Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Sovereign on lattice wheels

I've put the newly purchsed lattice wheels on the car to see how she looks and drives on them. These wheels are clearly of a higher quality to certain other XJ40 wheel types. They were produced for Jaguar by BBS and are of a forged aluminium construction rather than simply cast which makes them stronger and lighter. There's no corrosion on them either so seem so fair better than other types in that regard.

My first impression was the proportions are nice, the 16" rim is a sensible size and the 55 profile tyres are a much better fit than the 60's on my car. The top of the tyres sit about level with the wheel arch rather than disappearing up inside so have superior clearance. In terms of the looks the lattice design is more delicate and dainty than the muscular five spokes, I think they have a refined appearance which works well on a Jag. They have a good retro appeal which suits what I'm trying to achieve with the car at the moment.

The car drives well on them, it accelerates a little better due to the smaller rolling diameter of the tyres and thus reduced gearing. The 55 tyres still give a decent ride whilest the 8" width gives ample grip for high speed cornering.

I plan to get the tyres removed and perform a DIY refurb. I'll pull off the unsightly wheel balance weights on the front of the rims and have them placed inside the drum of the wheels when they are rebalnced. I'm thinking of going for darker painted spoke, perhaps a gunmetal hue, with the dishes will be repolished. I'll put the five spokes back on while the refurb is being done.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

New air filter and engine bay condition

I changed the air filter over at the weekend. I bought the car with a cone type aftermarket filter having been installed, on inspection it seems to be a cheapo ebay item. I'm not sure how long it had been on the car, it seemed to have collected quite a bit of dust and dirt which would suggest it's done quite a few miles.

I decided to replace this with a standard 4.0L airbox that I had in the shed, containing a used but decent panel filter element. The cone filter gave a louder induction noise but if anything the car seems to me to have more mid-range power with the standard airbox.

As can be seen from the below picture the engine bay is pretty filthy, I plan to start getting it cleaned up. On the plus side it all seems to be working in there and there's no real rust to speak of. It seems to have seen a liberal use of waxoil on the bulkhead and inner wings which has collected a lot of dirt. I'm planning to refurb a cam cover to replace the one on the engine presently, I've also got a much better chrome exhaust manifold shield to go on.

Monday, 16 April 2012

New wheels

The wheel situation has developed over the last few weeks. Firstly, I've now sold the Jaguarsport XJR wheels. I did like the style of them but they were ready for a refurb really, the front faces had been repainted at some point and still looked good but corrosion was bubbling up behind the scenes. To add to that the tyres were pretty much finished. I thought about hanging on to them in case I fancied using them in the future but decided to move them on.

I was left with the five spokes on the car. I really like the sporty look of these wheels, one downer though with the set I have is that they have 60
profile tyres which are excessively large with my car being lowered, I could do with putting 50's on at some point. I had the 18's with 40 profiles on the car previously and found these didn't give very good handling or ride. I think the best combination on a Forty and for my car is a 16" rim with a 50 or 55 profile tyre.

I was hunting for a new set of wheels and came across this quite rare set of five 16x8" lattice wheels at the right price. They've a very period style which I like, quite a sporty but classy choice I feel. Overall I pleased with the condition for the price, the main think is there's no corrosion on
them. One wheel has a slightly bent rim and tyre doesn't hold pressure, I hope to bash it back into shape. All the tyre have 1 or 2 mm's of tread left so I'll be able to give them a spin before new tyres are required at least.

The wheels were dirty so with the help of my lovely assistant I gave them a really good clean. The condition is very usable though I plan to refurb them down the line when the tyres run out. The spokes are silver, I'm thinking of going for a darker gunmetal colour. The centres and dishes would look great repolished.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Oil change

I completed an oil change on the car yesterday. I'd previously bought an OE oil filter from ebay for a fiver and some 10W40 semi-synth from Asda, the cheapest I could find (see picture from previous post). The AJ6 takes 8 litres of the stuff so I got two 5 litre bottles.

A range of viscosities are acceptable in the AJ6 engine, 10W40 is a fairly middle of the road thickness. Some specialists recommend a thicker grade, apparently Jaguar themselves recommended 20W50 for engines with above 100k miles. I've used a thicker grade in the past but thought it probably wasn't necessary this time. The gauge on the dash shows strong oil presure and there
doesn't seem to be evidence of blue smoke or heavy oil consumption, the engine seems healthy enough. Worn engines will befit from thicker oil.

Before I could get started I found that I had a curious problem, I didn't have a socket that would fit the sump plug. Every documented reference to AJ6 oil changes stated that the sump plug is 30mm but I couldn't get a 32mm socket on mine, the largest I had! I proceeded to measure the plug with a vernier caliper, it showed it to be just under 33mm (see top picture). Once I'd nipped out to buy this size socket I was able to get on with dropping the oil.

While the oil was draining I replaced the oil filter. It's located under the inlet manifold on the near side of the engine, not the most accessable position. I find the best way to get in there is to get the car on stands and removed the near side wheel, you can then reach through the wheel arch around the front subframe and get a strap wrench on the filter to spin it off.