Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cars I Have Known V

After I bought my T-Bird I got Orders to England. I had the choice to take the 'Bird with me, but because I couldn't drive it there I decided to leave the Thunderbird at home and buy another car in England. After about 2 months one of the guys I worked with offered me his Jaguar for $1000. He would make sure it would pass the MOT (Ministry of Transport) inspection for the $1000, so I jumped at the chance.

I will say flat out this was one Hell of a Car. All the Brits would tell you that only the Yanks would buy an old Jag, because the Brits that could afford the upkeep could afford a new one; it was only the Yanks that had enough money to keep an old one running; and by inference, the lack of smarts to try.

This was the first Sports Sedan; a 1965 3.8 S-Type. 4-wheel independent suspension (same as used on the E-Type); 4-wheel disc brakes; dual exhaust; dual overhead cams; twin carburetors on a 3.8 liter engine. Inside was pure class. The dash board and all of the trim that in a newer car is plastic, was solid walnut. The door panels and seats were leather, and the carpets wool. It was a little small, but not too bad even for me.

I was having trouble with it one day; it just would not idle properly. I was talking to the British guys I worked with about how bad it was running and one asked me if I had checked the oil in the carburetors. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. I told him that yeah I had; it was fine, and the stereo and the windows worked well too; and it still wouldn't idle.

Well, apparently I had just fallen off the turnip truck. Jags use an SU side-draft carb that has a throttle plate idle damper that uses motor oil to stabilize the throttle plate. You check it by removing a black cap on top of the bell of the carb that has a dipstick attached. If the oil runs low in the damper the throttle plate flops around instead of remaining steady, which makes the car idle poorly and run rough. We topped off the oil with about half a pint in each carb and she started idling smoothly again.

It's always the things we are sure we know that makes us look the dumbest, ain't it?

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