June 2007 – The block — 1963 E-type v. 1979 XJ6

You know you’re not in 1963 anymore when you see that drain swirl logo of British Leyland in relief on the block. It’s enough to make you think twice about your angle grinder and whether you’re enough of an artist to rub off the metal smudge. Of course, in October 1978, when this new engine of mine was cast, British Leyland — or “BL” — was the colossus astride nearly all of British automobile manufacture. At that time, Jaguar has been in the BL fold for a decade, and the conglomerate included nearly all of Britain’s formerly independent marques: Jaguar, Daimler, Lanchester, Mini, Riley, MG, Morris, Wolseley, Austin, Vanden Plas, Rover, Land Rover, Alvis, Standard, and Triumph. In the early 1980s, BL’s long-troubled history led to its unravelling. Jaguar was spun off and became independent with a stock offering in 1984. The remnants of British Leyland changed its name in 1986 to “Rover Group,” which of course has had its own history of disintegration. (At least it now is much more international, I guess, since BMW bought Rover and perhaps thought better of it. MG Rover is now Chinese rather than British.)

It hardly needs mentioning that Ford took up Jaguar eventually, spent a lot of money, and now appears to be setting the company up for the vacuum cleaners of private-equity investors.

At any rate, the logo of liquid(ity) going down the drain is on the right side of this engine block. However, the familiar “JAGUAR 4.2 LITRE” marks sit more centrally and more prominently smack in the middle on that side. That label is where it should be and where its like had been all along.

The left side has as its distinguishing characteristic the oil dipstick fitting. That feature is so undistinguished that I haven’t spent the time worrying whether it is the same as the 3.8, though I believe it will be prudent to use the XJ6 dipstick at first, just to make sure that the oil levels are correctly measured.

Differences of timing covers and water pump impellers

I was told that the timing cover was a drop in, but I was actually hoping that the water pump was instead. There are differences, beginning in 1969, of the capacity of the pump’s innards and the size of the water pump impeller. Also, the semicircular cutout for the crankshaft end was a bit wider — oddly, I thought. We actually checked the crank for signs of wear and checked for free play. But the more glaring difference was the water pump void.

Timing chain covers, E-type and XJ6. The E-type is on the left, and the XJ6 is on the right. Although the two covers are hole-identical and have identical studs, the main differences are in the water pump area. The XK water pumps after mid 1969 had larger impellers and were “deeper.” I used the original cover, since I wanted to use the old pump and its belting system. One change that we noticed, and that is still a bit mysterious to me was the machining around the frontmost edge of the crankshaft semicircle on the XJ6 cover. It was flared on each side. I believe this was be design and not from wear, though I don’t know exactly what might have been the purpose. A different seal?

Now that the 1963 version of the timing chain cover and water pump are fitted, I do have to admit that the newer design looks better engineered, with probably higher water throughput. I chose the original because I feared that the forward extension of the XJ6 water pump was too much. The later water pump is bigger overall, and the belting for the XJ6 is more complicated, but there isn’t all that much space between the front of the engine and the back of the “picture frame.”

Differences of oil pan and sump plumbing

The XJ6 oil pan is significantly different from the E-type’s. It has a blubous protrusion that extends off-center toward the right. The oil intake from the sump comes up near the rear on the XJ6, while on the E-type, the sump intake is centrally located. I wanted to keep the XJ6 sump, actually, but I was concerned about clearance in the subframes. I asked a couple of people about the fit, and Dick Maury let me know about the fit problem of oil pan and the sump intake, and he let me know of some of the adjustments that come with the changes on the oil filter mount. He has been around the block (and through some slalom courses) with his Jaguar cars, including a modified 1971 E-type.

Oil pickup pipes, XJ6 and E-type. I’m holding the pickup pipe from the 3.8 liter E-type above the setup on the 1979 XJ6 4.2 liter. You can see how much farther back the XJ6 pickup pipe goes. The E-type oil pickup is centrally located. There is a small bracket just above my thumb on the E-type pipe. I removed that before installing it.

The E-type sump intake pipe is quite a bit shorter than the one on the 1979 XJ6, which pulls oil from the large deep collector at the rear of the oil pan. But interchange is easy, since there is only one pipe to worry about, and it’s the same diameter for the E-type and the XJ6. The oil pump on the 4.2 liter engine is said to be better — larger capacity or better efficiency, I believe — but that makes no difference as far as pipe sizes. Bill McKenna’s very correct restoration of his 1963 E-type coupe included a 4.2 liter oil pump — one of the very few deviations from the 3.8 liter setup he did. Bill commented in his report that he had to make some changes to the “oil pickup pipe,” though I didn’t have to make any changes.

The E-type oil sump pipe in place. The pipe was a good snug fit, and I used the brackets from the original XJ6 pipe to fasten it. I don’t know what changes Bill McKenna had to do to get his 4.2 liter oil pump installed, but I didn’t run into anything peculiar.

It’s literally a five-minute job to replace the long pipe for the shorter E-type pipe. The original 3.8 liter oil pan is a drop-in fit on the 4.2 liter block and will fit in the car with the original oil pan, though it might not with the XJ6 pan. (An aside: I probably would have stayed with the XJ6 pan if I could, because it seemed to me to have larger capacity and the oil uptake looks to me to be a bit better thought through. It is, of course, a quite noticable deviation from the 3.8 liter oil pan design.)

Oil filter mount differences

1979 XJ6 4.2 liter oil filter mount. There are several changes from the 1963 3.8 liter engine that appear in the oil filter mount. The cam oil feed comes off the top of the mount, rather than from its own hole in the block, as is the case on the old 3.8 liter block. The pipe for the oil pan connection comes off the rear part of the mount on the XJ6 instead of at the bottom. That change means some fettling, of course, and that’s not in this photograph. And, of course, the mount is designed for modern spin-on oil filters, thank goodness. To the right of the mount you can see the holes for the XJ6 motor mounts.

The oil filters change much for the better between 1963 and 1979. The old felt filter replacements gave way to nice and easy spin-on filters. The oil filter mount on the 1979 engine is ready to accept a regular modern filter.

The old felt-insert oil filter. This huge thing is the oil filter setup for the old 3.8 liter E-type engine. There are spin-on adapters available from several vendors, but the 1979 XJ6 engine has the spin-on filter setup already in place. See the oil pressure sensor on top of the filter mount.

And beyond the simple change to spin-on filter mounting bracket come, of course, the complications. On the 3.8 liter engine, the hose to the oil pan comes right off the bottom of the oil filter bracket, and so the hose run on the old engine is straightforward — though (as many have noted) it’s complicated by different outer dimension pipes fitting to each hose end. On the 1979 XJ6, the rubber hose is only an inch or two, connecting to a pipe running to the bulge in the pan that caused me the worry about fit into the subframes, since it extends fairly far to the right. On the XJ6, this pipe heads to the rear, and so the fitting on the oil filter bracket heads toward the rear. The upshot is that the run from the bracket to the oil pan pipe mount is a little contorted when you use the E-type oil pan and the XJ6 oil filter mount. Surely it’s not a straight shot. Dick Maury told me that he used an XJ6 engine in his race car, and he took advantage of the hose changes to fit an oil cooler. It’s a tempting thought, but I don’t think I want to add a complication at this point.

On the old oil filter mount setup, the oil pressure sensor comes off the top, and on the XJ6 the sensor is on a separate aluminum block mounted to the rear of the oil filter mounting bracket.

The XJ6 oil filter mount has the connection for the cam oil feeds as well. It is on top of the mount. Dick said that it is possible to add the connection in the regular E-type location (on the lower rear left side of the block) by drilling and tapping a hole, but this XJ6 setup suited me just fine. The XJ6 block casting, by the way, is flat where the cam oil feed oil would go, so this would be a small alteration for a machine shop to accomplish.

The 4.2 liter block has some mounting differences, though the block itself was designed as a replacement option for earlier XK engines, too. So there is (mostly) backward compatibility for earlier setups, sometimes slightly ingenious ones.

Motor and other mounts

Just forward from the oil filter mount there is a significant change from the old E-type setup. The motor mounts on the XJ6 are set farther back — more or less centrally on thge block. But, this is no big deal, because the tapped holes for the old E-type motor mounts were retained on the XJ6 and used for other purposes like the power steering pump and air conditioning compressor (I believe).

XJ6 and E-type motor mounts. Just forward of the oil filter mount is where the XJ6 motor mounts go, while the E-type mounts are set right at the front of the block. The picture shows both mounting brackets in place, with the loosely fit, rusty one being the XJ6 version.

It’s really just a matter of putting the E-type motor mounts in their correct place. — A straight and simple bolt-in job. (I’ve never Ebayed a thing in my life, but I might give it a whirl with these excess XJ6 parts I’ve got.)

Old generator mount bracket won’t work. That’s my hand holding the old generator mounting bracket in the approximate place it would go. The 4.2 liter block doesn’t include the holes for the old generator bracket, so you have no choice but to upgrade to the alternator. I suppose it would be possible to create a bracket that would do the trick, but the question is why? The place for the alternator bracket is apparent — just above the bracket are two tapped holes.

However, when you jump from the old 3.8 to the newer 4.2 liter, you pretty much have to say goodbye to your generator, not that you probably wouldn’t mind that in any case. The generator bracket holes are completely missing on the 4.2 liter block. On the 3.8 liter block, these holes are placed just above the motor mount holes. On the 4.2 liter engine, the alternator mounting bracket fits much higher on the block. (See photograph on the left for what the 4.2 liter block holes look like.)

I’ve learned from a few telephone calls and emails that the 4.2 liter E-type alternator mounting bracket is pretty rare, unless you’re willing to use a bracket for cars with air conditioning. There are two part numbers for the bracket, C25158 for the Series I and C30615 for the Series II (both for non-air-conditioned cars). I called one fellow who deals with Jaguar salvaged parts, and he told me that he didn’t have any but that the brackets are available from the Usual Suspects. Then he then laughed and said, “But I bet you were trying to avoid having to use junk.”

Oh, well. I guess I might have to use junk — pricey junk at that. Or, I’ll get the part and make a non-junky replacement myself and Ebay the replacement with the excess XJ6 parts. It really depends on whether the new part I need turns out to be of lower quality than I want, I guess. The issue of part quality has been coming up quite frequently on restoration forums, and not just the forums devoted to the Jaguar marque.

The alternator upgrade (or at least “changeover”) has been well documented. It involves changing the ground from positive to negative. You don’t have to stick with a Lucas alternator, which is a blessing, I think. AC Delco alternators have been used (and it seems to me that Classic Jaguar has offered an upgrade kit using an AC Delco unit). Ray Livingston has described a way of using a Hitachi pickup truck alternator for an upgrade of the 3.8 liter setup. This requires a special bracket available from XKs Unlimited (part number 08-0399 in their 2005 catalogue, p. 316). But the same processes would work for installing a Hitachi on a 4.2 liter engine, using a standard alternator bracket. Ray’s documentation is available from XKE-Lovers (PDF).

Speaking of mounts, I got my parts from Terry’s Jaguar Parts, and I got new motor mounts, a bushing for the upper engine mount, radiator mount bushes, and a new fuel sump gasket from Motorcars, Ltd. The engine of course, is practically ready to have the transmission mounted, so this restoration journal entry is still behind the curve, so to speak. I’ll trade timeliness for some thoroughness. And there are some issues still to be dealt with — adaptations for the old (nicer) value covers, the crankshaft pulley, and of course, the alternator. So, there are still things to square up before this one runs.