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This car might break me

Illustration for article titled This car might break me

I am usually pretty easy going about car repair. As I’ve ramped up the project car difficulty, gradually buying more obscure, prestigious, or rare projects, I haven’t yet run into a situation where I’ve been overwhelmed by the cost or complexity of a project. You’d think with an International Harvester, Alfa Romeo, Land Rover, Volvo, and a Saab as past (or current) project cars, something as simple as a Jag made by Ford wouldn’t be a problem.


Or at least I thought that.

I was incorrect.


This thing is not simple. The engine cooling is a labyrinth mixed with a jigsaw puzzle. Everything is nested with the thing next to it and there is very little wasted space

Illustration for article titled This car might break me

Rather remarkable it works at all.

This means, in contrast to most of the work I’ve done in the past, “precision” is the key. What that means in practice is something you can’t access or touch is preventing you from removing or installing the part you need to and the factory service manual (FSM) pretends that isn’t the case.

I removed the radiator fan and shroud the other day and it kept getting hung up on stuff. What? I have no idea. The thing has multiple wiring harnesses attached to it, but I removed those. Or at least I think I did.

Eventually it just came loose and I’m sure that won’t come back to haunt me later.


Oh wait! Last night I was reinstalling it and had the same issue going in. It was snagged on... something... but from the top and the bottom I saw no obstruction.

Then it slotted in.

While reconnecting the auxiliary water pump, one of three water pumps I’ve found so far, I couldn’t get the connector to snap in. After a long struggle I determined it just... didn’t? All the lock pins etc were in the right place, so I just completed the install and left it.


I’m sure that won’t come back to haunt me either.

This project has been full of “why is this happening/like this” much more so than any other I’ve encountered. Partly because the engine bay is packed pretty tight and partly because the FSM is pretty mum about a lot of stuff. Most FSMs I’ve encountered are super into you removing everything that could conceivably be in the way of the job you’re doing.


Not this FSM.

To change the belts it doesn’t even recommend removing the coolant expansion tank and, having just changed the belts with half of the front of the engine removed, I have literally no idea how that would be possible.


To change the serpentine idler pulley it doesn’t indicate you need to remove the supercharger belt tensioner, despite there being less than a belt’s width of clearance between them and they overlap about 25%. Literally don’t know how this could be done otherwise.

To remove the supercharger tensioner they do have you remove a oil cooler pipe, which does indeed give you just enough clearance to remove it... but removing the fan shroud was easier, gave much better access, and didn’t get oil all over my floor.


Truly this FSM was made by sadists.


Things on this car are expensive.

Again, looking at my car history you’d think I’d be prepared for that. The Land Rover isn’t much older than the Jag and, in my mind, no less prestigious.


And yet... anything made by Jag is expensive.

$300 of pulley right there!
$300 of pulley right there!

Brake Calipers? $600

Parking brake calipers? $500

Parking brake pad PINS? $100

Supercharger water pump? $400

Idler pulley? $150

Tensioner? $150

Bleed nipple? $35 each. There are 8.

Transmission fluid? $40/qt, takes 10 quarts.

And yes, I know, buying a Jaguar and expecting the parts to be inexpensive is insane. Get out of the comments I don’t need to hear how right you are Heidi Hindsight. The point is I own a lot of other cars that I expected the parts to be expensive and they weren’t, so I (un)reasonably assumed this one would be no different.


This means in practice I’m either not replacing thing I normally replace, repairing what can be repaired, and ignoring the rest.


I think the big issue here I bought a low-volume, high-performance model from a low-volume manufacturer. The trifecta of rarity, prestige, and power is both what attracted me to the car (and that it was cheap) and is what is killing me about this car.


I’ll get it sorted, don’t get me wrong.

Even now the car is more assembled than it has been in weeks.

If I can get my shit together and do a big push this weekend I’m pretty sure it’ll be back on the road by the end of it.


Provided all the shit I broke putting stuff back together wasn’t important....

Illustration for article titled This car might break me

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