Run by Gaynor Cauter
Owned since July 2006
Total mileage 100,363
Miles since February
2014 report none
Latest costs nil
XK ENGINE GOES BACK TO BASICS
Time flies when you’re having fun… if that’s what you can call moving our entire lives 150 miles to the middle of nowhere. It’s amazing to think that it’s two-and-a-half years since we loaded Jeloe (JEL 670E), my 420 rebuild project, onto the transporter and drove it to Herefordshire. We tucked it away in the barn while we got on with building more garage space and there it has remained.
It’s all taken rather longer than we’d planned to get everything straight, but we finally got around to the motor just before Christmas. When the car came to us, all attempts to turn over the engine failed, but husband/chief engineer Len assured me that, rather than seized, it was probably only ‘stuck’.
And he was right because he later removed the head and managed to liberate the pistons from the bores. On inspection, things didn’t seem too bad and, bearing in mind the car’s low mileage – less than 60k when it was retired over 30 years ago – the bores looked to be good.
Because of the age of the engine, however, Len reckoned it was safer to deal with what we couldn’t see – a build-up of sludge and corrosion in the waterways – with new liners. On a previous trip to VSE in mid Wales, we’d discussed the XK with engine expert Tim Kemp. He had offered to refit the block with new-generation stepped liners, supply fresh pistons and check the crankshaft and regrind it if necessary.
While he was at it, he would also ensure that it was straight. Jaguar crankshafts in the late 1960s were Tufftrided, a process that made the journals harder wearing but, in later life, the cranks prone to bending.
Straightening it would be a job for Tim. Once he had sorted the liners and crank, the rest of the work, including rebuilding the engine, would be down to Len. Before taking the unit to VSE, Len had to dismantle it back to a bare block. He painstakingly removed and bagged each component regardless of whether or not it would be reused. For most, it was undoubtedly the first time that they had parted company with the block since it was assembled in ’1967. Len says that he is creating a ‘clean room’ for when he rebuilds the engine.
The house move intervened, but a rumour that Tim was about to retire had us loading the engine bits into the Land-Rover for what is now a short trip to Wales. It turned out that he has a queue of engines begging for his attention. Such is his reputation that even telling clients how long they might have to wait doesn’t seem to put them off and now, thanks to us, he has another block to contend with.
Δ Len Hand: e-mail [email protected]
Δ Tim Kemp: 01597 840308; vse-engines.com
Crankshaft looks good but needs checking Main bearing cap seems dull but not worn Odd blemishes on ends of thrust bearing Stripped block, ready for Tim’s attention