3.2L 93 - another what to check before buying post

Hi All,

I’m currently considering an XJ40 as a replacement for my S1 daily driver.

I had a look at a 93 3.2L today and was quite tempted.

I need to go back and have another look - I’m currently looking though the common problems and inspections lists on here to know what to look out for.

I have a few questions on thing I didn’t see on the check lists

Speed - while it got up to speed ok it didn’t seem particularly quick to me- is this to be expected with the smaller capacity engines (note my S1 has a 3.6L AJ6 and I’ve always been pretty impressed with it)

Relays - there was a group of relays under the bonnet/hood it looked like one of them had the relay removed - would this be as it is for an additional accessory not included on this car? or is this a way of hiding a hazard warning light of similar?

AC - this was working and was blowing cold - however when switching between fan speeds it would briefly stop for a second or so before restarting at the new fan speed - is this normal?

wiper control - After using the wipers and turning them off (or so I thought) I had to tap the control down to stop the intermittent function working - is this just how they work?

There was a bit of a noise from the power steering however it did appear that the fluid was low and there was fluid on the under the reservoir which would seem an easy fix - or is there something else I should be looking for here?

Rust - are the problem spots noted in the buyers guides visible rust or do I need to remove trim / panels etc to check?

Brake system - I seem to recall reading articles about something tricky with these in the XJ40’s - is this the brake accumulator - is it that much of a problem? (not the brakes seemed really good on this car)

Thanks in advance,


Well Doig it really depends on price, if you are happy with the condtion and mileage and are prepared to fix things as they crop up. But the main thing to check for is RUST. Unless you are in a dry warm climate.

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Doig …

First you are buying a car that is THREE decades old and has no RELIABLE history (seriously no history, how many owners?).

The bottom line is this, if every time something goes wrong (or already is wrong) and you’ll need to take your Jag to someone who’lll be charging you serious money to repair it … It will break your heart and your wallet.

If on the other hand if you really love the car and have the finances to tell your mechanic, “go ahead and fix anything wrong that you can find now and for the foreseeable future” then go for it. Seriously.

Of course if YOU are a gifted mechanic and can do ALL the work yourself … remember the money for the parts (Jaguar classic parts usually run about 200 to 300% more than a Chevy or Ford) and your labor will be the deciding factor. And yes, there will be a lot of labor (I did mention that the car is THREE decades old didn’t I). Now without a question if this will be your only car DON’T EVEN CONSIDER IT.

I don’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer” because these luxury cars really are beautiful, but beauty is only skin deep (I did mention the THREE decades thing didn’t I).

I absolutely love my '89 XJ40, my daily driver that I have owned for 30 years and I can proudly say that it is mechanically and cosmetically damn near flawless. But trust me this has come at great effort and expense over the years and I’ve even done probably 95% of the work myself. Not because I had to mind you (life has been very good to me), but being a retired pilot and a serious “gearhead” it’s something I’ve enjoyed doing. It’s become a real love affair (sigh).

The last thing I can leave you with is the question “why would such a beautiful luxurious used Jaguar be so inexpensive to purchase” ? That should be your first clue. It’s not a poor man’s game.

I have a 5 decade old jag which I have daily driven for the last 15 years, so I’m aware of the costs pitfalls etc.

Just looking for an answer to some of those questions I posted…

Doig …

You said “I have a 5 decade old jag which I have daily driven for the last 15 years, so I’m aware of the costs pitfalls etc.” so you obviously would be going into this with your eyes wide open.

As mentioned rust is the killer and something that needs to be very carefully checked for.

Low power steering fluid with no obvious leaks probably means the rack is leaking through the end seals into the boots. Without a doubt the power steering system has been my biggest problem plaguing my car over the years … leaky racks, leaking pumps, and broken reservoirs

These engines and transmissions are very well built and robust but don’t even consider buying the car without doing a compression check. Because of the engine layout the XJ40 is probably the easiest car in the world do do this on. 10 minute job.

The A/C temperature should be around 40-45 deg F. The fans briefly stopping between speeds isn’t normal. But as long as BOTH fans are working at all speeds it’s nothing that would really bother me, for now.

I would definitely consider converting the braking system to a vacuum booster. Not very expensive and a DIY project. This is a very popular modification that eliminates a lot of head aches.

Not sure what you mean about the wipers, but the wiper “parking” problem is very common and the fix well documented.

I would never purchase a used car without putting it on a lift and having a good look underneath for damage, rust, and leaks.

I’d post a complete list of everything that I’ve had to repair on my car but looking at that novel would really depress me :cowboy_hat_face:

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Hi Doig,
Although the 3.2 is slower than the 4.0 ( and actually uses more fuel ) I’d have thought it would have felt at least as quick as your S1 daily.

Empty relay locations are not unusual, the options and safety specs varied around the world, as long as everything is working I wouldn’t worry.

The blower fans are a well known problem on xj40’s. Usually they stop working on all but the highest and defrost settings, the parts to remedy it cost pennies if yours should fail completely but removing the blower motors to access the circuit boards is a bit of a pain.

Sounds to me like the wiper control is working as designed. To operate the intermittent function you press the arm down once, and the same to switch it off again, it’s most likely that when you turned the wipers to the off position you pressed the arm a little bit too far and switched on the intermittent.

The power steering is usually quiet but will make a noise when the fluid is low, you obviously need to find the leak.

Most rust will be visible from outside or underneath the car without removing trim, but look under all the carpets including the boot carpet, and if possible remove the front plastic wheel arch liners or at least enough screws to allow you to pull them back to shine a torch to check the section from door to wheel arch which collects mud.

I’ve used two XJ40’s from 2003 until today. I sold the first one with over 180,000 miles, it still had the original braking system and it was working fine.
My current car has just hit 145,000 and that too has all original brake parts and works fine.
I change the fluid every two years and obviously discs and pads when required but so far that’s all it’s ever needed.

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thanks for the info - I actually replaced the engine in my Series 1 with a 3.6L AJ6 - I’m going to have another look tomorrow - I suspect the lack of impression of speed may be more down to the better sound proofing on the XJ40

It would help if you would update your information as to location. The 3.2 liter engined car was never sold in the USA where many of these posters are from, so we have little experience with it, and its performance. As I recall the early XJ40 in North America was the 3.6 which ran a 2.88 final drive and having driven one it did not have sparkling performance at least compared to later ones. Jaguar rectified this with the 1990 model with the 4.0 engine and a final drive of 3.54.