Dec 2009 – Well…after a six year hiatus I have a Jag parked in the garage again. I tumbled across a deal that was too good to resist and I am now the proud owner of a 1990 XJS Convertible. I must confess it feels mighty good to wander out to the garage and get that silly grin on my face again. I loved my old XJ6 Saloon but this one has a lot more fun factor. It’s winter right now and the weather has not provided much opportunity to drive or work on it. Overall, it’s in pretty good shape but there are a lot of smaller projects that will need to be done to get it back into top running condition. I have downloaded and read through portions of Kirby’s EXPERIENCE IN A BOOK, Help For The Jaguar XJ-S Owner and already have lots of ideas for expanding my checklist and project list. What an amazing resource! 738 pages of accumulated wisdom from XJS owners.
This section of the website will document the upcoming projects and adventures of Jag ownership.
Oct 2nd, 2011 – Project Recap
Well, I’ve seriously neglected updating this page! In the past year and a half there has been quite a lot accomplished in maintenance but perhaps more importantly, several thousand miles have rolled over on the odometer and we’ve been on quite a few very satisfying drives. I certainly do not regret having purchased this awesome machine. I am still amazed at how many people, of all generations, will stop and comment on what a beautiful car it is. Those adventures are documented on our family website along with various pictures. The 59th Rallye Glenwood Springs being one of the more recent and interesting events.
This page is really more dedicated to documenting the maintenance and improvements that have been accomplished so…without further ado…and not in any particular order…
Fuel Injection System
Replaced the hose on the lines leaving the fuel rail connecting to the left fuel regulator and the one connecting to the fuel cooler. This was my first experience in dealing with these clamp-less hoses and the interesting Jaguar fittings. Replacement lines are readily available but rather pricey. After consulting the “book” I opted to replace the hose myself and accomplished this in a hour or so with a total expenditure of around eight bucks. A hacksaw is instrumental in removing the “collars” which prevent you from gaining access to the ends of the hose. Upon examination you will see the collars are for aesthetic purposes only.
A sudden misfire was tracked down to a broken fuel injector connector. Finding these at your local parts store is a bit difficult but I did locate some at Amazon of all places, who promptly delivered them to my door in a few days. I used the Beck Arnley 158-0017 Fuel Injection Harness Repair Kit, Pack of 4 for $8.73. The only downside to these is that they do not come with the little wire spring. [Follow-up: you can get the little wires from Summit Racing for $1]
Delco Alternator Replacement
I replaced my Bosch alternator with a Delco unit based on information gleaned from reading Kirby’s Book. Not that there was anything wrong with the old alternator but this project was driven by another, the removal of the air injection system. My air pump was defunct and the having read up on it’s intended purpose I determined that removing the entire air injection system would be a very good idea. Less weight, more power (ok..probably infinitesimal but what the heck), and perhaps best of all…less plumbing on the top of the engine.This took a fair amount of work but overall I am very pleased with the results.
Cooling System Leaks
Several bad hoses, rusty pinhole leaks in the expansion tank, and weak radiator caps all contributed to some frustrating times this summer. But I eventually got it all sorted out. Some day I need to get serious about swapping out the radiator and switching over to electric fans.
Rear Window Motor
The rear window decided to stop coming up one day and I eventually determined that the motor gets “stuck” and simply won’t energize. I found that an old tent pole was just the right size and length to slip down the opening and with a little hammer tap it wakes up the motor. I confess that I have a tendency to leave the top down for long periods of time and this seems to exacerbate the problem. If the top get exercised somewhat regularly it doesn’t seem to happen. Removing the motor is a rather daunting project so I am content to live with the workaround.
The AC hasn’t worked since I bought it. I finally decided to invest in the tools needed to do my own AC work and commenced to evacuate the system and track down the leaks. After replacing all the seals that were relatively easy to access and also the Receiver/Dryer the system would finally hold a good vacuum. I decided to not convert it to R134 and instead went with a R22 replacement product called Enviro-Safe. It has been working very well.
Rear Transmission Mount
While I had the car jacked up one time I noticed that one of the rear transmission mounts was completely missing. How in the world that happens I have no idea but I got the necessary parts and fixed that problem right away.
Koni Front Shocks
My front shocks were not in good shape so I utilized my ITT employee discount to purchase a set on Koni shocks. ITT owns Koni so that worked out quite nicely. They have made a huge difference in ride and handling. Piece of cake to install too.
Missing in action when I bought the car. Found a used one from a fellow Jag enthusiast in Florida. The car looks much more proper now and cools better as well.
April 17th, 2010 – Vacuum Lines
With things winding down on the 79 Coupe I finally got around to carefully going over the engine compartment looking for things that didn’t look right. I found quite a few, certainly more than I expected. A number of vacuum lines were either mis-fitted, kinked, or completely disconnected. The throttle switch was laying loose and the kickdown switch was not adjusted properly. I corrected all of these issues and the cars seems to run a little bit better.
March 31st, 2010 – Ownership
Today I was finally able to go over and pick up the title for the car. I never imagined it would be six months from the time I made the offer to buy until I had the actual title. It’s amazing how ridiculously slow the DMV can be in dealing with a situation like this but I really do own it now and can start thinking a little more seriously about getting some work done on the car. I’ll get the title transferred next week and finally have some legal license plates.
March 27th, 2010 – Door Handle Fixed
I finally got back to completing some work on the convertible after a rather long diversion with a 1979 Coupe. Replacing the door handle did not look like it would be an easy task and it wasn’t. Once you get the door panel off the repair manual tells you to remove the window glass. But the procedure doesn’t quite line up with reality on the convertible model. The instructions are for the Coupe. I could not see an easy way to remove the glass and ended up doing the job the hard way.
It is possible to remove the handle without first removing the glass. You can reach up behind the glass and remove the nuts securing the handle to the door. Once the handle is out it is a simple matter to switch out the lock cylinder with the replacement handle. Putting it back in the door proved a bit of a challenge though. I eventually devised a solution that allowed me to reattach the nut and was able to get everything put back together.
While I had the door panel off I fixed a broken wire to the light in the door that illuminates the ground when getting into the car. This effort led to fixing several other courtesy lights and rewiring the switch for the map light which mysteriously had two wires reversed inside the switch.
January 16th, 2010 – Antenna Fixed!
I decided to tackle the antenna again. Even though the mating surfaces of the two units were different it just seemed like there ought to be a way to adapt one to the other. I took the antenna motor back out and after studying the problem for awhile came up with a way to modify the fittings on the antenna motor so they would work with the new mast. Amazing what you can accomplish with a drill and hacksaw.
I also took the cover off the motor housing and extracted the remnants of the old mast cable which was preventing the new mast from retracting all the way. The last little snag was getting a proper ground for the motor. I discovered that the motor was finding ground through the antenna cable coming from the radio which didn’t seem like a good idea. I added a ground wire from the motor to a convenient ground on the body and that solved that problem.
January 12th, 2010 – Fire Hazard
I’ve watched a lot of traffic go by on the JagLovers email list about the potential fire hazards of failed fuel injection hoses. The scenario is that the fuel injection rail sits in the middle of the engine Vee where it gets really hot and the little rubber hoses connecting the fuel rail to the injectors get brittle, and eventually crack. This might not be so catastrophic if the 12-cylinder distributor wasn’t also buried in the Vee. Fuel spraying around and a dizzy make a bad combination. I had hoped mine would be in good shape but alas it appears that replacing the rubber fuel hoses will get bumped up to the top of the project list. Not much sense in starting your Jaguar on fire due to negligence.
January 10th, 2010 – Antenna Mast Replacement
I went to install the replacement antenna mast today and was not successful. The antenna motor works just fine and theoretically you can replace the mast quite easily. In this case my plans were foiled as the PO had already replaced the entire motor assembly with an aftermarket version. So even though the motor quite happily sucked in the new mast, the base of the mast is not the right diameter to fit snugly and make contact with the antenna lead from the radio. I am going to try to find a way to make it work if I can, otherwise I’ll have to make a trip to the U-Pull-It salvage yard and find one in a donor vehicle.