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First Drive- XJSC LS1/6-speed Manaul Trans Conversion - WOW!!

XJS ( X27 ) 1975 - 1996 3.6 4.0 5.3 6.0

First Drive- XJSC LS1/6-speed Manaul Trans Conversion - WOW!!

Old 06-08-2019, 12:21 AM
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Default First Drive- XJSC LS1/6-speed Manual Trans Conversion - WOW!!

So a few months back I posted a first update on a project we are working on here- an LS1 and T56 6-speed manual trans "re-conversion" of my own 1988 XJSC. To bring those reading this for the first time up to speed, this car was originally converted with a 1997 Camaro LT1 and 6 speed manual trans back in 2003. Fast forward 15 years and it's time for an update and we went with a 2002 Camaro SS LS1 and 6 speed manual. The car also got all new suspension plus a 1995 XJS 3.54 posi/outboard disc rear suspension transplant as well. This car has all the right pieces on it as well- all new suspension with poly bushings, 1" front and 7/8" rear sway bars, fully new brake system including stainless brake hoses all around, etc.,. Provided only for technical value, anyone interested to see the build can follow along here:

XJSC LS Buildup Jaguar Specialties

Well, since this is my own car, progress was slow but I finally had a chance to get it out on the road today for the first time and all I can say is wow. Here are some observations based on a perhaps 30 minute total run:

1) Weight- the front end feels lighter now and that also comes across in the steering (using the exact same wheel/tire combo as before) which also seems slightly lighter. I attribute this to the somewhat lighter weight of the LS1 vs the LT1 before it (perhaps a 100 lb or so difference. The balance is good and the car brakes evenly and cleanly with no perceptible dive on the front.

2) Clutch- I reused the previous Jaguar factory style clutch pedal/clutch master set up and the results there were a big surprise. The LS1 T56 transmission uses a hydraulic throwout bearing (as opposed to the LT1's external clutch slave cylinder and clutch fork). This was an area I was worried about as there was no telling if the Jag master would move enough fluid to release the LS1 clutch. Well once the master was bled properly (which requires some special tricks since it is mounted vertically- were you aware of that...?), the clutch actuation is a pleasure. The pedal effort is medium and the clutch releases and picks up at approx mid pedal travel- perfect! This is much better than previously when the combo of Jag master and the LT1 clutch slave cylinder made for a very heavy pedal effort which was a pain in traffic. A nice relief...

3) Shifter- the placement of the LS1 and T56 in the car is very similar to the previous LT1 installation, but slightly rearward which put the shifter perfect in the middle of an XJS-facelift ski slope shifter opening. The Camaro SS used a B&M shifter (different than the standard Z28 Camaro) which has very short throws at the knob and is very positive. Shifting is more an action of flicking the wrist. (An interesting side note on this is that the 2004-2006 GTO models, LS1 and LS2, used this very same transmission but actually used a weighted shift knob to speed the action. That knob is close to 1 lb in weight and really gives the handle some momentum when you move it. I'm using that style on my XK8 LS1-T56 and it really works... I may go to it here as well)

4) Intake/Exhaust- On the intake side we are using a (California legal) K&N FIPK (fuel injection performance kit) package for the Camaro that runs a very large oval open filter that can be placed ahead of the radiator for cool air

The exhaust system that was built uses the factory Camaro SS cats, dual mandrel bent 2 1/2" pipe all the way back, a center X-pipe, and tail pipes under the rear suspension into 12" straight through resonators. It is growly but not loud. Also remember the exhaust here is not as simple as regular XJS models in the rear- this car is an XJSC that has the central lower body support frame (called the cruciform...) under the rear suspension from the trunk floor to in front of the diff, and that piece is almost 12 inches wide. The rear exhaust can't go under it but instead on either side. It took a little fiddling to get something satisfactory there.

How does in drive?? So the $64,000 question is how does it go??? Well after only very limited running I can say this for sure- the car is a ROCKET!! Now remember, this is an engine that officially makes only 325hp (per GM) but is coupled to an aggressive first gear in the trans as well as a 3.54 diff ratio. Even just getting into half throttle is amazing. I am always surprised but how well the LS engines rev considering they are a pushrod variety, but go figure... And all with a relatively smooth idle (something I was interested to see as I'm trying polyurethane engine and trans isolators this time...)

Attached are some pics of the overall engine installation with air intake system at about 90% complete (some closing panels still to come, and I was trying out the Corvette LS3 engine covers- not sure on those...) and the main part of the exhaust system (just before the tail pipes were put on- they exit in the stock location). If you look at the rear area you can see the cruciform. And there is a shot too of the console and shifter. I am playing with a white retro-style Hurst ball shifter knob (they make one for the T56), but it's obviously not the right piece for the car....

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pics. More to come soon...

Jaguar Specialties


Last edited by JaguarSpecialties; 06-08-2019 at 09:45 AM.
The following 2 users liked this post by JaguarSpecialties:
Doug (06-08-2019), Fla Steve (06-10-2019)
Old 06-10-2019, 12:14 AM
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Looks good, we need some dashcam 0-60 footage though! Out of curiosity what are the ratios for the transmission?
Old 06-10-2019, 01:34 AM
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Great skills.
Yes dash cam all the way.
Car looks great and the engine fits so well, underneath looks factory!
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