1969 Jag S2 FHC, 4.2l Rebuild Story

I finally bought my childhood dream car. HELP! I’m currently in the assessment stage. I need help on WHAT is missing, WHAT is wrong, WHAT to address first. So far, none of the service manuals I’ve purchased have much detail on my 4.2 ZS-dual carb setup and NONE of them have very good diagrams/photos/details.

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there is a lot of info on everything you seek by searching the archives and the internet.
If you want the most comprehensive parts manual for your series then go to XKEBooks.com and buy the parts manual there. its not cheap, but it is the best place to find diagrams and part numbers specific to the S2. and specifically your version of E-type.

as for tuning the carbs or rebuilding them, a google search should turn up all kinds of diagrams and information.

form the looks of the Carbs/manifolds you have a mid production series 2. you will be asked many times in parts ordering if its early or late, you are right in the middle which is why the XKE book will be your best bet, it defines what part you should have by Vin number.

I would start by detailing under the hood, remove clean and replace things just as you found them, take a lot of pictures and make a lot of notes…

I see an odd placement of the clutch reservoir, and it looks empty. was the car converted from an auto trans? (does the VIN end in BW?)

I took the carbs off today. I think the choke assy is mounted upside-down because the dashboard choke will not pull out due to the connection at the carbs. Thus, removal of carbs. Now I’m wondering how to remove the secondary throttle assy.

It came with a Jag Heritage Trust cert that claims it was a manual. I know it’s missing the airbox for the heater. Also, the trumpet and air mixer combo to feed the carbs. So far no luck finding those. Any leads?
It does have a/c, which might lead to placement differences.

Congratulations Steve –

You’ve already taken the best first step… showing up here with your questions.

There is a place where you can see many photos of cars similar to yours:


But remember that just because something is seen on there - even if it is a highly re$tored example - it is not necessarily correct.

Another great source of info - more definitive but also maybe not perfect - is the JCNA Series 2 E-Type Judges’ Guide:


There several strategies for disabling or removing the secondary throttle – ranging from a ‘5 minute fix’ (do we call that ‘The Crespin Maneuver’?) to approaches best done with the manifold off the car. I did one of the quickie ‘prop it open’ fixes for years until I had the manifold off during some engine-out work and removed it completely.

I see a few missing bits but plenty of time to sort that once you have it running its best.

from what I can see in the picture the choke doesnt look wrong, but I could be missing something.
your choke may not operate due to a problem behind the dash. the two cables join there and attach to a pivot mechanism that can bind or break.

I wouldnt start removing secondaries or any other carb functions until you have the car sorted out and running the way you want it. The proper big green factory manual explains the function and operation of the secondaries. you can get reprints from JCNA. again, not cheap, but a must have book.

the parts you are seeking are occasionally sold used on ebay, I dont know if the usuals sell re-pops or not.

the clutch bottle is in a really odd spot, it should be in front of the brake bottles on a bracket

The Haynes manual has a fair section on the Stromberg CD carbs, from p90.

In the “official” green manual, Page QY.s.5 is where to look, toward the end of the book.

Unless you live in CA, you don’t need to take too seriously the stern injunctions not to touch certain screws, etc.

The carb family was widely used (Triumph, Volvo, etc) and postings in this forum and elsewhere can help you along.

Your car is fairly unusual, but not unique, in being a FHC with having factory air.

Where to start? Depends if you intend driving now or in the Spring. It is unclear to me if the engine was running and you have partially dismantled it or if it has not run for a while.

Assuming the vehicle can be started and you’d like to drive it in the next weeks or months, I suggest the following to begin with.

  1. The brakes
  • Consider immediate replacement of the rubber brake fluid lines to the front calipers and the hose to the rear IRS unless you know they are less than 5 years old.
  • Pull a pad or two from the front calipers and see what they look like. Refit or replace
  • Check that the calipers work at all by jacking up a wheel and, with help, turn the wheel by hand while someone presses the brake. This is an exceedingly simple test, and only a partial test, but do not assume that all calipers work just because the car stopped during a test drive.
  • drain and bleed the brakes. At least the front ones and you really should know how to do the rear ones too.
  • if you don’t do the above, your estate may be forced to arrange it after you’re gone. :wink:
  1. Drain the radiator and fill with antifreeze. Flush it a bit if you are somewhere warm enough, or leave that until the Spring. But do flush it this year.
  2. Change the engine oil and filter. There are plenty of posts. Any oil of the stated viscosity will do, though some may be better. If you use Castrol 20W50 or a Mobil1, you will be in line with 80%+ of people on this forum and their variety of views.
  3. Buy some Redline diff oil and gearbox oil and replace both. search for the posts
  4. Learn how to jack up the car without damaging it, or you. There are plenty of posts.

I’ll stop there. Happy ownership!

caveat: I knew nothing about any of this 4 years ago


It’s a FHC, so no autotrans. The AC is interesting to see in a FHC, imho. It is early mid-range since the aircon compressor is vertical.

This end of the choke mechanism is revealed by removing the top of the dash (4 nuts and some hoses):

Might as well leave the dash top off while you sort out the car - many things are easier with it out of the way.

Your choke connection at the carbs does look suspect to me. Here’s one of mine:

Learn something new every day.!

I can see by closer inspection they just dont have the clutch bottle in the bracket, but it also looks like an AC hose is just hanging in space with a bolt plugging the end.
my Aug build 69 had the horizontal compressor. (a pic from 1979 )engine%201979

OK, background on the car. It was a one-owner car, 16k miles!, the original owner was military and moved it to Japan until 1983. Then returned to the states and resided in North Carolina. His son sold it to a dealer who I bought it from. It does not run, but does turn over. It tried to fire with starter fluid for just a second. I pulled one of the spark plugs just for inspection and it seemed clean. I have no records on the car and assume a tinkerer must have tried his hand at fixing things. It has a new paint job (bummer) and I’m sure that is hiding all sorts of “history”. But it looks good for now and I am trying to put off a “frame-off” for years… I want to make it a driver and teach my daughter how to handle a wrench. I’m a former engineer, now stay-at-home dad with a photography business.
After removing the carbs, I see nothing holding the secondary intake on to the block?! But, I found red oily fluid inside the intake. (photo)

The vacuum port for the brake booster is on that end of the manifold. I’m going to guess that you are looking at brake fluid. You might pull the vacuum tank off and see if it has fluid in it, mine had about a quart. It had coked up the engine, and I ended up bending a valve, so a little work to sort. So you might not want to run the engine much until you check, and rectify if you find fluid. Anyway, if you find fluid in the tank it is time to rebuild the brake booster and attached brake cylinder, I like to call it the master/slave, not sure what the regulation term is for it.

As far as the mounting it is all part of the intake manifold, and just mount to the studs about the intake ports.

Welcome to the group.You have been given some good advice already, the manual from XKE Books is excellent, take plenty of pictures (apparently your business now), and ask when you need help.
My car is an automatic but it has A/C and PS. I think your clutch fluid bottle used to be where the A/C dryer is now and the clutch fluid bottle has been moved.
Teaching your daughter how to use a wrench is a great idea, hope you both have a great time.

Regards, Joel.

Your car is a lot like my car was. Your car looks great on the face of it. I love it.

I didn’t want to take mine off the road either, so I have replaced all the moving parts over the last 2 years, a bit hear a bit there. I have done loads of miles since purchase.

Get stuck in I say, hope you haven’t any rust, nothing else matters much apart from destroying the car inadvertently!

How much has you engine sunk?. My carbs were nearly on the frame until I replaced the (cheap) engine mounts as they had sagged so much.

Check the gearbox stabilizer immediately behind the engine. It could now be supporting the engine weight if the whole lot has sunk. This could damage the bulkhead. Adjusting it from the top is free and easy.

Was it red originally? Why is the bulkhead black? When I dropped my engine and box for the first time I refinished the bulkhead and the frames. It is pretty easy once you remove the old paint. Consider doing the dreaded heater pipes in the bulkhead if the engine comes out. It did, now I dont have to worry about steam on my legs! Looks like your car is the darker shade of Opalescent Silver Grey or Gunmetal.

The first things to know are,

be careful how you jack it up. They are easy to damage.

Modern fuel can damage seals and floats. The results of leaking carbs could bring a fiery end to everything in no time. Get a fire extinguisher at least! I would double check. I nearly set light to mine 2 years ago.

I would be tempted to do a cylinder compression test (140psi ± 10% would be nice) and an oil pressure test by using a capillary gauge on the sender unit output. At least you would know more or less where you are with the motor. Make sure the engine is hot on full throttle with the coil and fuel pump off.

Check the cam/bucket clearances. You might not have any gap! I didnt on some!

Check the gearbox oil. I find EP80/90 makes the synchros engage. MTL Redline made them crunch. If the gearbox is leaking, the seals (one front, one rear and selector fork o rings and speedo take off) are probably as hard as nails. The gearbox top comes off in half an hour from inside for the selector fork o rings. The rest mean engine+gearbox out.

Check the dipstick is an “e” dipstick. Make sure it isnt bent. Sometimes they slide over the sump baffle and people over fill with oil. Mine was bent just enough I didnt have a reading for the first couple of weeks.

It you engine looks good, a pretty cheap was to make a reliable car would be to keep the Strombergs with the secondarys open as you suggest and fit a 123 tune distributor.

Standard exhaust header and mild steel is excellent if you can keep it. Stainless header may take away low end torque, cost a fortune, not look as good, produce loads of heat and be noisy. I like them though. The mild steel exhaust gives a nice sound.

Hope your rear main oil seal isnt leaking too bad. Those XK engines dont seem to like extended sleeping periods when they wake up!

Drop the IRS, overhaul it and put it back in again, then forget it for a few years. If the diff isnt leaking, and it is full of oil and it is quite, leave it alone, just change the oil with the correct LSD EP. It will probably start leaking it you interfere! Then you will be stuffed.

So in summary in my experience, it is easy to spend loads of money on things that dont really improve the car, whilst ignoring the basics that cost time more than money. Jaguar got it all pretty right the first tome round. I just like the economy of the fuel injection and I dont like points ignition on long runs.

Where has your heater box gone? Guess you can just bypass it for now. They can be expensive items. The whole bulkhead gets so warm anyway.


We are now enjoying the benefits of the fuel injection




I have a nice manual for ZS carbs written by Martyn watkins. I can send you a PDF if your interested.

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That would be great! I’m walking around the edge of the “pool” at the moment trying not to jump in head-first into the deep end.
Thanks for ALL the great information so far everyone!

Thanks for all the helpful advice. I’m going to attempt the ZS carb rebuild myself, but am intrigued by the fuel injection idea.

Steve -

I think my car was in a somewhat similar state to yours when I got it 5 years ago.

I had that too - in the end I think everything the seller tried to fix was done exactly wrong.

I removed the bonnet for ease of access and then went through every system more or less methodically. It took about 4 months before the car could be reliably driven but having to go through all that was an excellent learning experience for my wife and me. Hopefully your daughter will take well to the learning opportunity here.

There is a VCR tape on rebuilding carbs. I sat in the garage with a tape/TV and was able to go step by step, pausing the tape as I did what it showed. Wound up with some pretty decent Strombergs. Was a good experience for a real novice.

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Changed the title of my forum! Plan on documenting my restoration-to-driver story here. Anyone please comment or chime in if you see my path going awry!!! -Steve