February 2008

Date Event




5 hrs

An early start, 5:00a.m. from home, saw me outside the Factory at 7:05 a.m. Chris arrived about 15 minutes later.  The car was all ready and we were soon on our way to the test centre about 6 miles away. This was the first time I had seen the car completely trimmed and running under it's own power.  The new engine running extremely well, no squeaks, knocks or rattles from the chassis, suspension or body work. The handling superb, the gearbox smooth and the differential quiet. All too soon the half hour ride through the Taunton rush hour traffic was over and we were at the test centre. 

The test centre is a huge shed divided in to testing areas for commercial vehicles and a smaller area dedicated to SVA. There we met "Darryl" our tester. First test was emissions with Chris warming up the car holding 2,500 revs for 20 seconds, to purge the system, and then returning to idle to measure the CO2. after a period to ensure stabilisation the reading was taken.  For our age of Engine the reading should be less than 4.5. Our reading was 7.5. We tried the test again but with the same result.  CO2 is a measure of fuel mixture and is set by a screw on the airflow meter. We tried adjusting this but with no improvement.  The engine had been tested before installation at 1.75. The only difference was it was now in my car and using my original air flow meter.  We were looking  failure straight in the face.  Whilst Darryl and Chris were continuing with the test I called Simon back at the Factory. The diagnostic book pointed to the airflow meter and thermo time, switch, or engine temperature sensor.  Matt came over to the test centre with a couple of sensors and went off to the engine supplier to get the original air flow meter. 

The test continued with general inspection, lights and Speedo accuracy tests.  The speedo turned out to be remarkably accurate to within 2mph, which was pleasing and a compliment to the accuracy of the calculations we did to get the revs per mile figure so that "Speedy Cables" could refurbish and calibrate the speedo

Then outside for  noise, visibility of indicators, handling, all these were completed successfully with positive comments from the examiner. Back inside again for brake testing and weighing.  Again very positive comments on the efficiency of the brakes and handbrake. Weighing the car involved weighing the car at the front and rear axles, with and without the driver ,at the same time taking a series of measurements to determine the wheelbase and the centre line of the boot space to calculate the centre of gravity of the car. All these measurements are placed in to a spread sheet which calculates the weight and weight distribution of the car.

Whilst the tester was away doing his calculations we changed the sensors and the new airflow meter had arrived so we fitted that as well.  The examiner came back to say all was OK except the emissions which meant we would fail but there was time and we could have one last chance to test the emissions again.   It made no difference we were still at almost double the highest permissible reading and more than 4 times the reading measured in the donor car.  Disappointed, we failed the test.  Everything else passed with "flying colours". The Tester was very complimentary on the standard of the build  the presentation and handling of the vehicle. Before leaving we booked another test for Monday 4th February at 1:00 p.m. 

Driving back to the Factory, Chris and I discussed the problem. Like always, there had never been a failure for  CO 2 emissions before.  I was convinced it was a configuration problem it was the only explanation for the massive difference between the donor installation and the 120 installation.  My thoughts were turning to the vacuum system.  The vacuum components and connections in the 120 are much simpler than the XJ6, yet there is no definitive diagram of how the components  should be connected.  The XJ6 has all sorts of vacuum connections depending on  air conditioning (if fitted), Environmental controls for USA and Europe, Heater controls, ignition and Fuel injection or Carburettors and series 1,2,3 versions.  Faced with a bunch of components that were no longer there and vacuum take off points on the manifold that were not required and other items that were not fitted (USA options) I connected up the components as I thought best.  That I had made a mistake was a definite possibility. During the trip we were astonished to see how much fuel we had consumed (over a of a tank) on a 12 mile round trip and during the test. A further indication that we had a fuel mixture problem

Back at the factory I met Grant, a new Nostalgia employee. Grant formerly worked for Haynes (the auto manuals  publisher) at the Sparkford Motor Museum.  We discussed the vacuum connections and Grant noticed that the full load switch on the engine was not connected to the vacuum system.   Under full load conditions the vacuum is low, the switch operates and sends a signal to the ECU to inject more fuel.  If it is not connected it thinks the vacuum is low and the switch operates which could cause the symptoms   I know that I connected it to the vacuum system when I installed the engine but it was certainly not connected now.  Removing some vacuum pipe and a "tee" piece from the old engine inlet manifold we connected up the full load switch.  The engine didn't seem to run any differently. The only way to tell was to take the car to a local MOT station at Croft and get the emissions tested once again.   Chris and Grant went off to the garage. They were back in less than an hour.  The CO2 reading 1.8. the problem was fixed.

We have left the installation as it is, for the time being, knowing that it will go to the SVA retest on Monday and will pass.  Subsequently we will swap back the airflow meter to my original one, reset it, and have the emissions tested at the MOT station again to make sure we have got it right.

It is very satisfying to know that we have, to all intents and purposes passed SVA.

I have added a page to the Garage to describe the vacuum system connections. Click Here.




As expected, the car passed SVA today!! Having passed that hurdle I arranged the insurance via Adrian flux.  If progress is maintained the car should be registered and ready for collection buy the end of the month.


See the SVA test



We are still making progress towards finishing the car by the first week in March.   The registration is completed and  the car is officially WXK 828. The tax disc will run from the 1st March as requested. 

The wire wheels have arrived and are currently being fitted with new tyres. Once that is completed, the task of fitting them and setting up the suspension geometry and wheel alignment will be carried out.

Work is progressing on the electrical items outstanding. The cat 2 immobiliser / alarm is fitted. The clock and radio are being worked on at this time.

We have refitted the original air flow meter and the emissions will be set up and retested before delivery. 

I still have to hear if SNG Barratt will replace the starter motor under warranty. I spoke to them last week, they had sent the starter motor back to their supplier and were waiting to hear from him.  They were indicating that they thought it would be replaced under warranty.

There are a few small outstanding jobs left to do, fit the windscreen pillar mounted rear view mirrors and the wind deflectors. All in all the progress is now continuous and good.




Progress continues. The wire wheels are fitted. Work has started on the radio installation.

I've heard from Barratt's today. They will replace the starter motor under warranty FOC. 

Total hours this month = 5 hrs


Total hours to date =
2155.00 hrs