Time for a Paint Job

Hello all,

As the tittle suggests, the time time has come to do the long awaiting paint job on my XJ.
Quitte excited.
If all goes well, the first of March she goes to the shop.
So, two days ago I started the process of dismantling everything.
Everything that goes out will be restored, painted, polished and so on.
Screens will go out as well, there are early signs of rust in the channels.

I will keep posting as I go on.

The front.
Still have to sort out the bonnet alignment.

The rear is more involved as the rear valance is shot because the exhaust tips were leaking (it was like this when I got the car).
But this, I hope, is the only serious rust issue.
I was also very happy to discover that the gas tanks are in pretty good shape with very minimal surface rust, the brown discolouring is glue from the insulating pad.

As you can see I already have a complete new rear valance.
My plan is to not touch the upper part under the bumper, as it’s in perfect shape and quite difficult to separate and rust proof afterwards, but cut just bellow that.
Any thoughts on the best way to proceed?


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I would cut a section away less/ smaller than you think and examine the state of the inside then decide how far to cut.
Are you going to but-weld or overlap?
Either way clean and epoxy prime both the body and the panel up to an inch of the joins, I sometimes use epoxy primer instead of weld through primer when spot welding as it seems to burn back less. You have to make sure that the immediate are is clean.
The problem is after welding the panel in, the access is non-existent so consider making holes, sealed after with rubber bungs, in the boot floor above the panel to allow you to spray more epoxy primer in followed by wax
Also consider adding some drainage to the bottom edge/joint before welding and sealing


Check this area very thoroughly, esp the lower corners of both windshields.

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Is it actually supposed to have a bonnet ornament Aristides? Does look off centre. There are many retrofitted in Australia to cars supplied new, without one. Right back to the earliest S1 cars here. By 1968 our regulators had excluded many protrusions based on safety concerns. Paul.

Thanks for the tips Anjun.
Even though I did some, I am not an expert on this, so any advise is extremely welcome.

So you suggest to replacing the smaller piece possible?
My biggest quandary is what to do with the bumper absorbers covers.
I would really like not to touch them, they are welded all around the absorber, but the damaged area is too close to them.

What’s preferable?

If I understood correctly, you mean prime before welding?

Protecting the area after the valance is in place is the biggest puzzle. Access holes in the boot is a very good idea. Thank you.

It’s center alright, but someone wanted to part with it and tried to pry it out.
He was not successful but left me with a nice big mess and a dent on the bonnet.
I will plug the holes.

I would (well I can’t weld but…) drill out the holes from the shock absorber bracing and join the parts up behind the bumper right next to the tags, then tack the bracing back in?
Butt welds look better I would think, and with the weld through primer you still need to get at it from the inside, so good idea.

Great time to repair the bonnet and lose the holes!

My personal preference would be to replace the entire panel as you can get to the biggest area possible to treat any rust and use the original joints by drilling out the spot welds. My reply was because you said you wanted to retain the under bumper area and I was suggesting you take out a section to examine the rust. If you saw mine you would understand and probably run for the hills!!

For the bumper absorber covers I have would cut the whole area off around the bumper absorber as it allows you to put a fresh piece on an otherwise complicated section. Welding round the absorber joint is easy as it’s thicker metal, Don’t worry about going all the way round or making it a water tight joint as epoxy primer and polyurethane sealant will ensure that. Caveat - I don’t know anything about shock absorber bumper mounts and their weldability as we don’t have them in the UK. I don’t know if welding the absorbers will cause an explosion or damage.
You will have to figure out a way of applying primer to the inside of the joint as I haven’t got to that bit on mine yet.

In most places a butt weld is preferable as overlap means you have to do a lot more work to meet MOT (safety test standards in the UK) and to rust proof, but it is more difficult to get right especially on an outside surface.

Yes prime before welding as it’s easier to ensure full coverage before fitting the panel. The use of epoxy instead of weld through primer is for overlap joints and spot welding. Note epoxy primer can be applied by brush instead of spraying which I find easier for most unseen places as it saves setting and cleaning up the spraygun. Use the cheapest paint brushes and throw away rather than spend time and money cleaning them!!

For light rust after sanding or wire brushing I use phoskleen B (or phosphoric acid with a little detergent mixed in) apply leave for a while and clean off

I prefer epoxy to POR-15 as it’s more effective and reliable.

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Bonnet Alignment

My bonnet was sitting 3 to 4mm proud on both sides, was backwards on one side and forward on the other.
I had originally rectified this by adding shims to the top part between the hinge and the bonnet. This made it to sit lower and further back. It was ok, not perfect, but I never liked much the shims idea.

I elongated the holes on the hinge and this gave me 5mm of extra up and down adjustment.

In all these years I’ve owned the car, and in all the other attempts to better align the bonnet, I have never noticed that the bottom mountings of the hinges had slotted holes…!
Now with the bumpers out of the way I had very good access to adjust the back and forth position.

Quite happy with the result, the top alignment is 100% and the front/back 95% perfect.
It’s the best I can do while keeping all the gaps nice and even.


Very nice.
I have found that bonnet and boot lid alignments are very time consuming and tedious jobs that can be very satisfying when finally done correctly. I have removed and replaced bonnets and boot lids numerous times and each time many small adjustments were required before I was pleased with the outcome. It is not enough for them to look right, but they also must open and close properly and reliably. This is no small feat.


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Took my the whole day…!

Started the Rear Valance Discectomy as Anjum very wisely suggested to see what the real story is.

Thankfully the upper part is very good shape, no signs of rust what so ever, so I am even more hesitant to touch the absorbers covers and the top box section.
There is a seal on the absorbers ajustent to the weld and I am afraid it will get damaged.
Also the top box section seams to be very well incorporated to the rest of the chassis, very complicated and will be impossible to properly rust proof it…
I think I will stick to my original plan and make an overlap joint on the bottom part of the box section where it’s not visible, most probably bellow the last fold.
I also plan cut the new valance so it will go around the covers and overlap on top of the cover’s ears.

Never the less there are some problematic areas, notably on the boot floor and the sides were the fuel hoses come in. Time for cut and paste.


Like a can of Sardines… worked like a charm!


And here I found a very probable, and slightly worrying, cause for my persistant fuel smell…
So I drained the tanks, it will anyway make life easier, and safer, without all these hoses on the way.

I hope you are going to remove the tanks or fill them with water before welding as I get very nervous with empty or partially filled tanks.

Yes, I was also thinking about that…
Water is easy, but won’t it create some rust inside the tanks?
They are sparkly clean inside, and would like to keep them this way…
I wonder how easy it is to remove them. Never done it before.

Not really, no. Not a problem if you fill them to the top and let them drain and dry out completely afterwards. There’s always a little water sitting in the bottom… also a good time to flush them safely.

The tanks are a pain to remove and install. I wouldn’t do it just for welding something. You need to get in from the exhaust and you have to remove and replace the filler neck. Not much fun.

Actually, I was thinking to remove the filler caps in order to better paint the recess.
Also never done it before, isn’t it just a big O-ring in there or am I wrong?
Better leave it in place or what?

It is easy to knock out the pin and remove the cap; and if you’re painting it it’s probably better to get the neck out. But the little rubber hose that goes from the cap forward is a little problematic or at least that is how I remember it.
The one big o-ring can be a huge problem to get moving but since you’re repainting either way you should try prying it out. Do not pull on the pot metal cap of course!
Once the exhaust is off as well as the heat shielding and you have the filler in your hand I would probably remove the tank for the welding.


Yes I remember that little hose… I fiddled with it once as I wanted to change it, found it impossible to do anything and, in a rare occasion for me, I gave up…
I will have a look at it again tomorrow.

Drained the tanks and removed all the fuel hoses, swich-over valve etc.
Now I have a clear view of the situaution.

Right hand side is not that bad and relatively easy to patch.


The Left hand side on the other hand is much worse.
That little step will be quite hard to reproduce with my limited tools.
I have to think on how to proceed.

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I didn’t try it but if you can put the cap in and then fed the tank from below. I think that’s how they must have done it.
I too struggled with it…