Agree that 6cyl far superior, but they stopped making them ! I've tried all the fixes for overheating xj8, even replacing a perfect water pump. I'm told there is a plastic bleed screw on the engine block itself somewhere - any comment?
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o2 sensors often cause a rough idle at stand still. Previously my xj8 had crank case ventilation (pvc valve essentially) issues that caused the check engine w/ restricted performance. I noticed a severe drop in gas mileage as well. Jaguar dealer fixed my problems in a few hours and it was surprisingly cheap. Its worth taking it to advanced or auto zone to see what the computer says. Then decide if you want to shell out for a dealer fix or if you can tackle it yourself. BTW, just to justify myself this is my third jaguar. I have a '94 xj6 with a chevy 350 inside it, previously owned a 95 XJ6 and currently have the xj8. They are wonderful cars if you can put up with their rough times.
first i would try checking relays,fuses, and the ground cables. replace as neccesary....now for checking the ground cables.....i would disconnect them and try scuffing them up with a wirebrush or something that will scuff up the metal a little bit then re-attach them.....test the blower and see if it works.....let me know what happened.
The early XJ8s were designed to operate as you describe, only kicking the fans in with the AC which is fine when the cars warming up (in fact it helps the car warm up faster & use less fuel), however, Jaguar realised in some climates this was causing overheating, later ones (99my on) operate constantly with the ignition on at slow speed & speed up if it detects it needs to.
This is a complex 2 relay system with alot of wiring that goes into the ECU & cant easily be retrofitted to your one.
I`d advise you to take the car to a good auto electrician & ask him to fit a manual switch on the dash with a relay to the fans so you can turn it on manually when its warmed up (if he can fit a slow speed relay with a resistor as well as a full power one, all the better, as you dont want to over cool either).
I`d also advise you to get the thermostat changed every year & the water pump to be upgraded to the current spec one, as these are both known issues that occur & also cause overheating.