OWNING AN XJ6Between November, 2000, and March, 2012, I was the proud owner of a 1986 Jaguar XJ6. Detailed here and on a couple of other pages are notes and costs associated with keeping him on the road. I eventually had to replace him, however, as the of some major repairs that needed to be done was just not something I was willing to do for a number of reasons. So as much as it broke my heart to, I had to trade Jeeves in for something newer and hopefully a bit more reliable... a 2002 S-Type 4.0.
The HuntIn November of 2000 we found ourselves in need of a second car. My Jeep Cherokee was now our one and only vehicle. I decided that second car would be strictly for around town use and therefore should be something fun, not just transportation. My list of possibles was short:
The FindI couldn't find any Mustangs or Merkurs. And the only Jeep I found was in pretty sad shape. But there were a couple of XJ6s around and after looking at them, I found my Steel Blue 1986 XJ6 sedan. Of course the required pics are here too:
- A side view - notice the paint on the hood.
- The interior - pretty sad seats.
- And the engine - leaky but in good shape.
The ParticularsSome of Jeeves' vital stats:
- VIN: SAJAV1344GC442090
- Paint Color: Steel Blue (paint code LEC)
- Interior Color: Isis Blue (trim code JEF)
- Build Date: November 1985
The RestorationDuring my ownership of Jeeves I spent a fair amount on him, all of which is detailed in this breakdown. Given the car's history it doesn't really surprise me!
In August, 2002, I had the car repainted. This was quite expensive because even though I did not have a complete frame off repaint done, I did have most of the trim removed. I also had some minor rust repaired around the back window. See these pics for the results.
In September, 2002, old Jeeves went in for his engine rebuild. I have documented this project in pictures which begin with these two:
Only a couple of small things were found when the engine was pulled. The left motor mount was broken (hi Dave) and an A/C line was loose.
The engine was sent to the machine shop for some work. A broken stud and some minor deterioration of the head was found, but once again nothing major. After an acid bath, the cylinders were bored .30 over and the block and head were cleaned up. After all this, it was sent back to Charleston Import Automotive for the actual rebuilding. Of course, some pics were taken...
- The cleaned and painted block.
- The cleaned head - Sealed for your protection.
- The old and new pistons - Can you guess which is which?
By the second week of October, the engine was back together. The transmission had been cleaned and painted as well before being mated back up to the motor. And the rats nest of hoses and tubes were all put back on. The rebuild was complete and the final product looked like this. Compare this pic to the one of the engine when it was removed above.
After some tidy up work, the whole thing installed back into Jeeves. Then came the fun part of attaching the mass of hoses and wires to the rest of the car. Once it was all back together again, it looked quite good. Again, compare this shot of the engine to the one I took back in November, 2000. Big difference.
Finally, on 23 October 2002 Jeeves was returned to me. On top of the engine work, I also had the front sway bar bushings replaced, a new fuel level sending unit installed in the left gas tank, the tranmission tuned up and the A/C converted to use R134. A very thorough job indeed. Then came the fun part: paying off the bill! See the Jag Cost page for some of the highlights.
Over the succeeding months, I began doing minor repairs and replacements. Things like the center dash vent, inside rearview mirror and such. All of this work finally paid off in May, 2004 when Jeeves took second place in the Driven Division in the Jaguar Society of South Carolina's annual concours event. Not bad for his first outing in an officially sanctioned Jaguar Clubs of North America competition.
Work had to go on a three year hold as I was sent to RAF Alconbury in the United Kingdom in June, 2005. I missed driving Jeeves, but on the plus side I was able to visit the official Jaguar museum in Coventry. Still, it's was a long three years without my Jag.
Another plus to being in the UK was that I got lucky and found a 1986 XJ12 on eBay for less than $3,000. Yeah, for that price it wasn't in the greatest condition. And I wasn't even going to be able to import it back into the US because it didn't meet the age requirements. Well, I couldn't bring back the whole car. I removed a few hundred pounds worth of parts, including all of the seats, and shipped them back with my household goods. Once we got settled in Colorado in July, 2008, I promptly put the bits in. The front seats and rear seats were the first things to go in.
As with any old car, there was always something to do. Most of these are listed in the Jag Cost page. Eventually the required maintenance got to be too much. He needed a new differential and rebuilt rear-end, a new harmonic balancer (requiring a teardown of the engine) and all new wiring for the fuel injection system. Estimated total cost for all of these was in the neighborhood of $10,000. For my income level, that's a cost I couldn't do. Sadly, I had to part with him. I'm going to miss Jeeves. He was a fun car to drive and work on. And even though he was replaced by another Jag, well, it's not quite the same. They just don't make cars with personality like him anymore.