Engine bay cleanup, 1990 V12 Vanden Plas

(Paul M. Novak) #1

I just completed a thorough engine bay cleanup in my 1990 V12 Vanden Plas. The attached picture shows the results of the roughly 100 hours of my work to clean, polish, repaint, or replace engine bay components over the past month. The engine runs as good as it looks and the A/C is blowing cold again after I sorted out the leak.

I hope you enjoy the results.


2018: The Year in Review
(Frank Andersen) #2

Enjoyable, Paul…!

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

(MRCHB@aol.com) #3

Fabulous…looks like it never left the showroom all those years ago

(Paul M. Novak) #4


Dr. Gregory Andrachuk did a thorough engine bay restoration in 2003 when he owned this car, but that was 15 years ago and it was time for me to do a refresh and fix a few issues. Over the past month or so I replaced hoses, belts, spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor, radiator and much more. The engine is running much cooler now and the replacement oil pressure sender fixed the low oil pressure reading. I also repaired some broken plastic connectors, “cleaned out the V”, replaced a bunch of heat damaged wires, fixed a stuck Auxiliary Air Valve, adjusted the throttle butterflies, and much more. The car now starts feet off as it should and the idle is much smoother.


(MRCHB@aol.com) #5

So now it runs as good as it looks… Great… The auxiliary air valve is a pesky item. Mine went out on my '86 XJ6, and only through the miracle of David Boger’s ‘Everyday XJ’ was I able to replace it. I know what you mean about heat damage. I don’t think the folks in Coventry expected us to keep these cars as long as we have, with their engines outliving the various plastic connectors and components suffering years of under hood high temperatures. My '87 XJ6 also has a faulty oil pressure sender providing low readings, but I’ve just gotten used to them, I know the oil pressure on this engine, which was rebuilt 40,000 miles ago, is just fine. Freeway MPG has been as high as 22 MPG. Thanks for sharing the photo

(Jochen Glöckner) #6

Great job, Paul! It may be a bit frustrating for the ex-workforce at Brown’s Lane though … I’m pretty sure that the engine bay wasn’t even that clean when your car dropped off the assembly line. And the best thing is to have the beautiful engine purr just as intended by its makers!

What type of engine paint did you use, if I may ask? My PO took the care to apply some black engine paint to many of the parts, but within +10 years large portions have just flaked off.

Enjoy your cars


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

(Paul M. Novak) #7

Thank you for the kind words.

I removed a lot of components from the engine bay to clean, repaint or replace. I primarily use Simple Green now to clean the parts. I used to use more agressive cleanets but I am trying to stay away from hazardous chemicals. After a thorough cleaning I used my electric wire wheel to clean off the rust and old flaky paint then for the black metal bits I painted them with a rust preventative primer and then two or more light coats with an engine bay automotive satin black spray paint (I used an Eastwoods product this time). This is what I used on the cruise control mount, the A/C muffler, the large crossmember above the radiator and a few more other small brackets. I cleaned, straightened a bunch of bent fins, and spray painted the A/C condenser with an Eastwood Radiator Black spray paint.

I have found that paint looks a lot better and lasts longer if the old flaky paint and rust is removed, the good old paint is sanded, a coat of primer is applied, and then a couple of good even top coats of automotive spray paint is applied. So that is what I do.


(Doug Dwyer) #8

Superb result.

Lots of work but very satisfying.


(Paul M. Novak) #9

It appears that the engine bay Judge at the Jaguar Clubs of North America (JCNA) International Jaguar Festival Concours d’Elegance this past weekend in Santa Barbara, CA also liked my recent engine bay restoration work. Feedback from the IJF Chief Judge today revealed no deductions on the Engine Bay score sheet. That is a good sign since this car usually gets a few small cleanliness and condition deductions in the engine bay when judged at JCNA concours.


(PeterCrespin) #10

[quote=“Paul_M_Novak2, post:7, topic:369578”

It was nice to meet you and Debbie again Paul, but while we were in sunny Ca somebody here stole the leaves off the trees and poured water everywhere!

(XJDanny) #11

Beautiful engine, Paul. Thank you for sharing and for the inspiration!


(Paul M. Novak) #12

Thank you for the kind words.

I am very fortunate to own this Canadian market 1990 V12 Vanden Plas. It was meticulously restored by the second owner, Dr. Gregory Andrachuk (author of the excellent Jag-Lovers book JAGCARE III), in 2002 and it was the JCNA North American Concours Champion in it’s class in 2003. Then it was purchased by the third owner who imported it into the USA from Canada in 2004 and barely drove it. When I purchased it in 2011 it was still in stunning condition and drove great. It has scored very well (more than a few 100.00 scores) over the past 7 years that I have competed it in JCNA Champion Division Concours. This car is not a trailer queen and it has experienced snow, dust storms, and more than a few maintenance issues as I drove it 2-3 thousand miles each year including driving it to roughly 30 concours all around the Southwest USA.

However, it was time for me to address a wide range of engine bay issues, and as you can tell I am very pleased with the results.

I recently completed a more thorough engine bay restoration in my wife’s Signal Red 1990 Classic Collection XJ-S convertible (5.3L V12) with similar results. The engine bays are very similar and I learned a lot while restoring that engine bay so this one wasn’t nearly as daunting and I completed it in a lot less time.



(Jochen Glöckner) #13

Now this gives us reason to ponder … you said that this engine bay was done a lot quicker than the XJS’, then you say this one took roughly 100 hours of work. Extrapolating these figures to the size of your stable you must be spending more hours per year on your cars than a PwC partner bills hours … sure enough on a more satisfying occupation;-)

The other thing: Indeed, like you I sanded or sometimes even just used a wire brush on steel parts, primered and enamel-painted parts like brackets, holders etc. with quite pleasing and lasting result. The things that seem not to last are cast iron parts that tend to get engine hot, such as the intake manifold, the water pump housing, water rail, hot air duct etc. Did you do the full blast, prime and paint routine here as well?

Best wishes


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

(XJDanny) #14


Your car sounds absolutely amazing! I didn’t realize what a special car it is. Wow.

I’m glad you’re driving it and enjoying it and not making it just sit in your garage. I hope I’ll get a chance to see it at a show one of these days.



(Mark Lee (Pay Pal Patron)) #15

how long did that take? that is absolutely lovely!
Hats off to you!!

(Paul M. Novak) #16

As mentioned in my initial email I estimated that it took me about 100 hours of my hands on work on the car. I did this over a period of about a month. This car was restored to JCNA Championship Concours condition in 2002 by the second owner, but after 16 years and lots of miles it needed a thorough engine bay refresh. I am the fourth owner.


(Doug Dwyer) #17

Exactly. After you’ve been elbow-deep in a V12 engine bay a couple times it becomes a new normal :).


(Mark Lee (Pay Pal Patron)) #18

Yep, me too. but not on a Saloon. My XJS that still won’t start. but that’s another day

(PeterCrespin) #19

Yesterday I was only in the workshop five minutes and leant briefly over the left front wing of the XJ12 looking into the engine compartment. I managed to dislodge a 1/4” driver and 6mm socket I’d left on the side, but reccovere it quickly enoigh with a small flashlight. Which was also when I spotted a medium-sized screwdriver down by the engine mount.

That’s another new normal with a V12 engine bay - if you drop something there’s little point looking on the floor - it never gets that far. Probably the V12 is big enough to have its own gravity field and orbiting wrenches.

(Paul M. Novak) #20

Yes, I know this all too well. :slight_smile:

I too have dropped parts or tools into the engine bays of our two V12 equipped Jaguars only to never see them again, or discover them months or years later while working on the car. I also discovered several small parts (nuts, bolts, washers) and a couple of tools (small wrench, screwdriver) that didn’t belong to me during the recent engine bay work. :slight_smile: