Jaguar XJS V12 Engine Fire – A Warning to Owners

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Anglicomarine0326 XJS

If you own a Jaguar XJS with the V12, make sure to check the condition of your fuel lines regularly.

JaguarForums member Anglicomarine0326 recently shared a story about his 1986 Jaguar XJS V12 which serves as the nightmare for all car lovers. His sleek British coupe was leaking fuel and when he began investigating the issue, the car burst into flames. Fortunately, the fire was contained to the engine bay and the classic Jag was saved when a Good Samaritan ran to the rescue with a fire extinguisher, but there is an important lesson to be learned here.

Here is the OP’s explanation of what happened to his clean 1986 XJS:

“Parked my 86 XJS V12 coupe the other day. My wife noticed fluid on the ground. I touched it and smelled it…gasoline! Not knowing if it was from me or another vehicle (public parking space) I restarted my car and opened the hood. A stream of gasoline was observed spewing from a split injection hose. It immediately ignited to my horror. As I dialed 911, a person exited a nearby store with a fire extinguisher. I put it out within 25 seconds. I’m waiting to hear from my Insurance company if it’s a total loss. It needs a wiring harness, wire set, distributor cap, fuel rail hoses and maybe injectors? This combined with labor at 100 an hour, may be the kiss of death? NADA and Haggerty value car at 10,000 minimum. Car is mint in/out, 80,000 miles and Dayton Wire Wheels, knockoff type.

I’m at mercy now of the insurance adjuster and estimate. A word to the wise…CHECK your fuel rail injection hoses and couplings. They dry out and crack. It was going to be my next project.”

1986 XJS V12He also included the image of his engine bay after the fire was put out. The powder covering every square inch of the under-hood area. Forum members were quick to post their condolences while agreeing that the fuel lines can prove to be a problem, and that is the lesson to be learned here.

The fuel lines leading to the fuel rails of 1986-era Jaguar XJS V12 are made from rubber and over time, that rubber dries out and cracks. Because of that, experienced owners recommend that new owners change the lines immediately while monitoring their condition from time to time.

Good News for the Owner

While this was surely a miserable experience for the OP, he did have some good news from the insurance company on his XJS:

“State Farm agreed to pay my mechanic his initial estimate of $5300.00 to fix it! Wiring harness (From SNG Barratt) distributor, wire set, alternator, and various other things plus labor. I had a good appraiser who agreed my car with 80,000 miles, fresh paint and Dayton Wire knock offs was worth fixing. Thank you Haggerty Insurance Valuation Tool and NADA Classic price guide. XJS prices are increasing every year. Both guides value an 86 XJS in average condition at over 10 Thousand bucks. My car is well above average in very good rust free condition. Parts ordered….Driving a KIA from Hertz…nice but no Big Cat!”

So in the end, this super-clean 1986 Jaguar will be repaired, but everyone should learn from this unfortunate story and keep an eye on those fuel lines.

A lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years, Patrick Rall is highly experienced in the automotive world. He has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now auto journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

“Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500,” says Rall. “He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car: a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16. Meanwhile, I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

“Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group,” adds Rall. “While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

“Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never ‘work’ a day in your life. I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

“My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

“Being based on Detroit, I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.”

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