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Waking up and XKE

HCE

Freshman Member
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Those who have read my earlier post regarding determining what is a fair price for an XKE will know that I recently purchased an S2. I knew going in that the car had been sitting for a number of years. I had been told it had not been started in 4 or 5 years, but it turns out that the car had not been driven since 1995.

You may be interested in what I have done to get this car back on the road.

I purchased the car in late June in central Florida and had it delivered to me in Alpharetta on Thursday, June 28. When I inspected the car pre purchase, both the owner and I agreed that the engine was probably seized. When the car arrived, the first thing I did was pull the plugs and pour about an ounce of Marvel Mystery Oil into each cylinder. On Friday afternoon I added another half ounce or so to each cylinder.

I went to Auto Zone and bought a battery.

The owner had disclosed that the car had a number of electrical issues which he described as “typical Lucas stuff.” On Saturday morning I installed the battery and started checking out the electrical issues. The only things that worked were the headlights and emergency flashers. With the plugs still out, I tried the starter and the engine turned over, but I had no power to the fuel pump or distributor.

I spent some time on Saturday with a circuit tester, trying to figure out what some of the problems were. When I dropped the instrument panel to gain access to the fuse blocks, I found a tangled mess of disconnected wires, wires spliced with masking tape, oversized fuses - just a big mess.

I quickly decided it was more than I could figure out in a reasonable amount of time, even with the help of a friend who is pretty knowledgeable about old cars. Since I wanted to get the car on the road as quickly as possible, I had the car picked up on Tuesday (7/3) and delivered to a shop here in metro Atlanta that specializes in classic Jags.

They started working on it on 7/5. They drained the gas tank, steamed and flushed it, and flushed and blew out the gas lines. They replace the fuel filter and removed a redundant bowl filter someone had installed between the filter and the carbs. They replace the fuel lines which were hard.

They resolved the power to the fuel pump and coil issues – someone had messed with the wires on the ignition switch. They rewired it correctly. That resolved some but not all of the other electrical issues as well.

The fuel pump did not work, even with power. They disassembled it and cleaned the points which resolved the problem – dodged a $350 bullet if that is a permanent fix!
They cleaned the carbs. They put in some fresh gas and tried to start it on Thursday, 7/12. No luck.

The next step was to remove and disassemble the carbs and rebuild them with a rebuild kit. That was what it needed to get it running, but it ran pretty rough so they shut it down quickly.

Not necessarily in this order:
- They replace the spark plugs. The ones that were in it were incorrect.
- They synced the carbs, set the fuel mixture and adjusted the idle speed.
- They cleaned the points, set the gap, and adjusted the timing.

Next they drained the oil which they said looked good, with no indication of coolant contamination. They replace the filter and refilled with Castrol GTX 20W-50.

The car started up the next day, Friday. It had good oil pressure, and the temperature was normal. Compression across all cylinders ranged from 165 to 170 pounds.

Even though it still ran rough, the shop did not see anything to indicate any problems other than what would come from just sitting for so long. Their verdict - the engine probably does not need any work. It just needs to be driven.

The owner had said that the engine had been rebuilt @ 80k miles. The opinion of the shop is that unless the rebuilder took great pains to reassemble it with all of the correct factory clips and clamps, this engine has never been disassembled and rebuilt.

There was a coolant leak at the front of the engine around the thermostat housing. They ordered the correct thermostat and gasket to the correct this problem.

The fuel gauge did not work. They removed the sending unit, cleaned it, and replaced it, and it now works.

I ordered a set of period correct Vredestein tires and had them shipped to the shop. They pressure washed the wire wheels and cleaned them – they look great – and mounted the new tires. Total cost of tires, tubes and mounting - right at a grand.

They checked and lubed the wheel bearings, installed the wheels, and lubed the chassis.

I called on 7/17 for an update and was told that they needed to rebuild the front calipers - one was seized and the other was very rusty.

The shop called the next day, Wednesday (7/18) with an update. The calipers were in worse shape than they thought. One needed a new piston and both had a lot of rust. They recommended installing new calipers which they had, rather than rebuilding the original ones which would have meant waiting for parts. The incremental cost was only about $100, factoring in the labor difference.

They also needed to replace all of the brake lines due to clogging. Someone had mixed silicone with regular brake fluid. They flushed brake system and refilled w/ silicone brake fluid. They suggested this not for any performance advantage, but because it is better for vehicles which are not driven on a regular basis.

The front pads had less that 50% left, so they replaced them while the calipers were off. They also replaced the cork floats in the master cylinders.

The cooling fans were not working.

They flushed the cooling system, installed the new thermostat and gasket, and replaced all of the hoses and belts.

The fans were now working – they replaced a relay.

They gave it its first road test in the afternoon.

On 7/19 I spoke with the shop in the afternoon. They had driven the car several times over two days. They reported that there was some vibration under braking - you don’t feel it in the pedal; rather it is a sensation in the car. They did not think it is coming from the brakes, but probably from the rear end. The previous owner had mentioned a possible issue with the rear end, so this was not a surprise. The shop suggests I drive it for a while since it is not serious.

From the road tests, they determined that:
- The engine runs strong, normal oil pressure and temperature.
- The transmission jumps out of gear – 1st only – on deceleration. They do not recommend I do anything at this time since the transmission seems fine in all other aspects. The clutch is good.
- During the second road test, the alternator began over charging. They ordered a voltage regulator, which arrived on Wednesday. It is charging normally now above 1500 RPM, but they believe the alternator is weak and will probably need to be replaced in the future.

They drained and refilled the transmission and rear end while the car was hot.

They did a front end alignment since the tires are new, but said it was not out much, if any. All the suspension parts look good. They replaced the missing and deteriorated boots on the suspension parts.

Most of the “other electrical” issues have been cleared up. They said it was mostly bad fuses, dirty connections, and cut wires. I still don’t have a horn, and the interior lights and map light do not work. The clock has power, but it does not work. The wipers do!

I picked up the car last Thursday (7/26) and have driven it about 150 miles. It seems to run better every time I take it out. It had a lot of bounce or swing in the speedometer – 5 to 8 mph - but that is settling down to pretty much normal vibration. The car drives and stops straight. The brakes are not as strong as I would like. The shop thinks I may need to replace the master cylinder if they don’t get better.

It has good oil pressure, and even in 90+ weather, normal temperature.

I still don’t have the seatbelts which were missing, and that limits where I want to drive it. The last thing I need is a ticket for no seat belts. I think I found a set this morning in North Carolina.

Overall I am happy. We - me and the previous owner - both underestimated what it would cost to get it back on the road, but it could have been a lot worse if it had had major engine or transmission issues.

My wife and I drove it Sunday afternoon and the driver’s side door would not open from the outside. I guess I need to take off the door panel to see what went wrong. I am not complaining – you have to expect that there will be a lot of things like that with a 42 year old car.

I am working on my To Do list:
- The driver’s door also has a fitment issue – it rubs when you close it, and the hinge is very stiff on the passenger door. Penetrating oil and silicone spray have not helped.
- The air/choke/heater cables a very tight.
- I need to get the rest of the lights and horn working.
- The radio is from an S3. I need to find an original.
-The shop recommends some “updates” to the carbs, like changing the way the secondary throttles operate.
- And the big one, the master cylinder.

And then there are the cosmetic things. The car looks great from 25 feet, but it has a lot of stone chips and dings. I have about 3 hours in on the interior, but I still have a long way to go to get rid of all of the accumulated dust and dirt.

The carpet and leather are in better condition than you would expect for a car this old with 83,000 miles.
So, I am sure there will always be a To Do list.

My wife was not a supporter of this purchase. We drove it to lunch on Saturday and she had a smile on her face, though she denied it!

I am going to keep working to get it safe and reliable to drive, and then we are going to enjoy heck out of it!
 

equiprx

Jedi Knight
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<span style="font-style: italic">
HCE said:
The owner had disclosed that the car had a number of electrical issues which he described as “typical Lucas stuff.” On Saturday morning I installed the battery and started checking out the electrical issues. The only things that worked were the headlights and emergency flashers. With the plugs still out, I tried the starter and the engine turned over, but I had no power to the fuel pump or distributor.

<span style="text-decoration: underline">When I was working on E-Types at the shop, I was surprised at how <span style="font-weight: bold">home made</span> the wiring looked.</span>

I spent some time on Saturday with a circuit tester, trying to figure out what some of the problems were. When I dropped the instrument panel to gain access to the fuse blocks, I found a tangled mess of disconnected wires, wires spliced with masking tape, oversized fuses - just a big mess.

They replace the fuel filter and removed a redundant bowl filter someone had installed between the filter and the carbs.

<span style="text-decoration: underline">All of the E-Types I have worked on had glass bowl fuel filters installed on the passenger side near the firewall.</span>

The owner had said that the engine had been rebuilt @ 80k miles. The opinion of the shop is that unless the rebuilder took great pains to reassemble it with all of the correct factory clips and clamps, this engine has never been disassembled and rebuilt.

<span style="text-decoration: underline">If anyone had any intentions of showing the car it is essential to use factory clamps, clips and such.
</span>
........... They reported that there was some vibration under braking - you don’t feel it in the pedal; rather it is a sensation in the car. They did not think it is coming from the brakes, but probably from the rear end. The previous owner had mentioned a possible issue with the rear end, so this was not a surprise. The shop suggests I drive it for a while since it is not serious.
<span style="text-decoration: underline">
This could result from worn trailing arm or rear cage bushings.</span>

............ They do not recommend I do anything at this time since the transmission seems fine in all other aspects. The clutch is good.

<span style="text-decoration: underline">Almost any transmission work would require removal of the engine and transmission in one piece. I have heard of some technicians being able to remove the transmission alone but I have not seen it done.</span>

Overall I am happy.
<span style="text-decoration: underline">
Who wouldn't be.</span>

..... but it could have been a lot worse if it had had major engine or transmission issues.

My wife and I drove it Sunday afternoon and the driver’s side door would not open from the outside. I guess I need to take off the door panel to see what went wrong.
<span style="text-decoration: underline">
The door hinges are notoriously prone to seizing up and they are weakly backed up to the sheet metal causing sagging and broken attachments.
</span>
I am working on my To Do list:
- The driver’s door also has a fitment issue – it rubs when you close it, and the hinge is very stiff on the passenger door. Penetrating oil and silicone spray have not helped.
- The air/choke/heater cables a very tight.

My wife was not a supporter of this purchase. We drove it to lunch on Saturday and she had a smile on her face, though she denied it!
</span>

<span style="text-decoration: underline">I personally would not be inclined to buy an E-Type, but driving them makes it impossible not to smile.</span>
 

Vince

Member
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Interesting reading. I have owned a S1 since 1980, it had been dormant for about 10 years before I bought it. It had been abused (bent valves due to over rev-ving engine, low oil pressure due to bad rod bearings/no oil change). Once I got the engine work done, then the rest was much easier. I have put 150 miles a year on my car for over 30 years now, it just turned over 49,000 miles. These are great cars once you get them sorted out if they have been abused or dormant too long.
 
OP
HCE

HCE

Freshman Member
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Hi Steve,
Thanks for the input.

I can see how you could call the wiring home made, but what I found behind the instrument panel was definitely not factory. In addition to the 50 amp fuses where there should have been 30’s, I found wires that had been spliced together and wrapped with masking tape. It looks to me like someone was just trying to make things work any way they could, without regard to proper function.

The filter you refer to is there, but someone had added another one, a small inline filter, in the fuel line between the one on the firewall and the carbs. Have you seen that before?

I don’t intend to ever try to make this a show car, but wherever possible, I intend to keep it original.

The shop said that to really diagnose the problem, they would have to drop the rear end. The vibration is not so severe that I want to go to that expense.
HCE
 

equiprx

Jedi Knight
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I have not seen any redundant filters like you described.
You should be able to diagnose worn bushings with a lever/pinch bar, without removing the cage. I would think they would have had the cage down when they R&Rd the rear brakes.
 
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HCE

HCE

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Regarding the diagnosis, you are the professional; I certainly am not. I am passing on what the shop told me. The only thing they did to the rear brakes was replace the brake line. The pads and calipers were fine.
 

equiprx

Jedi Knight
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I was a professional for a few years, now I just play one here.

If they got any kind of contaminant on the pads or discs when they replaced the lines, you could now have the problem you are experiencing. Even a minor smudge of oil will cause brakes to chatter.
 

MikeP

Jedi Knight
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Personally I'd either reseal or replace the brake master regardless. The consequences of an abrupt failure of an internal seal or other component are nothing you want to experience. And they can fail quickly, I once had a clutch master go from working fine to not working at all in the course of half a dozen hits on the pedal. So I'd also reseal the cluthc master/slave since you're at it and seal kits are generally inexpensive.
 

jet_jockey

Freshman Member
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I am new to this forum so kindly excuse my errors in format. I am replying to "wakeing up".

Very interesting report on your series II. It sounds like it was in much worse condition than the one I just purchased. Mine is a 69 2+2 and a restoration. All the important stuff works but the electrical was rather "jury-rigged".

I have found the intermittant tachometer was causing a high speed engine miss. I figured out how to remove the dash cover and bypassed the tach with a jumper. I intend to replace the distributor and wiring today with a "flame thrower" from XK's. Then I will send the tach into them for an adjustment to match the new distributor.

My car was restored with the intention of being a trailer queen. Consequently, upon assembly the restorer failed to lube the wheel spines when intalling the new true-spokes. What a time I had removing the knock-offs. Mind you, all my other cars are Detroit 40's and 50's.

The Zenith/Strombergs appear daunting but evetually I will get into one. Originally I had a flooding problem with the forward carb but a fuel pressure regulator set at 2 lbs seems to have rectified that. I have purchased "gross jets" to replace the needle and seats but "if it aint broke don't be fixin it."

I am disappointed the car tops out at about 95mph with the 3.54:1 rear end. Can anyone suggest a top speed with that set up and a four speed.

If would like to be in contact with other XKE mechanics. Contact me at gdchilds@aol.com with subject line "Fellow Jag Owner. Sure would like to chat with others as it is kinda lonesome up here in Montana.

Jet Jockey
 

equiprx

Jedi Knight
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jet_jockey said:
I am new to this forum so kindly excuse my errors in format. I am replying to "wakeing up".

Very interesting report on your series II. It sounds like it was in much worse condition than the one I just purchased. Mine is a 69 2+2 and a restoration. All the important stuff works but the electrical was rather "jury-rigged".

Jet Jockey

Jet,
You have not made any formatting errors as far as I can see.
Your description of the "jury rigged" wiring is spot on even on a stock car.
 

MikeP

Jedi Knight
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When you lube the splines of the wire wheels put a bit of silicone caulk over the spoke ends of the center hub by the knockoff. This will prevent the lube from migrating up the spokes as it's driven or just from heat outside.
 

rlich8

Jedi Trainee
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"typical lucas stuff"

More unnecessary denigrating of an actually not that bad system. E-Type fuseboxes were always in the interior which means less humidity/elements.

The electrical system on my 60,000 original mile Series 2 is flawless and works just fine, in fact I think most of the fuses are even original.

Usually these problems are caused by previous owners who messed with the system and bastardized it. :Eyeroll:
 
OP
HCE

HCE

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You are right about Lucas being reasonably good stuff. It was not just the British cars that used their components. When our cars were built, many other European builders relied on Lucas a well.

My previous experience includes a ’70 MGB –GT, a ’59 and ’61 sprite, and a ‘74 Jensen Healey. The rocker switch for the headlights broke often on the MG. I also had to replace the electric fuel pump on a regular basis, but that was not a Lucas problem, it was because MG put it in a really dumb place where it took a beating in northern Ohio winters. Aside from that, they were pretty reliable cars.

Five of the eight fuses looked like they were original. The three that did not were 50 amp fuses which had been substituted for 30’s. The problems I had were caused by someone who tried to rewire various things for some unknown reason.

Except for the horn and the interior lights which should come on when you open the door, everything is now working fine.
 
D

Deleted member 8987

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I watched a video of a guy with a more expensive British car who claimed Lucas made several levels of component quality. Rolls, and most Jags, had high quality, not much of an issue. It went downhill from there, with auto manufacturers who only wanted price points.

If I had a dollar for every Lucar connector I had corroded, rusted, failed, I'd be giving Bill Gates a run for the money about now.

I've had some issues with connectors in my Jag, nothing like the MG's and TR's that used to come through the shops when I did it for a living.

Tell me again how good the Lucas electronic ignition modules on MG's were again?
And how reliable the Lucas alternators are, compared to anything else?
Why do folks look for Bosch or General Misunderstanding conversions?

Ever had a Lucas alternator apart?

My biggest problem right now is absolutely Lucas.

ONE FogRanger, no matter what I do, cannot keep the connection to the bulb working. Bent the contacts to exactly match the one that does work, checked the grounds, use the fog lights, have to get out, use the handle of my cane to rap the FogRanger, and it works.

Some things are blamed on old Joe, but aren't....like a MK2 main wiring.....ignition goes through the firewall in the loom, over under the heater (which of course never leaks), forward inside the left wing, across the top of the radiator, back down the right wing, and across, along with the stoplight wiring. However, ten inches aft of that is the wiring for the wiper motor, which comes through the firewall outboard of the battery and directly to the wiper motor...and had they just extended the loom ten iches, the ignition and stoplight wiring would have been direct.
Go figure.

Dave
 
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HCE

HCE

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There probably is some truth to the story regarding the various quality levels of the components. It happens today with OEM suppliers who engineer a part to meet the customer’s price point. I had my MG for 4 ½ years and 68k miles. I was buying the headlight switches 4 at a time - $9.95 each as I recall. The Jensen had a very similar switch and I never had to replace it in 24k miles.

I learned how to file points on the fuel pumps so they would work longer.

Can’t comment on electronic ignition modules as I don’t believe any of my cars had them; just points, rotor and distributor.

Never took an alternator or generator apart. I did replace the generator on the ‘61 Sprite with the one off the ’59 that had become a donor car, and it was still working well 8k later when I sold the car.

And to your last point - you can't blame Lucas for poor engineering or design on the part of the car manufacturer.

HCE
 
D

Deleted member 8987

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The best fix for Lucar bullet connectors really is to slide the rubber sleeve back over one wire (if rotted, cut it off and put a similar length piece of shrink tube over the wire), then solder the connector to the bullets, pull the sleeve back (or the shrink tube and heat) and that connection will never give you a problem with conductivity again.
 
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