I’m new here and have just purchased my dream car. Although she’s an absolute mess

I just bought a 1987 XJS V12 Convertible.
Although it only has 54k original miles, she’s a mess. She’s been completely neglected and has sat outside with no cover for the last 5 years.
However, she did crank on the first attempt and the engine sounds solid. I have just purchased a cold air idle valve that I intend to install tomorrow, as it’s seems it’s not working properly. I also got
a good tip while browsing this forum on replacing the hose’s between the brake fluid reservoir and the master cylinder. So whomever posted that, thank you.
There is so much to do on this car, I believe it is going to take a lot of time, effort and money. But I’m in love already.
Wish me luck guys and gals.

Oh and any advice or help will be greatly appreciated.
Cheers, Jedster


Replace all flexible fuel lines before you try to start the car. If they leak onto a hot exhaust manifold the car will go up in flames.


Fuel lines, Injector hoses, All vacuum lines, Just do it. learn the car well. Little things compound with the XJS-so keep the little LITTLE. Aye n don-na be scared of the V12 double 6, Me fine Laddie. Also important CLEAN THE Crank case breather. Many “pressure” oil leaks come because of that not pushing air up to air filter, but pressurizing crank case with 12 cylinders creating quite a compressor there. The breather will certainly equalize the oil side. Soak in Varisol degreaser for a WEEK, shades of Kirby Palmer …lol, well a few days. Or blow it out with a LOT of Carb cleaner. CHECK the {CRAZY} half moons oil seals on the valve cover/head all the way in the rear each side - replace them ASAP if leaking. There are a set of aluminum half moons some one mills, and you seal them with a permanent blue gasket sealer but you’ll have to search them out or just do NEW rubber ones. They get hard and leak like crazy. Any hoo just a START. Have Fun and Happy Driving!
Oh not to make too complicated a long list of important items; DO a compression check upon the cooling system, American cars have 4 cooling lines - 2 heater 2 Radiator- British have 15+… ( what were they thinking?) im replacing them ALL, already bought them. Heat - WHATEVER YOU CAN DO to minimize the heat staying on the engine DO IT. MOSS MOTORS has a screen and filter ive put into the return to the Radiator to filter possible crud from who know what was put into this/my XJS block. Cheers :slight_smile:


Hi Clockwork Orange and welcome.
The car looks decent and seams you have a good base to start.
Rust is always the deal’s most important make or break factor.
How is the interior?

ALL fuel lines, fuel filter, sump tank clean
Sized distributor advance
Yellow fan in the garbage and new viscus clutch
Blocked radiator and coolant system check
Brakes check
Spark plugs (some might have never been changed)
Transmission filter and fluid

The list is much longer but that’s a good start.
Download and read Kirbert’s book, and you will find all the common issues and how to address them.

Good luck!

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I started on a 94 convertible two years ago. Took 6 months to make it reliable. Now its a daily driver waiting on paint. This becomes addictive.


Wow, thank you for this detailed advice. I will check everything you’ve mentioned here,
Luckily I’m not aware of any oil leaks so far, which is incredible considering the age of the vehicle regardless of make. Nevertheless I will have everything check asap.
Thanks again for taking the time to write all this out for me.

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