Today (13/7/2020) the council finally saw sense and gave me permission to build a new garage. Its no where near my original design, just a simple double garage now. At least I will have a workshop to continue the long awaited restoration of the XJ6R. Just got to get it built now. Updates to come!
Author Archives: Roger Dowden
XKR – Fog Lights and Automatic lights on
The XKR was due for its annual MOT and so I did a quick check of the usual items, lights, horn, tyres etc. It turns out the front fog lights did not want to come on. This is an MOT failure so needed to be fixed. I started debugging by looking at the Fog Lamp relay. It had power and if I connected the drive to the relay coil to ground, on came the lights with no issue. Obviously it was the switching side of things. I took the centre console out and then the switch assembly. It looked fine and I confirmed that the switch (a momentary short to ground) was working fine. I then turned my attention to the Body Controller unit which is behind the passenger side “cubby hole” it was a bit if a pain to get it out. Once out I took it apart looking for signs of dry joints, heated components etc. No such luck so I tested the continuity of the wires involved and all seemed OK.
I put it all back together and went for a drive, still the same. A few days later I drove it at night for the first time in a while and noticed that the dashboard lights went off when the headlights were turned on. Side lights were fine, dashboard lights worked when they were on. So this led me to believe there was an issue with the indicator/light stalk. The auto function had never worked since I had owner the car and now it looked like there was a secondary issue with it.
A quick look on youtube followed, on how to remove the covers around the steering column and then worse case, take off the steering wheel. Having removed the covers, it was immediately apparent the issue was due to two wires no longer connected to the switch as per the photo. There was no easy way to tell where they came from so I had to take the steering wheel off and get a better look.
I carefully removed the airbag having disconnected the battery and shorted the live to chassis to discharge any residual current in the system. Removed the two screws holding in the switch and then I could clearly see the pins and wires. A close look with a magnifying glass revealed two contacts on the switch showed signs of the remains of broken wires. I did spend a little while trying to identify which wire went where. I also did some internet searching as well but failed to identify which way round they went. The circuit diagrams do not go into the level of detail between the stalk and the external cabling plugs.
Well there were only two wires so not a lot of choices. I decided the longest wire, the green one went on the outside and the other went to the inner contact. I soldered these on and hey presto, the front fog lights now worked. A few hours later I tested it in the dark and I had also fixed the dashboard lights and the auto function also worked!
Later that evening I logged onto my laptop and started to close down all the various windows I had opened during my searches. There was one PDF about interior lights dimming when the indicators were used. Sure enough there was a picture in the PDF that clearly showed a wire broken off of the same indicator stalk. At least it proved to me that the wires were now in fact in the correct place but I could have done with seeing it earlier 🙂
XKR – Green Shower
Some of you may well have heard about the “XK Convertible Green Shower” issue. It is caused by the hydraulic pipes that drive the convertible roof latch degrade over time and then leak. This then drips/pours through the grill in the overhead console and covers mainly the gear lever/centre console and splashes you too. I had heard of this and I had seen a pipe replacement and a pump replacement in the service history for my car. Well it turns out they only changed one of the pipes and the second failed a few years later as per the images.
The previous repair was to swap out only part of the pipe rather than the whole pipe. This allows for just the removal of the windscreen surrounding interior panels rather than the major job to replace the whole pipe/s. This was an official repair option which jaguar later stopped supplying.
Having done some research on the various forums I tracked down a replacement set of pipes with a higher pressure rating than the Jaguar ones. I decided this was a better option as I did not want to use the Jaguar ones again plus these were also higher rated and cheaper.
The ones I purchased were from CRH https://www.cabriolet-roof-hoses.com/ and I just went for both front hoses at £109:98. I also purchased the some replacement oil from amazon “febi bilstein 06161 Hydraulic Fluid (Green) 1 Litre” You only need one Litre.
I also watched all the 9 episodes of a DIY repair on youtube https://youtu.be/5DuIuveFbHE there are 9 episodes. If you start watching these you will also see one pop up in the viewing list with a warning trying to tell you it is not an easy repair and to call him to do it for you. Sure, are you coming over to the UK to do it for me?
I agree it is quite a big task as you do have to remove a lot of interior parts to replace the pipes but none of it is challenging, it just takes time. The steps are as per the youtube video 1-9 but summarised for a UK right hand drive car as follows:
- Remove the trim around the windscreen and A pillars
- This is where the first pipe repair was situated
- Remove centre console
- Remove Passenger seat
- Remove rear seat lower squab and then the back
- Remove the various rear seat side trim panels
- Lift the roof about 1/3 to get access to the exit hole into the boot
- Pull out the old pipes and replace with the new ones
- I eased the pump out so I could refill the fluid. There is just a cm or two above the hole when in place but you can fill in place using some kind of pump and pipe setup
- Rerun the pipes following the same route
- I would recommend attaching the pipes to both ends before putting the interior back as I needed to lose a little bit of slack. I did this alongside the centre console rather than in the foot well.
- Once fitted I did a few open and close sequences and it works fine.
- Put the various interior parts back in taking the opportunity to clean those parts not easily accessed when fully assembled.
- Open the roof and take a well earned drive in the sunshine with the wind in your hair
If you are reasonably handy then I would definitely recommend attempting the repair and watching the Youtube video.
Just Go For it 🙂
Its been 10 months and I have not been able to do anything to the XJ6 other than pile stuff up on it! I have made some drawings and discussed with the local planning office what is an acceptable option regarding expanding the garage. More to follow once I get planning approved.
I have however been carrying out a number of repairs and maintenance tasks to the family cars since my last update. Also fitted a kitchen and all sorts of other non car related tasks!
- XKR larger jobs
- Changed disks and pads all round and upgraded to red stuff pads. Seems very similar to the previous standard pad but does produce less dust
- Had a weird issue where the fog lights stopped working – Story here
- Had the well known “green shower” issue- story here
- Replaced the coolant header tank to fix the “low coolant” error message
- Replaced the anti roll bar rubber bushes as they failed and caused the roll bar to clonk against the chassis at the slightest bump
- I still have a fairly regular “restricted Performance” error message. I have twice looked though all the intake piping for leaks but struggling to resolve this error.
- X-Type jobs
- Changed disks and pads all round. A week later the brake fluid level light came on and further investigation revealed I had a leak from the drivers side rear caliper. I replaced the caliper with a refurbished one from a local auto factors however it had an issue with the automatic handbrake adjustment. After a few miles and applying the hand brake a couple of times, the pads remained pushed up against the disk. This caused binding and overheating. I rewound the caliper back in again and went on a long trip to Le Mans without using the handbrake. Whilst there it started to bind up again. I removed the caliper and wound the piston back in and it was OK for a few miles then did the same again. I then wound the piston back in again but this time left the handbrake cable disconnected. We drove back from France quite happily. After about a week of driving without issue I reconnected the handbrake. 5 miles later, binding again. The Auto factors were great and swapped out the faulty one without issue. We drove the car for a further couple of weeks without issue before returning the original old caliper to get the deposit back.
- We were getting ODB” error messages pointing to one of the 02 sensors. Because I was so busy with the house, we dropped it off at the local garage. They changed an 02 sensor and it worked for a couple of days but the error returned. The garage said they used a “replacement” part and swapped it out for a genuine Jaguar part. It lasted another two days before the error came back again. The garage then looked at it and said there must be an error with the loom so take it to a jaguar dealer. I decided it was time for me to get involved and noticed that the error message was different to the one we initially had. It too, pointed an 02 sensor, bank 1 upstream. I took of the connector and measured across the heater pins. It was reading ~1.6k ohms where as the bank 2 sensor was reading just an ohm or two. I ordered a replacement from S & G Barratt part number C2S51801# which is an alternative (SNG Barratt recommended) part. It costs £75 +VAT compared to £134 +VAT for the Jaguar original. It was a bit of a pain to remove the old one but managed to get there and problem has been resolved for over a month now.
- Having attended the Le Mans Classic with me for the second time, my daughter decided that she wanted a classic car as her first car. We ended up with a 1976 MG Midget 1500. It is a little rough around the edges but nothing a little finessing from me cant resolve. Yet another car to add to the endless list of jobs. Especially with a front suspension requiring a grease every 1500 miles!
- Replace disks and pads on sons Renault Clio. Nothing else really to say about that
Can’t wait to build a new garage with a two post lift 🙂
XJR6 – Moved house and Garage
We have moved home and that also meant I had to move my garage and all of its contents. There was no way a removal company would touch moving all of the junk I had spread across three garages. To give you an idea, this is what it looked like with a week to go to the move. I quickly attached the doors and wings to the car so I had less items to move. The bonnet was attached the next day. The mountain of items and boxes to the right of the car were those I had already packed. There is a long length single garage attached to the right of this double that also had a lot if items in it.
The process I decided to follow in the end was to rent a 20 foot container about 3 miles away, move all the stuff there prior to the move with a Luton type tail lift truck. I then emptied the container using another truck a couple of weeks later. All in all it was a total of 6 journeys using the biggest Luton available. My brother has an “A” frame towing device which we used to tow the Jaguar to its new location. There is no prop-shaft installed at the moment so no issues with towing with an automatic gearbox. The Jaguar arrived in its new home unscathed although there was a nasty squeak coming from the rear end. Something else to look into when things get a little more organised.
I only have a two reasonably wide single garages at my new house so I have plans to modify them significantly. Ideally I want to make it into a much bigger double with the extra height to have a couple of lifts installed.
The empty garage looked a bit sad, so was I having built it about 20 years ago. Many a fun evening spent pottering around in there!
XKR- Brake Switch Repair – LJB6420BB
Recently I started getting an error message scrolling between “Check Rear Lights” and “Cruise Control not available”. It turns out after a little research that this is due to the Brake Switch. This switch is a real pig to change. There is very little room to remove and refit the part plus you have to lay upside down in the foot well to get any chance of reinstalling it. Following the various posts on the Jaguar forum it appears that this is a common issue. On removal of the switch, I found that one of the metal levers on one of the micro switches had snapped off, probably due to fatigue.
I found the missing piece in the foot well but as it had snapped off, there was nothing to do except replace the switch. A quick look around on the various suppliers plus that well known auction site I found them available but at a high price. Jaguar spare suppliers were around £115 plus delivery and second hand around £50. Well I thought to myself, the micro switches are just soldered in so if I could find a replacement then it would no doubt be much cheaper! The original ones were manufactured by Cherry and had A2 42 printed on them.
That did not seem to help much, however reading the posts on the Jaguar Forum page a little closer and a very helpful member called Jima had posted a suitable replacement part. (Omron D2HW-A211D sub-miniature micro-switch). These are available from a number of places but I used RS components The micro switches were only 98 pence each so I purchased three of them just in case. The picture on tier website did not look correct as it had three cables connected but they were in fact perfect. The hinge is not the same design as the originals but they work fine. I did put a slight bend in the end of the hinge and also spent a little time fine tuning them once installed to get them both to click on/off at the same time.
The image below shows the slight bend I put into the hinge.
Getting the switch back in place was the real challenge. A tip on the Jaguar forum mentioned using some thread to help align the bracket. I did try using some fine wire wrapped around the two threaded pins and though the holes in the bulkhead. This on its own failed to get it lined up properly. In the end I had to remove the drivers seat and lie upside down in the foot well. Using a light shining into the engine bay I could see roughly where the holes were. Using the wire and the light I eventually managed to get it back in. I checked the positioning of the adjuster in the switch which you can see in the image of the “Rear of the Brake Switch” above.
A quick test drive and all was working fine. All in all a great result and best of all it only cost less than £5 to fix it. There was however one slight drawback. I did the work outside so I could have the door open and roof down to get better access. The local mosquitoes/midges took a liking to my midriff and I now have a large number of very itchy bites. The suffering we have to go through to keep our beloved Jaguars on the road!
As a long term Le Mans 24 hour visitor I gave it a miss this year and decided to take my wife to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It was a great event which we both enjoyed. We attended both the Saturday and Sunday. There was beautiful weather and fabulous cars, what more could you possibly want. There were a a few highlights, Jaguar winning the hillclimb event in a XJR-12D in a nail biting finish. My second favourite was seeing a rather unusual looking 1911 Fiat. It was built around a really tall and narrow engine with just what looked liked vents coming out of the side for exhausts. Seeing flames pour out of the side as it made its way up the hill was a sight to behold. I also happened to be standing next to the Williams Renault of Nigel Mansell when they started it up and showed off the amazing active suspension system (see the video).
Williams Renault video
The weather was great, this was taken on the way to the hotel on the Saturday evening at around 6PM so still very pleasant temperature with the roof down in the XKR.
If you haven’t been I would recommend it at least once 🙂
I would suggest you also go for the Grandstand seat option. We had done for the second day. You can go in any one of the public Grandstands assuming you can find a space. (There are a few company ones that you cant go in) We sat in one along the straight in front of the house for a while. you get to see some of the cars doing doughnuts there and generally hooning about. For the close of the day we went further up the hill at Molecombe Corner and watched them enter the bend trying desperately to scrub of some speed.
BD – Going to Strata Hadoop Conference
I have manage to get a ticket to the Strata Hadoop Conference this week. It looks like it is going to be very interesting. I have a gold ticket which allows access to the training sessions on Tuesday so that’s my first day. I also have to help out on the company stand on Wednesday and Thursday but I am sure I will attend at least some of the keynotes.
I’ll post my review following the visit.
BD – Isilon Multi-protocol access & Hadoop
Surely a scale out NAS array has little to do with Hadoop?
Why not just use commodity servers stuffed full of disks for your Hadoop needs?
Well, as it happens, Isilon has a great offering in Enterprise level Hadoop solutions By “Enterprise level Hadoop”. I mean that once a business decides it needs to put Hadoop into production, it requires all of the usual business processes surrounding a mission critical application. Typical Enterprise requirements are data protection, backup, snapshots, replication, high availability and security. With Isilon, not only do you get those Enterprise level features but you also get native HDFS support just like Isilon supports SMB, NFS, FTP, NDMP and Swift protocols.
Well what does that actually mean when put into production use?
Most high end NAS solutions offer simultaneous access to the same pool of data via say an NFS share and a SMB share.
You can look at the share in Windows Explorer (left hand image), type in ‘ls’ on the NFS share (right hand image) and you have access to the same data. You can read or write the data via any of the supported protocols assuming of course you have the appropriate file permissions.
Isilon, being a mature, Enterprise level NAS device, also provides all of the typical file sharing protocols and features but adds more!
Isilon supports the native HDFS protocol in the same manner. If you look at the share in Windows Explorer or do a ‘hdfs dfs –ls /’ it will look the same!
The screen grab below shows the output from “hdfs dfs –ls” of the same directory as those shown above in Explorer and NFS
This means that you can simply upload your data into your Isilon based Hadoop cluster using traditional IP based protocols and then run Hadoop queries against it straight away. There is no need to move the data, no translation, no post processing, it is just immediately available via the other protocols. Most importantly you dont need the default triple replication of the data thereby saving a huge amount of disk space. Obviously all the usual Hadoop ingest processes such as Sqoop or Flume and also Hortonworks data Flow (HDF) can also be used but the traditional IP based protocols such as SMB and NFS are well understood and have been used to share data for years.
How can this make your life easier?
In this example workflow, you have some logs from a web server writing to an NFS share. You want to run some Hadoop jobs against the data and then view the results via a windows client. You can do this in the traditional manner and have to copy the data into HDFS and out again but with Isilon it is far simpler.
The diagram above logically shows the following workflow.
- You write your Web server log files into an NFS share
- You then run Hadoop queries directly against them over HDFS
- The results from the Hadoop job are written directly into a directory via HDFS which is then also available via an SMB share to make it easy to view the results straight away as a Windows user.
There is no extra moving of data in/out of HDFS, no transferring of the results to another location. It is available via any of the protocols as soon as it is written to the underlying OneFS file system. (OneFS is the operating system that runs on each node in the Isilon cluster providing the shared single file system namespace across all nodes.)
How does Isilon achieve this very useful functionality?
Each node in the Isilon Cluster runs a HDFS daemon process that responds to HDFS protocol requests as both a NameNode and a DataNode. Those requests are “translated at wire speed”, just like any other supported IP protocol, into the associated actions/results onto the Isilon OneFS Posix file system. The diagram below shows a high level view of what is going on for well know standard IP based protocols
The IP protocol talks to the Isilon via a service running on a specified standard IP port. An associated service running on the protocol specific port translates the commands/data into the appropriate action onto the underlying file system. Isilon has created an HDFS protocol translator service that responds to NameNode and DataNode requests on the default port 8082. Other HDFS services such as https and webHDFS use different port numbers.
The diagram below logically shows a 4 node Isilon cluster running the HDFS daemon on each node and acts like both a NameNode and a DataNode for all of the data in the pool.
- The Hadoop worker node, running the standard HDFS Client code, connects to the NameNode to request the location of a block/file.
- NOTE: There is no specific code or plugin required on any client as Isilon runs a fully HDFS compliant service. You just use the default HDFS software provided by an Apache Hadoop distribution.
- The Isilon NameNode service provides a compliant API response with the IP addresses of three DataNodes that have access to the data requested (on Isilon, all of the nodes in the pool or zone have access to all of the data)
- Isilon also supports “rack awareness” to return the most appropriate nodes IP addresses.
- The compute worker node then connects to the Isilon DataNode service running on one of the nodes specified by the NameNode to request the data.
- The selected Isilon node collates the data from the OneFS file system and returns it to the worker node.
In the above example, the NameNode listed in the core-site.xml file is the fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) of the SmartConnect IP address of the Isilon.
SmartConnect is an Isilon software feature that does IP load-balancing to spread the client connections from the Hadoop worker nodes across the nodes in the Isilon cluster.
Using Isilon for the underlying HDFS file system for your Hadoop compute cluster means that in a 10 node Isilon cluster there are 10 NameNodes and 10 DataNodes to support the Hadoop Compute requirements. There is no need for Secondary NameNodes or HA NameNodes as the primary service runs on every Isilon node. Isilon does not require any tuning of the memory allocation for metadata store on the name node as that function is built into the design of the Isilon node and the OneFS file system. Obviously this solution provides an extremely high level of NameNode resilience!
Isilon adheres to the HDFS protocol standards and is thoroughly tested for each Hadoop release. For example, EMC Isilon’s HDFS protocol is tested using the same 10,000 tests that HortonWorks uses for each of its new releases. It is backwards compatible so you can run production on a stable version and then spin up a new version, read the same data and test it out before committing production to the new version of code.
After explaining the Isilon HDFS solution to a customer a little while ago, they suggested that a good way to describe it was that “Isilon provides a first class file system for HDFS”
In summary, some of the benefits of using multi-protocol access on Isilon as your HDFS storage layer are as follows:
- Multiple Protocol access to your data without any moving/copying of data
- Multiple versions of Apache based Hadoop distributions supported
- Different Hadoop distributions can have access to the same data (read only for simultaneous access). You can try out a distribution and then go back to your original supplier if it does not work out.
- Different Versions of Hadoop can have access to the same data without copying it.
- Note: There are a few distribution and version specific issues to be aware of such as adding different users (ambari_qa or cloudera’s manager) but fundamentally you can provide access to the data for different distributions/versions.
- You can scale compute and storage independently. Need more capacity? add another Isilon node, need more compute? add another worker node.
- You don’t need to replicate the data 3 x to provide data protection. Isilon is far more efficient, using FEC to protect the data. This typically provides up to around 80% usable/raw disk saving on rack space, power and cooling.
There are a number of other major benefits from using Isilon as the HDFS data store. I will describe some of them in future posts.
For more immediate queries please see the EMC Isilon Big Data Community page.
XJ6R – Front Suspension Rebuild
The front suspension had not been touched in years. The track rod ends although were probably OK wear wise but looked bad because the rubber “boots” were perished. The “boots” on the lower ball joints looked bad too. Springs, shock absorbers and all the bushes looked rusty and worse for wear.
I therefore decide to replace all rubber bushes and ball joints and clean up as I went along. First thing was to order all the associated parts from a few suppliers attempting to get the best price and availability. I had already changed the front subframe bushes with poly bushes however I went with standard rubber for the rest.
Of course I could not resist cleaning and painting along the way and so it took a lot longer than I thought it would. I have still one side to reassemble but the drivers side is now complete. It looks reasonably good even if I say so myself. during this rebuild, I am not after concourse or any thing close to it. I just want it to not look rusty and work the way it should.
There were a few minor “challenges” along the way. Please be very careful removing the springs as with even all the weight of the car on one spring it still has a lot of tension forcing the spring tray downwards. I did not have the correct spring compressor so I used a jack, a number of G cramps and a threaded rod to remove and re-assemble the springs. Some of that pressure did damage the threads so I had to replace some bolts. I did clean up and repaint the springs and the surrounding metal work too. The spring trays were full of rust and road debris. It took a lot of cleaning away of the debris before I could even separate the springs from the tray. The lower fulcrum shaft on the drivers side was a bit of a pain to remove. Unfortunately I did damage the thread a little in my efforts to remove it. Luckily re-cutting/cleaning up the thread with a die managed to save it. It was not the cost of the replacement of the shaft that was the issue but more of the fact it had a 4-5 week lead time. (I have since seen some in stock! and half the price)
Here are a few photos of the state of the suspension before I started
Lower ball joint replacement
As from the first pictures in this post, you can see the split ball joint covers, if nothing else needed replacing. Removal of the lower ball joint was pretty straight forward and resulted in the items pictured below along with the more modern, single piece replacement on the right hand side. You do have to remove the metal ring insert prior to fitting the new style ball joint.
The only non standard thing I did was to not insert all of the spacer rings at the top of the springs. The XJR engine is an Aluminium block rather than the cast block of the original XJ6 engine. It seemed to make sense that the front of the car would therefore sit a little higher with a lighter engine installed. With that in mind I left out the two, quarter inch thick nylon/plastic ring spacers back on the top of the springs. I might come to regret that decision so we will have to wait and see.