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Gaiters

Gaiters

For my MkV DHC, I used the old gaiters as a pattern and cut new leather that I bought from a Tandy Leather store. The I went to a shoemaker supply company and bought the hook eyes. Punched about a jillion holes and then riveted the the hookeyes into the holes. Laced the whole think up with rawhide that I got from Tandy and mounted the original grease fittings from the old set of gaiters. Looks great and the whole things costed like $20. It's really pretty easy....Hell I did it! (Translation....Anyone can!) - David M. Drenzek

Nice goin'! - Larry Schear, Twin Cam, Inc

David, If you kept the old gaiters would it be possible to get a copy of the tracing and a list of the other supplies (thickness of leather, size of hook eyes, grease fittings, etc.) you used? Even though this would be for my XK-120 DHC and not a MlV the general form could be adapted. Unless someone else in the group would have a pattern for the XK's springs. - Regards, Jeff Kelley-Day

Jeff If you are stuck, I can supply the pattern. I have the original spring gaiters in a box in the archive and can do a quick pattern for you - I'll have to do up patterns in any event when I get around to making up a new set myself. David, your post was inspirational. I have been looking for a couple of square feet of leather with which to make a set of spring gaiters for years ... never thought of Tandy. I have also been looking for the eye hooks - in the wrong places, apparently. Good stuff. - Nick Saltarelli, 1954 XK120SE OTS, 1968 E-type 1.5 OTS

Nick, If the 120 gaiters are the same for the 140 and you are making paper patterns could I also be favored with a set. - Thanks, Klaus Nielsen

Good morning all, Looks like lots of interest in these gaiters,...which leads to the question... Could we do an e-pattern? Have the pattern on the site,...print it out and voila, shazam, a pattern for each of us with a bill of materials for hooks, and whatever. ??? I'm interested too, but first I have to put together that pesky door! THIS CHRISTMAS FOR SURE!!! :-) Let's see what the site can do for us. I guess that kinda means some extra work for Dick White. Sorry Dick, but maybe it wouldn't be too much. ??? - Thanks, and a good day to all, Ken Boetzer

As a point of interest, I discovered in recent years that while the 120 gaiters lace along the bottom of the spring with the grease fittings on the top, the 140 gaiters lace on top of the spring with grease fittings on the bottom. The 140 configuration certainly makes more sense as far as the intended distribution of the grease. On my 120, the grease just seems to lay there under the gaiters on the top leaf. A lower viscosity grease than the recommended Mobil 5, etc., would seem to make more sense as far as getting lubricant to flow between the leaves. Has anyone tried an alternative to tne recommended chassis grease? Bill Tracy in Sarasota, Florida (FAX 914-923-9616) has had gaiters available at $169.00 for the 4 piece set. Hard to beat David Drenzek's ingenuity in making his own. I have (4) used rear springs sets that came from 140 FHCs. They would of course fit 120s, too. Heavy to ship, but if anyone is interested I'll send one or all of them to you for $20 ea US plus shipping. - Dick Cavicke

Aye to all of the above. What can I do to help? - Klaus Nielsen, 140FHC

I may have kept the old gaiters.......but....finding them may be a little problem although I generally dont throw anything away (ask my wife!) I will attempt to look in all 79 places that I keep parts......it may be awhile... - David M Drenzek

I will dig up my 120 gaiters this weekend and make a pattern then. Posting on the site is a good idea. Perhaps the best way to do that is to superimpose the patterns on a grid, say 1 cm. squares, from which a working pattern can be adapted. If not, I can mail them out. Those of you with 120's who are interested (the 140 has a different setup), let me know. - Nick Saltarelli

Mr. Saltarelli, I would be very much interested in obtaining a drawing or pattern. I think a good drawing could be shared more easily than a pattern and would best serve the cause. We have built some amazing things from bar napkin sketches here in the States. Ha! Ha! I wonder if we could find a real drawing from Jaguar so that we could make our own or re-produce them. The company I work for has a $500,000.00 laser that can cut them out if we can make over 100 pc. or so, but the cost may be high. Our laser can cut just about anything. steel, wood, plastic, stainless steel, but the only problem is that we run high volume or high profit jobs only. I am sure we could find a leather shop that would make some prototypes to try before production then I could have the guys in the shop run them when we are slow. ( if that ever happens) - E. W. Blake

Nick, Why not do a good sketch and send it snail mail to Dick to scan? - Regards, John Elmgreen

There are 14 pieces of leather in one set of gaiters. There are also two canvas strips for the flys and four felt strips for the ends. I am in the process of making drawings. I talked to a local leather expert. He says they are vegetable tanned cowhide and ordered a hide for me. Thickness is about .035". There are 64 hooks for lacing which are .25" wide. I thought these would be brass but they are in fact steel (verified with a magnet). I talked to a cobbler about getting some for me but I didn't have a sample withe me at the time so that's not confirmed yet. I have a scanner but I'm concerned about the size of a reproduction after scanning, processing through a couple of computers, and printing out on the other end. I can include a scale in the scan to verify true size on the other end. I am also concerned about how much memory will be tied up in about five 8.5 X 11 scans. I'll play around with that and report later. Note the spelling: gaiter (not gator - and since I am an alumnus of FSU, I would rather not have casual references to the rival football team in this digest :). I didn't expect this much interest in gaiters when I brought this up but I love it. It's great fun showing these to people like the leather worker and the cobbler - they are just fascinated and delighted to help. BTW - I suspect that "massaging" the gaiter after inserting grease might have been a regular practice to work the grease down around the leaves and I plan to do that after they are restored. I assume the lacing should be snug but not tight when they are installed to allow the grease to get around the sides of the top leaf and also to avoid stretching the leather too much. Does anyone know whether the original gaiters were tanned with any color? I am assuming they were just left the natural color obtained with the vegetable process but they could have made them black to match the color of other stuff in the area. Since they are now saturated with grease and dirt, it is hard to tell. -- Bruce Cunningham, '53 XK120 OTS

Bruce, It was mentioned in one of the replies that Neoprene something and metal clips were needed to complete the job. Also, someone noted that Guy Broads gaiter offerings include a 6-way lubrication device. If, as it appears, this initiative will lead to full coverage of the "do gaiters yourself" process, might it not be in order to elicit help to cover the Neoprene, Clips and Lubrication neeeds also. - Regards, Klaus Nielsen, 140FHC

Bruce, This may be a repeat. If so, my apologies. The gaiter numbers are the same for the 140, C 3877(front) and C 3878(rear). I'll leave the seam up/down dispute to my betters. Do you need extra parts, bit and pieces to facilitate lubrication without taking the gaiters off every time. - Thanks, Klaus Nielsen

I bought replacement gaiters from Bill Tracy a couple of years ago and the lacing from Bill Bassett for my 120 OTS. The gaiters were pricey ($159 US) but I didn't want to take the time to remake a set on my own. So, I'm satisfied with that decision. As has been discussed before, I think many of these decisions, that is to buy or redo/remake, depends upon one's time, money, capability, tools, etc. With the completion of a body-off 150 FHC restoration, rebuild of a 150S engine, repainting of a 150 OTS, reinstalling the cylinder heads on my SIII E-Type 2+2, all planned and being worked upon simultaneously this winter (and this work will spill over to early summer), my plate is very full and my wallet thinning as usual. I won't be able to fit in the making of a set of gaiters for the other 120 OTS. But the interest is there! - Bob Oates

I ordered my new springs from Bill Bassett. I talked to him today about the design and gaiters. The new springs that he sells are made with pads between the leaves. The bands around the springs are not the original U clamps with bolts. These are somewhat modern parts - not original designs but meeting original specs. Bill has never put gaiters on new springs as they have no practical value. If they are going to be added, it is essentially for appearance and pumping grease into them is not going to have any benefit. He advises saturating them with neatsfoot oil before installation and just removing them if you really want to lubricate the leaves - which is not necessary if there are pads in there anyway. With springs that don't have pads between the leaves, some kind of oil with both penetrating and sticking qualities should be sprayed on them and then the gaiters can be replaced. I'm going to proceed with making a new set because I like the way they look. I have one drawing scanned into the computer and I'm going to put it on my home page probably some time tonight for viewing and comments. Stay tuned. -- Bruce Cunningham

Bruce and all: The gaiters from my low mileage original 120 are black - no question. Since Bruce has offered to see what he can do with a pattern, I will await the outcome of his efforts before submitting one myself. - Nick Saltarelli

Bruce - Your gaiter drawings turned out beautifully. I gather you put page breaks where they should be, because my printout of the drawings are well organized print-wise. I was not involved in the xk-lovers gaiter notestring, but I, too, need to replace the gaiters on my 53 XK120 so these drawings are going to be a great help. You'll probably get more hits on your web page than you ever thought. By the way, nice web page(s). Good luck on your State Senate run next year. Thanks again. Your effort is much appreciated. - Glenn C, OKC

The full set of patterns (5 pictures / 14 pieces)for gaiters are now on my home page - or you can go directly to them at http://www.together.net/~bcunning/jag.htm I still think hard copies by snail mail will be the most practical way to get copies of them - as long as the demand is not very high (and I don't expect it to be), I would be willing to send out a reasonable number of them at no charge in response to e-mail requests. - Bruce Cunningham

May I trouble you for a set. Also, if it is pertinent, could you find time to address the "neoprene rings and metal clips" issue. Thanks. - Klaus Nielsen, 140FHC

The metal straps with apparently neoprene liners were on the springs that I removed from the 120. Judging from the parts book, these were not original springs as those appear to have U-shaped metal clamps secured by bolts. The expandable pockets in the gaiters were apparently there to allow room for these original metal clamps as the "ears" on the pockets are about the same shape as the corners on the metal clamps. My gaiters being laced with bare wire are another indication that the springs had been replaced before I got the car. BTW - I'm still looking for information regarding the original lacing material. Was it rawhide or something else? - Bruce Cunningham

Bruce, The advantage of having the car up on blocks with the wheels and fenders off is that the gaiters are easily accessed. Mine are laced with string - about .05" thick. - Mike Eck, '51 XK120 OTS, '62 3.8 MKII

Bruce, The original gaiters on my 120 fhc are laced with rawhide. - Mike Plechaty

Mine are laced with a strong, black nylon weave string, about the diameter of oxy-acetelene welding rod. - Nick Saltarelli

Bill Bassett sold me lacing material which I installed so long ago that I can't recall whether it was leather or vinyl. You might ask him. - Bob Oates

My gaiters, presumably (ha!) original (gaiters, anyway) are laced with wire. Regards, John Elmgreen

If you went to a Concours event gaiterless would you loose ass covering (points) My question is directed at the US folks as I believe the judging is different in the US as compared to Australia. - Neville Laing

Hello folks, Mr. Metaphor here: Recall the classic image of the WW1 doughboy. His boots were wrapped with material as well as his legs near to the knee. Given the classic mud, a smart idea. The wrappings are gaitors. Especially popular in the late 19th and early 20th century were leather or cloth covers over the upper part of the shoe, over the laces or buttons. These are spats or shortened gaitors. The word spat is actually a shortened version of the word spatterdash. David Z333 (Next time Mr. Metaphor will explain what sports cars buffs have to do with bison.)

The gaiters on my Mark V have brown cotton string lacing, about 3/32 inch (2 mm) diameter, definitely original. - Rob Reilly

I really love this forum..... we cover so many topics! Anyway, over 'ere, where proper English is as she is spoke...... (Well, c'mon, guys, there are enough jibes about Why don't the British etc, that I couldn't resist it! .... ;-)))) ) them funny wrappin's around the legs wot the limeys used to keep French mud out of their boot wos and iz called GAITERS. - Dick Clements, '51 Mk V 3.5l Saloon (that also has its tongue in its cheek right now!)

Part of the pleasure of working on this old car is reading the British names for its parts. I think the nave plate is what we call a hub cap. I finally cleaned up the garage today and cleaned and reorganized my tool box. It's kind of a ritual I go through - like scrubbing up before surgery. Anyway, I removed the rear springs which I was going to have rebent to get the rear up to its original height. The off side spring was not just tired, though - it was dead. Two broken leaves. I don't know what was keeping it together as they were the two top leaves. I ordered a new pair. Since a new pair of gaiters costs almost as much as the springs, I'm going to try restoring these. The near side is in pretty good shape but the off side will need some repairs. Does anyone know a good way to clean and soften gaiters. I know what to do with the upholstery but leather saturated with grease probably needs some special treatment. Much of the leather is still pretty soft and flexible but some of it is a little stiff. It seems like soaking it in water and then scraping it clean and working in a leather conditioner might work. - Bruce Cunningham, '53 XK120 OTS

try neatsfoot oil on the back side of the leather..the skin side that is not finished. This might work. john shuck..beijing

Bruce, Are your gaiters still in good enough shape to allow a set of paper patterns to be made from them. Regards - Klaus Nielsen

Correct: "nave plate" = "hub cap" - Dick Clements, '51 Mk V 3.5L Saloon

Bruce: Years ago when I refurbished the interior of my Triumph TR3a (now deceased), I cleaned the leather with saddle soap and water, then conditioned it. If your leather is in good shape, not cracked, you might try a good degreaser - just to remove the greasy spots. It might remove suppleness from the leather, so don't use it where you don't need it. You shouldn't have to use a lot. When clean, use saddle soap or a leather conditioner to restore the suppleness. I wouldn't soak the leather in water, because water and the degreaser will, I believe, remove the oils from the leather that make it soft. Regards - Ben Harris

A pattern for the gaiters is not as simple as it may sound. The springs have three metal bands around them (one ahead of the axle and two behind) with apparently neoprene liners. The gaiters have fairly intricate expandable "pockets" built in to provide room for these bands. To make a pattern, the gaiters have to be disassembled into 5 and 9 pieces respectively and patterns made of all the pieces. Once that is done, instructions would be needed to stitch the pieces together - best done by having an assembled set as an example. I have one set in fair condition to use for patterns and the poor condition set can then be used as the example for putting the pieces together. When I get the fair ones apart, I would be happy to make paper patterns - in fact I would probably do that anyway to make it easier to cut the leather. If you are not in a hurry, I will send you a set - maybe within a couple of weeks. I have until the salt is gone to get the car on the road so I'm not in a great hurry right now. BTW - one of the gaiters in my fair set is a little stretched out of shape because of the broken spring leaf distorting it for a while but I'm pretty sure I can compensate for that in making the pattern as the outer edges were apparently straight lines originally. Update - as I was writing this, I decided to go to the garage and disassemble my fair set - easier than I expected as the stitching wasn't as strong as 45 years ago. The hide looks like pigskin to my inexpert eye. Anyone know for sure? I'm going to take this sample to an expert to find out what this is. The thickness of the hide is about .035" and the boot hooks are .25" wide. All the pieces are smaller than 8.5 X 11" so the patterns can be done on regular sheets of paper. I'll probably make patterns this week. - Bruce Cunningham

Bruce, If you embark upon making the patterns, is there a way to show the differences between respectively the 140 and the 120 type gaiters. I gather that they do vary at least in the way they lace together above or below the springs. Thanks - Klaus Nielsen

My "Fast Orange" hand cleaner caught my eye when considering cleaning gaiters. It contains aloe, lanolin, and jojoba for skin conditioning and the gaiters are skins. After scraping the leather with a dull blade to remove much of the grease and dirt, I put a handful of the hand cleaner in a bucket of hot water and worked the gaiters around with a stick. This removed a lot of the dirt and grease.I then put the gaiters on a flat surface and rubbed liberal amounts of the hand cleaner into them. After thorough rinsing and gentle drying, the leather is very soft and supple. I would further condition them with neatsfoot oil if I intended to restore them but I am only going to use them for patterns. - Bruce Cunningham

I have to question whether the 140's were laced on top. Could someone have installed them upside down? Laces on the top would allow water to enter the top and be held inside the gaiters as there would be no drain on the bottom. In addition, how would the lubricant work its way up from the bottom? In any event, I don't see how the design would be any different if they were supposed to be laced on top as the springs are somewhat symmetrical top to bottom - at least symmetrical enough to allow the flexibility and stretchability of the hide to accomodate any assymetry. My 120 parts book says C.3877 and C.3878 for front and rear gaiters. Is the 140 part no. different? - Bruce Cunningham

Bruce, Kudos for your insight. Having grown up in Scandinavia and lived 17+ years in New England engendered the same questions about "leaks from the top"; but fearing that too much naivity would show, I held my piece. I will peruse the 140 parts book for a part number tonight. Regards - Klaus Nielsen

my 54' 120 gators are laced on top... I do not know if they are original. - Neil Skipper

My gaitors are laced on the bottom. Just replaced with new ones from Guy Broad with an unusual grease fitting (six-sided) which works nicely as the grease gun tip locks onto the fitting. - Allan Derry, XK 120 OTS oct. '52

Last i read Webco in England still selsl the gaitors for XK's. Webco was the original manufacturer and supplier to Jaguar. Why reinvent the wheel, go with the original. - David Pritchard

isn't it WEFCO with a F - Terry Mcgrath

My new rear springs from Bill Bassett have two clamps around the leaves both front and back and none of them are in the same locations as the original expanded pockets in the gaiters. After making all those patterns for original spring gaiters, I'm now going to improvise and fabricate one piece front and rear gaiters for each spring. The clamps on the springs are heavy metal straps bent around the leaves so they are not as bulky as the original U-shaped clamps secured by bolts and they are installed at the ends of leaves so they are in a bit of a recess that accomodates them without much protrusion. This is going to save me a lot of cutting (which I was going to do myself)and stitching (which I was going to have to pay for). I will still keep these patters and send them to anyone who is interested in making new gaiters for original springs. Our 120 is not a show car (it's driven about 7,000 miles per year) so I am not very concerned about points - but does someone know what a judge's attitude would be about gaiters in the original style by made to fit a non-original spring? Do they even care whether the gaiters are there at all? BTW - Bill told me the springs would have pads between the leaves but they do not which pleases me - closer to original that way. They do conform to the original camber specification. When I get them installed, I'll let you know what the distance from frame to floor is. I assume it should be 7.125" to agree with the torsion bar adjustment spec. - Bruce Cunningham

Neville: Whereas the Australians actually examine and score the underside of the cars, the current JCNA concours scoresheets do NOT include or require judging anything on the underside of the car, even if it's visible. Therefore, gaiters aren't judged (brakes, lower suspension, most of the exhaust system and Bruce C's dripper are excluded, too). To emphasize the US/AUS difference, until this past year JCNA judges were only allowed to judge from a standing or stooped position. This made it difficult to properly examine the interiors or even the wheels and tires. In 1997 the rules were modified allowing judges to kneel, but the underside is still not judged. Now, "garter judging" would be something else!.... Sorry, but there's got to be some humor here somewhere. - Dick Cavicke

GARTER JUDGING!!!,...Now we're getting somewhere! I thought the gaiters were flocking in preparation for some kinda migratory activity. This would require some vigilance on all our parts to avoid hazardous situations. What with their feeding habits which inevitably lead to other problems leaves us with double the opportunities for danger. Now garters on the other hand...No news on the diaphragm front. :-) - Ken Boetzer

Hi Dick Cavicke & all -- don't know about humor, but JCNA rules are to encourage DRIVEN cars as opposed to "trailer queens" -- thus, no underbody (where the driving dirt happens). I'm sure someone more creative than I can come up with a chuckle or two about this difference between North America and Australia standards! Larry Martz

Larry, There is eveything to be said for the enouragement of driven cars vs trailer queens, but some would say that even if a concours entrant will not be marked down for dirt etc underneath (or, to be consistent, on top), it should still aspire to top standards of originality. Why should the spring gaiters not be an item to be checked, driven car or trailer queen? Regards - John Elmgreen

Hi John Elmgreen & all -- John, the reason for not judging gaiters on XK120 is that the judges can't SEE them if they follow the JCNA rules -- "Judges are permitted to stand, bend over at the waist or kneel to inspect judged items." Try seeing XK120 gaiters from one of these allowed positions, and you'll see why they're NOT judged in JCNA. Happy Xmas & take care -- Larry Martz


One for John Elmgreen and Terry McGrath! I have been told that gaiters were
not fitted to the rear springs on XK150s. On looking through a "Brooklands
Books" publication, "Jaguar Cars 1955-1957" there is a reprint of an
Autocar road test darted 24 May 1957 containing a line drawing of the
chassis which clealy shows gaiters fitted. Please comment. - Regards Col
Haywood

Col - You noted that it was a line drawing. The illustration was probably
a little artistic license. - Bob Oates

Col, I'm not an expert on the subject of gaiters but I would not put a lot
of faith in early magazine articles. Especially if it is a line drawing as
opposed to a photograph. Articles for publication generally must be
submitted months in advance. Product managers must scramble for material
and often send what they can get their hands on. It's often preliminary
and although well intended some things just never get into production or
get changed. My experience comes from being a computer product manager but
I have a feeling automobile product managers aren't much different, even 40
years ago. By the way pictures of computers in magazines are almost always
plastic mock-ups. I don't think I've ever sent in a picture of a real
computer. - Dick White

Col Haywood, Thanks for the very observant note re the line drawing of the
road test 150. I can't explain it. The parts book does not list gaiters
for the 150 and I would say it is generally accepted that they did not have
gaiters. Maybe it was artistic licence, or the car as a very early car,
had them, but not generally in production. - Regards, John Elmgreen



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