A Mostly British Obsession

Vanden Plas Update

1996 Jaguar Vanden Plas

Generally speaking, I’m very pleased with the Vanden Plas. I’ve put a few thousand miles on it and it has returned a rock steady 23 MPG — overall. On the highway it gets very close to 30 MPG.

Two incidents have cropped up, one was a “check engine” light indicating (according to my scanner) that the secondary catalyst was under-performing. I cleared the code and it has not reappeared. The other is an ongoing issue which first cropped up about two weeks ago. The car developed a fairly severe misfire, running on five cylinders intermittently. Eventually it threw a code for “engine misfires out of range” or some such, with specifically “misfire on cylinder 3.” I replaced the plugs and the problem mostly went away, though it will still misfire occasionally at idle when warm. I suspect the coil pack on cylinder 3 is near the end of its life and the new plugs helped but didn’t solve the problem.

Coil packs are, sit down, $480 at the dealer (there are six on the car), but you can find them for about $190 each online. I think I will buy one and see if replacing cylinder 3’s pack completely cures the problem.

What was interesting was that the car didn’t throw a code until it was running very poorly indeed. Having a scanner and an OBD-II capable car is a different experience for me. There’s quite a bit you can learn from the port while the car’s running.


  1. Kevin C.

    Golly Roger. Why don’t you just pony up for six brand new coil packs? Yeah, it’ll cost you almost 3 grand, but isn’t peace of mind worth something, too? Actually, $190 isn’t bad at all these days. Remember how much it cost for a dealer replacement of the fuel pump on your Disco? I think you and your Jaguar are doing just fine…so far.

  2. Roger

    I need to add a correction, here. This car delivered in Canada: check. They measure in imperial gallons up there: check. The trip computer measures things in imperial gallons: check. 23 MPG imperial is 19.3 in US gallons.

    Yeah, I’m a bit dim, sometimes.

  3. Bonnie

    I’m looking at getting the same vehicle. It’s got 95,000 miles, paint a little dull on right rear fender(owner says it’s never been wrecked) and sunroof hasn’t worked for past two years. He’s asking $4,350. He said the engine is sound. I would be buying this as my primary vehicle. What do you advise? Sure is pretty!


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