'94 XJ6 No turn, security system?

I just purchased a “ran-when-parked” XJ6; my first of this series sedan. PO says the battery was dead for a protracted period of time and now even with a fresh battery, nothing happens when the key is turned. He opined that it’s “probably” the security system. I note that both exterior front door handles are broken. Any thoughts on first steps? Thanks.

Hello Wagonerki, and welcome back …

When you say that “nothing happens” when you turn the key, do you mean the car won’t start or literally NOTHING happens and the engine doesn’t turn over or nothing lights up. Big difference in troubleshooting.

Exterior broken door handles are very common on these cars (actually if over the life of the car the handles don’t break THAT would be surprising :slightly_frowning_face:). Your '94 model XJ40 has the redesigned handles that were suppose to be less prone to breaking (how did that work out for you!). I believe there is a rebuild kit for this type of handle, and new and used handles are readily available on EBay. Installing them can be a real PIA though. I just replaced one of mine and posted about it.

Don’t be discouraged, There are some really smart guys on this forum that can help you with any of your problems. How about a picture of your new “ride”.

There is an inertia switch in the left side (LHD) front footwell forward of the fuse panel:

It is designed to trip in the event of a significant impact and acts as an immobiliser. There is a plunger on top of the black box that will extend upward when tripped. Pressing the plunger down will reset it. Might be worth checking.

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Thank you for responding to my admittedly sketchy starting point. So first of all, don’t believe POs when they say “new” battery. Voltage check showed 10.2VDC. I took the battery to be charged and tested and it had a failed cell. I purchased and installed a new battery.
Car now turns over fine but did not fire. Further inspection showed; engine 5 quarts low on oil!! , front two sparkplug holes were full of water!! Presumably from our drizzly western Washington weather. I blew that out with compressed air. There is evidence (rust residue on sparkplug boots) of past water entry into the other sparkplug holes but they were dry today.

Spark tester shows very weak spark (barely visible). Guessing maybe a bad coil or???

Other issues are transmission selector will not come out of Park. I pressed the release button through the hole in the fascia but still it did not release. I have seen some posts that say there should be a “Park” indicator light. I don’t see one or even where it would be located. I notice an amber transmission symbol with a line through it in the upper right of the instrument panel. (See attached photo). That can’t be good…can it?

I need an owners manual. :frowning:

Wagonerkl …

“I need an owners manual” …


Failing Rotor IMO

Normal when Ign on but engine not running

Usually not easy to pull out of park without engine running but try foot on brake ign on. No dash light indicator for P etc is on shifter.

As Larry has already mentioned, on the 94 MY cars the selector won’t move unless your foot is on the brake pedal. I think the spark plug holes full of water is very unusual, my car lives outside all year round in some of the wettest weather imaginable and I’ve never experienced that. Is it possible the PO had the engine bay pressure washed before you bought it ? Maybe if so then water has found it’s way into other places too like the Ignition amplifier or the king lead socket on the coil and distributor cap. It is not unknown for the spark plug holes to fill with oil when the internal rubber cam cover seals harden but it’s hard to imagine enough rain water to get under the hood and fill those holes ?

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Thank you everyone for your helpful comments.
Grooveman, Thanks for the link:)

Abercanadian mentioned failing rotor but both cap and rotor appear new so I am thinking maybe water got into the connectors. Any tips (photos) for where I should focus? Thanks for making me feel better about the transmission light. I feel like I did step on the brake but I wasn’t really thinking about it. Is that brake interlock electrical through the brake light switch? Or?

I suspect Casso is correct about the engine being “washed” as the car has been under a tarp most of the time. Hard to imagine rain getting through the tarp, under the bonnet, and into the sparkplugs. I will give feedback once I get back to the car and do some work. I am hoping to drive it away as opposed to having it towed home.

Wagonerkl …

You said, “Both cap and rotor appear new”. Trust me don’t go by the looks, the problem results from a microscopic carbon trace that is virtually undetectable. Most prevalent in moist or wet conditions.

If the car cranks but won’t start, REPLACE THE CAP AND ROTOR with new ones ! I’m not saying it will solve your problem but since this is a very well documented issue it’s an inexpensive first step in troubleshooting and one less thing to worry about. I ALWAYS carry a set of new ones in the trunk … er… boot.