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XK Engine Knock

As of 2016, I’ve had my 1970 E Type for 37 years now, (bought it in 1979) taking it on numerous weekend trips over the years, it’s never left me stranded.

Jaguar 2+2 series 2

My E-type touring car near the Midwest windmill farms.


I keep a plastic sheet under it in the garage, since it leaks a lot of oil and transmission fluid but that’s never been a reason to pull the engine and fix it.


For years now, I’ve had a little “knock” when starting up the engine. “Knock” “knock” “knock” and then it disappears. Didn’t bother me for the past 20 years since I knew the oil was getting pumped up where it was supposed to be and doing its job taking up any space & lubricating.


The last year or so the “knock” is always there at idle. It will go away when you give it the gas but something seems wrong at idle.


I decided to pull off the oil pan to see if I could find anything. I dropped the pan without removing the dreaded suspension tie plate.  It required jacking up the front of the engine and the transmission a little, to get it to clear the tie plate.

I started checking connecting rod and main bearing clearances, they were fine. At first I didn’t notice anything and was just about to put the pan back on. Then I noticed one cylinder had a dark area that looked like scratching. It was obvious that this needed looking into and the only way to do that would be remove the head, pull out the piston.  Not a job I really wanted to continue with but it had to be done.

Jaguar Piston sleeve

A look up from the oil pan.


After getting the piston out you could see the scratching, it was mostly at the very bottom, below the oil ring and didn’t seem that bad. The wrist pin was definitely worn, you could wiggle it side to side. Maybe I could just replace a piston and wrist pin and be on the road again.  Most of other cylinders looked fine however,  I did notice some more light scratching in at least one other cylinder.

Jaguar Piston knock

This one has been hitting the sleeve a little.


Time to ask around with my Jag friends and get some advice. Most seemed to think it was an oiling problem, made sense to me since the wrist pin was worn.  After talking to the experts, I figured I might as well do it the right way and rebuild the whole engine.


Now I finally have a reason to pull the engine/transmission and get both rebuilt like new.  I would rather not but at 46 years old, I know its time to bite the bullet and do it.

So the engine is now off to an engine rebuilding shop Auto Machine in St Charles, Illinois.


Jaguar engine moving

Putting the engine in a trailer


It took a while (6 Months) but I finally got the engine back. Found out one of the connecting rods was replaced years ago before I got the car.

They bored out the piston sleeves and replaced them all. Evidently, they have run into many engines that never had this done during a rebuild and have failed a year or two later. It seems that the top cooling slots behind the sleeves get junked out with crud that doesn’t always come out when you “boil out” the block.

Etype piston sleeve bored out

Note the cooling slots behind the bored out piston sleeve.

They also replaced just about everything else, oil pump, valves, valve guides, springs, head studs, timing chains, dampeners, bearings, wrist pins, pistons, head nuts, cam nuts, gaskets, seals…..


XK engine rebuilt and ready to be put back in.


etype engine rebuild

In place and bolted in


Time to get the rest of it back together.


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