1991 XJ6 - 30K miles - Restoration

Hello everyone. I’m a new member but long time lurker lol. I just took possession of a 91 Sovereign. I got it from my uncle, Barry Gordy (Motown Music Founder). The car was shipped from Marina Del Ray California to my home, 30 miles west of Detroit.

The car is beautiful and the interior is damn near museum quality. It was in storage for 5 years and I purchased the car and pulled it out this week. I’m currently cleaning it, shampooing it and addressing maintenance, but it drives wonderfully.

I’m a car enthusiast. This is the 5th car in my current lineup and I hope to enjoy it very much. I appreciate this forum and all the great info here. I’ll be posting up questions as I continue to work on the Jag. I’m currently changing out all the fluids.

It’s a pleasure to meet everyone!

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Great find and amazingly low mileage. With that mileage I do not think it qualifies for a “restoration”.

Hi Vic welcome to the forums. Look forward to hearing about your journey with the car.


I wonder whether that car ever spent much time on Sarbonne Rd – perhaps ask your uncle? My boss would have seen the car if your uncle ever drove it since about 2007, as they were neighbours…

CONGRATS on ending up with your uncle’s beautiful and very smart (-looking) car.

(I had a little chuckle to myself with the typo of the spelling of your uncle’s first name :slight_smile: )

I’ll ask my wife. I know that our an Aunt Teresa Gordy drove the car but rarely if ever. She passed away years ago.

I have given the car a solid tune up and changed the oil since it was 7 years old. Luckily, the oil and fluids were changed right before it was placed in storage years ago. I know this because the oil change sticker from 2015 is still in the upper windshield corner. The mileage on the sticker proves the oil only had about 800 miles on it before the car was covered and parked.

I installed new HELLA fogs today. I’m trying very hard to keep the car as period correct as I can. I typically customize all my vehicles but this one is special and I don’t want to molest it. The HELLA fogs bolted right up to the factory bracket so that was perfect. Unfortunately, I still have the red blown bulb warming of death showing on the dash lololol. I can’t find the blown bulb anywhere.

The car runs perfectly tho. I have put about 100 miles on it since I brought it home. I really have it sorted out very well now.

I have a clunking sound from the right rear trunk area. I hope it’s just the Jack banging around. Worse case scenario I’ll just replace all 4 shocks. It rides beautifully tho and does not sag or bounce so I’m skeptical that it’s a suspension issue. Once that is all sorted out, the car will be mechanically perfect and I’ll drop it off to get shampoo’d and ceramic coated.

I also found a brand new Jaguar hood ornament in the glove box, still in the factory box and wrapper. I’m going to install it on the hood :slight_smile:

Have a look if your rear numberplate bulb is working

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Vic …

Unbelievable low milage !

The bulb failure warning modules (4) are notorious for bad solder joints. I chased that problem on my '89 for 3 decades until I figured out a hack to the instrument cluster to keep the light permanently out. Much easier to simply walk around the car now and then to check for bad bulbs.

With your car stored as long as it was there is an excellent chance the upper foam bushings on the left and right rear shocks have deteriorated and and are causing your “clunk” going over large bumps. VERY common problem on these cars.


Check that both turn sigal / brake light bulbs are working on both sides. Yes, there are two bulbs on each side. Also, check that the rear fog lamps (mounted in the bumper) are working on both sides.

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Would buying new KYB shocks include the needed new foam bushings or are they a separate part? If so, where can I get the part number?

If I must replace the bushing, I will replace the entire shock as well. And if I must do the rears, I may as well do the fronts too since they are super easy.

Vic …

Let me also welcome you to our (XJ-40) world. Misery loves company :sunglasses: no actually it’s a great car.

The rear shocks are built up as an assemble that includes the shock, spring, damper mounting, bushings etc. You’ll need to purchase the things that are worn out separately.

Now it’s time for you to do a little detective work for your car …

First thing find your VIN number …

You can plug in your VIN to determine which model you have and where to find all the part numbers using this website (now that you own an XJ-40 this will be your parts bible :innocent:) …


It takes a little practice to drill down to find what you need but you’ll get there eventually

Here’s an example for your rear shocks …

  1. Select the car that includes your VIN
  2. Select “Steering & suspension”
  3. Select “Shock absorber and stop rubber”

Now you have to determine if your car has self leveling or standard shocks.

BINGO … Every part is shown along with its part number.


Thanks to everyone for their ideas and replies. I will do everything suggested and report back here….

In the meantime, I read online that the blown bulb light only comes on when that light is being used. Is this true? So for example, if reverse light was blown, it would only trigger the warming light when I put the car in reverse.

I only ask this question because my red light of death illuminates as soon as I start the car. It stays on even before I turn on any lights at all. Before I even touch the headlight switch, the red light of death is already blazing its red glory. Is that normal?

Thanks in advance!

By the way, I took a 50 mile trip in the car last night and it drove so damn beautifully. I really love this car! And it’s dead silent. It’s quieter than some of my newer more modern cars. Virtually no wind noise at all.

Yes and no - good question. The bulbs that are monitored are done so, and faulty ones flagged, when the ignition is on irrespective of that bulb’s circuit being on. I have seen the bulb fault indicator when a side light bulb is faulty without the running or head lights switched on. However, the reversing (backup) lights may be an exception. I once tried LED units in place of incandescent bulbs for the reversing lights and the bulb out indicator did not come on until the car was shifted into reverse. BTW, my bulb out indicator is amber, and is in the vertical column of warning lights (all amber) to the left side of the instrument cluster. There is a column of red warning lights to the right side of the cluster. This was Jaguar’s way of separating the critical (red) warnings from the ‘FYI’ (amber) warnings.

Do not even consider installing KYB shocks on that car. Lousy, but not a total disaster on the front. Commonly, easily available for the rears but horrible. Then when people figure it out and you try to do it correctly you will find that some needed pieces were thrown away.
Does the car still have the self leveling rear shock system or did it have a proper conversion done in the past? The factory conversion kit was discontinued in late 2013. I’m thinking if it isn’t bouncing after being stored for 5 years it probably has the conversion.
I had a very nice 91 Soverign that I wish I had kept.

On my 93 and also on my old 94 the ‘bulb out’ light would come on regardless of whether that circuit was in use, this applied to the reversing lights too but it could be different for a 91.

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Vic …

Below ia a diagram of the rear shock absorber assembly …

If you have the self leveling shock absorber system pictured on the right our advice is simply to convert to the shock system on the left. If that’s the case let us know and we’ll walk you through it.

If however you have the standard shock assembly on the left the parts that will need to be replaced are the bushings; Parts #15, 5, 14 and 13. When I say “Need to be replaced” what I mean is that once you’ve gone to all the trouble of removing and breaking down the shock assembly no matter how they look it’s false economy not to replace all the “squishy” parts.

You can’t go wrong with Bilstien shocks, cost a bit more but well worth it.

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#1. I tracked the red blown bulb death light to both rear license plate bulbs blown. They were actually non-existent so I ordered two complete assemblies to replace them. I of course ordered, two new bulbs as well. I found the lamp units online at Annapolis Jaguar in Maryland for $25 each. Hopefully that will solve the annoying red light of death.

#2. I’m sure the rattling from the right rear is the shock. I’m pretty sure the rear units are factory leveling shocks and are original.


Should I convert the rears or can I just replace the bushings to stop the rattles back there? I only ask because the car rides absolutely beautifully. It DOES NOT bounce around at all. It’s very stable and rides perfect. When I push down on the right rear trunk area, the car bounces up only 1 time. If the car rides perfectly, why should I swap out the shocks? No need to cause myself any unnecessary work, right? Or am I just being lazy? Lolol. I have no problems buying Bilsteins, but why do that if it’s not needed? I own 5 cars and will only drive this beautiful machine 2500 miles a year or so. Maybe less. It will be put in storage 6-7 months a year, as it gets super cold and snowy in Michigan.

#3. I think I should change the diff fluid. Everything is fine back there, but I think I wanna do it because it’s easy. Can someone post up what fluid to buy and how much? Also, are there videos or pics on this site somewhere for repair work? I need to locate the fill plug.

Thanks to everyone thus far! I’m very close to getting this machine in perfect order! Once it’s mechanically sound and sorted, I’ll add on some wire wheels. :slight_smile:

I have found the bulb failure can be set with even the slightest bad contact in the bulb to socket. The small marker lamps in the edges of the front and rear bumper are sometimes an issue.

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If the car rides fine then yes just replace the bushings.
I know that you know this but, make sure you can remove the fill plug before draining the diff.
85w140 is what goes in I think pretty standard oil, looks like it takes just over 2 litres from empty, but fill til it starts to come out of the fill plug.

Vic - the forum archives contain a wealth of information. The search facility can be of great help in mining the information you need:

As you will see from Bryan N’s post in the thread linked above, the old Jag-lovers.org site even contained ‘Photo Albums’ to which users could post multiple pictures relating to a topic.

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