The largest and best supported Jaguar cars enthusiast site on the Internet!

Serving Enthusiasts since 1993
The Jag-lovers Web

Currently with 3,166 members

Jaguar E-Type Body Interior and Exterior Tips

Jaguar XKE Tech Tips

The following tech tips were compiled from the member's of e-type Digest from There are no implied guarantees. These suggestions are from other XKE owners on how they solved similar problems or challenges and may illustrate varied and occasionally contradictory conclusions to the same problem. Please forward any questions, comments, criticisms, or suggestions to Commercial use is strictly prohibited. Copyright 2000 by Mark Hicks. Legal Restrictions

 Back to Main XKE Tech Tips Page

Body Interior & Exterior

Body Stripping/Body Work

Carpet Replacement/Installation

Converting a Coupe/2+2 to a Roadster

Dashboard & Console

Headliner Replacement

Rust Prevention/Control

Upholstery - Leather Rejuvenation & Maint.

Windshield (windscreen) glass and seals



Body Stripping/Body Work

Stripping of the IRS

When I redid my IRS I used chemical stripper (nasty stuff). You let it sit for 30 minutes and wash it off with a garden hose. Always a good idea after to sprinkle some baking soda on it to neutralize any left over acids from the chemical stripper

Dashboard & Console

Altering the Dash Fold-Down for easy maintenance

Dash fold down- I replaced the screws, which hold the plastic bezel strip to the bottom with two thumbscrews (6-32 aluminum, small heads, available in those hardware assortments at hardware stores), one at either side. This makes removal of the plastic strip very quick and easy, after which the panel swings down quite nicely. I did see one fellows 'E in which his new wiring harness was a little short at the fuse blocks, so lowering the panel completely caused a wire to unplug - you may want to check for this problem before you fully open the panel.

Some one along the line of owners of my car have made the soft molding under the center section removable with this removed the indicator strip clears the top of the radio console. Simply return the dash and screw down the two screws then slide in the soft molding.

Refinishing the Wooden Steering Wheel

One Method

I just refinished my series 2 steering wheel a few months ago and bought a clear varathane spray in a black can from Home depot. To refinish I sanded the old varnish off, glued the cracks (lots) with yellow carpenters glue (binding with reversed electrical tape after the glue was in) and then lightly sanded again and then sprayed numerous coats after masking the spokes. I lightly sanded after the first two coats and then realized this was not needed. The wheel took on a darker colour and looks very professional!

Another Take

The two series I cars I have owned (one from new) did not have any stain applied to the steering wheel wood. I have found that the polyurethane finishes are the only finish tough enough to stand up to general use - rings on fingers, high salt from sweat. These finishes have no color as does spar varnish.

Headliner Replacement

First Method

Fitting a new headliner is a really interesting way to spend a spare hour or two. The simpler alternative is to have the car converted to an OTS. I used the foam-backed woolen headliner from BAS (no it doesn't add any torsional rigidity) and fitted it single-handed, although that's only because my wife had run out of sympathy for me.

You have several problems but the main ones are:

1. how to get stick it on square so that you don't run out of material at one corner;

2. how to stick it on with out getting any bubbles it in; and

3. how to stick it on without inadvertently sticking it to itself. I used contact cement so this was a definite possibility.

First I marked centrelines on my roof (inside, of course) using chalk. Then I marked the lateral centreline on the foam side of the headliner using a permanent marker. I also marked the mid point of that line. Next I applied contact cement to a strip about a foot (can't remember exactly) wide along the line on the fabric and the corresponding line on the roof.

This is where the fun starts. Now you climb inside the car with this large piece of fabric draped over your arms, supporting it along its centreline. You offer it up such that it first touches the roof at the centre point

(with one hand) while making sure that the lines are in line as they run out to one side of the car (with the other hand). Working from the centre point, gently smooth the fabric onto the roof towards that side of the car taking care not to stretch the fabric. Repeat for the other side. You should now have a double curtain hanging across your car and your pulse should be starting to slow.

The rest is relatively straightforward: just apply more contact cement in strips parallel to the first and gradually work your way rearwards and then frontwards. Two tips: Don't press too hard (if you force contact adhesive into the cells of the foam you'll end up with permanent depressions in it); and don't go right to the sides with the adhesive (leave some slack to play with while you trim off the excess and prepare to tuck the edges in. It's rather like hanging wallpaper on a low ceiling, only much more expensive, and in fact I used a wallpaper-hanger's brush to smooth out the fabric as I stuck it in place.

Second Method

If the 2+2 headliner is the same as the FHC then I assisted a professional trimmer with the fitting of mine. The FHC replacement liner (from BAS) is a thick (1 inch?) foam pad with the wool lining material already pre-glued to it.

After a trial hold in place to establish that the size was correct and which was front and back, the following procedure was adopted- Find the centre point of the roof panel by measurement. Mark half way along each side of the panel and join these points with pencil. Where your lines intersect is the centre point.

Do the same with the replacement liner to find the centre point of the foam.

Coat the roof panel and the foam pad with contact adhesive. The trimmer used a commercial adhesive which he sprayed with a compressor and spray gun. The adhesive he used grabs if dry but does allow some movement when still moist. Pick up the liner and locate the centre point with your index finger from the wool side. You will have the liner draped down your arm with the centre point at the tip of your finger. You will need help to hold the liner so that the adhesive coated surface of the liner does not adhere to itself. Probably you need to be positioned in the car and have the liner handed to you. Bring the centre points of the liner and roof panel together, ensuring that the liner is oriented correctly (front, back etc). Then progressively smooth the liner onto the roof panel working from the center outwards. The edges should tuck under the side rails but you may have to trim off a little. I was going to attempt this myself but even though the trimmer made it look easy I'm glad I didn't. Took him about 30 minutes.


Carpet Replacement/Installation

Replacing Carpet

First remove the driver and passenger seats. Then remove the radio housing and the console panel. The old Carpets were glued...had to tear out and laid aside of the car. Use a good adhesive remover...must not remove any paint. Use Rustoleum Primer on the metal floors and all surfaces to be covered by the carpets. Layout the carpets in the car without any adhesive....some pieces may have to be trimmed. Use a carpet cement, not contact cement and this will allow you to move the piece around for final position. Have plenty of patience....and I started from the rear forward. The project took me about 24 - 26 hours, yours may take longer. DO NOT RUSH THE JOB...TAKE YOUR TIME.....NEVER LOSE YOUR COOL. 

Converting a Coupe/2+2 to a Roadster

Here are some companies that sell conversion kits from Coupe or 2+2 into Roadster. However, please read the following information before making a decision either way. This in now way endorses these companies or converting your XKE.


The Driver's Seat - Conversion kits for Coupes & 2+2s -

(Kits run between $5,500 and $5,900 and require significant professional bodywork usually running around $3,000)

Martin Robey - Converting using original parts -

 (Cost varies depending on what panels you need. Only for the expert body worker and mechanic.)


Bull Market?

Yes, I actually have a video from the company that does it (somewhere). The installation seemed fairly straightforward. However, in my opinion this conversion was a "bull-market" phenomenon. I believe that you can get a reasonable OTS series 1 for less money than the all in cost of this. The car will be worth very little after this is done. I know of some unscrupulous dealers that converted V12 coupes into convertibles and sold them overseas as the real thing.


While I am not pro or con on this issue since the chassis is the same and it can be argued that you have not really done anything bad to the car, just moved some production figures around, I would like to comment on the salability.

I have a 1970 2+2 and I have considered this conversion because it has the ability to be made into a Phyaton since you can conserve the 4 seat configuration.

The actual fact is that the 2+2 is the ugly stepsister in the minds of most lovers of the E-Type. Personally I don't agree and prefer the look of the 2+2 windshield, that's why I bought it.


The cost of conversion is very high, and is pretty much irreversible. And in five or ten years, when you are looking for a replacement top, the company that made the kit had better still be around.

You would do better to sell the car, and buy a real OTS. And you would preserve a beautiful 2+2 in the process.

Pros & Cons

I have both a FHC and a roadster, parked side by side in my garage, so I can compare the beauty of the cars every day if I was so inclined. The funny thing is that one day I might feel the coupe is prettier, the next day I might think the roadster is. I have a factory hardtop for the roadster, which gives it a dramatically different appearance.

I sometimes drive the roadster one-day and the coupe the next. The coupe is a far more practical everyday driver, roomier, and more tolerable in cold or bad weather. Ah, but on a warm, sunny day, nothing beats a roadster!

The bottom line is that we are all different, see things differently, and have different needs. It's ridiculous to try to talk absolutes on something so subjective.

On the subject of chopping a 2+2, I have to agree with the others who have said that it's probably more financially sound to sell the 2+2, and get a real roadster. In the end, it would probably cost the same. Leave the 2+2 intact for the many people that want one.

Pros & Cons (From one of the conversion vendors - you can figure out which)

I'm tired of misinformation about my true loves (XKE's and car work). I'm a bit familiar with XKE and XJS conversions (change from closed to open car configuration) and want to supply a few words about conversions:

There are at least 3 separate conversion activities I know of.

1. Converting via partial body disassembly and thence replacement with "original" (read Robey) parts (only common with 2+2's).

2. California conversions AKA Miami Tops. Partly fiberglass. (only 2+2's)

3. Driver's Seat (started in Georgia, owned by Bob Boston, and then sold to Drivers Seat of Delaware, Inc., which is a different company and different management). Bob Boston started it to capture an opportunity created by the bull Jag market. Drivers Seat of Delaware now does work aimed at quality, 'original look' conversions and restorations of XKE's, and also offers a unique XJS conversion product.

Drivers Seat kits are available for all series E types, and certain applications now result in a car which is virtually indistinguishable (except for Very Very close scrutiny with disassembly or vin plate inspection) from an 'original' OTS. These cars are Series 1.5 and 2 coupes, and series 3 2+2's. Early kits did not use a standard rear deck or rear deck hinge arrangement, and some of the top frames and other details were a bit more primitive than the originals. All of the early kits used an ABS plastic for the compartment behind the seat in 'long door' conversions rather than a steel assembly and used pneumatic struts to raise the rear deck lid.

The kits now use standard OTS tops, rear deck lids, windscreens, side windows, trim, etc. The top frames, rear lid latch and brackets, and rear deck lid hinges are copies of the originals. The cloth tops are standard, commercial OTS tops of Stayfast cloth (NOT VINYL) material. The convertible from a series 1 2+2 uses a non-standard top which is like a series 3 top but tapers an extra inch toward the front because the series 1 car takes a stock series 1 roadster w/s. The 'short door' cars (read coupes) can be finished with tall or lowered door profiles, the latter providing an OTS look indistinguishable from the original. (Early roadster doors are built up exactly like the coupe doors, but a shorter top piece is spotwelded onto the main part of the door skin.)

There appear to be three common situations for doing the conversion:

1. Person has a good, sorted out car (they are not easy to come by) and wants to have a good, sorted out convertible (they are very difficult to come by). Many 'original' OTS's got a lot of makeup in the bull market days and are bondo timebombs; some others just need a lot of work (expense). (A real pro clobber job is very hard to detect until the rust blooms through or the car starts to break in two.) Often, that's why people sell the cars.

2. Person does it for profit motive. Envisions buying a car for $3000 and selling it for $30000, This is a dream, and someone is going to wake up with a hangover. The kits are $5500 (when on sale, otherwise $5900), installation is $3000 (in our shop) and a paint job is additional $2500 or so. A DYI can save a lot of the labor costs, and the only long costs in painting are about $1000 in materials (abrasives, fillers, sealers, surfacer-leveler, and basecoat/clear coat). The DYI still has to do the work, which can be fun for a hobbyist or a chore for daily bodyshop worker.

3. Person wants a special car. Example: A 6 cyl 2+2 E-type makes a great handling beautiful car (see the one on the web site Http:// It has the lithe feel of the lighter cars, but has the roomy interior of the 2+2 or series 3 cars, the stability of the longer wheelbase, the great inexpensive reliability of the 6 cyl motor, etc. I personally love these cars.

The best time for conversion is when the car needs a paint job or some bodywork because the incremental cost of conversion is more modest, and the result is very nice. Best way to do it is remove seats and carpets, as well as tank, etc., gut doors, paint inside of car, insides of doors, inside hidden regions, etc. while doing the conversion, finish conversion, paint outside of car, and then reinstall the interior (seats, carpets, console.

Pros & Cons (Also from one of the conversion vendors)

First, Just like any other constructive sheetmetal fabrication work, one could in principle convert an open car to a closed car. I don't know of anyone who has done the conversion back to closed car configuration. People want the open cars (in fact, over 300 have converted their closed E types to open cars. Prices of open cars clearly reflects this preference.)

The second part is more complicated than you might think. The drop you allege in the resale value of conversion cars is quite different that I have heard. Resale value of these cars appears to be more affected by condition, exact series of car, nature of buyer, and situation. Remember, there are a lot of variables and wide range of price fluctuations in these cars. Common sales prices of E types has dropped nearly a factor of 2 in the last 10 years, near-show condition cars went from the $90-$60K range to $30K. Basket case vehicles went from about $6000 to about $3K. Some reasonable 2+2's are now worth less than the price of a kit. Incidentally, converting a lousy car to a convertible makes a lousy car that is a convertible.

Also, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. If someone wants an open two seater (OTS) configuration XKE with the roomy interior of the series 3 car, but wants the lithe handling and simplicity/reliability of the 6 cyl cars, then a conversion is literally the only way to go. Some of these have won prizes at shows and fetch good resale money/offers, but a jag purist might rather walk along the road than ride in such a car.

Many converted cars have sold for substantial sums, and others not, depending on situation and conversion quality. E type conversions have varied greatly in quality, too, and that is a factor. Some converted cars are virtually indistinguishable from a factory OTS; others are butcher jobs, some using fiberglass or non-stock parts.

If the only purpose for the conversion is investment, I wouldn't recommend that you do it. Stock market, etc bring better returns. If you want to make your 2+2 into an open car, then a conversion is a good way to do it.


Because most don't agree with me on the beauty of the 2+2, the value of your car will go UP after the conversion. Only someone looking for a concourse car will find it undesirable. There are so many people looking for a roadster that you will be able to sell it easily, but not at an "original roadster" price however well above what the 2+2 would bring.

Since OTS sell for 25K AND UP and 2+2s sell for TOPS 15K there is alot of room there for improvement in selling price and the conversion can be done for 5K if you do all of it yourself.

I have been told that a Phyaton (four-seat convertible) would actually bring MORE than an OTS if you could find the right buyer since NONE of them were built. Look at the price of the convertible conversions of the early XJS which was never made as a convertible until later in the series.

Upholstery - Leather Rejuvenation & Maintenance 

Hyde Food

I have heard of a treatment for old leather that a few restorers swear by. You take a jar of Jaguar Hyde Food and heat it in a microwave until it's warm and very soft. Almost a liquid. Then using a soft brush apply the liquid to the leather. Let it sit over night. Then reapply again. Repeat several times until the leather is back to how you want it. I can't verify that it works myself, as I haven't tried it yet. Still waiting for the car to arrive. But if your only choice is to replace the leather it might be worth a try.

NeatsFoot Oil

I have used neatsfoot oil on all my leather goods (saddles, ball gloves, old furniture,etc.) for years. If applied regularly it will keep leather from dry rotting or getting hard. The downside is that it is oil so it will remain oily on the surface for some time if left as applied. On old leather that has hardened I do the following: Apply several times to the surfaces with a saturated (in neatsfoot oil) cloth waiting an hour or two between coats, leave overnight and apply one more coat the next day, on the third day check the leather to see if it has softened (everything I ever tried was soft by the third day), use a mild soap and water solution to remove the oil from the surface, treat with one of the popular "hide foods" to seal in the oil.

Rust Prevention/Control 

One Method

The photos below are recommended areas for a rust preventative paint/treatment.

Click on Photo to Enlarge

Click on Photo to Enlarge

 Another Method 



Windshield (windscreen) glass Installation

Chrome Piece over Rubber seal

The chrome piece is held in place by the rubber seal. There are '' lips'' on the top and bottom of the seal that overlap the chrome and hold it in place. If you do not have this then the seal is backwards and the ''lips'' are in towards the cockpit. Just pull the shield and reverse the seal. Use glue to help hold it in place.

Keepin' that top sealed on an OTS.

If you hang upside down and press your face firmly into the windshield wipers from the outside of your OTS, you can easily see the seal between the wind-shield and the top. When it rains, this is where it pours. Next, if you lay the top (hood in some parts of the world) back, you can see that the rubber seal is almost square, and is slid into a recess in the top. When most people install this seal, they just push it all the way in and glue it in place. Then they bitterly compalin when the rain gets pushed up the wind-shield at highway speeds and soaks their clothing and instrument panel. That need not be. Close but do not clamp down the top. Tilt the front most panel of the top to the angle it will sit when it is clamped down. Then slip a piece of paper between the top and windshield. The seal should just touch the windshield at an even pressure all along this line. If not, pry the square seal out a bit, or push it in a bit until it is 'even' all along the top of the windshield.

Drain Channels

I have removed the door trim on my 65 OTS on the Right Hand Side (when you stand at the back and look forward). When you look at the inside of the door, after removing the plastic, the two apertures (holes) at the bottom being the wide hole on the left side and small one on the right have plates pop riveted to the top of the aperture with the plates being bent to go through the aperture and rest against the far side of the door at the bottom. The plates are as wide as the holes. I presume they aren't original? What are they there for (channel water?) I intend removing them by drilling out the rivets as they are blocking access to bottom of the doors, which need rust proofing.

One Option

You and I are in the same position except I am trying to buy the drain channels. These are needed to channel the rain-water from inside the door past the door sill seal (that presses against the door when it is closed. I would suggest you take them out, do your rust-proofing and then replace them ensuring that they offer a clear path for the rainwater!

Tool for Installing the Glass into the seal

The following tool was made using Sears Cotter Key Puller, catalog item #4319. It can be used to lip the rubber seal over the windshield by either working from the front or by working the tool underneath the glass to push the rubber behind it.

Original Tool

Tool after manipulation

  1. Cut the pointed tip off the puller to dull it, then grind it round.
  1. Bend to form a gradual cork screw. Two views of the tool are shown below taken at 90 degree angles. Heating it to red hot with a torch will certainly help.

Polish from the beginning of the cork screw to the tip using a polishing wheel. Any rough spots, including too sharp a tip, are apt to scratch the glass.

This tip is copyrighted by 1998 Steve Kemp. All rights reserved. For free publication and distribution on xke-lovers and related not-for-profit Internet sites, and by permission only.


 Back to Main XKE Tech Tips Page



Please help support the move to the new site, and DONATE what you can.
A big Thank You to those who have donated already!



Go to our Homepage
Improve your Jag-lovers experience with the Mozilla FireFox Browser!

  View the latest posts from our Forums via an RSS Feed!

Jag-loversTM Ltd / JagWEBTM 1993 - 2024
All rights reserved. Jag-lovers is supported by JagWEBTM
For Terms of Use and General Rules see our Disclaimer
Use of the Jag-lovers logo or trademark name on sites other than Jag-lovers itself in a manner implying endorsement of commercial activities whatsoever is prohibited. Sections of this Web Site may publish members and visitors comments, opinion and photographs/images - Jag-lovers Ltd does not assume or have any responsibility or any liability for members comments or opinions, nor does it claim ownership or copyright of any material that belongs to the original poster including images. The word 'Jaguar' and the leaping cat device, whether used separately or in combination, are registered trademarks and are the property of Jaguar Cars, England. Some images may also be Jaguar Cars. Mirroring or downloading of this site or the publication of material or any extracts therefrom in original or altered form from these pages onto other sites (including reproduction by any other Jaguar enthusiast sites) without express permission violates Jag-lovers Ltd copyright and is prohibited
Go to our Homepage
Your Browser is: CCBot/2.0 (, IP Address logged as on 26th May 2024 21:10:11