XJS & XJ from KWE Cars
Classic Spirit Reborn

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!

Jaguar XK8: A future modern classic?

The Jaguar XK8, famed for its role in Die Another Day, is Jaguar’s stab at a successor to the XJS. While undoubtedly a fine touring sports car, it lacks perhaps some of the charisma of the XJS. However, we believe that the car’s look and feel will contribute a lot to it becoming in 10 years or so a much sought-after classic Jaguar just as the XJS is right now.

Jaguar XKR made famous by Die Another Day

Jaguar XKR made famous by Die Another Day

Prices are currently very low and it could be a great investment opportunity for those looking for a future modern classic to invest in.

If you’re a current XK8 owner, we suggest you hold on to it, as prices are set to rise in the near to long term.

We’re also Jaguar XK8 experts!

As classic Jaguar experts, we are famed for our knowledge of the XJS and similar marques; however, we also know a thing or two about the XK8, which is largely based on the XJS mechanicals.

We’ve seen an influx of the XJS’ successor coming to our workshop recently, often due to the dreaded rusting process. Yes, modern vehicles can be prone to rusting, too! It’s therefore of paramount importance that you get your vehicle checked out, and ensure it’s sufficiently rust-protected to keep it safe and strong.

Newer vehicles are prone to rust too

KWE is able to look over your classic car, offering advice on protective and restorative actions, which help ensure the longevity of your vehicle, and contribute greatly to a rise in value.

At only 14 years’ young, this Jaguar XK8 is one of the more modern vehicles we’ve worked on in recent times, and it shows that you shouldn’t take your car’s age for granted.

Jaguar XK8 4 litre coupé visits KWE

Jaguar XK8 4 litre coupé visits KWE

The car had some serious rusting issues, both internal and external, which needed urgent attention. We have been able to put our expertise to good use, restoring the car to our favoured ‘better-than-new’ standard.

Jaguar XK8 rust

Jaguar XK8 rust

If you want to make sure your XK8 or classic Jaguar is in tip-top shape, feel free to get in touch via info@KWECars.com.

For more information about keeping rust at bay, read our five crucial measures to prevent classic car rust.

Five crucial measures to prevent classic car rust

One of the biggest potential dangers to your classic car’s wellbeing is rust. Rust can cause the structure of any car to become weakened and unstable, making it unsafe to drive and liable to fail MoT testing. This build up of corrosion usually progresses from invisible areas until it becomes visible through the paintwork or is spotted during an underside inspection – by which time remedial action can be very expensive.

Rust  100414-2

Rust forms when moisture and air come into contact with unprotected steel. This process is hastened by the presence of sulphur dioxide from the atmosphere and ionic compounds such as road salt. Read these tips on how to ensure that your classic car doesn’t turn into a rust bucket.

  1. Keep your classic car clean, especially on the underside and wheel areas

Rust is often more likely to take hold of your vehicle if it’s dirty and mud is allowed to accumulate underneath. When washing your car pay special attention to the wheel arches and sill ends. When using your vehicle in the winter months, mud combined with road salt can become trapped within crevices around the wheel wells and underbody. Mud tends to retain moisture, therefore contributing greatly to rusting.

The best cleaning method is to use a concentrated spray from a garden hose to dislodge mud from inside the wheel arch lips, and the sill ends. A high pressure washer (e.g. Karcher) is too powerful and can lift off the protective underseal. Ideally, keep an eye out for exposed and rusty steel in these areas, get them thoroughly dry, prime with zinc-rich paint and apply brushing underseal such as Waxoyl underbody sealant.

  1. Inspect your classic car carefully

Make sure you inspect the whole of the vehicle’s structure, both topside and underside. If the surface of the original protective coating has deteriorated over wider areas, it’s best to remove all the old underseal and re-coat the whole surface to provide long-term protection.

IMG_1791

Perhaps you won’t need to go this level… but we do!

Moisture tends to accumulate within enclosed sections around the vehicle such as doors, sills, chassis sections and strengthening areas, eventually resulting in rusting from within. Due to access problems, it can be near-impossible to apply protective paint within such cavities, but rust-resisting wax or oil-based fluids can be introduced, via drilled and plugged holes, ideally under high pressure from a special spray gun. This can be tricky, so it is recommended that you contact a reputable rust protection specialist such as KWE who will be able to do this for you.

  1. Give your classic car a run in the winter

Some people believe that you shouldn’t use your classic car in the winter because of the unfavourable weather conditions and salt on the roads. In reality, leaving your vehicle unused in the winter can do more harm than good. Ideally, you should aim to start your car at least once a month, taking it for a short drive in dry conditions to bring the engine up to full operating temperature have the aircon on and using the brakes frequently This will ensure that the brake discs remain rust-free, and moving parts remain freed-up. It is important to get the engine thoroughly warm so as to evaporate the harmful acidic moisture that can build up in under-used engines. We advise keeping the aircon on all year round to reduce leakage from the pressure seals.

  1. Store your classic car correctly

Storage of your classic car is very important, particularly in the winter. The best place to store your vehicle is within a dry and airy barn, garage or large carport on a concrete or other dry base. Wood or brick garages are preferable to pre-cast concrete units, which tend to ‘sweat’ in very cold conditions. The objective is to keep air flowing around the car, but not let rain fall on it. There should be no damp coming up from the ground, so parking the car on grass or earth is not advised. One way to avoid the damp problem associated with storage is to use an inflatable plastic tent, with fans to keep air moving inside, or a portable frame garage tent. Disconnect the battery (see also our battery care article) and, if the car is under cover, open the windows a little to keep the inside aired.

We do not recommend full body covers outdoors for long term storage outside because the paint is likely to be damaged by wind-induced abrasion and can create micro-blistering in the paint. Any damp under the car will be trapped and start causing rust and mould to grow. However, especially with convertibles, we recommend use of a cap or roof cover which just covers the roof. If the car is stored indoors then a lightweight indoor cover is recommended to keep the dust off. Be aware of rodent damage – mice frequently chew through cables and hoses on undisturbed cars. We recommend placing several (pet-safe) mousetraps around the car.

  1. Consult a classic car specialist

To ensure that you aren’t leaving the rusting of your classic car to chance, why not speak to the experts? KWE are very experienced in preventing and remedying rust, and have developed techniques which make our cars last a lot longer than average. We know where to look for rust, and offer both cavity wax injection for box sections, and full underbody sealant renewal.

We recommend repeating this inspection and proofing process every second year. This regime vastly reduces the chance of further rusting. If the customer specifies a bare metal re-spray it is then possible to inspect any previous topside problems and rectify them if necessary.

IMG_0890  IMG_1557

respray  IMG_2063

We’ll ensure that your classic car doesn’t rust away. Download our pdf article on the subject: CavityWaxInjection for more information on our cavity wax rust protection, service or call us on +44 (0) 1635 30030.

KWE AT NEC CLASSIC MOTOR SHOW NOVEMBER 2017