Installation of a Radiator Coolant Recovery System

The Jaguar Pre-HE's radiator has an expansion tank but no provision for coolant recovery. In addition, one cannot see the coolant level in the expansion tank, and must rely only on the low-level coolant sensor to monitor coolant level. I decided to install a Radiator Coolant Recovery system. I chose a recovery system manufactured by Interdynamics, available from a number of automotive stores and Mail order companies. (This system was sourced from JC Whitney.) I chose the narrow container, approx 7x6x3.25 inches. Although the capacity is only 1.5 quarts, it would be sufficient for this project. The 3.25 inches width is critical, as there is not an overabundance of space in the XJ-S engine compartment.

Putting in a coolant recovery system meant finding space for it. Finding space usually means that something has to be moved or relocated. The only available space in the engine compartment of the V12 XJ-S is the windshield washer canister location. That space, however was not enough, I needed 3.25 inches. That meant that, among other things, the windshield washer canister would have to be moved.

Pictured below is the generic Coolant recovery system, designed for various applications.

The canister is designed with three "nipples" (blue arrows). These are the entry and exit points for coolant. Canister orientation will dictate which ones to use.

Creating space was the next objective. In order to get the 3.25 inches necessary for the installation the cover for the starter relay had to be modified. First the cover (red arrow) is removed.

Approximately 1/4 inch of the cover is removed with tin snips.

Replace starter relay cover. Now I have the necessary 3.25 inches between the starter relay cover and the windshield washer mounting bracket (Blue arrow)

Initial fit indicates that there is just enough space. Note that the windshield washer canister will have to be moved.

The windshield washer canister bracket is modified to move the canister as far as possible towards the center of the engine compartment. The washer pump must also be relocated.

Note the modified washer canister bracket in the photograph below.

With canister and washer pump installed. Electrical connecters for washer pump has enough slack to reach the new pump location. (Blue arrow)

Based on the orientation of the canister, the entry of the coolant from the radiator has to be at the bottom. Use a drill bit to open the "Nipple".

You can just use the correct size hose to connect back to the radiator overflow connection. My modifications not only must work, they must look good. So I used a 90-degree hose elbow to attach to copper tubing to route the coolant up the side of the canister. (Blue arrow)

Overflow hose is routed from radiator through fender bracket, behind brake booster, brake fluid canister, wiring harness and A/C expansion valve and over to recovery canister. Radiator cap is from a 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix. This cap was designed for a coolant recovery system. Instructions on cap indicated that arrows on cap must line up with overflow connection at right (arrow).

The canister is bolted in place. I modified the bracket that came with the kit and attached it using an existing hood latch bolt.(arrow)

I could have made a hole at the top of the canister for the overflow hose, however I decided to use an existing "nipple". Because the nipple is located at the front center of the canister, it became necessary to install a "dual right angle fitting" so the overflow would be functional at the same level as the canister top. I used two right angle copper compression fittings with a short length of 3/8 copper tubing to fabricate the fitting.

The dual right angle fitting (blue arrow) effectively raised the overflow connection to the proper height.

Coolant recovery canister installation project completed.

Using antifreeze fill original expansion tank completely, and coolant recovery canister to half height. Start engine and check for leaks. If coolant does not escape out the overflow pipe when the engine is hot, and you can see coolant in the recovery canister when the engine is cold, the coolant recovery system is functioning correctly.


Jaguar XJ-S Home Page

Bernard Embden's Home Page