Pondering an XK8/XKR purchase

I’m expecting to hear from my insurer that my ‘06 Radiance Pearl VDP was totaled by a falling tree. I’m pondering the switch from big sedans to an XK ragtop. I’m here looking for a little guidance on things to watch for in a purchase and understand about its weak spots. I am primarily interested in models with the 4.2 engine, and years ‘04-09, but willing to look at ‘97-03. I realize there’s a separate list for the ‘07-upwards and will post this there as well.

I am aware of the timing chain issue on the 4.0, nikasil, green rain, and the fact a “sealed for life” ZF HP26 transmission really needs to have fluid/filter replaced at 60K. Are there any other real biggies out there me or my mechanic should be looking for? Is the supercharger reliable over an extended period were I to get an R? Is the early cup holder design easily repairable/replaceable?

My personal desires in the way of equipment on the car are Bluetooth (it can pipe phone calls into my hearing aids); and a 6-CD changer. A heated steering wheel would be nice. I know Jag navigation is a joke and I just use my phone anyway. Are there other creature comforts a 70-year-old might like? Is it possible even over short distances to place a small adult turned mostly sideways in what otherwise might be the grocery bag back “alleged” seating area?

I thank everyone in advance for their willingness to offer advice.

Eliot Brenner
Annandale, Va.

Cant help ya much with answers, but as a fellow hearing aid user, your requirement tickled me!

Paul: I’ve had BT on my hearing aids for several years now and become dependent on it. I have a hard-line phone in my home for my wife, but I absolutely cannot hear worth a darn on these portable phones that are popular around the house. I ask people to call me back on my cell to get the audio straight into the ear! Having it in the car gives me automatic hands-free calling. I also have trouble hearing the cell if I am holding it to my ear with the BT off.




Untill my BT aids, having an in-car conversation was impossible: I could have the speakerphone set to 11, but then it was so distorted, I might as well not have the call.

It truly was worth the few years’ wait, till BT capability became affordable.

Have you searched the archives under “XK8?” You may well find tons of info.

I have done some wandering around the archives/lists and talking with friends. I just wanted to take a run past some of the lists like this and Jag-lovers to see if I could find — or others would offer — any major warnings about the XK/8 series before I take the plunge.


I bet if you troll through this link, you will find TONS of help!


Thank you, sir. Good reading. Seeing so many posts re problems with the convertible top may make me rethink this! Or not.

Again, I appreciate being steered to this particular group of messages.

Eliot Brenner
Annandale, VA

The coupe is prettier…:wink:

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I would just find myself a new or late model sedan with all the goodies you want and need. and my suggestion is a new or newer Toyota Avalon Limited like mine. Yes, I have sports cars, but for everyday, you can’t beat a reliable sedan and the moonroof will help you with the convertible experience.

Elliot, If I may, I had most of those models either new or used from the dealership.
1997 to 2000 are ok but the 2001 had the face lift with chrome surrounds and flush fog lamps. Also included were the revised motor without the engine wall issues. The seats were MUCH BETTER as well.
The 2001 XK8 without the dated nav and three gages were the best of the bunch to me, there were some 2002 without nav but rare.
There are guys who convert the center dash to gages but that’s a bit of work.
The 4.2 cars are great but to ME a bit long in the tooth with the lower spoilers and all.
That’s IMHO.
All the convertables had one huge issue…….the hose lines UNDER THE RUG for the power top.
They used to blow under pressure and fill the WHOLE floor pan and rugs with OIL . It would stink and ALL the rugs would be replaced UNDER warranty back in the day.
They are so cheap today that ANY version is worth the ride!
Alloy later xk8 are GREAT but a different feel.
I liked the normal asperation, the XKR was nice but less headache with the xk8
Good luck.
Just a wonderful car.
Tensioners to metal along with fuel pumps that are current and away you go

Thanks for responding. I failed to note that I have a Prius for running around town, and was thinking of a rag top for fun. I can always just replace the VDP with another one. In fact there’s an ‘08 XJ8L about 60 miles from me in very good shape that’s a candidate. I’ve just been toying with the convertible idea for a while and this seems like a good opportunity.

Again, thanks for chiming in.

Hi Eliot. Good to hear from you again. Still working for the government or are you enjoying a well earned retirement? Sorry to hear about the demise of the VDP. Same sort of thing happened to my 98 XK8 convertible; a truck backed into it and was written off.

You have obviously read about the timing chain guides, ect, and don’t need to be reminded again. One thing I had to do to my car after I got it was to replace the hydraulic fluid for the top. My mechanic simply drained and replaced it and I had no trouble. One thing to remember, the same as on the sedans, is only certain shops are set up to do alignments, as it requires down force on the front end. Another problem, like the sedans, it doesn’t come equipped with a blonde for the passenger seat. That is owner equipment. You can get two sets of golf clubs in the trunk.

I also use my smart phone for satnav. Constantly updated, no fees, no fuss. The turn by turn directions are through my hands free speaker. Wish I had a 6 disk changer for my present 04 X Type wagon.

Good luck and let us know how your purchase works out.


Hi Eliot… I have a 2006 XK8 Convert… I love it! I did have to have the tubing for the top lock on the windshield replace, the USA distributor authorized it under warrant. Only other problem I’ve had is the brake light switch, it won’t let the cruise control work… needs replacing… I’ve put 70k miles on it, runs like a top, 26 to 28 mpg at 70 + mph. The nav is a joke… 1995 tech, with no updates, and yes a “small” person can ride in back for a couple miles… as long as they have very short legs…LOL. I won’t get rid of mine…

Grahame — thanks so much for checking in. I just can’t understand why Jag did not make blondes a standard feature. Those Brit engineers have always done things strangely!

Good to hear the trunk will hold a couple of sets of clubs. I haven’t played in a few years but it is good to know I can bring them with me. I had forgotten about the alignment downforce issue. Thanks for the reminder.

I heard from the adjuster last night. $7700 US to repair, but he doubts the value will come up to about $10,300 which is what would be necessary to keep repairs under 75% of the value for the shop repair the beast. I will hear from him today with final word. I am tempted to extract the CD changer from the trunk when I go to the shop to take off the license plates and rescue a really good jumper cable out of the spare tire well. I pulled it once before and it’s not that hard, but I don’t want to get caught stripping the car! I think the stock wiring loom has a plug for a changer if you want to do it yourself. I was looking at an ’08 XJ8L that has a radio unit with a button for a CD changer, but the car is listed as only having the CD player in the head unit.

I’ll post when I have this all sorted out just to close the circle with my Jag friends.



Hi Eliot,
I love the earlier XK8 and XKR. The ones prior to 03’. Everyone else however, or at least the majority will give you many reasons to own the 03’-06’ saying they are superior. Cool. Let them buy them. But not me!!
The earlier models with the 4.0 are excellent cars and capable of very high mileage!! I have had many of them now!!


The coupes are prettier…:wink:

Grahame: I failed to answer the employment question. I retired in July 2016. I’ve done a bit of consulting since for the two international nuclear organizations and returned to my journalism roots a little, but I’ve since managed to recover from the urge to work!

MMMMMM, The debate with my friends at JAGUAR rages on about………A 4 seater coup or the new F TYPE.
Having the back seat and space is useless BUT JUST so much more space to breath.
That coupe is wonderful. I loved my 01 convert, you felt great with the REAL WOOD dash, They were the last elegant cars Jaguar made.
All the new ones are ehhhh .
I own my 2018 xf sport wagon and my wife has the F PACE
Nice but not as special anymore.

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