Monday, June 2, 2008

Damn, it's been so long that I had forgotten how to log on to this Blog again. Anyway, I'm getting faster, this time it only took about 5 minutes to get here.

The last couple of weeks have I have been concentrating primarily on getting my 1988 XJS back on the road. It's been a long time since I had driven it, but Rodney McDonald and I decided to go to the Cruise In at the Eastern Shore Mall and since I didn't figure a 2004 GMC Envoy wouldn't get anyone there very excited, I decided that it's time to get the Jag back on the road and try to sort out any problems that it has had. It was running pretty good, missing a little under acceleration, but it has always done that a little, and the idle was kinda rough, but it's done that for quite a while too. My biggest concern was overheating so I made sure that the coolant level was good before I took off. I didn't realize that the fuel gauge had quit working, (I've probably knocked something loose) so I stopped at Sam's Club to fill up. It actually had abotu half a tank, but I had no way of knowing for sure. Leaving Sam's, I got stopped at a long traffic light and the temp started creeping up. Fortunately I wasn't far from the Mall and as soon as I got going again, it began to come back down. With the V12 Jag, overheating is the absolute worst thing that you can allow. It has an aluminum block and heads with steel valve seats. If the head gets too hot, the expansion can cause a valve seat to drop out and do an amazing amount of damage to the head and piston in the blink of an eye. I made it to the Cruise In just fine though and Rodney and I had a good time.

When I got back, I set out to get this overheating problem solved once and for all.. I did a lot of re-visiting of all my reference sources concerning the issue and began to systematically check everything in the cooling system. The first think I found was that at least one of the thermostats had been installed upside down. On the XJS, there is small air bleed hole in the perimeter of the thermostat and it MUST be positioned at 12 o'clock. One was upside down, the other fell out when I took the housing off before I could tell how it was installed. Wanting to make sure that I did everything possible, I ordered new thermostats and installed them correctly. Then I drained and flushed the entire cooling system and filled it with a proper blend of 50/50 coolant. While I was awaiting the thermostats to be shipped, I decided to go ahead and change the spark plugs... Now I gotta tell ya, this was quite a job. First let me explain that the spark plugs in a V12 Jaguar are located on the inside of the V, facing slightly inward. Also in this same area is the AC Compressor, the Air Injection system (smog pump lines), the fuel injectors and fuel rail and associated wiring, the coil, the throttle control capstan and it's mount, 12 spark plug wires and the distributor is hidden snugly beneath all this stuff. I realized right off that I had to remove a number of things to get to where I could even see the plugs. I proceeded to remove the AC Compressor from it's mount, and move it forward out of the way without disconnecting any of the hoses. Then I removed the throttle control capstan and coil, only to find that the bracket that hold this really needs to come out also. It's got 2 bolts that are very easy to get to and 2 that are nearly impossible. I finally got all that stuff out, pulled the wires and dist. cap. Then took all the plugs out, O'Reilly's actually had exactly a dozen new ones. Putting anti-seize on each one's threads I got them installed. I then ordered a new distributor cap, rotor and wires from SNG Barrett and got it in a couple of days. Once I got everything buttoned back up, I hit the starter and it started immediately... amazing!! I drove it up to the parts house in Robertsdale to get some new air filters and although the temp never got but just a hair above the "N" (normal) I wanted to try some "Water Wetter" that I had gotten from Red Line Oil to see if it would improve it anymore. I put it in and the next time I drove it any distance, Rodney and I went to the car show in Silverhill. The needle never got to the "N", it stayed just below it. I was ecstatic. The next weekend, the car club had a car display at St John's Lawn Party in Magnolia Springs. We were supposed to cravan down, We let Jack Ross in his E-Type lead the way. Well, he had evidently forgotten that not everybody behind him had a Jag. Rodney was in his Mini and there were a few MGBs. I was right behind Jack and he took off... then went the longest way possible, I followed him cause I was beginning to question if he really understood where we were going and I didn't want him to get lost. Turns out that the 2 Jags got beat there by a 34 hp Mini and a bunch of MGBs. The good part though was that the XJS ran perfectly and never got above the "N". I told Rodney about my experience with the Water Wetter and he tried it in the Mini and had virtually the same result. I'm a believer now.

And I didn't think I had much to say..... :-)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Maybe I'll learn one day.

Well... I have spent the last 15 minutes trying to figure out how to log back into this blog to enter another message. I finally figured it out, but now the problem is that the wonderful words of wisdom I had have now escaped me. I spent the weekend at Gulf Shores at my sister's condo. My niece and her 2 little girls and one of their friends all came down. I think they had a blast. I know though that it takes more and more to impress young kids nowadays. When I was growing up, I considered myself very lucky. We had a beach house on the Lagoon. I spent nearly every summer down there from the day school let out until the day school would start. We never had a TV or a telephone there, didn't matter, there was always so much to do that TV was the farthest thing from my mind. About the only real luxury we had was a boat with a motor big enough to pull skis but I think I would have still had plenty to do even without that. Learning to fish (and clean them), catch crabs and shrimp, pick up soft-shell crabs in front of the house, drive a boat, water ski, even playing bridge with my mom and her bridge friends on rainy days were all skills I acquired early and have stayed with me since (I was better at bridge then than I am now). However, being able to spend the weekend with all of them was a lot of fun and gave me an opportunity to get more closely acquainted with some relatives that I don't get to see very often.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I'm not much at Blogging, but I'm gonna give it a try and see if anybody is interested in anything I might have to say. The subject matter will be mostly car related but not necessarily limited to that. I also have lots of other hobbies that suck up money. Scuba Diving, Golf, Photography, and of course my business, Video Production. If you find this terribly boring, then I would suggest that you stop reading it. :-) Kinda how I feel about people that complain about what is on TV nowadays.