How to Retrofit a Performance Electric Fan in a Classic Jaguar XJ6?

April 15, 2024

For those of you who are passionate car enthusiasts and Jaguar XJ6 owners, this article is for you. We will be taking an in-depth look at one of the crucial elements of your beloved vehicle – the cooling system. We’ll provide insights and detailed instructions on how to retrofit a performance electric fan in a classic Jaguar XJ6.

Understanding the Cooling System in a Jaguar XJ6

Understanding the cooling system is the first step in retrofitting a performance electric fan. At its core, the cooling system controls the engine’s temperature to maintain optimal performance and prevent overheating.

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In the Jaguar XJ6 series III, the cooling system is front-mounted, with the radiator mounted just behind the front grill. The cooling system also has a fan, which is responsible for forcing air through the radiator, thereby cooling the engine. However, the original mechanical fan system in these classic cars has its challenges, the main one being inefficiency in heavy traffic or at low speeds. This is where retrofitting with a performance electric fan becomes a viable solution.

High-performance electric fans are more efficient due to their ability to cool the engine at variable speeds, depending on the engine’s temperature. Therefore, retrofitting your Jaguar with an electric fan will significantly improve its cooling efficiency.

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Choosing the Right Electric Fan for Your Jaguar XJ6

When it comes to selecting an electric fan, you need to consider several factors. The fan must be an excellent fit for your engine bay and be powerful enough to support your engine’s cooling needs.

The Jaguar XJ6 Series III typically has an engine bay that can accommodate a dual electric fan setup. This fan setup provides superior cooling performance compared to a single fan setup. You should also consider the strength of the fans. A good rule of thumb is to choose a fan that can move approximately 2,500 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air.

For our Jaguar XJ6, dual 12-inch fans or a single 16-inch fan would be suitable. Reputable brands such as Maradyne and SPAL have suitable fans for the XJ6 Series III.

Installation Process

Gathering Necessary Tools and Equipment

Before starting the installation process, gather all the necessary tools and equipment. This includes the electric fan (or fans), mounting hardware, electrical wiring, relays, a fan controller, and a thermostat.

Removal of the Old Mechanical Fan

The first step in the retrofit process is removing the old mechanical fan. Before you begin, disconnect the battery to ensure safety. Then, remove the front grille to access the fan and radiator. Once this is done, you can proceed to remove the bolts holding the fan in place, and then carefully remove the fan and the fan clutch.

Installation of the Electric Fan

After removing the mechanical fan, you can proceed to install the electric fan. Depending on your chosen setup, either mount the fans on the radiator’s front or rear. Ensure that the fan blades are not obstructed by any part of the vehicle and that there is a clearance between the fan and the radiator. After mounting the fan, connect the wiring following the instructions provided by the fan manufacturer.

Installation of the Fan Controller and Thermostat

The fan controller and thermostat are vital parts of your new cooling system. The controller will regulate the fan speed based on the engine’s temperature, while the thermostat will switch the fans on and off as required. Mount the thermostat in a location where it will accurately sense the coolant temperature. Then, connect the controller and thermostat to the fan using the electrical wiring and relays. Ensure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct connection procedure.

Final Checks and Testing

Once everything is installed, reconnect the battery and start the engine. Ensure that the fans are working and that they switch on and off at the correct temperatures. Check for any potential leaks or loose connections and fix them immediately. If everything is functioning as it should, then you have successfully retrofitted a performance electric fan in your classic Jaguar XJ6.

Care and Maintenance of Your New Cooling System

Once you’ve successfully installed your new electric fan, it’s important to maintain it properly to ensure it functions efficiently and has a long lifespan. Regularly inspect the fan and its components for any signs of wear or damage. Be sure to replace any worn-out parts promptly. Also, ensure that the electrical connections are always clean and secure and that the fan blades are always clean and free from any obstructions.

Remember, a well-maintained cooling system helps to maintain the performance and longevity of your Jaguar XJ6. It might take some time and effort to retrofit a performance electric fan, but the benefits you will reap are well worth it.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Once your cooling system is retrofitted with a performance electric fan, you may encounter a few issues that require troubleshooting. Don’t worry, as it’s part of owning and caring for a classic car like the Jaguar XJ6.

One common issue is the fan not turning on. This could be due to a faulty thermostat or fan controller. Check the wiring connections and ensure they are securely fastened. If the problem persists, consider replacing the faulty components. Another common issue is the fan turning on but not providing adequate cooling. This could indicate a problem with the fan’s speed. The fan controller should be set to operate the fan at variable speeds, depending on the engine’s temperature.

If you notice the fan is constantly operating at high speed, it could lead to excessive power consumption and wear the fan out prematurely. In such cases, check the fan controller and the thermostat settings. They should be correctly calibrated to accurately sense the engine’s temperature and adjust the fan’s speed accordingly.

On the other hand, if the fan is operating at a very low speed or not turning on at all, the engine could overheat. Again, verify the settings on the fan controller and the thermostat. In the case of the Jaguar XJ6 Series III, the fan should kick-in when the coolant temperature reaches around 185°F (85°C).

Lastly, regular inspection of the entire cooling system including the electric fan, fan kit, fan controller, and thermostat is necessary to ensure optimal performance and longevity of your long wheelbase Jaguar XJ6 or Daimler Sovereign saloon car.


Retrofitting a performance electric fan in a classic Jaguar XJ6 not only enhances the vehicle’s cooling efficiency but also improves its overall performance. Though it may seem like a daunting task, with a clear understanding of the cooling system and a step-by-step approach, it is quite manageable.

Whether you choose a dual fan setup with 12-inch fans or a single 16-inch fan, brands like Maradyne and SPAL offer reliable solutions for your Jaguar. Remember to regularly inspect the cooling system and address any issues promptly to ensure your jaguar series car remains in top-notch condition.

Finally, it’s worth noting that while the Jaguar XJ6 is a classic, its cooling system does not have to be. Upgrading to an electric fan not only solves the issues of the original mechanical fan but also makes the vehicle more suited to modern day driving conditions. Enhance your Jaguar XJ6 or Vanden Plas experience today by retrofitting a performance electric fan and feel the difference.