The Home Stretch

This was one of the more productive weekends of work on the car that I’ve had in months, if not since last summer. I’m getting down to the end of my punch list of things to get done before getting it inspected, and its starting to really feel like I’ll be driving it this year.

The list of remaining items to get it inspected was pretty small — wipers, fix the hazard lights, get the seats in, the dash and steering wheel installed, and install the mirrors. While there’s other stuff to do on my list, like get the heater ducting run completely, strictly speaking they’re not necessary to get it inspected.

I managed to get a lot of those items taken care of this weekend.

I started off the weekend with the simple goal of getting the wipers installed. This definitely was not looking like an easy task, so I assumed it would take the whole weekend.

The wipers are fairly simple, although they’re traditional Lucas parts which have been the source of infamy around the quality of British cars for decades. The basic idea is that there is a motor, which works through a worm gear and a normal round gear to move a cable in and out about two inches per revolution. That cable then engages gears in the wiper assembly itself to make the arms move. Installing them is a matter of getting the wiper assemblies positioned correctly, then measuring the distance between them to cut some 3/16″ tubing to run the cable through. The motor then gets mounted and the cable run.



Mounting the wiper gear assemblies was more complicated than I expected. First off, Factory Five provides a mounting guide, which basically is a piece of steel that slips over the lip of the hood and positions the angle. The problem is, the guide fits a half in drill bit, and that’s what they tell you that you need to drill, but the hole really is 5/8″. That meant a trip to Sears for a 5/16″ bit that could drill at an angle.


Once they were mounted, I started positioning the motor and figuring how how long the tubing I needed was. There were three pieces I had to cut and flare — one from the motor to the first wiper unit, one from that unit to the driver’s side unit, and an extension one to protect the cable beyond that.


The tubing that attaches to the motor uses a ferrule nut, and of course I managed to flare both ends of the first piece of tubing without it on — so I had to make another. No harm done, though, as I just re-used the one without the nut as the end piece.


The whole assembly stretches from the passenger side of the car, under the body and ends above the driver’s footbox.



The two assemblies are camped to the tubing to hold them steady as the cable moves. I actually have a problem with the driver’s side — for some reason the gear doesn’t reliably grab onto the cable. I may have to pull them back out and try to adjust it a bit this week.



With the exception of this problem with the driver’s side gear engaging, they actually weren’t that bad. I had finished them in 3-4 hours yesterday. I tested them out by wiring them to the starter line and ground and they worked, although the driver’s side was slipping.  That was enough work for the day.

Today was another day I wanted to get some work done, and managed to get about four solid hours in. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but its rare that I can get four hours of work in without running into things I have to go to the store for.

I wanted to get the mirrors mounted today, since those are an inspection item. I realized, though, that I needed to mount the wind wings on the side of the windshield first, though, since I couldn’t position the mirrors properly without them attached.


The wind wings were pretty easy to get together. They are plastic, and have chrome hinges that mount them to the car with set screws. I had to assemble the hinges, which were just two pieces with a pin, lock washer and acorn nut, and then screw them to the plastic using another set of short screws, washer and acorn nut.



The wind wings basically just clamp with set screws to the chrome arms that the windshield is bolted to.

At that point I wanted to get the rear-view mirror mounted. Its also easy to mount — its held to the car with two long screws that go through the base, through the body, through two half inch nylon spacers and then screw into the 3/4″ tube that runs along the top of the dash, holding the body firm there.


It was a bit of a pain to get drilled and screwed in because the windshield gets in the way, but it wasn’t too bad.


One concern I have, though — if the body was off by even a tiny bit, I’d never get the screws in. Its hard to imagine how I’m going to get them back in once the body is painted.


The side mirrors went on next. These, too, were easy to get on, but took some work and help from my girlfriend to get positioned correctly. Thankfully she saved me from an angry outburst by noticing I was putting the driver’s side on facing the wrong way before I actually got it screwed to the body.


The mirrors are not symmetrical on both sides. The passenger one is slightly farther back on the car, and sits slightly higher on the body — its almost impossible to see out of it even so. In fact all the mirrors are basically worthless. Its good you can just turn around and look.


Once the mirrors were on, I decided to create a wire harness for the wipers. The wipers are dual-speed, and technically I think they’re supposed to be in New Hampshire, but this isn’t a car for driving in the rain. I wired the switch panel on the dash to be single speed, so single speed it is. The wire harness runs through the same panel the heater blower wiring and oxygen sensor harness run through.


It took a LOT of work and some trimming to fit that panel in the car with the body on, but I finally got it in and got the ducting and wiring all hooked up.


The wiper and blower wiring plugged right in.


Down by the front of the footbox, the oxygen sensor wiring hooked up as well.


The wiring isn’t hooked up yet, nor is the duct to the heater core. I’ll do the wiring tomorrow, as it was getting too warm in the garage and I was getting ready to be done for the day. The duct needs another 3″ clamp — I somehow miscounted when I bought them or managed to lose one in the garage.


I wanted to drill the two 2 1/4″ holes for the heater ducting to exit the bottom of the dash today, but I had an issue with the hole saw I bought from Sears and the other ones i have aren’t the right size. Again, hopefully later this week.


The last thing I decided to do was mount the sunvisors. These are basically like the windwings but are smoked plastic and mount to the top edge of the window. The process was basically the same to install them, though.


The primary difference is that they clamp to a small bracket that screws to the windshield.

So that’s the work I finished this weekend. There’s not a lot left to get it inspected. If I fix the gear problem on the wipers, fix the hazard lights and get the dash and steering wheel installed, I should be basically all set. With next weekend being a long weekend, I’d expect if I’m not done by next weekend, I’ll be done by the end of it and ready to get it inspected. I plan to call the state this week to find out about the process.