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Thread: what six cylinder engine

  1. #1
    Member badhuis's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Tilburg, The Netherlands
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    what six cylinder engine

    There is a nice 3.6 manual for sale near me, from 1986. Researching this makes me think again as the general opinion of this type of engine / year is not very favourable.

    I am reading that these with the old ignition / fuel systems are “hopelessly unrefined”. It seems it has the error prone early type of Lucas EFI.

    From 1987 onwards this engine was “much improved”.
    Then in 1991 the 4.0 replaced the 3.6 in the XJS.
    May 1994 until the end the AJ16 4.0 was fitted, which some say are “the best engine Jaguar ever built”.

    So, should this be a warning to me to stay away from that 3.6 manual?
    Or, if the car is mechanically in sound condition, will it behave? I do not mind the odd job but do not want a car that has a new problem every month or so. Better to go for a newer version? Are the AJ16 engines really such a big step forward? I see XJS with these engines have the simpler to maintain rear brakes too. On the other hand I like the earlier versions better (better styling and details in my opinion).
    1953 Mk VII, blue (USA import)
    1967 420, willow green (USA import)
    2004 X-type 3.0 Estate Executive, matt black wrap (German import)

  2. #2
    Member RoboGaz's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Barking, Suffolk
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    It probably depends on what you want the car for, if your intention is to drive it a lot then the later variant might be the better option. Many years ago I owned a 1988 3.6 (auto) and it was a lovely car to drive. I now have a 1989 V12 (auto) and this is also lovely to drive. These are the only XJS's I've had to maintain, so I can't help with the earlier vs later engine question, but part of me thinks I should have bought something older than I did because there's something about the older less refined version that appeals to me.
    1989 XJS V12 Coupe in Solent Blue

    "All those who believe in telekenisis, put my hand up"

  3. #3
    Senior Member BigCatXJS's Avatar
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    May 2008
    Kettering, Northants
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    Some historians will recant that very early AJ6 engines were not quite production ready. I am not sure how true that is as I have only ever driven a '88 XJ-S 3.6 - that was a great car. The AJ6 4.0 I think was in response to a requirement to improve torque and to overcome lost horsepower caused by the introduction of catalytic converters. My 4.0 AJ6 XJ40 can be a bit lumpy sometimes, but it is a great car. I have also had a AJ16 X300. To be honest, I struggled to tell the difference other than having to replace all the coil packs on the AJ16. Others say that the AJ16 can be lumpy as it was developed as far as the underlying design would allow for production use. Compared to contemporary straight six engines, the design is a bit agricultural. The same might be said for my '89 V12 but for smiles per mile - nothing else I have driven comes close from that decade.
    1989 Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE 5-speed manual
    1994 Jaguar XJ40 Sovereign
    2006 Jaguar XJ Sovereign TDVi
    2007 Mercedes CLK350 AMG

    Past Masters:
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    1985 E28 BMW M535i

  4. #4
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    RoboGas I watched a video on YouTube about the XJS and it turned out that the pre HE model was the best if you wasn't bothered about fuel economy It's on YouTube under Harry's Garage.

    2004 S Type 2.7d SE.

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