Myths concerning the V-12

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etypenorway
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#1 Myths concerning the V-12

Post by etypenorway » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:37 am

Hello! I am writing from Norway and I am planning to buy an E-type here in Norway. There are some to find on our national websites for car sales. I have often been confronted with rumours saying that the V-12 engine will give you a lot of engine problems compared with the straight six. Is this a myth, a truth or something in between. Very happy for views on this subject.
Atle H.

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mgcjag
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#2 Re: Myths concerning the V-12

Post by mgcjag » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:43 am

Hi..welcom to the forum...i have moved your post into this welcom section as its your 1st post...whats your name..please try to put it in the signature area........ Steve
Steve
1969 S2 2+2 & Building a C type replica

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christopher storey
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#3 Re: Myths concerning the V-12

Post by christopher storey » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:42 pm

Well, I think it is partly true. The V12 if it has been maintained in good condition , properly inhibited if stored or unused for a long period , and looked after with regular oil and coolant changes, will probably be just as sound as an XK 6 cylinder. Unfortunately , even the newest ones in an E type are now 44 years old and many may not have been cared for properly . Whilst the XK will stand an enormous amount of abuse , and are not all that expensive to fix even if they have been abused, the all-alloy V12 is much more sensitive, particularly to internal corrosion. The result is that many V12s end up with their cylinder heads being difficult , if not impossible, to remove without cutting through head studs etc, all of which is both difficult and expensive.

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etypenorway
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#4 Re: Myths concerning the V-12

Post by etypenorway » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:55 pm

Thank you for your very informativ answer. Would a pressure test in each cylinder be a good way to uncover damage or problems or is there other tests one can do to avoid ending up with problems. The V-12 editions for sale in Norway are former US-imports and are «guaranteed» to be in top condition, but you never know...
Atle H.

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christopher storey
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#5 Re: Myths concerning the V-12

Post by christopher storey » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:50 am

let me make it clear I am not very experienced on the V12. However, yes, pressure testing is probably a good start as a guide to general engine condition. However, what it will not tell you is whether the engine is subject to dissimilar metal corrosion between studs and castings, particularly those of the cylinder head, and this is probably the major problem with these engines . I think there are one or two contributors on this forum who have much more knowledge of the V12 than me, and will be able to give you better guidance . If you search the E type S3 sections , you will find them, but the ones I have in mind are Simon ( vee12eman) and Marek H

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vee12eman
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#6 Re: Myths concerning the V-12

Post by vee12eman » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:17 pm

Hi Atle,

Whilst I don’t claim to be an expert on the V12, I do have a fair amount of experience with it. Christopher is right that the engine can be a problem if not previously maintained correctly. It is a very strong engine which can last many miles and years and is relatively unstressed in the E-type; they were tuned much more highly in later applications. The main problem is the correct use of coolant/antifreeze/ corrosion inhabitant, which must be used and should suit the alloy engine. Without this, corrosion and silt build up in the block can lead to head studs expanding with corrosion and refusing to release the heads if and when required. Silt can lead to overheating, these engines don’t have overheating problems with well maintained cooling systems, but don’t like it if the coolant can’t do its job because of poor maintenance. Pressure checks of the cylinders will reveal some problems with head gaskets and/or piston rings, but not necessarily the condition of the head studs and heads themselves. My original engine did have these problems and eventually I replaced it with a later unit as we could not separate one of the heads from the block.

Check the engine well, does it look cared for? Ask to check the coolant, if it is dirty, rust coloured, low level or otherwise suspicious, tread carefully. If the oil is black, thick, dirty and possibly low, again be cautious - these are signs of neglect. Ask if the coolant has been regularly replaced and is it suited to the alloy engine? This can be overlooked, not least because it can be considered expensive - there as a lot of coolant required.

If the engine ancillaries are corroded, along with corrosion of nuts bolts and evidence of leaks from water pump, cam covers etc. then the engine may be neglected. If the engine runs hot, there may be a problem, but remember that the temperature senders and gauge of both six and twelve cylinder cars are often unreliable, so if other indicators are ok, then the temperature indication may not be accurate.

Carbs are likely to need overhaul, see if there is evidence they have had this recently, but this applies to any Stromberg equipped car - the rubber components can be old and perished by now.

Oil leaks can be an issue with both engines, the rear rope seal of the crankshaft in particular and I found companies unwilling to attempt repairs, in the end though, my leak turned out to be a leaking gasket rather than the seal.

I guess the main issue is that the engine was often maintained by people unfamiliar with its needs. The same garages that maintained them were often more familiar with much simpler units from the BL stable, then the cars lost value and were neglected by people that did not have the money to look after them. The engine is fabulous and I love it. It certainly isn’t as complicated as people assume and is a great talking point. I have not driven a six cylinder equipped car, so I can’t compare, but you should not be disappointed with a V12 equipped E-type. Do be aware that they were more a grand touring car rather than the sports bias of the earlier cars and that they have a fairly subdued exhaust note, not the howls, spitting, popping nature of modern sports V12s like Ferrari, Lamborghini etc. They are still quick for their time and the torque is addictive! I have an aircraft background and the power is smooth and turbine like.

Regarding the cars themselves, many criticised the power steering for being too light, I have no problem with it. They are much more spacious than the short wheelbase cars (all six cylinder OTS and FHC cars - the 2+2s all share the same wheelbase and greater headroom; the Series 3 OTS is the only convertible with the long wheelbase, although there are a few converted early cars out there). They are a great drive, but some feel they lost some of the sporty feeling of early cars. Fuel economy is not great, but no point in buying any E-type for fuel economy, if you do want to do lots of long journeys it may be a consideration. Conversely, they are very thirsty on choke, a consequence of the inlet manifold design, so try to use the car for reasonable journeys, otherwise you use lots of fuel and put quite a bit of unburned petrol in the cylinders, washing the oil from the walls and encouraging premature wear. Aside from the engine, most other problems are shared with the earlier cars, but they do have better brakes than Series one cars and have slightly revised suspension to suit the nature and weight of the cars. Styling is personal, but I feel the FHC is really good looking and the sometimes criticised roof is balanced by the wider track and flared arches - definitely a matter of personal taste, but no-one has ever come up to me to accuse my car of being ugly! The OTS is fabulous in my opinion.

Hope you find a nice car, whichever you choose, they are all special, but I have a real soft spot for the V12 and would buy an OTS to match my FHC if I could afford it.

Regards,

Simon.
Simon S-Y
Series III FHC

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42south
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#7 Re: Myths concerning the V-12

Post by 42south » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:53 pm

Hi Atle,
I'm another happy V12 owner, manual car, with Strombergs.
The above advice is spot on, I wish I had taken it when I purchased mine, nothing serious but issues I could have negotiated price on.
Do you have a Jaguar owners group anywhere near you. If so get in contact with them and you should find a knowledgeable person to conduct an inspection of any car you are looking at.
I don't think anyone has mentioned rust, but if present it will be expensive to repair. Do the usual checks with a magnet. Critical areas are around the mounting points of the rear suspension, and the sills.
There is a book written by Peter Crespin, which would give you a good idea of what to look for in the V12, check the link out.


Good luck with the search.
Mark
Mark Brown
1971 S3 Etype
Son: when I grow up, I want to be a pilot
Dad: You’ll have to choose.

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PeterCrespin
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#8 Re: Myths concerning the V-12

Post by PeterCrespin » Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:55 pm

vee12eman wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:17 pm

corrosion and silt build up in the block...

Ask to check the coolant, if it is dirty, rust coloured,

Hope you find a nice car, whichever you choose, they are all special, but I have a real soft spot for the V12 and would buy an OTS to match my FHC if I could afford it.

Regards,

Simon.
This is somewhat true but the alloy block/wet-liner/open deck construction leaves comparatively few nooks and crannies for problematic silting, compared to an XK. Plus there's much less ferrous metal exposed (only the top half of the liner).

On the other hand, there are twelve of them I suppose... :|

More V12s die from under-use than over-use, I suspect.
1E75339 UberLynx D-Type; 1R27190 70 FHC; 1E78478; 79 S2 XJ12L; 97 XJ6L

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JJC
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#9 Re: Myths concerning the V-12

Post by JJC » Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:39 am

Spot on Peter !! I drive my Series 3 several times a week for the last 44 years. 150K miles...not a lot for a 44 year old car, but a nut to keep all the juices flowing. Great engine, simple maintenance, strong, smooth, and reliable. Got to drive'em !

JC

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