1986 Jaguar XJS V12 from UK and Ireland - Comments

19th May 2001, 20:50

I was very interested to see the comments about the American Jaguar dealer's perception of the owner with the older car. My business partner and I both have modern company vehicles and the main dealers are interested. He also has a Silver Shadow and the RR dealer can't do enough for him. I go to my Jaguar dealer with my 4.2 SIII and they don't want to know. Is it arrogance, or complacency? The independent Jaguar specialist seems to me to be the answer.

12th Aug 2001, 08:33

I am a rookie at the Jaguar experience. I have found a few things wrong with my XJS. Having only 48000 miles on it, it sure does have a lot of problems.

Under the hood it has an oil leak on the valve cover.

Power steering hose just ruptured.

Has some low RPM drivablity issue.

The rest of the car has had some interior electrical repairs.

As far as I am concerned, these problems are normal for a performance vehicle. Professional race teams rebuild their cars every race. Since I am a mechanic, a few parts will take care of any problems that may come up. I feel that to own a Jag you must be mechanically inclined or have a fat wallet. When it comes down to it, this car is one of the best cars I have had the pleasure of driving.

13th Aug 2001, 12:30

I totally agree, only buy a V12 if you know what you're doing!

Unlike me! The repairs when ever anything goes wrong are costly, especially the air conditioning which cost over £1000 to repair.

Oil leaks are the norm for a car of this age and can cause serious damage.

Once bitten and all that, I won't buy another Jaguar again (which is a pity).

26th Sep 2001, 19:30

I am the former owner of a 1986 Jaguar XJS V12. What can I say... when it ran, it was like no other car I have ever driven, it had speed and incredible weight and power.

Unfortunately, it was in the car shop most of the time, so the times when it ran were few and far between. I bought it used, but supposedly in good condition. Within a month the head gasket blew. Then the alternator, then recurring problems with the cooling system. It constantly overheated, even on short drives.

I had the thermostats replaced twice, a new water pump and a new radiator put in at the advice of my Jaguar Certified Mechanic. The car still ran hot and would frequently have radiator fluid leaking from the overflow valve. I brought my car back to the mechanic because it "smelled hot" to me. He said it was a hose, which at this point, was always his answer.

Two days later, I blew a valve about three blocks aways from my office as I was leaving work. Needless to say, I was pretty upset with my mechanic. I spent $3000 getting that valve replaced which I was told would take one week, but took him three weeks because when he put the engine back in, it would die whenever he tried to start it.

After this it still continued to overheat and as a matter of fact, the day I drove it about three miles to a car dealership to trade it in, the car dealer met me outside and as I opened the car door radiator fluid was pouring out of the overflow valve on the driver side. Needless to say, the trade-in was off!

All I can I say about this car, I would still have another as a "fun car" but not for day to day driving. And find a good, reliable mechanic, don't necessarily trust the "Jaguar Certified", the guy I went to ripped me off and never fixed the problem!

29th Sep 2001, 00:02

I have had the pleasure of owning a Jaguar XJS V12 HE. And have found this to be totally reliable everyday. I wouldn't think of owning anything else. Possibly something else British, but that would be it.

20th Jun 2002, 11:55

I had a 1986 Jaguar Vanden Plas that was absolutely beautiful. I spend a lot of money on air-conditioning, a cracked head, electrical problems, you name it. I traded it in at a Jaguar dealership and I love my new Jaguar XJ6. The burlwood is not as ornate as the 1986 Vanden Plas, but overall it's great! I think Jaguar's have really improved greatly. The dealership that I use treats me wonderfully. They are so professional, totally displaying true customer service and showing everyone dignity and respect. I lived in England as a child and developed a love for Jaguars, hot tea and Cadbury chocolate so I will probably always drive a Jaguar.

11th Apr 2004, 08:42

I've owned a 4Ltr 1993 XJS for 2 years and I can honestly say that it has been the most reliable car I have owned, the only car I have had that has passed 2 MOTs instantly!. I've been lucky enough to find a good ex jaguar mechanic which keeps the servicing costs down, and it is the most impressive car I have driven, smooth, comfortable looks great and has the performance you would expect from a great GT. don't let the comments above put you off, find a good example (After 1992 if you can so you're not getting the british leyland cars) and enjoy what I believe to be a future classic.

11th Jan 2008, 16:52

01/2008...I bought a 1986 xjs v12 about 3 months now and the car shows 63000 miles. The heat when turned on goes to air condition in a few minutes after. I have not found out what the problem is as yet as its now winter. Any suggestions will be welcome. I like the car and it drives well. I too am seeing some signs of oil when parked and then moved.

17th Jan 2009, 13:27

I have the pleasure of owning three Jaguar XJS V12s and would never own another car. I have just purchased another one, which has had over 40 thousand dollars spent on it, new high compression engine, racing clutch, manual gearbox, everything you could think of and it is amazing. I never thought the XJS could get better, but they can.

The secret to these cars is to find a Jaguar specialist, NOT A DEALER. My mechanic is a one man band who only does older jags, we sit have coffee he shows me how stuff is done and he loves my cars. This is what you want. Jaguars should be serviced well and driven hard, and they will last forever.

28th Jan 2009, 11:02

I am planning to purchase a One Owner 1989 XJ-S Convertible with 47K on it. Is this a wise choice to have as an ever day driver. I plan to put about 6K a year. I appreciate any comments. Thank you.

13th Apr 2009, 16:14

I've owned a 1989 XJS V12 since 1997. Didn't know a lot about them then, but boy have I learned a lot since. I wouldn't own it as an everyday driver, although I drove it as such for the first 2 years of ownership.

My advice is to buy the very best example you can afford because you'll spend it on repairs anyway. It's a very complicated car, but it's worth the aggravation when running right.

Under hood hoses dry out due to heat and can cause fires. Poorly tuned engines pour fuel into exhaust manifolds and will burn out the catalytic converters (There are 4 of them). I'm lucky to have a Jag specialist whom I can trust. Have a mechanic look over the car before you purchase. It will save a lot of heartache later. Good luck.