Hello All from Washington State - XJ 12 owner needs advice

Hello All,

My name is Eric Schutte. I have a 1994 XJ12 (XJ81) sedan with a 6.0l V12. I bought the car with 113000 miles on it and it had sat for quite a few years before I bought it. I just took it to a Jag technician and to get the things fixed that I can see it was 5000.00. Thats parts and labor and I knew when I bought the car I had a lot of things to fix. The engine and transmission appear good, but ABS, SLS, Oil Cooler hoses and several other smaller items need replaced. So I ask you, cut my losses and try to sell it as is, part it out, or try to make this car awesome again?

Any feedback would be great!



Well its a unique car…I drove the test xj40 v12 back in the day…
Its not worth much with that mileage and the bills will keep coming.
Drive it till it blows baby!
Don’t restore just maintain…its worth a couple of grand…

Sounds funny but if it were older it would be worth more. Unless you can do the work yourself, I would sell and look around some more. gtloey said it all.

Hi Eric, and welcome to THE forum.
That’s sage advice you’ve been given and might apply, depending on what you want. You haven’t stated why you bought the car. Is it for a daily driver or a weekend toy ? Can you, or are you willing to do any of the work ?
Lots of advice and knowledge on this site if you want it. Joining a local club (www.jcna.com) is also a good source. There are a few members on this forum that are in the Tacoma/Olympia area. If you keep it and work on it, it’s an adventure.

Hi Jerry,

I really appreciate everyones advice on this forum. I am NOT a mechanic, dont claim to be. Im a cop. So when it comes to turning wrenches, Im not very good at it. Not that I dont want to learn but here is kind of the deal…we need a 2nd car that is running and driving reliably with room for at least 5. I’ve always wanted a Jag, so when I saw this sedan come up for sale I bought it. I got ripped off on a car that needs a lot of work. I need a 2nd car sooner rather than later. So, its pay 5000 now to get it mostly right and have a car NOW or pay smaller amounts as I go but I wont have a decent car for several months. And when the experts on here say the bills will just keep coming in, well, I don’t want a money hole. So, it appears I got in way over my head and now its gonna cost me.

Im pretty discouraged and mad at myself.


I see that you are new to Jag-Lovers. Welcome!

Your XJ81 is very different than the Series I, II, and III XJ6s and XJ12s discussed on this list. There are very few parts in common and most systems are completely different.

I recommend that you join the Jag-Lovers XJ40 list for your basic car issues and the V12 list for your engine related matters.

If you are handy and have the tools and a place to work on your car you can probably fix most of the issues yourself at a fraction of the $5,000 estimated cost. If I were you I would prioritize your issues and start working them off.


Of course, no one here has ever done that…(:lying_face::shushing_face:)
I’m sorry that happened to you. Sounds like you’ve made the right decision.

Honestly, Eric - having a Jaguar V12 as a ‘second car’ is a bit over the top…:slight_smile:

It’s not that it is unreliable, but if it needs attention you either pay a mechanic or spend time doing things yourself. Which, as Paul implies, requires OJT, which is perfectly possible, fairly cheap - but time consuming…

And in any case, as he says - you must, for reasons stated; go to the xj40 list for best advise! That said; anyone tackling ‘our’ V 12 would be delighted to tackle it…

That said; a failed ABS, which ‘we’ don’t have, tends to be expensive…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

Just a little bump in the road. Knowledge comes from experience.
I can’t tell from your post if you spent the $5,000 on your car yet. If not, there are good running older Jags around for 5-10k I would suggest looking for an XJ8. These are fairly “new” cars and, in my opinion, are very nice looking and running automobiles. They look like a Jag.
Good luck and welcome to the club.

1 Like

Snoopy, If you cant turn wrenches and need this for regular transport…………

  1. Drive it till it blows once agin OR
  2. Dump it,
    For a non mechanic , it will be a complete money pit.
    Other might argue but I know that car well.
    113,000 miles?
    All the front end bushes should have been replaced.
    Shocks and Ball joints
    Tie rod ends.
    Motor mounts
    Tranny mount.
    All because of the massive weight of the v12.
    It will go on and on.
    You probably paid nothing for the car…Have fun , its not worth much, sometimes its more fun running it into the ground.

Well thank you for the honesty. I paid 1600 for the car, cost me 160.00 to get to the car and 550.00 to have it looked at by a jag tech. So I’m 2300 in. I really cant drive it now cuz the things that I’ve now been told about are safety issues. So I guess I’m screwed.

Yeah it is 26 years old……
Brake lines, electric booster in that model only
Calipers, tires………
Look 2,300 dollars in the scheme of life is ok.
But you could have leased a dodge 1500 pickup with A hemi v8 for 24 moths with the same money!
Once you said you needed to transport 5 people, that usually means family.
Safety first.
Some one will give you 2 grand……
Good luck.

Eric, before you make a decision, contact your local Jaguar Club. There are people there that can help, both with advice and parts.


the point you’re at right now is a bit like half way between two airports in a 747 with no fuel left. As others have said: the XJ81 was the top of the line product of a top of the line producer. The entire front section of the “regular” XJ40 was redesigned to house the revamped 12 cylinder engine. These cars cost a fortune to buy and maintain, even while new, and only the first part has changed 25 years after.

The car is a jewel if maintained well. The best part of it is neither witchcraft nor rocket science, but simply a lot, as after that many years and over 110000 mls practically all parts exposed to wear and tear (bushes, rubber tubes, belts, bearings, dampers, rotors, calipers, electrical periphery) will be on their last legs unless the PO for whatever reason has not allowed any maintenance backlog. You know more about the car and its history - any bills, work carried out?

Getting back to the airport question: even 8000 US$ appear fair for such a wonderful driving machine in good shape. While that seems to indicate to fly forward I’m afraid that even after these 5500 US$ initial repairs new failures will pop up and you’d have to be ready to pump out at least 1000 US$ per year over the next years for the things to come …

The other thing is: paying someone 550 US$ only to be handed over a list of defects seems rather fraudulent to me. In this part of the world you drive in to any MOT station and get the same list for under 50. If the main mechanic components and the body are o.k. most jobs are straightforward, most parts are available and inexpensive (except 12 cylinder specific), so I’d guess that you could remain way south of 5000 for the first round of work and under 500 for the years to come. It’s only that it looks like it’s hard to find a mechanic able and willing to do that kind of jobs in your part of the world … you might try to meet people who drive old Jags in your region and ask them about their favourite mechanics.

Good luck with your decision - whichever you’ll take


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

Dear Jochen,

Guten abend mein freund! Danke schone fur deiner brief. Tut mir leid fur mein sehr schlecht conjugieren. Ich vergesse viel from Hoch Schule wann Deutsch klasse habe ich. Es war 32 jahre vor! Anyway, to answer your questions,

I dont believe this car was kept up at all. Which I know makes it that much harder. The mechanical seems ok. The engine and transmission appear to be working just fine. Its as you said, all the periphery is falling apart.

Im starting to believe that the technician I took the car to believes they can ask 125.00 per hour for labor and charge 100% over thier price for markup on parts. I believe I may be able to save quite a bit of money by taking it to another mechanic that can fix the periphery items, even if its not with genuine Jaguar parts.

I was going to dump the car but I believe some more investigation is in order first. Like a second opinion.

Take care,


The list of faults presented by Limongelly is just not daunting at all, Eric. It’s straight forward DIY maintenance which we all face ‘our’ old cars - it has just been allowed to accumulate. Old Jaguars are simply not maintenance free.

The real costly things are V12 overhaul, gearbox and rust - the rest is peanuts. Possibly collected in large amounts over years - but to wilfully drive such a car to rack and ruin is close to vandalism…

Your problem seems to be that you can’t/won’t do the wrenching yourself - and that you just need a second car. Which can better and cheaper done with anything less exotic.

The safety issue is likely the ABS, which must work to pass inspection - even if the brakes themselves are good enough. ABS is unlikely to be a DIY job…

Norman’s advice is good; contact a local Jaguar club. But don’t drive it to the ground - sell it, or give it away to someone that may appreciate it…:slight_smile:

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

Snoopy, I love hearing all this enthusiasm from
our forum members but…….
The truth is when its time to get things done, WELL , IMHO IN THE UNITED STATES THESE DAYS…
Everyone vanishes into thin air.
If YOU cannot do the work, I can methodically show you going to at LEAST 10 to 15,000 in parts and labor just to getting the car running RIGHT.
I do it all the time, because that’s what “I” love doing and can afford it.
125 dollars an hour will put you in 10 grand on the suspension and brakes alone!
That’s including parts.
We haven’t even touched the surface of head gaskets and crank seal.
It has 113,000 miles on it!
I agree, with others…….find a true xj40/xj12 enthusiast , but if your not going to fix it YOURSELF overall .
You can lease any new Mercedes.Land Rover or JAG for the same money.
Good luck either way…
Having fun…
That was Gtjoey May of 1994
There was a new car coming and this last of the v12 saloons has a special motor which would eventually go into the car that saved Jaguar the x300
I look like a baby!

Well, after much deliberation and good advice from my fiance here is what I’m gonna do.

I’m going to get the car safe to drive with ABS repair and tires. Im paying a mechanic to do that. Then I’m going to dive into this car and fix stuff as I go. I have friends with mechanical know how that are gonna help me.

Thanks to all of you for your safe advice.



Drive on baby!


Good luck with her. I have a 1994 XJ12 also. I recommend buying the Jaguar cd-rom that has parts and service manuals. Jaguar JTP1008. Typically $70 or so.