enough. I loaded filler in several more times and sanded out to get a perfect fit. 90% of the filler gets sanded away, but its quickest to do lay down several coats and feather it back about 6-9 inches from the cowl and rear edge of the bonnet. Ding down any major high spots and fill over the small ones. I use 220 wet and dry sandpaper to rough these in, then cut over to 400 grit. After I feel like I have it dialed in, I will shoot another coat of high build on the bonnet.

Its amazing what a long board will find when you put it to the primer. Here I'm trying to get 3 high spots to go under. Two on the edge of the fender at the sill, and one on the side of the cowl. This kind of work takes patience and the natural tendency is to try and cover the high spot not the low areas around it. Save time and just lay in filler all around the offending high and you'll save time in the end.
For whatever reason the edge of the wing had some ugly High spots on both sides, I must have filled and sanded each about ten times before I was happy. I can't begin to state how frustrating this part of the process is.

After all the high spots seemed to be taken care of I shot another coat of primer. This was a very heavy coat of PPG NCP 280. I made up a quart and slightly over reduced it to get it to flow into any hidden low spots. Then I shot on the bonnet, cowl, sills and door until I ran out. Probably about 2-3 coats on each. The bonnet isn't latched in this picture, so you can see the edge of it sticking up.

Looks pretty good from here except where I had some spray gun problems, note the area on the cowl around the door. The gun had a loose tip and was spewing a bit when I first started. Would have been a major problem if this had been color, but for primer its no big deal.
Another shot down the side of the car, several high and low spots will show up under the block but its 95% straight now.
Ready for another pass with the 400 and 600 grit sanding, hopefully this will be the last pass.

Another touch up pass will be required on this to get out a few missed high spots and some accidental sand through.

One last shot for this page, I will end up doing several weeks of finial sanding on the car and 2 more touch up passes with high build before its all ready for color. The chrome fitting will be next. I ordered a full rubber kit from Classic Jaguar, and will test fit all the chrome before I shoot color. I'm having bumpers custom made for the car based on templates I have cut of the front and rear body contour.


Chrome Fitting!

Author: Bill McKenna