Jaguar Specialties
Innovative and Unique Products for Jaguar Cars

Telephone: 408-839-5569

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Last Update 8-20-23

LS1 LSx V8 Conversion for Jaguar XK8 XKR 97-02 (Convertible & Coupe)


Building on our experience from the XJ8 LS1 conversion, we took on a similar project with a 98 XK8 convertible. This was a local one owner, 97k original miles car with a skipped timing chain that trashed the engine. Bad for them, good for us.

 The XK8 and XJ8 use basically the same original drivetrain, so we anticipated that much previous knowledge from our XJ8 conversion could be applied.  A wrecked 2004 GTO with low miles contributed its LS1 engine and 4L65E transmission and the work was on. Skipping forward, to the running/driving result, the car is a dream to drive. There is virtually no weight difference between the original Jag drivetrain and the LS1 package, but the extra power and torque makes for a great performer. Everything fits under the hood, all of the gauges work properly, the original Jag shifter worked perfectly with the new GM transmission, the AC is cold, and even the speed sensitive steering operates as it should. From the outside, with the hood closed, the car looks (and sounds) like a stock XK8 (at least until you put your foot into it…..). The added reliability and reduced running/repair costs of this drivetrain should easily pay for the conversion over time.

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.

 Just like our earlier conversion on the XJ8, this installation is designed to keep overall costs low by using:

  • Standard GM front accessory drive parts (including the AC compressor in its stock location),

  • Standard GM high flow exhaust manifolds (no expensive custom headers required)

  • Standard GM LS oil pan with only mild modifications (no expensive aftermarket oil pan required)

 With this work completed we now offer a kit and related parts for any customer to do a similar conversion on his/her XK8. The conversion is basically a bolt-in: there is no drilling, cutting, or welding required on the car.

  • Engine Options:            Any LS engine (car versions of 5.7L-6.0L-7.0L, or truck versions of 4.8L-5.3L-6.0L; please contact us for details).

  • Transmission Options:   Automatic 4L60E or 4L65E (4 speed auto overdrive), 6L80E (6 speed automatic) or Manual T56 (6 speed, for details on that, Click Here)




Our XK8-LSx conversion kit for 97-02 XK models 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; not included on manual transmission version)
  • Cooling System Adaptor Piping (Jaguar radiator to LS engine)
  • Power Steering Interface (Jaguar steering rack to LS pump)
  • Oil Pressure Sender Adaptor
  • Air Conditioning Pressure Switch Adaptor
  • Conversion Manual
  • XJ-XK CAN Interface Module
  • CAN Wiring Harness
  • CAN Installation Manual

Manual Transmission Option: 

The manual transmission option includes specially engineered clutch and brake pedals, designed specifically for this application. These are provided ready to be dropped into the car with no modifications. For more info - Click Here

Attached are a few pictures of the XK8 prototype. And you can see many other converted XK8's in our Jaguar LSx Gallery- Click Here

Please feel free to Email or call for more info- we're happy to help.



Do you like the XK8 Coupes????

Another flavor of the fabulous XK8 is the coupe version- very rare. Read more on that - Click Here