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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The GT is Ready for it's maiden Voyage.....

Jensen GT AKA "Butterscotch Pudding"

My girlfriend ( Allie) and I arrived in Perkasie PA to pick up the Jensen GT. Allie had nver been on a long trip in a British Car, but she was so excited to share the experience with me. The interior was finished and looked fabulous. It was a perfect mach for the outside. Allie Baptized the car "Butterscotch Pudding" or "MISS B" for short. The actual color from the Factory is Saturn Gold, but I really liked Allies name much better.

We jumped in the car and I immediately noticed how much more plush the interior is on the GT compared to the Jensen Healey. The Fit and Finish of all the interior pieces is much better quality and there seems to be some soundproofing somewhere as the car is much quieter than my JH. This is probably mainly because of the carbs ( stromberg equipped) compared to my delortos on my JH. The exterior body gaps are also tighter than my JH giving it a nice appearance on the outside.
We departed Perkasie at 630pm and were scheduled to arrive in manhattan, Ny to meet friends for dinner at 8:30pm. The car ran beautifully on the way up to Manhattan, across the GW bridge and into a nearby parking garage. All the guages were exactly where they should be and I was amazed the car with all the lights on, blinkers, stereo, heater/ac unit running at the same time had no trouble charging the battery... as the amp meter stayed in the middle the entire drive. The new Vintage air system was fantastic. It really pumps out the HEAT and the Cold Air... amazing. It is so robust, it will be a joy cruising around in the summer time with this car.
The car is much slower than my healey. My healey has dellortos, 777 cams, higher compression pistons, and a moon shaped " Green dot" cams. It didnt take long to get used to the GT though, it was a pleasant experience on all levels. One big advantage is the interior noise is low and the car is much smoother than my healey when idling.
We stayed over in White plains NY after dinner. The next day, the car fired up on the first try with a full blast of choke and we were off on an uneventful beautiful trip back to Maine. I will be using this car alot as it is a wonderful, surprisingly comfortable touring car. The folks in Perkasie installed some 910 lotus cam covers to replace the original "RUBBER GASKET CAM COVERS". not original, but it really is nice to not have to worry about oil leaking from the cam covers anymore.
I wanted to be sure I publically thanked BRETT GIBSON for doing some wonderful carburator work and electrical work on my car. He literally spent days fixing and rebuilding the entire electrical system on the GT and I am so grateful as it is perfect. He also fixed some small rust holes which were very hard to find and fix. He is truly a master at jensens and I just wish I had 1% of his knowledge. I spend an Afternoon at his house in Hilton, Ny one weekend and learned all about rebuilding the Stromberg Carburator. I forgot some of the things, but I remembered most of it. Brett's "JENSEN SPA" is a worthly place for every jensen to visit.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Airconditioning update

The original airconditioning system was just useless. First the all, it was marginal at best even when it was operating properly, and secondly, almost every part was in need of a complete rebuild to work properly. I investigated a brand new system by "Vintage air" and discovered I could have a brand new much more powerful and efficient system for roughly the same price as having the original system rebuilt.

The controls are different with the new vintage air system as the system works off of servo controlled electric motors. The evaporator is 30% more efficient than the original and the compressor is brand new. The Dash needed refinishing anyway, so I sent all the dash wood out to Madera Concepts in California. They professionally cut the new dash to fit the new style airconditioning controls and since a couple switches are no longer needed and different dash vents are used, the folks at madera custom cut every new hole and properly sized the new Vent holes to look completely custom and factory new. I picked a Carpithian Elm Burl for my new dash and am very happy with the look. The Wood is a bit lighter than the original Dark walnut, but the orange glow and "lighter" grain really match well with the two toned leather interior.

The "Vintage Air" Control box fits under the dash easily with just a minor firewall cut to hold it firmly in place. One bracket was fabricated as a holddown. The unit is completely self contained.... heater, defroster, fan, and airconditioning are all operated with electric servo controls for reliable and efficient air movement.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jensen GT condtinued....

After the GT made it safely home, I had the car looked at closely to identify any lingering issues before starting on the Airconditioning and Interior reburbishment. On the underside, I wanted to replace most of the bushings and the shop had a hydraulic press which made bushing removal a snap. The Differential bushings were the only bushings which had to be taken out with heat and a jack hammer. Every other bushing in the suspension responded well to the hydraulic press. The bushings really needed replacement. Only 25,000 miles but the rubber bushings were shot pretty bad. I bought a set of urethane replacements and with the use of the press, everything was very smooth.

Attached are some pictures of old verses new bushings and the "caveman" extraction method when the differential bushings were involved.
Interior Door seals>>>>>>> unfortunately, when I was driving in the rain with the GT to the interior shop, I noticed two things>>>>>> the Darn car leaks so bad it would prompt Noah to build an Ark!.... and .... the car is friggin HOT on the inside. Even with the airconditioning, the car is hotter than a few women I knew in college during exam week. In the summer I could imagine the heat would be unbearable to tolerate for very long.
The interior shop looked into the water leaks and quickly found the problem. Many outside door and window seals were nver replaced and had decayed after many tears of use. HMMMM..... got me wondering about the paint shop which was supposed to replace the rubber and install new seals. Well, that never happened> Big lesson learned about using a shop far away from home.
I figured it was time to really fix them so I didn't ruin a perfectly good new interior.
The airconditioning system is another story..... but fair warning.... the solution I chose is not for the purists. They would be very upset with me. But Alas, "THEY" are not driving it ;)
to be continued....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

JH gets an improved cooling system.....

The Jensen Healey came standard with a 2-row radiator and a yellow plastic fan. I never had any serious problems with engine temperature, but after I had the engine rebuilt with a much higher performance package ( more Horsepower), I noticed my temperature gauge creeping past the 3/4 mark when idling in the city. This was not overheating, but on a prolonged idle combined with a high outside temperature, things could get dangerously close to overheating. I drove it the rest of the summer with my eye on the gauge as I really didn't want to stress things to much. I always made sure I was near a highway or back road for a quick cool down once the car got up to speed. Even when the car is cruising on the highway, the temperature was a couple needle widths above the center mark.

I decided to check out my upgrade options to get me a little more piece of mind when idling for long periods. I brought the car to a mechanic with quite a bit of experience with Lotus Esprits ( which some versions used the same engine more or less). He recommended I perform the following steps to solve my cooling problem as he used the same steps when dealing with other healey's and Esprits.

1) Check water pump for proper operation and ensure it is in spec.
2) Replace thermostat with a 170 degree opening version
3) Send out radiator to be modified
4) install radiator shroud - available for healey's.

Cost breakdowns and results follow:

1) Pulled water pump, found some Old LOTUS tech manuals for the 907 and measured the water pump play and vanes to ensure within specification. The water pump checked out fine.... Time.... 40 Minutes - $40.00

2) Replaced thermostat and gasket with new one from Lotus supplier... Cost ..$11.00
no charge for labor as it was part of the water pump checking.

3) Radiator modification - Change to 3-row, modifed cooling tube fin layout. 1 hour remove and replace $60.00 - special "Hot Rod" radiator ( that's what the radiator shop calls it) $275.00

4) Install Radiator shroud - Parts $40.00 ( he had a used one kicking around) labor $25.00

Total Cost = $451.00

The results were phenomenal and well worth the bucks. The car idled for over 45 minutes and never went higher than 1/2 to cente r ( 1/4 of entire range) Outside air temperature was 55 degrees. I am confident when the outside temp heats up the car will operate in the mid range on the gauge.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Jensen GT is almost ready.........

Where has the summer gone. I enjoyed driving my Jensen Healey convertable and I really the the jensen GT would be ready for pick up shortly or at least it would be in my garage by early August.

Well, it was not meant to be. Kenny ( the only mechanic) got pretty busy and just never got around to attending to the final touches so the car would be ready for the 12 hour drive back to Maine. I got a little frustrated as I really didn't want the car to sit out in the lot over another winter after I just spent a bunch of money on a new paint job. The car still needed a few things but I thought it was mainly the interior. The headliner needed replacing. The carpet was eating by mice and stinky. I found an original interior kit ( Leather) with a new carpet and was anxious to drive the car home so I could install the finishing touches.

A few weeks ago, Kenny calls me up as proclaims " I just need a few more things to finish the car". I could only wonder what it could be as I was convinced almost everthing on the engine and underbody had been replaced and checked. Kenny gave me the following list:

1) Speedometer cable

2) Driveshaft needed replacing immediately

3) Fuel sender unit and seal needed replacing

The speedometer cable and driveshaft were easy. Delta Motorsports in Arizona had both parts in stock. The driveshaft was even upgraded to a one piece shaft instead of the original two piece shaft. The Fuel Sender unit was a little more of pain, but it is amazing what people can fix nowadays. The fuel gage unit looked awful..... rusted, cracked, leaking and a seal which was not capable of sealing anything anymore. Delta motorsports sends them away to an undisclosed place and in about a week later, the sending unit comes back at looks perfect. It look exactly like a brand new one. It has been tested and a brand new rubber seal is installed.

Things should be moving along much quicker now.....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My other Jensen...... A 1974 Jensen Healey

I am not much of a photographer, but i thought I would post a few pictures of my daily driver Jensen Healey. I am fortunate to be able to drive this car regularly as it has been extensively restored over the years.  It's not perfect, but it is a very reliable car for the most part.

One of the funniest things my daughter ever said to me ( because she did not mean it to be funny) was the first question she asked me when she saw the Jensen parked in the driveway for the first time. She was 14 years old and said... "Hey Dad, it's a cool car but what are those things on the inside of the door next to the windows" ?  I looked kind of puzzled and walked over to the car  and as she pointed them out I just laughed and realized how "old" I am getting. I told her those were window cranks and they raise and lower the windows when they are turned clockwise and counterclockwise. I then realized she was clueless as every car we have bought since she was born always had power windows operated by a small switch.  I think she was completely blown away when I inserted an "8" track tape in the player and told her that what we used to listen to music  with in a car when I was her age.

Anyway, my JH is pretty modified and many purists would cringe, but I just love the extra reliabilty and performance the car has from the modifications. 

My JH is configured as follows:
1) 2.0 liter with delta high compression pistons and 2 - 107 cams, chrysler 318 bearing conversion
2) Green dot cam pulleys  with 40,000 timing belt change
3) Dellorto Carbs ( 45mm)
4) petronix  ignition
5) k+n Filters
6) gear reduction starter
7) Thermostatically controlled Flexlite electric fan
8)Headlight relays
9) toyota 5 speed w55 transmission
10) 12 circuit american electrical system ( blade fuses) - painless wiring
11)  Heater shutoff valve installed
12) complete undercoating after replacing floor pans
13) masterlube pressure lube system

When I first had the car painted, I remembered JHPS member Mitch Ware, who has a beautifully restored JH  in NY. He painted is a nice BRG, which I though was beautiful. Sherman Taffel, from MD, also owns a nice Jensen GT also painted BRG. I found a BRG with a slight metallic addition which closely matched Mitch's car and Sherman's car. It is called Jaguar racing green from the 2005 versions of their cars. They no longer offer it as an available paint for their current lines of cars but it is easily attainable with the proper paint code.

Here's a few pictures of my car. The sun is NEVER out when I have a camera. The car actually looks better than this, but it was completely overcast when I took the pictures. we have had a horrible summer for driving top down as almost every day is rainy, overcast, or cold. 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Preparation of the Jensen GT Travel Kit

The car is probably at least a few weeks away from being ready to drive home. The engine should be installed soon and the mechanic is just waiting for the arrival of a new header ( the original one has too many leaks) and 5 speed transmission kit which contains a box  with a new clutch, pressure plate, and throwout bearing. It didn't need the clutch parts yet, but the mechanic figured I only have about 10,000 more miles on the original, so I might as well replace the thing while everything was exposed and opened up.

In anticipation of my Dad and I traveling to pick up the Jensen GT, I started assembling the standard "Travel Kit" which all british car owners should keep with them. I learned about this from attending various Jensen meets and inspecting their trunks. I guess I have had it pretty easy in a sense with my Jensen Healey which was restored years ago. I never carried anything around but some extra oil and maybe a flashlight. my portable GPS was my best friend in the car. I drove around for years up and down the east coast and to western NY a bunch of times without much going wrong, but I figured I am flirting with disaster and at some point, I am just going to break down on the road.

I've learned quite a bit from other experts with Jensens at the various events around the northeast, so i took the time to organize my survival kit. The basic idea being...... it there is a small problem, I have a least a 50% chance of fixing it and moving on ( or at least have the parts on hand for someone else to fix). I bought a couple of storage containers at walmart measuring 17 inches X 13 inches with a sealable top.
I stuffed the following things in the two storage containers and plan to put it in the Jensen GT when I pick it up:

1) Flashlight w/batteries
2) 2 carb rebuild kits ( I shouldn't need these, but you never know)
3) socket/open end wrenches w/ screwdrivers
4) Duct Tape
5) Radiator hoses ( all 3 ) just in case.
6) Thermostat w/gasket
7) a Selection of fuses
8) various hose clamps
9) fan belt
10) disc brake pads
11) Voltmeter
12) connectors/wire strippers etc.
13) Fuel filter
14) Knife and various other tools

In another bigger crate:

4 Quarts oil ( vr-1 racing 20w/50) very hard to find in Maine. I usually buy it when I first see it in the spring, or just stock up in New Hampshire.
 brake fluid
50/50 mix antifreeze

As one Jensen owner told me at the Nationals this year........... "You Gotta carry Fluids with you, it's a British car, it tends to mark its territory more than a dog"

I didn't put in a spare fuel pump like I have in the trunk of my JH. My JH fuel pump is very easy to replace in the trunk and costs less than $50.00. It is very easy to replace and can be done in minutes on the road. The Jensen GT fuel pump is located under the car ( where the gas tank is located) and the cost of that fuel pump is about $250.00, so I may get a spare some day, but I definately won't be crawling around under the car to replace it on the road. The new one I put in this year should last a while.

Next...... final car preparations before the trip, interior shops and estimates,  and the adventure of driving it home from Salamanca NY.