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Front Bumper

  The XJ6 Jaguar
Front Bumper


License Plate

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 done.

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.


Headlight Wipers

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 probably others.

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 discount.

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 problem.

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 get.


A/C Condenser

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 evaporator resides.

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 another $200(US).

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 to ding.


A/C Parts

From B.J.Kroppe I received the following suggestions on replaceable parts for the Air Conditioning system:

Part: Air conditioning receiver/drier (long tube style)

Manufacturer: SCS/Frigette
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)
XJS ?????

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 unit)
Not sure exactly but some SII XJ6/XJ12 and maybe all SIII XJ6/XJ12.



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 walking home.


Horn Relay

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.


Cooling Fan/Clutch

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 need....8-)

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 too loose.

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.


Belts and Pulleys

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 garage fees.


Water Pump

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.


Belt Tensionsers

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.


Power Steering Pump  

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 pump.


Alternator Replacement

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 and tears.



On to the next part


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