Pro­ject X-Type

We re­build the lights and change the trans­fer case oil be­fore wav­ing it off.

Classics Monthly - - Contents - WORDS & PHO­TOG­RA­PHY PAUL WAGER

Life with the much-ma­ligned Jaguar X-Type has been an ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence and over the eight months we’ve owned it I’ve come to the con­clu­sion that its many de­trac­tors are re­ally rather un­in­formed.

No, there’s no get­ting away from the fact that the car is based on the Mon­deo plat­form but the re­al­ity is that Jaguar did a fine job of cre­at­ing a smaller model to ex­tend the brand’s range and cre­ate much-needed vol­ume sales. Our 2.5 V6-en­gined ex­am­ple has proven to be a ca­pa­ble long-dis­tance com­pan­ion and also a de­cent driver’s car on a twisty road.

As those well versed in the sub­ject will al­ready know, even Ford knew the idea of a front-driven Jaguar wouldnn’t fly, so the early X-Types were ex­clu­sively four-wheel drive. This en­abled them to of­fer some­thing BMW couldn’t sell you at the time and did cre­ate a sur­pris­ingly ca­pa­ble car.

The con­ver­sion from front-drive Ford to four-wheel drive Jaguar wasn’t with­out its com­pro­mises though and the trans­fer box used to take drive rear­wards is well known to be one of the car’s weak points. Many X-Types have ex­pe­ri­enced trans­fer box fail­ure and as a re­sult own­ers to­day are keen to avoid the prob­lem.

One look under the car sug­gests that space was an is­sue for the de­sign­ers and as a re­sult the trans­fer case is phys­i­cally pretty small. As a re­sult its fluid ca­pac­ity is just 400ml which doesn’t give much of a safety mar­gin if it de­vel­ops even a tiny leak. That 400ml of oil also has a pretty hard life, so chang­ing it reg­u­larly is a good idea... or would be, if Jaguar had seen fit to pro­vide a drain plug. In fact the unit is ‘sealed for life’ with a fill plug but no drain. The of­fi­cial Jaguar method of drain­ing the fluid is to re­move the prop­shaft and rear trans­fer pin­ion seal, but for most own­ers this is rather too in­volved and as we dis­cov­ered there is an eas­ier way.

Mean­while, an­other of the X-Type’s is­sues in­volves the head­lights, which were man­u­fac­tured us­ing plas­tic com­po­nents which sim­ply weren’t up to the job. The re­sult is that the plas­tic ad­justers which se­cure the lamps to the hous­ing fail over time, leav­ing the re­flec­tors and bulb hold­ers no longer fixed in place and bounc­ing around all over the place. At best it’s an MoT fail and at worst down­right dan­ger­ous and it seems to af­fect all X-Types even­tu­ally. With new lamps at £200 a side and used parts likely to be bro­ken in the same way, it’s po­ten­tially costly but luck­ily the ad­justers have been re­man­u­fac­tured in bet­ter qual­ity plas­tic. Re­mov­ing the lamp units and re­build­ing them after tak­ing off the front bumper is a fid­dly but straight­for­ward DIY job and it’s pos­si­ble to fix the prob­lem for just £20. Here’s how we got on.

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