Hampshire is looking beautifully autumnal now with yellow and golden leaves everywhere including blowing in through the doors of our workshop and showroom. Along with the increased workload of sweeping up all these leaves this is always a very busy time of year for us both in terms of servicing and long-term work. This week we will be covering LED lighting (the pros and cons), common fuel gauge faults and having a peak at some of the XKs in for servicing work.
This Jaguar XK120 drophead is in for a service and MOT but the customer also mentioned to us that they have had an ongoing issue with water ingress ever time it rains. The water has been dripping on to the laps of both occupants of the car. Unfortunately for the owner it was apparently worst on the passengers' side! Given that we all want to get out and enjoy driving our XKs, and one cannot always guarantee the weather when touring, it really is important that you (and we) ensure your passenger is comfortable.
We have removed all the wood and trim around the inside of the windscreen including the dashboard and dash top and then deploy our highly scientific leak detection device (a watering can) to find the leak (if the watering can is not sufficient, we take the car outside and use the hose). We found that one of the windscreen wiper spindle seals was leaking and causing a small amount of water ingress on the drivers' side but the main offender was the seal on the passengers' A-post with lots of water getting in around the windscreen seal. We will reseal the whole lot and then test for any leaks again.
A very common complaint on all XKs is inaccurate, jumping and generally faulty fuel gauges. It can be a real challenge tracking down these faults as there are so many issues that plague XK fuel gauges, a number of joints in the wiring and many points prone to failure. Additionally, we are seeing a lot of problems with leaking fuel sender gaskets and floats becoming porous due to the effects of E5 fuel (ethanol). We will cover the effects of ethanol in fuel in more detail soon but we have a number of sealing products available which are resistant to the effects ethanol and allow us to cure such leaks.
This XK150 fixedhead came in as the gauge jumped around quite erratically and still read half a tank when empty. These kinds of problems, especially when there is more than one fault as in this case, is that you can spend a long-time chasing faults through the system and even cause more problems along the way. Fortunately, our auto-electrician has been working on XKs for over a decade and is therefore able quickly diagnose these kinds of faults and head straight to the root of the problem.
This XK140 fixedhead belongs to long time Twyford Moors and International Editor of Octane Magazine Mr Robert Coucher. This charming XK140 has plenty of patina and is regularly used by Robert for getting around town as well as trips further afield. She is in with us for a fairly extensive programme of work now that the driving season is coming to an end. Pictured here our head mechanic Barry is removing the engine assisted by apprentice Jake. As you can see, they are maintaining social distancing and we have been keeping our large shutter doors open for ventilation even as the weather has grown cooler. Most jobs are now carried out by a single member of staff but some tasks, such as this, require more than one pair of hands. Where more than one member of staff is required to work on the same car, we maintain social distancing where possible or wear PPE when closer contact is required.
We will revisit Mr Couchers' car in the coming weeks to review the work we have carried out on this lovely XK140.
LED light upgrades have been very popular over the last decade and they come in all shapes and sizes. We have fitted a number of different LED lighting solutions over the years and have found that the quality and reliability of these systems can very greatly so it is well worth researching thoroughly before fitting something to your car. Additionally, the way in which many of these systems are fitted can make it challenging to find faults, repair or replace the LED lights if they fail. We offer a number of lighting upgrades, using both standard style bulbs and LEDs, designed to improve the lighting on your car without compromising reliability.
This XK150 FHC came into the workshop having had LED lights fitted elsewhere. This conversion included separate amber indicators inside the original lights and a hazard light upgrade. Unfortunately, something had failed causing the indicators not to work at all in one direction, both sides to flash when you indicated in the other direction and the hazard lights not to work at all. The car had then been looked at by a couple of other places before being brought in to us with the wiring in a real mess. After a bit of head scratching at a mass of incorrectly coloured and confusing wiring our electrician started by refitting standard bulbs and getting the wiring in the indicator and hazard light system working properly again. After this he reconnected the LEDs and found a number of issues including a faulty diode bridge, LED lights being confused by low voltages in wires even when the lights were off. This is caused in classic cars for a number of reasons by largely induction and poorly connected wiring using scotch locks.
We recently completed work on a very special Jaguar XK120 FHC. LVC345 was originally loaned to Sir Stirling Moss by William Lyons when Moss was driving for Jaguar. The car went on to become Moss' personal car before having a very interesting life including motorsport and extensive modification before being restored and becoming a show winner. We have worked closely with the current owner to chart the history of this fascinating car. Please click here to read the full article.
When this Jaguar XK150 drophead coupe came in for a service and MOT it was noted that the car was running rich and the spark plugs were black. This is not uncommon on XKs and is easily remedied by tuning the carburettors. However, it is also important to ensure you fully investigate a problem as you can mask issues elsewhere by adjusting carburettors if the rest of the intake system isn't operating properly. In this case we found that the air filter has clearly not been cleaned for some years and was restricting airflow. This XK150 still had its original style air filter fitted under the wing which can be challenging to access so it is often overlooked by other garages and home mechanics when servicing.
The air filter has been removed, cleaned, refitted and now the car can breathe properly again. We do however recommend to customers having our after-market air filters fitted to the carburettors unless, of course, they are aiming to keep the car perfectly original. Modern air filters allow for better air flow into the carburettors and therefore increased performance and fuel economy. They also allow for easier inspection and cleaning when the vehicle is services.