XK8 / XKR ( X100 ) 1996 - 2006

Starting an xk8 that has sat for 2-4 years

 
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Old 05-25-2019, 02:46 AM
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Default Starting an xk8 that has sat for 2-4 years

Hello all,

I have been gifted a project car by my neighbor, a 1997 convertible. This car has sat for at least 5 years, covered but outdoors. It was cleaned 1.5 years ago and started right up with very little effort.

I don't know anything about these cars but I am very interested. I work on my own older fleet of cars, and have completed work from a minor oil change up to a transmission change. My neighbor insists the car needs only a battery and tires to be driven.

Would any of you have some advice on what to check, change, replace before I attempt to turn over the engine, put air in the tires and drive it 180 yards to my own driveway?

Thanks in advance all...
 
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Old 05-25-2019, 06:03 AM
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My only concern would be the fuel pump and the quality of the fuel. Unfortunately, it's difficult to drain the tank, but that would be ideal. If the car doesn't start it may mean the fuel pump has failed. Make sure the battery is fully charged before starting.
 
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Old 05-25-2019, 07:07 AM
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Separately from just sitting out, the main concern on the early cars is the secondary tensioners. I would not even start the car without knowing if those were replaced with the metal part (the early ones are plastic). These early plastic tensioners are THE one flaw to absolutely resolve. Unfortunately, the valve covers have to be pulled to be absolutely sure, I would not trust some paperwork from way back (there are actually 3 variants for this part, and only the latest from the 4.2L engine is full metal and reliable). If these fail, the secondary chain skips a tooth or two and valve(s) hit piston(s), and can even break the chain, wrap it around and damage the head beyond repair, i.e. $$$.

Another concern is the operation of the top. I would not try it before doing a bit more research. This is known here as the "green shower" when the hydraulic fluid leaks in the upper section of the windshield.

Best of luck, keep us posted.
 
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Old 05-25-2019, 08:40 AM
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+1 on the tensionser verification.

Obviously get a new battery before you attempt to start. Otherwise you are likely to get all sorts of electronics warnings.

Since it is a 1997 it probably has the better hydraulic top lines so it should be ok. The fluid color in the tank is more of a concern. Needs to be the green stuff. If it is not then plan on flushing it with the green Pentosin fluid.
 
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:07 AM
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the mileage is an issue regarding whether the tensioners are ready to fail. if the car has over 70k USA miles, it is probably better to check first. the only way to be truly sure if all of them were changed is to remove the timing chain cover on the front of the engine. if you are familiar with hand tools and have some mechanically inclined friends, this should not be too difficult for you. do not perform the replacement yourself as it is difficult. otherwise, make sure that there is oil in the car before cranking and nothing has nested in the air cleaner box or elsewhere. change the oil after the car warms up.
 
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:32 AM
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It doesn't have to be mileage, though the higher the scarier. It can just be heat/cool cycles i.e. how often the car's been started.

It's not worth over-thinking this stuff - check them!! Replace if not the new kind.
 
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:50 AM
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Guys, he wants to drive it 180 yards to his own house, not take a cross country trip. Once he gets it home he can start replacing everything. As to the hydraulic lines- they're probably good since it's a 97.
 
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:25 AM
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Below is my list of items to look at before starting the car.
None of these items will prevent the car from starting, but they may contribute to keep the engine running once you start it.
- Take a close look at the serpentine belt for cracks on the outside. (Belts that sit for a long time in one position can harden and crack.)
- Check the oil level in the engine. (If it looks dirty or sludgy, you might drain a quart or 2 of oil and put in some new oil before attempting to start) (Of course plan on changing the oil and filter once it is running.)
- Check all the other fluid levels. Coolant and power steering.
- Other things that you wont be able to see until the engine starts is that the water pump seal may have become dried out and cracked, and may leak after the engine has been started. To a lesser degree, oil seals/gaskets in the engine can dry out and start leaking.

Before electronic ignition/fuel injection, I used to pull off the distributor cap coil wire, so the engine wouldn't try to start, and then crank the engine until I saw oil pressure. These days, that is harder to do, so It might be wise to put a socket wrench on the crank damper nut and manually turn over the engine to be sure it isn't frozen.
- If you are paranoid and want a conservative lowest risk approach, you could pull all the spark plugs, and put a little engine oil into each cylinder, let it sit for an hour or so, then first hand crank the engine with the plugs out to be sure a cylinder isn't frozen due to moisture condensation. (If all is well, the engine should easily turn over with out the plugs in.) If the engine turns freely, then crank it over long enough to generate some oil pressure and push out the oil you put in the cylinders.
If all is well, put the plugs back in and try starting it.
 
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:54 AM
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Thank you all for the helpful advice... meeting to look the car over today and will begin the adventure.
 
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Old 05-25-2019, 03:08 PM
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One of the big things to check on a car that has sat is whether the brakes work. It is common for brake parts to seize up, and it can make a short trip an exciting one!
 
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:05 PM
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UPDATE:

Thank you again for all the help. Here is an update:

The car had fluids present, some fluids look aged/cloudy. Oil was clear/amber. With a new battery the car turned over and started. Car idled fine. I let the car idle for 10 minutes and revved it a bit... it maintained idle after revving. Car had brake pressure so I was able to drive it to my house... and afterwards I backed it out and drove it up and down my neighborhood street.

Here is a breakdown of issues that need addressing mechanically:

- Brakes are rusty, pads make noise when braking
- Brakes need a bit more pressure, must be bled at least
- "Poor Performance" error on dash
- ABS light on
- Mystery "clunk" in front of engine during idle (sounds like a valve opening or trying to open, near front of engine, sound seems to eminate from area near coolant hose... perhaps the temp valve? I have no idea what is there.. but I can post a video of the sound)

Thank for any info on the above issues. I will create a new post with photos soon.
 
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Old 05-26-2019, 05:16 AM
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I think you need to get the valve covers off and have a look at the VVT and the tensioners.
Could also be a water pump blade. Hope the thermostat tower has been changed out to the aluminum one.
You are a brave man, look forward to your progress.
Thanks for looking after one of our babies.
 
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Old 05-26-2019, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by cjd777 View Post
I think you need to get the valve covers off and have a look at the VVT and the tensioners.
+1

Which chamber is the bullet in?
 
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Old 05-26-2019, 06:19 AM
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Coronets,

+1 to the above, and congrats on getting the X100 home, plus getting a sneaky test drive in before diving into working on the car. How did the car feel and drive? You didn't mention any vibrations, noises, or lack of power on the drive.

You'll need to know if your 1997 has an AJ26 or AJ27 engine (for parts). In my case, someone has definitely switched my original engine to a AJ27 (you can tell by the vertical solenoid position - the AJ26 engine has a horizontal VVT solenoid through the front timing chains' cover). Car parts are readily available and mechanicals parts not too expensive. Some prices for the Trim parts are eye watering. But advice on this forum is free!

Engine "clunking noises" are usually caused by bad oil. Simple DIY Oil service may fix the issue but engine knocking may have caused the Check Engine light to come on and the Restricted Performance. Other threads point to (in order of painfulness)
1. Ignition problems due to bad spark plugs
2. Ignition problems due to electrical gremlins - coils, harnesses, relays etc
3. Throttle Body
4. ECU rebuild

The VVT solenoids are in the front of the AJ-26 engine but they should make more of a clicking noise. Your clunking noise could be a bad bearing but I would expect more of a "whine" if it was one of the pulleys on the serpentine belt. You'll know more when you get the serpentine belt off.

You'll need a OBD2 code reader for working on this car. Cheap and easy kits are available and the problem will be targeted easier. Forum members here seem to love Pxxx and more information the better for a good response.

Your ABS warning could be just dirty wheel sensors, dirty reluctor rings (zero dollar fixes), and poor cables breaks (more gremlins), or corroded solder joints in the ABS module. These cars seem to have a history that the front ABS cables break (probably due to age and full lock steering) .

+1 to the above suggestions about getting the valve covers off soon. Definitely check if you have metal bodied secondary tensioners on top of the timing chains. If you don't have the dreaded chain slap noise, changing the primary tensioners can wait.... just don't wait too long to check on these.

I congratulate you for starting the journey on getting the XK8 up to spec. I would love to hear your first impressions and look forward to your future posts as I was exactly in your position about 15 months ago, with a car sat in storage for 2 years, non-runner, "gifted" to me on the condition that I restore her. My 1999 XK8 has been a daily driver now for a year and it's a comfortable, powerful, beauty! With the top down, she's a real head turner.

Enjoy the journey.
 
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Old 05-26-2019, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by coronets View Post
UPDATE:

Thank you again for all the help.
- Mystery "clunk" in front of engine during idle (sounds like a valve opening or trying to open, near front of engine, sound seems to eminate from area near coolant hose... perhaps the temp valve? I have no idea what is there.. but I can post a video of the sound)

Thank for any info on the above issues. I will create a new post with photos soon.

Could it be the serpentine belt jumping back into place or a sticky belt tensioner .
Good luck with your new car.
 
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Old 05-26-2019, 07:58 AM
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Buy a cheap stethoscope at harbor Freight or auto parts store to help locate the clunk, and stop running it until you have done a oil&filter change. All the warnings about the secondary tensioners are valid, so get that out of the way. The primaries and guides are important, but as David said, not critical.

Get a battery maintainer and use it. You can connect to the positive post on the left side engine fuse box and ground to one of the three upper shock mount studs.
 
 
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