Re-assembling the Grille

My Mark V grille parts are back from the chrome plater and I am reassembling it.
There are two studs up inside the curl at the top of the shell, for attaching the vee shaped cross piece that holds the top end of the vertical slats. The studs are flat head countersunk screws soldered to brass rectangles in a countersunk hole. I made the mistake of unsoldering them, or maybe one was loose, I forget now.
Anyway, the plater plated over the remaining solder, so I had to sand the chrome and nickel off with a sanding disc before I could try to solder the studs back on.
I bought new copper rivets, but I’ve put the slats into the vee temporarily with screws and nuts, to make sure everything fits together.

Now the vee doesn’t fit the studs.

So my question for today is this.
What was the assembly order? How did the factory guy locate the studs? Did he have an alignment fixture?
Can I assemble the vee and slats with the copper rivets, then hold it all in place in the shell with clamps while I solder the studs to the shell?
Has anyone here done a grille?
Mark IV and SS Jaguar are the same method of construction. I don’t know about SS100 or SS1 & SS2.

Hi Rob,

The assembly team would have had a jig to position the studs correctly and, I would assume, before plating. The elongated holes in the top and bottom slat support bars allow for minor tolerance variations for assembly.

You will need to reposition the studs to match the slat bar holes but make sure the slat assembly is complete and centred in the grille shell opening. I don’t see that you need to do a trial assembly of the slats with screws as there is no provision for any form of adjustment. Each slat position is predetermined by its matching slot. Therefore the studs need to be positioned to suit the slat assembly, not the other way around.

Without a jig, the positioning might be a bit of trial and error. Use a low flame and ‘wash’ it over the solder while you hold the tip of the stud firmly. Copper rivets are the best when holding these fine brass pieces but you may consider adding a dab of solder to lock them.

The other fiddly bit is soldering the reinforcing rods across the back of the slats. Make sure these line up neatly with the slats. I suggest doing this after installing in the shell. If you do it before and the assembly is slightly off square, you’ll never get it to fit the shell without releasing the solder. The sequence I proposed for mine for this was to do one at each end of each half first then randomly do the others allowing for some cooling time between. I thought there would be a risk of remelting an adjacent hot one if I just progressed in sequence.

Thanks, Peter, that confirms what I had pretty much decided upon. The screws were just for a trial fit so I could backtrack if anything was wrong. I will remove the studs, then start working on the 48 rivets.

Also thanks for the tip on the central reinforcing rods. They are brass so would conduct a lot of heat from one to the next. Mine were broken in several pieces so I have to make new ones. I will tin them before trying to solder them to the slats. The slats already have the original solder, which I again had to sand off the chrome and nickel to expose the lead.

BTW in case anyone is interested in what happens when you heat up a blob of solder that has been chromed over, it spits out little droplets of lead but the chrome stays in place like an egg shell. I tried cutting it with a Stanley knife but found sanding with the die grinder was easier.

I got all the rivets in. Had to figure out a tall small anvil. Used a 4 foot piece of 1/2 inch re-bar in a block of wood. Mashed the rivets against that.
I imagine the factory assembler had some sort of tool like big pliers to squeeze the rivets.
Once it was all together I resoldered the two upper studs.

Soldering the cross braces was difficult. I found it best to heat up only the brass bracing rod, then take away the torch and apply some solder.
If I had been in charge then and there, I would have figured out another way to attach the braces, maybe solder on little L tabs on each vane before chroming, then attach the cross brace to them with screws or rivets.