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Jaguar E Type Engine Removal

Updated on May 19, 2012

The Jaguar E Type engine, whether dealing with a 3.8 Litre or 4.2 Litre engine must be removed from the car as a whole together with the gear box attached, and even though this looks like a major job it is not quite so difficult as you may think.

You must have the adequate lifting gear and prepare yourself in the direction of the work in a systematic and methodical way.

The Jaguar E Type engine when in the final stages of removal has to be tilted to an angle of about 45° to clear the front sub frame when you lift it out, and you will discover that the back of the car will have to be raised to allow clearance for the gearbox if the car has its wheels on the ground.

For that reason axle stands, lifts or blocks, on which to support the rear end will be required, as a substitute, the front of the car can be lowered or even as an alternative the whole car can be raised about 40 cm supported by blocks for easy access underneath and engine removal stages.

No special tools are necessary and the only equipment you need is a wheeled jack with a hoist capable of supporting a weight of at least close to a ton and also capable of lifting that weight to a height of about a meter.

In the various operations you are about to perform in removing the engine, you should take as many detailed pictures as possible for future reference in engine installation.

Rounded and polished cam covers identifies this engine as a 3.8 litre

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 information on the Jaguar XKE here

As a great help, while removing components from the engine, try not to leave nuts, bolts, washers and so on lying around that could get misplaced and lost. After each and every single unit you remove from the engine screw back bolts, nuts and washers as whole, or get loads of medium sized cardboard boxes to store the loose bits pertaining to that unit. Again, don´t forget to take pictures through the process.

Removing the Engine

  • Disconnect the battery and drain the radiator coolant from the system and drain off the engine and gearbox oil as well.
  • Inside the car unscrew the chrome nut at each side of the centre console and then lift the console rearwards. Disconnect the input and the aerial wires and raise the console off the car.
  • Loosen the conical locknut at the gear lever knob. Remove the knob and then unscrew the locknut. Remove the cover panel from the gearbox tunnel and remove the seats by lifting out the cushions and then remove the four nuts and washers holding each seat and lift out the seat. Now raise the central arm rest, lift out the bottom panel, withdraw the five self tapping screws and remove the central arm rest.
  • Make sure that the handbrake lever is in the entirely raised position and then lift the cover panel up at the rear and at the same time tip it to the left to clear the handbrake.
  • Unfasten the self tapping screws securing the gearbox cover to the floor and take out the cover. Remove the self locking nut from the gear lever pivot pin, collect the flat washer and spring and lift out the gear lever assembly.
  • Disconnect the reverse light switch on the top cover of the gearbox. Slacken the clamps securing the gearbox breather pipe and remove the pipe. Disconnect the speedometer and it drive.
  • Make use of a centre punch to mark the relative positions of the gearbox and propeller shaft flanges for future fitting. Remove the nuts from the four bolts securing the propeller shaft to the gearbox flange and then disconnect the propeller shaft by pushing to the rear on the sliding joint. You will have to move the car somehow to bring all the flanges securing nuts into an easier position for removal.
  • Now removal of the engine bonnet is a two man job and you should get some help.

  • Remove the leads from the revolution counter at the rear of the right hand camshaft cover and Remove the butterfly nuts securing the air intake box and then remove the box fully.
  • Loosen the clips holding the two heater hoses running from the engine to the connections on the bulkhead and remove the hoses. Loosen the clip securing the brake servo tube to the union on the inlet manifold and disconnect the tube.
  • Disconnect the throttle at the rear carburetor by pulling outwards against the spring clip and remove the choke cable. Remove the breather pipe running from the front cover and breather housing assembly to the air cleaner in order to better your access to the starter motor and to the oil pressure sensor.
  • Remove the nut securing the lead at the starter motor and separate the lead. Disconnect the gasoline supply pipe from underneath the centre carburetor using two spanners, one to hold the underside union nut and the other to unscrew the top nut.
  • Remove the nut securing the electric wire to the water temperature gauge and remove the lead from the terminal. The header tank and radiator can be removed a whole, slacken the clips and remove the right and left hand water hoses running from the header tank to the top of the radiator.
  • Remove the water hose running from the header tank to the thermostat outlet. Remove the bypass pipe running from the radiator to the water pump. Separate the wires from the thermostat in the front of the header tank.
  • Loosen the clips below the radiator holding the rubber junctions of the water pipe running from the engine to the bottom of the radiator and remove it as well as the fans.
  • Remove alternator, loosen the automatic belt tensioner pivot belt and then push the tensioner out. Remove the water pump belt. Remove the cables from the alternator and remove the coil as well.
  • Remove the four nuts holding the exhaust pipe to the exhaust manifold and Remove the two furthest back nuts from the exhaust manifold and disconnect the gearbox breather pipe. Remove the exhaust system altogether.
  • Remove the ignition timing pointer that is at the front of the engine. Remove the crankshaft damper bolt locking plate and take out the large centre bolt holding the crankshaft damper. Behind it dismount the cone with care.
  • The clutch slave cylinder should be removed at this stage.
  • Remove the oil filter assembly and the earth connection. Undo and remove the bolts on each side holding the torsion bar reaction plate. You will need a helping hand for this operation. Remove reaction tie plate and cover.
  • In the engine compartment, loosen the top self locking nut of the engine stabilizer and then disconnected from the engine. Remove the nut from the bolt securing the stabilizer to the engine and remove the bolt. Remove front mounting bolts, rear mountings, between the engine and the body.
  • Make sure everything is disconnected at this stage and ready for engine removal.
  • The 4.2 liter engine comes supplied with lifting brackets, while you will have to make some of your own for lifting the 3.8 liter engine.
  • Attach your lifting gear to the lifting brackets and take the weight of the engine. Protect the lower part underneath the gearbox and place a hydraulic jack to support it during removal.
  • Raise the engine slightly at the front and then move the gearbox by slacking the jack until the front of the clutch housing is seen to be clear of the bracket for connection of the torsion bar reaction tie plate. This could be a bit tricky but with patience you will get there.
  • Remember that the engine will slowly have to be moved forward and gradually tilted front end up to a 45º angle for clearance from the front sub frame. 
  • Move the engine forward as far as you can in a horizontal level and slowly start raising the front and lowering the back under the gearbox. Repeat this until the engine is clear of the car and move the engine to the floor with protection pads underneath.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      wound up to be the throw out bearing disentegrating and getting jammed in the pressure plate (came off the clutch fork) - fully replaced all associated parts - to bearing, pressure plate, clutch disc, clutch fork,etc and took it a step further - the 4.2 litre engines had a self adjusting slave cylinder - which is both good and bad. Good part is you don't have to adjust the clutch - bad part is the throw out bearing is always in contact w/ the pressure plate (which is what caused it to disentigrate). I found an older style, non-self adjusting slave and return spring (used on the 3.8 litre engines) and am now using that in my e. After tweaking the timing (out by 7 degrees), rebuilding the carbs again(sent them to a vendor, paltech, 3 yrs ago who didn't do such a good job) now she's running amazingly.

    • nelson soares profile imageAUTHOR

      nelson soares 

      7 years ago from Sunny Algarve

      I´ve spread the word to some e type jag owners I know Ken O, but so far have got mixed replies! Hence late in replying! Could be a number of things! Have you checked hydraulic pipes for blockage?

      If not blocked looks like you´ll have to do a process of elimination on your e type clutch!

      Good luck and thanks for the read!

    • profile image

      Ken O 

      8 years ago

      I'm having difficulties w/ my 1968 etype clutch - cannot get it to disengage - pedal will only push down half way and then lock up. I've replaced the master cylinder, slave and flexible hose(saw a buldge) to no avail. ANy thoughts?

    • nelson soares profile imageAUTHOR

      nelson soares 

      8 years ago from Sunny Algarve

      When you got an E Type I found that weekends are never boring! Some years ago on an E Type meet heard of that engine removal method from a long time enthusiast! He did mention that it was much easier and yes, you´re not the only one that has a stubborn reaction plate, it can drive you mad at times!

      Thanks for the read Francis Thibaud!

    • profile image

      Francis Thibaud 

      8 years ago

      I did it a different way which is longer but (in my opinion) easier and safer : I removed the engine from underneath by lowering it on a trolley and lifting the front end of the car enough to roll it out.

      I verified all the steps you mention, with the exception of the torsion bar reaction plate which refused to come out even with persuasion. I had to release the tension on the torsion bars by disconnecting the lower suspension ball joint and even exert reverse pressure by pressing the wishbones downward so that the reaction plate was finally freed.

      My method implies that you have to remove manifolds and mounting brackets, that is why it is longer. But no problems finding the right tilting angle.

      Some people find the weekends boring ...




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