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'85 XJ6 Transmission Issue - Hard to shift, no forward movement.

XJ6 & XJ12 Series I, II & III 1968-1992

'85 XJ6 Transmission Issue - Hard to shift, no forward movement.

Old 02-06-2009, 09:32 PM
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Default Model 66 Borg Warner Transmission


I am NOT an automatic transmission rebuilder. I have changed dozens of faulty transmissions on Series III XJ6, so here is what I can contribute after reading your post:

The external controls for this transmission are simple. Nothing ever goes wrong with the selector itself that will cause difficult movement or engagement. The condition of the gear selector cable, and its adjustment, can be a big deal.

Try disconnecting the gear selector cable at the transmission end, and see if the shifter is hard to move. It's possible that the cable was damaged at some point during the attempted repairs, since it wasn't stiff before.

If you can run the car with the rear wheels off the ground safely, you could also try this: with the cable still disconected at the transmission, move the selector lever on the transmission by hand into the neutral position. Start the engine, and manually shift it into drive from under the car. Do you have any forward gearing?

You can do this with the car on the ground if you want, by removing the transmission tunnel left side carpet and removing the access cover for the transmission end of the cable. Then you can reach from inside the car and shift the lever on the side of the transmission by hand: that's how I drive a car into my shop so I can raise it up and replace a broken gear selector cable.

There is an external adjuster for both the front and rear bands on this transmission. If you have no forward gearing, you have alot more than a minor band adjustment problem, unless someone has backed out the front band adjuster ALOT.

The kickdown cable adjustment on BW model 66 transmissions is the method used for setting the required pressures. You need a pressure gauge and the specific sequence to set pressure at stall speed: the shift points will be wacked out if this adjustment is not close. It will still have forward gearing, at least for a while, if the pressures are radically incorrect.

In the end, it sounds to me like the transmission installed in the car wasn't any better than the one that was removed, only now you have a messed up gear selector cable for the effort.

Edit, addendum: an automatic transmission failure requires that the transmission cooler and lines be properly flushed. The torque converter must also be rebuilt or replaced. Otherwise, debris from the failed transmission can ruin the replacement unit.

Last edited by JagtechOhio; 02-06-2009 at 09:35 PM. Reason: Addendum
Old 02-07-2009, 06:04 AM
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sounds like the cost of repairs already exceeds the value of the car, so you have one or two alternatives:

buy another 1985 XJ-6 in working condition and save the other one for parts. You can get a nice, rust-free example, for around $2,500. Depends where you are located, but here in Florida, they are selling for little.

the other alternative is to spend more money and install a GM transmission, buying the required kit, transmission, and other parts from conversion specialists after you compare prices. Here's two specialists:

1) John's Cars in Texas: http://www.johnscars.com

2) Jaguar Specialties in California: http://www.jaguarspecialties.com

The benefit? you get a 4-speed automatic GM transmission, as opposed to the somewhat primitive 3-speed Borg Warner Model 66. Many have done this conversion and they say it makes the XJ-6 a better driving car. John's Cars is the best known of these specialists.


Last edited by Jose; 02-07-2009 at 06:06 AM.
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