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    Thread: 1970-1980s Jaguars, are they worth it?

    1. 10-02-2012 03:22 PM #1
      The first car I enjoyed was a brand new 1988 Jaguar XJ-6, British Racing Green, I might have been only 4 at the time but I told the guy I would own one someday.

      ...but as I've gotten to know that era for Jaguar, I reconize two things: 1) They're prone to electric problems and 2) they're prone to engine problems.

      So when I read that some people have swapped smallblock Chevy engines into their Jaguars it makes me wonder, is it worth it?

      Take this 1985 Jaguar XJS HE Coupe that's for sale in my area:

      It's solid except for the engine, but apart from that it's going for $700.

      Now if I bought this, swapped out the engine for a Chevy LSx engine, I might be looking at a healthy 400-450hp Jaguar that would set me back $5-6K (or less).

      So I guess it comes back to my question of is it worth it to do such a thing?

    2. Member
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      10-02-2012 03:40 PM #2
      You forgot rust and water leaks, in addition to the electrical problems and crap engines.

    3. Member Troike's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 03:44 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by NationYell View Post
      So I guess it comes back to my question of is it worth it to do such a thing?
      Only you can answer that

      would likely diminish the value.

      I went to the "All British Field Meet" @ Portland International Raceway a couple years back, and was amazed how many 80s Jags were there .. all with original motors (quite a few with the V12). So perhaps their reliability is underrated. Aside from being British.
      << so it Hz >>

      Quote Originally Posted by A.Wilder View Post
      for every good post in this thread there are 10 illiterate people mashing buttons on their keyboard
      my SAAB 99

    4. Member Fe2O3's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 03:47 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by Troike View Post

      would likely diminish the value.
      If it can be had as it sits for $700, I'd not worry too much about it's value
      Quote Originally Posted by phryxis View Post
      sprayed it on, waited some time, and proceeded to go at it with a scraper, some pliers, and a lot of f-ing hard work.

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      10-02-2012 03:51 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by Fe2O3 View Post
      If it can be had as it sits for $700, I'd not worry too much about it's value
      touche!
      << so it Hz >>

      Quote Originally Posted by A.Wilder View Post
      for every good post in this thread there are 10 illiterate people mashing buttons on their keyboard
      my SAAB 99

    6. Member Chris_V's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 03:52 PM #6
      Engine swapped XJ or XJS jags do not have diminished value, so long as the swap isn't a hack job. In fact, a properly done swap will increase the value.

      That being said, the cars themselves are not as bad as made out to be, so long as a few simple upgrades are done (this is speaking to the 6 cyl XJs specifically, as the XJS cars have different needs). I've had a couple mid '80s XJ6s and other than rust, they were good cars. Parts are easy to come by, and fairly cheap, so long as youre not trying to make them showroom new again (and any car can be that way. As soon as you try to make a used car new again, it costs a good chunk of money).
      I love cars, but the problem is they are like schroedinger's hobby. They're always in a quantum superstate of being both awesome and a huge waste of time and money... until observation momentarily forces them into one state or another.

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      10-02-2012 03:53 PM #7
      What specifically is prone to failure on the V12 models?

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      10-02-2012 03:54 PM #8
      if the bodywork/trim and interior is in good shape ; and the suspsion is in tact, you can buy an inexpensive conversion kit to put chevy power in it.

      most of the electrical gremilins are rooted out with the conversion, sans the climate control system, and most of those parts are GM based.
      Larry

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    9. Member 200HP4dr's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 03:56 PM #9
      I really like this one. And its already V8 swapped.

      http://akroncanton.craigslist.org/cto/3293913286.html

      I'm considering parting out my 350/700R4 equipped G20 and swapping that powertrain into an old Jag. Its TBI, so it should be a breeze to wire.

      Another interesting one in my area.
      http://akroncanton.craigslist.org/cto/3248466927.html

      Chris
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      10-02-2012 04:07 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by .LSinLV. View Post
      most of the electrical gremilins are rooted out with the conversion, sans the climate control system, and most of those parts are GM based.
      would these electrical problems be solved with a stand alone?

      wonder what numbers one could get with a fresh build v12, with some headworks done

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      10-02-2012 04:07 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by TetsuoShima View Post
      What specifically is prone to failure on the V12 models?

      Most of what you can see herre:





      Seriously, the engines were so band-aided with emissions equipment that they had a lot of electronic and vacuum failure points.



      The cooling system is adequate but needs to be maintained; any overheating can result in severe damage like dropped valve seats, blown head gaskets, etc... And from JagLovers, this bit of info:

      "The V12 is a big engine installed in a fairly small engine bay resulting in a lot of heat trapped especially after shutdown. Not shutting down the car immediately after a hard run helps reducing chances of heat damage to ignition and injection components. Until 1989, Jaguar used Lucas electronic ignition, first the same OPUS system used in the E-type and after 1982 a Constant Energy Ignition system. Despite the common jokes related to Lucas, both systems are reliable but shared a common problem with the distributor centrifugal advance having a history of seizing resulting in power loss and overheating. In 1989, Jaguar switched to a Marelli electronic system using crank sensors to adjust timing (no more frozen centrigugal advance) and a single distributor with a separate coil for each bank of the V12. Because each bank uses a separate coil, it's possible for one bank to fail while the other will still be running; the engine will obviously lack power but still run smoothly. If the driver doesn't stop the car right away, the fuel injection keeps sending fuel to the dead bank and the unburned fuel sets the catalytic converter on fire... Periodic inspection and replacement of the cap and rotor is key to avoiding this problem although there are a number of modifications which can also eliminate the risk. Regular inspection of fuel injection hoses is equally important, there is nothing like fuel spiling over a hot engine to ruin your day!"
      I love cars, but the problem is they are like schroedinger's hobby. They're always in a quantum superstate of being both awesome and a huge waste of time and money... until observation momentarily forces them into one state or another.

    12. Member Chris_V's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 04:09 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by 71DubBugBug View Post
      would these electrical problems be solved with a stand alone?
      No.

      wonder what numbers one could get with a fresh build v12, with some headworks done
      The engine istself is plenty stout and with cams and headwork and exhaust, it's pretty easy to get upwards of 350-400 N/A hp from them (they were rated at 300)
      I love cars, but the problem is they are like schroedinger's hobby. They're always in a quantum superstate of being both awesome and a huge waste of time and money... until observation momentarily forces them into one state or another.

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      10-02-2012 04:11 PM #13
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    14. Member Chris_V's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 04:12 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by 200HP4dr View Post

      Oh, one of MY "hero" cars... Yummy!
      I love cars, but the problem is they are like schroedinger's hobby. They're always in a quantum superstate of being both awesome and a huge waste of time and money... until observation momentarily forces them into one state or another.

    15. Senior Member .LSinLV.'s Avatar
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      10-02-2012 04:24 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris_V View Post
      No.



      The engine istself is plenty stout and with cams and headwork and exhaust, it's pretty easy to get upwards of 350-400 N/A hp from them (they were rated at 300)
      correct. if the original 12 is maintained and kept cool, there is no reason they won't go 200K miles.

      all of the smog crap and inferior electrics (ancilaries) were the big issues.

      the trans is a TH400 unit, more than robust, and the chassis are built like tanks.
      Larry

      Demokratikally Elekted Minister of Shekels of the Independent People's Republik of Offtopikstan

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      10-02-2012 05:14 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by .LSinLV. View Post
      correct. if the original 12 is maintained and kept cool, there is no reason they won't go 200K miles.

      all of the smog crap and inferior electrics (ancilaries) were the big issues.

      the trans is a TH400 unit, more than robust, and the chassis are built like tanks.
      Is it legal/possible to just rip out all of the emissions crap? My old e30 had that stupid throttle body heater thing and I just threw it out, but that was small scale compared to whats bolted to that V12, I would imagine.

    17. Senior Member .LSinLV.'s Avatar
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      10-02-2012 05:25 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post
      Is it legal/possible to just rip out all of the emissions crap? My old e30 had that stupid throttle body heater thing and I just threw it out, but that was small scale compared to whats bolted to that V12, I would imagine.
      federally, no

      each state is different.

      in NV I can't do any mods like this, but in CO where I register my cars, they don't even smog the car or look for a CEL....so yes you can do it depending on where you live, and what or not what the DMV does.
      Larry

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      10-02-2012 05:49 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by NationYell View Post
      Take this 1985 Jaguar XJS HE Coupe that's for sale in my area:
      For $700 buy it and put in in your living room as an art instalment. Otherwise, hit up Jags that run.

      http://www.jagsthatrun.com/Pages/Jaguar_V-8.html
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      You are in the land of rust and honey.

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      10-02-2012 06:09 PM #19
      If you have kids you can use it in the yard as a play car.

      A coworked of mine had an 86' or so XJ6. It was constantly in the shop, average was every 2-3 weeks. This was back in the mid 90's, so it was only 10 years old at the time. The body was great, but man, electrical problems galore. He must of put the owners kids through college.

      Before that car he had a Dodge Dart. He kept potatoes on the dash to supposedly help keep the fog and condensation down

      I worked with him until he was 75 or so.

      RIP Derrick

    20. Senior Member .LSinLV.'s Avatar
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      10-02-2012 06:25 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by VWVan View Post
      If you have kids you can use it in the yard as a play car.

      A coworked of mine had an 86' or so XJ6. It was constantly in the shop, average was every 2-3 weeks. This was back in the mid 90's, so it was only 10 years old at the time. The body was great, but man, electrical problems galore. He must of put the owners kids through college.
      actually that was a series III and there were far more reliable than the earlier series II's. most jag's were never maintained as they should have been, and pretty much after the series III they were all junk. the XJ40's that replaced them was complete junk. if he was having electrical issues, I'd guess it was more to do with someone not familiar with the quirks of jag wiring (use of diodes to manage multiple devices powered from a single circuit), etc. if you knew what and were to look for issues, then working on them wasn't that bad.

      I maintained several late series III cars for customers (back when I was a porsche tech) as the dealer I worked at stretched the rules for certain customers.
      Larry

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