OWNING A JAGUAR S-TYPEIn November, 2000, I purchased a XJ6 as a project/second car. Jeeves, as he was known, served me well. But maintenance got to be too much and in March 2012, when I was looking at a $10,000 estimate to get some major required work done on him, I decided it was time for us to part ways. It was a sad day. To replace him, I bought a 2002 Jaguar S-Type. What follows here is what it's been like owning and operating this more modern of Jaguar products.
The PurchaseAfter a number of weeks of research, it became painfully obvious that Colorado Springs was not a hot-bed of affordable used Jags. Only two S-Types were on offer in my price range. One a V-6 (which everyone who knows Jags says stay away from) and one a V-8. It was the V-8 that I went to look at and eventually bought.
Unlike Jeeves, I did not have a title search done on Nigel (the S-Type's new name) so I don't know the details of his past. What I do know so far comes from a CarFax report I ran before I went to look at him.
Nigel was born in May, 2001 at the Castle Bromwich plant in the UK. He was shipped to the original dealer in Souix Falls, South Dakota, where he was purchased in February, 2002. His first owner had him until August, 2007, when he was traded at Verne Eide BMW/Mercedes in Sioux Falls. His new owner purchased him that same month, but did not keep him very long. He was traded at Billion Motors Toyota in Sioux Falls in June, 2008. His third owner purchased him the next month, keeping him until April, 2010. He was traded again at Billion Motors Toyota where he was purchased in June. This fourth owner kept him all of one month before selling him near Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. The fifth owner kept the car until May, 2011, when he was sold again, this time in Fort Thompson, South Dakota. Nigel was then sent off to an auto auction where he was purchased by Intermountain Coach and brought to Colorado Springs in January 2012. I purchased him in March, 2012.
Operating CostsWhen I bought Nigel, he was in generally good shape. At only 65,117 he better have been! But there were a few things that required some work. First were the brakes. New rotors up front and pads in back were easily evident. So was a good alignment and balance. Also, I noticed that whoever changed the wiper blades last put the wrong size on the driver's side; it was about 5 inches too short.
Here I've listed the costs associated with keeping Nigel road worthy since I purchased him. Only repair/replacement costs are listed. Regular preventive maintenance things like wiper blades and oil changes are excluded.
Other than the standard local auto parts stores, the following have been sources for Nigel's parts:
|Fuel Filter||$11.26||Since I had no idea when this was last replaced, I figured it'd be a good idea to do so. The fuel filter is located behind the plastic splash shield in the front left wheel well. You have to pull off the left wheel, remove two 10mm nuts and two push clips then pull the plastic shield back to get to it. Not hard, but not easy either. Used Wix 33595. The fuel filter for the S-Types also fit a ton of other Ford, Mercury, Lincoln and Mazda cars from the 2000's.|
|Air Filter||$9.49||Above I said I wouldn't put the regular preventive maintenance stuff on here, but I decided to include this one. When I pulled the one out of Nigel it was horridly caked with dirt and debris. So bad that several of the vanes in the middle of it were completely full of detritus. Used Fram CA8956. Again, these fit a plethora of other Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Mazda cars.|
|Front Brake Rotors x 2||$72.50||The front rotors on Nigel were showing major wear. I changed these and the pads (below). Another job that's not hard, but could be a bit easier. Biggest issue here was with the upper caliper bracket nut. It's buried in a sub-assembly necessitating some creative socket and extender work.|
|Front Brake Pads||$38.79||See the Brake Rotors entry above.|
|Rear Brake Rotors x 2||$46.00||Did the rear brakes at the same time. Although the rotors weren't worn like the front ones, I figured it wouldn't hurt. Note that the single piston on the rear calipers requires a special capliper piston cube/block tool. Use this to turn the piston and recess it enough to get the caliper back on over the new pads. The tool is available at any auto parts store for less than $15.|
|Rear Brake Pads||$26.00||See above rear brake rotor entry.|
|Lug Wrench||$8.05||While doing the brakes on the fourth wheel, the lug wrench that came with the car stripped itself out. The aluminum basically rounded out. Guess they're only made for 4-5 wheel changes. Come to think of it, probably should have bought two.|
|Push Rivets||$2.49/pair||While replacing the cabin air filter, a couple of the original push rivets holding the cowl cover broke. Found these (Dorman 961-070) at the local auto parts store.|
|Expansion Tank Hose||$2.09||Came out to find a puddle of fluid just the rear of the front left wheel. Traced it to the hose that plugs into the bottom of the coolant expansion tank. Had to pull the wipers, cowl, and brace out to get the tank and hose out.|
|Thermostat||$65.40||While driving to work a couple of days in a row, the temp gauge went way up to red then suddenly dropped back to normal. Sticky thermostat. This chore requires removing a ton of hoses but isn't all that hard.|
|Water pump||$98.95||Since I was going to be draining the coolant and disassembling the the thermostat housing, I figured I would replace the water pump too. The originals have plastic blades that deteriorate over time. The replacement has metal blades. A very simple procedure to do.|
|Thermostat Housing||$79.99||This is another one of those parts that deteriorates over time because it's plastic. Replaced with a metal one. Replacement would be really easy if it wasn't for the two rear bolts. They require a 8mm crows foot or adustable wrench to get to because of how the air intake plenum sits above them. An infuriatingly stupid design.|
|Coolant Expansion Tank||$94.95||I found a puddle behind the left front wheel again and thought it was the hose leaking. It wasn't. I pulled the bottle out and found small cracks along the back side of it. When the thermostat got stuck those two days, the pressure in the system cracked the tank. This requires the removal of the cowl cover and some nimble fingers when snaking the hose around under the brake resevoir and other components.|
|Coolant Expansion Tank Cap||$15.95||Figured since I was replacing darned near everything else, might as well replace this. Cheaper ones can be had from Stant, however the reviews for them were really poor. Opted to go with the genuine "Made to Jaguar Specs" version.|
|Timing Chain Replacement||$1,035.00||Of this, $412 was for the new, metal type timing chain and tensioner kit. The rest was labor.|
|Valve Cover Gaskets||$61.00||Replaced since the valve covers had to come off to replace the timing chains.|
|Upper Radiator Hose||$127.20||Ah, the days when you could just pop down to the K-Mart and grab a $7 piece of hose. Replacing the hose is almost a 2 hour job; 30 minutes to drain the fluid, 10 to change the hose then 45 to put all the fluid back in and bleed the system.|
|Lower Radiator Hose||$19.01||This one is easy except for the lower connection at the radiator. It's really tough to get the clamp off. And if the hose has adhered itself to the fitting, a real upper body workout to get loose. Even if everything goes smooth, figure almost 2 hours to do it because of the draining, filling and bleeding of the system.|
|Sway Bar Link Kit||$67.50 (pair)||While replacing the radiator hoses I noticed these looked pretty rough. The rubber boots had deteriorated badly and the plastic caps that cover the lower knuckle were cracking and missing bits. A fairly easy chore that only took about 15 minutes each.|
|Transmission Filter||$35.00||Although the Ford 5N55R transmission is supposed to be a sealed for life unit, anyone who owns an S-Type will tell you that you should still replace the filter and fluid every 75K or so. This is not an easy process but can be done in your garage. However, someplace with a lift is the best way to go.|
|$65.00||Bought 7 quarts; required just under that.|
|Transmission Drain Plug Gasket||$2.00||Replaced it just in case.|
|Dual Coolant Flow Valve
(aka Dual Coolant Control Valve)
|$146.83||One day I adjusted the automatic climate control to 72 and it kept blowing about 120. Refrigerant level checked good as did the compressor, hoses, etc. Further troubleshooting using these procedures revealed this part had gone out; a known issue on these cars. Normally the thing short circuits and takes out the climate control head unit in the cabin too. Doesn't look like that was the case...so far. On a scale of 1 to 5, the job is about a 2 in complexity but a 4 in PITA. Set aside about 2.5 hours at least to do this. And for the record, yes the Motorcraft YG355 for the Lincoln LS is the exact same part as Jaguar XR822975.|
|Stabilizer Bar Link (Rear)||$16.88 x 2||More suspension bits in rough shape; cracked boots and leaking grease. These are fairly easy to replace; about 20 minutes each. The top nut is easy to get to. The bottom one is really close to the hub/rotor assembly so it's more of a chore.|
|Tie Rod End (Rear)||$86.52 x 2||Like the sway bar links, these were shot as well. Again, fairly easy to do at about 30 minutes per side. Your alignment will definitely be shot after you get done so go ahead and schedule that service when you get ready to put them on.|
|Drive Belt||$23||The old one started chirping occasionally and eventually started doing it more and more. This was a fairly easy task. The JTIS directs the removal of the tensioner pulley to remove and install the belt. However, if your fingers are nimble enough you can slip the belt around the back of the pulley. There's just enough room to wedge the belt between the pulley and block. Needless to say, if you opt to do it this way, do it when the engine is cool.|
|Ignition Switch||$55||During the spring, the car had developed a battery drain. It happeneded at random times and without warning. It would go 2 days or 2 months then suddenly the battery would be as dead as Lindsey Lohan's career. Changed the battery out (it was about 4 years old) without any change in the issue. After quite a bit of electrical sleuthing by someone with way more knowledge of that subject than me, the cause was determined to be the ignition switch. It wasn't turning off the valet system completely thus draining the battery over night. This would also explain why the radio would remain on sometimes when the key was removed (not a feature on these cars). The part is not the actual bit you put the key in, but the electronic piece that attaches to that. Finding a replacement was problematic at first; nobody had it in stock under the Jaguar part number (XR815815). However, by using the Ford part number for a 2002 Lincoln LS (F8LZ-11572-AA) it wasn't so hard to find. Installation is fairly simple, although you'll need a flexible back.|
|Heater Hoses x 4||$520||Another leak found under the car. This time turned out to be two of four hoses that are used to send warm water into the heater core. Went ahead an had all of them replaced. Cost here also includes labor (they were in some really tight spots) and new anti-freeze.|
|Sway Bar Bushings x 2||$260||Worn sway bar bushings were causing a bumping/clunking noices on over bumps. Cost here also includes labor.|
|Coil Springs x 4||Front: $95.44 x 2
Rear: $94.50 x 2
|Late last year when the sway bushings were replaced the ride height was measured. It was found to be low by just over a half inch up front and an quarter inch in the rear. These are not hard to replace, just labor intensive. There was a noticable difference in the handling and ride after these were done.|
|A/C Discharge Hose||$658.00||Somehow this hose shifted just enough to rub against the compressor pulley causing a hole to wear in it. Natuarlly, all of the refrigerant leaked out (sorry, Mother Nature). It did this over the winter so I didn't notice it until we had our first warm day and I needed some A/C to cool off the all black interior. I checked the shop manual. This thing is a total PITA to replace. Plus I don't have the tools to do the pressure testing and refrigerant replacement. The cost here includes part, labor and refrigerant. Interesting side note: the part was originally quoted as over $600 from the local dealer. I confirmed this by calling the dealer myself, getting the same price as the shop. I got the same OEM part for $279 from Guadin Jaguar in Las Vegas (see their link near the top of this page). The markup by some of these dealers is criminal.|
|Steering Rack||$1300.00||On a cold November afternoon I came out from work and started the car to hear a loud groaning from the rack. After 15 years of below freezing winters, the seals on the rack couldn't take anymore. Power steering fluid was leaking from the side seals out near the wheels and the fluid reservoir showed about half the normal level. So the rack had to be replaced. Price here includes the rack ($750), labor ($234), power steering flush and fill and an alignment.|
|Lug Nuts x 20||$100.00||The OEM nuts are the two-piece type so in vogue with car makers. Over time the little cap over the nut gets fatigue and begins to move and flex. This is bad as it can get so out of shape that the nut can't be removed. Mine were getting that way so I replaced them with Dorman 611-117.1 wheel nuts. These fit perfectly and are the one-piece type (no cap). The only operational difference is the head is a 21mm instead of the OEM nut's 19mm. This is no problem for me since I replaced the Jaguar lug wrench (good for about 2 uses) with a four point lug wrench that fits perfectly in the spare tire area.|
|VVT Seal x 2||$20.00||Noticed a light film of oil around the VVT solenoids in the valve covers. Turns out the seals had dried out enough to allow a bit of oil to weep out. Easy to replace. Just use a small flat blade screw driver to pry the old ones out then press the new ones in. Jaguar part AJ82856. Ford part 2W93-6A545-AA.|
|Sway Bar, Bushings and Bracket||$750||Since I got the car I've had this clunking loose sound in the front of the car when it went over large cracks or bumps in the road. But then in early May I picked up a knocking sound as well. Pushing down on either fender and releasing would replicate the knock. I put the car up on ramps and crawled under to locate it (with a little help from the spouse who tired quickly of the fender pushing but hung in there). After ruling out everything I could reach like control arms, ball joings, tie rods, etc, I dropped the splash shield (replaced it; see next entry) and checked the sway bar. And that's where it was at. I ordered the new sway bar and bushings because initially it was a job that I could do myself. But when I got to looking at the right side bushing and bracket, it wasn't looking too good. In fact, it was looking a bit beat up and gnarled. And it looked like it wasn't angled correctly. In fact, I couldn't get a wrench or socket on the top bolt like I should have been able to. Took it into my local shop and they were able to get it off with some effort. Seems the hit this car took on the right side (curb or something) before I got it not only tore into the splash shield but it also hit the sway bar hard enough to bend the bracket and strip the bolt. So this cost includes the new sway bar (might as well), bushings, a bracket plus alignment and labor for the work. Clunk AND knock are gone.|
|Splash Shield||$180.00||As noted above in the sway bar entry, my S-Type took a hit at the front right wheel at some point in its life. This tore up the splash shield underneath the nose among other damage. Since the shield had to come out anyway to replace the sway bar and bushings, I figured I'd replace this as well. URO makes a fairly cheap replacement (got this one through Rock Auto) and its pretty easy to replace as well if you have the car up on ramps or a lift.|