Brucie’s Diary: October 2017

Current mileage: 172,255

Brucie at David Marks Garages

Brucie – picture courtesy of David Marks


Well that’s Brucie MOT’d for another year, with no advisories, and on 4th November 2017 I will have owned Brucie for 7 years, which is the longest that any one car has ever been in my ownership! Purchased at 132,000 miles, Brucie has now covered 172,000 miles. It is only in the last 3 years, with the luxury of having access to a winter car, that Brucie now hibernates – before that he was my everyday car, all year round!

I don’t necessarily agree with putting cars away for the winter. Cars need to be, and benefit from, being used, but conversely there is a lot salt put on our roads in the winter which I think more than detracts from any benefits gained from keeping a precious car on the road year round, unless you are fortunate enough to have the facilities to thoroughly wash and dry your car after each journey where it is likely to have come into contact with salt.


JEC Big Forum Weekend, Hull – 15th, 16th, 17th September 2017

At the beginning of the year it was agreed among the JEC Events Committee that we needed to try something different for our Autumn/Northern Day, so it was decided that for the venue we should consider the City of Culture, currently Hull, and then do something radically different as a change from ‘rows of cars in a field’. We chose to run a series of mini seminars so that our members could enjoy several ‘instructional workshops’ instead of being tied to one for the entire day. These were to be held indoors, so that we didn’t have to rely on our unpredictable climate.

One of the companies we approached to support the event was Millers Oils and the idea we put to them was to give a talk on the importance of using good quality oil and keeping your engine clean and to have some products available on the day for members to purchase.


Millers Oils

Millers Oils at Hull – picture courtesy of Nigel Thorley


Millers expanded and developed the idea to take in a live oil change, to show the benefits of new oil, an engine flush, and a fuel treatment. To prove the findings, an independent technician would take before and after emission readings, this would all be filmed, and streamed live into the seminar room, with the resultant video being available on the Millers website.

During a meeting at Millers Oils in Brighouse, Yorkshire, Technical Director, Martyn Mann suggested that as Millers Oils already sponsor Xclusively Jaguar, Brucie should be the Jaguar they used for their demonstration on the benefits gained from using an oil and fuel flush and good quality oil.


Brucie, Rob Jenner and Ken Jenkins in Hull

Jaguar Specialist, Ken Jenkins was chosen to do the necessary work on Brucie, ably assisted by my partner, Rob Jenner.

Servicing parts were supplied courtesy of SNG Barratt

A series of readings were taken when the car was warm, but before the oil had been changed or any of the treatments had been added.

These included a compression test.

Once Brucie’s engine was up to temperature, Miller’s technician took emission readings, as for an MoT, but with a portable reader. The first reading was taken at idle and a second at fast idle. These were then recorded, and can be seen on the chart further on in this report.

Spark plugs were removed along with the fuel pump fuse, to prevent fuel being pumped into the cylinders while Brucie’s engine was turned over and compression readings taken for each cylinder. At this point the Millers team all raised their eyebrows, as the compression readings were so impressively high that they felt an improvement was unlikely, as did Ken! At 170,000 miles there’s obviously plenty of life left in Brucie’s AJ16 engine!

Plugs and fuses were then replaced, Millers fuel treatment was added to the fuel tank and Millers oil based engine flush was added to the old engine oil. There are various engine flushes available on the market, most are solvent based, which is very harsh on an engine, so Millers have developed an oil based engine flush. I was always advised to avoid the solvent based engine flushes, so Brucie has never had this kind of treatment before.

Brucie was then taken for a run across Hull. It is recommended that the engine is run for at least 10 minutes before it is drained of oil, in order that the flush can do its job properly.

At this  point Brucie was raised up on a ramp, the old oil and engine flush drained out, and the old oil filter removed. The sump plug and washer were replaced with new ones, along with a new Jaguar oil filter, and the engine was then filled with new Millers 10W/40 oil to the correct level, as agreed with Martyn Mann at Millers prior to the event.

Brucie was then driven a further six miles, more would have been better to prove the results, but time was now against us. On arrival back at the hotel  the emission and compression tests were repeated to show, even within six miles, a vast improvement!

The throttle body was inspected to ensure that it was clean and fully opening to make sure that a true reading was achieved.

The table below shows the recordings on the day and you will see that Brucie shows an improvement on each and every cylinder. Quite amazing, was the general consensus, as Brucie was running on recent spark plugs, super unleaded fuel, and the ‘old oil and filter’ (high quality engine oil and Jaguar filter) were changed less than 2000 miles/12 months ago.

The results were:

P468 NLN Emission Performance Test


Bearing in mind that Brucie is very well maintained, on a car with poor or average service history you could expect to see major improvements.

Many thanks to Jamie Ryan, Tony Lowe, Martyn Mann and all the Millers Oils team for your support and for providing the equipment needed, the oils and treatments used on the day, and technical expertise.

Thankyou also to SNG Barratt for the parts used; the film crew who did the video, and Jaguar Specialist, Ken Jenkins


Details of all the oils and treatments used can be found at Millers Oils

The parts we used can be found at SNG Barratt


 Jaguar X300 average mpg Brucie’s average MPG is currently 29.0, as shown in the picture, which I think you will agree is very good for a 1997 4 litre X300.

I believe this is due to a combination of meticulous servicing, using good quality fuel, avoiding short stop/start journeys wherever possible and fitting a revised crank sensor bracket

We travelled home from Hull in convoy and pulled over to record the fact that our Diesel X358 had clocked 200,000 miles! Jaguar X358 at 200,000 miles

Brucie and Diesel Jaguar X358

As Brucie’s Diary for this month has focussed on the subject of MoT’s, emissions, fuel additives, engine flushes, engine oil and suppliers of parts for servicing an X300, it seemed appropiate to include an X300 Service Guide – compiled by Kim Henson, it first appeared in Practical Classics and is reproduced here with the kind permission of both parties.

Whilst on the subject of X300’s, this month Classic Cars magazine have featured our 1997 XJR manual (P760NRW) in an X300 XJR Buyers Guide



I shall finish Brucie’s Diary this month with an account of a  very special visit to The Collections Centre at Gaydon on 26th October 2017.

Jim Randle, Rob Jenner and Letitia Mace at The Collections Centre, Gaydon

Jim Randle talked us through the models he had worked on at Jaguar, using the exhibits in the museum as a cue – picture courtesy of David Marks


I refer once more to Dunkeld which ultimately led to a very special day spent in Warwickshire with a group of people involved with XJ40, now and in the past, and more specifically with D38BRW – a meeting which will be expanded on in a future issue of Xclusively Jaguar News.

One of those involved in that meeting was Jim Randle, retired Jaguar Director of Engineering, responsible for bringing Project XJ40 to fruition and famed for the J-gate or ‘Randle Handle’ as it was known in house!

Whilst chatting with Jim over lunch, he suggested to me that we should agree a day to meet up at The Collections Centre at Gaydon and he would give me a guided tour of the exhibits as a basis for a feature in Xclusively Jaguar News.

I then suggested that Rob Jenner and David Marks would also enjoy the chance to join us, and that we should make a day of it, which is exactly what we did.

Arriving at Gaydon a little before 10am in D38BRW, Jim was already waiting for us, keen to get into the museum and share his knowledge and memories!

Jim Randle’s involvement in Jaguar began in 1965 and he talked us briefly through the models he had worked on, using the exhibits in the museum as a cue, and throwing snippets of engineering know-how into the mix of information.

This was a most informative morning and in order to do it justice it will, as Jim suggested, form the basis of at least one more feature in a future issue of Xclusively Jaguar News.


Jim Randle, David Marks and the Daimler Corsica at Gaydon

David Marks tells Jim about his involvement in the Daimler Corsica project, which was after Jim Randle had left Jaguar Cars, details of which will follow in a future issue of Xclusively Jaguar News


Over a cup of tea in the museum cafe, we were highly privileged to be invited to see the original cardboard model that has been well-documented and eventually became the XJ220. As Jim pointed out, the car was always going to be 4 wheel drive, from conception until it reached the accountants!

We also saw one of three existing quarter scale models of the XJ220. Jim retained one of the three and explained that there were initially two body designs for the XJ220, one by Keith Helfet and the other by Nick Hull. Jim rejected Nick Hull’s design in favour of Keith Helfet’s.

But, our day wasn’t over yet, and although it was extremely hard tearing ourselves away from such a charismatic and knowledgeable personality, we had a second invitation, the opportunity of which we had no intention of missing!

We had also been invited to the home of Keith Helfet, which we then found out was formerly the home of Wally Hassan – hallowed ground indeed!

On hearing that we had seen Jim’s quarter scale model XJ220, Keith ushered us into his study and posed the question ‘Do you mean one like this?’ to which we all exclaimed ‘Wow, yes!’


Quarter scale model Jaguar XJ220


So that’s two of the three model XJ220’s in a day!

Talking with Jim Randle and Keith Helfet was such a privilege and many of the stories that Keith referred to, we had heard from Jim Randle that same day, thus reinforcing their authenticity. The one that stands out in my mind was the fact that they took the chance of building the full-size XJ220 direct from the quarter scale model. A huge risk, Jim had explained earlier in the day, as the ‘light lines’ that a designer relies upon are altogether different in a scale model as the radii are much tighter and the light bounces off in an entirely different way. But, said Keith, ‘We did it and we got away with it!’

One of the things that came out of this is the respect that Jim has for Sir William Lyons, with whom he was privileged to work. Keith Helfet had that same respect and also pointed out that he was the last Jaguar designer to benefit from Sir William Lyons tutoring, saying that Sir William had taken him under his wing and guided him in his design techniques. In a similar vein, it is very obvious when speaking with Jim Randle and Keith Helfet that there is a tremendous mutual respect between them.

There is much more on this day to follow, but in the meantime, if you wish to meet two of Jaguar’s most amazing engineers and designers, come to the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club stand at The Classic Motor Show at the NEC, Birmingham on Saturday 11th November between 10am and 4pm!