[xj] Crank, No Start '89 V12 VDP

Yes, it’s me again, the owner of the least reliable automobile in North
America.

This has been going on since I got the thing at the end of 2005. The
symptoms are always the same:

The car’s been running perfectly for days, weeks, or months. Cold
start, brief run, shut down, 10 minutes later, crank no start.
Frequently letting it sit would do the trick, but not always. Using the
old and scary screwdriver in the coil and/or distributor test procedure
confirms no spark.

I’ve been through three ignition modules and three coils since February
of 2005. I thought I had fixed it once and for all with the last
episode a couple of months ago (the only time it’s happened with the car
in my garage) when I found that the plastic surrounding the female spade
connectors which exit the aft end of the amplifier were broken and I
used shrink wrap to insulate them and made a secure connection. I’m
just back from the supermarket parking lot where I disassembled the
amplifier and confirmed that the connections were still sound. Still no
start.

I’m putting this on the forum once more because I’m out of ideas other
that replacing the entire amplifier, which I understand is pretty
pricey. I’m fresh out of epiphanies, so I’m hoping someone else will
have one and tell me about it.

BT===================================================
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Well, given that you have changed the entire engine and are still having
this problem (whose symptoms indeed suggest the amplifier), that perhaps
points to the ECU?

Gregory
Victoria, Canada.
1966 Mark 2 3.8
1992 Series III V12 Vanden Plas
2002 X-Type-----Original Message-----
From: owner-xj@jag-lovers.org [mailto:owner-xj@jag-lovers.org] On Behalf
Of Bill Thom
Sent: March 12, 2007 2:01 PM
To: JagMsgPost
Subject: [xj] Crank, No Start '89 V12 VDP

Yes, it’s me again, the owner of the least reliable automobile in North
America.

This has been going on since I got the thing at the end of 2005. The
symptoms are always the same:

The car’s been running perfectly for days, weeks, or months. Cold
start, brief run, shut down, 10 minutes later, crank no start.
Frequently letting it sit would do the trick, but not always. Using the

old and scary screwdriver in the coil and/or distributor test procedure
confirms no spark.

I’ve been through three ignition modules and three coils since February
of 2005

===================================================
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Dr Gregory Andrachuk wrote:

Well, given that you have changed the entire engine and are still having
this problem (whose symptoms indeed suggest the amplifier), that perhaps
points to the ECU?

Gregory

What? I’ll need a lot more beef on them bones. BT===================================================
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Bill Thom wrote:

Yes, it’s me again, the owner of the least reliable automobile in
North America.

This has been going on since I got the thing at the end of 2005. The
symptoms are always the same:

The car’s been running perfectly for days, weeks, or months. Cold
start, brief run, shut down, 10 minutes later, crank no start.
Frequently letting it sit would do the trick, but not always. Using
the old and scary screwdriver in the coil and/or distributor test
procedure confirms no spark.

I’ve been through three ignition modules and three coils since
February of 2005. I thought I had fixed it once and for all with the
last episode a couple of months ago (the only time it’s happened with
the car in my garage) when I found that the plastic surrounding the
female spade connectors which exit the aft end of the amplifier were
broken and I used shrink wrap to insulate them and made a secure
connection. I’m just back from the supermarket parking lot where I
disassembled the amplifier and confirmed that the connections were
still sound. Still no start.

I’m putting this on the forum once more because I’m out of ideas other
that replacing the entire amplifier, which I understand is pretty
pricey. I’m fresh out of epiphanies, so I’m hoping someone else will
have one and tell me about it.

Sad story - and intrigueing, Bill…

Have to be asked, though; did changing the items mentioned invariable
cure the problem at the time? Not that it entirely eliminates the
‘fiddle factor’ - but you could put in one of the old ones, just for
kicks. And having the old ones you can replace the power module at
leisure and a low cost…

The ignition system is completely self-contained, requiring no external
input apart from power. The spade connector mentioned carries power to
the amp and ground from the coil neg - and is likely ‘unsafe’ as far as
reliability is concerned. And the coil is grounded through it and the
amp body, which must be firmly grounded…

Reliable symptom identification is essential, so for ease of testing
ignition; use a spare spark plug, extra gapped and with an earth
strap/alligator clip. The spare plug is more easily used, and can also
be connected directly to the coil with a spare plug lead - bypassing the
mechanical parts of the dist. It’s also essential to ensure that there
is power to the ignition in crank - routinely with a meter or test lamp,
or by jumpwiring the coil pos to the batt pos. Just changing items is
not really the way to find faults…:slight_smile:

‘Usually’ an amplifier and coil give some warning - like an unhappy hot
start, though this is by no means the only are with such symptoms. So it
is essential to ensure the ‘no spark’ situation at all non-starts. Your
consumption of those items are certainly above average, and a suspicion
lingers of something else.

S… may happen with item quality, but alternatively finding why your
engine eats them is improbable. So only identify a real fault, possibly
elsewhere, can give (relative) peace of mind - as may carry spares as
required. You have the practice in changing them - which is scant
consolation…

FRank
xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)===================================================
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Have you taken a good look at the shielded wire (sorta like coaxial cable)
to the amplifier? A known trouble spot…

Doug Dwyer
Longview Washington USA
1995 XJRFrom: “Bill Thom” whthom@charter.net

The car’s been running perfectly for days, weeks, or months. Cold start,
brief run, shut down, 10 minutes later, crank no start. Frequently
letting it sit would do the trick, but not always. Using the old and
scary screwdriver in the coil and/or distributor test procedure confirms
no spark.

===================================================
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Doug Dwyer wrote:

Have you taken a good look at the shielded wire (sorta like coaxial
cable) to the amplifier? A known trouble spot…

Not specifically, but I consider all of the wiring to and from the
amplifier suspect… they’re all a little ragged looking.

Update: this morning while waiting to meet the flatbed truck in the
supermarket parking lot where the VDP-with-attitude spent the night, I
thought I’d amuse myself by trying it once more. Vroom.

To review, yesterday the crank/no-start condition sprang up after a cold
start, a 1 1/2 mile drive, then a ten-minute sit. After 40 minutes
waiting for a ride home, still nothing. Six hours later, yesterday
evening, still nothing. This morning, some twenty hours later, she
starts right up like nothing happened. (Look! I’m talking like it’s a
recalcitrant child!)

I paid off the wrecker for his trouble then drove to the Arrogant
Mechanic, who said, “Once she’s in a no-start mode it won’t be too tough
to find the problem.” I predicted that it would be weeks, maybe months
before it occurred again, but he thought he could find the problem
anyway. He mused about the wiring in the distributor, being part of the
only “moving parts” of the ignition. He even speculated about
converting it to a Marelli ignition, which he admitted has its own
detractions, albeit different ones than the Lucas system.

I told him that I desperately needed him to find something definitively
wrong because the car, as it stands, is less than useless, it’s an
untenable risk. With no reasonable expectation of being able to get
back home, it is nothing more than $20,000, 2-ton, 300 cubic foot
ornament in the garage. It seems there are trophy wives who survive on
looks alone, but no automobile is beautiful enough pull it off.

One way or the other, this fiasco is almost over. I know I do some
kidding around on this forum from time to time, but I don’t find this
too amusing any more. (Did you know that the basket in which many
Chianti bottles are nested is called a fiasco?)

BT===================================================
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Bill, you need to buy an XJ6 and then you’ll always have a Jag to drive, while
you decipher the 12.
:]–
Alex
79xj6L SII (BRG + wires)
86xj6 SIII (Black)
61 Sprite MkII (Red)
Menlo Park, Calif.

Bill Thom wrote:

Update: this morning while waiting to meet the flatbed truck in the
supermarket parking lot where the VDP-with-attitude spent the night, I
thought I’d amuse myself by trying it once more. Vroom.

To review, yesterday the crank/no-start condition sprang up after a cold
start, a 1 1/2 mile drive, then a ten-minute sit. After 40 minutes
waiting for a ride home, still nothing. Six hours later, yesterday
evening, still nothing. This morning, some twenty hours later, she
starts right up like nothing happened. (Look! I’m talking like it’s a
recalcitrant child!)

I paid off the wrecker for his trouble then drove to the Arrogant
Mechanic, who said, “Once she’s in a no-start mode it won’t be too tough
to find the problem.” I predicted that it would be weeks, maybe months
before it occurred again, but he thought he could find the problem
anyway. He mused about the wiring in the distributor, being part of the
only “moving parts” of the ignition. He even speculated about
converting it to a Marelli ignition, which he admitted has its own
detractions, albeit different ones than the Lucas system.
I told him that I desperately needed him to find something definitively
wrong because the car, as it stands, is less than useless, it’s an
untenable risk. With no reasonable expectation of being able to get
back home, it is nothing more than $20,000, 2-ton, 300 cubic foot
ornament in the garage. It seems there are trophy wives who survive on
looks alone, but no automobile is beautiful enough pull it off.

One way or the other, this fiasco is almost over. I know I do some
kidding around on this forum from time to time, but I don’t find this
too amusing any more. (Did you know that the basket in which many
Chianti bottles are nested is called a fiasco?)

BT

===================================================
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Thinking off the top of my head, have you examined the pickup in the
distributor? It’s possible that it gets flaky when hot and that could be
the cause of the no start. It could be that the gap between the pickup
and the points on the rotor is incorrect.

That shielded wire is definitely a suspect. I’ve been able to make my
car stall just by wiggling that wire. Mine had gone hard and brittle, so
I cut back that harness until I found soft, flexible wire and replaced
it and I’ve had no problems since.

Does this problem only occure after a short drive, or would it also
happen after a long drive where everything is fully hot?

Craig

Bill Thom wrote:> Doug Dwyer wrote:

Have you taken a good look at the shielded wire (sorta like coaxial
cable) to the amplifier? A known trouble spot…

Not specifically, but I consider all of the wiring to and from the
amplifier suspect… they’re all a little ragged looking.

===================================================
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Cannara wrote:

Bill, you need to buy an XJ6 and then you’ll always have a Jag to
drive, while you decipher the 12.

Alex, I have an '87 XJ6 which I bought in 1990 with 31,000 miles on it.
It just went over 150,000 last week. We held a little ceremony. BT===================================================
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Craig Talbot wrote:

Thinking off the top of my head, have you examined the pickup in the
distributor? It’s possible that it gets flaky when hot and that could
be the cause of the no start. It could be that the gap between the
pickup and the points on the rotor is incorrect.

Craig, I’m gratified to report that the Arrogant Mechanic mentioned this
possibility.

That shielded wire is definitely a suspect. I’ve been able to make my
car stall just by wiggling that wire. Mine had gone hard and brittle,
so I cut back that harness until I found soft, flexible wire and
replaced it and I’ve had no problems since.

I suggested to the A-M that all the wiring around the amplifier looked
tired to me, so he will presumably do an audit.

Does this problem only occure after a short drive, or would it also
happen after a long drive where everything is fully hot?

A long drive? You must be kidding! I don’t have the nerve to get more
than hitch-hike distance from home in this thing. The longest drive
I’ve taken it on recently is the 15 miles to the Arrogant Mechanic.

Forgive my sarcasm, and please keep them cards and letters comin’.

BT===================================================
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Perhaps this Canadian-market car is just homesick?

Gregory
Victoria, Canada.
1966 Mark 2 3.8
1992 Series III V12 Vanden Plas
2002 X-Type===================================================
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Dr Gregory Andrachuk wrote:

Perhaps this Canadian-market car is just homesick?

Gregory

If you run across a well-heeled orphanage for homesick Canadian
automobiles, you let me know - hear? BT===================================================
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I’ve heard rumours of one in Victoria, BC! Apparently the headmaster is
rather picky though, and only accepts vehicles from 1992.

Craig

Bill Thom wrote:>

If you run across a well-heeled orphanage for homesick Canadian
automobiles, you let me know - hear? BT

===================================================
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In reply to a message from Bill Thom sent Tue 13 Mar 2007:

Hey Bill

Went through this with my V12, hopefully a few ideas may help you.

It’s definately worth 20 minutes of your time to locate the white
coax wire that runs from your amplifier to a bullet connector and
then to a bundle of wires at the firewall then to the ECU. On mine
the connector on the ECU side was cracked, this allowed the ECU
signal wire to intermittantly ground to the coax shield. =No start.

I cut that coax back about a foot, (firewall side) soldered a new
wire and bullet connector to the center wire. Stripped a coax
shield out of a TV cable and soldered that to the original coax end.

I also rebuilt the amp to distributor wires, cleaned up the main
ECU plug and ECU ground as well. Another ground wire was added to
the engine and I suggest you make sure the amp to intake manifold
is making a clean ground. (if your 89 is mounted to the intake like
my 85 was).

Randy–
–>1987 XJ40 Sov.3.6L–Recent::85/XJ12
Victoria BC, Canada
–Posted using Jag-lovers JagFORUM [forums.jag-lovers.org]–
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I forgot to mention it earlier, but I assume that things like the cap,
rotor and plug wires were checked? I’d hate for it to be something
simple like a bad rotor that is causing the no spark condition.

Craig>

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Ok, then! Don’t let the 12 get to you.
:]–
Alex
79xj6L SII (BRG + wires)
86xj6 SIII (Black)
61 Sprite MkII (Red)
Menlo Park, Calif.

Bill Thom wrote:

Cannara wrote:

Bill, you need to buy an XJ6 and then you’ll always have a Jag to
drive, while you decipher the 12.

Alex, I have an '87 XJ6 which I bought in 1990 with 31,000 miles on it.
It just went over 150,000 last week. We held a little ceremony. BT

===================================================
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In reply to a message from Cannara sent Tue 13 Mar 2007:

Bill:

There is another way! -:0 -:slight_smile: -:slight_smile:
But, …

I agree with many of my more qualified posters to this list. Follow
the wires, all of them, that have any thing to do wth ignition.
Clean, lubricate, tighten or replace if questionable!

Ignition coils can have this on-off syndrome, but I bet it’s wiring
connected. All tha under hood heat does bad things to insulation
and connections.

Good thing, you have at least one more car. Didn’t some one say, if
you want a JAGUAR, you’d better get two?

I guess it’s your turn at being a student of the practical lessons,
these cars teach us apart from the mechanics.

I went to Small Claim court against my home insurance company. I
tried to practice some of the things I have learned. We’ll see what
the Judge decides. Contrary to the TV Judges, the real ones mail
the verdict. They don’t want to hear anymore!

Good Luck

Carl

Carl–
The original message included these comments:

Bill, you need to buy an XJ6 and then you’ll always have a Jag to
drive, while you decipher the 12.

Alex, I have an '87 XJ6 which I bought in 1990 with 31,000 miles on it.
It just went over 150,000 last week. We held a little ceremony. BT


Carl Hutchins
–Posted using Jag-lovers JagFORUM [forums.jag-lovers.org]–
–Support Jag-lovers - Donate at http://www.jag-lovers.org/donate04.php

===================================================
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In reply to a message from Cannara sent Tue 13 Mar 2007:

Alex,
You’re missing the point. It doesn’t matter what is ‘‘at home’’ when
you are a long way from home and therein is Bill’s frustration. I
have been lucky with both my V12’s and never been afraid to take
them anywhere in almost any weather - they have never given me
reason to. The first time we moved to Edmonton however, I drove
out in a '74 Fiat Spyder that had- or so I was told - seventeen
relays between turning the key and having the car start.
Unfortunately, it only took one to ‘‘ice up’’ and prevent starting
and they ‘‘all’’ had an inclination to do so in the winter. The only
solution was a tow someplace warm so she could thaw and start.
That quickly becomes very tiresome when you need to be able to rely
on getting home, not just getting out. I have more than a little
empathy for what Bill is going through and wish him luck in tracing
down something that should at least be ‘‘fixable’’ once it is
identified, unlike the Fiat which became a true ‘‘fair weather car’’
because of it’s flaws.
Ken
Ken–
The original message included these comments:

Ok, then! Don’t let the 12 get to you.
Alex
Bill Thom wrote:

Cannara wrote:

Bill, you need to buy an XJ6 and then you’ll always have a Jag to
drive, while you decipher the 12.
Alex, I have an '87 XJ6 which I bought in 1990 with 31,000 miles on it.
It just went over 150,000 last week. We held a little ceremony. BT


Ken Cantor, 1992 Series III V12 Vanden Plas
Edmonton/Alberta, Canada
–Posted using Jag-lovers JagFORUM [forums.jag-lovers.org]–
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In reply to a message from cdnklc sent Wed 14 Mar 2007:

Ken:

Remeber the old three wheeler motor cycles tht dealers used to pivk
up and deliver customer cars? They used a tow bar to attach the
motor cycle to the rear bumper of the customers cars. HMMM

My XJ6 has been on a flat bead twice during my ownership. Many
years ago, when my old cazrs broke down, I could limp home or
fix’em roadside. I still have a tool box in both. But, haven’t used
a tool ine ither box for many years!

I do have one of those booster, compressor light things in the
JAGUAR.

But, the best emergency tool is the one you have available but
never need!

Of course, not to forget a cell phone and tow insurance!!

One of my friends at work at about the time of your Fiat had one.
We always used to kid him as whether he had been able to drive his
car that week end. Another had a Lancia and deeply resented any
implication that it was really only a FIAT in fancy pajamas!

-:wink: -:slight_smile:

Carl–
The original message included these comments:

down something that should at least be ‘‘fixable’’ once it is
identified, unlike the Fiat which became a true ‘‘fair weather car’’
because of it’s flaws.

Bill, you need to buy an XJ6 and then you’ll always have a Jag to
drive, while you decipher the 12.
Alex, I have an '87 XJ6 which I bought in 1990 with 31,000 miles on it.
It just went over 150,000 last week. We held a little ceremony. BT


Carl Hutchins
–Posted using Jag-lovers JagFORUM [forums.jag-lovers.org]–
–Support Jag-lovers - Donate at http://www.jag-lovers.org/donate04.php

===================================================
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Bill Thom wrote:

I paid off the wrecker for his trouble then drove to the Arrogant
Mechanic, who said, “Once she’s in a no-start mode it won’t be too
tough to find the problem.” I predicted that it would be weeks, maybe
months before it occurred again, but he thought he could find the
problem anyway. He mused about the wiring in the distributor, being
part of the only “moving parts” of the ignition. He even speculated
about converting it to a Marelli ignition, which he admitted has its
own detractions, albeit different ones than the Lucas system.
I told him that I desperately needed him to find something
definitively wrong because the car, as it stands, is less than
useless, it’s an untenable risk. With no reasonable expectation of
being able to get back home, it is nothing more than $20,000, 2-ton,
300 cubic foot ornament in the garage. It seems there are trophy
wives who survive on looks alone, but no automobile is beautiful
enough pull it off.

Your mechanic, arrogant or not, is perfectly right about finding a fault
when it is not present, Bill. Looking for a needle in a haystack is so
much more meaningful if you know it is there…:slight_smile:

Testing with the problem present is essential - and the driver is the
only one who can do it at all times. If reliable testing methods
definitely and invariably shows no ignition it’s no small step - and
primary testing tools and procedures for that are simple. Just changing
parts for an intermittent fault is just expensive - particularely as
unidentifed intermittent non-starts may be caused by different problems
each time…

I quite agree it’s past amusing, and it takes me 2 years to fully trust
the car after a thing like that - unless THE fault has been most
emphatically been found and rectified…

Frank
xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/UK/NZ)===================================================
The archives and FAQ will answer many queries on the XJ series…
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