The first thing you come to when you start at the front
of the car is the license plate. If the law in your locality
allows it, you can remove it. The license plate on the front
of an XJ6 seems to have been an afterthought. As the design
was conceived the car had an adequate cooling system and
perhaps in England where the summer temperatures rarely
reach 80F degrees, let alone 105F degrees, the addition of a
license plate meant nothing. But in warm climates where you
need every bit of help you can get, the license plate can
rob you of 10 degrees (C) of cooling capacity.
My 1982 XJ6 ran at 85C to 90C on the highway at 70 mph.
When I got to the track I would remove the front license
plate and the car would run at 75C even though I was running
at 120MPH on the straight and averaging over 85MPH for the
entire road course.
In order to get sufficient air flow through the radiator
you need a smooth flow under the car to draw it through the
engine compartment. The license plate destroys that smooth
flow and the air tends to pile up somewhat in the engine
compartment so get rid of it if you can or at least you can
bend it under against the bottom of the bumper.
Next back are the horns which are fastened in the center
just below the front bumper. The horns are not anything
spectacular. They are just a standard vibrating diaphragm
powered by an electromagnet that switches on and off when
the horn button is depressed. These are repairable and are
not complicated. Anyone can open one up, clean it out, clean
the contacts, replace the gasket and put them back in
operation. Their location near the road makes them
susceptible to getting full of all sorts of junk that gets
pushed back to the diaphragm and jamming up the works. The
gaskets are paper and tend to deteriorate quickly allowing
water into the inner workings of the horn. You should use
one of the liquid silicone gasket materials when you put it
back together as they will last longer than a paper gasket.
BUT.... new horns made of plastic are so cheap that repairs
are hardly worth the time unless you are just into the pure
satisfaction of being able to say "I did it". I recommend
doing it once if you are new to auto repair, it will give
you a project that you can do and feel proud of.
If the electromagnet is badly rusted or the coil is
burned, I don't recommend trying to repair it but it can be
Also, I might mention that as Kirby says, "12 volts is 12
volts" so any 12 volt horn from a "chevy" or any other car
will work just as well.
Continuing back, to the headlight wipers. Not all XJ6s
have this feature. If you have it you may not be happy with
it as it seems they do not always function. If you don't
have it and want it, it can be added by acquiring the parts
from the dealer or from a junk yard (breaker) in a country
where the feature was available. In this case, I know only
that England and Australia had this feature. There are
From the advice I got when I sought to add this feature
to my XJ6 the consensus was that you don't want to add it.
More thought on the subject revealed to me that I could not
remember when the last time was that I had to wipe the
headlights on my car, so the feature may not be really
needed unless you go off-road with your XJ6.
Moving further back we come to the headlights themselves.
In Europe, England and Australia at least the outer set of
headlights are 7" diameter and the inner set is 5" diameter.
Because of the wonderful foresight of our glorious leaders
here in the US the XJ6 was supplied to the US with an
adapter that allows 5" headlights in all four positions. The
air intake for the cockpit comes through a screen in this
adapter. A change in the law since then would now allow the
7" headlights again.
On the models with the 7" headlights there were two types
of trim, one with the air intake screen and one without the
air intake screen. This depended upon whether the car used
the headlights for an air intake or not. In converting a US
model to the 7" headlights, a step I highly recommend, you
should try to get the trim with the air intake screen.
Converting a US model to 7" headlights does two things.
First it looks great. The designers knew what they were
doing when they put 7" headlights on the outside. Second,
you can now use the H4 Halogen 7" headlights with the
replaceable elements made by Hella in Germany. I don't have
the part number on these, but some numbers from the front of
the lens may help. Mine are marked "1R7/R20" just below the
center of the lens. Around the perimeter are the markings
"111 603" and " MADE IN GERMANY- SAE MP 76". These bulbs
have a very sharp, flat, top that allow you to use them on
the highway without blinding oncoming traffic. The top of
the beam is so flat and defined that the first time I drove
down a country road at night, where there were trees where
the beam could be defined, I ducked as it looked like I was
running under a low bridge. But you will get used to it.
The conversion can be done with all new parts from the
dealer, about $350(US), or you can do as I did and find a
friend in Australia who will haunt the junkyards for the
parts and send them to you. There are also non Jaguar
dealers who can find the parts for you, sometimes at a
I have been told, but cannot confirm that the buckets are
pretty standard English fare and can be scavenged off
Triumphs with 7" headlights, but the trim would still be a
Do not get the bulbs from another country if they drive
on the opposite side of the road from where you live. The
dip will be to the wrong side if you do. 7" bulbs in your
own country will work perfectly and are still easy to
The A/C condenser is a very conventional item that you
will have no difficulty in obtaining if it needs to be
replaced. The usual failure mode of these is a crack in one
of the welds that causes a leak. They can be repaired but I
don't recommend it since the cost of R12 has gone through
the roof it makes more sense to bite the bullet and pay the
$150(US) to get a new one from the local parts house. It
should be good for 10 years whereas the repair job will
probably fail within 3 years. Now this is not true of the
evaporator coil and I will expand on the economics of this
when I get to that slice at the windshield where the
Replacing a condenser coil is easy and straight forward
if the system is already devoid of freon which it should be
if you have a leak in the condenser. If there is pressure in
the system though it is best to take it to a refrigeration
shop and have them recover the freon before you begin work
on it. Whenever the system is without freon it is a good
idea to unplug the compressor clutch at the A/C compressor
to make sure it does not accidentally get turned on. If the
compressor were to be run when there was no freon/lubricant
in the system it could destroy the compressor and there goes
The new condenser will come with the inlet and outlet
pipes sealed. These seals should remain in place until you
are ready to connect the hose to the pipe. This will keep
moisture out of the system. When you remove the old
condenser you should seal the hose ends with stoppers to
prevent moisture laden air from entering the system. And it
is always recommended that the drier be replaced when ever
the system is opened. A new drier will set you back $30(US)
to $50(US) but it is worth it, again because to cost of
recharging the system, if you have to open it again, will be
in excess of $150(US).
The condenser itself is a delicate item and you should
refrain from dinging up the radiator fins and don't bend the
inlet and outlet tubing as it can break a weld and defeat
the purpose of your repair.
The condenser can be replaced without removing the hood
(bonnet), but I don't recommend it at all. It is too easy to
damage the condenser as it is very light aluminum and easy
From B.J.Kroppe I received the following suggestions on
replaceable parts for the Air Conditioning system:
Part: Air conditioning receiver/drier (long tube
Part Number: 207-640 XH9 Desiccant
Cost: US$41.00 in 1995, from a local a/c shop
78-79.5 XJ12 from VIN 2R58346
79.5-82.5 XJ6 to VIN 330665 (although my car is '82 VIN
3441782 and it fits)
Part: Air conditioning compressor
Manufacturer: General Motors, Harrison Division
Part Number: A-6
Cost: US$125 in 1995 from a local a/c shop (rebuilt
Not sure exactly but some SII XJ6/XJ12 and maybe all SIII
The radiator on an XJ6 is and excellent piece of
engineering. It works well when kept clean and there is no
real reason for an XJ6 to overheat if it is properly
maintained. BUT... there is one catch. Jaguar, for some
reason known only to them recommended for years that when
refilling the coolant there should be some sort of leak
sealer included in the procedure. In the US at least this
meant that a sealer that was full of fibres was added every
year or so. Over the years the stuff collected in the bottom
of the radiator forming a soft brick like material.
When the radiator on my, then 10 year old, newly
acquired, 1982 XJ6 was removed and cleaned there was at
least a quart of solidified hairlike fibres in the bottom of
the radiator. When the car was purchased it was running 120C
on the gauge. After cleaning the radiator it dropped to 85C.
Which brings me to a very important fact. The green arc on
the temperature gauge does not mean "GOOD." Your XJ6 should
not run above 95C in normal conditions.
If you are having overheating problems, have the radiator
cleaned. This includes removing both tanks and having it
rodded. A simple flushing WILL NOT DO.
Removing the radiator is straight forward and it can be
done by just disconnecting the end of the hood (bonnet)
restraint so that the hood (bonnet) can move forward more to
a vertical position. But be careful that you don't damage
the grill work on the bumper. I had no help so I took this
route. But if you have help, removing the hood (bonnet)
altogether will be safer and give you more room. The time to
remove the hood (bonnet) will be more than repaid in the
time you save by being able to get to things.
Watch when you remove the radiator that you plug the
transmission lines when you remove them so that dirt does
not get into your automatic transmission and screw it up.
The cost of a new BW 66 being around $1200(US) at the time
of this writing makes care a cheap commodity.
While you have the radiator in the shop I would suggest
new belts, new coolant (without any leak sealants) and new
hoses. Now is the time they are easy to get to and alot more
pleasant to do it now rather than in August on a back
country road when the ambient temperature is 105F and you
have on a three piece suit. I recommend new hoses and belts
every two years whether you think you need them or not. If
you don't, someday you will wish you did when you are
The cooling fan and clutch and the horn relay: First I
will make just one comment on the horn relay and we will
move on to the fan/clutch. The horn relay is mounted on the
inside front fender (wing) well and on two of my cars it was
mounted "bottom side up", that is the terminals pointed
skyward. This mounting scheme meant that water could collect
in the thing and eventually short it out. On both of these
cars I remounted the relay with the terminals pointing down.
I never had any more trouble with the horn relay.
There are two styles of fan and clutch. The earlier cars
had a four bolt attachment that fastened the fan to the
clutch the later series 3 had a single bolt in the center.
The change happened sometime in the early series 3. My 1982
series 3 has the older four bolt style. This is important
when you decide to replace it because the salesman at the
parts store will most likely only stock the one you don't
There are several things here that need attention on
occasion. If you are having a problem with overheating it
could be the fan clutch if the over heating is at idle and
at low speeds such as around town but goes away at highway
speeds. A properly operating fan clutch will allow the fan
to slip. With the engine turned off you should be able to
turn the fan with your hand while the pulley stands still.
If you cannot then the fan clutch is seized (if the pulley
slips in the belt then your belt is too loose as well!). In
this condition you should hear a distinctive roar from the
engine bay when the engine is running since the fan is
pulling too much air. On the other hand you don't want a
clutch that slips too much either. If when you spin it by
hand it continues for much more than 3/4 of a turn it may be
The clutch can be removed and the fan removed without
removing the fan shroud. It takes a bit of a contortionist
and skinny fingers to manage it but it can be done. But to
do this you must remove the clutch from the fan. They can
then be removed separately.
Kirby Palm has suggested that an electric fan in front of
the radiator would be more efficient than the mechanical one
behind it. It would probably have to be bigger than the
usual 16" size to be an improvement over the mechanical one
but perhaps two fans could do the job. The advantage to this
is removal of a horsepower drain and removal of the fan
shroud which effectively blocks some of the airflow. No one
has yet admitted to doing it yet, so I have no idea whether
it would work, but it should.
Another noise that can come from the fan is caused by the
tips of the fan blades hitting the fan shroud. If it happens
continuously it can mean that the bushing was left out when
a fan clutch was replaced and the fan is off center. This
should be visible to the naked eye as a wobble. Another
cause could be an incorrectly installed motor mount or
transmission mount, or a defective mount.
Usually with a motor mount you will hear the fan hit the
shroud when you are either accelerating or braking. The
motor shifts on the bad motor mount and the fan hits the
shroud. A bad motor mount needs immediate attention since it
can cause throttle binding which can be very scary.
I had a car once that when you made a hard left turn the
throttle jammed wide open. It took me by surprise the first
time then I learned to hit the ignition switch quick. It
turned out to be a broken motor mount.
I know of another incident where the motor actually fell
out of a car when the motor mounts rotted through.
The water pump, the air pump, (if you have a US emissions
reduction system) the alternator, the power steering pump,
the AC compressor and the belts and pulleys:
As I recommended earlier, all the belts should be
replaced every two years, or if it is only 18 months since
the last replacement and you are planning a 3000 mile trip.
Never start on a long trip without near new hoses and belts.
Every time I have done it I have regretted it. The extra
strain of 6 to 8 hours of continuos driving daily will
finish off weak hoses and belts in short order and it is no
fun to be spending your vacation under a car on the side of
the road or spending your vacation money on a tow truck and
The water pump is a readily available item in most big
cities in the US. It ain't cheap, but it is available.
Replacing it is, again, straightforward. The hood (bonnet)
is the only problem here and it can be handled as it was in
the previous section on the radiator replacement.
One really nice thing, about at least the series 3, (Hey
folks, I own a series 3 and that is what I go look at when I
need help on writing this book) is the way the various
accessories are adjusted to get the belts tight. The screw
adjustable tensioners beat the heck out of the normal US
type of tensioner where you have to use a pry bar and three
hands to adjust the tension. The only one that is difficult
is the alternator which is only accessible from beneath the
car and for which the range of acceptable belts is very
narrow. For the alternator belt I suggest that you check the
adjustment position on your old belt then decide if you can
use a shorter or longer belt. Remember, you will have some
stretching in the first couple of months of usage, so aim
short. This way when you find out they don't have just the
right belt you will know which way to go to get the next
size. In the case of the alternator belt, ALWAYS carry the
old belt with you so you can compare the length at the
counter before you walk out!
The belts can be removed and replaced without removing
the fan shroud or the fan. It takes a bit of twisting and
threading to get the belts around the fan blades but it can
be done. If you are replacing the belts and already know you
have the right belt in hand or have transportation while the
Jag is down so that you can go get another if you have the
wrong one (the automotive equivalent to not painting
yourself into a corner or sitting on the branch you are
sawing off), you can just cut the old belts and pull them
out the easy way. Then you only have one set of belts to
snake in around the fan blades.
The power steering pump is easily found in most larger US
cities. It is also relatively easy to replace. The pump is
rebuildable, but I have never been able to find a rebuild
kit when I needed one.
The pump is of the integral reservoir type so the
plumbing is simple, one outlet and one inlet. In the series
3 they changed to metric threads on the pump so if you are
using a new pump on an earlier model the fittings will have
to be changed also. The main failure mode on these is a
leaking seal. In the beginning the cost of power steering
fluid is cheaper than a new pump and many times a power
steering sealer can be added to the fluid that will soften
the old hardened seal and make it work at least for a while.
But, eventually you will have to replace it.
If you use a sealer, read the directions. I once added a
whole bottle of sealer to a power steering pump before
reading the directions that said "add one ounce". And
remember it is only a stop gap. You WILL replace the
I recommend that unless you are into pain in a big way,
i.e. you sleep in leather with a whip beside the bed, take
your car to an alternator shop to have the alternator
replaced. Usually they will do it for free if you are buying
the alternator from them.
If you do it yourself, be forewarned that it must be done
from under the car and it will probably be covered with dirt
and lots of oil from that front seal that was made to leak
by the designers as an anti-rust system....8-) I will never
again do one myself, it just isn't worth the blood, sweat
On to the