COAL Update: The Jag Hits The Road, Sortof

I previously wrote about our 1988 Jaguar XJ-SC here.  It recently hitched a ride to the tire and brake shop.

As I mentioned before, a friend in a Facebook old car group found a hardtop on a wrecked Jag in a junkyard. It was, in fact, a twin to my car. One of 295 Jet Black XJ-SC’s, out of 5,013 built. And it had a matching “Magnolia” cream colored interior, though there are no stats on the Cabriolet interior colors. Maybe all the Jet Black cabriolets had Magnolia interiors, or maybe those were the only two…..we’ll never know.

I removed the rear folding soft top, and attempted to install the near rear hardtop. It sat on there fine, but I was missing two clips on the C-pillar of the car, which would mate to two clips on the hardtop. I posed the question about what I was missing in a Facebook group for old Jags, and a member in the U.K. had made his own clamps. After some trial and error, he had arrived at a design he could replicate for anyone who needed them. I paid him about $80 on Paypal, and the two clips arrived in a week and worked perfectly.

The lack of a good top had been a holdup on taking it to get the brakes worked on. When I bought it, it needed a master cylinder. I replaced it myself, which was easy enough. However, I had never bled brakes before and I am not sure how good of a job I did. It stops, but the pedal has to go down way too far. It probably is better than “lot drives”, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable in heavy traffic, or at highway speeds. I did bleed the dark cruddy fluid out, until new fluid came out at all four wheels. So that needed to be done anyway.

Maybe we have some other problem; we are going to start with remanufactured front calipers, and new front rotors and pads as there was a shimmy when braking too. So with all those new parts and a proper bleeding, maybe we will see improvement. My tire shop really doesn’t want to have to touch the inboard rear brakes, they said. I think the rear rotors are a bear to remove, but the calipers shouldn’t be as bad, if they need replacement.

I was surprised at how cheap the remanufactured Cardone front calipers were, about $80 each.

The Pirelli tires have hardly any wear on them, but the date code on the sidewall says they are about 15 years old.  The old school 15 inch size is cheap, so for less than $300 I found a new set of Michelins online for safety’s sake.

You can see here that the rear canvas-covered fiberglass hardtop, which has apparently hardly ever seen the elements, is a nice rich black versus my canvas T-tops. The T-tops were light gray when I bought the car, they were so bleached by the sun. I dyed them with numerous coats of black fabric dye, but that was the best result I could achieve. I need to go back and revisit that project.

Other than the brakes and tires, we don’t have a huge to-do list. The temp gauge has never worked, so I have a new sensor probe ($6) to try. Hopefully that is all it needs, as all the other gauges work, and the coolant is clean and full. The two hood struts won’t hold the hood up, so I have two new ones ($11 each) to install. The rotating headlight switch is seized in the off position, which is apparently a common issue on these old Jags. Remove it and apply electronics cleaner/lube spray until it turns, one of the Jag groups tells me.

But the big stuff works, knock on wood: wipers, heat and defrost, power windows, even the heated seats and power lumbar still cooperate. The engine idles rough for a bit when cold, but then smooths out. Hopefully new wires and plugs might help there. The transmission is a GM THM400, so it will outlast the rest of the car.

We will update once we see what happens on the brakes!