XJS & XJ from KWE Cars
Classic Spirit Reborn
+44 (0) 1635 30030

Jaguar XJS

A steer in the right direction

It’s one of those things you may not have given much thought to but it’s quite literally right under your nose. We’re talking about your classic Jaguar car’s steering wheel.

A 15” Mk9 steering wheel with drilled alloy spokes and plastic horn push, mounted on a Series 3 XJ

A 15” Mk9 steering wheel with drilled alloy spokes and plastic horn push, mounted on a Series 3 XJ

If you’re a little on the tall side then you may have experienced that getting in and out of your classic Series 3 Jaguar XJ and XJS can be tricky. This is due to the size of the original 16” diameter steering wheels fitted. At KWE we prefer 15” or 14” inch wheels, which makes things a bit easier and we find gives a much-improved feel for the road.

Here are a few more useful pointers that will keep you on the right track when choosing your steering wheel from KWE.

  • Our preferred aftermarket type of steering wheel is the Moto-Lita range which offers handcrafted wood and leather rimmed wheels; perfect for any classic cars such as the Jaguar XJS.
  • Our leather re-trim service will match the colour of your original Jaguar steering wheel with your car’s bodywork.
  • For safety and liability reasons we do not modify or remove steering wheels in Jaguar cars manufactured after 1993 as these models have airbags fitted.
  • Momo wheels can be fitted, but not all of the range has suitable adaptors

Take a closer look at the range of steering wheels KWE has fitted and re-trimmed recently here.

Modern music systems for classic cars

At KWE, we find that most classic car owners prefer the features of modern in-car audio systems, but not many customers are satisfied with the way modern head units look once fitted.

In cars built in the 90s onwards it is common to have non-standard single DIN units whose apertures, when removed, will not suit standalone aftermarket units. This Jaguar XK8 is a good example of a modern headunit that can’t be retro-fitted with an aftermarket Bluetooth unit.

Jaguar XK8 modern headunit

A Jaguar XK8 modern headunit

While the FM radio facility has not changed much in the last 40 years, the sources of recorded music have. We started with 8 track cartridges followed by cassettes. The digital age produced CDs and devices such as the Apple iPod and MP3 music files capable of being stored on a USB memory stick. Advances in technology now allow drivers to stream directly from a smartphone to the headunit via Bluetooth.

But what if you want to keep the original headunit but have modern music sources, perhaps with mobile phone/Bluetooth connectivity? Below shows an image of an early (pre-HE) XJS. Although it’s possible to fit a new headunit, there’s no direct connection capability and must therefore use a FM signal via its aerial.

An early (pre-HE) XJS headunit

I have experimented with solutions for many years on my own cars, and KWE has delivered a variety of solutions for our clients. I have come to the conclusion that the best overall solution is to store all your favourite music on a smartphone. This can then be streamed to a Bluetooth module, which in turn either transmits to the original car radio’s FM tuner, or can be electronically mixed with a CD changer input.

For a long time I persevered with using USB sticks plugged into either a (modern) headunit’s front panel, or via a lead hidden in the armrest connected to the back of the headunit. However, this presents problems if you’re the owner of more than one car with several memory sticks to keep updated as new music is added to your collection. I ended up then having to carry around a single memory stick and plug it into whichever car I intended to drive.

Another problem is that most head units have quite small displays, and it is difficult and extremely dangerous to attempt to locate a particular track while on the move – not to mention fishing for one’s reading glasses for those of us over a certain age!

An iPod left in the car isn’t particularly useful as the device’s battery tends to run down quickly. What then happens is that the first five minutes of a journey are spent waiting for the iPod to charge up. Further time is then spent selecting an alternative song from the first tune that is automatically selected from your library each time the device is turned on. Leaving the iPod connected to the car’s battery in some way doesn’t offer a viable option either as it simply discharges the car’s battery.

A cassette to audio input adaptor will work surprisingly well with older cars that have cassette headunits. However, this isn’t necessarily the tidiest option as it will leave trailing wires, produce a whirring noise from the adaptor and result in poor audio quality.

Bluetooth streaming gets round all of this by allowing anything with Bluetooth capability to connect wirelessly to your audio system – unfortunately classic Jaguar cars don’t have Bluetooth capability built into the audio units.

The final solution for keeping an original headunit is to fit a Bluetooth adaptor. Most of these older headunits do not have an audio-in jack socket so the only easy way to inject the audio signal is via the aerial.

There are many Bluetooth adaptors around with FM transmitters, and some can be clipped straight onto an iPod’s main connector. However, the quality is often poor so further research is required.

Fortunately the adaptors aren’t expensive – typically £10 – £30 for simple units. Normally there will be a small control unit to allow tuning the device to one of the radio’s pre-set channels, to answer mobile phone calls and to set up the Bluetooth link to your phone or iPod.

With Bluetooth capability, you now have the huge advantage of having all of your music to hand in a smartphone, providing a large screen to make music selection easier. I always use a good quality screen mount for my phone, located near the steering wheel rim.

With smartphone satellite navigation apps being so good these days (Google, Wayz, Sygic) there is usually no need for a standalone satnav unit to be fitted. Furthermore, a satnav app will interrupt your music to announce direction changes, without any extra wiring.

For an even neater installation and perfect audio quality KWE can fit a tiny mixer module into the CD changer input (if present) allowing you to select CD input and listen to either a CD if one is loaded up, or the smartphone if not (or indeed both)!

However, most smartphones don’t have enough memory as standard built-in to house a medium or large music collection, so it may be necessary to purchase a premium phone with a micro SD card such as the Motorola X Force for example.

Finally, here’s a tip on how to update your phone with new music. I have my master collection on a laptop, and use a synchronising programme called GoodSync which will just update new additions to the phone rather than dumping the whole library each time which can take hours.

Stay tuned. Next up we share our thoughts on loud speakers.

As well as upgrading audio systems, KWE provides many additional upgrade options. Check out some of our options here.

7 tips for preventing fuel system failures

As one of the UK’s leading restorers of luxury classic cars, we come across all sorts of common problems that require the attention of our specialist engineers.

At KWE our aim has always been to ensure our customers receive a ‘better than new’ restoration service for their Jaguar XJS, XJ, XK and Aston Martin DB7 vehicles. So, we believe it’s important to share information that will ensure these vehicles maintain their reliability and roadworthiness.

We’ve noticed an increase in the number of classic cars being delivered to us for restoration with fuel system failures. Here we offer 7 preventative tips that will keep your vehicle in good condition and help avoid expensive remedial repairs.

Rust and sludge

The primary problem is due to the accumulation of rust and sludge in the fuel tank.

Even though high quality fuel filters are used in the fuel system, fuel pump damage and clogging of the injectors can occur.

 

An internally seized fuel pump caused by rust and sludge

An internally seized fuel pump caused by rust and sludge

Rust forms when moisture and air come into contact with unprotected steel. To prevent your fuel system from being attacked by rust it’s important to eliminate at least one of these materials.

The inside of a fuel tank showing heavy contamination with rust and sludge

The inside of a fuel tank showing heavy contamination with rust and sludge

  1. Keep the fuel tank topped right up so that air (oxygen) is largely excluded, unless the car is used at least weekly
  2. Try to avoid high ethanol petrol since it absorbs water from the atmosphere. You can ask the fuel company or forecourt manager about the ethanol percentage of the fuel it uses. Ideally, you should try and avoid fuels with ethanol content greater than 5%. On the continent, especially France, high ethanol percentages are common. If you drive overseas, try to burn off all the fuel that was purchased while abroad and then replenish with British fuel. Fuel with high ethanol content will affect the performance of your classic car and lead to the corrosion and deterioration of the fuel system and other engine parts.
A container of fuel removed from a car that had inexplicably broken down in France. After a local garage had misdiagnosed the fault, the vehicle was sent to KWE for further investigation. Particles of dissolved rubber hose were found in the French fuel caused by the high ethanol content. This in turn led to clogging and the eventual seizure of the fuel pump

A container of fuel removed from a car that had inexplicably broken down in France. After a local garage had misdiagnosed the fault, the vehicle was sent to KWE for further investigation. Particles of dissolved rubber hose were found in the French fuel caused by the high ethanol content. This in turn led to clogging and the eventual seizure of the fuel pump

3. Help protect the injectors by adding a petrol additive such as Forté Specialist Injector cleaner. For long term use Forté Advanced Gas Treatment (search eBay)

4. Avoid filling up at a petrol station if a forecourt tanker has recently visited to refill the underground storage tanks as this process can stir up the water in them which then ends up in your own vehicle’s tank

5. Have your tank and swirl tank emptied and cleaned out at least every ten years. Ideally have the tank treated internally so that the normally bare steel is coated

6. If your vehicle isn’t driven regularly then run your engine once a week for at least 15 minutes to keep the injectors working properly. Ideally, drive the car for a few miles to keep the brakes working and tyres exercised, while avoiding wet or salty conditions

7. The slow evaporation of the volatile elements of fuel results in a sticky and non-combustible residue. This can clog fuel injectors and prevent the car from starting and running smoothly. It’s therefore important to drain and replenish with fresh fuel if the vehicle is left for any length of time

Additional tips for preventing classic car rust can be found here. Happy motoring!

Powertrain differential – you are the weakest link!

While external crash damage to a vehicle is clearly noticeable, other parts are less so and therefore require thorough checks and repairs before a car is deemed roadworthy and safe to drive.

A car’s powertrain comprises several important components that are prone to serious damage if a vehicle is unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident.

In most modern vehicles the powertrain includes the engine, transmission, drive shaft, differential and the final drive. Together, these components transmit the engine’s power through to the road surface.

Jaguar XJS differential

Our workshop technicians have been kept particularly busy recently with two Jaguars XJSs that were both involved in serious accidents. In each vehicle, part of the powertrain (namely the differential), had suffered serious internal damage.

The differential allows the outside wheels of a vehicle to rotate faster than those on the inside while still transmitting power to both. This is necessary when a vehicle is required to turn, allowing the wheel that is traveling around the outside of the turning curve to roll farther and faster than the inside one.

(This fascinating video from the 1930s explains the principles of the differential gear)

How differential gears work

In one vehicle, part of the gearing teeth on the differential had broken off causing a terrible noise as they were caught up in the mechanism; the other caused the limited slip clutches to fail resulting in one of the rear wheels to skid on every corner – unnerving to say the least!

Differential damage can be caused when a car is struck head-on or from the rear. When this happens, and the gearbox is in Park, the only thing stopping the car from moving away is the ‘tyre-wheel-halfshaft-differential-propshaft-gearbox’ chain. Surprisingly, the differential is the weakest link in this chain.

If the gearbox is not in Park, there’s usually enough inertia in the chain to result in damage caused by a strong collision, even before the wheels begin to roll forwards or backwards.

Our advice to you is that if you are aware that an unavoidable rear end shunt is about to happen, apply as much braking as possible while obviously paying due attention to your own personal safety, and to the safety of any passengers. This will, to a certain extent, protect the differential.

If you know, or suspect that your Jaguar XJS has been involved in a collision then it’s essential to have a thorough safety inspection carried out by expert technicians.

For all used classic Jaguar and Aston Martin cars, we carry out a comprehensive two-hour, on-site condition assessment. For more information, visit our website here.

 

Differing differentials

Unsure of your differential differences? We list the various specifications below, courtesy of jag-lovers.org.

Salisbury 4HU Powr-Lok

From 1976-1985, the differential was a Salisbury 4HU Powr-Lok that came with either 3.07:1, 3.31:1 (1976-1982), or 2.88:1 (1982-1985) ratios.

DANA

From 1985-1987, a 2.88:1 DANA unit was used for the V12. This unit can be distinguished in that the bearings on the output shafts are held in place with three bolts; the differentials both before and after these years have five bolts. It also has no drain plug.

GKN Power Lock

Beginning in 1987, there was a differential referred to as the GKN Power Lock with a 2.88:1 ratio.

Invest in a Jaguar XJS, a modern classic with prices on the rise

Why invest?

Over the past 10 years, the value of classic and luxury cars, as measured by the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, has increased by 467 per cent. To put this incredible performance in perspective, this compares with a rise of just 111 per cent in the top end of the London residential market. Hedge fund managers saw returns of only 7.73 per cent over the same ten-year period. The index has reported a continued rise of 17 per cent over the course of 2015 alone. Due to this meteoric rise in value, classic cars are beginning to be recognised as an asset class in themselves, rather than just high-value collectibles.

Buying a classic car is clearly a smart investment choice, particularly as the stock market is volatile and interest low post-Brexit. At a time when there is little benefit to keeping cash in the bank, why not invest in an asset that will not only hold its value, but also bring you years of enjoyment? ‘Passion investing’ is increasingly expanding into the classic car arena; in the last 3 to 5 years, the volume of global purchases has exploded, driven by investors rather than casual collectors.

What to look for?

The best investment strategy is purchasing the ‘right’ brand of classic car. Only certain quality brands will hold value, including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and, of course, Jaguar. Look out for cars with documentation and proof of ownership (we have a selection of classic cars for sale here). The car should be in investment-grade condition, or restored to a high standard – something that our wide range of services can certainly help with. Other strategies include choosing a car that was iconic in its time, or is known from TV and film.

Why an XJS?

Cars from the 1970s to 1990s are beginning to be seen as ‘young’ or ‘modern’ classics, ideal for long-term investment. According to current market trends, prices are set to rise considerably. The XJS, created in 1976 in the shadow of the E-Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 15.07.30type, quickly won over enthusiasts and achieved a long production run, appearing in numerous TV shows over the years, including The Saint. The car’s instantly recognisable lines have cemented its iconic status and ensured lasting appeal.

The XJS continues to be cited as one of the top modern classics, with numerous publications extolling its virtues. Classic Driver, The Sunday Times and AutoExpress have all published guides to investing in classic cars that recommend the XJS.

Why now?

As well as the beauty, driving experience and nostalgia-factor of the XJS, the potential for returns on investment has also been widely documented. Classic Register named the XJS as one of the ‘Top 10 Affordable Future Classics,’ saying that ‘Many are now starting to recognise the significance of the XJS… which can only mean good things for value growth in the long term.’ Petrol Blog included it as one of their ‘Top Ten Modern Classics with Investment Potential,’ noting that ‘prices seem to have really jumped in the past few years and this is a trend that will almost certainly continue.’ Tellingly, Autocar has predicted that the XJS will never be cheaper than it is at the moment, advising: ‘Find a good XJS and you’ll have an appreciating classic. Old Jags are in demand.’

Clearly, there are compelling reasons to purchase an XJS now, as more and more investors catch on to its appeal and prices continue to soar.

 

Contact the experts

If you need help sourcing a classic car or Jaguar XJS, or would like to discuss a Jaguar restoration project, then contact us at info@kwecars.com to find out how KWE can assist you.

Boiling Brake Fluid

It is not uncommon to experience total brake failure after a long, hard period of braking – just when you want full brake power. By far the most likely cause is that the high heat generated in the brake callipers has raised the brake fluid above the boiling point of water, i.e. Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 15.36.29100°C. Normally, this would not be a problem – brake fluid is designed to withstand at least 200°C – but if the fluid contains water above approximately 3%, then this rise in temperature will cause the water in the brake fluid to boil and turn into a vapour. The vapour is easily compressed, so the pressure of the brake pedal merely compresses the water vapour and the brake fluid does not move to operate the brake callipers. Result – pedal to the floor.

Once the fluid has cooled to below 100°C, the water vapour condenses back into water. Water is not compressible, so the brakes feel normal again. Normal brake fluid (not Silicone types/DOT5) absorbs water relatively quickly, and can easily get to 3% after a few years.

High water content in the brake fluid also encourages rusting at the calliper pistons. This rusting can, and does, cause seizure of some or all of the pistons. This in turn causes wild brake pulling to left or right, and overheating of one or more brake discs. This leads to overheating of the brake fluid, resulting in the problem outlined above.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 15.36.42

While changing the brake fluid should be a routine maintenance or service action, it is seldom carried out – especially with classic cars which may not be used for years at a time. Changing the brake fluid regularly, however, has the benefit of keeping the water content low enough to avoid brake failure and rusting. So be warned – change the fluid every 2 years to avoid potentially lethal brake failure.

Avoid a nasty surprise by keeping on top of your classic car’s maintenance. Contact KWE to schedule your next service appointment.

Car of the month achieves celebrity status

Car of the month 1

It can be difficult to distinguish between some of our favourite XJS restoration and upgrade projects. Each one gives the KWE team immense satisfaction. However, one recent project does stand out.

At the request of a famous TV and music industry celebrity, this 6-litre, V12 convertible has been fully restored and upgraded with some unique styling features.

Car of the month 3

We’ve stripped the original aubergine paintwork and resprayed it black, with the addition of unique, colour-keyed bumper tops. The V12 was then given the full KWE treatment with a suspension/brakes/steering renewal and upgrade. You’ll definitely see this Jaguar coming with its quad headlamp fittings. The smart exterior is matched by the luxurious cream leather interior with black piping and the addition of perforated centre sections. The internal refurbishment was completed with new European walnut wood veneers.

Car of the month 4This XJS has undergone extensive restoration and upgrade work and we think it looks stunning. However, we’ll let you be the judge of that. Take a look at our restoration images here.

We currently have two further low-mileage, convertible Jaguar XJS cars for sale.

  • XJS V12 Convertible 1992 only 40,600 miles Solent Blue – J555 XJS
  • XJS 5.3 V12 Convertible 1989 only 56,701 miles – AIG 8876

Why not take a look at these, and all of our cars for sale here.