chknhwk HalfDork
6/12/17 3:56 p.m.

Since I can’t seem to learn from my mistakes and because apparently I like putting myself in difficult situations, I would like to present my latest project, Vicki. (I literally change cars faster than my underwear as all the underwear I own I’ve had longer than my last three cars…)

A little background, if you will. Ford engineered a fantastic car overseas called the Mondeo. This vehicle chassis code is CDW27 and was the basis for many, many cars including the Mazda 6, various Volvos, Mercury Cougar, Jaguar X-Type and the Ford Contour. I came to learn all of this as a previous owner of four Contours, three of which were 1998 SVT Contours (black with midnight purple interior - all three. See? I really don’t learn). For whatever reason I had tired of the Contours and by the third one I had started setting my eyes on the X-Types as they were awd and had more creature comforts. Eventually I found a gorgeous blue 3L ‘04 automatic and made her mine. I absolutely loved this car and although the mods were few (front and rear Addco swaybars and 17x8.5” Worx XSA wheels) the smiles per miles was high. I took it up and down Mt. Washington and Mt. Ascutney a couple times, I had it at NHMS and VIR. However, a few issues plagued it and my wife convinced me to get rid of it. (Three or four front wheel bearings and a leaky transfer case…)


SVTC #3:

Jaguar X-Type #1:

As some of you know I recently had a fourth SVT Contour which was lucky enough to make it into the mag as a ‘Hot Builds’ entry but due to family health issues I wasn’t able to get it back on the road. Shortly after the engine went on my 2011 XF (the vehicle I lucked into to 'get me around' while I farted around on the Contour) and I couldn’t justify the funds to get it rebuilt. After unloading both of those I was left with a hole in my soul and made up my mind to look for another X-Type. This time I was going to get specific with what I wanted - British Racing Green Sport. I really wanted a BRG with the charcoal interior but no such animal was created by Jaguar - so I will make my own.

This is my car - I shall call her Vicki. Because you know, hot British accent...

Meet Vicki!

I found Vicki on Craigslist as she was listed by an elderly Canadian couple looking to head back home for the summer (Tampa weather can be brutal that time of year) and they couldn’t really justify the money to store it another year. While it is not a true ‘Sport’ model, it does come with the Sport package to include body-colored cladding rather than chrome accents and also the Sport suspension and seats. The side bolstering is much more significant than what was found in my first 2004 X-Type and the difference is quite noticeable. I haven’t had time to really see how well they hold me while cornering but that’s on the agenda. :D

As with any new car the first order of business is to assess the situation and see what she needs. I already knew by the test drive she was going to need brakes - there was some ungodly grinding and shimmy in the steering wheel on braking and such. The tires were absolutely shot so it was going to be pretty difficult to accurately determine what else she may need, although a part of me did feel she was going to need wheel bearings.

I definitely had stars in my eyes when I test drove it however so I kind of glossed over some of the cosmetic issues she had. The interior had seen better days, however for a 13 year old car and only 86k on the odometer I felt it was acceptable. Especially since my plan is to completely replace the interior with charcoal. The paint, however, is darn near immaculate. I can't believe how good the paint still looks. I could tell the PO's had definitely taken care of it.

Agenda: charcoal interior, heated seats (I guess not necessarily a requirement in Tampa, FL...), new windshield

After picking her up I headed over to Tampa Jaguar for a post purchase inspection to help aid me in determining what else she may need. I would be inclined to say it was a waste of time and money, but we did find a few things that needed to be rectified immediately, as well as in the near future. First up was the aftermarket key that the PO’s had supplied with the car. I had noticed the key was a little ‘sloppy’ in the ignition tumbler but didn’t really pay much attention to it. However, after the service manager saw how bad it was he informed me that both the tumbler and the key needed replacing, citing a recent event where a customer had new keys made but due to wear in the tumbler they could not get the new key out. Eventually it cost about $2k to have the steering column removed, disassembled and reassembled with a new tumbler. Yeah, let's go ahead and get that done. I’m happy to say that Vicki’s keyhole is much tighter and holds onto the key shaft much more firmly - no more sloppy holes.

What IS sloppy however is the suspension, brakes and tires still. Along with recommending swaybar endlinks and new tires, the dealership stated my oil pan gasket is leaking. This is not an easy job for these cars because the front subframe has to come out for just about anything.

Add to list: brakes, endlinks, oil pan gasket, tires and a tune up. I also seem to have developed an intermittent DSC fault which appears to be related to temperature and whether or not I driver her in Sport mode. My DSC was off for a week as I left Sport mode off in the car but Sunday, within an hour of putting her in Sport, the DSC fault came back on. I turned Sport mode off again and it cleared shortly thereafter with a few ignition cycles. Today, however, it returned just as it had down in Tampa which leads me to believe that it may be heat related? I am not entirely sure at this point but it is a possibility.

Hopefully you won't begrudge me the lengthy intro but this is a vehicle I see myself keeping for some time and I have big plans for her.

appliance_racer Reader
6/12/17 5:31 p.m.

A good friend had a 98 svt contour and we both loved that car. It unfortunately had the disappearing wiring harness that was under recall but ford wouldn't fix due to the cars mileage. I've contemplated getting the jag ever since I saw a contour and jag at a pull-a-part, taking a hard look at the chassis bits and realizing "hey those are the same cars"

TeamEvil Dork
6/12/17 5:35 p.m.

CLASSY ! ! !

Late model Jags are coming down in price and going way up in looks.

chknhwk HalfDork
6/12/17 5:36 p.m.

They are very, VERY close to being the same. I will have more examples of how soon.

chandlerGTi PowerDork
6/12/17 7:23 p.m.

Well hello there Vicki....

jere HalfDork
6/12/17 8:38 p.m.

Oh man never realized the relation other than Ford and Mazda... And the idea of an AWD svt contour, or vise versa ... Wait $2k for an ignition cylinder!! Maybe I'll just read along

759NRNG HalfDork
6/12/17 8:56 p.m.

Uh oh hi Vicki, chknhwk I'd like to chat but your watch list has me beat in spades, I gota scour the hive and find other E36M3 to lurk....will follow this, had no idea of the contour/jag lineage...peace out

chknhwk HalfDork
6/13/17 3:57 a.m.

In reply to jere:

IIRC there was a guy on the forums that was fitting the awd system into a Mercury Mystique (again, same platform) but unfortunately due to the fact that the X-Type was lengthened a few inches for more rear leg room it wasn't a completely drop-in affair. I don't know what ever came of that project, I'll have to do some research.

In reply to 759NRNG:

Chat away! That's what this here electronic car forum of 1's and 0's is all about.

chknhwk HalfDork
6/13/17 7:44 a.m.

Ordered a couple parts for Phase 1 of "Vicki Refreshening." Oh who am I kidding, I've never been that organized - we'll just call it the 'first time I got a crapload of parts together at one time'.

Knowing I needed to tackle the 'ride' more than anything, I started shopping around for brakes. Tirerack received the majority of my orders with Rockauto coming in a close second. My personal favorite for brakes has been Brembo but a friend of mine turned me onto Centric as their quality can be quite good. I purchased a set of Centric rotors for front and rear, with the coated front hats.

The rears got the cheaper version of the Centrics. Quality was still quite good, however. They are definitely a cheaper alternative to Brembos, IMO.

For brake pads I wanted to go to my old standby, Carbotech but the X-Type community has had a lot of good things to say about the Akebono’s and their low dusting so I decided to give them a try. Again, I sourced these through

I guess somebody got a little excited with the packing material…

The rotors were stuck on pretty good, I had to end up using a tow hitch with a 2 ⅜” ball on the end to knock them loose as my sledges are in storage (You can see my makeshift hammer in the bottom left of the above picture of 'parts'). After cleaning the hubs the new rotors found themselves right at home. The job went fairly straightforward until I came to the driver’s rear caliper - of course it had to be the last one, this job was going way too smoothly for me to come out unscathed. It IS a British car, after all... No matter what I did the rear piston would simply not rotate inwards. By this time it was about 4:15 pm on a Sunday in Hudson, Florida and I doubted my abilities to be able to find a replacement caliper.

My wife is also a gearhead and a fanatic dragracer so she is no stranger to parts hunting. I asked her to start the search. Fifteen minutes later she found a replacement rear caliper, complete for $80 plus a $75 core charge. She’s such a good gopher. :)

Shiny new caliper. I was a little perturbed at having to replace a caliper when what I really want to do is upgrade to a larger braking system. The front rotors, I feel, are simply too small to stand up to any amount of abuse. I know I could lessen the heat soak with functional brake ducts but that’s a later project...

On to the suspension!

The front sway bar endlinks went on no problem but the rears were a bit testy. The rear sway bar brackets are fastened via Torx bolts and I fear somebody at some point had slight rounded them because no matter what I did (short of permanently destroying them, which I considered but after realizing I probably would no be able to find suitable replacements on a Sunday afternoon swayed to leave them be for now) I could not get them off. My plan is to get them off, no matter the means and replace them with conventional SS metric Grade 8.8 or higher bolts in the future. So for now I couldn’t replace the rear sway bar endlinks. Ultimately I would like to do something similar to what I did on the first X which is to upgrade both the front and rear sway bars but this may take some persuading Addco as they said they were discontinuing the product due to difficulties in installation and lack of interest. I think I can correct either of these issues in the future, we shall see.

Knowing the car needed to go in for an alignment once I got tires on it I did a little research into what others in the X community were doing as I only wanted to do this once. Luckily we have a member named Thermo on the Jaguar forums and he is willing to try out different things to find what works best. He noticed that many, many X owners never get the rears into alignment with stock replacement pieces so he went on a hunt. Realizing the similarities in the various manufacturers on the same platform he came across a set of adjustable rear upper control arms for the Volvo S40/V60 that was a (well, almost) direct fit for the X-Types.

They come with one end adjustable with a nut to lock it in; however for these cars you have to remove the nut and thread the arm in all the way. The units pictured in the above link are a little heavier than the stock units so I found these in another thread:

Forged aluminum, very light and very shiny. Now to get tires and an alignment!

Unfortunately while in the process of doing brakes and whatnot I noticed a few other things that needed addressing. You can see on the strut above some of the fluid has leaked out and the ride is definitely not as firm as it should be so now I know I need to add a full suspension setup to the mix. Currently I am torn on the decision between going with an OEM setup, the KW Variant 1 coil-overs, mixing and matching Eibach springs and Bilstein B6 struts or looking into a custom coil-over setup via BC or Tein. I’m leaning towards the KW’s for cost and Tein for more adjustability. Plus they’ll match my car. :D

Just some shot bump stops:

Not entire sure what this means other than age:

The car definitely rode much better after the work that was done but it still needs tires as what came on it were quite old and well past their prime. I’m not thrilled with the brake pedal feel, either as I think it is a bit mushy for my taste. I guess I’ll have to do some research into different brake setups for this car to see what I like the most.

Agenda: charcoal interior, tires, brake system, rear sway bar endlinks or bigger sway bars, DSC fault, heated seats, new windshield, better pictures

759NRNG HalfDork
6/13/17 7:59 a.m.

"Agenda: charcoal interior, tires, brake system, rear sway bar endlinks or bigger sway bars, DSC fault, heated seats, new windshield, better pictures" then....power adders?

therealpinto New Reader
6/13/17 8:05 a.m.


As a European, I can say that the Mondeo when it came was a bit of a game changer, replacing the rwd Sierra. The handling was much tighter albeit fwd. There was a brief time of awd Mondeos but generally low spec and only the MkI.

I very nearly bought a MkII ST200 (our version of your SVT) estate, but then the MkIII Mondeo made its debut and that was something completely different.

Our MkIII Mondeo was a great car, superb handling (I even took it autocrossing, child seat and all) and roomy. Too bad you didn't get that one in the US.

Especially the ST220, a car that basically had the Jag X-type 227 bhp V6s... But it didn't come with awd.

My brother in law, who lives in the US, has had two X-types, first a 2.5 and then a 3.0 Sport. I loved the sport and ever since I have not so secretly been dreaming about putting an X-type drive train in a MkIII Mondeo body.

Instead; I dream to project threads like yours, and think that some day I might actually go there. Some day.


ssswitch Dork
6/13/17 8:58 a.m.

It's really nice to see someone revive an X-Type. They seem like kind of unloved cousins of the Jaguar family but there's clearly some interesting stuff going on in that front suspension design.

RIP bump stops, they look like they're just old.

chknhwk HalfDork
6/13/17 11:59 a.m.
759NRNG wrote: "Agenda: charcoal interior, tires, brake system, rear sway bar endlinks or bigger sway bars, DSC fault, heated seats, new windshield, better pictures" then....power adders?

You might think I have some ideas, but I couldn't possibly comment.

In reply to therealpinto:

Thank you for that insight! I always love hearing what our brothers from the other side of the pond think about our cars. My ultimate dream is to import an XFR Sportbrake some day...

In reply to ssswitch:

I kind of have a thing for unloved bastard children - I just can't get into the mainstream stuff.

chknhwk HalfDork
8/9/17 4:05 p.m.

Well, it looks like Photobucket has disabled third party hosting so I will have to find another hosting service.
Anyway, onto the updates! Sorry for the delays but the last two months has been crazy with moving to Boston and having my son come up and spend a month with me. I’ll have to post about his trip in another thread, raising a 6 year old autistic boy is a trip and a half, let me tell you...

As I said I have big plans for Vicki and although I promised my wife NO MORE WHEELS, it was only about a week later before I decided stock Jaguar wheels can't be trusted* and I must upgrade. I had a recipe that I knew worked from my previous Jaguar and I wanted to replicate, albeit in a slightly different flavor. The hunt was on!

  • I haven’t had great luck with OEM Jaguar wheels. My first X-Type featured four 17” aluminum wheels that were all slightly out of round, presumably due to a combination of crappy Boston roads, Boston drivers that don’t care that much about potholes and mass-produced aluminum wheels. My second Jaguar, a 2011 XF developed a crack in the passenger rear wheel while driving from PA to FL at about 2 am just as I crossed the GA/FL border. Given the fact that I am back in Boston and this X featured the sport 18” wheels rather than the smaller 17” wheels, I realized I really had no desire to be driving around these roads on (in my head) crappy OEM aluminum wheels. Or at least that’s how I justified another set of wheels...

I use pretty much the same philosophy on every car - I don’t go for bling and I don’t like the dub-YO look. What I DO do is go wide - as wide as I can go on the platform in which I currently reside. For my SVT Contours it was always 17x7.5” running 235/40’s. My last X was running 17x8.5” and 245/40’s:

For whatever reason the 17’s always looked the best on these cars as I like a little sidewall on my tires. Aesthetically and functionally I feel that’s been the best trade-off. I once heard somebody say wheels should only be big enough to clear the brakes and that has kind of stuck with me.
It took me probably another week of shopping around online for what I wanted before I realized that what I wanted was actually going to be a very expensive proposition unless I asked for some help. I turned to my buddy google for some good aftermarket wheel shops near where I was contracting in Tampa and came up with Advance Performance Tire and Wheel. Mikey really helped me out shopping for affordable wheels in the size I was looking for. He did end up talking me into going up half an inch on the width, however. More on that later… (Cue ominous music)

Mikey’s philosophy was that with the offset I was running on the 8.5” wide wheels these new 9” wide shoes would sit outboard the same amount but bring it in a bit on the inside since ‘we have so much room’. Plus in his mind the tire sidewalls would be more square on the 9” wheel as 8.5” was on the narrow end of what the tires allowed for the size I wanted to go.

Vicki getting new shoes:

They're not Louboutins or anything but they'll do.

Mmmmm, meaty 17x9” wheels:

I haven’t been able to get really good pictures yet as all I have is my cell phone but it’s definitely in my plans to get some better pics for everybody. I ended up going with the Forgestar F14’s like many friends have been trying to talk me into. These wheels look absolutely fantastic in the light. I was pretty dead set on a hyper finish much like on the last X wheels but Mikey talked me into this new color, Chrome Bronze. It took a lot of convincing as I would never have guessed this color to compliment the green as much as they do…

However. (There’s always a ‘but’) Turns out I should have stuck to my guns on the whole width debate. The inside of the driver’s front wheel hits the steering linkage on full left when turning. I would say full left lock but there is no lock, the wheels just turn until they hit something. Mikey had the guys at his shop put the car up on the lift for about an hour double checking measurements but this one just kind of slipped through the cracks - they didn’t expect this much turn on the wheels. Mikey was pretty pissed at himself for the mistake, I could see it on his face but not much could be done at this point - I’m just pretty careful making left hand turns now. It only happens when you crank the wheel all the way to the left which isn’t that often. I may play around with some small spacers at some point, honestly I have bigger issues at the moment...

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