Changing the oil on a V12 XJS

Because many early V12s are being bought up to restore or turn-key, I thought I would address some service issues with them for a while. So this segment will as last week can be considered a V12 series.

First let’s address what you will need.

  • Funnel
  • Oil filter and if you want an OEM filter the part number is EBC 9658
  • A 7/8 wrench or socket
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Oil 10 Liters or close to 11 quarts
  • Two pans to collect the oil. 1 large enough for the amount you are placing into the car and a smaller one to collect the drip from under the filter
  • A rag or towel to keep things neat and clean
  • Floor jack of course and a pair of jack stands
  • A pair of long rubber gloves
  • Rubber mallet to tap on the pan once the bolts are removed if replacing the pan gasket and I recommend a piece of paper or cardboard to outline the new gasket to place the bolts in the proper place for correct placement as not all are the same length and a torque wrench.

Before jacking the car up I would remove the oil filler cap. Once you get the car up, I would be sure to place the jack under the spring housing so you can place the jack stands under the jack points. In addition I would also place the floor jack under the suspension as a safety measure while under the car. I addressed common leaks due to age in last week's article so if you have cleaned all of the undercarriage and find that your oil pan is seeping around the bolts on the pan then now is the best time to remove and replace the pan gasket. In either case, I would remover the sump plug at the rear of the pan and let drain for as long as possible. Believe it or not if you let it drain all night is good because there is so much in there to come completely out. What I do on my cars is to let it drain for several hours then I will buy some cheap thin oil and pore in the filler and then let that drain for an additional several hours as this will help clean out the last bit of old dirty oil. Some people like to put crank cleaners in to clean it out but I learned from my early days in New York as a young teen by a Rolls mechanic at Carriage house that the chemicals in cleaners are too harsh and it is best not to introduce it to the engine components. If your pan is dry and not in need of replacing the pan gasket then you can skip the next section.

Oil pan removal.

The oil pan has 22 bolts on it which are removed by a half-inch socket. If you have a later car at the rear of the pan you will have a cover over the front of the torque converter which must be removed as the corners cover the back of the pan. Once you remove the pan, I would inspect for anything like metal particles in the pan. Then you should carefully remove the old gasket and avoid any cuts or gouges on the pan. Clean out the pan with a good degreaser a few times until super clean and wipe dry. I would use a gasket seal that may come with the gasket or purchase some and run around the edge before placing the gasket on the pan. Now it is time to replace the pan and the bolts by hand until snug and remember to pay special attention to the placement and the torque converter cover if a later model. Once you have all bolts snug by hand, I would then use the socket and work your way around from far corner to the other and a few in the centers and again just snugging a little more and then using the same pattern front to backside to side a few times with the torque wrench. Be smart and use this wrench to be sure you do not overtighten any bolts as to bend the pan and cause a leak and be sure to now replace the sump plug. The proper torque for the pan bolts is 16 - 20 lb-ft (21 - 27 Nm.

Fitting the new oil filter.

Take some of the same oil you are filling the engine with and pour into the filter to the top and take fingertip of it and rub around the rubber seal. Then carefully screw the filter on until tight and then give it one more turn by hand. You should not have to use the filter wrench to tighten but if you feel the need to because you did not eat your spinach, then gently do so. Now you can lower the car and place around 9 quarts in then start the engine and let it run for just a few minutes, check the level and the top off, check again then replace the filler cap. Now if this is a car you just bought to restore or service yourself then you can now go to the local coffee house or watering hole, pub for the younger crowd, and explain the whole adventure to the guy who fell asleep after singing his rendition of Danny boy.


  • sorry I wrote about red xjs from 1988 ,engine picture.

  • very well maintained motor but change cover C / C. people don’t know how to mount and assume the opposite. This cover should keep heat away from the engine and not vice versa


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