^^ Rob - I ended up using a sanding flap disc on the angle grinder to take the majority of the paint off, and then finished it as far as possible by hand. I don't think it's critical to get all of it off as you'd end up taking loads of fibreglass as you go, so it's just making extra work for yourself!
It's been a bit of a pain working on the car as it's not in my garage, but at the inlaws so I can't just nip out and do bits here and there, but thanks for a couple of spare hands from some local PHers, I have made some progress this past weekend. Apologies if some of the following sounds pretty simple/basic, but it's probably worth writing anyway.
It's essential to get to the stage that the hinge sits easily on the back of the bonnet, without introducing any flex or tension when static. This meant taking the bonnet on and off a couple of times, sanding/filing bits off, then refitting until it looks good.
The main priority on Saturday was to put the hinges on, and get them aligned to the car. There's no one way of doing this but I did it basically as follows:
- Get car sitting perfectly straight in garage (not essential but helps when visually sense checking)
- Mark the top of the front wheel arch with masking tape, and use a thin felt tip to show where the exact midline of the wheel is. Do for both front wheels.
- Mount hinges, and visually align with the car.
- Use wire/measuring tape to get the top corner of the long hinge to be an identical distance from the top of the wheel arch. Then tighten hinge to the car.
- Now place wire/measuring tape between the two longer hinge sections. When moving the hinges forward and backwards (as if the bonnet was being lifted), does the distance between the hinge tips change? If so, then undo the hinge from the car, re-align and try again.
Once both hinges are the same distance from the top of the wheel arch, and the distance between them doesn't change when moving, then that's as aligned as their going to get without making a proper jig (would be a better option but it's overkill really)
This is where things got interesting as something went screwy. We put some some foam pads on the hinge.
We then put the bonnet on, and clamped the hinges in place. Took the bonnet off, marked up where the hinges were, and then drilled the holes through before unclamping.
So.. put the bonnet back on and test fit. 2 of the 3 holes in the bonnet don't quite line up with one the hinges!!
I suspect that we didn't tighten the clamps that much as we didn't want to do any damage, but this let the hinge twist slightly.
It's an easy fix to modify the hinge, but annoying nonetheless!
If I was to do this bit again, i'd just drill the one hole (furthest from the front of the car), then re-fit and check/measure again before doing the other hole, and then do again with the final one. The hinges are wide enough that the holes in the bonnet can be slightly widened without issue, but it's nicer to get it spot on first go!!
Whilst we had the hinges on for a bit, we measured how much we'd need to take out from the middle gap where the coolant pipe goes, and it's probably about 2 inches that needs to be chopped out in order to let the bonnet move freely.
So jobs left now are to refit the hinges, and mount the gas struts, and move onto sorting the heater pipes, and a few other niggles before it goes back to have the new engine put in (barclaycard is going to have a field day with me!)
In between the bonnet stuff, we did manage to find time to play with the steam cleaner so it's not all work and no play
Final bit of advice, get another pair of hands to help. There's a few times when it's just tempting to do stuff whilst the bonnet is on the car, but having the freedom to take the bonnet of and on whilst getting it aligned is so much better.
A few people have asked on here if I would do the conversion for them. From having gone through it so far, it's one of those jobs where it's all about manpower and so the price that places like S&D are charging don't seem so bad. I'm not a business so I wouldn't really want to work on other peoples cars alone as such however if you're in the South East then there's a good chance I could lend a hand to fellow owner for beer tokens etc, so if you're in the South East then feel free to pm me!