By on April 27, 2015

 

transfer case. Shutterstock user Timofeev Vladimir

Allen writes:

Sajeev,

Hopefully you can offer some light at the end of the tunnel for an issue that a friend has with her 2004 Jag X-type. The car is in great shape for its age and all was well until the bad news came regarding the transfer case. The car recently started acting up and the local Jag dealer diagnosed a failed transfer case with a part price of 3,600 with 6+ hours of labor.

I’m not Jagsperienced so I have to take their quote at face value.

Do you know of any resources on a failure of this type? The failure occurred virtually overnight and with the value of the car, it seemingly is a death sentence for what is an otherwise healthy car.

Any wisdom you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Sajeev answers:

Explain more about this “acting up” before the car needed to go to the dealer.

Allen writes:

Literally overnight: rough, jerky acceleration closely followed by garbage can full of pistons sound and lack of drive. I had changed the plugs the week before. During the test drive after the plugs, I only heard a couple of rough clashes that I wasn’t even sure were from that car because they didn’t repeat and I was in traffic at the time.

Sajeev answers:

Ah-ha!  This problem?

I reckon this happened because of a lack of fluid changes in the transfer case.  Ask her if she followed the service specifications outlined in the owner’s manual. Even if she did, supposedly Jaguar/Ford doesn’t make it very easy: perhaps no mechanic ever touched the transfer case?  Let’s hope not.

You can get a used X type transfer case, finding one might be easy depending on if her Jag has traction control. But considering the inherent weakness found in a lack of fluid servicing, will you get another pile of crap from the junkyard? Remember this: it’s not your car, not your problem.

Tell her to sell it, or roll the dice with an independent mechanic installing a junkyard replacement (and fluid change). The former is a better idea, especially if she’s better off (financially) in a cost-effective vehicle.*

*That’s not a sexist thing, there are plenty of cash-strapped dudes in ticking time bomb, maintenance deferred premium vehicles when they should be in a used Corolla. Your job as a Piston Slap reader is to give people a reality check if or when they need it.

[Image: Shutterstock user Timofeev Vladimir]

Send your queries to [email protected] Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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73 Comments on “Piston Slap: Are you Jagsperienced?...”


  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    I kept a 2002 Jaguar X-Type 2.5 on the road for 13 years, and 200,000 miles, during the last 5 years I kept it on the road with used parts from European Automotive Group in Moultrie GA.

    I had a manual and never had a transmission or transfer case issue, it is my understanding the manuals are immune to these issues, but if she wants to repair it, get a used one and find a good independent mechanic. The cost will drop dramatically.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      I looked at one when they came out and thought it was nice, but not nice enough to replace a paid-off Impreza. I would have got a manual so there wouldn’t have been any problems, I guess, but then the WRX finally came over and when the Impreza got hit a new Subaru was the logical (cheaper, more familiar, already had two sets of wheels, etc.) choice.

      I thought the X Type was pretty in its way and hoped with its Ford heritage it would be easy to keep running.

      • 0 avatar
        I've got a Jaaaaag

        It really wasn’t too bad except for parts availability. Finding a good mechanic willing to work on it outside the dealer was key to long term survival, or have access to a lift.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Remember this: it’s not your car, not your problem.”

    Well that isn’t very nice. Plus, depending on the type of “friend” this is, this might well be his problem.

    Go to the Jaguar forums and see if there is a recommended shop somewhere near you. If so, take ot to them and see what they say.

    If that isn’t possible take it to the two most highly reviewed shops in your area and get second and third opinions.

    Never go to the dealer again unless it is for a straight up parts purchase.

    • 0 avatar

      You are right, but a needy car like that can end a friendship pretty quickly. Such an inference is unfair, and hopefully I am wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        You definitely have to set limits with people that want their cake and eat it too in terms of car ownership.

        If someone is not a car person and is not going to wrench on it themselves at all, I push them to dump it and move on.

        Something like an 11 year old Jaguar is going to be a service headache if it’s a DD. It’s not going to be “my” weekend project over the next several years anymore than I would expect a person to mow my lawn because they “know how to do it.”

    • 0 avatar
      Driver8

      I got 99 problems but a Jaguar ain’t one.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    It’s all over but the crying.

    Seriously though F that car, I doubt an MY04 X-type is even worth 3600 not to mention all of the other deferred maintenance which will start to creep up now (what color is the trans fluid for instance?). Your friend will be 5K into this thing inside of a year with no guarantee the car will act right for a few years after. She’s gonna get murdered on trade but such is the nature of old problematic cars. Bail now while there is still a ripcord.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      These Mondeo based Jags seem to be absolute magnets to the pseudo-ballers (not insinuating your friend is one!) and the BHPH sort, with deferred maintenance being par for the course. The other owner type is the quirky enthusiast that scoops one up for cheap and scours the net for DIY writeups and good parts sources. An interesting dichotomy, and I’d say it extends to most older European vehicles in general.

      I bet Sajeev is right, this transfer case has never seen fresh fluid since the factory filled it. I see it again and again, neither of my colleagues with older Jeeps have ever changed diff lube or transmission fluid, EVER. Both have issues with whining differentials. One got rid of his 01 Grand Cherokee with 170k miles as it was slowly failing all around him but still running, the other still has his XJ as a weekend hauler.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        You make nice points. I would add though for the enthusiast to what I’ve got a Jaaaaag said, if one can be sourced in a manual that’s one less major issue vs the 99% of them which will be autos – but there will still be headaches.

      • 0 avatar
        ExPatBrit

        A lot of cars like this have “lifetime” fluids. You can probably attribute JD Power “cost of ownership” for that feature.

        Unfortunately once the vehicle gets to a certain age/ mileage without transmission fluid changes it’s often too late.

        At high mileage replacing the fluid or heaven forbid “power flushing” the transmission for the first time just hastens it’s demise.

        All that crud in the fluid is providing friction.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        “These Mondeo based Jags seem to be absolute magnets to the pseudo-ballers (not insinuating your friend is one!) and the BHPH sort, with deferred maintenance being par for the course. The other owner type is the quirky enthusiast that scoops one up for cheap and scours the net for DIY writeups and good parts sources. An interesting dichotomy, and I’d say it extends to most older European vehicles in general.”

        I think you are right. I picked up my 210 E class wagon for cheap because one of these pseudo-ballers deferred way to much maintenance on it. The car needs just about every maintenance item performed. The trans would slip once the car warmed up. I replaced the conductor plate inside the trans and that got it going. It also had a sunroof track that they let get so dirty, it bound up and wouldn’t close. It was left in that condition for long enough that the water that was overflowing caused the track to rust to the extent that it couldn’t be saved, and I needed to replace the whole thing. I found one in a junkyard and all is well with that. I have the interior apart to do a thorough deep cleaning. I just replaced the flaking chrome wheels too, and have a giant pile of internet parts in my living room. I guess that makes me the quirky enthusiast.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I have much respect for you.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The BHPH sort purchases these, with the following thought process.

          *Sees slightly scratched but otherwise very tidy X-Type at gravel lot, from distance.*

          “Dayum those Jags are tight. Bet that one is really expensive.”

          *Upon approach, it’s within the price range they can afford on weekly payment, taking their paychecks home from both the fast food joint and the part time job at the car wash. It’s only $1500 more than a similar used Civic.*

          “Dayum this one ain’t even expensive neither, an’ only 75k miles on it! This sh!t is just so classy. Where do I sign!? Won’t even need that old Nav any more, with that AWD on here. It don’t run right anyway, and the suspension broke.”

          *Girlfriend leans on it, taking selfie with that “New Clean [email protected]! #class”*

          *Salesman escorts man to his office [trailer].*

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I’ve debating making the plunge into used Euro ownership many a time, but I simply value my free time too much I think. I’d rather spend a saturday paddling a canoe than replacing valley pan gaskets on a BMW 4.4L V8, or figuring out CELs on an old A6. A guy down the street has both a E39 wagon, and a stick shift twin turbo A6, along with a few BMW motorcycles (classic R75 and newer R100). All of them in absolutely pristine condition. I’m green with jealousy when I jog by, but at the same time I’m glad I have a Civic and a 4Runner, and a Suzuki Bandit 1200S in my fleet. Maybe when I have more space and inclination, a W124 wagon will find its way into my garage, or a w123 diesel.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          No W210 is actually worth that sort of effort, and I *applaud* you for taking the time and expense to do so.

          (Says the guy who had the suspension rebuilt on a W115, so knows whereof he speaks.)

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            It’s actually an S210 since it’s a wagon. The only reason it makes any sense for me is that I’m a Mercedes tech and know these things very well. It’s also a car that’s spent it’s entire life in either California or Washington. It has zero rust. If I bought a nice one from the beginning I likely would have had to address most of the maintenance things over the next few years anyway. I do however have to address many things right away, instead of slowly over time. The sunroof, and cleaning resulting from it is the only thing that could have easily been avoided. What’s funny is that the seller of my car now has a 220 S-Class. I’m curious how that thing will look in a year or two.

        • 0 avatar
          InterstateNomad

          MBella: I love what you are doing. I’m of the sentiment that a car that you love is worth repair costs (even if it’s just your time) beyond it’s current value.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      This this. The early ones even had super lame interior to go with the lame everything else. Only if it were much newer and a VDP version would I consider fixing it. The X-Type has been BHPH fodder since it was 2 years old. Just like the LR2 or any Mitsubishi.

      But the bottom line is nobody wants a used Jag, and it only goes downhill from here. Dump that crap. Get a Lexus IS AWD. That’s an equivalent replacement for this.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “But the bottom line is nobody wants a used Jag”

        Sick people such as myself actually do, but I know enough about them to stick to the real ones (XJ and XK) and to only get them for nothing as they almost always need reconditioning with age. I would be comfortable with certain generations of Jaguar as an occasional DD, but never a US sold Mondeo. For the avg person: Run. Like. Hell. Now if Jaguar had sold them in the US without that blasted voodoo drive system standard as it had in Europe (where you could get it FWD), this lady might be ok (I stress might).

        Fun fact: In 2005 MY00 X308s were doing 12-15K at auction. The MSRP in 2000 was 60K for an XJ8 without any additional packages. The post Nikasil X308s are a car I could see myself in then and now…

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I’d rather buy a V12 XJ-S than a X-Type.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Yikes. This from the man not terribly familiar with them I take it? The X-type might start but might not drive, the XJS V12 won’t always start and when it does it might crap out while driving it.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            The way I see it, a V12 XJ-S might actually be worth throwing money at. Meanwhile, I don’t think a X-Type would ever be worth it. The XJ-S is a pretty sweet car when it works, and that V12 is so buttery smooth…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Double dare you to find and acquire one. If you try you could probably get one for free.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I might have to leave the state for that, old Jags aren’t too common here in Southeastern PA.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think probably the best mid 00s Jaguar was…

            The Lincoln LS.

            LAWL

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            They used to be more common before your time I imagine.

            @Corey

            Says the man who’s never dealt with one. If you’re going to torture yourself with an early DEW98, make it an S-type and have the Jaguar sort of bragging rights.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I thought the LS was more reliable towards the end, but maybe not!? The revised interior when they gave it the Navigator treatment was certainly an improvement.

            The later S-Type R is a very sexyful and aggressive looking car which I will always like.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Well they have the Jag AJ 3.0 or 3.9 V8 motor/computer/emissions (prob fuel system too) mounted to a Ford 5R55N 5 spd auto. Every LS I have seen in the past five years had been plagued by some sort of engine or computer issue. So essentially its like having a Jaguar & Jaguar problems with Lincoln cachet, not having a “Lincoln” as we’d like them with Jaguar influence (or just a Jag platform) which is probably what buyers wanted/expected.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_LS

            http://www.carcomplaints.com/Lincoln/LS/

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The X308 is a dignified gentleman’s conveyance (as long as you have the right wheels). It’s the height of expression of the Vanden Plas lifestyle of taste and restraint.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “*That’s not a sexist thing, there are plenty of cash-strapped dudes in ticking time bomb, maintenance deferred premium vehicles when they should be in a used Corolla.”

    My understanding from that time was that the X-Type was very reliable. But, due to it being a Jaguar the depreciation was vastly higher than was warranted by how reliable it was. Thus, in 2010 you could get an X-Type with 80k for $8k or a Corolla with 100k for $8k. The Jaguar was actually the better deal.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Rubbish. That is my comment on your second paragraph.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Thus, in 2010 you could get an X-Type with 80k for $8k or a Corolla with 100k for $8k.”

      I can’t quite wrap my head around this at all. Maybe if the X-type came with a warranty and had every service documented at the dealer, but you’re still going to lose out because in 20K miles who is buying your X-type? The Corolla is an easy sell at 120K, X-type not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      In the UK these are often known as the Ford Cortina MK V.

      Rep company car special, built to a price.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I thought the company rep car thing went away some years before (late 90’s I’m thinking) because of tax law changes?

        In James May’s Peoples Car series, they did a whole segment about the company car in the UK. The silly race at the end was ridiculous, but the in depth discussion of trim levels was brilliant.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I don’t remember that segment! Damn, I’d have loved that too.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x24iep4_james-may-s-cars-of-the-people-episode-3_auto

            Here you go. That part starts about 13 minutes in.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Thank you! I’ll have something nice to watch when I get home from work tonight.

        • 0 avatar
          ExPatBrit

          The company car deal changed a bit, the driver pay tax on a percentage of the cost of the car for personal use or some get a monthly car allowance. Lower rate for cars with better emissions like diesels.

          Still a great deal and why the depreciation on 3 year old cars is horrendous in the UK.

  • avatar

    Ideally for your friend, she’d have been able to hock that Mondeo in Drag before it became disabled, but it never quite goes that way. I can’t outright say what the car is worth to her, but it’s a rather disposable grade of luxury car, certainly not too far up there on the scale of worthwhile-to-preserve. I mean, unless she’s just really attached to that car and can’t see herself in anything else, she’ll probably save herself a lot of time and aggravation by just selling it for what it’s worth now.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      We’re using the term “luxury” here very liberally! I think it applied to the Acura SLX more than this thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      There Will Be Tears. The car will have to go, it is just a question of how much money will be incinerated, days of work will be missed, aggravation will be had, and unfairness will be denounced before the fateful decision is reached.

      Seriously, in my neck of the woods used X Jags were very popular among females that knew nothing about cars and thought they were getting a great deal on a good looking luxury import. A female co-worker bought one a few years ago and poured money into it for months until she was forced to trade it in at a huge loss. By now I would imagine that most of them have been recycled into dishwashers after one trip too many to the repair shop by the 5th owner in 12 years.

      Like a certain kind of girlfriend the X Jags are superficially very attractive but unreliable, expensive, and prone to breakdowns.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Tell your friend to buy a 2001 to 2005 Hyundai Sonata. It’s the one that looks like a older x-type. But, without the Jaguar issues. Except for the Jaguar hood trophy, many people cannot even tell the two apart.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Haha not so terrible advice! Or maybe an e-class replica Kia Amanti? The one thing to look out for is the 2.7L Hyundai V6, the recommended timing belt interval is to be strictly adhered to (60k miles?). My brother also recently had one in the shop with a bizarre (and fatal) camshaft bearing issue where the cam basically chewed into the aluminum head, at a fairly low mileage. Mind you the engine still ran perfectly smooth and sounded good, but the rear bank of cylinders registered low compression. That cam/bearing issue heated the cam up enough for the whole thing to twist out of alignment by a tooth, which screwed up the valve timing and thus compression. Just plain weird.

      • 0 avatar

        Does *anybody* have a good 2.7-liter? As far as I’m concerned, that’s a cursed displacement number that should be avoided.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Too big to be a 4 cyl and too small to be a proper V6.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The Congregation of 2.7 is not pleased with this public damnation.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          It would seem that this failure was rooted in an oiling issue, much like the ChryCo 2.7s. Except in that case the failure rate is something on the order of 30% or more, and the issue is oil sludge. This hyundai with the 2.7 looked clean as a whistle under the valve covers. The used car lot that was trying to flip this Tuscon (before this cam issue was discovered) had run seafoam through the crankcase to solve a ‘tick’ they were hearing so maybe that helped clean things up, but it really did look immaculate.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          “Does *anybody* have a good 2.7-liter?”

          Honda, in the later 1st-gen Legend, but the list pretty much begins and ends there.

          • 0 avatar
            Bee

            I thought of the first generation Legend as well. A 2.5L V6 that was soon bumped up to 2.7. Good motor that was later used in then irstV6 Accords.

            I also liked the 2.5L Toyota V6 that powered my ES250, though they seemed to have an iffy reputation with head gaskets.

        • 0 avatar
          suspekt

          Hi,
          Yes, Toyota has one in the Venza and Tacoma I believe… My 2008 Venza has one.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yes the Toyota 2.7L engines are perfectly stout units. The truck “2TR” motors have earned a very good reputation both in the US and abroad. The 2.7L in the Sienna and Venza are from a different family, “1AR” and is from the same family as the 2.5L “2AR” that powers Rav4s and most Camries, haven’t heard anything bad either besides them being fairly overmatched to haul a 4000+lb Sienna.

        • 0 avatar
          glwillia

          The BMW 2.7L M20 “eta” engine in the 1982-1988 E28 528e and 1984-1988 325/325e/325es was pretty good (despite the badge, it’s a 2.7L), just make sure to change the timing belt.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Lol, the Amanti is so derpy. They sold a ton of them in S. Korea though. I didn’t like anything about it except the gigantic front LED indicators. They feel very fake inside, and you can tell the “luxury” is a cheap veneer.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          The Hyundai XG with 3 or 3.5 ltr V6 was so much better if you wanted a super cheap imitation Lexus. I was at a family funeral about a week ago and one of the elderly relations had arrived in a 2002-2005 XG350 in piano black. The car was as maintained and clean as if it was a Rolls Royce. I thought I was back on the floor at Cobo for the NAIAS in 2002.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That XG350 and the XG350L seem to always have trim issues, and leak oil. Whenever I see them parked, I notice a few things going wrong on exterior bits. And it seems like they’ve always been that way. They carry a great deal of false pretension as well. I don’t think they really worked in the US market, but of course they were not designed with the US in mind -at all-. The Grandeur is a desirable mid level car in S. Korea, and is used many a time in the taxi application. It’s the Crown Vic of Korea. Dress it up, dress it down, but underneath it’s pretty basic.

            I was also thinking the rent was too damn high when they tried to sell them here, which I will now check out.

            $26,499 for the XG350L in 2005. We can compare that to:

            Grand Marquis GS $24,585
            Sable LS $24,465
            G35 $32,800
            Five Hundred AWD Limited $26,290
            Accord EX V6 $26,850

            I think I know which I’d choose.

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            I have seen a few XG350 around town and they looked great, even the interiors held up well. And this is down in Florida when Lexus and Acura cannot make an interior that does not melt. Go look at a 3 yo Acura or Lexus and all the fake silver is scratched off, make them look 10-14 yo.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        How’s that old hymn go? Damned be thee with cylinders of six and liters less than three?

        REPENT.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Meh – wouldn’t touch those.

      1st Sonata worth getting is the NF 5th gen (2004-2010).

      1st Hyundai worth getting is the 3rd gen Elantra (2000-2006), esp. in hatchback form (much prefer the 3G over the ugly 4G Elantra).

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Agreed on both points. A coworker has a pretty basic 2009 NF Sonata, scooped it up as a cheap commuter from a bank repo sale with 12k miles on it, he’s got well over 100k miles on it now and I don’t think it’s needed any repairs. A bit worse for the wear now, transmission feels a bit funny taking off and there’s a rattle in the suspension out back (swaybar link is my first guess, or else a worn bushing). Oh and the driver’s door handle broke off in the cold this winter. Interior is comfy with soft seats and some decent soft touch plastics. he gets over 30 mpg in his long commute with traffic and everything. For a “I don’t care, I just want to get to work in air conditioned comfort” sort of car, it is absolutely ideal.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Whatever happened to Cammy Corrigan?

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Bite the bullet, ditch the Jag. Replace it with a used Lexus ES300 or Infiniti G35X.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Take this failure as a sign that it’s time to put this cat down. This will be just one in a long line of expensive repairs to come. These weren’t good cars for the faint of heart.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    A 2004 Jaguar needing a $3,600 part AND 6 hours of labor? A red gas can, a gallon of regular unleaded and a cigarette letter from the Circle K would be a much more cost effective solution.

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