I've always liked Jaguar cars, and recently decided to have one instead of a boring family saloon. I've been too sensible for far too long!

First Jaguar

This is the car I decided upon - bought pre-owned because I'm poor :-) It's a low mileage 2002 X-Type 2.5 litre, in a beautiful British Racing Green colour - it looked black on a dull day, blue on a wet day, and green on a sunny day.

What a complete disaster! What a dipstick!

Travelling out of Loughborough about a year after getting the car, I went around a bend, lost the car on a slippery surface, and went through the fence beside the road!

Totalled the car! Fence post impressions all down one side, ripped off the front and rear bumpers, smashed the glass.

Actually, it wasn't the first time I had a scare in this car - I once put it sideways on a wet traffic island coming out of Leicester. The Pirelli P6000 tyres seemed to grip quite well, right up to the point where they just seem to give up altogether.

Second Jaguar

It's goodbye to my nice shiny X-Type 2.5 litre and hello to a nice shiny, but somewhat older and higher mileage, S-Type 3 litre SE in blue.

Here it is photographed on a family day out at Bolton Abbey - complete with bonnet leaper

And another taken on the way home from holiday on the South Coast somewhere - minus the bonnet leaper

Doesn't half go! It's quicker than the X-type despite being an auto box.

One or two problems, nothing too serious.

Had the back brakes replaced at the last service - front ones were replaced at the previous service before I bought it.

Have a recurrent knocking problem from the front end somewhere.

Found a 13mm socket inside the front spoiler, later found a bit of radiator in there too - air con now doesn't work because all the coolant's leaked away!

Still got the knock - which doesn't seem to be the front anti-roll bar bushes (they look fine), and I'm assured by the garage it isn't the lower ball joints. Probably a bit of loose trim somewhere.

Other than that it goes like stink, corners like it's on rails, cruises in complete silence, and isn't too bad on juice for a high performance luxury motor.

Oh, and the voice activated phone and stereo is brilliant! All I have to do is say 'phone dial home' and it calls home for me! Cool or what!

A recent problem is a water leak. It's forming a puddle on the ground just behind the right front wheel - obviously coming from the expansion tank. Googling the problem shows it's a common thing with these - the plastic tends to crack.

Water leak cured relatively easily - a new plastic expansion tank at around £95, which is daylight robbery for a plastic bottle, but what-ho!

Still got the rattly clonk from underneath somewhere. Beginning to suspect a dodgy rubber mount. Engine mounts seem ok, can't get to the gearbox mount without hoiking the car in the air. Got nothing to do that with at the moment.

The clonking noise is sorted! I bought a pair of new anti-roll bar bushes for £30 + vat and spent an afternoon underneath the car replacing them. It was these causing the noise and wobbles all along. They were clearly clapped out when I got them off.

Complete silence! All noise, rattles, clonks, wobbles etc from the front end have gone! The car is now smooth as silk. Hitting a bump at speed used to make a front wheel flap around - felt like something important on the front suspension was worn. It was just the anti-roll bar bushes.

Had a set of Falken ZE 912 tyres fitted by Event Tyres (, great price, great service, fiited all 4 on my front driveway in about half an hour flat, fully balanced. I can't recommend them highly enough - try them for yourself.

These Falkens seem pretty good - they appear a little more forgiving than the Pirelli PZeros which were on the car - and especially more so than the P6000s which I had on the X-Type. They seem to let go more gradually in the wet, so it's possible to feel them begin to slide. It's much more controllable that way.

Had the tracking adjusted by Nationwide Autocentres ( and the car feels as good as new. It was way out and scrubbed the outer edges off the old tyres.

Nationwide Autocentres are another outfit I can thoroughly recommend - they don't try to trick you into having unnecessary work done, always call to warn if something unexpected needs doing.

Third Jaguar

Well the time has come, the S-Type has been replaced! I really fancied a big cat so I've bought an XJ8

The is the dealers picture

And the next is one taken by brother Philip and another one taken by me

It's a 3.2 V8 XJ8 X308 model - auto box, base model (they call it the Executive but lets not kid ourselves!)

It's big and floaty and wonderful - but push it and it firms up and just stays flat round the bends - some say these things handle better than the S Types, don't know about that but it feels good to me :-)

Also feels more powerful than the 3 litre S Type (both a quoted 240 bhp), and the auto box is definitely better - smoother and quicker on the changes

One or two little problems - nothing serious

Had a similar clonk from the front end as I had with the S Type. I know what that is, thought I - anti-roll bar rubbers!

On this occasion (perhaps this car is different to the way S Types wear out) it was the lower front shocker rubbers which were worn out.

These rubbers are even easier and cheaper to replace than the anti-roll bar rubbers, so I didn't have to spend much - around a fiver each side and around ten minutes to fit and the car's perfect again

One front fog was busted so got a replacement from Ebay for around £30 - they're around £90 from Jaguar

When the weather cooled off the heater didn't work - not a hint of warmth did it produce - a browse on the Internet finally identified the fault.

The heater is fed by a small electric water pump and the flow controlled by a solenoid valve. Look on the various forums and it seems a lack of heat is a common problem, with suggested solutions ranging from new heater cores, new water pumps, new solenoid valves, all at extortionate cost, and none apparently fixing the problem!

Well here's a tip that certainly worked for me if your XJ8 heater stops working, and it only costs a few pence!

Do your front fogs work? Is one of them busted?

If a stone goes through a fog lamp lens water quickly follows (the very next rainy day). Turn on the fogs and the fuse blows - look up the fuse number, it's a 3A fuse in one of the two under-bonnet fuse boxes on the left inner wing, I can't remember the number

This fog lamp fuse also powers the heater water pump, though nothing in the handbook mentions this important fact! Make sure the fog lamps are turned off, replace the fuse, and the heater works again. Replace the broken fog lamp (or never ever switch them on again!) and the problem won't recur

See this page ( for some more tips on the X308 model XJ8

If you care to send me a small tip for saving you a huge garage bill, please feel free :-)

Next little job is replace the oxygen sensors - one has packed up which is stopping the engine management system from controlling the fuel/air mixture properly so it's a bit thirsty

As it's a later model steel lined bore engine I'm not too worried about this - if you have an earlier model Nikasil lined all alloy engine then don't leave something like this - it could be fatal for your engine!

Again go to Ebay for oxygen sensors - full dealer prices are simply obscene! They CAN be picked up (new) for around £20 each - you really don't have to pay £150 each from Jaguar!

Only slight catch is they don't come with the Jaguar connector on the end of the wire - you have to cut that off the old one and solder it onto the new one - a small price to pay for saving around £120 per oxygen sensor - there are 2 of them (1 in each catalyst)

Before I get around to the oxygen sensors, I had to replace the rear shock lower bushes. These aren't the usual rubber with a metal tube through the centre - oh no, they are metal ball joints. Cost is not too bad - around £20 each, so not too painful on the wallet :-)

It's possible to see them and I thought it should be possible to unbolt the lower shock mounts and push the old bushes out with a couple of bits of tube and a long bolt

Don't even bother trying - it can't be done and you'll only loose your temper with it!

If you can get the shocks to a garage with a press and the right gadgets then take the shocks off and get the garage to press the old bushes out and the new ones in. Getting the entire shock off isn't too difficult - if you have a reasonable toolkit

Or else do what I did and take the whole car to a specialist and get them to do the job - it's 3 hours workshop time, so will cost around £150 + parts (£20 per side) - say around £200 total

Or simply get some new shocks and fit them - they'll cost from around £70 per side depending where you get them - in other words no cheaper than getting a garage to fit the bushes!

I took my car to MDM Jaguar Services in Coalville - really friendly and helpful, and they completed the job in under 3 hours while I walked the dog - thanks lads!

Also joined the Jaguar Drivers Club recently - not had a chance to join them at their regular meetings yet, and we'll be on holiday when the next one's held, but will join them for a drink soon

May also be a good place for hints and tips on these Jaguars, cheap insurance, discounts on bits etc

We'll see how things go

Another shot of the XJ8 - this taken on holiday in the New Forest

Needed a couple of new tyres - fronts were getting threadbare

Bought them on-line from MyTyres ( at a very reasonable price - chose Nankangs as the car is currently fitted with 4 and I don't like mixing tyres - the Nankang Toursport 611 225 x 60 x 16V - and they're about a third the price of Pirellis, and more predictable in the wet - more important to me than ultimate grip really

The damn things came all the way from Germany - surprised they couldn't be sourced in the UK but never mind!

Ordered Saturday night, arrived at the fitters Wednesday afternoon so can't complain - in fact excellent service - well done

MyTyres use local tyre fitters - I chose Loughborough Tyres ( who booked me in the same day I phoned them, and fitted the tyres quickly and reset my tracking too whilst they were at it - thanks lads

Car no longer tramlines down the road - no more following white lines and roadworks! Excellent

Sorted out the oxygen sensors - it wasn't them at all!

Bought a cheap engine management interrogator thingy - plugs into the socket just above the drivers shin and reads the error codes

In my case the error codes showed both catalysts to be functioning at low efficiency

Cleared the error codes and the engine light has gone off - comes back on again after a month or two of motoring, but I just clear it again and turn off the engine light

The car passes the missions on the MOT without trouble so the cats can't be that bad! £28 for a hand held device has to be better than paying a garage that amount each time the light needs resetting!

Fourth Jaguar

The time has finally come to replace the ageing XJ8 - sorry old girl, but needs must

She's been replaced by a lovely all black 2005 S-Type Sport 4.2

These were taken at Stoke Bruerne on Sunday September 9th 2012

This one's the Dogs DooDahs - goes like stink and all the toys the first S-Type had - I am officially happy as a pig in s**t

Had it converted to run on LPG a couple of years back - expensive at around £1800 but paid for itself in 18 months, now saving me around £1200/year

Fifth Jaguar

I've only gone and done it! Only bought myself an XKR

Added to my collection with a beautiful silver XKR - 2005 model year, supercharged 4.2 litre - see picture 11 which shows it on the driveway alongside my trusty S-Type

One or two glitches, now fixed

1. Petrol leak
Went in to trusty old Halfords Autocentre who traced it to a broken fuel return pipe on the tank

2. Over-sized rear tyres
Some dipstick had fitted 305-30-20 back tyres - not even a matched pair, and one was touching the chassis rail

Replaced with the correct sized 285-30-20 Toyo Proxes - made a hell of a difference!

3. Noisy rear shock bottom bushes
Same problem as the XJ8, fixed again by Mark Meade at MDM Jags

Bodywork fixes

The rear wheel arches were looking a mess so took the car to Johnny at MK Paint and Body Solutions in Loughborough

Cost rather more than expected to fix because the inner arches and sills were rotten

MK took the car across the road to a very good welder who fixed up the metalwork so MK could finish the paintwork

Welding done quickly and nicely - thanks guys

Paintwork looking a real treat - thanks MK Paint and Body Solutions - you'll more than likely get the car back to sort out the stone chips on the bonnet

More on the leaky petrol tank

Halfords fix - plastic metal on the split - didn't work. Started leaking after a week or two

Car taken to David Marks who replaced the tank with a used example (they're £1100 plus VAT from Jaguar!)

Lasted a few weeks then started leaking again

David took the tank out to find it had split (again) - he knew a welder who can weld petrol tanks - refitted it, everything fine again

For a few months then it started leaking AGAIN!!!

This time took it to Elite And Performance Jaguars in Derby who did some research and appeared to find it's a relatively common problem on this model year of XK8/XKR

Quick description of symptoms

When filling the tank, however much I try to fill it, the gauge only shows 3/4 full

When driving along gently there is the occasional popping noise from the boot

Apparently the popping noise is the Evap system putting the tank under a partial vaccuum so it flexes - after too many flexes it splits at the weakest point (the base)

Replacing the tank, the carbon filter, the various solenoids and valves in the Evap system and blowing out the lines appears to have cured it (fingers crossed!)

Filling the tank after the work was done resulted in the gauge showing full - result!

Driving home (when the popping noise would be expected to make itself known) showed no problems, no noises - result!

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