When you first open that glorious bonnet on a series 3 E-Type Jaguar, it's difficult not to be overwhelmed by the complexity of the V12 engine that greets you. It took me a while to gain enough confidence to tackle the engine bay but once underway I began to appreciate that it was just another engine with a few more cylinders thrown in. And once the rebuild and restoration were completed it seemed a pity to have to close the bonnet and hide the mechanical masterpiece that was on display.
Photo Gallery - V12 engine rebuild
Looking very dirty and tired. Definitely in need of an overhaul.
Ready to be removed for the first time in thirty years.
Fresh out of the car and ready to be stripped down for a rebuild. Dirty, grotty and parts covered in surface rust.
Oil pressure & light sender units in hard to access location on early series 3. During rebuild changed to top rear of engine as used on later V12. Allows easier access when in car.
Engine from the rear. Look close to see surface rust on the head bolts and nuts etc. Also note original placement of oil lines for oil pressure & light. Changed during rebuild to later style.
Twin overhead cams add to complexity of rebuild. Jag V12 heads usually difficult to remove due to corrosion around head studs. Took a week to remove these using a special jig and patience.
No major concerns, just lots of work required by a specialist engine builder. Surprisingly clean inside with no sludge, probably due to modern oils.
Stripped to a bare long engine and ready for the engine builder.
Fresh back from the engine builder and ready for re-assembly.
New welsh plugs were fitted throughout the engine.
The cam covers were chemically stripped, the fins polished and the rest powder coated in satin black. Final touch were new Jaguar decals.
Original starter motor was large, heavy, hard to access and had endured 30 years of heat. Replaced it with a new High-Torque starter motor that is very compact and much more efficient.
To match the number of teeth on the new High-Torque starter a second hand XJS V12 flexplate/ring gear was fitted.
Due to long term storage the cast iron headers had a heavy coating of surface rust. After sand blasting and cleaning they were painted with heat proof paint and now look like new.
Engine external water and heater pipes were corroded. Factory made in mild steel they were showing their age. Replacements custom fabricated in stainless steel.
Not only will the stainless steel replacements last for ever but they also help to dress up the engine.
Original oil pressure sensor mount plate at LH rear side of block was blocked off.
Everything refitted and awaiting installation. Note new position of oil sender units for oil pressure and warning light. Much more accessible in this spot rather than on the rear LH side of the block.
This is how the carbies looked when the restoration started. Not very impressive!
Carbies stripped, water blasted and rebuilt. All rods, levers & external fittings media blasted and zinc plated. POR15 Glisten was applied and the final finish is stunning. View previous photo to appreciate the difference.
The V12 remove & refit was no more difficult than a modern V8, even with most accessories fitted. Only the alternator and power steering pump were left off at this stage.
Alternator was dismantled, media blasted, reconditioned and painted with POR15 Glisten.
Even the underside of the engine presents like new.
I was not happy with top end performance of the V12 and had new inlets fabricated for the air cleaners to allow greater air flow. Big difference between original (top) and new intake. Size of the air cleaner end was kept all along the tube, rather than narrowing down at the front.
What a difference. The original intake opening (left) was around 25mm and fed two 175mm carbies which does not make sense. Doubling the size of the intake increased air-flow and improved top end performance.
The magnificent Jaguar V12 in all its glory. Almost a shame to have to install the bonnet and cover it all up. Always attracts attention at car shows when the bonnet is open.