Road Trip Preparations

I’ve been planning a road trip from the San Francisco Bay Area through Crater Lake and along the Columbia River Gorge. The closer my trip comes, the more tempted I am to drive my XJS. The car is a 92 V12 convertible. How ambitious do you think this is for an otherwise well maintained car and what type of preparations would you make prior to the journey?

Just recently it started throwing the code for the coolant temperature sensor so I am planning to replace that as well as flush the coolant system and do a general fluid and filter service. I am a bit budget conscious, but is there anything else you would consider essential prior to this drive? Any suggestions about spare parts you’d bring? One other piece of information is that while I have started the car regularly, it has only been driven a few hundred miles in the last 2 years.

Honest opinion? Your car is 29 years old, the parts are 29 years old. Unless most original parts have been replaced, i would not trust it. The trip will tell you what is about to go out.

I am slowly restoring my 88 XJS. Last things I need to restore are lower front suspension and entire rear suspension. Until then, i wont drive more than 40 miles.

Odds are you’ll be ok…but having driven 15+ year old cars on long trips, I’ve always had some original part go out.

As Greg said, it’s a classic but I certainly would not let that discourage you. I think you should take it on your trip and I trust you would be fine. I could go on about all the miscellaneous parts you should bring like a spare crank sensor etc but in the end, I think you should just bring the necessities.
The v12’s love long road trips. Please do it and take photos of your trip and post them.

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Yeah, i guess go for it. You only live once. But make sure your AAA is paid up. Expect the best, prepare for the worst.

How many miles is the planned trip? :confused: Congrats on being a fellow owner of a '92 5.3, btw … :+1: (wish mine even RAN … :roll_eyes:). I’d be nervous going out of town even with Superblue. :grimacing: In fact, next month I have a weekend conference to attend in Houston (about 250 miles away) for fun, and I so wish I could go there and back with Superblue, but it’s just too risky, IMHO, even with AAA + membership. :slightly_frowning_face:

Wimps, I drove my S11 XJ6 1975 for a 4 hour round trip a few years ago without any special prep, I had to use this as the XJR had a cracked rotor.

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Build up to the big trip in stages - most potential issues should come to light beforehand. Subject to that I wouldn’t hesitate - go for it.


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I drove my S3 XJ to England exactly two years ago, car definitely not in the best condition and only two slight mishaps that cleared up. 2500-3000 km total or one night each way. Once the engine is warm the distance doesn’t matter as much as one thinks


Long drives are easier on a car than short trips; that said long trips will usually show any cooling deficiency. Look long and hard at the radiator, hoses, fan/clutch, and condenser fan. If you have not had overheating issues in the past, I would do it!


Well for myself I won’t do more than a two hundred miles from home… So many things are old especially rubber suspension parts… I want to be within a reasonabledistance in case of having to trailer it home. Finding mechanics that can repair it without waiting two weeks is another problem… if you have the money to backup yourself and can have it transported… Go for it. One other thing… The only thing I worry about on mine is … WILL IT OVERHEAT… otherwise I don’t concern myself about the other stuff

I had a freeze plug leaking but overall I believe the car benefited from the long distance and all the failures that did occur would have happened anyways. I trusted the car a lot more afterwards too so driving was even more enjoyable. If the car doesn’t have a record of regular breakdowns just go for it. Autoclub memberships are essential no matter how far you drive.

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4 whole hours?

You wild man.


Wiggles: When you take the Jee-Type to Bonneville, will you be driving it to Bonneville? How far is that from where you live?

God no!

1600-mile RT: it’ll be flat-towed behind my RV.
It’ll be my trailer!

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Awesome! Thank you for all of the replies. I was expecting your responses to be much more discouraging, but I think you’ve actually talked me into it. Round trip the distance will be approximately 1600 miles. Except for the drive through Crater Lake, nearly all of the miles will be freeway miles. Cooling has been my biggest concern too as there are a couple legs on this trip with very long steep grades, but I’m planning to hit them both early in the morning. Being late September, I’m hoping milder weather will also prevail.

I replaced all of the suspension components and did the brakes when I purchased the car. I have also replaced the fuel tank, fuel pump, and filter. I’ll focus on the cooling system and general maintenance for now. I have a spare water pump and I will be bringing with me a bevy of other spare parts. I have just enough credit to have it transported home if I break down and once I hit the Oregon border I’ll only be a couple hours away from friends. I plan to spend the week before leaving, driving it regularly, including in traffic, to see if I can catch any other problems.

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Excellent! I recommend new hoses - petrol and coolant - it won’t overheat on grades. Grease what needs grease and have basic tools, maybe belts too.

Good plan. You bond to those cars when doing long trips, and they ‚like‘ it too. A V12 XJS has to be one of the best cars for it.

If you usually do short trips, pack some oil, half of it will evaporate 6 hours in and in my cars when I got them first half of it will be burned on the first long distance runs. If you have high oil consumption at first that almost always improves a lot.

One more set of tips… spares… Carry some brake fluid … dot 4 isn’t it… Spare belts… Tail light bulb… Manuals if you have them… roll of stovepipe wire(used to hold things temporarily)… Pliers screwdrivers and wrenches… Duct tape… Band aids(for scraped knuckles). Extra keys… Jumper cables … Paper towels… Help sign.

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Major credit cards.


Its a small island!!! I did a 24 hour ‘drive’ (included 4 hour ferry crossing) from my brothers in the South Island to home a few years ago but that was in a younger car it was only just over 20 yeas old at the time. That was just over 1000 kilometres

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A ferry crossing: THAT sounds like a fun thing to do!

Hard to find, in Colorado…:wink: