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Jaguar Repair/XJS Jaguar For Sale


I am on the verge of purchasing this automobile. It is an '87 XJS and perfect for me and my lifestyle. It is super clean exterior and interior. The engine seems to be the problem. It seems to ping when you accelerate. The steering also seems a little stiff. They say the gasoline in the tank has been the same for the past two years and the car has been sitting, two different lots with no one interested enough to buy it. I find that strange. What do they know that I do not? My son says rack and pinion may be going out - thus a steering problem. The dealer says the air conditioner is weak, my son says you need that for defrosting. My son says the engine is making too much noise and he says it is a piece of junk. I see by the car facts they had trouble getting it through DEQ in 1994-96, but after that, it looks okay. Nothing else as far as I can see. Would really love to have this automobile, it is something I have dreamt about for a lot of years.

What do you say, just from what I have told you?  Thank you for your assistance.

Liz Howell

Hi Liz,

The XJ-S is a great highway car but not economical. Before you purchase this car you should have it checked out by a Jaguar mechanic.

There are a few things you can do too. First check fluid levels, coolant, oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid.

If you see the engine oil is tan colored or milky looking, you need to run away from it and find another. Check the power steering oil. keep in mind that Jaguar power steering it "Power Assist" not the over powered system used on domestic cars. Sports car drivers want some feel of the road called "feed back".

Watch the oil pressure gauge when first started to see that the oil pressure comes up quickly without reving the engine. Note the pressure reading, it should read at least 25 to 45 PSI at idle and 45 to 70 PSI at 2000 RPM. Less then that it needs to be tested by a Jag mechanic to see if it is a major problem. (bad engine)

Drive the car on a straight road and note if it tries to pull off to one side and then just lightly hold the wheel and apply the brakes to see if it tries to pull off to either side. (indication of a brake problem)

Stand behind the car after it has been just driven and have someone start the engine and watch the exhaust for any smoke. The color of any smoke tells what it is. Blue smoke is oil burning. Black smoke is excess fuel and white smoke is either coolant or brake fluid.

A light puff of smoke on starting is not a sign of a major problem but continuos smoke after starting is a problem. Have someone accelerate from a stop while you are behind the car to see if it smokes on acceleration. (you must be behind the car not in it looking back).

Even though it is a little expensive to have a Jaguar mechanic check out a car before a purchase it is still a wise move because repairs can easily exceed the value of the car. If you have a mechanic check it out be sure the mechanic has Jag experience.


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Howard M. Fitzcharles III


Jaguar from the XK 120 to XJ-6 ser. 3 1987


Dealership line mechanic on MG, Triumph, Jaguar for 15 years, Instructor in commercial mechanics school 2 yr. Product information manager for piston and valve manufacture, Instructor & hotline answer man for import car parts importer 15 yrs.

Associate member SAE EAA member

Import Car magazine

ASE Master Auto with L-1 certification up to 2000

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