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DIY Project 1

How to make a hood latch tension spring sleeve

by Jean Caron, Vintage Roadster Restoration, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Tools required: Sharp knife, measuring tape, heat gun, black shoe polish.

Material: 3/4" diameter garden hose

Sleeve length: 3"

Sleeve thickness: 1/16"

This sleeve, originally made of rubber is often found to be cracked, split, oversprayed from the result of several paint jobs on the car, or missing altogether. It covers the return spring used for the hood "bonnet" latch. I had ordered a new one from a well known supplier that specializes in "Hard to find" parts for Austin-Healeys. When it arrived, I found out that I was supplied with a short tube of shrinking material with the proper length but definitely the wrong thickness. Not that I am that much of a purist, but given the amount of heat generated by the engine at the front of the car, I could only imagine what would happen to this tube after a couple of runs.

Recently, I found a solution to this from a piece of hose I was about to throw away. It was one of those cheap, soft plastic, light green garden hoses you can buy at places such as Canadian Tire. The inside of it is made of black rubber and is the right thickness for this sleeve.

Follow these three easy steps to make it:

1 - Cut a piece of hose 3 1/2" long, then carefully cut the outside plastic covering along with the white strengthening string that is in between the plastic and the rubber. Do not cut too deep to avoid damaging the piece you will use as the sleeve. Pull plastic and string apart as in illustration #1.

2 - Once you have removed all the plastic covering and the string, you will notice some markings on the sleeve left by the string. See illustration #2. To remove these, I applied some black shoe polish over the entire piece, then used the heat gun to soften the rubber and worked it until the markings disappeared.

3 - All you have left to do now is cut it to proper length and install. See illustration #3 for the finished product.


I also learned that Moss Motors is now supplying this part. They did not carry it for a long time, but it is now listed in their catalogue, part 680-315.

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