Restoration of SE6a

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dcw7095
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Restoration of SE6a

Post by dcw7095 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:14 pm

Having been lurking on the forum myself for a while I thought it was probably about time I posted some pictures and a report on progress of the restoration of HVT 694V, my 1979 GTE. I have had the car 2 years come Easter and if nothing else, posting this will hopefully keep the pressure on to finally get it back on the road!

The blue pictures below are as purchased and make it look rather better than it was. All the usual problems with crazing, micro-blisters and lumps of the Alfa Blue paint coming off of it. However, I had always fancied a GTE and when this came up on eBay Easter 2009, I couldn't resist temptation, despite the fact that it had been sat for some years in a garage.

On getting it back to my local spanner-man, prognosis was better than expected mechanically with just the brakes needing an overhaul, and minor other bits and pieces. Front suspension had been fettled prior to being laid up so this was in reasonably good condition. Since then of course it has developed a power steering leak that still needs investigation.

The major challenges were:

1. The electrics were shot
2. The seals on the sunroof had gone resulting in damp carpets, rotting headlining and a rather unpleasant interior
3. Cosmetics around interior panels and in particular the dashboard
4. Body had had a shunt at some point resulting in a well repaired nearside quarter but with rear lights glued :shock: in place....

So on arrival HVT looked as below:-

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The Ford Fiesta wing mirrors had to go and I now have several sets of possible replacements so more on this in due course....

Unfortunately, the nature of my job meant that I don't get much time to get stuck into a project like this myself, so I made the terminal mistake of saying to my spanner-man "sort it out as and when"..."fit it in around other things"....so 10 months later it emerged with brakes fixed, and £1000 :shock: :shock: of electrical rewiring work....my cheap freshen up was already starting to look a little stretched.

We then drove it under its own power :lol: round the corner to my friendly bodyshop. Thankfully they are specialists in repairing fibre-glass racing cars so didn't hesitate to take on the Scimitar. That said, I was bracing myself for the worst in terms of cost. So when he quoted me a price verging on the extremely reasonable, I snapped his hand off. You might have thought that I would have learnt from the delays on the mechanical side... :oops: so when he offered this price conditional on fitting it in around normal jobs (he needed to clear a Triumph Stag restoration that was almost complete) I agreed given that I couldn't think of too many other specialists prepared to paint a fibre-glass car locally. That was 12 months ago....

Fast forward to February/March 2011 and the good news is that HVT is now resplendent in SEAT Candy White (the closest I could get to Audi Ibis white but a base colour not needing a lacquer). I also needed to make a choice on rear lights. The shunt previously mentioned had resulted in about an inch too much of fibre-glass behind the lights, so the searching for original sets of lights complete with intact mounting pins was wasted as the pins weren't long enough (so will have a pile of original lamp components available soon once I have sorted them out)! Having seen the original thread on the aftermarket lights, I have gone down this path for the moment as the easier solution (and with the added bonus of them being a sealed unit).

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I am not a complete purist and prefer the look of the SE6b from the front so have replaced the original grill with a new 6b one. The light surrounds i actually managed to strip, repair and repaint myself meaning that they had to wait about 10 months for the rest of the car :roll: to catch up.

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The wheels in the picture are aftermarket ones used to move the car around the workshop. My wolfies were sent off to a local metal refinishing specialist who didn't do a particularly good job (so one for the summer nights myself I think). In the mean time Geraint has kindly sorted me out with some Middlebridge wheels that I am in process of getting refurbished, and Bill Brighton will have shiny new wheel nuts on my door mat in a few weeks time.

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Having taken a few days off work, I managed to successfully strip out the old carpets today (the duck pond under the seats meant that they were rather 'mingin' and happily disintegrated in my fingers whilst being removed. Given that I have just had my arm out of plaster, this was probably a good thing that they came out reasonably easily with a wallpaper/paint scraper. Also since the pictures, I have removed the remaining interior panels in readiness for the headlining task. Hope to get the original headlining out tomorrow....

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A new sunroof is ready to go in too (slightly bigger than the original as I believe you can't get the seals any more for the original). I am also at a cross-roads on what to do with the dashboard....replace it with another once I find one in decent shape, have a plastic dash repair specialist work on it. Or have it recovered which at this point is looking the likely option.

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Anyway, not sure I will make April AGM deadline but will see what progress can be made in the mean time. I must also say that of all the car forums I have participated on, Scimitarweb is the most helpful, good-spirited and resourceful of them all. I am very grateful to many of you who have put up with my ignorant questions. Gives you a huge amount of confidence when trying to put a car back on the road.


Dave Watson
'79 SE6a Auto


"To achieve anything, you must be prepared to dabble on the boundary of disaster." Stirling Moss

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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by speedy555 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:14 pm

Im sure it will look great when its all done :D Looks like a thorough job 8)
Maybe I'll see it around Nantwich sometime when Im going to Shavington to my parents


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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by Corky » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:37 pm

Excellent stuff, it's great to see other Scimitars being nicely restored. I always think of us as custodians, if we can improve the remaining stock and prevent them slipping beyond repair they'll be preserved for future owners.

Good choice for the rear lights, even though they're not as well made as the Lucas versions they're certainly easier to wire, maintain an earth and replace the bulbs (er I mean lamps.. :oops: ). And they don't look at all out of place.

The dash boards are easy enough to re-cover with vinyl, it's just getting them out and back in again that's a pain. I think a recovered one, will last much longer than a 30 year old replacement !

Looking forward to seeing more 8)


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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by dcw7095 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:31 pm

Looks like a thorough job
Maybe I'll see it around Nantwich sometime when Im going to Shavington
Cheers Dave, and yes hopefully you will. I am in Weston, the next village to Shavington...
The dash boards are easy enough to re-cover with vinyl, it's just getting them out and back in again that's a pain
You make an interesting point Steve. Spent a good proportion of this morning trying to get the dash out and have given up until there are two of us working on it tomorrow. Spoke to a window specialist (fitter) and he suggested that it is best to put the window back in first and the dash afterwards.....presumably to avoid gunk on the repaired/recovered dash when it goes back in. What's your experience in terms of best order to do this?

Did make some progress today though, got the headlining out. The rivets on the central spars highlighted a need for a trip to B&Q for new drill bits, but other than that it was relatively straight forward.

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Also managed to get the central arm rest console out though was barking up the wrong tree when trying to disassemble the top of the auto gear selector. Had thought the plastic top came off to reveal a screw. However once that ended up in a dozen pieces of bakelite :oops: I realised with the help of a mirror and torch the location of the elusive grub screw...on the selector stem itself but hidden to the front. So if anyone has a spare selector 'T' handle, let me know.

Now that the carpets are out I also decided to get the seat belts out too which will be binned and replaced. On removal of a little glass fibre, it confirmed my concerns about the mounts. Passenger side (photo) is better than driver's side. It will be out with the air chisel tomorrow to get the belt off the mount on the driver's side. It will need welding. According to the paperwork with the car, it has had some replacement chasis rails and outriggers already so this was a little disappointing.

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Whilst the bonnet was still off I came to the conclusion that I should have had the engine bay painted too. So might venture down this path time permitting over the next weeks. I was assessing what needed to come off to achieve this and noticed a worrying amount of cement like gunk around the front of the brake master cylinder....might be on the scrounge for a replacement one soon by the looks of it too.

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Lastly, I notice that I have a single tube behind the lights presumably for drainage. On checking my manual, it looks like there are supposed to be several (including ones under the side windows)?? Couldn't quite fathom out how they join up with the holes or how long they needed to be to find a drain outlet? I suspect Graham Walkers will supply these in sets...anyone replaced their's?


Dave Watson
'79 SE6a Auto


"To achieve anything, you must be prepared to dabble on the boundary of disaster." Stirling Moss

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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by speedy555 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:53 pm

The rear hatch drain tubes should push onto metal tubes under the hatch opening, but they usually rot away so the tubes drop off. I drilled out the remaining metal tubes from the top, and put pieces of clear pvc tubing in from B&Q which I sikkaflexed in at the top. I left them all seperate although as you say the originals join up I think. Some people just block off the holes I think & do without them?

Isnt the gunk round the master cyl just to stop water getting past it and through the bulkhead?


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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by dcw7095 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:34 pm

The rear hatch drain tubes should push onto metal tubes under the hatch opening, but they usually rot away so the tubes drop off. I drilled out the remaining metal tubes from the top, and put pieces of clear pvc tubing in from B&Q which I sikkaflexed in at the top. I left them all seperate although as you say the originals join up I think. Some people just block off the holes I think & do without them?
I was considering something similar but the mounting gromets or metal tubes are long gone and I couldn't figure out what they look like originally... similar story with side windows. The bodyshop has left all drain holes as original so will look into what is available before I get to the stage of puting the interior panels back on.
Isnt the gunk round the master cyl just to stop water getting past it and through the bulkhead?
Not sure to be honest. Looks very unsightly if it left the factory in this shape... :? Will need to compare against another car I think.


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'79 SE6a Auto


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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by AJL Electronics » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:39 pm

Not original. It would not be there to stop water into the car because it is actually the junction of the master cylinder and servo. Not sure why it would be there actually.


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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by Corky » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:40 pm

Dave,

I don't think I'd be too bothered about the window being fitted after I'd done the dash. As long as you cover it up it'll be fine. In fact having the window out may make removing and fitting it a touch easier.
To get the dash out you'll need to remove the glove box inner and the rev counter, this'll give you access to a couple of bolts hiding behind them. It takes a bit of "waggling" to get it free once you've removed the bolts and the little black screws holding the other bits of dashboard to it. It gives you great access to all the behind dash wiring, so take it as an opportunity to change any of the lamps in your gauges.

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Have a look at my project progress for some photos of the roll bar repair. It'll be more difficult to do from the inside but not impossible. If you have plenty of good metal at the base of the tubes you may be able to do a bolt-on replacement with a bit fiddling. Maybe not as good as welded repair, but it'll save your shiny new paintwork.

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It looks like your brake master cylinder is probably leaking, hence the bodge ! If you are interested I can supply you with a new one that is virtually identical to the original for much less than you may think.

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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by speedy555 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:49 pm

Now I look again, its the servo its sealed too...must pay attention :oops:

The side window drains go straight down, and if you look under the sill there should be a round hole for it to pop through.


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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by dcw7095 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:02 pm

Thanks Steve. The B post metal work is generally very solid. The sunroof leak meant that it had sat for some time damp which I think resulted in the crusty effect... that said, driver's side is a bit worse. Will go back to your project progress pix as you suggest - I don't want to start hacking around with external bodywork if I can avoid it.

Thanks also for tips on dashboard. Glove box side is already sorted just couldn't get the binacle side worked out. Realised steering wheel needs to come off to allow enough movement of instrument pod. Though hadn't thought about trying to access via the rev counter recess only. Will progress tomorrow.

If you PM me on master cylinder. Will give it some thought. Brakes being a safety item I would prefer to have peace of mind.


Dave Watson
'79 SE6a Auto


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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by dcw7095 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:08 pm

Now I look again, its the servo its sealed too...must pay attention
Not helped by me referring to it as the master cylinder when it quite clearly is the servo...

As it happens I think there's gunk both ends though I will check again in the morning.


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'79 SE6a Auto


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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by dcw7095 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:32 am

Whilst I remember...the wooden side panels for the footwells are missing completely on the near side and resemble crinkle cut crisps on the off side. I can probably still use the off side for a template though don't have anything to reference for the near side...

Has anyone made plans that I can lay my hands on so that I can cut new wooden panels from a template?


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'79 SE6a Auto


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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by 6sabre » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:04 am

Hi, I can supply black ABS sheet ( cant recall if its 3 or 4mm but can confirm). This doesnt rot like the plywood and can either be covered or left as is as it has a 'pinseal' finish. Easy to cut to suit your car or I could supply as per my cars pattern.
Steve


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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by scimjim » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:14 am

they're much the same both sides (except for the fuse box hole) - just make a paper template from the bits you have left, then make new ones from something that won't rot as Steve says (eg plastic, alloy or GRP)


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Re: Restoration of SE6a

Post by dcw7095 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:33 pm

they're much the same both sides (except for the fuse box hole) - just make a paper template from the bits you have left, then make new ones from something that won't rot as Steve says (eg plastic, alloy or GRP)
Thanks Jim / Steve. Couldn't be sure if the panels were the same. Will give it a go.

My attempts to start getting the new headlining in place haven't gone beyond re-gluing the padding in the roof at the tailgate end.

Having now properly investigated the seat-belt/rollover hoops, the driver's one is a mess - so I need any welding work sorted before any new interior stuff is fitted. Looks like the chasis rails have been repaired in the past but for some unbeknown reason they left the belt mounts as was. I saw another post from Matt, so I think we will tackle it by cutting away some of the floor inside the car, welding in repair pieces and re-glassing per his thread....

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Also did battle with the steering wheel which finally gave up resistance after an hour of thumping and persuasion with a wheel puller. Was convinced I must have been doing something wrong though it just proved to be firmly stuck on the thread.

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Appreciated the tip from Steve Cork about the Rev Counter hiding the bolts to the dash. Once that was sorted, it was relatively easy to remove. Got dash repair chappy coming Monday to have a look at it so will see what he says.

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Now just need to clean this mess and tidy up the loose / unexplained wiring lying around.... :?
Hopefully make some more progress next weekend though need to order the roll-over hoop repair sections before much else can happen.


Dave Watson
'79 SE6a Auto


"To achieve anything, you must be prepared to dabble on the boundary of disaster." Stirling Moss

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