Jaguar V8 Timing Chains & Tensioners

Even though the oldest of the Jaguar V8 engines is now 16 years old (beginning with the introduction of the 1997 Jaguar XK8), we are still seeing cars with their original plastic timing components, tensioners & guides, failing. Some of these V8 Jaguars are still out there with these original plastic parts just waiting to fail – an actual ticking time bomb! No longer do they just fail from mileage, but age also causes the plastic components to crack, crumble and fail. When the plastic breaks it usually causes the timing chain to jump or break. If this happens as you start the car you could be lucky with minimal damage. However, at 20 mph you will definitly bend a few valves and possibly damage the entire engine beyond repair. I have seen a few break valves, pistons, and con rods. Several engines shot the piston thru the side of the engine block. A new engine is over $10,000 which is usually cost prohibitive – unless you really LOVE your Jaguar.

If you own a Jaguar V8 from 1997-2003 and you dont know if you have had the updated timing components fitted to your engine – You might want to save yourself alot of headaches and get it checked!

In this photo you can see a broken piece of plastic tensioner sitting in the lower right corner. We caught this just before it caused MAJOR damage.



Don’t Run On Empty!

Recently we have had several vehicles towed in with a no start condition.  One Land Rover died at the car wash and a Jaguar wouldnt start in a customer’s garage.  Both vehicles had the same problem – a seized fuel pump.

With the cost of fuel soaring, many people are running their fuel tanks close to empty.  This can create MAJOR problems and BIG expenses.  During this cold time of year you should try to keep your fuel tank full or as close to full as possible.  Excess moisture in your fuel will cause condensation in the open space within your fuel tank.  This condensation will eventually settle to the bottom of the tank causing many corossion related problems.  It could lead to costly seized fuel pumps or injectors, frozen/broken fuel lines, rusted out fuel tanks, or it could leave you stranded.  Remember, top-up that tank to eliminate moisture problems. 

If you have an older vehicle or classic car sitting in storage, you should use a fuel stabilizer that helps combat moisture problems.  We have one old JAGUAR that has been sitting since the summer.  Its twin SU carburettors are stuck with a white film of corossion.  Now they need another costly overhaul which could have been avoided if we had listened to what we preach!



A little Spark in your life!

Your car is like your love life – it needs a little spark every now and then. You should change your spark plugs according to your owner’s manual or service schedule. Worn out spark plugs waste fuel, and they can also damage the other ignition components and emissions systems. The result: A repair as expensive as “making it up” to your significant other after you forget an anniversary…

A flashing “Check Engine Light” almost always means a MISFIRE! This is usually a fault of the ignition system and the spark plugs are most likely the culprit. I have seen many JAGUAR V12’s with the Marelli ignition cause major misfires due to worn Spark Plugs. Left unrepaired, this misfiring can cause the catalytic converters to heat up “cherry red” and catch the car on fire. Many beautiful JAGUAR XJS’s met the junk man in this fashion…


Why are you pressuring me to check my tire pressure?

Because you should check your tire pressure regularly!  Underinflated tires produce more drag and heat – making it more difficult to ride smoothly.  This increases fuel consumption and tire wear.  You have alot riding on your tires – like your safety –  so you should properly take care of them!  Measure your tire pressure every other time you fill up with fuel and you should be ok.  Usually you can find the correct tire psi listed on a label on the driver’s door jamp and in your owner’s manual.

I know for a fact that my wife’s Land Rover LR3 gets about 18 miles a gallon on the highway, but if the tire psi gets low the fuel economy drops to about 14 miles a gallon.  That is a huge waste of fuel.  I have a customer with a Jaguar V8 who runs 34psi in all four tires.  The ride is a bit stiffer, but he claims to be getting 25 mpg on average.


Do I really need to change my air filter?

I was asked this very question today – After showing the customer the black soot, bug, and grime encrusted air filter from their LAND ROVER.  I could not believe they questioned me on its replacement.  Air filters need to be changed – OFTEN!  Dirty air filters restrict the air flow to the engine, which makes the engine work harder and less efficient as well as creating excess wear and tear.  How do you work when you can’t breathe?  Dirty air filters waste fuel and then your fuel economy plummets – costing you more $ at the fuel pumps.  Have your air filter checked at every oil change.  Replacing a dirty air filter is inexpensive to replace, but will save you big money in the long run!