Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Electric window problems part 1

For some time I've been having problems with the operation of the windows. Both the drivers window and drivers side rear passenger window refure to budge up and down. The rear window has been that way since I bought the car a couple of years ago, the drivers window started to become intermittance and then failed completely a while ago. This was becoming annoying so I decided to get in there and fix them.

I started by investi -gating the front window as that was the priority to fix. The power to the electric window motor is switched by a relay, which is in turn switched by the window switch in the drivers doorcard. The relay could be heard clicking for both up and down so that indicated that the fault wasn't with the switch.

I removed the doorcard to gain access to the wiring connectors. I located the connector for the window motor and separated it so I could measure with a multi-meter if there was voltage across the motor terminals. I found that there was indeed 12V switching positive and negative when the switch was moved, so this clearing pointed to a fault with the motor itself rather than with the wiring. Having determined this I then needed to procure a another motor suitable for my '89 car as I didn't have a spare about.

Monday, 1 July 2013

MOT time

It was MOT time last week, surprising how quickly it's come around again. I did some basic checks in preparation for the test, all the bulbs worked, discs and pads looked good, new tyres so no worries there. I'd recently treated the rust areas and had previously overhauled the suspension, so everything appeared to be in order.

As expected I got a pass, the only advisory item was "oil leak" which I was aware of, the head gasket is weeping out some oil. I have all the parts required for a gasket change but haven't felt the urgency to do the work yet, the oil and water aren't mixing and the compression is still good. I'll do it at some point this year though.

In other news my daily driver Ford Focus had it's MOT last week too, it needed a tyre plus got two advisories for slight corrosion which surprised me. I thought it ironic that the 24 year old Jag got through without mention of rust!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Bromley Motor Pageant 2013

Yesterday I attended the annual Bromley Motor Pageant. It was a couple of hours drive and a trip around the M25 so quite an early start, no significant problems with traffic though thankfully. I'd not been before but was very impressed with the number of both cars and punters there on the day, a lot to see and do, well recommended. The weather was overcast but the rain managed to hold off.

There were some half a dozen other XJ40's with mine parked in the one make parking area, most were fellow xj40.com owners club cars. The top pictures shows my Sov manual next to a Daimler and Sovereign 4.0 auto's. The centre pic' has me in esteemed company flanked by two very presentable mk2's.

There were no shortage of great cars at the show, I managed to get quite a few snaps including the bottom one of a nice group of Ferrari's.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Engine bay clean up

I'd been meaning to make a start on cleaning and tidying the engine bay. It's looked like a coal pit since I bought the car and well over due.

In addition to the general dust and dirt there was a lot of thick oily, greasey deposits. It looks like the previous owner deliberately put some sort of oil or grease on the inner wings and other under bonnet bodywork areas. I've made a decent start at giving it a good scrub with some strong kitchen degreaser.

I got the local hand car wash outfit to pressure wash the engine bay, that took care of the dust and dirt though the subborn grime remains.

The car has done 172 thousand miles and it shows on the look of many of the components in there. To improve the look of things I'm going to repaint a spare cam cover I have and fit that, I've also a decent chome exhaust manifold cover to go on. So quite a bit more work to do but it's a decent start.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

XJ40 mini meet

Here's my Sovereign with a couple of other XJ40's belonging to owners club members. 

The car furthest from mine is a tidy example of a 3.2S, this on being fitted with a set of 16" lattice wheels. The '40 pictured centrally here is a rare 2.9 manual, currently a project car. Not unlike mine it has some nice mod's including a full XJR interior, XJR side skirts and again 16" lattice wheels. The owner is planning a 3.6 engine conversion.

I'm used to the ride height of mine but it interesting to see how low it looks compared to a standard height example.

Ace Cafe Jaguar day 2013

I attended the Jaguar day at the Ace Cafe in London earlier this month.

I meet up with a few other members of the XJ40.com owners club. There were five XJ40's in all making it numerically the best represented Jaguar model at the meet, there was some decent interest in the cars.

There were some fantastic classic Jaguars in attendance. The pick of the bunch for me was the very original looking XJR-12 in the full Silk Cut livery. This model is famous for winning the 1990 Le Mans 24h race. The very racey looking modified XJ series 2 coupe was another highlight.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

New pictures at RSPB

While I was out for a drive earlier today I decided to pull into the RSPB head- quarters, I thought the house and grounds would make an interesting backdrop for a couple of snaps.

I've fitted a pair of 10mm wheel spacers at the back as I felt the track at the rear was a little narrow. The difference is fairly subtle but I'm pleased with the improvement.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Rust treatment

So, the first update for a little while. I'd not done any work on the car lately but now the weather's looking better I've decided to get going with a few jobs that need doing.

Perhaps the most important thing to tackle is rust on car. It's not too bad all things considered but it is an issue and there's signs of more that's bubbled up over winter. I'd already treated and undersealed one side of the car last summer previous to the MOT so it was time to do the other side. The treatment was to the sill and wheel arch areas which seem to suffer most.

I start but jacking up the side of the car to be worked on and removed the wheels. I had to remove all the loose dirt with a wire brush, I put plastic bags over the brakes and hubs to protect them. I also used some wire brush tools on the end of the drill to finish off the dirt removal. I then used a twisted wire brush tool on the angle grinder to get rid of all the flakey rust and in areas go back down to metal.

With the dirt and rust removed I treated the offending areas with Hammerite Kurrust, this chemically reacts with the rust, neutralising it and turning a bluey black colour in the process. Once that was dry I brush applied liberal amounts of Hammerite Underbody Seal with added Waxoil to the whole sill and wheel arch area. I treated the whole outside sill face with this as I will be covering it with the bodykit skirts, so want them to be well protected underneath.

So that's both sides of the car done for now, the next bodywork I'll be doing is preparing the bodykit parts for paint, I'll also have some areas on the car resprayed fairly soon.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

The Sovereign on refurbed lattice wheels

I fitted the new refurbed 16x8" lattice wheels this morning, overall I'm pleased with the way they look though I'm not sure if the car looks slightly under wheeled on them. Maybe going for the smaller 50 profile tyres was unwise and the standard 225/55's would have been the better choice? There's no doubt the 225/60's on the 16" five spokes were too big, on my lowered car they disappeared up into the arches and rubbed the inner wings slightly near full lock. I'll have a think and may have a swap about of tyres, I'm not sure yet.

As I've said before I'm going for an '80's period modified look with this car, I feel the lattice wheels fit this look especially with the diamond cut polished lips. I was inspired by the polished lips on other dished wheels from this era. Porsche Fuch's for example look very attractive with their dark spokes giving a very nice contrast, plus BBS split rims from the period look very nice.

There's a fashion these days for big rims, many cars have 18"+ now, but back in the late eighties 16" wheels with a sensible size tyre were the order of the day for most performance cars like Jaguar's, BMW's and Porsche's. It was only really supercars such as Ferrari's and Lambo's that maybe came with 17" rims. Large modern rims can give an impressive appearance but '80's period cars sometimes not look quite aesthetically correct with them fitted. That said there's an appeal to large wheel rims that is hard to deny.

Looks aside, there's no doubt that the car drives and performs better on a smaller rim size. The XKR 18" wheels I had fitted previously tramlined and gave a hard ride due to the very low profile tyres. 16" wheels allow for a larger tyre profile to be fitted so give a superior ride, but with smaller overall diameter wheels on the car the gearing is effectively lower, thus small but noticeable improvement in acceleration. A smaller wheel also results in the car being lower to the ground, plus allows the car to be lowered further, giving a lower centre of gravity and improved stance.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

16x8" lattice wheel refurb part 3

I went and collected my newly refurbed wheel from my local tyre place this morning, having had a set of four 225/50r16 Falken XE912's fitted. I'm please with the look of these, I think the width and profile look right on these rims and will be great on the car.

I fitted the new Jaguar wheel centre badges, quite pleased with the extra splash of colour they provide. Very much looking forward to getting them on the car now!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

16x8" lattice wheel refurb part 2

I went to pick up the wheel from the refurb outfit this morning, very pleased with the results! As can be seen the metallic grey powder coating contrasts the diamond cut lips very nicely. I think they'll suit my car well, looking forward to getting them on.

The next thing is to get them re-valved, shod with new tyres and balanced. I want some sort of stainless steel valve to compliment the metal finish of the lips. I'll make sure that any balancing weights are placed inside the drum of the wheel and not at the unsightly position of the front as they were before.

I'm still thinking a 225/50r16 tyre will look good and fit the arches on my car nicely. Not sure what brand to go for as yet. I'll take them down for the tyres on Monday. Looking at getting some new wheel centre badges too.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

16x8" lattice wheel refurb part 1

Before I get started hears a picture of the Sov under the recent snowfall, just before I brushed it off!

Now for the main theme, I got around to taking my lattice wheels to the refurb' outfit on Saturday, having been threatening it for a little while. The crowd are called BJV Engineering, based in south Hertfordshire.

I had a look over some of the colours they do. Went for a mid grey gunmetal metallic powder coated finish as I planned to, but it was good to get a feel for how the colours looked in the metal. I liked the darker grey that they use on M3 wheels but thought I'd lose a bit of the detail from the appearance of the intricate lattice spokes if I went too dark. I'm also having the lips diamond cut as I wanted, they couldn't do the cutting process on the protruding wheel centre though unfortunately. I decided not to have the lips lacquered as if it gets chipped moisture can get under and corrode the metal. With them unlacquered I'll be able to periodically polish them with autosol to keep them looking shiny.

The cost isn't too unreasonable at around £50 a corner, I decided to have all five wheels done. They're being done this week, I'll be picking them up next Saturday, if not before.

Next thing I need to decide is what size and brand of tyres to fit and which wheel centre badges to plump for. The wheels are 8" wide so thinking of going for a 225, don't exactly want a stretch but don't want it baggy on the rim. I want the wheel diameter to be smaller overall as it'll move the gearing lower and thus improve acceleration, hence I'm thinking of choosing a 50 profile aspect ratio. As my car is lowered a smaller tyre will ensure it won't rub.

I want the proper '40 growler wheel badges not the naff modern ones. I'm not yet sure what background colour to go for, I'm thinking maybe the red will look striking but am also considering black as the safer option. Quite liked the idea of a flash of colour and red can be nice as a detail colour like on a coach strip or as piping or stitching for instance. I've considered the grey ones but thought grey badges on grey wheels on a grey car might look a bit dull.

Depending on what the stance is like when I get the wheels back on, I might fit some spacers to sit the wheels closer to the outside edge or the arches and get a bit more poke. The 8" wheels already sit quite a bit further out than the standard 7J wheels but I'll see how much extra I can get without the tyres rubbing.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

XJR bumper repair part 1

I've decided to make a start on repairing my XJR series 1 front and rear bumpers. I was planning to have the skirts and spats painted and to fit them them initially but I've decided to get the whole kit painted in one hit.

The bumpers are in quite a bad way condition wise with several cracks and areas of damage, but they are complete. As can be seen from the pictures they have areas where the fibreglass is damaged and requires repair, to do this I have bought a repair kit with the items I'll need. Once the fibreglass is repaired I'll fill any cracks and imperfections and sand the whole lot down ready for paint.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Front subframe refurb part 1

I've decided to refurbish a front subframe to fit to my car. This part is made from pressed steel and filled with foam for vibration absorbtion. It carries the engine, wishbones, anti-roll bar and steering rack. It is fixed to the body by two round inserted bushes at the back and two vee mounts at the top.

The condition of the subframe bushes do feel okay at the moment so there's no pressing need to fit a new subframe at the moment but I want to start work now so it's ready as a spare. My car does have 170k miles so I want to eventually replace all the suspension components that wear and repaint and protect the underbody metalwork. I have already once refurbished a subframe for an XJ40 but it was fitted to a previous car, see earlier posts.

The top picture shows my newly aquired subframe, this is apparently from a low mileage, late example. It has quite a few areas of surface rust, none of it has gone through though, the condition is serviceable. I'll be treating this rust, painting, and fitting new bushes and vee mounts. The subframe will carry my previously polybushed wishbone that haven't been fitted to my car as yet.

To help remove the rust I bought some wire brush tools for my drill and angle grinder

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Parts organisation and clear out

I'm feeling quite fired up to get some work on the car done at the moment, before I got stuck in though I wanted to have a good tidy and sort out of my parts shed and get rid of some stuff. I've quite a lot of useful spares but it's surprising how much gets accumulated. Over the last week I've binned, sold and given about quite a few bits, it's now much tidier. I bought a number of transparent stackable boxes and organised the various types of parts into each. I'm thinking of going as far as making a spread sheet itinerary of all the spares I have just so I can keep track of things.

The top picture show's the three cylinder heads I have at the moment, two 3.6L heads and one 4.0L XJR head. One of them is going on the car when I change the head gasket, quite possibily the XJR one. I found my spare bumpers and a set of decent chrome bumper blades, I've been in two minds about whether to fit them onto the car. I've decided I'll probably stick with the body colour blades for now until I get around to repairing and painting the XJR series 1 bumpers.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New daily driver

Whilst life continues with my XJ40 project I've had a change in the daily driver arena. I had a shunt in my Golf GT TDI and it was deemed a cat B write off by the insurance company. Whilst I wasn't especially attached to the car it had proved a very reliable mile muncher and I was sorry to see it have the end it did. The below picture shows it being taken away on a car transport, the last we saw of it.

Whilst we awaited the payout the insurance company gave us a courtesy car, a brand new BMW 116D Sport which turned up with only 125 miles on the clock! We had it for a couple of months and it was a decent car overall, very refined as you'd expect and economical. There were a few relatively minor things I didn't like so much about it though. It had low profile run-flat tyres which were a bit noisy and comprised the ride somewhat. The rear visability was quite poor, just as well it had parking sensors. The gearbox was surprisingly notchy feeling and the engine seemed to have fairly little torque below 1500rpm. A decent car overall but I would hesitate to pay the list price for a new one. 

I've a full time replacement now, an '02 Ford Focus Zetec 1.8 TDDI. It's a tidy motor and has proved a good runner so far. Over the Xmas holidays I did some basic servicing including an engine oil and filter change and new air filter. I've put some new number plates on too as they were looking passed their best.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

"To do" list for the new year

2012 has been a good year for the Sovereign. I've just counted and realised I've had the car about 14 months now having bought it in early August '11 so this was it's first calender year here. It passed it's first MOT with me this summer with relative easy. I've had some enjoyable use from it, it's been to the annual XJ40.com members meet, used as our wedding car and away on holiday. 

Over the Xmas holidays I've been giving some thought to how I've going to take the project forward in 2013. I've compiled a list of work I want to carry out on the car, I've decided to get stuck into some of the bigger jobs before summer arrives. I'd like to take it to some classic car shows and things, it's quiet a long way from proper show car standard at the moment but I aim to get it towards that.

Engine work - As detailed previously I've an oil leak from the head gasket area, compression still appear to be good but I'm going to tackle things and swap the all the gaskets. As the engine is fairly high mileage I though I'd freshen it up with a low mileage cylinder head that I have, plus I'm going to fit the Jaguarsport XJR inlet cam and inlet manifold for what I hope will be a small boost in performance.

Wheels and body - I hope to have the lattice wheels refurbished very soon. I've decided to have them powder coated in gunmetal grey with the rim lips and center diamond cut then lacquered. It's a fairly unusual finish and I'm hoping it'll be something a bit special and different. I'll then need new tyres, I'm thinking of 225/50r16's, a lower profile than previous.

I had a go at painting the XJR bodykit parts but wasn't happy with the quality of finish so I'll get these sprayed by my local coachworks outfit. I think these body additions coupled with the refurbed wheels will really bring up the look of the car to the more sporty one I'm after.

Engine bay tidy up - The engine bay has been embaressingly dirty since I've had it so I'm going to be giving it a deep clean. I'm thinking of having the cam cover power coated when I have the wheels refurbed, I also want to paint the radiator cradle top panel.

Interior electrics - Some of the electrics have either never worked. Two windows fail to go up and down and the heater only works on full so I need to investigate.