Sunday, 30 November 2014

JEC magazine feature and photoshoot

A few months ago back in the summer we took the car out to London for a bit of a photo shoot, the intention being for the picture to be part of a magazine feature of the car. A good number of great pictures were taken by photo -grapher, fellow XJ40 owners club member and friend Naki, I've posted several here.

We tried to find some cityscape backdrops around London that would make for interesting urban pictures, something a bit different from the standard country lane fair. We visited Billingsgate Market, Canary Wharf and Blackwall Tunnel, amongst other spots. It was a fun and productive day out.

The pictures were submitted for a feature in the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club magazine, to be featured in a special XJ40 focused issue. I was chuffed when a great shot of both my modified Sovereign and Naki's manual XJR was chosen for the cover. The feature of my car can be seen in the online publication of the magazine in the following link:

Friday, 5 September 2014

Fixing a drivers door handle part 1

The drivers door handle has broken. I pulled the handle and heard a twang followed by several metallic objects falling to the bottom of the door, the handle then wouldn't operate the door opening mechanism.

I removed both top and bottom sections of the door card to gain access to the back of the handle. The handle itself is held in place with two 7mm nuts, these are easy enough to remove with a spanner. The handle assembly then slides out from the front of the door.

The top picture shows the back of the handle, the arm that pivots seems to have sheared off. The bottom picture shows the parts I collected from the bottom of the door. Repairing the handle didn't seem viable really, I've managed to buy a used replacement at the cost of £35. The lock barrel will have to be swapped over from the broken one.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Fitting a bodykit part 3

I got the painted up bodykit fitted to the Sov a little while ago, finally got around to blogging it. It went on fairly easily, I simply drilled holes in the sill ends to attach the skirts and rear spats. It is good practice to use double sided adhesive tape along the length of the skirts, but I didn't want to do this just yet as I may want to be able to easily remove them again. Apologies for the camera-phoney pictures, I'll post up some better ones up in due course. 

I think the car's looking great, very close to how I want it now. The skirts look so much better than my previously black undersealed sills. Overall, the car is pretty well sorted inside and out, and it's driving well. No more modifications are planned at the moment, the next step with the project is to continue to improve and restore the condition of the body and fix some of the electrical faults. One of the rear windows isn't working and several of the central locking door lock solenoids are stiff and failing. 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Fitting a bodykit part 2

I finally got around to having the bodykit painted. I'd planned to fit this ever since I bought the manual Sovereign, having already acquired the parts before hand. The parts to be painted are shown to the left. This bodykit consists of the front splitter, rear spats and rear bumper spoiler taken from the XJR I used to own and scrapped (see old posts). The side skirt are from an earlier series 1 XJR bodykit I previously bought. 

In addition to the bodykit parts I had a spare set of quad front lamp surrounds painted up. The inside surround areas are chrome on the early cars and body colour on the later Sport variants. The previous owner had decided to paint these areas black, I decided to replace these with completely body colour items. 

I used a local paint shop, I'm pleased with the results. Initially I plan to not fit the XJR splitter as it is more involved than fitting the other parts, I like the fully painted front splitter already on the car. I fit will fit the Lucas fog lamps to the splitter and install it at a later date.

I was motivated to get the bodykit painted before attending some of this summers car shows. I also planned to get some good pictures taken for a magazine feature so wanted the car to look more cosmetically finished.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Ace Cafe Jaguar meet 2014

I went along to the annual Jaguar day at the Ace Cafe yesterday, having been the previous year. There was a strong mix of Jag's past and present, some great motors on show. Best of all were the XJ40's, with a good showing of owners club members cars in attendance. There were some very nice examples amongst them including several Sovereign's and three XJR's.

When some of the other cars made their way home we were able to get a great group shot of nine '40's in front of the Ace Cafe facade. We did very well with the weather, enjoyed the Ace Cafe "big breakfast", all in all a great day out.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Brake system service

The brakes on the Sovereign had become significantly down on efficiency over the winter months after a lack of use. Even with the pedal pressed to the floor the brakes wouldn't stop the car sharply, so it had become quite dangerous to drive. The diagnostic display on the digi-dash had started displaying a "low brake pressure" warning.

I think after a lack of use the calipers were initially somewhat sticky, but the braking problem persisted even after giving the brakes a good workout. 

My number one suspect component in the brake system was the accumulator sphere used in the hydraulic brake system used on the car. This is a sphere shaped metal part that stores pressure built up by an mechanical engine driven pump, this pressure is then released when the brake pedal is pressed, operating the servo. This is an unusual and complex design of braking system, considered innovative in the '80's a employed by a number of car manufacturers including Jaguar and Rolls Royce. The added complexity lead to reliability issues and this system was dropped by Jaguar in favour of a much more conventional vacuum servo system on the successor to the XJ40, the X300.

Having done some research on the system, I found that they can be serviced and the accumulator sphere re-gassed so thought perhaps this was the way to go. As this was beyond my experience and DIY ability I booked the car in at a local luxury classic car specialist near to me. They replaced the brake fluid and bled the calipers, in addition to topping up the hydraulic system with the special brake fluid required. The chap at the garage showed me the brake fluid that had been drained off, it was a dirty brown colour and obviously hadn't been changed in years.

The result of the work has completely restored the braking, I'm very pleased. They work better now than at any time since I've had the car, the pedal feel is vastly improved. Sometimes it's hard to know what is condition is optimal if it never has been during your ownership. Since having the work done I'm really enjoying driving the '40 again and am feeling inspired to go through some of the other issues with the car.

Now that the Sov was driving well again I let my wife have a go at driving it! At the last insurance renewal I put her on the policy as the cost was minimal. Being used to small hatchbacks she was a little daunted initially but enjoyed the experience.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

A change of wheels

I've only been using the car very occasion -ally over these last few very wet months, and I've not done any work of note. 

The rims on the lattice wheels are in need of a good polish as they've been on outside on the car over winter. I thought the best thing would be to buy another cheap set of wheels to fit to the car to allow me to do the cleaning and polishing more easily with the wheels off the car. Plus it's always fun to try a different look with an alternative wheel design.

 This 3.6 Sovereign would have originally had 15" Teardrops fitted from the factory, under my ownership it's had 18" XKR Double Fives, 16" Five Spokes, 16" lattices and 16" XJR wheels. I fancied trying something different yet again so opted to go for a set of 16" Dimples, factory fitted on the Jaguar X300 Sport models. These aren't my favourite choice but they are good solid looking wheels, and are cheap used.

I had a scan around on ebay and after a little while found a local set of four that were fairly cheap (£80), in reasonable condition and had good tyres. I picked them up yesterday and gave them a thorough clean as they were filthy. I got them fitted this afternoon, I think the Sov looks good on them and they'll be easy to keep clean!