Question about Jaguar XK8

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1997 XK8 will not start; engine turns over however sounds diifferent - more a zingy sound rather than a mechancial sound - starter motor turning however not engaging??

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  • pandwherrick May 19, 2011

    spoke with my partner who advised: turned key to start - before engine fired turned key off then on. - next time key turned on, clunk then urgh - urgh - then whirring noise possible low voltage or when key on / off / on dislodged starter shaft?
    Away from home now for 24 hrs

  • pandwherrick May 20, 2011

    Hello.. Daylight and I have assistance. Turn key ON and confirm engine is "turning over" so starter OK.

    Held key in ON position, engine turns and sounds consistent however appears no compression building - engine does not fire. Can smell fuel at exhausts. Have opened / locked door several times. Hand book mentions alarm however no LED light , sound or lights flash re indicate alarm setting. Been like this since purchase. Remote to open on key is not working [always used actual key] except for boot remote. All electrics working e.g. lights wipers information system .

  • pandwherrick May 21, 2011

    Hi there, engine does sound slightly different when cranking, will ask a friend to check timing chain as suggested. Service history shows chain / tensioners etc all replaced 40000kms previously. Cheers



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Hi, can you have someone watch the engine while you crank it? The starter not engaging is one possibility. Another is a separated flexplate. Either way, if the engine isn't turning, you will have to remove the starter. You can easily test the starter buy reconnecting the terminals after removal. Check to see if the gear is moving up the shaft. If not, replace. If starter is OK, look into tranny to see if flexplate is loose. Please let me know if you have questions, and thanks for using FixYa.

Posted on May 19, 2011

  • 6 more comments 
  • Jeffrey Turcotte
    Jeffrey Turcotte May 19, 2011

    was looking at your starter and noticed it has a transmission. The gear seems to be always engaged, but the motor is not engaged to the gear except when the solenoid is energized. My guess is the transmission inside the starter has failed. You can still test it off the car or have it tested at your parts store. To remove the starter, always disconnect the negative battery terminal first. You can remove the starter bolts or the electrical connections next--whichever is easier. There is a large and a small terminal on the side of the starter. Just remove those nuts and pull the terminals off. The starter is held to the transmission with 2 bolts.

  • Jeffrey Turcotte
    Jeffrey Turcotte May 19, 2011

    never heard of this kind of noise caused by low voltage, but I'm not familiar with this kind of starter. I believe the part about dislodged shaft--or something else wrong in the starter transmission.

  • Jeffrey Turcotte
    Jeffrey Turcotte May 20, 2011

    So is the engine turning faster than usual? Doesn't sound like it usually does when cranking? My guess is your timing belt/chain has slipped or broken. Let me look up a way to check it.

  • Jeffrey Turcotte
    Jeffrey Turcotte May 20, 2011

    Do you have 4.0 liter dual overhead cam engine? Is that a V-8 or in-line 6?

  • Jeffrey Turcotte
    Jeffrey Turcotte May 20, 2011

    I think this is a V-8. I do not have a manual for that engine, but it looks like you can get the top covers off the cam gears pretty easy. Jaguar engines usually have the timing marks that align with the flat of the cylinder head. So here is the way to check the valve timing:
    1. remove one of the cam gear covers.
    2. remove the #1 spark plug.
    3. Turn the engine until #1 piston is at top dead center on the compression stroke
    note: you can turn the engine using a socket on the crankshaft pulley bolt. You can determine when the piston is on top by inserting a screwdriver in the spark plug hole. It must be on the compression stroke, which you can verify by holding your thumb over the spark plug hole and feeling pressure as the engine is turned.
    4. Check to see if the timing marks on the camshaft gears are aligned with the top edge of the head.

    Please let me know if you have questions.

  • Jeffrey Turcotte
    Jeffrey Turcotte May 20, 2011

    There is an article here on problems with the timing chain tensioners. From the sounds of it, this engine is an interference design--meaning you may bend valves if you run it with a slipped or broken chain.

  • Jeffrey Turcotte
    Jeffrey Turcotte May 20, 2011

    Hi again. I've had a heck of a time looking for a picture of the timing marks you would need to check on the camshaft gears. Apparently these are not the marks I'm used to on Jags--maybe because of the variable valve timing on this engine. Anyway, there is apparently a flat on the shaft that should be up when the #1 piston is at TDC on the compression stroke. There is also supposed to be an inspection hole on the timing cover to put the engine at TDC without using the screwdriver in the spark plug hole method I recommended. Here are the words i found:

    1. Rotate the crankshaft until the triangular arrow indent on the driveplate is visible through the access hole.

    2. Confirm that the timing flat on each camshaft is uppermost. If necessary, rotate the crankshaft one full turn.
    So if this "flat" is not exactly up when the arrow is visible, your chain has slipped time. Do not crank the engine any more until the chains and tensioners have been replaced.
    You should also have a mechanic verify there is no valve damage. A good mechanic can tell this without taking the heads off the engine or even before replacing the chains. That would be good to know before investing in new chains. Basically, if the valves are bent, they will not fully retract into the valve covers, and a compression test can also verify straight valves.

  • Jeffrey Turcotte
    Jeffrey Turcotte May 21, 2011

    well, that is good. How many kms on the car now?



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