I took my 1990 model XJ40 with 448,000Km (280,000mi) into the local mechanics for some jobs beyond my equipment and confidence for working on the vehicle myself. I’ve been driving it as my only vehicle for nine years in which time it’s done 64,000Km (40,000mi) of country driving (very country - some rough Australian roads). I suspect that I got a bit of a “go away” quote.
Whirring noise from the rear end while at speed (I replaced the rear wheel bearings without any effect, and couldn’t find any play in the universal joints. I did notice cracks in the prop shaft flexible coupling)
Clunking noise from the front when going over big bumps.
They came back with the following major things that needed doing:
Replace all four shock absorbers (the back ones are annoying because they replaced them 50,000Km ago, but apparantly those are leaking as well as the front ones which caused the noise over bumps)
Replace rear wheel bearings (apparantly the noise was coming from the left rear wheel bearing, but as I’d already replaced that while chasing the same problem I’m doubtful that I could have stuffed things up the same way they they were before)
Four new tyres (rubber perished)
After a week of getting quotes they called me back with an alleged parts cost of $6,200. They suspiciously wouldn’t break this down for me, so given what good shock absorbers are advertised at online I’m pretty sure there’s a bit of a “go away” charge because they’re busy and said themselves that they don’t really want the job because it could tie up a hoist for weeks. They seem to think I should be willing to spend $10,000 - $15,000 on fixing those issues as well as other unknown issues likely to crop up while they do the work.
I do expect that other issues will pop up with the whirring noise, which I suspect is from the diff. The right output shaft bearing on the diff failed about five years ago, and they replaced it (for a much more reasonable sub-$2,000 fee including labour), but I noticed a new whirring noise as soon as I got it back. My opinion is that this same whirring noise has been gradually getting worse until now it’s quite uncomfortable at 100Km/h and I suspect it’s getting close to a failure of whatever it’s coming from. Maybe it’s from that bearing which was replaced, or it could be something that was affected when bits of the old bearing apparantly shattered, or it could be the output shaft bearing on the other side which is presumably due to go as well.
I’m not looking to get my money back on the thing down the track so around $6,000 total wouldn’t be out of the question. But for $10k - $15k I ought to be able to find a much lower km XJ40 with hopefully much more life in the diff (etc.)*. So is it worth chasing up other mechanics out of town, or would that be a waste of time? From what I hear there’s a shortage of trained mechanics here in Victoria, Australia at the moment so I might get a similar response anywhere. But if I’m living in dream land and that really is what it would cost to do a decent job (even myself, if I had the know-how), then I definately won’t bother.
*One’s advertised locally at the moment with 164,032Km (102,000mi) and claimed to be running well, but it’s unregistered so I’m highly suspicious.