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It's not leaking it's marking....

"It's not *leaking*... it's just marking its territory" (Growl...) - Ed Mellinger

So, why don't the English manufacture bowling balls? Because they can't leak oil!

I remember having to put an aluminum pan under my Triumph (cycle) back in school when I bought it into the living room at the dorm at night (to preserve its presence - West Philadelphia!) many years ago, to keep the oil off the carpet! - Larry Schear Twin Cam, Inc.

Larry, I see that you also own Nortons, which of course are also able to manufacture oil. I once had an opportunity to work closely with Brian Slark for several years on motorcycle projects. For those who don't know, Brian is English born and has been a major Norton Guru for many years. He kept me in stitches one evening with many great stories about his days in the AMC factories, etc. I asked him once semi-seriously (and after a few pints) why (after we had discussed many great engineering advances the English had designed over the years, auto and motorcycle) why the bloody hell couldn't the English design an engine that would keep its oil inside. He thought for a few minutes and phrased his answer in three parts:

1. The English people (especially those born before and during WW2) would never think to complain about something as unimportant as an oil leak.

2. Since most cars and motorcycles were lucky to even be parked on gravel in a lock-up, it didn't matter if they leaked.

3. On motorcycles, the fine oil mist spraying back while riding helps keep your Barbour suit waterproof.

Naturally, Brian's tongue was pretty firmly planted in his cheek when he dropped these great pearls, but in an obscure way (to a Yank) it all sounded perfectly reasonable.

So, I think we all have to keep some of this in context. If we were English, we would probably never complain about the oil leaks. So let's drive them, fix them, curse them, love them, buy stock in oil companies and keep the drip pans handy. With oily floors, - David Sales 1954 XK120 1970 and 1971 Norton Commandos 1965 Matchless G80CS

I agree with David, you really need to keep this in context. My every-day 1988 Series 4 Sovereign (XJ40) does NOT leak a drop of anything from anywhere - it is a modern Jaguar design when lack of oil leaks etc was a design criteria, and notably the engine has I think only 3 traditional type cork or paper gaskets (all insignificant), the rest of the car using modern synthetic sealants and special design seals etc.

My 1966 E-type roadster, being the host of 1940's basic engine technology, although very competent by 1966 standards, is not designed or built to eliminate oil leaks, however as I personally didn't want this car to leak, I went over the engine and gearbox and rear-axle some 15 years ago, with a mission of using modern sealants and seals to eliminate oil leaks. Fifteen years down the track it DOES NOT leak anything.

My wife's everyday useage 1968 Daimler V8-250 has not had this de-leaking attention as it dosn't concern me, and yes it still drops oil, power-steering fluid, auto-fluid, rear-axle oil as it was never designed to be DRY. So its really a case if you can't live with the oil leaks, fix them, but if you want the fix to be permanent you must use modern sealants and seals and a bit of mechanical enterprise.

p.s the modern sealants are undetectable by originality judges, except those who like to think any pre 1987 Jag/ Daimler that dosn't leak oil is non-original. - Roger Payne

Very good point; not only put in context relative to modern machines and sealants, but to contemporaries of comparable era. American cars built in the '50s for the most part weren't leak free either, and are no doubt less so 40 plus years on. Won't try to say that the average '53 Chevy leaked as much as the average '53 Jag but drip pans were the order of the day almost no matter what was in the garage. In the final analysis as so many have said, unless something truly needs to be repaired, we're talking a few drips more or less so it shouldn't be causing much drag on anyone's enjoyment of the car (as long as you or the family pet don't walk thru the puddles and directly into your newly carpeted living room, who cares).

As someone has said before, the real myth seems to revolve around needing a chase vehicle for your Sunday drive. With a reasonably maintained old British car that just isn't the case. Certainly reliability comments are more for humorous purposes than any wish to diminish the stature of the cars themselves, but for folks who drove these cars back in college when they cost a couple hundred bucks, had 100,000 miles or so on them, hadn't been seriously maintained since who-knows-when, and they ran just fine, it can be satisfying to raise the counterpoint from time to time. - Dick Rowley '54 XK 120 FHC '62 Mk II

True enough, Rowley! I, too, had a 'cheap' Jag in college - a '55 XK-140MC DHC cost me $500 at Reedman Motors, Langhorne, PA. Soon sold the wire wheels and hubs for $100 (plus disk wheels and hubs, of course) - gas and insurance $$, making my posession what I now refer to as an XK-140MC-ww DHC ("-ww" for "without wire wheels!"). Shoestring time, but I kept the car running and (club) racing for about six years (Kurt Rappold has it now). Everything leaked back then, including my Dad's stable of Studebakers! The new cars have improved to the point where leakage is no longer occurring, but, as the 'new' editor (after Dutton Peabody) of the Shinbone Star said after his interview with Ransom Stoddard, "When the legend outshines the facts, print the legend!" (ref: "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"). At least, with all that oil, out cars won't 'rust in peace!' - Larry Schear Twin Cam, Inc.

For folks who drove these cars back in college when they cost a couple hundred bucks, had 100,000 miles or so on them, hadn't been seriously maintained since who-knows-when, and they ran just fine,

Amen. Count my MkV among these old faithfuls. There was even a time when I ran it around with taillights from K-mart bolted onto plumber's strapping because I couldn't get MkV taillight lenses. At least I had the sense not to drill holes in the bumper for them.

Then there was the time I put a trailer hitch on it......

>p.s the modern sealants are undetactable by originality judges, except >those who like to think any pre 1987 Jag/ Daimler that doesn't leak oil is >non-original.


The Jaguar engine is actually an oil magnet. The oil in the primordial soup deep within the earth coalesces into a pool at ground level below a Jag engine, with each tiny molecule straining to defy gravity and leap up to the oil pan, where they know their brothers are living in eternal bliss. Some of them are able to make the leap, and they then form gangs on the suspension cross member, plotting how they can get past the pan gasket guards. Two of their revered heroes are the Irish O'Line brothers, Hav and Valve, who led an assault on an E-Type, only to be repulsed by a cowboy named Perma Tex. I kid you not.

But seriously, folks.

>Would like to hear what sealants and/or seal materials the folks with dusty undercarriages are using...

I successfully sealed my gearbox with Permatex No. 2 engine assembly sealant after failing with a blue silicone that I have since tossed out. I replaced the original LEATHER shaft seals with modern rubber lip seals from Moss.

Of course not yet having done the engine which blows its oil to the rear tends to mask all my triumph of the gearbox. - Rob Reilly

Not a lot of point naming brands as what I can access in Australia will differ from what you can easily get.

In general terms you need to use silicon based saelants that are available for specific applications. Jaguar will sell you its current sealants as a spare part that obviously will do the job, the main problem you need to determine is if you need to maintain the original gasket thickness for some clearance reason, if so you need to allow for this. If you dispense with gasket, make sure you can seperate parts at a later date if you need, otherwise you will cause a lot of difficulties. eg I keep gaskets on cam-covers, but use a modern silicon sealant on both sides to stop leaks, but the thickness of the gasket allows a blade to cut through enough to allow seal to be broken when needed, otherwise if you had replaced gasket with just sealant you will have a nightmare trying to remove cam-covers without causing damage. There are lots of good quality sealants readily available now, so if you don't want Jaguar item, go for a reputable brand name based on there specific recommendation for specific application. Cork gaskets were generally used where you need to maintain gasket thickness, so substitute with silicon sheet cut to size, and sealed as needed. Sorry to be so general, but its really a matter of working through potential leaking joints one by one, with solution appropriate. - Roger Payne

Permatex Gel-Gasket, silicone sealant (blue or copper) for high temperatures, mechanic's grade GE silicone sealant (not the bathroom tub sealant!), etc. should both do you and be available in Oz. Good lck! - Larry Schear Twin Cam, Inc.

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