As some of the Forum members may have noticed, I have been quite active with my newly acquired 1989 3.6 US model, Westminster Blue exterior and Barley leather interior. I would like to share a little rolling restoration project description of this car.
I have had previously Mercedes-Benz 1984 500SEC, 1988 300CE, and a 1982 280SL Roadster which I still have. These cars are relatively simple, and like many others I have had a fear of over-engineered Jaguars. However, the lines of the XJ40 have always caught my attention, but for many years I wasn’t too serious about it. However, I sold my 300CE last December. That car served me very well for nine years. I was left with my daily driver Volvo and the summer cruiser 280SL. During the winter and spring, I checked advertisements of the Series I-III and XJ40. Finally I pulled the trigger and bought the XJ40 in June. It had 117000 original miles and a service history.
The previous owner said that when he started to drive the car after the winter brake he noticed that the temperature gauge went over the 90 mark but not up to the 120 mark. He suspected that the car has a head gasket failure and he did not have the time, space and the WILL to work on the car. So, I went to check the car and noticed that the engine was running smoothly. Of course, I checked the body thoroughly, too.
I did not want to drive the car, and it was towed to my home.
The car had been serviced in an independent Jaguar dealer throughout the years. I went over to the dealer to get printouts of the precise service records. The car has been driven very little during the last ten years, and the thermostat had been changed in 2011. I renewed the thermostat and have not noticed anything special about the temperature ever since. I put the old thermostat to hot water and noticed that it did not open properly.
Soon after I had replaced the thermostat I got the “Tokyo lights syndrome” on the digital instrument pack. I tried to figure it out by following instructions on a French XJ40 site but could not solve the problem. I ended up buying several digital instrument packs. By combining the circuit boards of these packs I finally got a fully working one. Of course, the current pack has my original Central Processing Unit (CPU) which means that the car has the correct mileage.
During the last three months I have done the following: replaced water rail gaskets, inlet manifold gasket, valve cover gasket, spark plug O-rings, the “half-moon gaskets” of the valve cover, NGK spark plugs, leads, distributor cap and rotor, oil filter and engine oil, NGK Lambda sensor, engine belts, passenger side front door handle, differential oil, Bosch fuel pump, fuel and air filters, O-rings of the A/C pipes that connect to the compressor and the thermal expansion valve, the A/C dryer, compressor oil, A/C retrofit adapters, brake fluid and brake caliber bleed screws, micro-switch of the wiper motor assembly, front register plate, all the fuses, front wheel ABS sensor wire, and the infamous hose between the water pump and the water rail and the thermostat to water pump bypass hose.
I have also renewed the spare tyre, painted the plastic cowl below the windscreen, conversed the brake booster system, dismantled the unnecessary oil cooler and HSMO systems, repaired the blower motors, refurbished the fuel injectors, washed all the carpets, and renewed some of the trims in the boot.
I think the car is reliable now. The battery is in good condition, and the steering and transmission fluids look and smell good. However, I plan to renew the transmission fluid and the filter, of course. Additionally, I have ordered in the engine mounts. Overall, I don’t think the XJ40 is that difficult to work on.