Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by white exec »

Those are not tyres - they're just rubber bands!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

white exec wrote:
21 Mar 2020, 23:45
Those are not tyres - they're just rubber bands!
They are not even that! Those are just rims with a thin coat of rubberised paint!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Sadly he's very much someone who's been brought up driving brand new stuff and can't do without his toys. The idea of a car you can't just boot it out of a junction at full throttle on a damp road and have the computers make things go the right direction scares him witless.

Had the Jag step out on me a bit when we left the hospital car park (the one exit just dumps you straight onto a 70mph road with no sliproad or anything, so you need to get a move on) and you'd honestly have thought from his reaction that I'd driven off a cliff. Wasn't even anything alarming...must have stepped out of line by all of about 6" at most.

I think the complete absence of rear end grip in the MGB I borrowed last summer would have resulted in a heart attack!

I have put the Jag properly sideways once, though that was in an empty car park and was entirely deliberate as I wanted to know what to expect from it if it did let go! The answer is that it's about a thousand times easier to correct than a rear engined Skoda when that decides that going forwards is boring.

I don't think a 300bhp car with no traction control, stability control and ABS will ever be his thing!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by xantia_v6 »

You should try driving a pre-HE XJ-S, or one with TWR/Jaguarsport suspension, as they have rear anti-roll bars that transform the handling. They are very tail-happy on wet roads, but on a dry road the handling is much more neutral and you can fling them confidently around corners adjusting the amount the tail steps out with slight (but predictable) adjustment of the throttle.

I do feel now that I cannot have been driving my XJ-Ss correctly, as I don't remeber ever getting fuel economy in single digits, and with the HE, I would be worried it it got down to 15 MPG.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by white exec »

Traction avant! Few such problems.

Sounds as if your friend ought to have an hour or three with an advanced or defensive driving instructor. Our daughter-in-law earns her living providing just that, and has McLaren drivers, and now Rivian's, among her clients.

Years ago, I spent an interesting evening (with a V8) on Kent Constabulary's oil-water skid-pan near Maidstone. It changed my driving ability for ever, as did 6 hours of defensive driving instruction with Agfa - that last done in a Xantia.
I learned some more with the week's driving in the XM with Davie on our NC500, who had not long excelled on his AD Test.

Nothing is more dangerous than a young driver who boasts that they know how to drive!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Pretty much everything I have so far found I needed to learn about oversteer was learned on a concrete slab farm yard which got so damned slippery most days that walking across it without falling on your backside. Oh...and the world's most overpowered, utterly insane Scrapheap Challenge style buggy we cobbled together from bits of vehicles in the graveyard round the back.

2/3rds of a rotten SWB Land Rover Chassis. 4.0 engine from a T-Boned Cherokee. Carbs off a V6 Cortina Hearse. Gearbox from a Transit. Back axle from a Sherpa, complete with dual wheels and totally slick tyres for maximum slides. It was a total bodge job and probably a death trap...however it was an utter beast of a thing and last time I saw it had taught at least two generations of the local kids how to drive!

After discovering how much air it was possible to get when traversing fields at North of 60mph, we elected to add a roll cage and seatbelt!

Astonishingly, I'm not aware of it ever getting rolled, I think the ridiculously wide rear track and the centre of gravity being somewhere around ankle height was probably why.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

Tiff Needell learned to drive in a Morris Minor, with rear wheel drive and skinny tyres. I think it is safe to say he knows how to get a car to show off what it can do.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by myglaren »

Except the DeTomaso Pantera. He made a right mess of that!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

Decided to take advantage of the sunshine this afternoon to try to get something done without me having to leave my property. Garage clear out is now on hold as we obviously can't get any rubbish cleared out to the tip.

Today's target was the thoroughly blocked "atmospheric coolant catch tank" - seriously Jag, it's an expansion tank - on the Jag. I'd like to get rid of the bottle currently wedged between hoses in the nearside front of the engine bay.

Access is gained by removing five 10mm (I expected them to be imperial sized!) Bolts and pulling the wheel arch liner out.

First contact with the enemy.

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Immediately obvious is that the overflow bung has escaped the side of the tank.

The idea of this setup is that if this tank were to overflow any water or steam would exit via that metal pipe you can see to the left. However if the seal between the tank and that pipe is compromised (which it is basically from day one as they never fitted well) this will simply escape into the wing.

Made worse by them sticking a foam pad underneath it to hold onto the moisture for as long as possible!

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The tank originally would have been a friction fit between two brackets however these were missing so once I fed the pipe through from the engine bay it was just lifted out.

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This left behind a lot of crusty mess.

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Quite how much crud was apparent once it was swept out. Hey, there's the remains of the bracket that should have been holding the tank!

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The results of this were honestly predictable.

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On the plus side, the outer wing just bolts on so access should be fine to carry out a repair. I could be naughty and bolt the liner back in and pretend not to have seen it as the MOT tester would never know... I'd rather properly fix it though. Even bearing in mind that I'll need to chase it back a ways to find solid metal it shouldn't be the worst repair to do. Especially as it's out of sight so my horrible welding won't be visible.

I had a bit of a peer into the void using my phone camera and the inner will looks fine. Couple of bits of surface rust but nothing terrifying.

It looks like the tank itself was replaced in the early 90s judging from the date of 1991 on a sticker on it.

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Given the line was completely clogged I was surprised to find that it did have some water in...well...something vaguely resembling liquid which may at some point have been water anyway.

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This smelled precisely like you'd expect for 30 year old Barr's Stop Leak or K-Seal...lovely! Given that Jag used to recommend adding two bottles of the stuff at each coolant flush, not surprising to find this. There was about an inch of compacted mud at the bottom of the bottle under about 1/2 a pint of water.

Trying to clear the pipe took way longer than getting everything out. The culprit was unsurprisingly the narrowest point in the system, the coupler between the two pipes.

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That was choked solid end to end. I had to resort to drilling the gunk out of it as it had the consistency of concrete. Again, I reckon age old leak stop compounds are probably to blame. Removing the hoses (once I eventually managed to get the hose clips free) required them to be cut and then peeled off with a pair of pliers as they were utterly welded onto it.

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The whole lot is now soaking in the sink in the utility room, probably awaiting a run through the dishwasher tomorrow before being refitted.

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The bung on the overflow will probably be sealed to the body using Sikaflex to hopefully make it something resembling water tight. Hopefully the system will be less troublesome going forward given that cooling system sealant potions won't be going anywhere near the car.

I will need to figure out some means to secure it though as the bracketry has long since dissolved too.

Welding the wing up will need to wait a bit as I'll need a bunch of supplies first which I obviously can't get out for just now.

In summary: It's been said a thousand times before by pretty much every owner of an XJ-S ever...what a stupid design!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by white exec »

The more you dig, Zel, the more dreadful much of the Jag design seems to be, even though the engine itself could be considered something special. No wonder the E-type sold so cheaply!
The cars were obviously designed to sell to folk with deep pockets, who would simply hand them to someone else to service, and who wouldn't keep any of them for long.
Some nasty and tacky stuff there.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by myglaren »

It is a shame when they are punted as a high spec car and they don't live up to the image.
Had a boss with one - don't remember which model but it was new in 1979. He said it was a "ritzy motor" but had the same faults as other cars, which surprised me at the time. His had a big hole in the carped under the front passenger seat.
Had a friend with an XJ-S though and he loved it and never mentioned any problems. He only kept cars two years though.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

The bottle was left soaking overnight before getting thrown in the dishwasher on an intensive wash this morning.

Hasn't cleaned up badly actually given there was about an inch of solid mud in the bottom of it originally.

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Looks perfectly serviceable to me.

Has now been reassembled ready for refitting.

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I'll make sure both the hose inlet/outlets are sealed properly once it's back on the car. I'll be careful about the hose routing to make sure it doesn't get kinked as I know that's a common problem with this setup.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by myglaren »

You probably already know this but rather than Jaguar's recommended cooling system bunging-up crap, the Forté products work well without the bunging-up bit that you have observed.

System conditioner that has anti-corrosion and lubricating additives and System Leak Stop that is similar but with leak clagging properties but without the mud and cement that others have.
Not cheap though.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by Zelandeth »

I'm aware of the Forte products, the Activa has Forte stop leak in as we speak. If my memory is right though, I'd need four bottles of the stuff for the Jag (19.5 litres of coolant), so I'm more inclined to just leave it be with good quality coolant and keeping an eye on it periodically. At least there is a low coolant level warning light.

I've got a parcel on the way (the factors say it's business as usual for web orders so hopefully should be here soon) which contains:

[] Full coolant hose set. Thanks to the expansion tank hose having been blocked for goodness only know how many years, the system has been over pressurising and at least two of the hoses are showing signs of distress as a result. See below.

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These both have cable ties wrapped around them to act as reinforcement until the new hoses arrive. At least the system pressure is being kept at sensible levels now.

Given they're all 34 years old, I figure they've done their time and are probably due a change. The radiator was replaced only a couple of months before I got the car, so having the hoses all replaced as well should hopefully mean I don't need to actively worry about the cooling system for a while.

I'm sure I will invent several new and exciting curses while trying to fit them.

[] Set of spark plugs.

[] A/C Compressor to condenser hose. Speaking of factory bodges - using jubilee clips to hold together the hot gas lines on the A/C system qualifies I think! It probably worked fine if the system was to be gassed up every year or two, but with the price of refrigerant these days (the system has been converted to r134a at least) I'd rather get shot of two joints which I know will leak...I've spent many hours helping out a friend who is a HVAC technician, so this makes my teeth itch!

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That's exactly the sort of bodge we used to find on equipment on the farm. Bonus points if it's on the high pressure side of a hydraulic system.

[] Cam cover gaskets for both cylinder banks and a set of half moon seals for the cam boxes.

[] Inlet manifold gasket set.

Both cam covers leak like a proverbial sieve at the moment...actually changing those is pretty simple...once you get to them! Um...

Can't even see the one on this side...

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Nearside one you can see bits of at least!

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Which also does a good job of highlighting how ridiculously long the engine is given that the cam cover runs from the oil filler (mid way between the radiator caps) all the way back to just above the windscreen washer bottle. She's a substantial old beastie! Pretty sure I recall seeing someone quoting a figure somewhere around the 450kg mark for the drivetrain in this thing...The unladen weight of the Invacar is 410kg!

Yeah, getting at the cam covers requires removal of the inlet manifolds (which of course requires removal or disconnection of no small number of things which are attached to or in the way of them). Well it's a good opportunity to change the gaskets I guess!

The distributor also needs servicing...which will be massively easier with all the nonsense it's normally buried behind out of the way. So doing this while I've already got things apart to do the cam cover gaskets makes a lot of sense to me. I'd rather not take this much stuff apart more often than I need to. Spark plugs will also be changed at the same time as getting to those requires you to unbolt the A/C compressor and to remove the assembly holding on the throttle linkage and ignition coil. This is a job that's way more awkward on the HE cars because of the angle the plugs screw into the heads. The plugs on the pre-HE cars just screwed straight down into the heads which made things way easier.

Hoping once the plugs are done, distributor has been overhauled and a new cap and rotor arm are on it that we'll finally be able to get an idle that's as silky smooth as it should be. Currently there's a very slight intermittent miss at idle which is really bugging me.

I wouldn't complain if it improved economy a bit either!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Post by white exec »

Nightmare! You are a glutton for punishment.
With access that difficult, it wouldn't be surprising if basic things like plugs had been neglected.
A straight-six is a long engine anyway, so to have two of them under the hood does make things a tad crowded. Then cover it all with a layer of PlumbCentre offerings... :?