Tuesday, 31 December 2019


I have managed to scrounge a couple of hours, in the garage, here and there over the last few weeks. Fortunately my lovely wife was relatively understanding of my desire to have a  bit of one to one time with my Stella.

When Stella came back to me I parked her nose first into the garage, so obviously it was her rear end that was going to get the make over. First on were the side repeater rear lights, new gaskets and a quick polish and in they went. Next were the two rear light clusters, I cleaned off a bit of previous over spray from the gaskets and again polished up the light units and bolted them on. I needed my test light to ensure all the wires were connected correctly.

Next was the number plate and the special little fog lamps that secure the plate to the car and then the relatively new stainless rear bumper. Having checked again that all the lights worked I replaced the spare tyre, tools, floor boards and carpet trim.

When I started the car in readiness to turn her round to start on the front end, I then saw that the left side repeater light and reversing lamp plus the brake lights were not coming on, only to be expected, hopefully I disturbed those connections when refitting the carpet trim, and it will be just a simple job of pushing the connectors back on.

On to the front, I started with the side repeater indicator lights, as before new gaskets and a polish. Then it was the two side/indicator that were fitted, naturally I bolted the left side one to the right side of the car, soon swapped that over, I am going to replace the indicator bulbs with LED ones, but I will have to get under the dash to change the flasher units to electronic ones, that can wait.

I sorted out all the connections for the freshly painted, LED headlights, but the front bumper had to go next as you need access through the headlamp apertures to get to the side bolts. Quite a lot of fiddling about to get all the holes to line up,but as usual got there in the end.

 All four LED headlamps wired and fitted, like the indicators there is still some work to do later. I am going to wire them through relays to take the load of the switch, I know LEDs draw far less current, but all four headlamps will be on for main beam as will the dipped beam, although that will be controlled by a dashboard mounted switch, so for town driving, only the two outer lamps will be alight, but for dark country roads there is the potential to have all four dipped beams as well as four main. All things bright and beautiful!

Just got to fit the front grill and for the sharped eyed, I haven't yet fitted the chrome trim front or back, as I be be using Silicone sealant as well as clips, I intend to do all of the trim at the same time as my experience with silicone, is that with only a few days between use, the sealant can go hard in the nozzle.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

T and B's

I was itching to make a start putting Stella back together and the first job was refitting the T bar. Before that could go on, the B post trims needed to be fitted. I covered as much of the new paint with towels and cloths to protect from accidental knocks and then fitted the stainless outer trim, fastened with two rivet's each side, the pop rivet gun made short work of that.

Next was the inner trim, which is pressed steel covered in foam and black vinyl, these had three locating  pegs which once properly aligned allowed the trim to be push firmly into place. One more small piece of stainless and that job was done.

Now the tricky bit, I knew that getting the bolts through the ends of the T to align with the captive bolts in the top of the B post was going to be difficult, I was right. They were adrift by about 10mm and no amount of heaving, pulling on either the T or the B post was getting me anywhere near.

The Stag Owners Forum came up with several answers to help resolve the problem. I adopted two of them, a trolley jack under the front outrigger pumped up high, flexed the chassis enough to laterally align the holes.  A rachet strap around the top of the B post and the upper half of my torso allowed me to pull back on the B post and the bolts connected with the threads of the captive nuts. Everything tightened down, at the front end as well and now Stella has her proper structural rigidity restored. What's next?

Friday, 13 December 2019


It's done and I want it out of the way, was the message. I was planning to get Richard and his car transporter to collect Stella on Friday 13th. However Trevor wanted it gone before it got that perfect paint job damaged and covered in dust in his crowded workshop.

It was all going to be a rush as it was only 1.30 pm when Trevor called and he had a transporter arranged for 3pm and would I arrive in time to lead the transporter and Stella back home.

I arrived just in time and snapped a few shots of Stella just before she was loaded up for the trip home, shiny? Not arf!!!

Thursday, 5 December 2019


Trevor called and said the Stag has been rubbed right back to bare metal, etched primed and the fist couple of coats of grey primer have been applied and rubbing back has started and would I like to come and have a look. I was up there straight away.

I have never seen Stella looking so smooth, admittedly a bit blotchy, but looking good. Trevor asked me check on the paint code, which is 19 Triumph White as he was about to order the paint,

I assumed is would be water based, but no, Trevor assured me it was going to be a top quality two pack and would likely be finished and ready for collection by the end of the week, we shall see!

Tuesday, 19 November 2019


When I stripped the four headlights from the car including the black bowls or buckets that the glass part sits in, I realised how scruffy all the bits looked.

The four chromed bezels were very grubby on the outside and on the inside there was loads of rust, so I started with those. My polishing wheel brought the chrome back to more than acceptable, I then sanded down the inside to get rid of the rust, carefully masked off the shiny chrome and applied three coats of silver Hammerite. Photos below show job done.

Next were the four inner bezels that the glass units sit in and allow for adjustment of aim. This time I used a wire brush in my electric drill, clamped into my workmate and scrubbed all the rust away. Again three sprayed coats of silver Hammerite were applied.The photo shows before and after. The after is on the left, just in case there was any doubt.

Now it was time for the bowls or buckets, the outside of each of the bowls was covered in oily cack which white spirit and paper cloth removed, but it was both sides of the rims that were rusty and again the wire brush cleaned it up and the cables were masked. Three coats of smooth black Hammerite and now all four were nice and shiny inside and out. I forgot to take pictures at this point as I was excited to get them all reassembled.

 However I decided to upgrade the halogen bulbs to LED's, so ordered four H1 units, I also decided to buy new glass headlamp bowls to maximise efficiency of the LED's. I quickly realised the H1 LED's would not fit in the dip glass bowl, these bowls are now all designed to take the main/dip type H4.bulbs, I had a chat with Gil from BetterCarLighting and he suggested I upgrade to having four H4 LED's and rewire through relays to give me 4 dip beams and 4 main beams. Not only will each LED give far more light than the old halogen bulbs, but I will be doubling from 2 dip and 2 main headlights, the improvement of light should be amazing. Gil also said that for town driving, four dipped beams might be too bright and suggested that a small switch be mounted on or under the dash, that would allow the two inner dipped lamps to be turned off. I agreed with this suggestion and Gil included with the H4 bulbs a switch and wiring harness, plus a wiring diagram.

The photo above shows one of the new glass bowls fitted with my first choice of a H1 LED. The final choice of H4 LED's came with their own wiring harness, meaning that the wires in the black metal buckets that I had so carefully masked off before spraying, I now had to cut off and replace with the new wiring.

And there we are; a view of a freshly sprayed bucket and the complete assembly, polished rims, new glass bowl fitted with a H4 LED already to be installed in Stella when she returns.

Monday, 11 November 2019


I was expecting a call from Trevor at the bodyshop and he didn't disappoint, he said the welding was done, but he needed to discuss the way forward in respect of the amount of paint that they had had to remove to get to bare metal.

I was there the next day and sure enough all the wheel arches and both sills had neatly stitched in new metal. I was surprised that they had probably only used about 20% of each of the repair panels. At the rear it was only the arches that had been replaced and the major part of each panel was propped up against the wall.

 The front arches had taken slightly more metal, but the rest of the wings were in very good order. Only the very bottom of the sills had been replaced and there was no trace of rust internally as somebody in the past had sprayed all of the cavities with Waxoil. There were several other welded repairs, a small area at the bottom of the drivers door and left front valance..

Trevor showed me how thick the paint was where they had feathered it back to bare metal for the repairs, he pointed out, that there could be a future problem of the new paint crazing particularly in this transition area and it would be much better to cut all the old paint back to the metal. They had already had to do this on the bonnet, which was now in primer.

You have to rely on the expert for good advice and I had it on good authority that Trevor was an honest professional, so I agreed, but it seems that I should still get Stella back before Christmas.

Thursday, 7 November 2019


I couldn't leave the T bar in its original condition, there was a little white over spray at each end of the T from some previous owners respray, a small split on the top and generally it looked rather tired. I did at first think I would only order the black vinyl cover as the foam underneath felt firm enough, but as soon as I unzipped and started to peel back the old cover I was mighty pleased I had ordered the five piece foam set as well as the cover.

Bits of sticky, crumbly, grubby foam ended up going all over the dining table, I should say that I had taken the precaution of covering the table first. I then decided to finish off removing the bulk of the  foam outside and I carefully carried it out and put it onto the garden table.

In the garage I scrapped away the residue and cleaned it up with white spirit and paper cloth, before I brought it back onto the lounge table to glue on the foam sections. I got carried away with the spray impact adhesive and forgot to take any photos until I had got the cover onto the T part.

This went easier than I expected, but I did wrap the foam, on the non zip side with cling film and this allowed the very snug sleeve to be pulled up that side of the T, that's the side that I have already glued the end. However when I started to zip the cover over the I part of the T, the cover was a little slack and wrinkly and I realised I was going to have to find some extra foam to stuff down one side to fill the cover.

I searched EBay for tubular foam and came up with foam designed for cushioning toes, bunions, corns etc. It came in various internal diameter, I chose the biggest at 25mm and 4 lengths of 25cm. I used two and a half lengths, the photo shows just one length temporally tucked in. I zipped the cover up the making sure the additional foam didn't move and now no wrinkles.

Just had to pull the cover tight over the small end and trim off the excess material and stick it down, this was fiddly work, snipping away to ensure there was minimum overlap as I pulled the material into the corners, patience pays off though, but it was several hours and my thumbs were a bit sore.

I'm pretty chuffed, that will be the first thing back on the car when I get it back, which seems as if it will be before Christmas, but that's another story.