Advice on buying a Jaguar XJS

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MWF

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argatoga, just tell your Dad to get an MX5 and spend the rest of the money :clarkson: on petrol and crisps. (Gas and chips for the Muricuns)
 

gaasc

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Last Edited: November 7th, 2007 12:14 AM

I think argatodad has made his mind by now :p
 

Spectre

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Hey spectre and fordcrusher, Im pretty sure I already know the answer to my question but I'm going to ask it anyway. I'm 18 and I have some experience with cars fixing up my 1976 skylark. I love the xjs and I found a really nice and clean 1990 v12 xjs in SD for 3000 with only 30k miles on it. It runs fine but I was wondering if it would be completely out of the question for me to buy this car and use it close to a daily driver. Thanks
On top of what's been said, the other issue is that the non-OD XJS V12 simply doesn't get very good gas mileage and the parts situation is still a bit unsettled while Tata housecleans (though that's getting cleared up). You are lucky if that thing will get 17mpg - can you afford that? Keep in mind that the XJS is not going to be very happy with continuous short trips, and that you're going to be feeding it nine quarts of oil per oil change at about $4 per quart for Valvoline MaxLife. XJS V12s are much cheaper to run and more reliable than competing V12s, but it's relative - it's still going to require more maintenance than something like a Corolla, and the scale of that maintenance is going to be higher.

Look at it this way. The Jag V12 cars are the only V12 exotic or semi-exotics that are reliable enough and low enough maintenance that the average Joe can own one without it eating him out of house and home (looking at you, BMW.) That does not mean that the cars are low maintenance or cost nothing to maintain, nor does it mean that your corner mechanic can or will work on one. Fortunately, the average Joe can actually work on them, so if you can pull your own maintenance (and there's quite a bit of it), they're affordable to own. But affordable does not mean "cheap like a Corolla."

How much money is in your maintenance budget for the car?
 
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justsoup

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Im selling my other car and I could scrape together enough money to buy the jag. Im working now and I could put a lot of the money I make into upkeaping the car.
 

argatoga

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Last Edited: November 7th, 2007 12:14 AM

I think argatodad has made his mind by now :p
Yep. MGB with a V6 swap.

Im selling my other car and I could scrape together enough money to buy the jag. Im working now and I could put a lot of the money I make into upkeaping the car.
Based on this I would say don't do it. It will eat up a crap load of your cash. If you want a reliable Jag look for a '95-'97 XJ6.
 

Spectre

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Im selling my other car and I could scrape together enough money to buy the jag. Im working now and I could put a lot of the money I make into upkeaping the car.
Yeah, unless you have the money already - this is a bad choice as a daily for you. See the above recommendation of the 95-97 XJ6 as a better choice. Another option would be to get the six cylinder XJS, which while not quite as reliable as the XJ6, is lower maintenance than the V12 and more affordable to own, if you must have an XJS.
 

nirwas

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Jaguar xjs manual gearbox convertion

Jaguar xjs manual gearbox convertion

I have got , maybe a silly question.

I own a 5.3 Jag XJS from 1989
i am very happy with the car, but just founded out that there is a way of changing the gearbox and the car becomes even better.

DOES the gearbox from the 3.6 liter engine match with the 5.3 engine?

we have got lots of this 3.6 for very cheap here in England...
 

jetlag700

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Random thoughts on the matter:

For me, the answer is mostly "don't buy a V12 XJS" because they do have a *lot* of problems. The 5.3L V12 had several problems involving dropped valve seats (which immediately wreck the engine and require a rebuild) if they're run the least bit hot. Another endearing feature was the 90-92 cars' tendency to have catalytic converter fires because the Italian ignition system would temporarily fail on one bank, then start back up after the cat was full of gas. Earlier cars can have engine fires due to the fuel injector hoses getting brittle and leaking due to the heat in the Vee of the engine. ALL of them can have distributor explosions due to how they're arranged.

The 6.0L V12 introduced in 1993 is the best of the lot. They fixed most of the problems, and if you find a 96 (last year for it - though technically the last ones are leftover 95s) it *may* have a Ford distributorless ignition (or you can steal one from a dead 96 XJ12). The 6.0L cars also have the very latest equipment and electronics fitments for the XJS, and those are very reliable. In addition, they also got the 4L80E transmission (4 speed overdrive unit from GM) so they get a little better gas mileage. They also have conventional outboard brakes, so maintenance is easier.

So, if you MUST get a V12, get a 93-96.

That said, you will find that the XJS is more of a handful to own compared to the Jaguar sedans. The heat of the engine tends to mean more regular hose, belt, and component changes in the engine bay. Since the XJS was constantly revised over its entire lifespan, body parts often do not interchange across model years and therefore are more expensive. Electronics are usually shared with the same year or close to same year sedans; there is a tiny but dedicated aftermarket, and you can even get a Tremec 3550 or TKO manual transmission conversion (US XJS was never offered with a stick.)

There are also a few things you can do to get a little more power out of the beasts without too much money - the big one is fitting free-flow cats, removing a couple of restrictions in the exhaust, and going from four mufflers to two. This is typically good for 20hp or so over the original 322hp (in 6L cars).

As is the case with any Jaguar, you want to look for one with a FULL documented service history. As someone noted above, you want one with NO rust, so check under carpets, in the trunk, and under the car for rust spots. The only point where rust is actually *fatal* to the car is the radius arm mount points in the rear (assuming that you have full rust-through in spots), but rust *anywhere* can be expensive to fix and would need to be remedied immediately.

If your father is willing to pull much of his own work, the XJS is relatively easy to work on. There is a lot of good documentation out there; if you pull your own maintenance, the cost of ownership is surprisingly low. There are also a large number of mail order parts vendors out there with *great* discounts on parts. And, unless you have a really bad dealer, most parts for these cars are usually less than comparable parts for a Mercedes, BMW, etc., etc.

Finally, and I know this seems counterintuitive, don't automatically go for the car with the lowest miles. Jaguars like to be driven; ones that are driven regularly have a lot less problems with seal leakage and parts just dying for no apparent reason. Ones that sit around and then are sold as "low mileage" examples tend to end up being giant money pits. A properly maintained, regularly driven Jag is a marvel, a wonderful car that will serve with few problems for many, many years. A rarely driven, sporadically maintained Jag will be an unforgiving bitch that will eat all the money you have and ask for more.


If you would like, I'll see if I can get my XJS expert friend in here - he's more likely to be able to give you an in-depth run-down by year, if you want.

Cat fires..........ummm, I don't have cats, OR mufflers on my XJS to obstruct the flow.......might burn the pedestrian friendly plastic bumpers on the tailgatin' jackass behind me......on second thought, that is not such a bad idea......lmao!~!~
 

WillDAQ

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Cat fires..........ummm, I don't have cats, OR mufflers on my XJS to obstruct the flow.......might burn the pedestrian friendly plastic bumpers on the tailgatin' jackass behind me......


More to the point, how is the car road legal without any cats or mufflers?

Also necro.
 

argatoga

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Cat fires..........ummm, I don't have cats, OR mufflers on my XJS to obstruct the flow.......might burn the pedestrian friendly plastic bumpers on the tailgatin' jackass behind me......on second thought, that is not such a bad idea......lmao!~!~
The jackass is the guy running straight pipes and destroying everyone's hearing within a ten miles radius. Decent aftermarket mufflers won't "obstruct the flow".
 
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jenifercorbin

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dear mr. ford crusher. I've emailed your friend spectre to no avail asking him to help me pick between a couple of different jaguar xjs's that i would like to buy one of. i want to buy a 94 6cyl instead of the 92 v12 that is located closer to me. i need some help. id pay you. i can see that you're an engineer, and most likely you make more that the 25 year old waitress living in los angeles that really wants to buy a beautiful car. maybe you could find it in your heart to point me in the right direction?
sincerely,
jenifer corbin
[email removed]
 
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blackwhite

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Hi everyone (and thanks FordCrusher for some very informative thoughts). I'm looking at getting a 76 model xjs here in Australia(price approx $8 AUD). Not much salt used on our roads, but corrosion still an issue on cars this age, etc...The one I've seen has apparently been stripped back to bare metal and re-sprayed about 8 years ago (the receipts for this etc are all there for me to see)...tho saying that there's now a few chips and rust "wrinkles" appearing in a few places...

The car comes with a full service history for about the last 10 years. And this thing has cost prev owners an absolute packet in repairs...so I'm thinking I'll be getting one that's had most of the issues it needed to have dealt with...(took it for a drive and its seems to go well - interior is VERY aged but I have an upholsterer as a father so can fix that up no problems).

But, given it's a 76 model - no doubt there'll be more...i'm willing to treat it as a project car, and throw a few thousand at it in maintenance etc every couple of years...

it's a 3 speed auto, but i'm looking to do a 5 speed manual conversion on it to get the fuel consumption down...

your verdict?

it's either buy a local Australian one, or import one from the UK at about a similar price all up (approx $10k AUD) (we're also right hand drive here in Oz), but run the risk of rust etc due to the salt they use on their roads (and general miserable British weather)
 

Lmuzza

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I own a 77 XJS which cost $3k, so for $8k I would recommend you get a H.E model, far better fuel economy (more chance of dropped valve seats), better interior, wood dash, chrome bumpers etc.
 

Rayzor61

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Sorry to bring up old news but I am a new member and NEW owner of a 1989 Jaguar XJS. I did a Google search on "Things to know about Jaguar's" because I am unfamiliar with the brand and model.

My search lead me to this thread. When I read the piece written by "Spectre", I nearly shit my pants. Then FORDCRUSHERGT jumped in and saved my day.

FordcrusherGT, if you are out there somewhere, THANK YOU for your very tastefull and well written piece about my car. I will try to search your other writtings as soon as I get comfortable navigating this forum.
 
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