A Mostly British Obsession

Free XJ6, the Gift That Keeps on Taking

XJ6I was given a 1987 XJ6 Series 3. Why? It has a blown head gasket, and having a pro fix that will cost you more than a middling-nice XJ6 is worth. (And since it took me about 12 hours just to get the cylinder head off, that’s no suprise, if you imagine even a substantial fraction of that being billed at $90 an hour, with no reconditioning or repair done.)

The car isn’t in bad condition, body-wise. I think the black paint will look acceptible after a good polish, and the chrome is all in good shape. The grey interior is OK, though the headlining, as in a lot cars (of all makes) built after about 1980, is falling down. Older cars often had headliners in tough vinyl or cardboard glued directly to the roof; later cars typically have the headliner glued to a foam backing, which is then glued to the roof. The foam dissolves over time, and then the cloth falls down.

I think this headlining damage is more typical of cars left in the sun for long periods, but it seems to happen to a LOT of cars of all stripes.

The head did come off, though only because I pulled the studs. I can guarantee you that this head would never have come off otherwise. Once the final stud was loose the head was ready to be lifted straight away–a far cry from many other engines I’ve done in the past, where getting the head up off the crud-encrusted studs is always a struggle. A lesson learned!

The engine itself doesn’t look too bad for 125,000 miles. The head gasket was clearly blown, and the head itself is cracked in three places. This will require some welding, though I have the option of simply buying another core for a bit less than welding will cost. Dunno what I’ll do.

The car also needs an alternator. And it needed a battery when I picked it up. So…”free” so far is at least $1,000.

1 Comment

  1. Steven

    Beautiful car! I love these cars to death. I have a black 1986 XJ6 with grey leather; very good shape; bought it at 16 and reconditioned it. It’s one stunning vehicle now! No other car I love more, I’m going to be getting another Series III Jag soon. Email me at sssxenon@yahoo.com if you have any questions/want to chat about these great cars. I’ve been through mine from bumper to bumper!

    Later! GOOD LUCK!


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