1999 XJ8 3.2
I spotted this car for sale on a piece of spare land in Finstown, in early December 2012 on my way to meet up with a friend for car sharing prior to one of our Rambles. The price on the screen made me park up and have a wander around it - unbelievable condition for a 14 year old car. These V8 XJ's are rock bottom now, due to a number of factors; they are big and thirsty, most folk think they are expensive to run and they had lots of mechanical maladies, not the least of which was the whole Nikasil issue, which nearly broke Jaguar with the huge number of engines replaced under warranty. This was not really the fault of the advanced design but caused by the high (at the time) sulphur content of fuel which destroyed the lining on the aluminium alloy cylinder bores, especially on cars which were started and driven for short distances and then switched off. This sort of behaviour often happened when the car was started in the morning and moved, perhaps just off the driveway, to give access to another vehicle. If this was a regular occurrence, then eventually the car refused to start and ended up with little or no compression. If the car managed to get past the turn of the Millennium without trouble, then with regular maintenance it may well be fine for a good long life - as the sulphur content was significantly reduced after that date. Another - as yet unsubstantiated factor is that fuel out of Grangemouth contained less sulphur than 'English' fuel - and this car has spent all of its life in Scotland. The mileage showing was just 54000 and the bodywork was amazing - not absolutely immaculate, but very close. Chris and I returned to view it on the Monday morning and I was lucky that the vendor didn't have the chance to start it before I arrived - it started first time and was as quiet as a mouse with no nasty noises from the chain tensioners - another well known fault area. There have been FOUR iterations of tensioner - I wish the Jaguar 'bean counters' could occasionally be restrained from over-ruling engineers and using inappropriate materials in these critical areas. The other problem areas are water pumps and thermostat housings - again incorrect material choices. This car came to me for the price of a knackered Astra and what a drive it is! I will concede that it is packed with possibly troublesome electronics but there have been so many already broken for spares that I feel confident that I can keep on top of it. I have already sourced and fitted a 6CD multi-changer (plug and play) including the modified boot carpet, for a tenth of the cost of one from the Jaguar dealer. It has been fitted recently with a genuine Jaguar twin electrics detachable tow-bar which set the previous owner back over £700 (yes, seven!)
Style from any angle - still looks like a Jaguar too!
A proper interior with no annoying squeaks or rattles
A clean but uninspiring engine bay - too much plastic!
Your Car, Sir
I can hear the beginnings of a light front off side wheel bearing noise - so that is on the 'to do' list. It requires a special tool to undo the ABS rotor nut which is torqued up to some astronomically high figure. I might buy a nut first and make a tool at my leisure so that I am not having to break off in the middle of the job. There are a number of little things to attend to which have been left by previous owners - the two little bulbs in the air-con display were blown - I replaced those, which involved removing the centre console (and finding dropped loose change under there!) The petrol flap motor was seized open - £5 for a unit from a scrapper soon sorted that, plus replacing the inevitably blown fuse. I've attended to one or two stone chips already but there are a few more to go. The skinny spare wheel has never been on and all of the tools and handbooks are now there - there was one missing for the security system, but I managed to get one of those. It will need a service when the weather improves and I checked with my cheap scanner and there are no fault codes stored or pending. The leather interior is almost unmarked but I have ordered a kit to attend to a few small marks on the drivers seat bolster. It will be nice to just gently and gradually improve the car as I use it and see if I can keep the rust at bay!
I'm sure there will be more to come on this saga and I can consider it a 'disposable motor car', can you imagine what Sir William Lyons would think of that statement?
Refurbishing the Drivers Seat
Re programming the Key Fobs
Replacing the front wheel bearing
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