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