Trial Bonnet fitting

will be trial fitting my rebuilt bonnet. it was professionally done but is only in primer now.
I was wondering if anyone had tips for me as to where to begin. my first thought is to raise the car about 4 inches so the bonnet stood on end will be close to the pins. not sure how much help i will have and thinking about some kind of hoist for the weight.
any thoughts appreciated. ive heard Jaguar allowed 20 hours for this.

20 hours for a trained skilled professional ? I can believe that.

Raising the car off the floor is in my opinion just to make it easier on your back. I’m fortunate to have a four post lift and believe I had mine about a foot off the floor when spending xxx hours on fitting/adjusting the bonnet.
It’s almost like magic to make it fit, but if you apply some sound sense to the approach, you should be able to get there, or almost there on your own.
My best advice is to start with the shims that were on the bonnet before it was rebuilt. It will not (or almost 100% not) be the correct combination for a correct fit, but your best starting point.

Good luck. enjoy the journey and celebrate the result … Ole

Help is useful - 3 guys can easily manage the unit if 2 are positioned to be at the balance points on the sides, the 3rd just controls the tilt.

Having someone (or two) to put in the pins is also helpful.

A bit more information might help you get a useful answer.
Are the hinges installed on the bonnet?
Are the bumpers and overriders attached?

You don’t need to jack the car up. You can stand the bonnet up on its nose on some thick pile carpet or similar in front of the car and when leaning it towards the car, the hinge bolts will line up easily. I probably did this maybe a dozen times when I was rebuilding my own bonnet, by myself mostly but it’s much easier with a helper.

It’s not difficult to hold the bonnet in a vertical position and to lean it forward to get the hinges to align still doesn’t take much strength.


Anyway, being that the bonnet is still in primmer, you will still have plenty of opportunity to make adjustments.

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Mr Phelps,
I agree with Clive. You don’t have to raise the car and you definately do not want or require 24 helpers. You’ll find they are all giving advice and pushing and pulling in different directions.
Stand the bonnet on its nose, obviously on a carpet or blankey. Exactly as Clive’s helper in the post above. Roll the car forward and make small adjustments until the hinges line up and slip the shims and bolts in position.
If you have forgotten where the shims go, start by putting half of them one side and the other half the other side and go from there.
Hanging the bonnet is no biggie, however, lining it up could prove to be character building.
Ps, beware of low flying Piper Cubs spy planes😉


As you can see, there is not complete agreement here about whether or not you should raise the front of the car a little to fit the bonnet. I fall into the raise it 4" or so camp. My rationale is that this allows you to have the bonnet very close to vertical when you roll the car up to it, and have the pivot tube line up with the hinges. If my car were not raised up 4", the bonnet would need to be leaning quite a bit for the alignment to be good. I should add two qualifiers here:

  • I’ve always done this job single handed, so I’m focused on safety and security, rather than speed. As such, I’m not into balancing the bonnet…

  • The ride height of my car is probably a little low, so the extra height is needed to give the bonnet over-riders clearance to just “kiss” the thick pile carpet I put in the ground when the bonnet is vertical. If your suspension is set up with a greater ride height, you may not need so much height.

Here is a photo album of the procedure I use:

Good luck

to all:
bonnet is just the metal in primer, nothing fitted to it, lights bumpers etc. The Bonnet that came with the car was so poorly worked on that i abandoned it for another that was in factory paint still but rusted out along the wings at the top only. a very good builder swapped me some work time for the messed up one and repaired the rusted one to like new condition. He told me to fit it to the car before the finish sanding and minor filling process. that’s where i am at now. I will take all advice into consideration. i certainly appreciate any given or yet to be heard. I have a box of old shims that came with the car but no starting amount known. start with none seems ok to me ?? series 1 car 1966

hinge springs not connected,nor do i have the pivot bolt set up , have seen a kit from one of the usuals. I had thought the springs should install later on

In the past I’ve done he following (one helper is needed, two make it a bit easier):

covered the cowl, radiator and engine with a padded blanket.
stood the bonnet vertical on it’s over riders on another folded blanket.
slid it over to the front of the car
carefully tilted the bonnet back into the closed position
from there i’s just a matter of inserting the pivot bushings and running in the bolts.

after I aligned the bonnet the first time I drilled 1/8" guide holes through the aluminum mounts into the bonnet itself. Makes realigning the bonnet after removal a piece of cake.

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I’ve worked in a Jag rest. shop nearly 40 years and every bonnet re-build is different, but there are a few basics.

Put both hinges on the bonnet and look in the light hole to see if the mount bolts in the brackets are centered. Use about 1/4" of shims in for each hinge both top and bottom before you snug them down, not tight. On the car measure the bonnet support frame where the hinges bolt on and on the bonnet, measure the span between the hinges where they meet the frame. With the plastic bushings on the hinges, you should have about 1/8" difference so they slide inside the frame ends. Stand the bonnet on it’s nose and with help, lower the bonnet’s back till the locating pins line up and the bolts started. With the hinges not dead tight, the locating pins and the bolts can be tightened and the 4 bolts on each hinge tightened, too. Tighten the front bolts first with shims then the top bolts with shims. Slowly lower the bonnet to get an idea where the back edge is landing. Front shims are taken out one at a time to slowly bring the bonnet’s back edge to the body. The top shims are adjusted to get the rise and fall of the nose to get the top, front rocker edge to align with the bonnet’s fender edge. At the factory (I think) the bonnets were long and they just ground down the back edge to give a nice even gap at the firewall.

"66 is when they started using thick washers on the bolts between the fenders and the center section. If yours has the washers, the long chrome beads will go on easily as there’s a good gap there. If not, you might consider them now.

I hope the inner panels were not glued in yet. If left glued in from original, that should be OK. Gluing the panels is the LAST step for the bonnet.

Put on all latching hardware (bonnet and body) except the center safety catch. That’ll only get in the way.

Put on the bonnet springs. They put stress on every panel when closed.

(( Oh, If you’re using a badge bar, stick it in the mouth to see if it fits in with plenty of side room. You don’t want to put it off till it’s in shiny paint. Also, bolt on the headlight glass and chrome to check it’s fit. If you’re using any repro parts on the bonnet, send the wife and kids away for a while till you cool down. They’ll fit after a while. ))

Now, the hard part, getting everything to fit just right by adding/subtracting shims, re-adjusting inner panels, grinding, sometimes welding, etc. Remember, the bonnet once was fit to another car, not yours. They’re all different.

When you’re finally happy with it and it latches down perfectly and every nut and bolt is tight and all the shiny bit fit, it’s time to glue all the inner panels while it’s in it’s lock down position, by sitting in the engine compartment and gluing in all the inner panels. Jack up the car to crawl under and in. Twin tube epoxy gun with 5 minute set-up works well. Any longer and you have to take a pillow with you. Crawl back out and put back on it’s wheels to settle. If the engine’s still in the car, open the bonnet, glue 1 or 2 seams, and lock it down for a day or two. Repeat for a few days. Don’t forget to cover the engine, epoxy stays forever.

There’s an old saying that really does apply here.

You never forget your first one.

After doing over 100 E’s, I still remember my first bonnet ( my car ). Made out of Junk yard parts (when these were still in junk yards.



Phil. I wonder if you could comment a bit on the technique of assembling the bonnet without gluing in the wing flanges. Do you fit all the flanges during assembly and then remove and glue them one by one when the bonnet is fitted to the car? Is the bonnet assembly not excessively floppy without the wings being supported by the flanges? I hope to be attempting this myself within a year or so and any tips would be greatly appreciated as many aftermarket parts will be involved.

My bonnet is all glued up from the resto shop. i wont be able to follow Phils good advice unless i undo it all. I just put it on the car, its on the hinges but the alignment looks troubling so far. I ordered more shims just now. its close, we will see… the only part thats not on is a sort of gusset that fits at the cowl edge of the bonnet, braces the wing joint but i dont think its for spreading or contracting the wing sides.

*NOW yer giving yer age away…:wink:

Well, I think the 40 years working in a resto shop was a pretty good hint.

Best, Alan

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All the panels are loose and inside the bonnet with everything latched down and the springs compressed. Then when I go inside I make sure everything is exactly where I want it. That way when it’s glued together, it will remain exactly where I want it. If it looks like the springs are giving it way too much upward pressure and distorting the loose panels where I don’t want them, I will remove the springs and glue up without them. Without the springs, the bonnet should become one solid unit when glued and the springs can be put on with nothing moving. On a"loose" bonnet, the springs can distort the headlight baffles under pressure, so it’s a 50/50 call. I also “fondle” the outside sheet metal all over to see if any panels are pushing the metal in ways I don’t want. You can’t dolly out problems if there is a permanently glued panel under it.


Those 2 little gussets with 4 bolts each are made to move. The holes are oval and when loosened, the rear end of the bonnet wings can be moved out and in a bit. Don’t be surprised if those little bolts are impossible to turn without breaking on an original bonnet. There’s no paint inside where the threads are and rust gets in there after 50+ years.


thank you for explaining those “gussets” they are off and new. the entire bonnet is rust free well done i think. its very close to fitting first try. I have to redo the left side bulkhead and sill below, it was done wrong before i bought the car. the left side is unmolested so my plan is to align with the left side and across the cowl then redo the right to match. it looks do-able right now. My bonnet measure 62" at the bottom in back, same number on the car. If i knew how to post photos i’d take one for that.

One thing I can ad is that with my car, and that is not uncommon, the bonnet fit was perfect with the engine out of the car. Now after paint and the engine and gearbox were mounted, the bonnet sits slightly (maybe 1/8") off to one side. I does close and look right, it’s just not perfect. I may address the issue one day …

I am pretty much in David’s camp on this one!! With one difference !! I had my bonnet resting nose down on a trolly , and when stored off the car, it was tied. When offered up to the car, the picture frame was jacked up, supports placed, and the pivot bolts fitted. Slight movements of the bonnet on the trolly was easily done to get the exact alignment needed for the bolts to be inserted. In this way the incremental process of getting that optimum fit, involving a number of removals and replacements of the bonnet , could be done single handed. Of course the original placeing of the bonnet onto the trolly required help.

Phil. Thanks for that.