Most of the bits I've been waiting for the Jag have now arrived with the exception of course of the injection stuff because the store is closed and I've not yet summoned the energy to pick up everything individually. Oh, and bolts for the cam covers because I still been to dig out what size is the best fit (seem to recall it being mentioned in the PDF I've got which helps keep us XJ-S owners sane).
Looking at the bag full of coolant hoses I'm somewhat horrified by the number of really short bits there are... I'm used to these being an absolute pain in the proverbial rear based on my experience changing the water pump to heater feed connection on Skoda Estelles...and that's relatively easy to get at!
Changing half a dozen of these in hose twice the diameter, buried under the sprawling V12 mess in the XJ-S engine bay isn't my idea of fun...I'm guessing that it's probably going to be a lot easier to get to a fair few hoses while the inlet manifolds are off to get at the cam covers.
Today I decided that in the interests of getting the dogs (and me) exercise while being a far faster moving target for hassle that it was time to get the C5 out for the first time this year. I'd meant to a couple of months ago, but couldn't face digging it out of the back of the shed at the time.
Unsurprisingly it hasn't got any less scruffy over winter.
Star decided she wanted to model for us here too. It actually took me six attempts to get this photo without her being in the way.
Apologies for the state of the garden here as well...This area is pretty much exclusively used as an exercise area for the dogs and is due me going around to do a litter clearance (it gets done a couple of times every week), so is a bit of a mess. Only reason other than the dogs to be out there is that it's also the route between the shed the C5 lives in and the outside world.
Aside from missing hub caps, a missing front mud guard (I do actually have that, I've just never got as far as refitting it as it makes checking the front tyre pressure a pain) and every single surface being scratched to Hell and back the reflective stripes are falling off and are the wrong colour. They were applied in minutes by me with stuff that I just happened to have laying around about five years ago.
Completely at random I stumbled across some reflective tape in Halfords a couple of months ago which is a far, far closer match to the colour of the original stuff.
The two little squares on the wheel trim here are still the originally applied stickers, so you can see while it's not a perfect match it's a lot closer.
An empty paint tin I've found makes an ideal jack for working on the C5.
While it's still scruffy as anything if you look vaguely closely I think it looks a good deal more presentable at a glance now the stripes are all there, match each other and are the right colour.
Next up for it once the lockdown finishes will be a new battery as the one currently in use has pretty much had it. Can't really complain though, it's done five years of regular use and is just a standard car 038 type, so not designed for this type of application really. I'd really like to go down the lithium ion route as it's entirely possible to build a pack into the base of the luggage compartment that's a fraction of the weight of the original yet gives a real world range of 50+ miles even using motor assistance more than normal. However you're looking at several hundred pounds worth of batteries alone...plus obviously a charger and controller would also need to be factored in...and some form of monitoring as the original "fuel gauge" calibration wouldn't be suitable for a different battery chemistry,
Mentioning the instrumentation, here's the "dash" on the C5.
The right hand display is the fuel guage. Simple bar graph that ticks down as energy is used. It will start beeping at you before you run out of juice entirely, and about that point will cut power to protect the battery from damage. The left hand display is essentially an economy gauge. When the motor is energised a single LED lights to show how much power is being used - moving to the right (red) if the load is heavy, or left (green) if the motor load is low. The two amber LEDs at each end of both gauges are simply there to act as an indicator to the user that the power is switched on. The left display also acts as an overheat indicator for the motor - if it gets too hot the whole display there will flash to warn you. The electronics in there are actually pretty clever for the time. The LCD display at the far left is just an off-the-shelf cycle computer to give me a speedometer, odometer and clock as there's nothing like that built in. The two green lights at either side are also additions of mine tied into the indicators so I don't go for miles before remembering to switch them off.
I have thought about doing a more thorough modernisation, doing away with the original lead-acid battery, the original primitive motor controller (it's just a relay switched feed so on or off, there's no throttle or anything like that) etc. However given that this C5 while cosmetically rough is actually very original and works well I'm quite reluctant to go gutting it. If I came across the necessary hardware cheaply enough (finding an e-bike that's been accident damaged beyond economic repair would be the ideal situation really) though I may well be willing to reconsider that situation. A modern hub motor even though still rated at the same maximum of 250W can provide a lot more torque a lot more efficiently than the comparatively primitive one the C5 uses. Speaking of the motor...no, it is NOT a washing machine motor. Yes, Polymotor, company who made it do also make washing machine motors...but the press seemed to conveniently forget that as well as washing machine motors, they also make motors for torpedos and other industrial applications. There's actually nothing whatsoever wrong with the original C5 motor - quite a few folks get impressive performance out of it running it on 24V with some additional cooling without reliability issues, it's just that technology has moved on from 1984. A modern hub motor will perform better than the original, is lighter and does away with the need for a separate gearbox and belt drive as it's just one integral unit. We'll see...If I came across the parts needed for an upgrade, I might instead look to revive the "spares" C5 which lives out the back of the shed. It's got a dead control system and is missing a lot of bits, so would be a better candidate for a complete drive system overhaul. It's in a lot better shape cosmetically than the one I actually use too. I don't really mind it being scruffy though, it's a working vehicle and being a mess visually makes it less appealing to thieves - especially as the accessories like the indicators and rear view mirror are things I've grafted on myself rather than factory accessories which have quite a bit of value these days.
It's good fun to ride around here where we've got so many off-street cycle paths, don't think I'd fancy using it to actually commute on a public road though!