Jaguar XJ6 BBS Wheels

The Jag: Prepping for paint correction

My 1986 Jaguar XJ6 has a great-looking color combo. The paint shines… when you’re standing 10 feet or more away from it. This is old Jaguar paint and it’s fully flitted about with crow’s feet. I’m going to see just how far we can bring this paint back without actually repainting the car. In a week’s time, I had an appointment with a detailing specialist. He’s going to perform a full paint correction procedure on the car, and I can’t wait to see how far back he can bring it.

I’ve heard mixed opinions. But those opinions come from casual car folk who aren’t detailers or paint correction specialists. Some say once you have the crow’s feet, that’s kind of how it is. Others say it’s pretty easy to get this car back to deep black glory. I’m excited to see where we land, regardless.

Jaguar XJ6 BBS Wheels

Jaguar XJ6 BBS Wheels

The Jag also has an appointment with the tint folks. I’m going with a little bit of a darker color on the glass. More importantly, it will be ceramic tint which is better for the cabin environment.

I’m also learning more about this engine. The person who sold it to me told me they were told that you want to keep the temp below 180 degrees. That’s per the aftermarket gauge below the steering column. I was driving the other day and I was sitting between 190 and 200. Off to the Internet, I went to figure out a bit more about the TPI engine. And I was quickly informed that the thermostat doesn’t even open up until 190-195. This engine likes to sit between 190 and 210 apparently, so any cooling issues are nothing of the sort beyond my own fearful thoughts.

The weather is warming up quickly though, and I’ll be quite curious to see how the car does in real heat. For now, though, we’re rolling right. The Continental head unit will be installed shortly. Couple that with the freshly refreshed paint and new tint equals a happy Jag eager to soak up some miles. (I think… fingers always crossed on these, right?)

15 Comments

  1. Always good to hear that the biggest issue with a British car is the paint, not the cooling.

      1. Ah right, I forgot that Michigan (that’s where the block is from, right?) isn’t part of the Commonwealth.

  2. I’m honestly excited to see how this goes. Maybe I can learn something for my own black, but slightly tired, luxury sedan.

  3. Jeff, I wonder if there might be a misunderstanding about the cooling advice. The stock thermostat on an L98 begins to open at 195 degrees, but a cooler engine makes more horsepower (same theory as cold air intakes), so many owners substitute a thermostat rated for 160 or 180 degrees. Maybe that’s the message that got garbled in transmission.

    It’s probably a gain of 1-2%, but at the same time, it’s only a $10 part.

    1. Everyone was saying how the L98 typically does fine at a temp I’d consider maybe a bit too hot. I’ll explore some more though, to be sure.

  4. I have pretty nice results from a professional paint detailer. Is the paint on the Jaguar old enough to be enamel rather than base and clear coat? If so, a detailer can really do amazing things. I’ll be excited to hear how you make out.

    As for the thermostat and determining “the one true and correct temperature”, a couple of points:

    [Quote from an internet source]
    “ Water boils at 212°F at sea level atmospheric pressure. When mixed 50-50 with glycol, the boiling point increases to around 226°F. The back of a bottle of antifreeze will state a boiling point of 256-260°F which is calculated after taking cooling system pressure into account.”

    Thus you are not in any real danger even at 210°F and even well above that for a reasonably period. There is nothing engine design specific about this; only MD Harrell is likely to own something weird enough for this rule of thumb not to be applicable.

    Next: I recommend buying a no-touch infrared thermometer; you can get one for $25 these days. There are different schools of thought about exactly where to take the reading, but I subscribe to the upper radiator hose where it exits the block to go to the radiator. That seems to me to be the place where the coolant is at its hottest. This will give you a reference point for judging the accuracy of your aftermarket gauge, and you’ll finally be able to sleep peacefully (said the guy with the all-aluminum engine with a 50 year old radiator and similarly old Italian temp gauge).

    Keep us posted!!

    1. Have one, love it, and was going to aim it at the hot bits soon. Will report back.

  5. Would now be a good time to get rid of the irritating rubber rubbing strips randomly positioned on the doors, and not seen on Series IIIs in other markets, while you’re refreshing the paint ?

    I think it is. They should just peel off with some judicious application of heat.

    1. I plan to do that but sadly these ones aren’t just on with adhesive. They appear to be actually attached. I need to do more investigation because I hope I’m wrong as I’ve thought about removing them as well.

  6. How you know you live in the cars non-British Isles native climate – you’re actually considering spending money on paint correction on a 40-50 year old car and not blasting the body to deal with the colander on wheels its become, then repainting it.

  7. Regarding the running temp and the suggestion that it should run at 180 degrees. Back in the early days of hot rodding GM efi vehicles one of the “tricks” was to use a 180 degree thermostat instead of the 195 degree factory temp. The idea was that would be cold enough so that the vehicle never exited warm up enrichment mode and entered closed loop operation. The idea was that would give you a little more fuel to make up for that high flow filter and/or exhaust. Once the chip thing took off many of the kits included a 180 degree thermostat with the chip and they adjusted their programing accordingly. In theory at the colder temp you can run a touch more timing.

    The other part of the computer equation is that it is supposed to control the fan. On stock applications it was not uncommon for GM to set the fan on temp at 210-220 and turn off at 195. Again that is something that the chip makers who provided at 180 degree thermostat factored into their programming.

    Now down the road that 180 degree thermostat may well have been replaced with one at the OE 195 temp.

    So yeah an analysis of the system with the infrared thermometer is a good idea. I like to take the temp right at the top of the water outlet and if a metal radiator right at the inlet too. Start from cold and you should be able to see the thermostat open with a quick jump in the temp. Then keep going until the fan comes on and then shuts off again.

    If the computer is reasonably accessible it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pop off the chip cover and check the numbers. Note the adhesive on the cheap stickers frequently used can give up so be sure to look around in the case for it if it left witness marks on the chip. Then if you do find an aftermarket chip you can look up its specs and see what temp it is designed for.

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