Jaguar XJ6 bearing whistle?

Most jaguars roar, mine whistles. Here is a video with the noise:

It’s definitely coming from the front, so my guess is a bad bearing. Has someone experienced this noise before, and knows what it might likely be?

It does sound like a bearing, and more specifically, a water pump bearing

a few ideas;

an automotive stethoscope will identify if it is the WP bearing, (and most other things)

take the belts off one at a time, and see if the noise goes away

take that chance to check suspect units for freeplay, noise or roughness


I like the idea of taking one belt off at a time to see if it goes away. That is the beauty of having an older car with separate belts for different accessories. I just greased the compressor clutch bearing
on my '85 XJ6 because it was a little noisy.

the water pump bearings are a special sort with a long sealed case

they are used in other automotive applications apart from water pumps

I had one almost fail recently on a vehicle with 250k miles

It made that exact noise. When I checked, the fan was wobbly, I had to swap the unit from my parts car cause the bearing had to be ordered

It had been making a noise like that for about 2 weeks, then it got a bit worse, thats when I swapped.

When I got the old bearing out, I swear it had 100 miles max left before complete failure. Having a fan let go under the bonnet is not a good thing at all, usually takes out things with it

They can take a lot. This was an overnighter to get the E Type going for a trip to Switzerland the next day:

It sounded bad before but only occasionally. Clearly the bearing after I took the belts off and spun the different items. Difficult to get out, especially this time, otherwise doable. A press is required.

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my car sounds exactly like yours and it has been doing so since 2018 or so, when I replaced the alternator which is why I always attributed the whistling noise to the alt. Now maybe I disturbed the balance with the belt upon reassembly thus causing noises at the water pump, but at least for the last 10 k km there was no further issue - David, your ball bearing looks like from some horror movie. So, keeping fingers crossed - I need the car this week to go skiing!

Good luck


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

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Again! Cool. Safe trip

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So the car is clearly making fun of me: I started it up and whoosh, the noise is gone. It will come back eventually, when it does I will use a stethoscope

And David, I would never have the balls (literally) to disassemble a water pump like that. I would just get a new one: Luckerly they don’t seem to be super expensive.

I had a press and the bearing kit. We really wanted to take the E. The kit needed some modification, the shaft was too long, but the rest was - relatively! - easy. A few tons on the press and heat didn’t do much so I had to get destructive once again, obviously there wasn’t anything salvageable.
This pump didn’t make noise all the time, only sometimes. But it got really bad that day, such that it scared us.

The impeller always breaks but the rest is not too horrible.
Pump removed: 11.30
Pump overhauled, shaft ground down: 1:46
Pump reinstalled in car: 3:30
As you can tell I‘m a slow worker but it was the first time I did it completely on my own :smiley:

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Well, I am in some shared garage under a condominium doing these jobs, I can’t wait until I can move into my own place and actually have my own garage to do these kinds of things…

I feel you, I‘m in the same situation - just know good people (with good garages!)

When/if it comes back, Alexander; also use some belt lubricant to see what happens - it may be belt noise…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

a quick and harmless way to check for belt and even bearing noises is to spray a thin stream of water from a $2 squirt bottle at the suspect, which will usually quieten the sound down for a few seconds, evaporates very quickly, just be work safe as the engine is running during this test

All you guys don’t want to spend some money to replace these
old items with new ones after many years on the car.
I;m sure you can get new ones.

In my opinion, the present issue is identifying the cause

Once identified I totally agree the part should be replaced

I would not agree that replacing every rotating part that might possibly be the culprit would be the best approach at this stage, as apart from possibly not fixing the noise, replacing perfectly good older parts with new reproductions can introduce new issues

Yes, exactly! I was going to do that, but I keep driving it around and not hearing anything… Maybe it was just some humidity stuck to the belt from sitting for a week, or something, because the noise is gone now


  1. I am against the oily commercial belt lubes used to slence a squealing belt. It is hard rubber that slis an makes the nise. The ube softens the rubber. but, it continues to soften, up to the point of failure.

  2. Way back, we rubbed a bar of a hard spap on the belt as it turned. Quiet, with no peranent dmage.

  3. Nosiy belts may be a sign tht the pu;ley sheave on one unit has worn to the point that the blt no longer fits the groove correctly/\$. Als in the pat, a water pump lube was avaiable. A water soluble ? oil. Add to the coolan. An emulsion so to speak. It seemed to work/

Just keep an ear on it, Alexander - you cannot do anything about a noise that is not there…:slight_smile:

Next time; you could check belt tension…?

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

Was great fun! -

We went seven of us in two cars and the Jag behaved wonderfully working down around two hours drive at 3500 RPM. Great exercise and no salt on the motorway!

In the course of the first leg the “brake” warning light went on. As the brakes were operating properly and the light went off after a few minutes I thought the warning light mechanism was malfunctioning. When the warning light lit up the next time I checked the brake fluid container and found it low. Isn’t it just great? - A quite sophisticated safety feature simply functioning after almost 50 years! … Of course, the downside of it is that the fluid must have gone somewhere:-( But this questions is left for Sunday.



75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

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Hey, that looks amazing. We went in August. We have table lands without the peaks of the Northern hemisphere. Didn’t take the Jag - the road up to Falls Creek is not ideal for low slung 2WD’s.