The dreaded A/C problem 1995 XJS convertible

OK I’m in the process of saving my Dads (rip) XJS 2x2 convertible. This car was his daily driver and the love of his life. I want to get it back up into top shape. But like everything else I have it is old and parts are damn near impossible to find. That being said, the A/C will not hold a charge, his mechanic said that it was the evaporator but I don’t trust him at all, he is the one who said that you cannot change a head gasket, once you take the head off you have destroyed the engine. Great mechanic. He is also avoiding me and will not call me back, he always “on vacation” or conveniently “out of the shop” He would just charge the system once a year and let it leak out. I personally would like to have a working A/C system. I have not started to take anything apart, I have to get a manual first and do a few other things before I start working on the A/C.
But if it is the evaporator is it possible to get it fixed? I know that getting a new or even used evaporator for a '95 Jag is next to impossible so am I S.O.L? Also wondering if I can fabricate another evaporator to fit and work. Any ideas would really help out. Thanks in advance.

I would initially “check his work”, if you don’t want to take it elsewhere. There is nothing especially unusual about your AC system. Any shop that can diagnose and repair an AC system can work on the car. No special tools, no special training required.

That being said, I would inject some AC dye and use a $5 UV flashlight to see where it’s coming out.

Common places:
(1) the condenser coil, relatively easy to replace
(2) the schrader valves on the high and low side

I’m not aware of other common places, but I would gamble on checking those before you decide to take on the brutal task of replacing the evaporator, which will require removal of the dash.

You would need to invest in an AC manifold. The one Harbor Freight sells is good, if you have one near you. If not, Amazon it is, or maybe craigslist? Let’s budget $60?

I don’t believe they make a refrigerant dye that you can inject without a manifold?

Once the dye is in, look around after an evening or two, and see if you can see any obvious glowing fluid. If you can’t find it, the evaporator might be the problem, then we can reconsider whether you really want to fix the problem.

If not, the manifold you bought will allow you to recharge your system yourself!

Is your '95 a V12 or an I6 4.0?

Sorry it is an Inline 6 4.0

He had the car in the shop for over 6 months because the top would not go up or down. He ended up saying it was a Non U.S. serviceable item and can not be fixed. I have the car now and checked the system myself. It has 0 hydraulic fluid in it. I have some on order and new old stock hydraulic lines just in case they are leaking.
I will have it refilled and checked out for myself.

What the hell are you doing with this mechanic. Its time to toss him to the curb. Where are you located?

He’s either over his head, or simply overcomplicating everything.

Regarding the top, I recall reading about some unique o-ring that you might want to get your hands on. I think if you search this forum, you may find it? I’ll see if I can look.

Here it is: Stinkin convertible pump seal!

Regarding the AC, I think you should invest in a manifold, some dye, and possibly some r134a refrigerant. Do NOT be tempted to put any sealers in your system.

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My Dad went to him for years, he did take care of my Dad. But after my Dad passed he became an ass. I have been trying to get the car from him for about 2 months. This last weekend I finally just got a trailer and went over and took the car back. He will never see that car again. 90% of the things this car needs I can do. Head gasket, rear main seal, and a bit of body work I can do all of that no problem. I will take it to a better shop next week and get the A/C system filled and check it out from there.

Welcome to the forum.
Just so you know the I6 is basically bullet proof, but have had HG problems, my ‘92 XJ40 with the AJ6 engine (earlier iteration of yours) blew its gasket at 160,000klms (100,000mls) but the bottom end was I believe designed to take diesel stresses.
I repaired the gasket and drove the car for another 7 years before upgrading.

Tim i just looked online and found evaporatos no problem just Google it. Welcome.

Finding the part is not the issue…removing the dash to replace it is.

Better make sure thats the problem before attempting that herculean task. Its doable, but it will take many hours and risk breaking harder to find parts, I’m sure.


Where? Everywhere I look they are “not available” or will not fit the 95. I found a bunch on evilbay but they are completely different than the one in the car.

I’m taking it to my normal shop (the one I actually use and trust) and having my mechanics refill the system and add dye. I will let it run for a bit and check it with a UV light. I have a feeling it is not the evaporator. I think the other guy wanted the car for parts. Once he found out my Dad passed he asked my Mother what she was going to do with the car, she was not 100% sure and that is when he started to bad mouth the car and found all kinds of things wrong with it. Then I reminded her that Dad actually gave me the car so it is now mine and I went and got it back.

I agree with you on the “Sealers” crap that stuff is not good. It is like that “fix a flat in a can” crap. I stay far away from them. LOL

Small update. Well actually a rather large update. GRRR. I had her running for a bit and noticed oil dripping out from between the trans and engine in the rear. Looks like the rear main seal is going. Not too big a thing I had plans of pulling the engine and trans anyway. But this will just put my time table up a few weeks/months. This might work out well anyway seeing as I think I have a head gasket going out as well. So might be pulling the engine and trans. It will be LOADS easier to work on the engine with it out of the car on a stand anyway. Good time to clean it and paint the engine as well make it all pretty.

If it is the evaporator the only way you will be able to see the dye is if the leak is bad enough to accumulate a sufficient quantity in to the case to have it seep out of the condensation drains. The better way to check is with an electronic leak tester. Freon is heavier than air so it tends to flow downward in very still conditions. Inserting the probe of the electronic leak detector up the drain tubes after the system is fully charged and has sat for 15-30 min to allow the Freon to accumulate in the case is the most effective way to find an evaporator leak. The same applies to other components, condenser- look for telltale wet spots at the connections and the entire finned area, I have seen dozens of condenser leaks behind auxiliary fans, compressor- check at the bottom of the clutch where the front ceramic seal is located and along the seams of the front and rear plates, receiver drier- both fittings and if it has a sight glass check around there, expansion valve- the line connections and the body itself, flexible pressure hoses- while checking for leaks at the crimps pull the rubber hose itself in all directions perpendicular to the fitting. A car this age could have multiple leaks but when it is charged to test for leaks make sure it is fully charged and the operating pressures are correct and the system is actually cooling.
The was the era of the introduction of R134a which is more corrosive and hydroscopic than R12. This process takes a lot of time because access to components is difficult and the multiple leaks issue makes it very difficult for the technician because the likelihood of undetected leaks is high. Good luck on this repair but bear in mind that costs can escalate quickly.

Tim, I just saw your last post, bigger fish to fry, but if you are committed to having the A/C working testing for leaks while the vehicle is still operable is essential and you will benefit by knowing what components need it be replaced beforehand.

Tim on this site
,A/C evaporator replacement from June 2020 ,i t has a link give it a try

Of all the used Jags I have owned (inc. XJSes, X-300s, XJ40s and XJ8s) I have NEVER had one that came with working a.c… The closest was Superblue, but after her first two weeks of driving her a.c. petered out, too. :angry: As to her system, I assumed she had a leaky compressor, but I bought some of that “tracing dye” and goggles and, after refilling the system with one of those little cans of refrigerant, never could see any signs of leaking. :crazy_face:

I’ve finally resigned myself that, if you want to own a used Jag, you just have to get used to “no a.c.” and keep the windows down, sunroof open, or top down … I’ve even told other people just that whenever they ask about my non-functioning a.c. (as well as, “I guess it doesn’t get quite as hot in the U.K. :uk: as it does in the U.S., so the Brits aren’t that keen on the designing of that part of their cars”. :roll_eyes: ) :laughing:

Six months??? :open_mouth: You got me wondering now whether my ex-roommate tech bud has finally found a job at a shop someplace … :laughing: You don’t happen to live in N TX do you, Tim? (welcome to JLers, btw) … :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I don’t understand … if you know how to and have the facilities of your own to do heavy engine work, how come you let him work on those “peripheral” issues? :confused: