Introduction and Lamentation

Hello All,
I’ve been lurking on the forums for a little while now.
I bought a 1990 XJ40 4.0 at auction a little over a month ago. The pictures showed a very clean car and was listed as run and drive. I’d had some pretty good results with other auctions so I made the move on this one.
It only has 89K miles on it and most of those miles were between 1990 and 1997, it’s spent most of its time in storage in New Mexico before somehow making it here to Oklahoma.
I’m no enthusiast but I’ve wrenched around on cars off and on for most of my life. One of my other half dozen projects in the queue is a 1969 Citroen DS needing a full resto, so I’m not scared of much. :wink:

Anyway… upon picking the car up. We were shocked to find a VERY cherry Jag. I would put it at a 7/10 for interior exterior and engine bay. It started and ran well from the lot and we gently tried to see if it was roadworthy. It gave us some hesitations and stalls the first couple of days and the fuel pump was very noisy and then most troubling was found to be almost empty of coolant. It was parked while waiting for the usual parts - fuel filter, pump.

While on a quick low speed joyride, I experienced a dramatic loss of power, and limped it home. Thinking it was fuel related I did the fuel changes and hoped for a return to previous form. I was thwarted. The rough running was still there, now with a disturbing rpm-matching tick.

I did the spark things - I had the same spark quality at all plugs it seemed a bit thin and not very bluish but was there. Replacing plugs (originals were undergapped) cap and rotor changed nothing. Still running rough and tickslapping.

Did a vacuum test on the intake at the fuel regulator - wildly bouncing needle at idle, never settling well into a number. So now I’m really thinking head gasket. The coolant loss, the bouncy vacuum.

I can’t believe I never had one before, but on to Amazon for a compression tester.
The results dry = 190 190 ZERO 185 190 185

So my beautiful new Cherry Jag, that I’ve put probably 25 miles on, needs head work and a head gasket. I’ll do the take off myself but will probably send off to Coventry West to do the head and valves. They quoted me $1,200 plus shipping. They have a 3-4 month wait.

I welcome all input and insights.

Hi and welcome to the forums, nice looking Sovereign (box wood inlay)
Sorry to hear of the apparent demise of the HG, they are a great car when they are running correctly. CW by all accounts do the bees knees of jobs so when it comes back you will probably be able to eat your breakfast off the surfaces :yum:
While you are in the engine bay taking the head off just have a good look at the base of the yellow fan blades to see if there is any signs of cracks developing, if they are source a replacement before it grenades itself.

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Hello JB …

Congratulations on your new(ish) Jag. Very pretty color combination.

I think you’ll find this forum a great help in sorting out any problems, lots of very knowledgeable folks.

I had the head on my 1989 XJ40 redone a year ago in Fort Worth (blown head gasket). New valve guides and seals, head cleaned and decked, and all 24 valves reground along with the valve seats … $450 total … and yes it was so clean you could eat off it. The company is state of the art and even let me watch the reassembly and testing in a “clean” room. So you might want to check around on that $1200 price. Of course that being said I know Coventry West has a well deserved reputation for great work.

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This is why I come to the forums! I certainly would be willing to pay CW prices if need be, but for under half that amount, I definitely want to check them it out. Heck for the shipping costs alone I could drive down to FW and drop it off in person (I’m in Tulsa.) Maybe even a cheap flight? Has anyone ever put a cylinder head in an overhead bin? :thinking:
Would you please share the contact here or PM me?
I really should contact the local machine shops as well, to see if there is a Jag worthy person close by.
Thanks in advance and thanks for the welcome.

JB …

The name of the company I used is H&H AUTOMOTIVE MACHINE located in Fort Worth Texas. (817) 222-2705. Top quality work and very friendly people.