No stake down kit. How does my engine sound?

(XJDanny) #1


My ‘87 XJ6 has 27k miles. I’ve had it since July and I don’t know most of the service history so I don’t know if a stake down kit was installed. I felt around inside the oil cap and I’m pretty certain it doesn’t have a stake down kit. Someone told me with the mileage being so low that a stake down kit isn’t necessary at this point in the car’s life as long as it isn’t giving any warning sounds. Do you agree? Here is a video of the sound of the engine. It was warm. The sound is the same when it’s cold. I don’t hear anything alarming while I’m driving. Does the engine sound healthy? There is certainly a ticking sound but is it normal? I don’t know what these engines are supposed to sound like.

Thank you for your input!


(Robin O'Connor) #2

Lift the cam covers and check the valve clearances, it sounds very tappety to me.

(Rob Reilly) #3

Yes, the tappets are too loud. You can get a mechanic’s stethoscope or a long screwdriver held in your ear, put the tip on the cam covers and listen to each valve. Some may be loud and others quiet, but keep a record of it.
Then if you decide to pull the cam covers off, you can measure the clearance on each.
Hold down kits were mostly for the 1970s era cars when there was bad quality control and union problems at the factory, combined with owners letting the cars overheat badly.
That’s not to say others never need it, or you don’t need it, but don’t jump to that conclusion yet.

(Paul Wigton) #4

Pretty noisy: Id pull the cam box covers, and look for tappet guides with damage.

It will be obvious, if a lobe is smacking it/them.

(Frank Andersen) #5

Doesn’t sound alarming to me, Danny…

But 27K on an 87 is suspiciously low, and without a service history there is no saying it is genuine - it does not sound like it. I would be more concerned if the engine was dead quiet. But as it’s a new, and unknown acquisition; a routine check of compression and indeed valve lash at some time is warranted, but not urgent…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

(XJDanny) #6

I want to thank you all for your help. The valve cover is ugly and I want to replace it anyway so I’ll ask my mechanic to replace it and while he does, inspect everything for any damage. I don’t know what’s involved in checking the compression, but I’ll ask him to do that as well.

Whether or not to install a stake down kit is confusing me a little. Some people have written they are required on the exhaust side on US cars with catalytic converters because with at least higher mileage cars the heat causes the tappets to move up and hit. I think I’m hearing from everyone’s responses it isn’t necessarily a necessity. Do you all agree?

I’m happy to hear whatever is causing the noise isn’t an urgent concern if it’s even a concern at all. I was beginning to worry I shouldn’t drive it until the noise is addressed.

Frank, I do believe the mileage is accurate even though I’ll never be able to verify it. While the engine compartment looks it’s age, the rest of the car is pristine. Other than the boot, which I had repainted, the paint is original and looks brand new. And the interior looks new too. I bought the car from a dealer who bought it from the second owner. I talked to the second owner on the phone and he told me he owned it for 25 years and only put about 5,000 total miles on it. He said it mostly just sat in his garage. Since I didn’t buy it from him, he had no reason to not be truthful with me. The fact that the car sat unused so much caused other problems, some of which I’ve had to deal with and correct. I’ve shared much of it on this forum and you all have been a tremendous help getting everything sorted out.

I wouldn’t want to own this car without all your help so thank you again!

I’ll report back what I end up finding.

(Jochen Glöckner) #7


indeed the stakedown kits are probably as unknown in Europe as they are common in the US; it seems the problem occurred mostly as a consequence of the higher exhaust side temperatures caused by the catalytic converters exclusive for US cars.

What do you mean by “replace the valve covers”? I wouldn’t be sure you get original parts in the first place and I wouldn’t swap the originals for replacement parts of doubtful quality. This is mostly a one-weekend paint and patience job.

The more you get to work on this car - and maybe even if you just have other people work on this car - you’ll find it helpful to know what you or they are doing. The factory Repair Operation Manual is still available in print or on CD-ROM and the factory Parts Catalogue is available online As for electrical quirks the S57 wiring pattern will come in handy sooner or later. If you only show them to the mechanics, they will either be glad they have something to work with (in the better case) or know at least they cannot fool you completely (in the worse case).

Good luck

75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

(XJDanny) #8


Thank you for the response. Good advice about the valve cover. If I replace it, I’ll do it with an OEM part.

I actually do have the shop manual and the parts catalog. They’ve been invaluable several times already. Not quite as much as this forum, but definitely a great tool.

Happy New Year!