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16173 will be entering project status...  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 09-12-2012 06:49 am
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answerman
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Well, I've owned 16173 for about 4 days now, and driven her around town for a couple of hours total.  That ended today because I need to really take a good look at the brakes before she hits the road again.

Here's what I've learned so far.  First the general description and details about the car itself: 1974 JH MkII, seems to run pretty well though she idles very rough.  Not too worried about that yet.  Included with the purchase was the original owners manual complete with foldout wiring diagram (which proved invaluable 24 hours later, as explained in the next paragraph), a shop manual, a Haynes manual for the Strombergs, the original (I think anyway) hardtop which is in pretty good shape except for the fact that someone decided it was a good idea to paint it metallic grey, and all the receipts for the work that the previous two owners had done going back to 2001.  Interior is really nice, probably not original.  Body is ok... it's been repainted (red) and mostly solid except for the rails being a little soft and a few soft spots in the floor.  That'll be the winter project.

Now, on the way home I noticed that it wasn't charging... meter wasn't moving, but the ignition light wasn't coming on either.  Battery seems to be good (thankfully) and after doing a voltage test across the battery I determined that it was not charging at all.  So, I charged up the battery and spent Sunday afternoon between the manual, the car, and this site learning how the LUA604 was supposed to work.  The receipts showed it was replaced in 2009 so I was hopeful it was something simple.  Diving into it, and scratching my head repeatedly, I figured out that whoever installed the alternator didn't seem to understand it.  Long story short... I pulled out the wiring they had spliced in (with spin on wire nuts, can you believe it?) and basically replaced the three wires with new ones, with new connectors, and actually connected the wires where they were supposed to be connected (the brown/yellow exciter wire was connected to one of the 3/8" terminals, and the lighter brown wire wasn't even connected).  Put it back together, crossed my fingers, fired her up, and watched the voltmeter rise up to a little over 14V.  Whew.

So, that solved, my next step was going to be to investigate why the tach and temp gauge don't work.  Looking at the wiring diagram, I wonder if it's just a bad connection since if I remember right they share a white wire from the ignition switch. 

Meanwhile, I took it out a bit the past two days to play with it a little.  I had noticed the car pulled to the left a bit and could hear the pads dragging a bit, so it was no surprise when, today, I hit the brakes and the left front wheel pretty much locked up.  Didn't skid but it was pretty tight.  So, it gingerly went back home and into the garage, where it will sit while I ponder just how much of the braking system I want to replace.

I'll update as things progress.

Thanks so much to Greg and this for being such a resource to me... the last time I  tackled a project car (1975 Fiat X1/9) was back in the late 80's when we didn't have this Internet thing.   It's great to have so many knowledgable people here to draw from.

Attachment: JH16173-1-800.jpg (Downloaded 819 times)

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 Posted: 09-12-2012 06:51 am
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answerman
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Long as I'm posting pictures.... here's another angle.  Interior, as I said, looks way too good to me to be original.

Attachment: JH16173-2-800.jpg (Downloaded 823 times)

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 Posted: 09-13-2012 12:51 am
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Jensen Healey
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Welcome Answerman, Looks like you're in for some new brake hoses at the very least!

Have fun,

Kurt Housh
San Anselmo, Ca
JH 13148

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 Posted: 09-13-2012 02:21 am
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Art DeKneef
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Welcome to the group.

Good job on the alternator. Checking and cleaning any suspect connections will be a good idea.

I wouldn't drive the car until you are sure on the age and condition of the timing belt. If the records show it is more than a few years old you should consider replacing it. Cheap insurance.

The brakes probably need a good cleaning and overhaul. Also replace the rubber brake lines with the steel ones. That usually fixes braking issues. Unless the rotors are warped or the calipers are rusted.

If you search the site you'll find a couple of threads on checking out a car if it has sat for a while and fixing the brakes.

Art 

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 Posted: 09-13-2012 05:04 pm
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Thanks for the advice, Art. The receipts show that the timing belt was replaced about 3 years / 6000 miles ago. That's on my list... it looks ok but I'm not sure how the car was stored/used during that time.

This weekend I'll be pulling the calipers off and seeing just how stuck the left front is. At this point I'm pretty much prepared to replace the calipers, pads, and brake lines assuming that the caliper is indeed sticking. If not, maybe I can get away with just the pads and lines for now. The rotors, from what I can see looking through the wheel, don't seem to be too bad so I'm hoping that maybe I can hold off on them.

Hoping I can get the brakes resolved shortly to at least get me through a couple of months (it'll be winter here soon and she's definitely not going out in the snow, I have a Ford Excursion for that!). To give me a bit of incentive, our town has an Octoberfest downtown festival the last weekend in September (go figure) and they do an informal car show on Friday night, just everyone parking on the main drag. Every year they do a featured "theme" and of course this year, ironically, is "British Sports Cars". So of course I want to get her down there, even though she's not near show ready. We'll see if it happens.

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 Posted: 09-13-2012 06:10 pm
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Art DeKneef
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If the calipers aren't too bad you might be able to rebuild them instead of buying new ones. It's not that difficult of a job. The pistons are what is probably stuck on the left side.

The hard part is getting the pistons out. After that, inspecting them and cleaning with replacing the gaskets should fix it.

Isn't that the way it always is. Something comes up and the car is down. Hey you still have 2 weeks to go.

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 Posted: 09-14-2012 04:15 pm
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answerman
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Small victories... did some more wire tracing last night and found that the reason the temp gauge wasn't working was because the wire that was supposed to be connected to the sensor was lying down under the carbs. Popped it back on the spade and it works fine. Wish they were all this easy.

Still no tach though. It doesn't move at all. Am I correct in assuming that if the white/slate wire from the tach to the ballast resistor isn't connected, the car won't run? I could just disconnect it and try, I guess, but since I'm here...

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 Posted: 09-14-2012 08:57 pm
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subwoofer
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Are you sure some DPO hasn't jumped the coil+ wire from another circuit? The tach will only work if it is connected in series with the coil.

I had this "fix" in Ms. Jensen when I bought her, the tach came and went as the fuse box misbehaved in the usual way.

--
Joachim

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 Posted: 09-17-2012 06:34 pm
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answerman
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Haven't touched 16173 since last week, as I needed to fix up her room. Funny... I was reading through Joachim's story of his Ms. Jensen and it's oddly paralleling mine. Spent the weekend finishing up the insulating and drywalling of the garage (I had done the ceiling a couple of weeks ago, and I just needed to do the walls to finish). Now that that's done, I can get back to her.

Bonus find of the weekend, and perfect timing... wifey wanted to go out rummage saling on Saturday, and the first place we stopped had a 4000W flush wall mount electric heater. $15 bucks, and it's never been used. That went into the wall before the insulation and drywall went up. Now I'm really ready for winter.

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 Posted: 09-19-2012 04:38 am
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answerman
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Well, did the experiment I talked about. Started her up, ran her for a bit, then shut her down and pulled the wire off the ballast resistor (the one that runs to the tach). Tried starting her again... she would catch once like she wanted to start and then die. So, that tells me initially that the 12v is going through the tach as it should. Or if it's jumped, it's not under the hood anyway.

Garage will be cleaned and ready tomorrow... then I can start in earnest.

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 Posted: 09-28-2012 05:14 pm
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The project inches along. Being in Wisconsin, I've got maybe a month at best of driving weather before winter gets here, so I set my goal of getting Ms. Jenavieve drivable for the short term (yes, she got a name). Talked with Greg and he didn't have any calipers on the shelf, so I found a cheap Cardone rebuild caliper to get me through for now (it's actually specced for a Spitfire but supposedly it's a direct replacement, sure looks like the same one). I did order new brake hoses from Greg since he had those in stock.

Assuming that all's well there once I get these parts in, I'll spend the next few weeks getting a little driving enjoyment and once winter comes, she will go into full restore mode. At that time, I'll probably pull both calipers and send them to Greg to have them rebuilt.

I'll get there.

Oh... and I *finally* figured out, after reading the manual, searching the forum, and looking at pictures... how to properly stow the soft top. It actually works pretty well if you do it exactly right. It almost looks like the picture in the owners manual, though my top is a little stiff so the "flaps" at the rear quarters don't compress down quite tight enough to roll up super tight... but they do fit and I've got the cover nicely installed over the top. The trick, the part I had the hardest time understanding, is to drop the rear rail down behind the frame before rolling the top. You wouldn't think it would be that complicated.

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 Posted: 09-29-2012 07:00 am
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answerman
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Well, this is interesting. I'll be looking more into this tomorrow when I have more time, but the caliper replacement went way better than I expected... until the end.

Old caliper came right off. I was expecting to have to do a lot more persuasion on the mounting bolts and brake line nut than I had to. Everything loosened up nicely. Oh, and the caliper is seriously locked up. Couldn't move the pistons at all, at least by hand.

Assembled the new pads in the new caliper, and slid it into place. Holding it in place, there was just a little clearance between the pads and the rotor... perfect! My troubles are solved, right? Well, not so fast. I inserted the bolts and tightened them finger tight... and the rotor wouldn't turn. Scratched my head over this for a bit... checked the pads, not dragging. In fact they were rattling around a bit. Looked further into it and the outside edge of the caliper is tight against the rotor. Huh?

So I looked at it from the front, and I see that the rotor is not even close to being centered in the caliper. Well, that's no good. Took it apart and put it together a couple of times, just to be sure I had it right (sheesh, it's not that complicated) but all with the same result.

So, tomorrow I do a little more playing with it. Thinking about it, it's not an issue with adding spacers to the caliper bolts because that will make it worse... it needs to move in the other direction, and obviously it can't because it's already tight against the mounting surface. Or, the rotor needs to move inward...?

Wondering if maybe it's not a stock rotor? Too thick maybe? I'd guess it at about 3/8" which from what I've seen in other posts sounds about right. Or maybe the mounting surface (didn't peek back there) is bent somehow? I'll be taking some very careful measurements tomorrow to investigate if there are any differences between the two calipers that would cause this, but I would guess that there is about 1/4" of clearance between the caliper frame on the inside edge, and none at all (tight against the rotor) on the outside edge.

Really confused. More info after sleeping on it and looking at it again.

Last edited on 09-30-2012 04:55 am by answerman

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 Posted: 09-30-2012 05:02 am
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answerman
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OK, things are making more sense today. Turns out that the Spitfire caliper is not exactly the same. The mounting lugs are about 1/4" closer to the caliper body than they were on the Jensen caliper. So, what was actually hanging up was the edge of the rotor.

Not to be dissuaded, I decided to disassemble the old caliper. After struggling with getting the pistons removed (compressed air works great to remove one, but then I had to figure out a way to seal the side I removed so that I could remove the other one) I took a good look at the inside of the old caliper, and it's basically more dirty than anything else. So, I took some emery cloth and shined things up, and the inside of the caliper looks great now. The pistons look almost as good, and they all slide together nice and smooth. Thinking maybe what I will do tomorrow is disassemble the Spitfire caliper and swipe the seals and maybe the pistons to rebuild my old caliper myself, since I went this far.

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 Posted: 10-01-2012 01:53 am
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answerman
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Worked like a charm. Reassembled the old caliper body with the removables from the new one. Ms. Jenavieve is drivable again. Drove around for about an hour today just because I could.

She is still pulling a bit when I brake, but not nearly as bad. I figure my hoses from Greg should be arriving probably Tuesday, and when I get them I will probably disassemble and clean the other caliper and replace the pads on that side, since I have them.

Having fun again.

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 Posted: 10-01-2012 02:40 am
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Art DeKneef
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Good news on the progress. But more importantly, Did you make the car show?

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 Posted: 10-01-2012 04:04 pm
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Well, *I* made the show, but Ms. Jenavieve didn't. Show was on Friday, and I didn't get done with her till Sunday. Which was too bad, because the local British Sports Car Club was all there, and there were a bunch of MGBs and Midgets, Spitfires, quite a few TRs, and a couple of bugeye Sprites... but no Jensens. I would have been the only one there.

I did join the club though and talked with quite a few of the members. We'll be doing other events next year (this was the last one for this year, Wisconsin weather isn't real conducive to this sort of thing between October and April).

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 Posted: 10-29-2012 07:35 pm
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Update. Actually not really an update, because I haven't done much of anything. The weather has been teasing me, being "almost" nice enough outside to drive her, so I've resisted starting any major work that would keep her in pieces for more than a day, but then the weather doesn't get past the "almost" part and she ends up staying in the garage getting dusty. Once in a while I slide into the drivers seat and make a few "vroom vroom" noises.

The only thing that's been done to this point was to introduce myself to the Lotus position to pull the tach out to check the wiring. It all seems good, there is 12v where I would expect, etc. and the car definitely won't start with the tach out, so I assume that the wiring is as it should be. But it still doesn't move. At this point I have to assume that the tach itself is bad. Any way to bench test one of these bad boys?

Once I'm sure she's off the road for the year, the project will start in earnest.

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 Posted: 12-10-2012 06:27 am
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answerman
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Well, now that we had our first significant snowfall, I expect that Ms. Jenavieve will not be hitting the road until spring. We had nicer weather than I expected this fall and she got about 200 miles put on her just driving around the countryside... otherwise she would probably be farther along.

So, the project will be beginning. I'll be starting small things first and then once we get past the holidays I'll have more time to devote.

To do list as it stands at the moment, in no particular order:

NOW/SOON:

Spend a LOT of time with a sander. I want to take her down to bare metal to see just what I have to work with. The overspray that was done by the previous owner just isn't going to cut it, and I'd rather start fresh.

Obviously, repair and repaint the body. So far it doesn't look like I'll have too much repairing to do... she's actually in a lot better shape than I initially thought.

Replace front brake hoses that I got from Greg about 2 months ago and have been sitting on my workbench.

Replace all brake pads/shoes, just because now seems to be a good time to do it.

Replace timing belt, just because everyone says it's a good idea. I assume I'll need a new tensioner as well.

Find a replacement light switch (I've disassembled mine a couple of times and cleaned the contacts but it's still "intermittent").

Find a replacement tach... I assume mine is bad because I've checked the wiring thoroughly with my Fluke and everything seems to be as it should be. Still, no movement whatsoever on the tach.

Fiddle with the carbs to see if I can get her to start any more easily than she does now. A cold start is a 3 minute process these days, messing with the choke and getting her to run for a few seconds, stall, restart, repeat... but once she is warmed up she starts and runs fine.

CLOSER TO SPRING:

New tires. I'll probably go with close to original (185/70SR13 or so) on the stock wheels. It'll be nice to get a set of tires for what I pay for one tire for my Excursion. The tread is ok on her tires now, but I have no idea how old they are, the sidewalls show a bit of cracking, and for the ~$300 or so it's a good investment. With the amount of driving she'll get, new ones will probably last me 10 years.

And, just before spring, a Retrosound radio. Don't need it yet, but it looks at least halfway period authentic for the car(other than the fact that it's digital and has an MP3 port). I just need one that works, and it's got that nice dual knob chrome look.

My goal is to have her back on the road all shiny and mostly new by next April. Once I get to that point, I can address the nitpicky points like new dash wood trim, etc.

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 Posted: 12-10-2012 03:50 pm
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Art DeKneef
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You made me laugh this morning with your project list. I know you said in no particular order but found it funny you were starting on the small things first and then mentioned spending time with the sander and painting the car. All by April. I hope you have a heated garage.
What don't you like about the paint? What kind of paint is it? Single stage or base coat/clear coat? Maybe some fine sanding and polishing will make it better until you have more time for a complete paint job. Taking a car down to bare metal for a respray is a lot of work and time consuming. Especially to do a good job. Voice of experience speaking here.
Doing the brake work should be a weekend job. Don't forget the rear brake hose and the rear brake cylinders.
Timing belt will probably be the same depending on how much stuff you have to move in order to get the belt off and replace the tensioner bearing.
Delta should have replacement light switches. Could it possibly be a weak ground somewhere?
Does the distributor still use points or has it been upgraded to a Pertronix? If it has a Pertronix there are reports of the tach not working sometimes. I believe there are a few threads here on the board discussing this. One of the solutions is to have the tach rebuilt with modern components to work with the Pertronix.
Do you know when the carbs were last adjusted or rebuilt? Since it seems to occur whenever the car is cold it could be the choke assembly on the front carb needs adjusting, cleaning or rebuilding.
Let us know how it goes.

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 Posted: 12-11-2012 05:37 am
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Oh yeah, the garage is all ready... got it all insulated and heating installed a couple of months back. I'm good there.

Actually I don't think the body work will be that bad. I've done it before... I've got a pretty good setup with a serious air compressor and a good dual action sander. My concern is that I want to only do this once, and I'd rather take the extra time to get the paint right than find out I have rust coming through in a couple of years. There's a bit of bubbling in a few spots and a couple of places where the paint is actually cracked, as though it didn't adhere properly the first time and then raised up. That's the main reason for the repaint. Once I have her prepared to my satisfaction, I have access to a professional paint booth and equipment (the benefit of not burning bridges with previous employers, and she won't be the first car painted in that booth). I haven't decided how far I am going to take the paint as far as the engine compartment etc, but I am planning on removing the hood, trunklid (I should say bonnet and boot, no?) and the doors to at least do them right.

Timing belt and brakes are pretty straightforward, as you said. I've not done anything with the rear brakes but as you said I probably should.

It's still the stock points ignition. The wiring is all correct from what I've matched to the wiring diagram in the manual and tested with my Fluke. If I take the tach out of the circuit she doesn't run past the first catch so it's definitely in series... in fact I jumpered the two wires together with the tach out and then she started up. I really think it's the tach itself. It's one of those things that doesn't affect how she runs, but it'll bother me till I get it figured out.

The light switch is... basically junk. It doesn't stay together (the back falls right off) and it's not making good contact when I push it together. If I tap the switch with my finger when the lights are on I can get them to flicker. I figure a new switch is a small price to pay.

I really don't know the status of the carbs... they are Strombergs with the K&N aftermarket filters. Supposedly the previous owner had them rebuilt, but I can't vouch for that, though they do look pretty clean (in fact the whole engine is pretty clean). Like I said, she runs fine once she warms up so I assume it's just adjusting.

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