My First 1990 XJS V12 in Black Any Advise Welcome

Hello everyone,

Always wanted one. I just purchase this XJS for $2200.00 from a guy who invested over 5K and gave me about 1K in new parts. He purchased the vehicle from the original owner in Sonora, CA. The vehicle only has 78k miles and for its age looks great. The original owner had one mechanic work on it and when the mechanic retired the owner let it sit under a carport protected from the elements undercover (I think he said for 20 years). The seller that I got it from invested most of his time on the electrical and it shows that he did everything properly, the car runs but his mechanic recommended a complete exhaust system. The car runs well, but once the exhaust is replaced I am sure it will run better. He also did extensive work on the fuel system as well.

Doing oil change and going to work on upgrading cooling system before it goes on the road.

Any advice is much appreciated, I am an elementary teacher and also in the Army NG. When I first saw this car years ago, I had no clue what it was, but I had to have one!



By the way, he was moving out of state and wanted it to go to a good home. After more than 200 calls and texts, I was the only one willing to make the 3 hour drive to go get it.

Welcome Ruben,

I’ve been enjoying my '89 convertible for almost two years now - took a couple of months to get sorted enough to drive reliably, now I feel I could drive it just about anywhere. I really like the coupes in black and love the basket-weave wheels. I have the two-tone basket-weave but not the shiny ones you do. Have fun.

Wow, yours is very clean! any recommendations for the cooling system? I was planning to upgrade to a better radiator but was not sure of the brand that would be a straight fit.


It’s hard to imagine an XJS waking up from such a long sleep with a new owner stating how well she runs.

If you are interested in obtaining a new radiator I would recommend contacting AC Global Metals Inc. and ask for Lesley Cabrera. They are located at 10630 Santa Fe Ave, South Gate CA 90280 (323) 569-9916.
Lesley is the woman when it comes to making custom ac condensers and radiators to fit the XJS. She took over her fathers business and really knows her stuff.

Hello Ruben and welcome to the great friendly knowledgeable site of Jag-Lovers - notice that you have a yellow cooling fan - do your best to get that removed and put in the upgraded black fan - the yellow fan has been known to crack and explode, causing damage to the car (worse yet to you if in the vicinity when it happens) - take a look at “Experience in a Book” on this site - a very helpful book, written by Kirbert “Kirby” Palm, as a great source for maintaining your car - there other great links here also, by other members, that will greatly help - again, take care of changing that fan.


You will find plenty of guides, instructions and challenges to face. Your toolbox will grow and grow to a size of a lorry. Hours, days, months just for you and your XJS, divorce maybe.
However, in case something goes wrong - make sure you have most important circuit-breaker as per photo below:

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The PO let it sit for 20+ years outside under a carport??? :open_mouth: We need to find that sad sack and give him a major beatdown … :angry: Oh well, at least he had nice taste in Jag wheels - he has the post-face lift version on it. :wink:

btw, so why does your mechanic think the exhaust system needs to be replaced, rust, or some other issue? :confused:

oh, btw, welcome to the forum :smile:

Better not be rust. That whole system is stainless.

That’s what I was thinking, too, Palmdude … UNLESS part of it was replaced with non-SS material earlier for some reason. :thinking:

btw, that brings up an interesting question I’ve had for a long time, not being a welder myself: if and when it becomes necessary to r/r some part of our SS exhaust system, how do they weld in (if required) the new component(s)? I thought I remember reading a long time ago that welding SS is quite “challenging” … and then there’s the issue of the medium used … Do they have flux that is made 100% out of SS as well (or at least some other medium that also does not rust)? I think this question originally popped into my mind when I was checking out Delorean cars with their SS bodies. :oncoming_automobile: How do you handle any needed bodywork on those ones? :confused:

Hi Ruben and welcome,

Looks like a very very nice, clean and unmolested car!

Change yellow fan as suggested. (Range Rover P38 fan is a direct fit)
Change Fuel hoses.
Radiator might need only cleaning, but must be definitely checked.
Check Steering rack bushings.
Change the Break fluid.
Change Transmission filter and fluid.

Download the Book.

Yes but Oil Pressure, Temp and Voltage gauges don’t seem to be working…

Complete? Why?
As mentioned, the factory exhaust is indeed stainless.

Good luck!

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I flunked materials class, but as I understand it: There are two general types of stainless. One is truly made of nonferrous alloys, but the other – more common – type is actually ferrous, it just has a different crystalline structure that makes it impervious to corrosion. Weld on it and the crystalline structure is messed up, it’ll rust like plain steel now.

Your Jag has “Marelli” ignition (as opposed to earlier “Lucas” ignition) which requires special attention. Failure of the system can bring serious consequences.

Tons of info in the archives and Kirby’s book for you to read. At minimum, tho, remove the distributor cap and make sure the rotor isn’t burning-through.


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If the car actually sat for 20 years, I would not trust the fuel and the fuel system. I’d replace all fuel lines, filters, drain the tank, and blow out as much as you can. All it takes is a bit of varnish to clog up the fuel injectors. You should also try and determine if the tank is leaking. My car sat for 7 years before I bought it. Water had found it’s way under the tank via a leaky rear windshield, which is a common leak. That was enough to pinhole the bottom of the tank.

The way I read Ruben’s post is that the original owner is the person who let the car sit for the 20 years - then the second owner is the one who cleaned up the fuel section and the electrical section and whose mechanic recommended the exhaust system overhaul - so in essence, Ruben’s plan to rework the cooling system is a good step to getting most everything up to par, along with his doing normal maintenance items such as fluid and filter changes.

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Ahhh, then nevermind. Car looks great. Then yes, I’d concentrate on cooling system and Marelli ignition system, and then everything else can slowly happen over time.

Oh, and def replace that yellow fan, and with all the issues we’ve been hearing about the Teves brake system, I would flush the brake fluid, drive a bit, and flush again.

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Thank you for the feedback and your time with the comments. I will make a list based on your recommendations, and begin looking at each!


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Yes me too, I was expecting the worst under the hood, but when the gentlemen turn on the vehicles it sounded good. He did some extensive work to get it running on electrical and fuel system. I will keep that in mind thank you!


Thank you, yes the little that I started reading automatically made me think about upgrading the cooling system.

Hahaha! yes, I am a bit nervous about this vehicle with cost, but I am up for the challenge!