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These 2 articles were written in 1999 when I was still principally a Jaguar specialist. (I specialised more and more in Land Rovers and Motor Caravans from around 2001 onwards). I was still doing a lot of the old XJ6's and XJS's then. They would be relevant today I think if you were looking to buy one of the Jags or Mercedes from that period. I did not do all that many Mercedes models but I did loads of Jags between 1987 and 2001 so if you are looking to buy an old XJS or a series 1, 2 or 3 XJ6 or XJ12, try to find one that was Before 'n' After'd 20 or 30 years ago. Caveat: a DIY or “garage” application of waxoyl, particularly at that period would only last a year or so. I advertised my treatment as needing to be renewed every five years but even if the car only had one of my treatments it will be in much better shape than contemporaries that I did not treat.
How to preserve your Jaguar (or Mercedes etc)
How to avoid buying an old tart
- Waxoyl is fantastically effective at preventing rust in cars. Many hundreds of thousands of car enthusiasts have verified this for themselves after using it themselves. Unfortunately it is very difficult, unpleasant stuff to use and it is almost impossible for someone doing a diy application to inject it properly into cavities (even if they have an air compressor and a gun). However I have my own customized equipment which cannot be bought - I have designed and had it built to my own design. With this equipment I am able to inject the cavities (ie. sills, doors, boot lid, bonnet lid, wings, box sections etc) quickly and effectively with Waxoyl.
- How Waxoyl preserves the car's cavities. Cars with monocoque bodies have spot welded seams. When the seams are welded together at manufacture, damage occurs to the paint so these seams are rusting from day one - with the result that cars will gradually rust from the inside out. With my treatment, Waxoyl will creep right into these seams and kill this rust. On older cars (particularly cars of the 60's and 70's), the rust in box sections may be well advanced. Even in these cases the Waxoyl will still be effective and kill the rust and prevent further rust. Where there is severe damage and the rust is heavy however, Waxoyl will not kill the rust permanently. It will only slow it down for a couple of years.
- Underbody protectionI have had a pressure washer designed and built to my own specifications. I have had this for the past 18 months and recently re-built it to make it even more powerful. It is now 9 times more powerful than a standard Karcher garage pressure washer! So with this I am now able to get a vehicle underside really clean, very quickly. On the rusty bits on the underside of the car it has the same effect as a very vigorous and thorough wire brushing. It can also usually remove new schutz or bitumen coatings which have been applied over rust. (A normal pressure washer will only remove these coatings afer a year or two, once the rust underneath has had time to "fester".)
- My treatment cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!
- Cars with original paintwork and underseal If your car has original paintwork and underseal I can tell you exactly how well my treatment will work for you when I see the car. In general it should preserve it without rust for at least five years. (See "Cars with rust in the Wheel Arches" underneath). If you are going to do a high mileage I would recommend you bring the car back to me every year for me to pressure wash the wheel arches and spray them with Waxoyl Underseal. (I now have special days set aside for wheel arch underseal treatment).
- Wheel Arch damage On all modern cars the first place rust starts now is around the wheelarches as the wheels pebble dash the paintwork and wheel arch underseal with stones. The damage will be directly proportional to the mileage and the speed used during that mileage. So a car used for a lot of high speed, high mileage work will have a lot of damage in these areas. Before bringing your car to me it is a good idea to examine the paintwork on the wheel arch lips for rust damage. On all XJ's the seam between the sills and the rear wing is part of the wheel arch. If you want to preserve your car this is the one spot you must continually inspect to make sure stone chip damage is not causing rust because once rust gets into the seam it can never be totally cured. If there is rust damage it is vital to get this properly repaired by a reputable bodyshop. Remember - you get what you pay for - do not use a cheap bodger because you will repent later! If you get this done before you come to me I will be able to apply a nice clean strip of Waxoyl Underseal on the wheel arch lip paintwork to protect it against stone chip damage.
- Front Wing Splash plate on XJ Series On all XJ series a particular weak spot is the aluminium "splash plate" behind each front wheel. The factory coating on these was an awful, cheap, "bitumen sludge" type coating. This is a very poor coating in any conditions but to apply it straight onto aluminium, which always presents adhesion problems, is a recipe for disaster. So what we see with these "splash plates" is that the abrasive pebble dashing effect of the wheels wears off the coating and the aluminium turns to powder. The wheels then drive water and silt through perforations in the splash plates and this causes corrosion in the front wing cavity behind the splash plates. In time this leads to that very characteristic rust spot just above the seam between the sill and the front wing, right in the middle. There is a stay in this spot which holds the wing in place and when this stay corrodes through you will see the front wing "flap out" about half an inch. This makes things much worse because there is now no seal between the splash plate and the front wing so the wheels will now be driving huge amounts of silt into this cavity. The good news is that this damage is not catastrophic and can be fairly easily repaired by a good body shop. (Remember - ask around - stay clear of cheap bodgers)
- By dint of examining several hundred XJs I have observed that splash plates need renewing after about 70/80,000 miles. So if your car is over this mileage you should examine the splash plates very carefully. Feel inside with your hands and make sure that the rubber seal is still tight against the front wing. If the plates need replacing this can be done very easily by your local Jaguar specialist. (The plates are just bolted in place)
- Cars with bodywork repairs On an older car, some rust damage to the paintwork is inevitable. There are places where Waxoyl cannot be injected to prevent this. On XJ6 series 1, 2 and 3, the windscreen surrounds are particularly vulnerable. Again this damage can be repaired successfully but a good job will not be cheap. (The windscreens have to be removed)
- "Bubbling through" Stone chips damage the paintwork and as the impact point is often minute the damage goes unnoticed until there is a large coin sized rust patch. If the car is resprayed only the most meticulous preparation will prevent this rust coming through again. There only needs to be one tiny point of rust under the respray for this to eventually "bubble" through. This "bubbling" is entirely characteristic of a resprayed car. In the past I have occasionally been accused of poor workmanship by irate customers who have been back to the bodyshop where they have had the car resprayed, only to be told that the rust must have come from "the inside" and that therefore I have not done my job properly or that Waxoyl is not effective. As you can imagine, my reaction to this consists of two words!
- Schutz to "kill" the overspray Another problem is that most bodyshops hate Waxoyl or anti- corrosive underbody waxes in general because they are unpleasant and difficult to apply. They are also "sticky" and therefore not so cosmetically appealing as modern "schutz" type applications. So when a car is resprayed, the sprayer will spray black "schutz" over the unsightly paint overspray in the wheel arches. If this "schutz" goes over rust (which is bound to be present) the rust will fester away under the schutz. Modern schutzes adhere extremely well and they will hold the rust down well for a year or two. However, if this schutz coating is fairly recent it is almost impossible to remove with a normal pressure washer. (My new set up is so powerful however that even this fresh schutz usually yields to the new jet if it has been applied over rust).
- If I am unable to remove this schutz, any Waxoyl coating over the top will have very little effect. Waxoyl does have a powerful "encapsulating" effect which seals out moisture and oxygen but on a microscopic level there will still be oxygen and moisture trapped between the shutz coating and the rusty steel. For Waxoyl to have its full effect it needs to be in direct contact with the rust so that its inhibitors can soak right in to the steel's surface.
- So while Waxoyl on top of "dodgy" schutz will slow things down for a while, eventually the rust will re-appear through the schutz and waxoyl coating. (Waxoyl can then be applied of course). This should not be taken as a sign that the Waxoyl (or my application) has failed. It should be taken as a sign that schutz should not be applied over rust! Again I am sometimes accused of poor workmanship in these cases and again, my answer consists of two words.
- Rear wheel arch seam on Xjs On all XJs and particularly XJS's, a particular point of weakness is the seam between the sill and the rear wing. This seam carries right through into the wheel arch lip. Usually at about 70.000 miles (or at a lower mileage on an older car) there is quite a lot of paint damage around this seam on the wheel arch lip. This leads to rust gradually creeping under the paint around this seam. Once the rust has crept into this seam it can never be properly treated because it is impossible to get into this tight metal fold. Waxoyl will not penetrate through this seam from the inside. If it was able to do so it would lift the paintwork off! It is also impossible of course to abrade the rust off in this metal fold or treat it with rust killer. So the rust that has crept in there will inevitably creep out again and "bubble" through the paint. So you can see that it is vital to keep an eye on this area of the car and have any paintwork damage repaired immediately by a good bodyshop. No bodgers here please! Once rust has crept into this seam you will have to be philosophical and resign yourself to having the area cleaned up and painted every two years or so. Eventually it will rot through but this could take 10 years or so - plenty of time to get a lot of pleasure out of the car!
- "Old Tarts" If you are unlucky you may have bought a car which was deliberately tarted up to deceive. Unfortunately there are a lot of back street bodyshops which specialize in doing quick, cheap, cosmetic repairs for unscrupulous car dealers. These bodgers are very good at producing a lovely looking car. Unfortunately they do not care how long the glossy new respray lasts. In fact, not only do they not care - they would not know how to repair rust damage properly even if they wanted to. The concept is just alien to them.
- If you have bought one of these cars is it worth having such a car "Before 'n' Aftered"? I do not like to do such cars because they will inevitably be seen as a poor advert for Before 'n' After. When the rust inevitably bubbles through the paintwork again some cheapskate owners will try to blame this on me and ask for their money back. Often, when the customer comes to me, he has just bought the car and is still in love with it. This puts me in a difficult position because I am naturally loathe to burst the bubble and tell the customer the sad truth. It is also difficult to say with certainty that a car which has obviously had a lot of rust repairs has not been repaired properly. A very good bodyshop can do rust repairs that are not going to cause any trouble. It is very difficult to tell from just appearances whether it is a good job or not.
- Having said all this - yes it is worth getting such a car "Before 'n' Aftered". Part of any good rust repair should be the application of Waxoyl to the cavity where the repair has been carried out. If a repair has been bodged, Waxoyl will not do an awful lot to improve the bodged repairs (see underneath). But a car that has extensive bodges will obviously be a fairly rusty car. So the Waxoyl treatment can be seen as a holding operation which will prevent more damage from occurring to areas of the car that have not yet been "molested".
- What is a bodged repair? To answer this question lets turn it around and ask what is a "good repair". A good repair consists of the total removal of the rust damaged steel and its replacement by new steel. ( It is possible to do a good "bodge" however. If a rust hole is very thoroughly cleaned up with an angle grinder until all rust pitting around the hole is totally removed, a fibre-glass repair can be a permanent repair. But it only needs one tiny little speck of rust pitting to be still present and the repair will eventually lift off. It is also vital that Waxoyl is sprayed in behind the repair to kill the unseen rust on the inside of the panel.)
- On high quality restorations the area of the repair will be "joddled". This consists of tracing the shape of the repair panel and then making a step shaped fold all around the area of the repair with a "joddler" tool. Small holes are made all around the repair panel which then then sits perfectly in the "joddled" hole. The repair panel will then be perfectly flush with the steel of the panel it is sitting in and welds can be made through the holes. The welds can then be ground flush with an angle grinder. Only the minutest quantity of filler (or better still - lead) is then required before painting.
- A "bodger" who is just interested in a good cosmetic appearance and nothing else will do only the most cursory cleaning up of the rust. He will ladle copious amounts of filler on to the area. With power tools the filler can be very quickly smoothed out ready for painting. On seams he will quickly grind the rust away, ladle on the filler (or "pudding" as it is known in the trade) and then sculpt something which looks like the original seam in the filler.
- You can read more on this subject further down the page - Buying tips - How do you avoid buying "an old tart"?
- Waxoyl on the Underbody Waxoyl is not impact resistant. However it does " kill existing rust and prevent further rust" (Waxoyl's own claim - not mine) - many hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts have verified this for themselves. Waxoyl Underseal is impact resistant thought it is less good at killing rust. Waxoyl Underseal is 60% Waxoyl and 40% bitumen. However it has the same micro-structure as Waxoyl and the bitumen is melted in with the Waxoyl - not added as a cheap filler as in the dreaded "bitment sludge" . So it is very good stuff.
- So why don't I apply Waxoyl Underseal straight over the Waxoyl? Well the reason is that the Waxoyl film needs to set first before Waxoyl Underseal is applied. This takes about 10 days.
- This is how I approach underbodies:
- Bitumen "sludge" and "schutzes" Many old Jags (e-types and Mk 2's) have copious amounts of the dreaded bitumen sludge on underneath and if this is fairly fresh it can't always be removed. (Although my new pressure washer often will now remove fresh stuff.) So what benefit is there in treating with Waxoyl? Well the Waxoyl will penetrate into the bitumen to a certain extent and soften and rejuvenate it. It will form an amalgam of Waxoyl and Bitumen. If the bitumen is fairly old, in all the places where it has been applied over rust it will peel away and strip off with the pressure wash and these rusty areas can then be coated with Waxoyl. If the "bitumen sludge" is fairly recent, I tell customers that because it is fairly
new it will unfortunately still adhere to any rust over which it has been applied for a year or two.
- The only thing to do is wait for 2 or 3 years for the bitumen to age, at which stage it will peel off the rusty areas and this process can then be assisted with a pressure wash and the underbody re-treated with Waxoyl. Unfortunately it is now more common to see cars "tarted up" in this way with modern PVC and Polyurethane type "schutz" applications. In these cases the Waxoyl will have very little effect and one can only wait for nature to take its course and the shutz to peel off the rusty areas with age in a couple of years and then treat with Waxoyl. (Again, my new pressure washer will often remove this fresh "dodgy" shutz.)
- Modern Cars On a modern car which has done relatively low mileage I spray the underbody with black Waxoyl and I spray Waxoyl underseal in the Wheel Arches, leaving as neat a strip of Waxoyl Underseal as possible on the Wheel Arch lips to prevent stone chip damage to the paintwork. This is of great benefit to preserving the car because rust damage caused by stone chips to the Wheel Arch lip paintwork is the main cause of rust on modern cars.
- Incidentally I have often found huge holes in wheel arches that would not have come to light without my treatment and in many case would have led to the car being written off two or three years later. In such cases I don't carry out any further work. I just concentrate on getting the car very, very clean and inspecting it for all the damaged areas. I then leave it on the lift and call the customer on their mobile phone. I tell them there will be no charge for the work carried out so far, show them the damage and tell them to bring the car for me to finish the job once the repairs are completed. I often find damage like this when the car has just had remedial repairs carried out. I remember being staggered to see both sills had been replaced and nicely painted on an XJ6 but there were still gaping holes in all the sill quarters!
- Cars with rust in the Wheel Arches On a vehicle like an XJS or XJ6 where there is rust present in the Wheel Arches, I point out to customers any damaged areas round the wheel arches lip (bubbling under paint etc) and tell them they must get the damage cleaned up and repaired by a good body shop. I spray the Wheel Arches with black Waxoyl as this will kill the rust. However, I tell the customer that Waxoyl is not impact resistant and so the best thing to do is respray or paint with a paint brush over the top of the Waxoyl coating with Waxoyl Underseal once the Waxoyl has set. (About 10 days). I offer customers a choice of either free cans of Waxoyl Underseal they can paint on themselves or Waxoyl Underseal Schutz cans they can ask their local garage to spray on for them. I give them detailed instructions on how to easily do it themselves or if they take the Schutz option I give them instructions for their local garage on how to do it very easily. (Heat the schutz can or Underseal with hot water etc). I also give the customers the option of coming back to me for me to apply the Schutz.
- One last point. I rustproof a lot of Land Rovers. I offer a 5 year guarantee. The guarantee is this: "If you see rust coming through the Waxoyl coating within five years, bring the vehicle back and I will retreat free of charge." I give this guarantee on most Land Rovers and most of them already have quite a bit of rust on them. Only in cases of fairly heavy rust do I not give a guarantee. No-one has yet come back for a free re-treatment!
- Your Garage - Do's and Don'ts A concrete floor in the garage can cause severe corrosion problems (especially if the garage is damp). The lime in the concrete is alkili and very corrosive. You can prevent the corrosive effect by sealing the concrete floor or carpeting it over.
- Good ventilation in the garage is essential to prevent damp. The most beneficial thing you can do is install an extra radiator and plumb it in to your central heating (in which case you don't need so much ventilation of course). Cars just love heated garages.
Buying Tips - How do you avoid buying an "old tart"?
- It is probably easiest to grade cars into 4 categories:
- 1. Good, original cars
- 2. High Class Restorations
- 3. Cars that have been very carefully repaired.
- 4. "Old Tarts".
- The above categories would also be a good classification for the degree of desirability of a car of course and the categories are not clear cut (apart from category 1) but usually slide into each other.
- 1. Good, original cars are by fare the best. A car that has been "unmolested", even if it is a little bit scruffy is a car that has no question marks about the bodywork. This is why a good original classic car sells for 3 times or more the price of an average example and always more than even the best restoration. If you have a good, original car it is absolutely vital to have it Before 'n' Aftered as soon as possible to keep it from becoming a category 3 car! How do you tell that a car has been unmolested? Check in the door shuts and bonnet and boot shuts. If the car has been resprayed you may see a line where masking tape has been used or if no masking tape has been used, there will be a cloudy, rough, appearance to the paint in the shuts. Wheel arches should look grey and dirty with a little bit of damaged underseal and rust here and there. If the wheel arches are glossy black the car has been resprayed because the sprayers will use "schutz" to "kill" the "overspray".
- 2. It is usually fairly easy to tell a "high class restoration". This will have been carried out by a top-class restorer and the bills will be large! There should also be a file of photographs showing each stage of the restoration and each stage of each repair.
- 3/4. How do you tell a car that has been carefully repaired from an "Old Tart"? The best way to tell is by asking to see the bills for the respray because once the job has been finished it is very difficult to tell just from appearances. Does the owner have these invoices? If not, this is a bad sign. Find out what kind of reputation the firm that did the work has. Are there any photos of the repair process? If you are having your car repaired or resprayed it is essential to ask the repairer to take photos of each stage of any repairs. A good repairer will be happy to do this. To check for filler, use a little paperweight magnet. Where the magnet does not stick - filler is present. Have a look underneath the sills. Does the new finish end neatly here or is there just a thick wodge of filler and loads of rust still present? A bodger won't care too much how it looks under the sills. Check the insides of the doors. Is the "clinch" of the door skin clearly defined. If not, the door has been bodged with filler. Don't walk away - run away! I was once asked to rustproof what looked like a beautifully "restored" series 1 XJ6. I examined it with a magnet and everything appeared to be Kosher. I was just congratulating the owner on his bargain purchase when I noticed the door clinches were completely smooth. Iron filings had been added to the filler!