Help with a problem


An old dear friend of mine bought a 2001 xk8 at a mecum auction last year.
The problem is this:
When the convertible top comes up, he needs to use an allen wrench to lock it down. Is it missing a part or handle of some kind ??

(Eric Capron) #2

Big D,

You are in the wrong forum. This is for XK 120, 140 & 150 and our tops are designed to be closed by hand or left open permanently .

Your post should be in the XK8 forum but since you are here, there isn’t a handle, the Allen key is intended for emergency closure only. If the top won’t latch automatically with the engine running but will lower OK and there is not a message in driver information display saying “Top Latch Fail” then the problem is likely to be the hydraulic fluid has started to become gelatinous and needs to be replaced or the latch itself has failed. I hope it is the former. The top should complete the open/close cycle in about 20 seconds. If much longer, this is another indication that the fluid is too thick.

Also look for any sign of hydraulic fluid dripping from the header rail area, If so, this will be due to a ruptured hydraulic pipe.

If there is an error message, repost in the XK8 forum which is also the place for any follow up questions.

Shropshire, UK


Thank you for your quick response. Our mechanic buddy just told me he changed the fluid with recommended Jag fluid.(He’s pretty smart about all things cars)

He feels there is a limit switch that is not in sync with the closure. Telling it to latch when it should. We had the body control module serviced by a computer friend and are assuming it is

working correctly but who knows.

Again, your help is appreciated.

If you have anything else to add or assist please do.


(motorcarman) #4

There are 2 switches in the header where the hydraulic latch is located. There are 2 switches in the right lift ram to signal full up or full down.

Sounds like a switch issue??


(Eric Capron) #5

It could be a switch but for most switch failure conditions there is either an error message in the DID or the top won’t move in one direction or another (ie won’t open or won’t close). Here is a useful note that describes the system and has a fault finding guide. 501-11AM Convertible Top Electrical System.pdf (62.2 KB)

BTW, I’m confused. Your original post came to me via the XK list (I still use the email version) but it now appears to be in the correct place in the XK8 forum. Did someone move it?



I printed off the PDF and gave it to my good friend/mechanic. he seemed very grateful. I really can’t

tell you enough what help you have been. I shall let you know the outcome. FYI - the car owner is

89 (quite well for his age) but we have been working on this car for over a year, on and off. Every time he would take it for a drive, something else would occur. Hopefully this latch issue will be the last hoorah !

Thanks again for you interest and reply.

God Bless

Big D (Rich)


To the two gentlemen that responded to my help question.

Somebody had the two hydraulic hoses reversed.

That why the roof would not latch or unlatch properly.