Jaguar XJS problems and fixes

Jaguar XJS problems and fixes

If you are a Jag-lover, then you can relate to the Love-hate relationship we all bear for the classic yet controversial beauty that is the Jaguar XJS. This series was made over a long period of time and it has had its good and bad moments. Here is our guide to some of the most common issues surrounding the Jaguar XJS vehicles and their common fixes.

If you are interested in collectible vehicle or simply appreciate jaguar cars, then you have come to the right place. However, in this guide, our focus will be the still well appreciated Jaguar XJS series and its most common problems and failures. This guide will include the entire series including the XJS AJ16, the KJS V12, and the XJS. It might be confusing for anyone new to these Jaguar models but please bear with us. In the next section, we will breakdown the XJS models, review the recall and technical service bulletin information to identify major problems, give you critical information on what the Jaguar XJS is all about and provide you with enough context to ease you into the common problems and fixes for these models. Read on for further insight on the topic.

Our approach to this…

Instead of making a mess out of this problems and fixes, we will approach it differently: going year by year for each of the each of the series and models produced under each of the series when necessary. Under each year’s model, we will review the physical and mechanical elements, recalls and major problems and fixes associated with it. Later on we will move on to the general Jaguar XJS issues and possible causes.

What the Jaguar XJS is all about

The XJ-__ series has its roots in the mid 1970S. Since then, the model has evolved both mechanically and physically into the XJS as the last of the series.

The first of the series was the XJ-S whose time span lasted from 1975 to 1981. It is the pioneer to an iconic Jaguar series that had its debut in September f 1975. Coupled with a V12 engine and powerful transmission, great things were expected of this model. However, it has had several issues, including being a fuel guzzling vehicle at a time of fuel crisis. Additionally, elements of the design bothered several regulators and the model has had subsequent recalls to address said problems.

Recalls and issues

In 1979, October, these models were recalled due to a problematic fuel system component that did not fit the vehicle properly. The result of this was leaking and a potential fire hazard when an ignition or fire source is introduced. According to the bulletins, the only solution should be delivered by the car dealer and it is to reroute the vehicles piping to release overstressed conditions that cause the hose joint to break and allow out fuel.

Same date, they were recalled for hydraulic component issues where the manufacturer was required to correctly install additional wiring in order to meet various brake and electrical standards.

Due to electrical issues with the exterior lighting, these models were recalled still in October 1979 because the head lamp mounting platform did not conform to various safety standard. They were/are corrected by installing modified versions of this platform that comply with the aforementioned safety regulations.

XJ-S Second series

The second wave of Jaguar KJS vehicles were manufactured within this series and ran from 1981 to 1991. These saw drastic changes to the engine component and constant changes to the overall model. In fact, this was the phase at which Jaguar brought in convertibles within the line. Adding such variety was a bonus for these vehicles. However, there have been many issues and even more recalls between these years of manufacture.

XJS the final series of the line

XJS1992 Recalls and issues

Judging on the style, design, performance, reliability and cost, this year’s model was a classic vehicle that excluded the poorly reputed XKE. Without any crash test details, we cannot say how reliable or safe this vehicle is. However, it did receive 2 recalls for a popular fuel system issue that is quite common across the XJS series.

The first of the 2 recalls for this model was in 09/10/1991 due to electrical component issue. The front under hood had wiring issues where its engine harness may come in contact with the expansion valves protection plate cause harness, the result of which was possible short-circuit in the vehicles wiring thus causing stalling. You could say stalling was a possibility if the chaffing was left unchecked. The only fix for this issue was to reposition the expansion valves protecting the plate to avoid the electrical harness.

The most recent of the recalls was in 05/19/2006 involving the fuel system component. In summary, the fuel filter sold for the model was not manufactured to suit Honeywell’s specifics resulting in incorrect placement of the O-ring on the fuel line. Automatically, inadequate sealing will lead to leaking of oil out of the engine. Apart from being a fire hazard leaking fuel is a major cause of poor fuel economy. Owners were since notified and had their filters replaced for free.

XJS 1993 Recalls and issues

In May 2006, this model was recalled for a fuel system component and gasoline issues. According to the technical service bulletin, the same replacement fuel component did not fit properly and had to be replaced by the manufacturer.

An earlier Recall in 1997 was issues for this Jaguar model with 4.0L engines. For these models, the air pump clutch used a relay in the engine compartment, making its contacts easy to contaminate. The only solution for this was to have the AIR pump clutch replaces by a sealed unit.

XJS 1994 Recalls and issues

Once More, the 1994 model was recalled in May 19, 2006 for having a poorly fitting replacement fuel filter that inadequately seals components leading to fuel leaking from the engine compartment. This could pose a safety risk and also actively contributes to poor fuel economy.

XJS 1995 Recalls and issues

In 05/19/2006this model is similarly recalled for the fuel filter issue we have discussed above.

XJS 1996 Recalls and issues

We can summarize this model as jaguar at its finest. The 1996 XJS model is popular among many Jag lovers, with great scores in terms of comfort, value for money, design, performance with minimal comfort issues from taller users. Rave reviews aside, the 1996 model is not perfect. Apart from a high maintenance cost, there are several aspects to this model that are amiss. As these models were not safety tested, so we cannot speak on the crash test and safety ratings of the aforementioned.

Similar to some of its predecessors, this model was recalled in 05/19/2006 for the fuel system component issue whereby the replacement fuel filters had the connector manufactured against Honeywell specification. The result of which we have discussed is fuel leaking out and a potential hazard. Additionally, we mentioned that the only remedy is a free of charge replacement from Honeywell.

Cost of repairing this model

Given the unreliable nature of the Jaguars within this series, you can expect to spend anything from a couple of bucks to thousands of dollars in repair or replacement fees. Some experts put the average cost of repair per year for these vehicles between 80 to 4000 dollars. Frequently, these repairs are replacements with the AC compressor, Air filter, Brake components. Crankshaft balancer and door actuator among many others being the most frequently made replacements in auto shops.

JAGUAR XJS Collectability

By many criteria, the XJS series models are considered collectibles, young classics if you will. So what makes a vehicle classic? Many articles appreciate the entire series that ran from 1975 to 1996. Many people are unaware about what makes a collectible. Here is a quick guide to what makes a car collectible.

  • Classic cars are those manufactured after 1925 but before 1948 inclusive and have since been completely restored.
  • Antique collectibles are popularly considered to be vehicles manufactured before 1950 or are older than 25 years. This span of years becomes more stringent depending on who you ask.
  • Muscle cars are collectibles from the 60 to early 70s and were made for high performance and large engines.
  • Rare cars are of course the more obvious category where rare vehicles automatically become collectibles.
  • Old cars are often rare and difficult to find. They have a long history of special private owners and mustn’t be confused with rare cars. Old cars accumulate collectible status and significance the older they get, sometimes, age is enough to disregard condition in conferring collectability status.
  • Unique body and design where more obscure body styling with unique details and design aspects

In our opinion, age and the unique and evolving design on the XJS models’ series qualify these vehicles to be considered collectable cars.

Popular general JAGUAR XJS Problems and solutions

The XJS has such a complex story behind it; we could be here all day talking about it. However, it wasn’t just the reported issues that ended in recalls that were the issue. In fact, there are other problems, more generalized than the ones discussed which affect the XJS performance. In this second section we will discuss these general issues and how they can be addressed.

Rust and Rot prone

Because of the nature of the XJS body, it is prone to rust and rot on and inside various components. These areas susceptible to rust make it easier for components to corrode and fade away. The most common places you will find rust or even rot on these models include the lower front wing sections and the front and rear windscreens with occurrence in the rear tail light. In order to solve this rust, rot and residue problem, you will have to determine the extent of contamination or corrosion. Mild contamination can be rubbed down and painted over with a fresh coat of paint. More serious rust or rote will require that sections be cut off and effectively replaced.


Water leaks and oil leaks are popular with these vehicles. Water leaks for example are as a result of blockage within the air conditioning drain. The result is wet front carpets and problems around the center console. Only one solution is available for this issue, which is to remove the blockage from the AC drain. Additionally, another water leak can occur though the door mirror. This often leads to wetness near the door. Using silicon sealers, you can easily cover around the door mirror to stop the issue. Alternatively, a door panel replacement may be in order. The last type of leaking we will discuss is oil leaks not the popular fuel leaks we’ve mentioned in the previous section but oil due to the rear oil seal.

Electrical issues and component failure

There aren’t any cars without electrical or electrical component and general component issues. Many Jaguars within this series for example have bushings on the shock absorbers at the front. These are often prone to failure, the remedy for which is replacement. The most important part about fixing component failure is thorough diagnosis, which a professional will perform before attempting any major fixes.

Engine troubles on Jaguar XJS cars

Because different series within this line of vehicles equipped their vehicles with a variety of engines, the problems will vary from model to mode. For example, the 5.3L V12 on the older models has persistent overheating issues and were highly prone to wear and tear. This made the parts vulnerable to cracking and leaking. The newer 6.0 V12 on the other hand was enabled with a better cooling system and avoided all those engine overheating issues its predecessor the 5.3L had.

Final word

From our guide, you can see why we have a love hate relationship with vehicles from the XJS series. There are various aspects of this vehicle that are problematic, many of which were effectively reported and announced on the relevant technical service bulletin for fixing. The rest of the issues on these vehicles are easily manageable. While deserving of a collectible status and all the following the vehicles in these series have garnered, the XJS is still a beautiful mess with some good years, some okay years and some bad years during its over 2 decade long production run.



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