Monday, 30 January 2012

Chassis modifications

I'm looking to continue the chassis develop -ments over the coming weeks. My aim to modify the car beyond standard but retain something of an OEM theme, to create a sort of XJR plus or XJR-R to use a Jaguar naming convention. The ultimate aim is to significantly up the engine power at some point, possibly with an X300 XJR supercharged AJ16 engine, so I want to make the corresponding chassis improvements before hand.

The next developments on the suspension front will be to fit stiffer front dampers and a thicker anti-roll bar. The car currently has standard Sovereign dampers which are soft, I've an uprated pair from my previous 4.0L Sport variant. I've also a thicker anti-roll bar from an X300 XJR along with new D bushes and droplinks to fit. I've been doing some hard driving recently and the car does handle much better with the lowering springs fitted, these additional modifications should improve things further.

The brakes are another area that I'll be turning my attention to. They do seem to be working reasonably well though I am getting a “low brake pressure” warning from the digi-dash indicating the system is not in optimal condition. The '86-'89 XJ40's have a complex hydraulic brake system which although very good when in fine fettle has proved to have unreliabilities. The pressure accumulator sphere has a nitrogen filled rubber sack inside which leaks and loses it's ability to hold pressure over time, I suspect this part is failing on my car. There are other parts which can be unreliable too, so one solution to bin off the standard hydraulic systems and replace it with a conventional vacuum servo. There is an American outfit which produces a kit of parts to enable an '86-'89 car to be converted, I'm planning to go for this as it promises to be more reliable and improve efficiency and pedal feel too.

Also on the braking front I have the braided hoses to fit, I'll take the opportunity to change the brake fluid for something decent. I'm also on the look out for some drilled/vent front discs too.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Fitting a bodykit

As mentioned in my plans for 2012 post, I'm going to be fitting a bodykit to the Sovereign manual. The purpose of a bodykit is to aid the aerodynamics, by allowing less airflow under the car to thus improving downforce and hence cornering speed. The effect of this aero is probably fairly marginal on a road car, the main reason I'm fitting the 'kit is to give a more sporting and purposeful appearance. I have both the XJ40 XJR bodykits, the TWR design fitted to the series 1 XJR and the Jaguarsport design fitted to the series 2 XJR. Aftermarket bodykits can look naff and over the top but both these 'kits are Jaguar sanctioned parts and in my opinion relatively tasteful OEM type additions.

I've been thinking about which parts to fit and have now made a decision. Initially I will fit the TWR side skirts, followed by the Jaguarsport rear quarter spats, the look of these should work well with the standard body colour painted front spoiler already on the car and the standard bumpers. These parts should be fairly quick and easy to get prepped, painted and on the car, and as a following addition I will add the Jaguarsport front spoiler fitted with the Lucas fog lamps I have (these parts are pictured together). The other piece shown fits under the bootlid over the top of the rear bumper.

Down the line I'd like to fit the TWR front and rear bumpers (see lower picture), these need quite a bit of repair work with replacement fibreglass and filler as they have cracks and small areas of damage as can be seen. Another idea I have is to fit the chrome bumper blades to the body colour TWR bumpers to give a similar look to the Chasseur modified XJ40's. Before fitting any of these parts I'll be ensuring that all rust areas, namely to the sills, will be properly treated before covering them over.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Rear end improvements

I decided to sort a couple of areas at the rear of the car today. The first part the got my attention was the number plate, this had been attached with just adhesive pads to the chrome surround and had started to make a bid for freedom. I bought a new set of front and rear plates in the week as the ones on the car were just starting to get a little tatty, £8 from ebay. I decided to fix them on properly with screws starting with the rear.

The next part I turned my attention to was the rear lamp cluster surround trims. As standard the Sovereign had chrome surrounds, the previous owner had painted them body colour along with a
number of other parts, to try and modernise the look of the car I think. I've decided I prefer the traditional Jaguar chrome look and want that for the car so found a couple of spare chrome surrounds in the shed and fitted them. They brighten things up nicely.

They are very easy to fit and can be added to any XJ40 that doesn't already have them. I removed the four screws that secure each lamp cluster to the body and popped them out to make fitting easier. The two nearest the wing aren't as easy to remove but can be done by reaching in a spanner. The outer sides of the surrounds have two tabs that clip around the edge of the lens, the inner side has two larger tabs that must be folded around the inner edge of the lens to hold the surround in place.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Things to do in 2012

Now we're into the new year I've been having a think about what work needs doing and how I want to progress the car. I've come up with a list of items that'll start to get through soon, I'll be able to really crack on once it starts getting lighter in the evenings.

Interior: I'm pleased with my successful black interior fitment last year, I think it looks great. There are a number of relatively minor items that need either finishing off or fixing. The passenger side rear speaker isn't working, it's a new speaker so it should just be a bad wire connection. The drivers side window doesn't work, I'm sure the switch and wiring is okay so I suspect the motor's packed up. The headlining had obviously dropped and has been glued bad up by the previous owner, it looks grotty could do with replacing with a decent one, though it's a job that's on the backburner somewhat.

Exterior: The paint is very good overall but the laquer is going through on the roof so could do with a re-spray. There some bubbling up of paint around the ends of the sills and rear arches where rust is attacking, I'll grind this back and repaint before things get worse. I've the bodykit parts to fit, I'll start with fitting the TWR side skirts once I've got them painted and the afore mentioned rust is treated.

Chassis: The car is riding well on the lowering springs but the suspension could do with some further development. For the front I've got the polybushed upper wishbones to go on, some sport dampers and the X300 XJR anti-roll bar so that should tighten things up further. On the brakes front I want to get the braided hoses on and replace the fluid. I'd like to refurb the Jaguarsport wheel though I'm still on the look out for a set of 17's or 18's that'll suit the car.

Engine: The engine's running quite well now though does still seem to be a little hessitant at low rev's particularly so I'll continue to investigate. I've got the Jaguarsport inlet manifold so might try swapping that on. I'll be giving the engine bay a damn good clean as it's filthy!

That's by no means an exhaustive list of the jobs that need doing but it should keep me busy for a good while.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Exterior pictures

Here's some exterior pictures of the car. It's riding on the five spoke wheels again as one of the tyres on the Jaguarsport wheels has a slow puncture. As all the tyres on the Jagsport rims as more or less finished I'm thinking of refurbing them before fitting a set of four fresh tyres.

Completed interior swap

I've finally got the interior swap finished off recently, the drivers seat is now installed. I'm very pleased with how the it's all looking, the condition of this black interior is much better than the doeskin and I prefer it aesthetically. Now it's done I took the opportunity to take some pictures in a setting that wasn't the street outside the house, the local woods.