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iGuidance GPS on a laptop is cool... 
Friday, May 5, 2006, 03:58 AM - General Info, Upgrades
Yep, I admit it, I'm hooked. For the last few years I've use Microsoft Streets and trips with my USB GPS adapter ($60 off ebay) on my work laptop. It's saved my bacon several times by getting me from A to B and sometimes even to F when I'm in a hurry and don't know where I'm going.

Tell you what though, I installed iGuidance and it makes life so much easier...on the road.

Streets (called Autoroute in the Ukay excelled at providing written instructions on how to get there from here. Also with times/miles/rest stops it made it easy to find an address anywhere and route to it.

iGuidance doesn't do routing or print directions or maps or nothing, it just tells you where to go, step by step, just like an Urtz AlwaysLost if you've ever rented a car with one. Only better.

Okay, so this is the deal. Get a laptop with a USB input. Get a USB GPS unit on a cable, preferably long enough to get from your laptop on the passenger side to the top of the dash at the very front (or out the window to the roof, they're magnetic as well) and get iGuidance. Fire it up, it'll find your GPS and in a minute or so will show you where you are on a full 3d display (or 2d map if you prefer) Type in the destination (kinda like Neverklutz, you can put in characters from the screen on a tablet or touchscreen) and this cute sounding babe in the laptop tells you where to go. Simple as that, and free forever once you've bought the gear....

Still use my Streets sometimes to get a printout or find out how many miles/how long it's going to take me, but this thing rocks on the road.

These should be mandatory for all sales reps, delivery drivers and service personnel. Save you lots of gas money and calls every year, not to mention being late for appointments you thought were somewhere else. And all those close calls when you had to go across four lanes to get to an exit on the other side of the road...

Now if only I can find a cure for cellphones attached to blondeheads in dodgy caravans I'd be made....

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Simple fix for bad vibrations....duh !!! 
Friday, May 5, 2006, 03:42 AM - Maintenance
Well, I'll be darned... it actually paid off to be methodical and persistent for once....

Remember I had a vibration problem that I was sure was the propshaft Center Bearing?

Well, I spent another two hours under the Jag yesterday, and this time put it up way high on proper 6 ton axle stands (those I trust, unlike the 2.5 ton cheap ones I had before) Found a good use for them though...used the cheap stands as chocks in front of the front wheels....perfect angle to prevent movement.

Ran the engine, switched off the Traction control, and put it in drive. revved it up to 45mph with a piece of 2x4 on the pedal, and got the vibes again....

So taking my life in my hands (actually with the stands and a 3 ton jack under the rear axle I felt pretty safe) I got underneath the car.... felt the vibes to be coming from mid-underneath, but with little load, minimal compared to being on the road. But it's probably the bearing or prop out of balance, so I affixed an old lead fishing weight to the prop with a thick plastic tie... that'll be a good test.

Whoah! the vibes come in horrendously at 30mph, but there aren't ANY at 45mph. So it IS the propshaft!

Back in the garage and up on the stands...

So I took my trusty screwdriver and held it to the body and touched it to the prop just south and north of the center bearing. hmmm, slightly oval track there, touches more in some places, less in others.

So shut off the engine (oh yeah, I did have a huge fan running in the garage(bad eough having to deal with farts, let alone carbon monoxide poisoning) and get back underneath. I have a nice fresh steel scratch around 80% of the shaft, and black paint on the rest.

So I thinks to myself, I remember how the old guys used to do this in the England, and I put a Jubilee clip (that's an adjustable hose clamp to you yanks) around the prop and clamp it down with the bulk at the painted area, after all, that's where it's the lightest.

Guess what, no more vibrations!!! I mean it's perfectly smooth now from 0-80 with no discernible vibes from underneath. Guess the weight was just a lucky guess, although I could have used more clamps....I remember seeing a prop with half a dozen clamps on it one time...

Yes, I still have the clunkclunk from underneath on hard 0-20, but that's okay until I get the money together to replace the exhaust (already bought the bearing), but have to cut off the rear exhausts both sides as they're all welded together by good old Michigan rust.....not a job I'm looking forward to....maybe I'll just put that off until I retire...
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Neo MP3 Jukebox installed... 
Thursday, March 16, 2006, 04:30 PM
Yep, finally installed my NEO MP3 JUKEBOX in the XJR over the weekend, after weeks of planning and assembling. What, you may ask, why not just take it into the shop and have then do the install in an hour or two??? Well, several reasons...

1. I don't trust them not to screw up something...
2. I'm fairly confident something on the Jag will not work when they give it back or will short out soon after...
3. I want this to be a professional installation which will not intrude on the original equipment in such a way as to either detract from the looks or the value of the car, neither of which a shop will do.... so I end up doing most things myself.

So the plan is... interface the 80Gb of MP3s on the hard drive with the existing wiring and install it in such a way that it can easily be removed and the original Alpine CD Changer replaced within a matter of an hour or so, and make it work with the existing radio wiring so that I can control it and hear the sound out of the superb Harman Kardon Stereo that's already in the vehicle, in other words have it play through the existing radio/amp connections.

Hmm, that presents more than one challenge.... The current head unit is unique and irreplaceable, being the shape that it is, yet doesn't have the intelligence to fully control an MP3 player of the Neo's sophistication. By the way, if you don't know what a Neo jukebox is, tough!!! You should, but this would all be relevant even if I was using the original plan, which was a carPC with full multimedia. Then again, I don't want to do stuff like install screens into headrests etc. Nossir, this is a drivers car, not a passengers car. My wife and kids don't appreciate it anyway, ask the door protectors.... so the CarPC would only give me the added benefit of music and GPS roadmapping, and would require serious surgery somewhere to accommodate an LCD screen. Maybe not a good idea. Okay, so Neo it is.

Hmm, nice of Jaguar to provide a remote Alpine CDChanger with an Mbus connection in the trunk, of course I'll put that to good use, and it'll let me connect everything into the existing stereo. Cool!!! So I buy an MBus to twin RCA adapter from Crutchfield (they're expensive but good!!) and plug it in to everything.

Yeah I wish....all I get is NO CONT on the radio display, no aux in like promised, and no way to select it on the radio that I can work out from Google or the JH CDs or Mitchell or Alldata. Turns out they didn't want little me installing anything else but a Jaguar Alpine changer there, so they rigged the Mbus to expect a digital heartbeat from the Jaguar branded changer. Ouch! Snookered again!

Well, after loads of googling and research, I bought a circuit board from indashpc.org for around $40 which is intended for a CarPC using a USB and 3.5mm audio plug to feed into an Mbus plug.... tried it out with a laptop and it worked!

UPDATE:- see new photos added to slideshow...

Actually fed audio from the laptop, faking the radio out to think it was the cd changer connected. Very cool! And it used the Radio CD controls to switch playlists on the PC and navigate tracks etc.(although that wouldn't be useful for me, since I wasn't using the PC USB connection), just needed the Mbus spoofing to work... I'm putting together a page of info on the board and how it was all done...

Take a look at the flash slideshow depicting the install on the right of this page... The Neo comes with a wired Remote that has navigation and a 4-line display which I had intended to put in the ashtray cubby-just enough room and can be hidden easily by closing the lid. That won't work though, the driver can't see the display or the controls as they are obscured.... Also a slightly risky position as it's right below where I keep my coffee... Oh well, back to the drawing board.

One thing I don't want to do is cut or modify the fascia or dash of the XJR in any way, so after much grief, I think my best option is in the middle of the dash just below the vents, using a backing plate to wedge it where the two trim pieces butt together... Not inspiring, but it's visible and easy to control while driving, and not really in the way of anything. Only issue I see is that it's a bit too visible to thieves, and looks a little too much like satellite radio, which they can sell....

Any better ideas? I'm open to anything...

UPDATE:- Final decision and photos in slideshow on right...
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Brakes now work..... 
Tuesday, January 31, 2006, 09:48 PM - Maintenance
Okay, worked on the brakes and bearings last weekend.

Bought all parts from: Online-Auto-Parts.com AKA Auto Parts Place Seemed like the best/cheapest place with free shipping (I knew that'd be substantial on discs pads etc!) Surprisingly they delivered all the parts within a few days from a variety of different locations, and thay all showed up within a week and were correct!!! Can't do better than that.... Judging by the site and shipping they're a partner of the Worldpac/Carquest Group. Excellent service.

Discoveries - Need 7mm short Hex Socket to get the caliper slider pins out. Difficult to use other tools as limited accessibility due to brake pipes/speed sensor wires etc.

Changed both front brake discs as showing uneven pad transfer, accounts for tremors under heavy braking. Brembo discs Their part number was JLM 20341 for the front discs.

Installed new Akebono Brake Pro Ceramic pads front and rear: ACT394A and ACT688. Perfect fit, very good quality pads with special shims and moly lubricant, but expensive....

Installed new wheel bearing set on R/H front as looked somewhat worn and felt like some particles in the grease. Part SKF BR8 outer/ BR17 Inner bearings in a kit K8020-37040 complete with inner seal.

Changed front brake hoses for MNA 5680AA just as a precaution (10 years old) and to make sure pedal is firm. Bled brakes through all the way with Synpower Fluid. Think it's the best on the market.

When changing hoses, I noticed BOTH the braided wheel hub grounding wires were broken, so I reconnected one and replaced the other with some high-flexibility Iron flex ("_"). Hope that'll work for now. Probably non-essential, but this works the opposite way too... if Jaguar felt it wasn't necessary, they wouldn't have put it on there in the first place.... have to get some braid to fix this permanently later...

What a difference. Much smoother low speed braking and driving, with no shimmying. Pads bedded in nicely after frying them a bit on the recommended high-speed fast stops with lots of heat, then gentle cooldown, and they seem to be reasonable when cold now.

Still need to change the propshaft Center Bearing as I'm sure that's where the acceleration clunking and vibration at 50mph is coming from, but that's going to be a pain in the ass as it's right above the exhaust joint to the rear mufflers (which of course is permanently welded by rust).
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Sidebar to the project 
Saturday, January 14, 2006, 03:36 AM - General Info


Just saw these today in my travels.

I can see how this could be true... then again, which would you rather have????
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To Kick Off the project.... 
Wednesday, June 28, 5544, 02:53 AM
Found my ideal car on the Jag-Lovers site....



1995 Jaguar XJR. 92,000 miles, excellent condition
1/2 price of one I had seen go on eBay a few days before.
No, it can't be true....

Negotiated via email for 3 days.....

He sent me pictures (see link in Photos on right)....

Ran around raising cash to take with me....

Flew up to Michigan to see the XJR.... fully expecting to have to fly back disappointed as it was probably a great-looking total dog.

He showed me the car...
I fell in love....
....and the rest is history....

Hmm, on reflection I shoulda taken my mechanic...{"-_-"}
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