XJ40 ( XJ81 ) 1986 - 1994

How good is the XJ40

 
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:18 AM
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Default How good is the XJ40

Hi All,
Just stopping over from the x100 forum. I'm intrigued by the xj40 and would like to know, are they good cars and are there any issues of concern?

The prices are low and I might want to buy one to keep the miles off the XKR.

Thanks

 
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Old 02-10-2019, 07:26 AM
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First, I'm no XJ40 authority.

A couple things come to mind:

- Instrument cluster problems on the first 2-3 years of production. It was an oddball design.
- Hydro-boost system for brakes, steering, and adjustable suspension

There are surely many more quirks

The youngest of these cars is now 25 years old and, since values are low, many have not been well treated. Probably another case where seeking out (and paying for) an exceptional example will probably save money in the long run.

Let's hear what others say. I've been kicking around the idea of trying an old XJ40 myself.

Cheers
DD

 
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug View Post
The youngest of these cars is now 25 years old and,
Hey - thanks for reminding me my old bus now qualifies for collector plates and cheap insurance ..happy 25th birthday to my daily driver!

p.s. They are just like any old cars, drive 'em - fairly reliable, park 'em and use 'em on Sundays when the sun shines, not so reliable.

Larry

pps - In the 7 years of ownership she only failed to get me where I was going once - fuel pump quit. (rapidly touches wood)
 

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Old 02-10-2019, 10:11 PM
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Hi Jestocost,

XJ40s are wonderful cars, with near Rolls Royce luxury and comfort, near BMW 7-Series handling, Jaguar good looks and that low-wide stance like nothing else on the road. The design was criticized when new as too boxy (compared to previous Jaguar saloons), but it has aged very well and looks supremely elegant and classic today.

I've had two, an early one ( '88) and a late one ('93), and I've worked on many others. The later ones have more powerful engines and shorter-geared differentials that make them quicker off the line, their seats are a little better, and they generally came from the factory without the Self-Leveling Rear Suspension (SLS) of earlier cars, which invariably developed leaks and on most surviving cars was eventually retrofitted by a Jaguar dealer or with an aftermarket kit.

The '88-'89 cars had vacuum fluorescent instrument clusters that were prone to problems. The '90 and later cars have more conventional analog clusters that are generally reliable other than suffering bulb failures (the bulbs are replaceable).

The original head gaskets on the 3.6L cars were prone to leak at an oil port above the distributor, but even the "improved" replacement head gaskets for both the 3.6L and 4.0L cars tend to fail about every 100K miles, often due to slight erosion of the aluminum head between a coolant jacket and a cylinder. Replacement and repair is involved, but not as difficult as you might think.

Early engines had valve stem seals on only the exhaust valves, later ones got them on the intakes as well, but the seals tend to harden within a few years and allow oil to leak down the valve stems into the cylinders when the engine isn't running, leading to a "cloud of blue smoke" at startup that XJ40 owners just live with.

Some models (e.g. early cars in the U.S.) have four round headlamps, others have two large rectangular "European" style headlamps. If you prefer one or the other, either can be retrofitted with some effort.

The 4.0L AJ6 engines and ZF 4HP24 automatic transmissions are generally bulletproof, and some have done more than 300,000 miles. Most maintenance and service can be performed by an owner with decent DIY skills and a willingness to research the forums and service documentation and learn. There is a tremendous body of knowledge on this forum and others about keeping an XJ40 running, and much of the Jaguar service documentation is available either as a free pdf download online, or on DVD-ROMs from the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust.

The most expensive common issue to watch for is pinion gear whine from the differential, which usually requires a rebuild to rectify. The drive axles serve as the upper links of the rear suspension, so the differential output bearings are under great stress and fail periodically, but are replaceable without dropping the suspension or removing the differential. A leaking seal on either side of the diff usually indicates the bearings on that side are failing.

The front wheel bearings are under-engineered for the weight of the car and require more frequent attention than on most vehicles, but adjusting them, repacking them with grease, or even replacing them is not difficult or expensive.

Like most Jags, the entire suspension is isolated with rubber bushings, some of which fail more often than others. Probably the most common trouble-makers are the front shock upper bushings (easily replaced), front upper control arm bushings (not too difficult), rear shock upper bushings (requires removing the shock/spring assemblies), and the rear subframe bushings (requires removing only the horizontal subframe A plate and the use of a hydraulic press).

Parts are still widely available, with the exception of some interior and exterior trim bits and other odds and ends that are now only available used. Many suspension parts are shared with the X300. Wheels from X300s and X308s can be used, which may be helpful as high-profile tires for the 15-inch rims on some XJ40s become more difficult to find. Some early European XJ40s had metric wheels, which caused problems as suitable metric tyres became unavailable, but I don't think that was an issue on any U.S. cars. V-speed rated tires are specified by Jaguar, not only because of the speeds these cars could achieve when new (130+ mph), but due to the two tons of weight the tires must support, so consider the load rating of new tires carefully before purchasing H-rated tires to save money.

In terms of driving dynamics, there is very little to differentiate the late XJ40s from X300s. The AJ16 engines are not much more powerful, and the monocoque, transmission, differential and suspension are the same.

Our '93 was a daily driver for our family for 16 years, for my wife and me, then for each of our kids as they drove it to high school and college. Our son took it to college six hours away and I didn't worry about it (the only problem he had while there was a failed battery).

The Vanden Plas (Daimler in the U.K. and elsewhere) models have slightly upgraded interior trim and higher-grade leather that is wonderful, but thin and soft, so it doesn't tend to wear as well as the leather in the Base and Sovereign cars. The fluting or scalloping of the top edges of the grille and license plate trim, different wheels, and the Vanden Plas or Daimler badge on the trunk/boot lid are about the only distinguishing exterior differences on the upscale models, and while the rear seat "picnic tables" in the VDPs and Daimlers are beautiful and "cool," they're basically impractical and are rarely actually used. The mechanicals and electricals are essentially identical for all models of the same model year.

I would suggest finding a '93-'94 model with good cosmetics and at least basic service records. For the money, there are few cars that can compare in terms of luxury, style and driving satisfaction.

Cheers,

Don
 

Last edited by Don B; 03-14-2019 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:17 PM
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Thanks all for the information. I guess I'll keep my eyes open for one.
 
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:46 PM
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Can tell that those are great cars, very able (power wise) and also pardoning (bulletproof engine and gearbox) i did over 400k km on mine and perhaps would do next 400 but than i killed the engine (my stupidity) and didn't want to invest more in it so we went for xj8, honestly i would not hesitate to get another xj40 in excellent state low mileage and good price but couldn't find one
 
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:58 PM
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I can’t add much to what has already been stated except to suggest if you do find a good one then certainly proceed to purchase it.
On the engine side of things, I had the 2.9 and 4.0 both are bulletproof-if looked after. An improvement to the performance is ‘Andys bracket. This advances the timing by 5 deg, the alternative is to adjust the reluctor wheel on the harmonic damper.
Removing the cats is another worthwhile move if its an option in your neck of the woods.
I did this on my 4.0 and my brothers 3.2 (X300) his car returned a very healthy 26 imp MPG running to and from work and went to 330,000+ klms.
He upgraded to a X308 (he is particular about the looks and the clearcoat was peeling)
I had the opportunity to have my 4.0 tested for emissions (not mandatory here in NZ) and even without the cats it would have passed the test.
 
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Old 03-14-2019, 03:45 PM
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The XJ40 is truly a baby Bentley. Its luxurious and gets better and better at high speeds. A 93-94 VDP is the zenith of these fine cars. Theyre getting harder to find and folks are holding on to them. If I were to sell mine, Id ask close to 9k for it, low miles, near perfect interior, and with a peeling clear coat at that. Would I get it? Maybe not from people, like me, who are used to getting cheap old Jags. Prices are climbing, so buy it if you find a good one. X300s are the better car, but they look different from the XJ40s silhoutte. Perfect 93-94 XJ40s are above 10k now. Hard to believe, but thats what someone can ask, and they might get it.
 

Last edited by Brewtech; 03-14-2019 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:14 PM
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Well said everyone. I have owned a '93 40 and a '97 x300. I miss them both dearly. The x300 had some production cost reductions that I noticed. For example, it had only one keyhole on the driver's door while the older car had one on the passenger side too. The 40 also had brake pad wear sensors. They were both very reliable vehicles that I never hesitated to drive anywhere. I did lots of work myself and they're actually easy to work on.

You won't find a well maintained low mileage XJ40 for cheap anymore. Neglected basketcases are another story. Depends how much mechanical ability, time, and money you have. Maybe look for a 2002 or '03 X308. They can still be found in good shape for a reasonable price as they're not quite old enough to be modern classics, they're just old cars now.
 
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Old 03-16-2019, 03:46 AM
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Why is there no mention of the problems with the pot metal exterior door handles?
 
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Old 03-16-2019, 04:51 AM
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..add here leaking brake booster circuit, sagging sls suspension and metric tyres if you are unlucky all cars have their faults, i've found that keeping latches in tip top lubricated state saves the handles from braking down the road, those are still minor issues compared to XJ8 which seems to need full chain tensioner and transmission job every now and then
 
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Old 03-16-2019, 12:33 PM
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It occurred to me some years back that each car model, industry wide, has its designs flaws. A lot of what ends up being a particular cars "rep" is its' owners' ability or willingness to tolerate. Yes this car has some truly ingenious flaws. It also has a design which (In My Opinion) cannot be improved upon. If you are asking yourself if ANY car model is worth having then part of what you need to ask is what you will tolerate as an owner of a fairly complex machine.... maybe helpful, maybe not. You're welcome.
 
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Old 03-16-2019, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jerry_hoback View Post
It occurred to me some years back that each car model, industry wide, has its designs flaws. A lot of what ends up being a particular cars "rep" is its' owners' ability or willingness to tolerate. Yes this car has some truly ingenious flaws. It also has a design which (In My Opinion) cannot be improved upon. If you are asking yourself if ANY car model is worth having then part of what you need to ask is what you will tolerate as an owner of a fairly complex machine.... maybe helpful, maybe not. You're welcome.
That's why a good rule is to look for the latest model years of a given model. As the years go by they tend to iron out any problems the earlier years had. 1993 or '94 XJ40 is the way to go.
 
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Old 03-16-2019, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jerry_hoback View Post
It also has a design which (In My Opinion) cannot be improved upon.
Echoed over here too Jerry, the best looking Jaguar saloon ever produced.

Larry

 
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JensenHealey View Post
Why is there no mention of the problems with the pot metal exterior door handles?
Probably because that was mostly a problem on the earlier cars, and by now most of the broken handles have been replaced with the upgraded replacements that were longer lasting, at least on cars that are still on the road. But you're right that it was a common problem back in the day.

Cheers,

Don
 
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Old 03-17-2019, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Don B View Post
Probably because that was mostly a problem on the earlier cars, and by now most of the broken handles have been replaced with the upgraded replacements that were longer lasting, at least on cars that are still on the road. But you're right that it was a common problem back in the day.

Cheers,
Don
I got news for you, both my 1994 XJ40 and 1994 XJ81 cars STILL have problems with broken pot metal exterior door handles.
Where are these "upgraded replacement" handles?
 
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by JensenHealey View Post
I got news for you, both my 1994 XJ40 and 1994 XJ81 cars STILL have problems with broken pot metal exterior door handles.
Where are these "upgraded replacement" handles?
The handles Jaguar issued to replace broken ones were stronger in the area that typically breaks. If your '94 has broken handles, they probably were not lubricated and the linkage adjusted as periodically required on 25-year-old vehicles.

The rear handles are still available from Jaguar, but the fronts are NLA. You can usually find '93-'94 salvaged ones on eBay. Often, with a little creativity, they can be repaired. When you install the new or repaired handles, lubricate them well with white lithium grease, along with the latch mechanism, power lock actuator and linkage joints. Test the linkage and lock buttons for binding or broken parts and correct before you reinstall the door trim.

The power door lock motors can corrode and seize but can often be resuscitated with light machine oil, or replaced with new motors. There's a good post on this in the photo albums at Jag-Lovers.

Cheers,

Don
 

Last edited by Don B; 03-17-2019 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:07 AM
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There is a fix for breaking handles! Katar posted a thread on preventing breakage and I used it on my handles and it definitely works!!

When you replace a broken handle, modify the connecting rod by adding a small nut between the rod and the nylon locking block ...this prevents the rod from slipping in the adjuster (which in turn causes the handle travel to increase beyond it's designed functional arc)

See this thread by NTL1991

https://www.jaguarforums.com/forum/x...stment-211963/

Larry
 
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Old 03-24-2019, 07:42 PM
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OP! Still looking at XJ40s? Or did we scare you away?
 
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:46 AM
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..perhaps he is searching for one, filtering worthy cars out of junk out there is a labor intensive job..
 
 
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