XJS & XJ from KWE Cars
Classic Spirit Reborn

New technical note: Refilling the GM400 gearbox

In many V12 HE cars (all of which up to 1993 are fitted with the GM400 box) a common issue we’ve encountered, and one that can worry its owners, is for large clouds of white smoke to emanate from the back of the vehicle, particularly on a hot run and after a service.

GM400Rear

This is usually a result of the gearbox being overfilled, with the excess being blown out of the breather, which is invisibly placed on top of the box. The oil drips down, hits the hot exhausts and produces an impressive cloud of smoke. Equally, it is easy to under-fill, as the procedure is not widely understood, and dipstick readings can be misleading when oil accumulates in the bottom of the dip tube.

In order to counter such gearbox issues, here is our tried and tested formula:

  • Get your engine and transmission thoroughly hot – at least a 20-minute drive is necessary. When stationary, and with your foot on the brake, keep your engine running and move the gear lever through all positions twice, leaving the gearbox in park.
  • Remove the dipstick and wipe off (the initial readings are not important). Repeat this at least five times until you have a clear indication of oil levels, equal on both sides of the stick. The bottom of the dipstick tube starts full of oil, even though the actual level in the sump may be lower. Repeatedly withdrawing and wiping the stick empties this ‘reservoir’ and then you get an accurate reading.
  • If the level is too high on the side of the stick marked ‘HOT’, then remove oil by means of a vacuum pump or syringe (easily obtainable online) inserted into the filler tube. We suggest taking out half a litre at a time. If you have taken more than a few minutes over this before moving the gear lever, repeat the cycling through the gears process. This ensures that both the torque converter and hydraulic passages and chambers are kept full of oil.
  • If the level is too low, top up with automatic transmission fluid (ATF) – half a litre at a time. You will need to repeat the dipping and wiping process, as while filling, the dipstick tube will fill up again, giving an inaccurately high reading. Do not overfill – it can damage the gearbox, and will result in excess oil being blown out of the breather pipe on top of the gearbox.

Speak to the experts

If you’d like expert advice on how to ensure the smooth running of your classic car’s engine, get in touch with KWE Cars. Call us on 01635 30030, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Car of the month: stunning 1988 Jaguar XJS V12 convertible with room for ‘Pops’

We’ve recently completed the restoration of this now-stunning classic car. We were asked by the client to source a low-mileage donor car – it had to be blue, V12 and a convertible.

F28 RYV

The car we found was actually Solent blue (a mid metallic blue). It was stripped back and repainted in Jaguar Westminster blue (a gorgeous dark navy).

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New technical note: classic Jaguar coolant and fuel hoses – pitfalls and solutions

Are Kevlar-reinforced replacement coolant hoses good enough to use in your classic Jaguar XJS? Based on our experience, we’d have to say no. So which hoses are best to use? And what’s important to consider when fitting them?

Find out what KWE recommends for coolant and fuel hoses in our new technical note on the website:

http://www.kwecars.com/coolant-and-fuel-hoses-pitfalls-and-solutions/#.VS97mRPF840

 

Drive a classic Jaguar or Aston Martin fit for ‘00-heaven’

Spectre, the latest instalment from the Bond saga, is set for cinema release in November 2015. As with all James Bond films, there is a great deal of excitement centred around which vehicles will be on display. Spectre is unlikely to disappoint, as 007 is set to look as suave as ever as he continues saving the world.

Jaguar join the party

In addition to the exquisite Aston Martin DB10 appearing in the film, Jaguar Land Rover will also be doing its part to help the British spy, supplying a Range Rover Sport SVR, Jaguar C-X75 and Defender Big Foot.

Rumours have speculated that the C-X75, driven by the film’s antagonist (played by Christoph Waltz), and the DB10 will be involved in a high-octane car chase through the streets of Rome.

Bond cars

Image: Autocar.co.uk.

Jaguar and Aston Martin services

Here at KWE we may not be experts in international espionage, but we do know a thing or two about restoring classic cars. We provide a bespoke service, reengineering your classic car to the highest standard and to your exacting requirements. While James Bond’s cars are usually four cylinders short of a real engine, the majority of the Jaguar XJSs we work on are V12s.

As well as the Jaguar XJS, we also specialise in the Aston Martin DB7, as the two marques share various structural and engineering similarities. Visit the service page on our website for more information.

We’ve also recently extended our services to include the Jaguar XK8 – 007’s XKR is the ‘souped-up’ brother of this model. With the same high quality workmanship, we can bring these fine cars back to as-new or better-than-new condition. Have a look at this sporty 4-litre V8 Jaguar XK8 we have for sale on our website; it might not have guns or rockets, but just two very careful owners.

What’s your favourite Bond car?

Jaguar and Aston Martin are synonymous with 007, but this got us thinking – what’s your favourite James Bond vehicle of all time? Perhaps the classic Aston Martin DB5, which has appeared in many James Bond films, the XKR from Die Another Day, or maybe the XJ8 from Casino Royale? Let us know via Twitter or Facebook – we’d love to hear from you.

Tell us your favourite road to drive your classic car

With the March equinox only a few weeks away, it won’t be long before we can all enjoy the pleasures of spring again and, if the weather permits, what can be more invigorating than a leisurely drive through the great British countryside?

In a poll of 2000 motorists last year, Shell named Britain’s favourite road as the A470 that runs through Snowdonia National Park and the Brecon Beacons in Wales. Snake Pass and the Cat and Fiddle Road in the Peak District were a close second and third. As these roads pass through some of the finest countryside the UK has to offer, it won’t surprise you to learn that in the same survey, the M25 was voted Britain’s least favourite drive!

Over half of the motorists polled said that a sunny day would inspire them to go for a drive on a familiar road, a further 21% said that discovering a new place would also be reason enough. So why not hit the road this spring and enjoy the familiar sights the season has to offer from the comfort and safety of a classic Jaguar XJS?

The open road

Where would you go?

We thought it would be an interesting idea to find out our customers’ favourite roads. Tell us the name of the road, and include details of the stretch you find particularly attractive. Don’t let the UK limit your choice; we know that many of our customers enjoy regular trips to the continent, so feel free to include roads in Europe as well.

If you have any photos please also send them through. Email your suggestions to sales@kwecars.com or visit our Facebook or Twitter pages. Once we have a collection of favourite roads, we’ll share a list of the most popular (or unusual!).

Let us prepare your Jaguar XJS for the challenging conditions some country roads can present. For details of our services, visit the KWE website at http://www.kwecars.com

 

 

 

Eight tips for running your classic Jaguar XJS in the winter

Winter can be a difficult time for any car owner, as the cold weather and icy conditions puts an extra strain on the vehicle. To help ensure your classic Jaguar runs smoothly during the winter months, we’ve put together a list of our top tips:

1. Fit winter tyres

The XJS is not best suited to snowy winter weather, due to its relative heaviness and rear wheel drive. Fitting winter tyres, however, will dramatically improve your ability to drive in snow and ice. An example is Avon Ice Touring, typically £85 per tyre plus fitting. As an alternative, try reducing the tyre pressure by about 10%, creating a greater surface area to grip on the roads.

2. Avoid salty roads

Easier said than done at this time of year. If you do drive on salty roads, quickly wash off any salt/mud residue in the wheel arches and sill ends as soon as possible. For further advice, read our post on how to keep rust at bay.

3. Check your antifreeze

Regularly check your coolant additive (antifreeze) concentration using an antifreeze tester, which can be purchased from retailers such as Halfords. In the winter, the concentration should be at least 30%, rising to 50% in the north of England and Scotland where it’s colder. It is important to change the coolant every two years for conventional types, or every five years for OAT (red) additives. At KWE, we only use OAT additives on XJS and XJ saloons.

4. Upgrade your headlamps

Upgrading your headlamps will give you greater visibility during the dark winter months. We’d recommend Xenon HID electronic lamps, and can fit a pair for £456. These lamps are powerful enough to punch through dirty headlamp lenses, making sure that road signs and cyclists are well illuminated.

5. Look after the battery

A V12 engine can build up more friction when cold, contributing to the malfunction of many car batteries over the winter months. To counter this, keep the battery on trickle charge, or disconnect it entirely when not in use. We can fit a simple battery switch for just £15. As a precaution, it’s always a good idea to keep a spare battery and jump leads just in case.

6. Washer fluid concentration

In winter you must ensure a 30:70 concentration of antifreeze to water, otherwise the washer jets will freeze solid.

7. Prevent locks from freezing

To do this, try and avoid water from getting into your car’s locks. However, if you do find yourself in this situation, use a hairdryer to carefully and gently melt the frozen locks.

8. Keep your car covered

To stop the winter weather from causing damage to your XJS’s exterior, keep things covered up on those particularly frosty days and nights. A good quality protective cover (like this one) will ensure that the weather does not penetrate your door seals and age your screen seals or convertible hood, while also keeping your windscreen clear of frost and ice.

Speak to the experts

To improve your car’s vision at night and keep rust at bay, we offer a special winter package for the Jaguar XJS, which also includes a winter service. For more details visit our website or call 01635 30030.

Winter weather at KWE

 

 

 

 

KWE is commissioned to work on its 6th Eventer!

KWE has become the go-to company for work on Eventers in the UK, and for cars from abroad.

Our latest commission is to bring a very good example up to top condition with KWE suspension/brakes/steering, power enhancement, mid-level engine overhaul and a range of restoration and rust-preventative measures.

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