Timing issue and Oil consumption

Well, here it goes… I’ve been trying to rehab my '64 E-Type which I’ve had for 53 years with some success… it looks good, will run (kind of). I’ve had it to a Jaguar Shop and they took the out and redid the back main seal, new clutch, alternator, water pump, starter, harmonic balancer, new FlameThrower distributor, positive to negative ground, and did just a lot of straightening up. The engine itself ran just OK when I took it into them (always did smoke a bit, probably 250 miles to the quart), and when they started it back up they couldn’t get it timed right. They took apart and rehabed the carbs which I’m sure were bad as the car had sat for 15 years. Car cut out terribly. Finally came to get the car which they said they had to advance the timing a lot to get it to run right. I get it home and had to take it back as the steering tie rod came apart in the driveway (yes, 10 ft from my garage). Got it back again but was unhappy with the amount of oil it was seeming to use. Probably a quart per 50 miles, yes that much black smoke out the tail pipe. Some told me the smoke was from the carbs, and I think much of it was. Got that fixed I think as the fuel pump was pumping too much into the carbs. Some told me to change out the 20-50 Valvoline synthetic to regular oil, which I just did (haven’t driven it yet as the drain plug stripped out).
Doesn’t heat up.
Engine sounds pretty good to me
Checked the timing (which they told me they had advanced quite a bit to get it to run right) and found that it was as at 90 degrees while at 1600 … rpm which I KNOW is not right.

So, did they put the distributor in wrong? They didn’t do anything to the timing chain but did change out the water pump and harmonic balancer. More info-- about 15 years ago the car began to run hot so did a few things, and eventually took out the distributor to look at it and one of two dogs was gone, so put in a new Petronix. Jag Shop put in a new one as they said my old one was shot… I am so confused. Any ideas on Timing or oil consumption? Haven’t taken the new FlameThrower out yet to look… could one of the dogs be missing again?

Sorry, meant to add that we did a compression test and leak down test, and all was good. Surprisingly so. A real head scratcher.

Any shop that would return it to you in this state has dubious XK knowledge IMO. It really makes me concerned about how they went about changing the rear seal.

I would be starting with the basics, like are the cams timed correctly? Hopefully it’s close enough that nothing got bent. Verify the distributor drive dog position at TDC and ensure it matches the diagram in the manual. Verify the wire placements on the cap.


I agree with Erica: any shop who is that incompetent to do such a shitty job, you’re going to have to start at basics and make sure they’re all correct.

Thanks. That is my plan then…

There’s a clue. The harmonic damper of the Series 1 cars feature the timing scale at 6 o’clock at #6 TDC with the pointer mounted to the sump, while the damper of later cars have the scale at around 2 o’clock with the pointer mounted to the timing cover. My guess is they installed a later damper. Simplest fix in that case would be to install the later pointer - better location for setting timing anyway.

Since you have good compression numbers I suspect your oil consumption is from worn intake valve guides. 3.8 engines and the earlier 4.2s did not have seals on the intake guides. My bet is a head rebuild would be worthwhile.

Edit: and to Erica’s point, if oil leakage is the issue the only way to properly change out the rear rope seal is to take out the crankshaft. Even then success isn’t guaranteed. Trying to snake the top part of the seal into its groove with the crank in place has a low chance of success.

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If you go this route, IIRC, the mounting holes for the later pointer are slotted to allow for some adjustment during installation. The most accurate way to install the pointer is to first ensure the engine is exactly at TDC and then install the pointer so that the 0 degree mark on the damper matches up with the mark on the pointer.

Right on.

And unless they changed out the oil pump and got the drive gear for the distributor out of alignment there’s no way to install the distributor out 90 degrees with its offset cog.

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This layer damper theory is very possible as the timing marks are at about the 2 o’clock position. I’ll talk to my mechanic about this.

The 3.8 damper has a much larger rim that hangs down almost to the bottom of the sump as that is where the timing pointer is attached. If yours doesn’t have such a rim then that is indeed a later damper and would answer a lot of questions.

Information is much appreciated.

I take it the shop do realise the cylinder numbering is from the firewall?