Saturday, 10 December 2011

Interior swap part 2

I've almost completed the interior swap on the Sovereign, I've been fitting the black one from an XJR. The final item that needed swapped was the drivers seat. These front chairs are fixing with four torx bolts, they came out with no problems when removing the front passenger seat but I had problems with the drivers seat. The head of one of the bolts was corroded and partly chewed by by a previous attempt at removal, my efforts rounded it off and failed to budge it. I ended up drilling it out which took some. I succeeded in melting several cheap drills before making a trip out to purchase a couple of hardcore titanium coated cobalt ones.

I've managed to ebay off the XKR wheels now I've decided not use them on the car. As the car came with them fitted any money collected for them was a bonus, so I was quite chuffed with £463. Taking that from the £500 paid for the car it makes the net cost of the car £37 which is nice!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Engine temperature issues

Since I've owned the car I've found that the engine temperature gauge on the digi-dash fails to reach the midway point, it sits a couple of increments below. This led me to think that the engine might be running a bit cold so I suspected the thermostat might not be working correctly.

I had a rummage through the spares in the shed and found a thermostat removed from one of my previous XJ40's, I knew this one worked okay so decided to fit it. The coolant was looking murky so I also decided to drop this and replace at the same time as the 'stat. Changing a 'stat is very east, access to it is good and it's simply held in place with two long 10mm bolts. The hoses hold on with jubilee clips, the connectors to the two temp sensors just need to be unclipped.

Having replaced the thermostat I found that there was no difference to the temp gauge reading, it was still shy of centre! There appears to be a temp sensor in the coolant tank so perhaps this needs replacement.

Jaguarsport wheels

I've been playing around with different wheel options, I currently have the Jaguarsport XJR 16" wheels fitted which I think probably suit the car best. They have that late eighties look about them, the slots around the edge make them look similar to other period wheels such as Ronal Turbo's. I think they are more understated than my XKR or five spoke wheels. I'm looking at selling these other sets I have to raise some money for some other work I'll need. The overall tyre diameter is smaller than the others (the tyre profiles are 55 as opposed to 60 on the five spokes), so the car sits a tad lower.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

New gear knob and gaitor

I now have the car back from the garage having been relieved of considerable hard earned cash. It's driving much better now thanks to the new clutch. Now that it's done I've decided to sort the gear level gaitor out.

I've been swapping the original doeskin beige interior for a black one, it's most or less complete apart from the drivers seat. The "ski-slope" walnut centre console panel was damaged and faded so I've replaced it with a decent one from an auto car. The cut-out for the gear level is a different shape so I've adapted the gaitor to fit this.

The plastic surround from an auto box was used as it was a perfect fit for the ski-slope used. The square aperture was for the "sport mode" button, I've filled this by gluing in the black growler badge from the original ski-slope, the fit is perfect! I cut the leather gaitor away from the frame the fits the manual ski-slope glued it to the auto plastic surround. I also used black shoe polish to restore the black colour as it had rubbed away in places and looked tired.

To finish off I've replaced the heavy metal gear knob with a nice walnut jobbie, it has a growler badge with "Jaguar Coventry" on the top. I'm pleased with the result.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Clutch replacement

The manual Sov is at the garage at the moment having a new clutch fitted amongst other things. It's been on the way out since I bought it, the biting point was high on the pedal and there's been a slight juddering feel. I think it was slipping slightly under certain conditions at lower rev's but recently it was slipping more obviously and making various noises.

I've always tried to do all the work on my XJ40's myself, this is the first time I've taken one to garage for anything other than an MOT. I probably could have tackled it at home but it would have been a lot of work with the car up on stands and I'm keen to get her driving well. I asked around for a few quotes, the best I received was £350 from Mr Clutch so that's where she is.

The work is underway and almost complete now, I should be able to pick the car up today. I've been told that it needed a flywheel skim plus a new spigot bearing and slave cylinder so the price of the job has certainly added up! I've also asked them to change the gearbox oil while their in there. I'm really looking forward to driving the car once I get it back.

I've pictured my other XJ40, she looks well in British Racing Green with gold coachlines. This one doesn't cost as much to run!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Five Spoke fitment

I swapped off the 18" XKR wheels earlier in favour of the 16" Five Spokes I have. There were several reasons why I've decided to change to these wheels. Firstly, I think the more modern design of the 18's didn't suit the car. They looked big and impressive but I wanted a retro period look for the Sov. Secondly, the XKR wheels are worth about as much as the car, selling them will release some funds to spend improving other areas.

The third reason for swapping was that I suspected the old girl would drive better on the Five Spoke and this was evident after a test drive. The large "donut" tyres give a softer ride than the lower p
rofiles. Also, the car doesn't tramline like it did on the 18's so handles better.

All in all I'm pleased with the change. There are a few other areas that will be restored to give a more period look, I'd like to get shot of the X300/X308 side mouldings and put some chrome rear lamp surrounds on in place of the body colour ones on it at the moment.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Lowering spring fitment - the results

Here's some pictures of the car sitting on the lowering springs, I'm pleased with the way it looks and drives. I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like wearing some retro rims, I'll try it with the 16" Jaguarsport wheels I have.

Lowering spring fitment part deux

I got the rear lowering springs installed at the weekend. Swapping out the rear springs on a Forty is a relatively straight forward job.

The first thing to do is to jacking the car up, remove the wheel and sit it on an axle stand. You can then get in to remove the four 13mm bolts holding the top spring pan to the body, the bolt furthest in requires a long socket extension to access. Before removing all the bolts it's a good idea to support the hub with a trolley jack as it will drop down once the bolts are out.

The next thing to do is unbolt the bottom of the
damper, this is secured with a 30mm bolt and 24mm nut. Once this is out the spring and damper assembly is unfixed from the car, to get it out you need to remove the brake caliper, this is fixed on with two 15mm bolts.

Once the assembly is out the spring needs to be compressed so that the top spring pan can be removed. Standard spring compressors can be used, make sure they are heavy duty items otherwise they will bend! Once the spring has been compressed the top spring pan can be unbolted and the spring removed. Refitment is the reserve of removal.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Lowering spring fitment part 1

So I've got around to fitting the AVO -35mm lowering springs, just done the fronts so far. I've covered the installation of XJ40 front springs in a previous post so I won't go into detail here. I was planning to fit the polybushed wishbones at the same time but decided to leave that until a later date. The wishbone bushes are actually in decent order having been changed by the previous owner, the car rides well so I'm not desperate to change bushes at the moment.

I'm now planning to fit the rear lowering springs soon, hopefully at the weekend, having bought a pair of standard spring compressors recently. I've
also done some more work on the interior so that should also be finished soon.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Fitting the XJR door cards part 2

To fit the XJR door cards I needed to fix their fixing brackets onto the doors of the Sovereign manual. I was initially thinking I'd just use self tapping screws but I decided to do a proper job and use rivets as that's how they were originally fixed. I bought a riveting kit from Homebase (£14.99) that included a riveter and a selection of different sized rivets. I found that 4.8mm rivets fitted perfectly so used those.

Along with fitting the brackets I had to remove the plastic bush type parts from the door as holes were too small for the new door card fixing plugs. Once this was done fitting the door card was very
straight forward, just a case of connecting up the connectors and screwing them on. So far I've riveted all the brackets on and fitted the front two door cards, hope to get the remaining two on this week. I've also removed the front passenger seat and centre console, so the interior work is really coming on now.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Engine running issues

Although the manual Sov starts fine and drives it seems to feel hesitant and lumpy, and lacking in power somewhat. The car is quite high mileage at 168k and didn't come with much history at all so I'm going to be working through a thourgh service that will include changing all fluids and replacing parts to get the drive optimal.

In an effort to sort the running issue the first thing I checked was the plugs. I found that although they didn't look very worn they were Bosch Super 4 R6's, a modern four electrode plug and not a recommended type for the AJ6 engine. They were also grimy and smelt of petrol which suggested the engine was running rich. I swapped these plugs for a set of new NGK BCPR6E's which are a traditional type of plug often used in these engines.

The next items I checked were the distributor cap and rotor arm, these looked a little worn so I replaced these too with new parts. The engine seemed to run a little better on the new plugs and cap but still the hesitant, lumpy characteristics remained so I haven't s
orted the problem as yet, I still think it's ignition related.

In other news I've bought some new tools, a Draper compression tester and a pair of spring compressors to remove the rear springs. I used the compression tester for the first time at the weekend, I was slightly worried about what I might discover but found that all cylinders had strong compression, up around 200psi according to the tool.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Exterior improvements

I'm in the process of gradually tidying up the exterior of the car. The latest task was to remove the badging applied to the car by the previous owner as it wasn't to my taste. There were X308 XJR "R" badges stuck to the front wings below the indicator and also one on the boot lid. The boot lid also had a union jack flag and an "XJ6" badge which I removed. I felt the badging a bit silly as the car is a Sovereign so neither an XJR non XJ6, plus I think the body looks smoother and cleaner de-badged.

Another modification that the car came with was body colour wing indicators, that's both the
chrome bezel and the lamp lens painted. I bought a pair of used but decent indicator lamp units
so I could restore the car to the standard items.
Initially I've just replaced the lens, I intend to get hold of some double sided adhesive strips to fix the chrome bezel part in place.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Fitting the XJR door cards

Now I'd bought the manual Sovereign I didn't really have adequate space for the 3.2 Sov, or the time to spend on her so she had to depart and is now gone. Unfortunately I didn't make anything but I at least got back most of what I paid.

I've not had much of chance to work on the manual Sov recently, I spent some time over the weekend treating the Golf GT TDI to an engine oil and filter change and a new air filter. I have had the chance to do a bit of work on the door cards though.

I recently fitted new Alpine speakers to the XJR door cards that I'm going to be fitting, I've started soldering on the correct connectors to these having removed the connector and wiring from the Sovereign door cards. To fit the XJR cards I'll need to fit the mounting brackets (see picture) fortunately the doors on the Sov have pre-drilled holes to fit these so I just need to find some suitably sized self tapers to hold the brackets on. The other fixing appear to be the same so the 'R cards should go on easily.

The drivers electric window doesn't work and the passenger side is intermittant, I'm hoping it was just a fault with the switches and that the they'll leap into life with the fitment of the replacement switches in the XJR door cards. If they don't I'll have to assume that there's a problem at the electric motor end of things.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Interior swap

I made a start on swapping in the black XJR interior yesterday. So far I've fitted the Momo sport steering wheel and the black dash trim up front, it's already starting to look a lot better I think. In the back I've fitted the black parcel shelf, seat belts and seats. I hope to crack on and get the rest done soon.

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Sovereign 3.6 manual

Well I've bought another Forty. Since deciding to dispose of the 4.0S restoration project and replace it with a rolling project I've been on the look out for a new project car. I liked the idea of converting the 'S' to manual but that would have been a lot of work and expense, so it made sence to look for one that was already manual, preferably a 4.0. I've not long bought the 3.2 Sov so did plan to take my time in finding the right car, but my girlfriend found this 3.6 Sov manual on ebay and I just had to have it! A 200 mile round trip ensued which took all day due to a dire traffic jam up on the M25, I feel it was all worth it though.

The Sovereign 3.6 manual is a very rare car indeed now, it seems that there is only 4 left on the road, and this is the only '89 one left. The paint is Tungsten grey metallic and the interior is Doeskin. The car has quite a few modifications already which really attracted me to it. It's fitted with 18" XKR alloys fill the arches nicely, I think 15's can get lost on a car of this size. The "fishtanks" have been swapped for quad lamps and quite a number of trim parts have been painted in the grey to match the body, which looks good though has been over done in places I feel.

I'm very pleased with the overall condition of the
car for a '89 G, it's had some restoration already from the previous owner which is good. Needless to say it does need work in a number of areas which I'll be posting about soon. Inital plans include fixing anything that doesn't work, tidying up the bodywork rust, the fitment of my black XJR interior and the suspension parts I have.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Lamp lens replacement

The Sovereign had a couple of broken rear lamp lens so I replaced these with good ones from the shed at the weekend.

The fog lamp lens is an easy swap, simply held in place by three screws. The main rear lamp lens is a glued on part of the lamp assembly so it's far easier to replace the complete unit. These are held on with four nuts. The Sovereign models have chromes lamp surrounds so I swapped surround from the old to the new unit. They are secured with four metal tabs that hook around the lens, two can be bent back on one side to allow removal.

The rear of the car is starting to look smarter now with the new lens in place.

Boot lid chrome strip replacement

I've replaced the chrome strip that runs across the boot lid on the Sovereign. This chrome strip is part of a steel panel that is fixed to the underside with three screws. It has three square cutouts for the number plate lamps and the boot release.

As can be seen from the picture, the old one was rotten around the fixing holes. The panel had come away from the boot lid on the right side, a previous owner had used tape to resecure it. Along with the new lamp lens this tidys up the look of the rear end of the car.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Series 1 XJR bodykit

I've now managed to procure a series 1 XJR bodykit consisting of the front and rear bumpers plus the side skirts. I've always wanted this bodykit and have eventually managed to find this one at a reasonable price so I'm very pleased. It's tatty but all in one piece, the only damage being a crack on the underside of the rear bumper and scuffs on the underside of the front. I'll be prepping this kit by sanding back the very tired paint and filling any holes and damage, ready for undercoat.

I see this kit as the final piece I require to build my dream "sporty forty", I know it's not to everyones taste but it does it for me, it gives a great sporty and aggresive look. I will now be on the look out for the ideal car to fit this to along with my other favourite parts to, namely the -35mm lowering springs, polybushes all round, the Jaguarsport 16" alloys, quad headlamps, and the black leather XJR interior.

Sovereign pictures

Here's a couple of pictures of the Sovereign on the five spokes, enjoy.

Five spoke wheels

I've decided to swap the orginal 15" Teardrop wheels on the 3.2 Sov for a set of 16" Sport five spokes. The originals look rough and in need of new paint so I'll give them a DIY refurb.

The wheel centre badges on the five spokes are faded, they should be red but are now of a naff pink/purple colour. I had a set of black centres from another set of wheels so fitted these.

The five spokes are in a "champagne" type colour as opposed to a straight silver, they are in decent

condition and have good tyres. They are one of my
favourite XJ40 wheel designs and a nice addition to the Sov.

A change of plans

Well, I've had a significant change of plan with regards to my modified XJ40 project. The project has been stalling for various reasons. The move to a new house has meant the loss of the car port and workshop facilities that I had previously making the practicalities more difficult, plus I have less time to get the work done.

I recently came to a point where a lot of parts were stripped from the 4.0S shell for refurbishment and I faced the formidable task of putting the car back together and getting everything fixed. I started with a car that required work on top of my modification plans so I gave myself a considerable amount oto do. I was confident of achieving this with the space at my afore mentioned previous address but have found it a struggle at my new place. In retrospect I should have kept the car on the road as a rolling project but it was my aim at the time to take it off the road and complete a restoration.

I've thus made the decision to strip all the parts I'd fitted to the 4.0S, plus all the other useful stuff besides, and depose of what's left. It's very disappointing but the only way to move forwards. All the refurbed parts covered in my blog over the last several years will be removed so I won't be wasting the time and money spend on those. Despite being an apparent set back it'll actually help me complete the project much quicker as I plan to replace the 4.0S with a Forty already in decent condition. I'm not exactly sure what variant of XJ40 the new base car will be, preferably a 4.0L manual, and it will definately be a rolling restoration. I've now amassed a decent collection of spares to use on this new car and the Sovereign.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Sovereign problem areas

There are a number of areas that need sorting on the Sov as you'd expect on an nineteen year old car at this price. The main area of concern is a brake caliper that it sticking on after braking, releasing slowly. It seems to be a rear caliper but I will have a closer look to determine which one, perhaps it's both. The near side wing repeater bulb needs replacing, so that's another priority.

On the cosmetic side of things there are a number of tatty areas. The wheels have quite a bit of corroded areas so I plan to give them a DIY refurb, I'll swap on my set of five spokes in the meantime. The rear lamp cluster lens are cracked, the
nearside one quite badly, I have a decent spare set to replace them with. Obviously there's the usual rust patches so these will be grinded back, treated and painted.

A good service is in order: engine oil and filter, air filter, transmission oil and plugs if necessary. The central locking isn't working so that needs a look. The interior needs a couple of bits of trim but is okay overall, just a good clean required. The bumpers need a bit of fettling but the chromes are good.

The Sovereign

I've been really keen to get back behind the wheel of a forty that works so I've bought another one, a 3.2L Sovereign. These are becoming quite a rare model now, at the last count there were 202 licensed cars on the road (source: ) It's not my first choice of XJ40 model as I generally favour the "sporty forty" models, but it is a smooth and enjoyable cruiser.

This ones a well used example, it's clocked 166k miles over it's 19 years. It did come with a more or less full service history and a big load of bills which was good to see. It's quite tatty and crusty around the edges but is a good runner with no obvious mechanical problems other than rear brake calipers sticking on slighty, presumably a result of
sitting around undriven for several months.

I'll be giving it a good fettle and sorting some of the problem areas in due course.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Anti-roll bar refitment

I've now started refitting parts to the car. The anti-roll bar and the drop links are the last of the front suspension parts that I need to refit. New OE bushes were bought for the X300 XJR roll bar, plus I bought new drop links rather than replace the bushes in the ones that came off the car. I reckon I'll nail the front brakes back on next, with the new braided brake hoses.

I've now done the required modification to the front seat frames, this involved dusting of the grinder and chopping some of the metalwork that the protrudes down from the top area area. I'll now
be able to fit the '90 seat backs to the '94 seat frames, so there's nothing stopping me now from getting them fully assembled.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Front chair rebuild part 3

After a quite a bit of umming and ahhing I've decided to modify the front seat frame of my '94 4.0S to fit the black leather seat covers and foams from the '90 XJR seats. Some of the seat frame metal work requires cutting away with a grinder to enable the black seat backs to be fitted. Both front chair frames are now stripped and ready for this modification, I'll then be able to get them fully reassembled.

Once the front seats are done the interior will be ready to refit to the car, before I do this though I'll fix the headlining which has sagged down badly. I've bought some strong spray adhesive for this.
Jessica has also helped me with the interior by cleaning up the front and rear carpets.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Loudspeaker replacement part 2

I've now completed the fitment of the new speakers. The door pockets need to be removed, they are held onto the door card with several screws. The speaker grills have four threaded shafts that fit from the front through the door pocket and speaker lugs, with a nut holding things together.
The below picture shows a fitted speaker. They aren't as discreet as the standard items which have a black mesh covering so that the driver is unseen. For a more original looking speaker upgrade I'd go for a black speaker, though I don't think the new speakers will be especially noticeable once the door cards are fitted. That said, I do like the silver, it looks  purposeful.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Front chair rebuild part 2

Having stripped the first 4.0S chair down the next task was to adapt it for use with the '90 seat covers. The cage for the rear reading lamp was removed by drilling out the two rivets fixing it, this allows the '90 seat back foam to fit.

The post '93 seat style has a raisable head rests with two metal shafts that fit into the seat frame. The '90 style head rest has a single shaft and is not raisable, luckily enough this seems to fit rather snuggly in the frame. The top picture shows the trial fitted head rest in it new home. I'll be able to drill a hole and fit a screw or bolt through the head rest shaft and seat frame if required, to hold everything
in place.

The only other items that need resolving are the seat backs. The lower picture shows the grey back from the 4.0S and the black one from the XJR interior. Whilst superficially very similar, the main difference and issue for my chair rebuild is that the recessed area near the top of the seat back is a fair bit deeper on the black back. As such it interferes with some of the gubbins in the upper area of the seat frame and doesn't go on flat. This leaves several options: either chop the seat frame gubbins to get the black back on, paint/dye the grey backs, or get hold of post '93 blacks (the most desirable option I think).