What I did to my XJ, yesterday

(David Jauch) #1

Over the last weeks, @MartinScherz was kind enough to lend me his E-Type for a few days, three fillups. I believe he put up a few pictures in the #e-type thread. Besides that, I somehow fixed his e38 BMW and enjoyed to drive that one, too, while he was on vacation. Thus I got used to both horsepower and oil consumption, both of which my small BMW doesn’t have ‘enough of’. Not to mention the fuel consumption and lack of AC… anyways.
With new confidence I more or less spontaneously decided that it was time to take the XJ to Lake Constance and visit a few friends. First the good, then the bad!

  • Almost everything went over smoothly! The car runs absolutely great, joy to drive. I don’t have to tell you that, so let’s move on, shall we. Despite having temperatures in excess of 34°C (93F), traffic jams and a light coolant leak towards the end of the journey, it did never touch the 100°C mark. Did not have to open the bonnet for cooling.
  • Oil consumption over 400km (250mi) was bearable, less than three litres (quarts) - surely the heat and long periods of driving between 140-160kph (85-100mph) played a part there. When it’s cooler outside and the plugs still look as good as last time I’ll she what she does.
  • Fuel consumption was somewhere between 12-14l/100km but I did not fill up yet.
  • Most important of them all, the car started up perfectly each and every time. To my amazement! It never started right away before, when hot. In Constance, it did!! @Frank_Andersen, your ign amp suggestion did help but the trip sure loosened something.
  • Last good point, I had to fix only two things. The coolant hose was changed with a friend while the others cleaned up the aftermath of the party we had. The RH high beam that I could never figure out fixed itself. Oh, and I discovered that my auxiliary fan works! I thought it was broken as it never turned on before despite going through all connections.

I would not mind the 2.88 or a fourth gear, or at least a lock-up converter.

The bad.

  • I missed @Jochen_Glockner by two minutes, I was told. News you get when you have friends who are law students (I received many pictures of your XJ pretty much since I have mine!) Would have been a nice surprise. Next time then, when my car is closer to his in terms of looks. I’ll write a PM before I hit the road.
  • No AC. I might be used to the draft from the E, but the tunnel got so hot my phone shut down three times. Also, I drank as much water as the cooling system lost due to the dribble.
  • My tires were a little soft. But they are all-seasons, and all in all they were a good choice to get the car running and MOT’d.
  • Idle stayed shaky but what does one expect. Car died once for no reason, but started immediately.
  • Both fuel senders started to fail again. I really should get new ones instead of fixing them over and over.

So all in all, I guess I have to take more long trips in the future. It was really pleasantly surprising, and the constantly repeated mantra (drive your Jags…) is absolutely true.
Next up are AC and the small exhaust leak that finally got large enough to feel. Just an olive seal question.

Scary at first, but never more than that. This was in the traffic jam after going fast.

So thank you all, and keep driving!


(Carl Hutchins, Jr. ) #2

Nice story about a nice trip.

  1. three quarts of oil used in 250 miles!! If I read correctly, that is a lot!!!

  2. The temp gauges on these cars is misleading. Still green when the numbers are on the high side.

  3. Another example of using things that are made to be used. Applies to Jaguars and lots of other stuff. .


(David Jauch) #3

Thank you: You did read that correctly. I put in a quart before I went off in each direction and I’m just below what I had when I started. Normally I’m at around 1 quart per fillup, which is far better but still much. At least it’s not dripping out at the bottom. It runs.
Temp gauges are definitely misleading, I don’t know why they did it. And I like the older “normal” gauges better in this case. Less to worry!
It doesn’t matter anyways - I enjoyed the trip!

(Carl Hutchins, Jr. ) #4

OK!!! Actually more than a mere OK!!

As I recall., the XK sump holds 7 quarts!. A lot for a 4.2 engine. And through the Jag lore that it will eat the top quart as long as we add it, but if not added will do must fine on the remaining more than adequate 6.


(Mark Lee (Pay Pal Patron)) #5

The oil consumption I’ve had to deal with is the leakage from the cam covers and the ‘D’ plug leaking in the back. Something I hadn’t gotten around to yet. The latest Series III with a 139k miles on it doesn’t leak a drop or consume any oil either. much to my surprise.

My solution to the leaking cam covers was not to replace the copper washers. This was a hard one for me because I’m more or less a stickler to originality (looking). Fancy knickers when you look under her skirt is the route I take, MSD ignition hidden in the stock amplifier housing, High compression pistons, ditching the air pump (though this one is noticeable). That kind of stuff. Slightly side tracked…

Anyway, back to the cam cover washers. I decided to go with a stainless steel “sealing washer” which has some rubber like stuff on one side and around the center, then the other side is stainless. my recommendation is to get the next size up, because the exact size is a bitch to get pressed on the studs - bloodied my fingers at the end of one cam cover. Decided to ream the washer out just a tad so I could preserve my fluids while installing on the other cam cover and the crankcase breather.

If you decide to go with the same diameter copper washer, the end result is very nice. The washer fits very nicely under the


A closer look

If you like your nuts shiney, Then this is how I put a shine on my nuts.
I used Rustoleum’s rust remover comes in a quirt bottle. Navel jelly works well too. coated my nuts and let them sit over night. rinsed the goo off, and walked over to the drill press with a wire wheel in it and got the iron oxide residue off as well as the rest of the anodized coating. Much to my surprise I found once my nuts were stripped, they were kind of shiney. so I decided to give them a good buff, and that really put a shine to my nuts.
HF (Harbor Freight) $54.00 drill press & $6.99 wire wheel set from HF

HF mini grinder buffer

Another HF Tool $28.00 Mini grinder that I use to buff my nuts. The other side is a $4.99 diamond wheel along with the $15.00 cordless drill I use together to sharpen tungsten after dipping it in the weld pool. :blush: (TIG Welding) Needless to say it gets a lot of use.

On the wife’s wash cloth, you’ll find before and after examples of my shiny nuts.

Wow, seriously side tracked. I guess my point is if your XK leaks oil around the cam covers, this is how I solved my issue.

Another side note, I used Payen cam cover gaskets and no sealant other than the gaskets. Mind you the surfaces have to be completely clean to shiny metal.

(AndyBlakey) #6

Nice write up. I’m based in England but we made a 2200 mile road trip across France and into Switzerland in May this year in our Series 3. Spent a few days on the South side of Lake Constance near Arbon. Alongside a few other adventures such as Furka pass and Gottard Tunnel (17km long tunnel drive - the scale of underground construction is simply astounding).
These cars do benefit from being used everyday and I too found that long high speed use actually reduced oil consumption. My car typically uses about 1 litre of oil for every 1000 miles, but we only got through a litre of oil on our whole tour of Switzerland. Most of this gets past the rings and is burned.
It also weeps a small amount of oil at the front of the engine where the head gasket meets the timing chest cover and doesn’t seal perfectly. Not significant enough to worry about.
The temperature gauge in my Series 3 also creeps up occasionally from vertical to the position shown in your photo - just below the 100C mark. Over years of XJ6 ownership I’ve been through many of the fixes they tend to need - head removal, clearing congealed coolant and casting sand out of the block, re-cored radiator, coolant renewal every few years etc. I think the cooling system is quite healthy but still see some movement in the temperature gauge when the engine is working hard.

A few pictures from our tour.



(David Jauch) #7

Wow Mark, thanks for the writeup. Your valve covers look great! The gloss is brilliant. I kept the nuts satin, and touched the rust spots up with a silver Sharpie after cleaning. Looks good, I’ll make a picture. Also I sanded my ribbing on the covers and sanded the exhaust shield so it looks like new (not polished! Flat black might look good too, just like the water rail on the intake side, but is not original, so I kept it). New paper gaskets hold up well after getting everything perfectly flat, and the annealed washers are good despite me reusing them. The oil can’t leak past per the threads on yours?
I already have no air injection, no cats, high compression pistons and my ignition, well, um, it runs but I do want to do something to it as I’ve only heard good things.
I have no larger oil leaks to speak off and so everything gets burned. No extreme blowby either removing the hat and loading the engine. And no oil smoke after overrun but it has to go somewhere, I don’t know where but after all it is not that much normally.
The issue with the one liter that always disappears is the problem as it’s also the quart between oil pressure drop when braking downhill and sheer happiness. Can be oil pump feed seals or whatever the baffle situation is. I find it weird that it is so sensitive somehow despite taking 8.5L from empty (The oil cooler probably takes a third of it…).

Andy, yours looks far better than mine, and I bet the same goes for the internals. Gotthard tunnel is absolutely astounding, same goes for the old route, for the scenery. My compression tests are perfect so if it is the rings it is general wear. But I know worse in XKs than in mine, and for now it stays in. A litre is probably more than perfect, especially for the mileage. It was the first long range at higher speeds so it could be getting better from now on, or not, I will report back.
I have not done anything but replaced most hoses and the coolant so I have no clue as to the general conditions, but it does work and the slight creep is what’s to be expected from a gauge that actually shows the temperature which modern cars don’t do, so… whatever the cooling capacity is, it must take a short while for the thermostat to open and the excess heat to be dissipated accordingly.
From what you say my cooling system works very good, and so I’m very happy about that.
Good pictures and thank you both for your contributions!
Best regards, David

(Mark Lee (Pay Pal Patron)) #8

Nope no leaks around the studs, the stainless steel washer is slightly convex so when the nut is tightened down, it squishes flat(er) pushing the rubbery stuff around the threads. Plus trying to push the washers on the studs is not an easy process and very hard on the fingers; to the point, my fingers were leaking fluid. what a mess.
I cleaned up the covers, reshot with paint & sanded the ribs as well, then shot high temp clear over the lot in attempt to keep oxidation at bay. I also shot clear over the heat shield on the exhaust, and as you can see in the picture, evidently it’s not that high temp. it cooked the clear and discolored it. Again trying to keep the corrosion at bay. I don’t have the means to plate the metal to keep it from rusting.

Thank you for the kind words.

(Mark Lee (Pay Pal Patron)) #9

I like the color! what is it? Everybody’s XJ’s all look better than mine. mine are all in a state of work in progress.
mechanically the cars are in good shape, except the grey XJ the IRS need some serious attention. I have spare that I’m building for the car, so I can just swap it out, rebuild the one that came in it and put it back. The IRS I’m rebuilding I picked up on a whim. It was at a body shop on a skid, I asked him if it was for sale, he said, yep - it’s your for $100.00 - I said SOLD! As it turns out it’s a Salisbury Power Loc with 3.54 gears. How lucky is that!! Both of my Series III’s have cracking paint; the grey has rust and rust holes in all of the usual places; I’ve got replacement patches from donor cars, that I haven’t welded in yet. It’s on my to do list.

Oh, I just noticed the bumpers… How did you get them to sit so flush with the finishers? It’s a good look. Here all of the XJ’s of that era look like their pouting - their big black lip sticking out… I really like how your’s is set back - that is a really good look!


(David Jauch) #10

We just have the euro cars! His bumper side trim piece is hanging down though. Mine is original and there is a large difference to the 5mph ones.
Sad to hear about the clear coat. But keep in mind that even the oil drops burn off in the heat, and quick! I also lost a microfiber cloth on the shield and did not check out the aftermath, yet. Get an aluminium spray can; I bought my first one two weeks ago and fell in love with it! Don’t know how it ages but it can stand the heat and ends up matte silver… aluminium!

I have one rust hole at the coolant reservoir to wheel well outlet and have minor corrosion at the headlamps. Take a closer look at the picture and you’ll see that the windshield will come out this year and paint redone, the wipers need to be put back in service soon, there’s a leaper with a bubble around it where there shouldn’t be one… and one of the doors on the other side has a dent whose story I know too well. I like the washers, then!

(Jochen Glöckner) #11

Great idea, David!

Your experience fully matches mine when it comes to the combination of attention to the car’s needs and use: Sure enough, use doesn’t go without wear - and these cars and their parts don’t just stand the first 200000 kms without any visible sign of ageing, as modern executive cars do. On the other hand, we’re typically not talking 20000 km/year, but rather taking the cars for a spirited drive and not just a limp to the nearby hillside café or old car show. Series Jags are rather traditional GT cars: they not only feel better out on the road, but also get better with adequate use … you don’t keep a German shepherd in a three-room apartment on the third floor either. Some faults even repair themselves, as my indicator control light did, to name but one.

As regards your oil consumption, I’d find anything beyond 1 l/1000 km seriously disturbing. On the other hand it would appear hard to assess after only 400 km of ride. Chances are your measuring is distorted by different times lapsing between shutting down the engine and measurement or oil temperature.

Maybe you’re trapped by the oil enigma surrounding our cars. There are several figures, including the original Owners’ Manuals and ROMs indicating quantities of oil that you can hardly fill into the engine. My last oil change was 7.7 litres and just about right. If you overfill, any quantity of oil will just be eaten up in no time. Are you sure your dipstick is correct and sits correctly? If yes, you might try to run the car at a slightly lower level at the stick and see whether it continues to eat oil.

Sorry, we didn’t meet in Konstanz - give me a notice next time and we’ll see whether you’d really like a Rhine army green car;-)!



75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

(Robin O'Connor) #12

Just a couple of observations, for the problem of leaking fluid from the fingers, use a small socket to push the SS washers down onto the studs.
I used to run my 3.8’S’ from Auckland to Wellington way back when and it lays dropped the oil level on the way down but never used any on the way back up. My thoughts were that the short runs (it was my DD) were

  1. either glazing the bores or
  2. there was a bit of wash down diluting the oil and this was being burnt off with the long runs down the line.
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(Paul Breen pay palled it) #13

Thus is very true. The good lady wife’s daily driver is a 3.0L Subaru Outback - which is quite nice to drive. The family preference for trips is the XJ6 - unless we’re going skiing. Oil consumption data point: 4,200km for < 1 litre (Sydney to Hobart Tas). Engine rebuild ~ 10,000km old. Paul

(Peter Crespin) #14

Lots of good info in Jochen’s post. Reported consumption is high but if no blue smoke on acceleration or overrun then it is being lost from overfill I’d guess. Similar to E-type owners overfilling coolant and then complaining of overheating when it pukes out excess. Try a complete drain next time and fill with a known quantity and check the dipstick goes correctly into the sump, not skidding over the baffle and reading low.

(Robin O'Connor) #15

This was over 30 years ago, car has been sitting in the garage for the last 20.

((Paul)) #16

Looks great!
There’s a lot to be said for elbow grease!
Thanks for sharing…

@davidsxj6 The cam cover nuts are of course easily found online, reasonably priced too. I think paint touchup would be like Chinese water torture on my little brain personally.

Fwiw, i intend to remove black paint on everything. Intake rail, breather, cam covers…give it a polished aluminum look as on older models.

The cam covers were stripped already when i received my car (72 S1) and liked the look.
I intend to paint only the top lower portion btw the ribs for effect.

Scored an earlier cam cover with the embossed “jaguar” within the diamond for $15 on ebay!

Very pleased with myself about that!
Never liked the decal on later cars.

Looks great once again.
Kind regards

(Mark Lee (Pay Pal Patron)) #17

Just thought of this cause it’s was an issue with my Series 2. If the crank case breather (screen and tube to the intake plenum) is sufficiently clogged with muck, oil and air will find its way out the dip stick tube.

There won’t necessarily be‎ obvious at an idle but give it a couple of rev’s and it will be apparent. This may explain the oil consumption at speed.

Just a thought

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.

(AndyBlakey) #18

Thanks Mark. Jaguar listed the colour as Sebring Red. I’ve seen it on more often on the XJ-S than XJ’s though. It’s the original colour, but my car was repainted around 4 years ago.
As someone pointed out it’s a Euro spec RHD car and had less obtrusive bumpers - which didn’t have to meet stricter Federal safety regulations.
I think all these Jags. are a work in progress now and mine is no exception. As one eagle eye’d lister pointed out the right bumper cheek is sagged - One fastener is corroded solid limiting further adjustment. I’m going to have to find a replacement now it’s been spotted.

(David Jauch) #19

A lot to reply to…
Jochen, we’ll have to find out whether I like it. I’ll make sure to give you notice, but might take a year. The friends are off to Erasmus (a year in some other European country).
The oil consumption is high but I wouldn’t say seriously disturbing as I have no idea how the car has been driven before. I always make sure to keep track of how much oil goes in there, between 7.6 and 8.2 litres depending on how long it is draining and how accurate I measure. As long as the pressure is there I won’t worry too much. The only blueish smoke is on cold uphill acceleration so the valves don’t seal as perfect as they might have done new. My dipstick is incorrect as the tube is broken off and I have to use a thin rod (measurements taken from the replacement dipstick) which tells me what I need to know… if below minimum pressure drops on hard braking downhill. When the engine comes out I can finally set this right. Either something develops or I’ll keep filling up.

I did also think about using the sockets and bore glazing could be an option, but I guess that would give some blue smoke?
The screen is spotlessly clean and in good order. Same for the tubing. I also removed the hat once to see if it had much blowby - no.
In fact, anything that can be reached is in good order. Paint touchup is relative, I just wire brushed over the rust and painted the remaining spots with the silver Sharpie, then giving it a good wipe and voila it looks better but not painted.

I like the look of the cam covers in aluminum with only the ribs filled. And the old style jaguar embossing. I had time and painted mine on with a black marker, much to everyones delight - no decal yet and there won’t be any as long as I’m not happy with the compartment as a whole.

I’ll try to drive it a lot in the next weeks and report consumption if it got any better. Only put maybe 2500 miles on it but I don’t drive that much and had to sort many things. Did meet an E Type V12 owner who said he drove 20000 kms a year, but only in the summer. Goals!

(Mark Lee (Pay Pal Patron)) #20

That was first thought, so I media blasted all of the paint and oxidation off, then started polishing. when I got done, I looked at it; and thought to myself, that doesn’t look right. So I sanded the shininess off; masked off the bits I didn’t want painted; then applied the black paint. Thought to myself, well that was a complete waste of time.

Now that was a score! I thought about milling the ribs off a set of cam covers, but then I remembered the polishing debacle. Then thought about the stud height & getting the proper torque on the cam covers. Basically I talked myself out of it. Besides; it’s not easy an easy task to put the ribs back on. :wink:

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