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Jaguar E Type Engine

Updated on October 6, 2015

Six in-line Jaguar E type engine

The Jaguar E type engine, known as the XK engine supplied power to cars like the XK120, XK140, XK150 of the 40´s and 50´s.

A remarkable engine for that time featuring a six cylinder in line with twin overhead camshafts. On developments to supply the Jaguar E type, the engine went through a series of alterations that ended up delivering a whooping 265 horsepower at 5400rpm, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.1 seconds with a top speed of 245 km/h.

Engine Description

To describe the Jaguar E type engine in general, it was produced in a 3.8 liter and 4.2 liter displacement. Only in 1971 was the 5.3 V12 engine introduced. The 3.8 and 4.2 liter engines fitted to the range of E type cars are the same except a few size differences.

The Jaguar E type engine 3.8 liter version has a bore of 87mm and stroke of 106 mm and a capacity of 3781 cc while the 4.2 liter has the same stroke but a bore of 92.07mm and a capacity of 4235 cc with triple SU carburetors, double Zenith for American models.

3.8 liter engine

3.8 liter engine newly restored
3.8 liter engine newly restored

4.2 liter engine

4.2 liter engine awaiting restoration
4.2 liter engine awaiting restoration

Engines come with compression ratios of 8:1 or 9:1. Removal of an E Type engine for rebuilt can be a bit tricky at times.

The cylinder block and the upper half of the crankcase are cast together.

A steel oil sump is bolted to the underside. The cylinders are fitted into position and the cylinder head is made of aluminum alloy.

The cast iron valve inserts, the tappet guides and valve guides are joined into the cylinder head.

The pistons are low expansion aluminum alloy. The pistons have three rings, two for compression and one for oil control.

Split skirt pistons were fitted on earlier models and solid skirt pistons on later 4.2 models.

The oil control consists of two steel rails with a spacer in between. The camshafts are made of cast iron and each shaft is supported by four bearings.

Identifying 3.8 and 4.2 engines

Camshaft covers are easily identified by the change from smooth rounded polished cam covers on the 3.8 engines to a ribbed appearance on the 4.2 engines.

E Type engine sound

Jaguar E Type (Jaguar XKE)

It is known as the Jaguar E Type in Europe and commonly referred to as the Jaguar XKE in North America. Get more detailed information on the Jaguar XKE:

The Jaguar E Type engine shafts are driven by a Duplex roller chain from a sprocket on the crankshaft.

The right hand camshaft drives a generator for the rpm counter.

A torsion vibration damper is at the front end of the shaft while a flange at the rear of the shaft carries the flywheel to which is attached the clutch unit.

The crankshaft is balanced as an assembly with the flywheel and clutch.

The air filter is mounted on the right side of the engine and connected to the carburetors.

The oil pump is of the eccentric rotor type, it is driven by a gear on the crankshaft and delivers oil at pressure of 20 kg cm2 at 3000 rpm.

A pressure relief valve is in the head of the filter and oil passing this valve is returned to the sump by an external pipe.

The relief valve fitted in the filter head which will open at a determined pressure difference as a safety against the filter getting blocked and not lubricating components.


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    • th1981 profile image


      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Which is it that would run hot after 10 mins of hard driving?......

      That 3.8 looks incredible


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