Jaguar Specialties
Innovative and Unique Products for Jaguar Cars

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Last Update 8-20-23

LS1 LSx V8 Conversion for

Jaguar XJ8 XJ8L XJR & Vanden Plas 98-03


Introduced in 1998, the new V8 powered Jaguar sedans were a very attractive, competent car. And for the first time, Jaguar offered a V8 in it's models (maybe they decided what we were doing over here was a good idea- ha ha). Anyway, from early on, these models suffered major mechanical issues, with repair costs now often exceeding the value of the car. However, there is now another alternative to living with the high costs of repairing the Jaguar drivetrain. After over a year of development, Jaguar Specialties is proud to offer a GM V8 conversion kit for these models. The end result is a comfortable, powerful, reliable,  and inexpensive to maintain car- everything the original should have been. Here are some details on the conversion.

Our prototype car was/is a 1998 XJ8 sedan that received a 1998 Camaro LS1/4L60E drivetrain. Everything fits under the hood, the engine runs cool in all weather, the AC is cold, and the Jag shifter works perfectly with the new trans. The car is a dream to drive- easily the best handling/performing/feeling V8 converted Jag sedan I have ever driven, and that is with a very basic, stock LS1 drivetrain. The car's potential with a more potent powerplant (like a 400hp LS2 or 6.0L LQ9 is great food for thought).  From all viewpoints the car appears completely stock (except of course under the hood). Access for maintenance, etc.,.,  is very good, and looking at the installation, you could almost swear it was factory original

There is one very important bit of information for the reader to be aware of related to these models (98-03 XJ8/XJR/VDP sedans and 97-02 XK8/XKR). These cars were Jaguar’s first models to use full Controller Area Network (CAN) which is a networking system connecting the major electronic components so they could communicate with each other (all modern cars use this sort of system). In these cars the ECM (engine control module), TCM (transmission control module), ABS (anti-lock brake system controller), shifter surround/indicator, and the instrument cluster are connected by just 2 wires that travel all around the car. This is the CAN, the high speed communications network. These modules communicate with each other in a special software language (unique to Jaguar and not published like GM, Dodge or Ford) and if any of the modules are removed from the car (like the ECM and TCM if we were to do any engine conversion), then nothing in the car would work- no gauges, no AC system, no ABS brakes, etc.,. and every warning light in the car would remain on. After working with a very capable automotive communications consultant who had specialized knowledge and equipment, Jaguar Specialties has become the only company to solve this problem. (at great expense). We have created a CAN interface module that essentially allows the new LS engine to communicate with the car such that all of these systems will work. The car itself remains unmodified and operates essentially as it was when original. With our CAN module in place, all of the gauges work properly, there are no extraneous warning messages on the dash, we have full ABS brakes, speed sensitive steering, and full AC system operation including the automatic temp feature. This is the only way to do any engine conversion on these models (there is no way to “fool” the original controllers or “wire around” them). We have been doing conversions on these models since 2010 and this is the reality.

Our conversion is designed around the 1997 and newer GM LS engines and 4L60E second generation (4 speed auto overdrive) transmission or 6L80E (6 speed auto). Any LSx based engines can be used ranging from the all aluminum (LS1 LS2 LS3 etc.,.) to the aluminum head/iron block truck versions (LR4 LM7 LQ9, etc.,.), and any 4L60E, 4L65E, or 6L80E (2WD) transmission. As in our other LSx conversions, we have kept costs low by designing around:

  • Standard GM front accessory drive (so no expensive after market brackets or components are required)
  • Standard GM (high flow) cast iron exhaust manifolds (so no expensive custom headers are required)
  • Standard GM LS oil pan with only mild modifications (no expensive aftermarket oil pan required)

These 3 qualities of the design save the Jaguar owner thousands of dollars in doing the conversion. Additionally, the standard XJ8 radiator and cooling fans are reused-  they are both easily up to the task of cooling the LS engine.

Our XJ8-LSx conversion kit for 98-03 XJ8, XJ8L, and Vanden Plas includes the following:

  • Engine Mount Adaptors (LS engine to Jaguar chassis)
  • Transmission Mount Adaptor (LS transmission to Jaguar chassis)
  • Shifter Package (Jaguar shifter to GM transmission)
  • Cooling System Adaptor Piping (Jaguar radiator to LS engine)
  • Power Steering Interface (Jaguar steering rack to LS pump)
  • Oil Pressure Sender Adaptor
  • Driveline Adaptors (GM transmission to Jaguar driveline)
  • Air Conditioning Pressure Switch Adaptor t
  • Basic Conversion Manual
  • CAN Interface Module
  • CAN Wiring Harness
  • CAN Installation Manual

Attached are a few pictures of my own 99 Vanden Plas and the original 98  XJ8 prototype. And you can see many other converted XJ8's in our Jaguar LSx Gallery- Click Here

Please feel free to Email or call for more info.