Reliable Jaguars?

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Ottobon

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This is just something i have been pondering for awhile and i need to get some real help with. I'd love to know what are the most reliable and worthwhile (aka not X-type or S-type) Jaguars? Presumably something in from the XJ series, but which model and which years?

I'd ike to know which jags to look at because my mom has always loved them, and despite having a really interesting car life in her youth (1969 Blue with gold stripe Mustang modified extensively including a Aluminum big block, Baja Beetle, 1962 Thunderbird w/ a 409, Mazda RX-3, to name a few) shes been stuck driving somewhat terrible Ford Taurus's for the last 15 or so years of her life. Shes also been through some hard times lately, breast cancer and treatment, divorce (I'm living with my dad), and the school fired everybody who wasn't a union member, aka her because she helped special needs kids instead of teaching.

Personally, If i ever get a decent job i'd like to help change that, especially as Jags deprieciate like all hell even though apparently some of them are supposed to be dependable cars. So basically when did Jag become a quality brand? 1995, or was it 2003? I have no idea! Ideally I'd think a XJ6 would make the most sense as i presume the XJ8s get worse fuel economy and are probably a bit more lumpent to drive, but i don't know, maybe the "x350" series (current gen) are demonstratively better to drive no-matter what the engine, please tell me :p.

All info would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
 
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Dsemaj

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Pretty much everything after the Ford takeover (1992) is pretty bulletproof, with little to no issues. I'll wait for Spectre to pop in though, he's the local Jaguar nut.

My dad had a 1994 XJ40 XJ6 3.2 S which when he sold it earlier this year had done about 160,000km, and it never broke down on us once. A far cry from our old Series III XJ6 4.2 Sovereign we had, most of the time it would refuse to start up and we needed someone to give us a jump. Once, the bloody horn just went off and won't stop. Some guy had to help my mother stop it.. :lol: Mind you, not as bad as one of my friend's dad's Series III. I heard it would just cut out while driving..

Just be careful about parts though. It's usually hundreds of dollars just for a switch.
 

Steve Levin

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I think "bullet proof" is going way overboard. The post 1992 cars are much improved over the earlier years, I agree, but again, that's like saying that Bultaco was the least bankrupt Spanish motorcycle company.

In my experience, the newer Jags finally reached Ford/Chevy reliability, which means...not too bad, lots of cars that work well -- but far from all of them.

For you Mum I wouldn't consider anything not built in the past 3-4 years; given the depreciation of the cars you can do pretty well in there.

Steve
 

HuevosRancheros

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i have tried to purchase an XJR twice but ended up with a Merc the first time and a BMW the second......maybe one day.....

regardless, when i did my research i was told that 2002 and 2003 were some very good years for the XJ which were the last of the previous body style
 

Spectre

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Otto: I got your PM, hadn't had a chance to respond as I have been busy. In the interests of time, I'm going to cut and paste earlier posts on the same subject that I've made.

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I've heard that there was a period where jaguar reliability was total CRAP? true? if so, what year range?
BAD year ranges for Jaguar XJ in the US: 75-82, 88-90, 98-Early 00 (V8 engine chews up cylinders and dies - only fix is new engine - if car has replacement engine, should be fine)

Good years: 82.5-87, 95-97, 03.

Okay years, some well known problems: Late 00-02 (timing chain problems - factory fix kit available, brings it up to 03 timing chain standards; costs about $750-1000 to have dealer install it)

Your best bet is a 95-97 XJ. The 95-97 cars don't have quite all the gadgetry of the later V8 cars (they have an I6, a blower I6, and a V12 as options), but their electronics systems are simpler, there's less to go wrong with them, and they're actually better to drive. The I6 is a much stronger, much more proven engine than the V8, and the transmissions behind them are stronger as well, even though they are four speed instead of five. There is no significant difference in fuel economy, and the non-blower cars are only 40 horsepower less compared to the regular V8. The blower sixes have an even better transmission than the blower eights, and they're only down 50 horsepower - something easily remedied with a pulley and a chip. They're also stupidly cheap - under $6K for a normal XJ6 in excellent shape with low miles, $10-15K for an XJR (which is interesting, since that's MORE than what a 98-00 XJR can be found for.)

The 95-97 XJ actually had better initial and long term quality ratings than the LS400 of the same years. That's bloody impressive, and no Jaguar has managed to do that since. IMHO, the 95-97 XJ is the best sedan Jaguar ever built.

If you need any other Jag info, just ask.

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In the US, the 87 is my car, the Series III. The 88-94 is the next car, the XJ40. Unfortunately, it has LOTS of problems, especially in early models. If you wish to buy an XJ40, buy a 93 or 94. They're just as cheap, and they have all the fixes, so they're actually pretty reliable.

*********

There aren't any big nasties on the X300 (95-97) XJR that I can recall. It's probably the best car Jaguar ever built, fully the equal of a Lexus LS400/430 in reliability.

The water pump tends to go around 150K, the cooling fan motors (electric) go at about the same time - both easily replaced. The ABS accumulator tends to be problematic at about 100K, but the car will tell you about that and it's not fatal or hideously expensive. The transmission is from GM, so it will last nearly forever and if it dies you can get that serviced cheaply just about anywhere. There are no core engine problems with the AJ16 engine used in the X300.

The only external problems to watch for are rust around the wheel arches and around the radius arm mounts, and around the top of the trunk cut. They're far less susceptible to rust than anything prior from Britain, but their sheet metal is on par with BMW - so watch for rust. If you see severe rust around the wheel arches, plan on some expensive rust repairs, or just walk away. If just minor rust, it can be caught and remedied more economically - but you must catch it before it gets nasty. This, of course, applies to most modern luxury sedans, so it's not exactly Jaguar specific.

On the interior, the clock/temperature LCD display(s) in the center stack tends to either lose its backlight or have the display go blank entirely. Relatively easily fixed; lots of good used ones out there. The cupholders in the armrest are fragile and tend to break with age. Repair is, again, easy and relatively affordable. The only bit of ugliness is the automatic steering column - I don't know where they sourced it, but it likes stripping the teeth off the nylon gears in the electromechanical gearbox inside it after a while (80-120K). Not all that hard to fix, but a pain at the wrong time. The workaround is to set the column to manual, not auto (it moves up and forward a bit to let smaller people out of the car), or to get the gearbox replaced with a stronger one out of a late X308 or X100. There are also some retrofit kits to remedy this with improved parts. This does not cause the steering wheel to go unstable or flop around when it fails - it just simply stops moving around and is no longer adjustable.

As with all supercharged cars, check engine compression and leakdown before purchase. If the supercharger is in need of replacement (it's technically a wear item, but they don't seem to wear out on the X300s or X308s), it's the common Eaton M110 unit, commonly found on *many* Ford SVT cars and in the aftermarket. Other than the above, almost nothing goes wrong with the X300 XJRs - which is why I'd like to add one to the collection.

On the test drive, there should be no weird noises from the rear end, there should be no ticking from the engine (though clicking fuel injectors are both normal and OK), and it should not visibly burn oil. If it is visibly burning oil, walk away, someone did something stupid with boost and caused premature engine wear. The temp needle should sit almost precisely in the middle of the range, perhaps a needlewidth towards cold. If it runs any hotter than midway without flogging, then you may have cooling system issues - such as a clogged radiator. Uncommon, but it happens when some idiot who used to have a Series III doesn't bother to read the X300 manual and dumps Barr's Leaks into the cooling system as a preventative measure. It's not a fault of the car, but a fault of the owner.

*********

I have a few more pics of the XKR, I'll post them below.

It's been fairly reliable, with one big exception. Not quite on par with, say, the Lexus SC430, but I'd put it up against the best the Germans churn out in terms of electronics and most of the drivetrain.

Unfortunately, that exception would be the engine. The 1997-2000 V8 engines were not the happiest things ever to roll out of Coventry. They had a Nikasil cylinder lining on the normally aspirated cars that didn't work out so well, and many of them have a timing chain problem which if left unchecked will eventually break and trash the engine. The timing chain problem was partially corrected in late 2000 (mine is an early 00), and truly corrected in 2003.

I *thought* my car had the 2000 fix, as it had a notation in its service record that seemed to imply it. Unfortunately, it didn't, and the engine ended up killing itself. If I'd known it needed it, I would have gotten the timing chain and tensioners (the problem parts) replaced early at a price of ~$750-1000 USD and been able to drive it nearly forever. Instead, I got to buy a new engine - but it looks like Jaguar/Ford is going to end up reimbursing me for it.

Don't let that scare you away from an otherwise good V8-powered XJR or XKR, though. Just be advised to NOT buy one from before early 2000, and if you get one made before 2003, have the 03-up timing chain and tensioners installed immediately.

*********

That should sum it up for the XJ and XK right there. And like I said earlier, feel free to ask any more questions if you want.
 
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A.Fonz

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Mind you, not as bad as one of my friend's dad's Series III. I heard it would just cut out while driving..
Hehe, My XJ40's still doing that, come to mention it, it happened the other week when we took it out for a run to Walhalla, (out in the mountains, really really really narrow and windy roads), and coming up to a 15 km/h hair pin at 70 km/h, and having the engine cut out, meaning no power steering or brakes, well lets just say I nearly needed new pants. But that has become something I love about that car, it has character. Well that and I don't have the money to get it fixed.
 

High Center

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First post here-

Fantastic to find so many automotive kindred spirits. I found this forum via this post by googling "most reliable Jaguar car". I was wondering in the intervening years if the cars are aging well. I am on the hunt for a weekend expedition car with that Jag panache. I am attracted to the x300 body style/price and storied reliability. Any real world experience on the life of these cars some 16 years on?

Thanks,
DB
 

That American Girl

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I think Spectre pretty much answered that in his above post about the 95-97 XJ's. (If I understand you correctly). You might want to re read his post or just wait for him to pop back up as he usually does in most of the Jag related threads. :)

From what I know of this series, they seem to be fairly reliable. :)
 

MWF

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First post here-

Fantastic to find so many automotive kindred spirits. I found this forum via this post by googling "most reliable Jaguar car". I was wondering in the intervening years if the cars are aging well. I am on the hunt for a weekend expedition car with that Jag panache. I am attracted to the x300 body style/price and storied reliability. Any real world experience on the life of these cars some 16 years on?

Thanks,
DB
Welcome. I'm just guessing but are you a construction worker?
 

smib

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Well, while this thread is here I'd like to know if a '96 S-Type should be expected to run into problems. My sister got one with 60k miles for 10 grand a few months ago despite my telling her to do the exact opposite, since she wouldn't be able to afford any large repairs or a replacement car. It seems to be pretty well perfect at this point, not a single hiccup going from CA to CT or in it's first actual winter.
 

Labcoatguy

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You mean '06 S-Type, right? IIRC they had some electrical gremlins but were okay overall, if not quite as bulletproof as X300 XJs.
 
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CAPT_Howdy

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And IIRC, most of the bugs on those (And the sister Lincoln LS) were on the first generation '99-02 cars. By 2006, the kinks had all been worked out and they were pretty reliable.

(I'm going on what Spectre told me when I asked his opinion of a 2005 Lincoln LS V8 I was looking at a couple of years ago.)

Do you know what it has for an engine? 3.0L V6 or 4.2L V8?
 

smib

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I think the V8, it could certainly get out of its own way, and yes I did mean '06.
 

Spectre

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First post here-

Fantastic to find so many automotive kindred spirits. I found this forum via this post by googling "most reliable Jaguar car". I was wondering in the intervening years if the cars are aging well. I am on the hunt for a weekend expedition car with that Jag panache. I am attracted to the x300 body style/price and storied reliability. Any real world experience on the life of these cars some 16 years on?

Thanks,
DB
I think Spectre pretty much answered that in his above post about the 95-97 XJ's. (If I understand you correctly). You might want to re read his post or just wait for him to pop back up as he usually does in most of the Jag related threads. :)

From what I know of this series, they seem to be fairly reliable. :)
Pretty much this. About the only thing that I have to add to that six year old post is that like all the other cars that used that specific Magna-Donnelly/Gentex auto-dimming mirror (including Toyota/Lexus, BMW, Acura and more) they're losing containment on the LCD fluid used and will need to be replaced. More details on the issue and the company you need to contact here:

http://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-tech/285125-gentex-donnelly-auto-dimming-rear-view-mirror-important-info.html
http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=312598

Here is the company that fixes them: http://sybesmas.com/site/services/

That and there are people working on a permanent repair for the clock dimming out over time. Other than that, they're still holding up remarkably well for this class of car and astoundingly well considering Jaguar's prior history.

Well, while this thread is here I'd like to know if a '96 S-Type should be expected to run into problems. My sister got one with 60k miles for 10 grand a few months ago despite my telling her to do the exact opposite, since she wouldn't be able to afford any large repairs or a replacement car. It seems to be pretty well perfect at this point, not a single hiccup going from CA to CT or in it's first actual winter.
You mean '06 S-Type, right? IIRC they had some electrical gremlins but were okay overall, if not quite as bulletproof as X300 XJs.
- - - Updated - - -

And IIRC, most of the bugs on those (And the sister Lincoln LS) were on the first generation '99-02 cars. By 2006, the kinks had all been worked out and they were pretty reliable.
I think the V8, it could certainly get out of its own way, and yes I did mean '06.
Pretty much this. The 4.2L S-Types didn't have the explodium 5 speed transmissions inherited from ZF and Mercedes, they don't have the terrible V6 driveline and they'd pretty well worked out all the mechanical bugs by then. They do suffer from weird electronic issues from time to time, but they're not of the car-crippling kind. Though you will want to make sure you park it with a roof over it if there are large thunderstorms expected - they still have not figured out what in the DEW98's electrical system causes it to rarely open the sunroof in a severe rainstorm if left unattended. It's something like a one in several hundred thousand chance that it will happen, but it *is* a known bug that bit two large motoring mags.

The other issue is that the S-Type was subject to almost as many running production changes as the old XJ-S. The cars were essentially built in three 'flights' - 98-01/02 (depending on how you reckon it), 03-05 and 06-08. There are three different exterior types with three different lengths, heights and two different widths. There are two major interior versions and several minor revisions. Parts commonality between the early models and the later ones aren't great, so be advised that you're probably looking at dealership and mail order OE suppliers for interior and exterior parts should it need them and you'll likely end up ordering stuff by VIN number. You won't be able to assume that because a part fit another S-Type that was close to yours in year that it will fit yours, for example. This does tend to make it a little more complex to own. On the other hand, a lot of Lincoln LS parts will bolt up to it, so that does bring down the price of parts some.

Fortunately, for all that, if you can live with annoying electrical issues, you can do a lot worse than a late 4.2L S-Type as transport. A late V8 S-Type is a rather different beast than the horrible abomination that rolled out in 1998. It's not really up to the standards of the badge, but it's not a heap of crap as cars in general go either. They're pretty sturdy, don't break down much, and the aftermarket warranty people will still cheerfully sell you a policy on them - which I recommend, because while it is unlikely to break down in a show-stopping way, if you do have problems they won't be cheap (as pretty much is the same for every car in this class.)

Some tips: Do NOT engage the electronic parking brake on the S-Type in the winter. It is known to freeze up and there is no easy way to release it without a mechanic's intervention. (Fortunately, it's a mechanical system driven by an electric motor so it's not *that* hard to fix.) Also, if the battery dips low on a cold winter's morning start, it can throw weird parking brake codes and refuse to release it if you left it on even if it isn't actually physically frozen or coated in ice. Make sure you replace the battery at 5 year intervals (max) on the dot to avoid a lot of stupidity and cursing.
 
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