Hood Tensioning cables

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A guide to repairing the Hood Tensioning Cables

Today I tackled the hood tensioner cables.

Both sides had broken free at the header rail end resulting in saggy sides to the hood and an ever increasing dampness under any form of inclement weather conditions.

The solution has given a very taught side tension of the hood canvas which is now tight against the hood seals.

Time required: 1 hour per side.

Tools you will need for the job:

 * Wire cutters
 * Pliers or similar
 * Drill with 3 mm bit for metal.
 * Screw driver or socket with a 1/4 inch drive.
 * Bicycle brake or gear cable
 * 2mm heat shrink tubing

I sourced both my cable and heat shrink tubing from Amazon...

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Heat Shrik Tubing - £4.66


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Bike Gear/Brake Cable - £5.79


I firstly removed the existing cables and used these to measure the lengths of cable and heat shrink tubing needed. To remove the cable, loosen the 1/4 inch bolt at the back of the rear hood supporting bar and simply withdraw through the side channels of the hood. This can be done from either end if the front fixing is broken.

I cut the cable approximately 100mm longer than the original to give room for manoeuvre. I also chose the slightly thicker grade of cable from the two supplied in the pack as this was closest to the existing cable. This would assist later when you need to push the cable back through the canvas side channels of the hood, where a thinner cable would be prone to kinking and getting caught.

As you can see, I cut the cable maintaining the end fixing that would be used on a bike. This will be used at the hood header rail end and will provide a much stronger solution than the original riveted fixing.

The next step is to cover the cable you have cut to length with the heat shrink tubing. I purchased 3mm tubing, but 2mm tubing would be probably a slightly closer fit. To shrink the tubing to fit, I gently heated over a gas burner flame, using a lighter for the areas where it needed more focus.

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With the hood raised and the door open, I then started the delicate process of making the repair. You will be approaching this from the front end corner of the header rail hood seal.

The original fixing is hidden by canvas and metal and is very difficult to see. You will be drilling a hole through the existing fixing plate. In order to do this, you may need to gently prise away the canvas from the inside of the car, gently pushing it away at the near outside corner. Focusing on the area marked in green on the picture below. You will shortly be drilling the area from the underside and you need to ensure you will not puncture the canvas.

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Once you have some clearance, I would suggest inserting a disposable shim of some sort between the canvas and the plate onto which it is adhered. I used a 3 mm thick bracket that had rounded edges. This will protect the canvas when you drill through from the underside.

Gently pull and hold back the corner of the rubber seal and, using a 3mm drill (this is bigger than the diameter of the cable, but will allow the lug at the end of he cable to recess into the plate and provide a more flush fixing) Drill a hole through the canvas and mounting plate slightly forward of the existing rivet fixing.

The location of the mounting plate and existing pop rivet (obscured by the canvas) is indicated in the below picture, with the position of the new hole you will be drilling ... arrowed in red.

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Now you have the hole drilled, I would recommend using a scalpel or Stanley knife to gently cut the canvas at the edges of the hole you have created to make sure it is clear and the cable/lug will not foul up on it.

Use a small one to two inch section of the heat shrink tubing to protect the end of the cable. This will help prevent the individual strands of the cable getting caught in the canvas as you feed it through the edging channel. I let the tubing overhang the end by a few mm before shrinking it to fit and then cutting back to just forward of the cable end. Applying some further heat to shrink around the end.

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Now remove the shim you inserted to protect the canvas and push the cable through from the hole you have created, guiding from the inside to make sure it does not catch/puncture the hood canvas.

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I found that pushing the cable all the way through at this point and locating the end lug into the mounting plate BEFORE inserting through the canvas side channels was the best method. This then allowed more cable to grip to help guide it through the canvas. You may need to increase the size of the slit in the canvas to make inserting the cable easier.

IMG 0304-1.JPG (Shows the cable pushed through but lug not fully located into mounting plate)

Continue threading the cable through the side of the hood canvas. Then through the two elastic loops towards the rear.

At this stage, you will need to cut off or remove the extra 1-2 inch tubing on the end of the cable before threading it through the rear bar of the hood. Make sure the small retaining bolt is loosened fully to allow the cable to pass through cleanly. The head of the bolt appears to be a 1/4 inch. Leave the retaining bolt loose for now.

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At this stage, close and lock in place the hood. Using pliers, pull the cable through fully maintaining under tension whilst you tighten the retaining bolt with your 1/4 socket. Now release the front hood clamps to allow the cable to slacken. Unscrew the 1/4 inch retaining bolt enough to pull through approximately 5mm and re-tighten.

Lastly, cut the cable to final length (allow 2 inches length beyond the clamp to permit future adjustment if required) and finish with a cable end-tidy.

Your hood canvas should be now nice and tight against the hood side seals without applying too much tension to the front header and pulling it away from the windscreen header seal.

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Good luck and enjoy the dry interior.