Thursday, September 16, 2010


A word of caution: some of the cheaper items of trim which are widely available can turn out to be very poorly made. Don't be surprised if your 'bargain' bumpers are ready-scratched and rusting, and don't be surprised if they are so poorly shaped that fitting them is at best a nightmare and at worst an impossibility. Anticipate finding that bolt holes are in the wrong positions and that extra holes must be drilled. If you can afford top quality trim, then buy it
An alternative to buying cheap bumpers is to have your own re-chromed, but here again the quality achieved by some chrome plating companies is very poor. Find a company which is recommended by previous customers whose chromework has stood the test of time, and always deal with the actual company which carries out the work—some 'chrome plating specialists' turn out to be no more than agents.
Remove the bumper brackets from the bumpers, fit the brackets loosely to the car and then re-fit the bumpers — if you try to fit the whole assembly in one go, there is a strong chance that the brackets will scrape new paint from their mounting•plates and from the apertures in the wings through which they fit, and you don't want the car to begin rusting before the
restoration has finished! If you have new bumpers, then firstly drill holes in the front one for mounting the number plate. There is some degree of adjustment in the bumper bracket mounting holes, to allow careful placement; check that the bumpers are parallel to the ground and square to the bodywork before final tightening. If a bumper is not central when fitted (if it sticks out further one side than it does the other) check the mounts then the symmetry of the mounting holes in the bumpers. If no explanation can be found, then the problem could be that the two wings have different shapes!
The chrome strips along each side of the car and down the centre line of thc bonnet simply clip onto their fastenings; if any seem loose, they can be gently pinched up with heavily padded mole grip jaws. If there is paint on these or other items of trim, wipe it off with a rag dampened with thinners, and allow the thinners to fully evaporate before they are fitted. It is best to allow the paintwork to harden for at least a day or two and preferably for a fortnight before the chrome trim is fitted.
The longer you can leave the paintwork to harden before fitting the lights — especially the headlights — the better. If your car has replacement front wings then you might find fitting the headlight units difficult and only possible after the bowl rim has been gently re-shaped with a padded planishing hammer.
The engine lid seal can be fed into its retaining strip, using Swarfega as a lubricant if necessary —don't use washing up liquid as a lubricant, because this normally contains industrial salts! The luggage bay seal is more difficult to fit; push the three moulded rubber fixings per side into their holes and pull from below using long-nosed pliers until they are securely fastened —ensuring that the strip across the back is not twisted! Then ease the strip into its retainers, using a small (blunt) screwdriver and taking care not to puncture it. With both seals, leave plenty of slack at the corners so that the seal is able to lie flat, then trim off the surplus.
Before fitting the luggage compartment handle, ensure that the release cable is doing its job properly: if you close the bonnet without checking this, you could discover that the only way to open the lid is to grind away the handle! You will need to adjust the catch using a screwdriver and spanner so that the lid is gripped firmly but not so firmly that the release lever in the glove compartment cannot exert enough pressure to operate it! Start by screwing the catch fully downwards, then screw it back in stages until the lid is held firmly and the release lever operates without too much force being needed.

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