1998 Jaguar XJ8

My 1998 Jaguar XJ8 Vanden Plas recently broke down. The mechanic said I have two options, either get a new engine (a reconditioned one preferably) or sell the car. I’m unsure how to go about either of the two. Where do I start in looking for an engine or if I decide that I want to sell it, can I sell it as is?

What exactly is the problem with the engine for your mechanic to state you need a new engine ?

If this is a Nikasil cylinder liner coating problem then yes, you need a recon engine and that will be expensive. The cost of re-applying the Nikasil coating to that V8 is high and there are very few companies that can do the work. Bore repair is therefore not an economical option.

A word of caution on secondhand engines : Jaguar recon engines are steel lined, they’ve learned their lesson with Nikasil. If you are tempted to buy a used Jaguar V8 engine you are buying the same problem, the used engine will doubtlessly have Nikasil liners.

Used engines on EBay run somewhere between $3000 - 4000. A Genuine Jaguar recon unit runs somewhere around $13,000, I doubt that price will be economical either since your car is currently worth around $8 - 9000.

Motorcars Ltd list a reman V8 at around $6000 : http://www.motorcarsltd.com/item.wws?sku=IN106996&mfr=BRITISH&cookieID=2CV0PMXOL2CV0PNOWL&drillid=12&clientid=motorcarsltd.com&clientid=motorcarsltd.com

Sell it. Scudder is right about the costs here and the used engines. Although Jaguar did discontinue use of this problematic Nikasil starting around the year 2000, I cannot comment about the compatibility of using a a newer engine in a 1998 Jag. That said, this is a 10 year-old Jaguar which means you’re in for other issues that will nickel and dime you. They’re lovely cars, but…Sell it. Have it detailed and place an ad explaining there is an engine problem that you do not wish to trouble yourself with repairing.

If it were me and I HAD to have a Jaguar, I would find a 2003 or later XJ8 which was a completely redesigned car that is leaps and bounds ahead of your 1998. If there’s no brand loyalty I would suggest the most reliable luxury car on the road: The Lexus LS series.
Some LS owners have 250,000+ miles on their cars and they’re still running great.

Early & later V8 engines aren’t interchangeable. 98 model V8 has the VVT’s on the timing cover, later models have them in the valve covers. You can’t fit a later VVT configuration into an early car.

Sorry, I should have clarified that in my earlier post.

If this is a Nikasil problem, you can try running some light oil into the cylinder bores, it’s a ‘tactical’ break fix, but it could get you past a trade in inspection at your Jaguar dealership for a later car. Let them eat it for a change.

I’ve never heard of this issue (Nikasil?). What kind of symptoms does it produce?

Nikasil is an alloy engine cylinder coating, both BMW and Jaguar used it to line their alloy cylinder bores. Theoretically it eliminates the need for steel liners, however in both cases reality didn’t quite match up to the lab test. Gasoline sulphers ate the coating, particularly when engines weren’t allowed to fully warm up before switch off and the cylinder fuel mixture was rich ~ and rich in sulpher. Symptoms are poor cold starting, excessive compression leakdown and high oil consumption.

There are many tales of premature engine failure for both BMW and Jaguar, both manufacturers chipped in for non Nikasil replacement engines within reason, but I doubt that Jaguar / Ford / Tata will underwrite such a repair on a 10 year old car.

It was just a bad design, like the Pinto overhead cam, the Crown Vic gas tank, the Hindenburg and the Titanic.

Haha…interesting, thanks for the explanation. What years was it used on? I may still someday want to fulfill my fantasy of owning an 80’s XJS…was that way before they started using Nikasil?

Nikasil are early V8 cars only, these are 1998 - 2000, they are easy to identify. If the car has 6 digits at the end of the VIN# it’s a Nikasil nightmare, if it has 5 digits it’s a steel liner engine. BUT - many Nikasil engined cars had their engines replaced with steel linered units under warranty. Therefore service history and a thorough engine test is critical before you buy a 98 - 2000 V8 powered car.

But an 80’s XJS has none of these problems since it will be either an AJ6 or a V12 power plant, neither of these is Nikasil lined. The V12 is a magnificent engine but can also be a maintenance nightmare with high service costs due to poor accessibility of just about anything. If you don’t plan to do your own work, get a good 6 cylinder 4.0 Liter AJ6 powered car, the AJ is an extremely robust unit and much easier to work on.

More good info, I’ve only seen V12’s in my searches but I haven’t been looking too hard yet…The 6 cylinder sounds much more doable for my skillset.

Gotta pick your brains some more…what’s your opinion of the Chevy V8’s and other engines people transplant into cars like the XJS? Recipe for a nightmare?

It’s not a Jaguar if it has a Chevy engine. I never understood why people do that. It takes away the soul of the car and replaces it with a truck motor.

If I was getting a Jag it would have that unique V12. How many modern cars can you find in the world with a V12 these days? Besides a V12 much like an inline 6 is an inherently smooth and balanced design. Just my opinion of course…

Agreed, Dave. But the Chevy engines must be so much easier to work on and cheaper to fix? I don’t know, I’ve never worked on a Jag.

The problem with older Jags is the same problem that haunts 7 series BMW’s. At the outset these are very expensive cars purchased by people who have money and can afford to maintain these vehicles. When they get traded-in or sold by the original owners, who can afford to upgrade every 4-5 years, they fall into a strange zone. The value of these cars drops dramatically because the folks who can afford them new won’t them used. However, the folks who can afford to buy them used can’t afford to maintain them. So all these wonderful cars get snatched up by people who may be used to a Honda or Chevrolet or maybe even a Lexus and the maintenance starts getting avoided. “I’ll change the oil, but that’s it” they think to themselves when they find out a service is $1,500 or a broken window motor is $500. So all these cars fall into disrepair and flood the market.

A Jaguar V12 is expensive to work on and maintain, that’s its nature, if it doesn’t suit folks they should look elsewhere, because dropping a truck engine into a fine machine takes away the whole purpose of buying it in the first place. Then it becomes no different then a kit car of a Ferrari or Porsche that is in fact neither.

Hmm…Chevy V8, sounds nice but that engine totally changes the handling dynamics of the chassis - which was designed for an inherently balanced straight 6 engine. Next best engine up from the 6 pot is of course a narrow ‘V’ V12 believe it or not.

I’ve driven a couple V8 equipped XJ models, they were fine(ish) in a straight line but were rubbish on cornering. I myself wouldn’t want one.

Easier to work on yes, but what’s the point of a Jaguar if it doesn’t give you pain, angst and frustration ?

Good point, where’s the satisfaction? :slight_smile:

Well, when the time comes, we’ll see…gotta get the wife to approve this, which may take a while…

Thanks for all your help. I will probably end up selling the car. Where would be the best place to list it? And how do you think I should list it in order to make clear the fact that it does not run?

It doesn’t cost you a dollar to put it on Craigslist. Have the car detailed so it looks great (or do it yourself) and take some pictures with a digital camera. Simply be honest. Explain it’s a wonderful car, but the motor needs repair or rebuilding and you do not want to invest a great deal in the car. Ask a little more than you want for the car and make sure to say the price is open to negotiation. If no one bites after a week or two put it on Ebay. There’s always someone on Ebay willing to bid on anything. Just make sure you make clear the engine needs rebuilding or major repair.

No problem, but you say it doesn’t run.

Why ? Siezed, won’t start ? I’m not suggesting anything devious, but a car that runs at all is infinately more desirable than one that doesn’t.