[xj] Cold weather

Hi Carl,
The answer about your block heater question is simple: do it. Here in
interior Alaska every car has a block heater. I don’t drive my 88 xj6 if
the temp is less than 0F but I keep it ‘plugged in’ right up to 32F. I
have a 75W silicon heater glued with copper RTV to the oil pan and a
350watt heater in the coolant. There is no question that lubricants do
not perform at cold temperatures as they do when its warmer. Last year I
ran a synthetic which helps ensure rapid oil circulation. This year I’m
parking it. However, we haven’t HAD any cold weather this year. Weird.

Oil forms a crystalline state if allowed to sit cold for a number of
hours, it has changed substantially in 48 hours at -30F. This greatly
increases the viscosity and is the basis for the common observation that
a ‘cold soaked’ engine turns over hard. Listening to a cold started
engine clang and tick while the oil pump struggles to
drive oil into the block is a sad thing indeed, and beneath the dignity
of any well engineered machine.

A plugged in car starts and idles as on any summer day. Furthermore, the
car interior warms up that much more quickly! And for luxury cold
starts, install a 750W interior heater too, it keeps the interior
components and you from cold stress. Does wonders for your power bill

There are 4 reasons that I don’t drive the xj at cold temps. 1) the ZF
transmission is linked to the shifter with cables that were lubricated
with some kind of desert duty grease. The shifter is almost unmovable at
-10F, I keep stretching the cables. 2) the dash switches don’t make
consistant contact, they were never cold tested. 3) The interior heater
is entirely insufficient at cold temperatures. The heater in my old Land
Rover is better! 4) Why put the car through it? All the rubber boots
will likely blow out if turned at -30F. I haven’t tested my XJ at these
temps, but weird stuff happens, like hoses fall off from differential
shrinking of fitting, hoses and clamp. For instance, a Mazda 626 at -40F
blows off its steering pump return hose. Plastic parts crack including
molded ignition units and coils. I often wondered what the XJ’s
hydraulic rear suspension would do under these conditions…

Compare this to any modern Ford, VW, Suburu, etc. and it becomes obvious
the Jag is way out of its element in cold weather. Besides, the rear
wheel drive is a liability. Ever been stuck in your jag while your
neighbors whizz by in 4WD tunafish cans? The gloating is palpable. Both
Volvo and Mercedes now offer their cars in 4WD, Jag is not competing in
the cold weather market.

For a finicky cold weather car I suggest a Saab…