Dead Jaguar XK8
This is the preliminary page documenting the sudden and fatal
motor failure in our 1997 Jaguar XK8 in March of 2003.
Updated 14 May 2003 (update content)
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Update March 2005: I don't own this car anymore, but I am posting some of the responses on the Jaguar Timing Chain Reponses Page
One of the timing chains broke, causing the engine not to start. The car has about 57K miles on it. there may be bent valves now, and supposedly the pistons can be damaged also according to Cole European. There was never any rattle on start up and neither dealership that inspected the car (Cole European in Walnut Creek, CA and Jaguar of Marin in San Rafael, CA) ever informed us of possible problems with the tensioners. (There is a new type of tensioner now being used.)
I have never seen a timing chain break- it is not a wear item on cars generally. That is, they are designed to never break in the normal life cycle of an engine, 200K miles or so. There was a recent thread on the Datsun 240Z list stating they have seen chains in perfect condition after 400K miles!
See a gory picture: Picture 1 (if you look to the right, you can see the broken secondary chain)
Car ran fine, stopped somewhere, when tried to to restart, it cranked but wouldnt start.
Time line (2003)
Jaguar Dealership response
$13,500 to replace the motor. Cole European 2103 N Main St, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 Phone: (925) 935-2653. I would like to know more about the failure before I buy another motor that might only last 60K miles. We inquired about getting a 2003 motor, but the dealership is not trained to deal with the differences in the installation.
Jaguar of North America's response
View one of the letters here:
Letter of 24 April 2003 What is odd about this is we don't know where that 2/27/01 "parts warranty" date comes from. It did not appear in the official history of the car. Was there a replacement made that was not kept in the official warranty history? Stay tuned to find out!
What does this mean?
I don't believe this is an isolated failure, and other owners of Jaguar V8 cars (XK8 and XJ8) will also experience this failure. Despite the warranty having been expired, a modern motor is expected to last longer than 60K miles. Jaguar cars (specifically the 1997) model year currently enjoy the 3rd place spot in used car quality on the J D Powers ranking.
Information found on the web (this suggests the two Jaguar dealerships we had the car checked at should have recommended this service- however until I learn more about the problem I can't be sure)
Your Jaguar Timing belt (sic- they mean chain of course) tensioner should be replaced every time you replace your Jaguar timing belt (sic) (60,000 mile intervals). By not replacing your Jaguar XK8/XKR timing belt (sic) tensioner with your Jaguar belt (sic) you may cause premature Jaguar XK8/XKR timing belt (sic) damage taking a risk of doing engine extensive engine damage if your Jaguar belt (sic) breaks while driving.
It is frustrating if this can be prevented by installing new tensioners that even the dealerships are unaware of this problem. It results in total motor failure which could have been prevented by a relatively inexpensive procedure. Note that I am still speculating as to the cause and fix for this problem- further research and, hopefully, clarification from Jaguar will put this to rest.
What can I do?
First of all, there is power in numbers and power in getting the truth out there. We did our research carefully and believed that Jaguar was now building cars of excellent quality. I examined the car carefully and felt it was very well built indeed. If there is a specific problem with the engine, we implore Jaguar to own up to it quickly and solve the problem while preserving all the efforts they have made to shake off the stigma of inferior quality that have built up over the years.