Engine Transplant 1984 XJ6 Vanden Plas

(Carl Hutchins, Jr. ) #101

I add my plaudits. Gorgeous shop. And well used. Even better.

Decades ago, we used cloth electrical tape. It worked. Sorta!! Pal, Roy had a summer job with the local electric
company. A grunt on the line crew. He brought a few roles of the then new vinyl tape. Oh, yeah., great… Used it on the A project. And I on the tattered wires of my 37 Ford !!

I’ve used four methods to neaten the wires in my engine bay.

  1. Vinyl tape.
  2. Corrugated slit plastic covers.
  3. Vinyl ties.
  4. Shrink tubing.

I’ve admired another, but never got the hang of how to stich it to look good. Loop, then a length of cord, then another loop. Continue til the ends are reached.

I replaced the cable from the battery post on the firewall to the starter solenoid. The end at the starter “melted”!!! The generic cable I use to replace it is much stouter and better insulated. Alas, I I just learned that the NAPA franchise has closed. Sad. good guys, knowledgeable and helpful. Not mere readers of the computer catalog.


(Paul M. Novak) #102

She lives again!!
Today I reached yet another major milestone in my engine transplant project of putting a nicely running engine from my crash damaged 1987 XJ6 donor parts car into my 1984 XJ6 Vanden Plas (No, this is not an April Fools Day joke). I started the engine today for the first time in its new host and ran it a few times to check things out, adjust things, and get it up to operating temperature. AND IT STARTED ON THE VERY FIRST TRY!!!
I started this project in December 2018 to get my 1984 XJ6 Vanden Plas back on the road again after some serious engine problems. I decided to give up on its original 200K mile engine after a second blown head gasket and very low oil pressure as verified by a direct reading gauge. Now, after spending hundreds of hours of work I was rewarded by the sweet sounds of a 4.2L XK engine running very nicely in my beautiful car again.
I have the car up on four jack stands so not only was I able to run the engine but I was able to exercise the power steering and verify that the transplanted transmission also worked in Drive and Reverse.
The attached pictures show how it looked this afternoon after running for the first time.
I still have some parts to install before taking it for a drive later this week.


(Frank Andersen) #103

You richly deserve every success, Paul - unreserved admiration!

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

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(AndyBlakey) #104

Very very nice work Paul.

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(Aristides Balanos) #105

Super nice Paul !
And a wonderful colour… same as mine (:

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(Robert Laughton) #106

Can you do mine too?

Seriously. Wow!


(Doug Dwyer) #107

That’s the usual result of careful, meticulous work by someone who knows what they’re doing :slight_smile:

Looks gorgeous!


(Carl Hutchins, Jr. ) #108

Ain’t that grand. Ditto to Doug’s comment.

As good as new, or even better. Great plan, well executed.


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(Paul Wigton) #109

I’ll need some of that juju, when I try to fire up the Jee-Type!!!

(JR) #110

Just stunning. Only could dream of mine looking the same one day.

Cheers JR

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(Paul M. Novak) #111

Thank you for the kind words.

I got my 1984 XJ6 Vanden Plas in 2000 and I had it bare metal repainted in 2006. I competed it in JCNA Concours Driven Division (D06) from 2007-2011 where it finished in one of the top three spots in North America four times with scores of 9.99+. It came in first place in 2010 with a final score of 9.99633.

Even though at that time the exterior and interior of the car looked great, the engine bay was not up to Champion Division concours level and it would have required too much work for me to tackle at that time. Having the engine fail at 197K miles was a mixed blessing because I had the challenge to remove and replace the engine but it also gave me the opportunity to restore the engine bay.

It is possible that this car will see JCNA Champion Division (C9/XJ) Concours competition sometime in 2019 alongside my 1990 V12 Vanden Plas. But I still need to get it all back together, back safely on the road, pass the CA smog test, and address the many issues that will undoubtedly face me because this car sat for a few years in my garage as I waited for a suitable replacement engine.


(Paul M. Novak) #112


Thanks. The original exterior color is Antelope, Jaguar Paint Code AFM and I agree more that it is a wonderful color.

Frank, Andy, Carl, Robert, Paul, JR, Doug,

Thank you all for your kind replies. It is great to have my work appreciated by those who understand the complexity and challenges of the engine swap that I accomplished over the past few months. There was a great deal of anticipation and second guessing myself as I got ready to turn that key to start the car yesterday. And there was a huge sense of relief and pride of accomplishment when the engine started ON THE VERY FIRST TRY!!


(MRCHB@aol.com) #113

R12 or 134? I’m having an awful time finding a replacement compressor for the one on my '87 XJ6 after its clutch failed last week. Any suggestions?

(Paul M. Novak) #114

So far I have had good luck keeping my A/C systems running with R12 and I have not converted any of my Jaguars to R134A.

I purchased a rebuilt Harrison A/C compressor for my 1990 V12 Vanden Plas (the original one leaked vacuum) online from BuyAutoaparts a few years ago, installed it myself when I changed out all the o-rings and receiver drier, verified that the system held vacuum, had it serviced locally with R12, and it is still blowing cold. I reused the Harrison A/C compressor (it held vacuum nicely) in my former 1987 XJ6 Vanden Plas when I cleaned up that engine bay, I changed out all the o-rings, verified that the system held vacuum with a new receiver drier, had it serviced locally with R12, and the new owner recently reported that it was still blowing cold. I purchased another rebuilt Harrison compressor for my 1984 XJ6 Vanden Plas (the original one leaked vacuum) from Buyautoparts and I installed it myself on the donor engine as I built it up for installation. I plan to follow the same path of installing all new o-rings and a new receiver drier, verifying that it holds vacuum for a week or more, and then getting it serviced locally with R12.

I have had mixed results from BuyAutoParts so far. Their rebuild units can be good, but I have also had to ship units back due to poor packaging and shipping damage as well as other issues. I am hopeful that I can get the 1984 XJ6 Vanden Plas A/C system working again properly with R12 and the rebuilt compressor but I won’t know for sure for at least a couple of weeks as I sort through other issues. The rebuilt compressors cost about $300 each.

BTW just in case anyone is wondering, all three of these cars lost their R12 before I started work on them and I did not release any refrigerant to the atmosphere. I have a good vacuum pump and I used it to verify that these A/C systems held 30 in. Hg over a week or more before I have had the R12 refrigerant seviced by professionals.


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(Paul M. Novak) #115

There was no juju involved. I made sure that the engine and transmission worked very nicely before I removed them from the donor car, then after cleaning them up and adjusting the valve clearances, I removed and replaced the belts and hoses. Then I inspected and tested each system as I installed them. Before I turned the key to start the engine I knew I had good compression from a compression test, I knew I had good fuel pressure from the fuel pressure gauge that I installed, and I knew I had good ignition from a test with my inductive timing light. I was pretty sure that the engine was going to start and I was very pleased (to say the least) when it did. :slight_smile:


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(Carl Hutchins, Jr. ) #116

As to AC. circa 2001 my car was blowing nice and cold. A hot day circa Stockton, CA. R12, I am sure. then the catastrophe.

It was months til I began the engine replacement. I was concerned as to releasing R12. No need. All gone!!! Clearly, the system leaked!!!


(Jochen Glöckner) #117

Great job, Paul! An adorable car and a great success! If I didn’ t know better I’d be tempted to say about your problem-free restart that things usually work, if you do everything right - which you obviously did.

With an engine bay as clean as yours I’d have a serious problem though using the car as Sir William intended …

Stay safe on all of your jouneys in that wonderful ride


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

((Paul)) #118


I simply felt compelled to post and thank you very much directly for taking time and posting.
Everything very appreciated and truly inspirational. Wonderfully done. Truly enjoyed following everything within this thread.

Beautiful place you have and your garage is a dream btw. Thanks for sharing.
I honor you by adding the interior shot to my screen saver!

@Robin_O_Connor :

That engine bay looks great. Jealous.
Thank you as well for posting that… VERY inspirational as well.
Intending to do the same and hope mine looks nearly as good.
I need to get on it already!

Kind regards

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(Paul M. Novak) #119

Demian, Jochen, and others,
Thank you for your kind comments and positive replies to my posts about my engine transplant project. I did another engine transplant in 2014 when the #6 rings in my former 1987 XJ6 Vanden Plas failed. I didn’t post much about that successful project as it was a first time for me and to be honest a little overwhelming at the time. Learning curve is a powerful force, and this time things went a lot easier and quicker. I decided before I started that I wanted to share the experience with others who may need or want to do something similar and pass on what I learned step by step. Although I still have much work to do, with the donor engine running in the new host I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for taking this journey with me and I hope that you have learned something useful along the way.

The next major milestones I have coming up include successfully driving the car on local roads, passing CA emissions tests, getting the climate control system working again, and having the car judged in Champion Division at a 2019 Jaguar Clubs of North America (JCNA) Concours d’Elegance. I plan to report on those major milestones along with pictures so that you can see my progress with this car.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement.


(JR) #120

Paul, one last question. Does someone make the color to match in a spray can to do my engine bay. Yours looks like it matches the outside color perfectly. I believe my color is metallic British racing green.

JR 1985 XJ6 III