The Return of "Harlem"

Hi Guys,

LTNpost on this forum (I’m usually posting about my XJSes on that forum). I finally was able to have a replacement key (and buy another used fob) for Harlem, my '00 XJ8 (black/black, 160K miles), earlier this month. :joy: She has been in “hibernation” for almost 2 years now, being a non-starter and in storage until I could find a way to have my lost key (my sole one) replaced, which happened later on. :crying_cat_face: I tried calling around to all the Jag dealerships here in the DFW area, and unlike back then, for once one of them actually has a Tibbe key cutting machine and someone who knows how to operate it (try Park Place Jaguar near DFW Airport, if needed). That was half the battle, as I also did not know the key cut code for her (hence why it’s always a good idea to decode your key and write the #s down in a safe place, or at least take photocopies of two sides of it). Park Place was actually able to look up the key code online for me by putting in Harlem’s VIN # into their computer registry system. $120.00 later, new key! :joy:

So, this evening I had Harlem towed to my apt. from where I had her in storage all this time. I knew the battery was totally bad by now, so put in a new one. However, when I first turned the key on, I knew something else was wrong with her. Before she would crank, but not turn over. Now, she would not even crank :open_mouth: (I did have a mechanic friend look at her while she was in storage - he opined her starter was bad, and r/red it with a top notch used one, btw). Still no start, though. :slightly_frowning_face:

I called another friend to come over tonight and give Harlem a look over with me, as best we could in the dark. He noticed that the shifter seemed rather “loose”, i.e. the handle would glide smoothly through the gear selections on the J-Gate w/o firmly “latching” into any of them. I told him I don’t remember it being like that when she ran (btw, the car was actually given to my late brother by me for his use, I had only driven it myself a handful of times). He tried to get under the car as best he could, and with a flashlight emerged to opine that it looked like (someone?) had possibly disconnected the cables/connectors on the underside of the shifter. :confused: I have no idea why someone would have done that, except (1) the earlier tech, as part of r/ring the starter (and forgot to reattach them) OR (2) being she was stored behind another car at a residence, and, not having a key to disengage the steering interlock and, w/o a key, the shifter not being able to be moved out of “park”, someone got under there to disconnect them so Harlem could be pushed out of the way to allow the other car out of its spot (?) (and, again, not reconnected afterwards). :disappointed: My
friend suggested we try pushing the car while she was in “park”, and, sure enough, she could be pushed, meaning the trans was NOT actually in park. :thinking: Turning the key on again, I noticed this time the error message “gearbox not functioning”, or some such on the dash. I take it that Harlem’s computer was somehow able to detect that the cables/connectors from the shifters were indeed disconnected, and hence the message. (?)

I also wonder if the reason Harlem is not cranking is that, detecting the problem with the “gearbox”, some sort of mechanism activated through her computer was preventing the starter from cranking, possibly for safety reasons, sort of like the safety interlock does if the brake pedal is not depressed when taking the tran out of park. (?) Does that sound plausible?

One thing I did notice whenever I was turning the key on is that I did NOT hear the sound of her fuel pump priming, although the fuel gauge showed at least some fuel in the tank. :grimacing: I can’t remember though whether I used to be able to hear the sound (my driver’s door was open tonight) from inside the cabin back when she was running, but I was thinking I did. I know I can always hear it in my XJSes. Even if the fuel pump is not working, I noticed after turning the key on a few times I could strongly smell fuel from inside the cabin. If the pump is not working, I don’t see how it is possible for fuel to be moving through the system. My friend and I looked under the car with the flashlight and down inside the engine compartment, but could see no signs of leakage. dripping on the ground, etc. Very strange. :open_mouth: At one point, I wondered if maybe we should disconnect the battery and stop the attempt, for fear of starting off a fire. :fire: until we knew more about the source of the smell. I then decided to call it a night.

Anyway, your thoughts and guidance please on all the above issues. After we get to where Harlem will at least crank, then we can move on to the non-start condition, if need be. If we can get her to at least crank we can do the usual quick tests to see if current is even getting to the plugs. I can also see whether the tach is pulsating while cranking or just laying flat - if the latter, then possibly a bad C.P.S. involved. :thinking:

The keys need to be configured to the car. The RFID ‘chip’ in the key needs to be recognized or the engine will not crank or start!!!

There’s no chip in her (Tibbe) keys, Motorupman, before or after … Harlem is a MY 2000 XJ8. ? I think Jag didn’t start doing the chip thing until MY 2003 or so (i.e. w. the X-350s). :confused:

(period, end of discussion)

The keys from 2001 onward also have a different MEGAMOS RFID known as ‘rolling-code’ RFID. (MEGAMOS 48 I believe)

The 1998 to 2000 should be MEGAMOS 13? (don’t quote me on that)

My advise is to NEVER have less than 2 keys configured to the car. (I keep 2 MASTER and 1 VALET keys configured to ALL my X308s and XKR)

I just get the keys at the dealer cut and I configure them to my cars myself because I have three GENRAD GDS3500 WDS units (1996 to2006) and two ROTUNDA IDS (1995 to 2009) units.

ALL X308s and 1998 onward X100s (1997 XK8 did not have RFID keys in NA) have RFID keys. The X300 sedans (or XJS) here in NA did not have that feature. It all started in 1998 onward.

Well, I was gonna say, if there was a chip required why did Park Place Jaguar sell me a replacement key and cut it w/o giving me also a new chip (or at least asking me about it), Motor? It would be totally useless as a key w/o one, if what you say is correct. :crazy_face: And, secondly, where exactly IN the Tibbe key is the chip located? It appears to just be a simple, skinny, solid (brass?) key with a flat head (growler both sides) on it that is - or at least looks like - the same exact one like I used for my XJ40s and X-300 ? Chipped keys usually have a “raised area” on them where the chip is located (inside). There is no way something could be put “inside” this key. This makes no sense … :confused:

I guess I’ll call the guy at PP that cut the key for me and ask him about this. Turned out, btw, him and his wife (last name “Park”, no relation to “Park Place”, btw :slightly_smiling_face:) were auto injury clients of mine like 10 years ago. I wondered why when he handed me the key he asked me “do you still happen to have that old black XJ40?” (Layla, my first Jag - '88 MY) and I wondered HITH he knew about her. :open_mouth:

btw, why has nobody else responded to my issues listed? There doesn’t appear to be anywhere near the activity on this forum as there is on the XJS one. Are there really that few of us that own X-300/X-350s anymore? :disappointed: Do I need to visit the forum for X-308s instead?

Maybe I just need to peddle Harlem and move on to an XK8 or, for a sedan, back to a facelift XJ40 ? :confused: I did have a guy offer me $1K for her, non-running, several months ago. I laughed at it but now I’m wondering whether I would have been smarter to have taken him up on the offer. :slightly_frowning_face: Sad thing is when I got her only six years ago she (as with all X-308s) was a pretty hot commodity. :triumph: Something must have changed for the worse in the interim. :thinking:

I don’t think that Jaguars site will be of any help…

But, yes, Jaguar forums seems a little more active for the x300/305/308

Sorry I don’t have much to offer as far as your problem goes. I guess I’d start with neutral safety switch.

It’s easiest to spot on the green valet key. This is a European X300 key, which also had the chip.

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There are alternatives, and what comes to mind is a hair shirt, and some ropes or cords for self-flagellation. I truly admire your admiration for these cars, and all the dedicated attention you shower on them. Best of luck.

Sounds like Jag decided to dive into the chip world first with their European X-300s (as I’m sure my old N.A. '96 X-300, “Scrapper”, definitively was not chipped). :thinking:

Well, after checking around some more and talking to the man who owns my mail center that I use - and who also cuts and sells replacement car keys (working in conjunction with a guy who handles the “chip” end of the service) - he informs me that key chips are much smaller than I ever thought them to be - almost as small as a “speck” (he even drew a pic of one for me). :open_mouth: This was even true 20 years ago, he let me know. Until now, I had always figured they were around the size of a small fob or wristwatch battery. :thinking: Wow. This has me wondering now if what the anti-vaxers are claiming about the feds putting chips in our Covid vaccine to keep tabs on us is maybe in fact true. :crazy_face: So, basically Jag decided to just imbed the “grain-of-rice-sized” chips in our Tibbe keys when manufactured, starting in MY 1998 (N.A. market). Wish they would have let us owners in on that fact.

Anyway, given that my “cat is chipped”, I now have to figure out what to do with my new key to use it, since apparently this is not something we can do for ourselves - unlike programming a new key fob to work with our car. From what I’m told the dealership will need to program Harlem herself to work with the key, so no just taking the key to them to do it. :grimacing: I wonder how difficult it would be to remove Harlem’s computer and just have someone take me to the nearest Jag dealership with it in hand + the key, to do the job. :confused: Otherwise, I’m going to have to have her towed there (and back, since she still has running “issues”). :angry: All for stupid want of a key … :frowning_face:

And then there’s the issue of how much the dealership will charge me to program the new key to Harlem. Anyone have any idea how much that typically runs? :money_with_wings: I take it there’s probably no other source where I can have it done cheaper. :disappointed:

Thanks, Ronald … some say I’m a “fool” for them … esp. when you look around see no one else in this area driving a Jag. :grimacing: I just found out today we have an Ebay vendor that is only about 50 miles down the highway due east of me that has almost 2K XJ8/XK8 parts in stock. He gets in typically 100 or so new ones in a day. :open_mouth: Wish I had known about this guy/his biz many years earlier. His prices are reasonable (and negotiable, on top of that), he gives 30-day warranties on everything, usually no charge for shipping or even for returns. I feel like I’ve died and gone to Jaguar Heaven now (not related to that salvage place in Stockton CA, btw :smiley: ). Based on what he has, looks like once I get Harlem running again I could fix her up to where she looked almost new, on the cheap, absent a paint job. :thinking: In fact, I might just sell/ditch both my XJSes and become strictly an XJ8/XK8 man … :laughing:

Be very careful what you wish for, as I am the owner of an XK8, and can tell you first-hand that nothing has improved in Jaguars. Like their predecessors, they can be bought for parts car prices already. Jaguar/Ford went overboard on loading these cars up with a lot of electronics, and once things go wrong, it is almost impossible to diagnose the problem. Mine is sitting dead again, after a fairly expensive fix on it not running except in ‘restricted performance’ mode. Still another new battery, as you cannot let them sit for any length of time. The electronics never go off, and the battery slowly drains. When resting, you need a battery retainer hooked up all the time. Beautiful cars, but deadly to the pocketbook. They can be made to run, but it takes a transplant of the engine/transmission and related electronics to more sensible American V-8 stuff. Oh, and by all means, a ‘cut off’ switch to turn off the battery when not in use. The cars are cheap enough now, so if yours dies, you simply buy one that runs and enjoy that while it lasts. You sell your other one to the parts breaker, and he can supply others with needed parts to try to fix theirs.

I offer a counterpoint which is quite different to this. I had a X308 XJR for a decade and a half, and would still be driving it today if I hadn’t wrecked it.

The X308 certainly is no match for a Lexus LS400 in terms of reliability, but I was able to figure out and fix everything that was wrong with it (save one item that I never got around to.)

No one is buying a premium high-end car without advanced electronics, not even in 1998. Carburetors mechanical distributors, and manual temperature controls were not acceptable for a $50,000 USD car in 1998. (probably not even for a $20,000 one.) Though I’d venture that 2010 is about the last year I’d buy a car that I thought I could repair. I’ve got issues on my 2005 S-type R that I can’t pinpoint the cause for, though I probably can fix them by replacing parts.

Basically, any used high-end car you buy more than 5 years old, at least between 1995 and 2013, is likely to have at least one or two electronic failures that the previous owners could not troubleshoot or didn’t want to spend the money to fix (or find the parts to fix it.) That’s just the way it is.

It holds true for American V8’s as well. I have a 2007 Chevy Trailblazer SS (with the LS2 engine) that threw a limp-mode error. A coil pack went bad on it. This stuff happens. It currently has a constant power drain because the Bose sound system amp doesn’t turn off when the car is shut off. Don’t know if it’s the amp or the electronic body control module commanding the amp to stay on. Short of swapping amps or body modules (if I could even get the amp) - my fix for now was to wire a switch to shut the power to the amp off when I turn off the truck. (before, I would pull the fuse to disable the amplifier.)

I had 3 electronic issues with my X308 XJR -

  1. a traction or ABS warning error caused by defective solder joints in the ABS control module. Fixed with a soldering iron, a $10 tube of electronic-safe silicone, and a hacksaw blade to open the module.

  2. The dreaded restricted performance issue which intermittently turned into the “fail-safe” mode error - when in “fail safe” mode power dropped to less than that of a VW Type 1 bus going up a hill. This was caused by a defective/worn throttle body sensor (ironically, made by Denso, not Lucas) which was not available as a separate repair part. But a place in Texas repairs them and did so for about $600 USD and solved the problem.

  3. One taillight went out. The taillights are driven by an amplifier chip in the security module in the left side trunk spare tire area. I bought the replacement chips to fix, but wanted to practice on a spare module not my original. So I was haunting the pick and pull junkyards looking for a X308 with a matching serial code to mine (there aren’t that many variations) but then I wrecked the XJR. If anyone needs those chips, let me know.

Otherwise the problems, IMHO were with inept application of plastics by Jaguar engineers. For me, it was a failed plastic thermostat housing that cost me a head rebuild. The other notorious issue (which I avoided) was the notorious plastic cam tensioners and guides, the greatest flaw of the AJ-V8 engine design.

On the X200 S-type R I have, it suffered from restricted performance errors caused by lean codes (P0171 and P0174.) The dealer I took it too misdiagnosed it as dirty fuel injectors, which didn’t make much sense to me.

What it really was, was (you guessed it) a plastic vacuum hose push-fitting going into the throttle body. The plastic had disintegrated. I looked at the receipts for the car and I saw there had been attempts to solve the problem - when I took it apart, the last attempt was someone trying to use JB Weld or the like to seal the fitting. Love JB Weld but that isn’t the way to go here! Replaced it and all was well.

As far as hearing fuel pump noise, I never could hear it from the inside of my XJR, windows up or down. Personally, I would be peeved if I could hear the fuel pump buzzing on a $50,000 (2000 price index) luxury car.



All good points, and that 600 dollar fix for a throttle position sensor makes the case for being hesitant about owning one of these cars. Same for the ABS module and the fix by soldering the bad contacts inside the unit. The Denso unit I believe is Japanese, and should not have failed, as they make some of the finest components available. I stand by my suggestion that it is easier to buy one that runs and drive the car until it quits. They can’t all be lemons, or can they?

Well, these cars cost $70,000+ USD new 20 years ago. Reluctance to spend $600 to repair a car of that cost is why Jaguars get into such bad condition. They have the same complexity of Mercedes and BMW’s, but historically the owners of new Jaguars (going back to the Lyons era) have been much more reluctant to spend on upkeep than the German luxo brand owners.

Someone buys a depreciated Jaguar for the cost of a late model economy car, and thinks it will be as cheap to operate as a late model economy car. Sorry, it didn’t get less complex and sophisticated just because the price depreciated.

I’d say that if a $600 repair is an unthinkable expense for a Jaguar, then a early 2000’s Toyota is the best automotive choice. For my domestic Chevy Trailblazer, I shelled out another $600 last year (I guess two years ago now!) getting the driver’s door module replaced (which also controls the power windows among other things.)

I could have saved perhaps $100 or 200 buying the module online, but it has to be programmed by the dealer so I just did it all in one shot. Again, that’s the cost of owning a car.

If I had to replace $600 modules every year, sure it would be unacceptable to me, but laying out $5-600 every 5 or 6 years isn’t too bad. If it hadn’t been for the shoddy thermostat housing my running cost of ownership would have been really quite low, though I got an upgraded chain tensioner setup out of it too.

However, if I had to farm out all the debugging and fixing it would have been expensive. Most of my fixes were cheap in parts, but took time to research. Not good for a daily commuter, delivery driver, or rideshare provider, but no problem IMHO for a enthusiast/hobby car.



btw, speaking of the TPS, one of the regular suspects (I think it was SNG B, but might have been Welsh) just got in some new aftermarket ones (finally) for only around $88.00. :joy:

Just ran across this thread on the subject (programming replacement keys for the XJ8s) on the other website, started in 2008. MotorupMan, can you please review it for accuracy as to the statements made in it? One owner claims he was able to get a locksmith to program his key there in N. Hollywood for a lot less than the dealer wanted. ? :confused:

Just read on the other website where someone said the chip for the XJ8 keys is the “little rough area” on the end of the key … :confused:

From my V8 XJ Series Sedan 1998 Model Year Introduction.

X308 1998MY intro.pdf (398.7 KB)
X308 RFID intro.pdf (244.1 KB)

If a locksmith wants to invest in a TIBBE key cutting machine he can!
Configuring the RFID transponder key to the car is another story!
Specific software is required.

There is a forum member on another Jaguar forum that will supply and cut the correct key for the car. He does NOT configure the key because he is in Nevada or some such place.

I just have him (or Autobahn Jaguar) cut the key for me and then I configure the key to my car. (I have WDS and IDS Jaguar diagnostic computers)

Very interesting, Motorupman … Thanks for posting that 2nd one. A few issues/questions come up b/c of it:

1- so would one be able to untie the Gordian Knot by simply disconnecting the “inhibitor” module (“KTCM”), or does it have to positively send a signal to the ECU, et al. in order to enable starting? :wink:

2- do XJ8s still have the Inertia Safety Switch (i.e. “Immobilizer”), in addition to the engine ignition inhibitor module?

3- it mentions that programming of the key’s chip (which, btw, according to that info, is in the HEAD of the key, no “rough spot in the tip”) is by the PDU. Isn’t that the Jag Portable Diagnostic Unit? I would think those are rather easy to obtain and not that $$ (used), being they are kind of like a hand-held OBD II scanner (deluxe edition), from my understanding. Here I was thinking the required machine would be some sort of large, bench-mounted unit, like with the JDS.

4- it says that “fueling” (as well as signals to the starter and injectors) is also “immobilized” by the KTCM setup. So, I take it that means no current to the fuel pump. So would that explain why the strong fuel smell (and no fuel pump priming “hum” heard) whenever I would turn the key on, in an attempt to start the car? I’m thinking that possibly the fuel regulator, when the key is on, is allowing already-built up pressure in the fuel system to somehow allow fuel to nevertheless move forward in the system, maybe “jamming up” and pooling at the (disabled) fuel injectors? :thinking:

btw, I usually get a full owner’s manual set for any of my Jags, when I first buy them. But somehow that didn’t happen with Harlem, apparently. :slightly_frowning_face: Are there any that are viewable online for free? If not, I guess I’ll have to pony up the $$ for one - the only one I have found so far is for a '99 and is $130.00. :money_mouth_face: Would any of the '98-'00 sets suffice, or are there any major differences you know of among those MYs? :confused: