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So, about those LS swapped Jags (Jaguar Specialties)

XK8 / XKR ( X100 ) 1996 - 2006

So, about those LS swapped Jags (Jaguar Specialties)

 
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:00 AM
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Default So, about those LS swapped Jags (Jaguar Specialties)

Disclaimer: This is not an ad. I'm not affiliated with Jaguar Specialties in any way, nor have they given me anything or asked for a review.

I know that the LS swaps are polarizing. Some love them, some say they kill the jag spirit. I understand both sides.

This past week was a great car week for me. Visited a friend in Tucson, went mountain carving in a Cayman S, saw sunrise on Mt. Lemmon. I then flew to the Bay area to visit another friend. While I was out there, I was able to meet up with Andrew from Jaguar Specialties--the company that sells the kits for the LS swaps. I was curious about what an LS swapped X100 would feel like--it's certainly an option that I've considered, since my attachment to the car is more due to the previous owner (my uncle) rather than the Jaguar heritage, and I'd rather keep the car on the road with a different heart than have to let it go altogether. We're not there yet, but in any case, it's a thought. It's clear from reviews and videos that the cars work fine, but there's difference between a car working and a car being usable on a daily basis.

First off, it was really great of Andrew to take the time to meet me and take me for a ride. I may not even be a prospective customer (still trying to keep my 4.0 alive), and I'm not a particularly large presence anywhere, so there's no real financial value for him to meet me. But he was just a really nice guy who seemed really genuinely excited to show and tell.

Andrew brought his original prototype car, a white convertible xk8 with a 5.7 from an early 2000's Camaro. He had also put a T56 in it. I initially had some concerns about this combo, since on paper an early-2000's Camaro doesn't exactly scream refinement, and I personally can't have daily driver that burbles all over the place. I was pleasantly surprise by the car. Sure, there was some burble, but for someone like me, it could easily be toned down if wanted (Andrew noted that he'd been through a few different exhaust setups with the car, some of which were too quiet for him). No surprises with the T56. It's a T56. It shifted like a T56. I would personally go with an automatic if I were to do this (because I drive in traffic so often), which they have done--they're working on one with a 6L80e right now, which is probably what I'd go for. AC blew cold, and the car was quiet on the highway, no droning. Not the most powerful car, but more powerful than stock, and plenty for everyday use (I would probably try to do an LS3, which they've done). Definitely had some punch.

Biggest surprise, though, was the engine bay. The 5.7 is tiny compared to the old unit, and the space in there...so much room for my knuckles. Set pretty far back, so the weight distribution is pretty on-center. Car was CA legal, so it had a really clean looking air intake setup. Aside from the chevy engine covers, I don't think it'd be obvious to the layperson that the car had a transplanted engine. And it seemed pretty solidly in there--no scary wobbling.

I won't speak too much about Andrew since we've only met once, but first impressions were great. He's clearly more of a mechanical engineer than a salesman (a good thing in my book), and seems to just really like tinkering with stuff. I found out that his kits are behind some pretty well-known cars, which he doesn't really advertise. And he only swaps cars that would probably be scrapped otherwise, so, whatever your opinion of the LS swap is, it's inarguable that his kits have saved many cars from certain death (and, should you want to, you can return them to Jag spec, since there's no fab work involved AFAIK). Solid dude, really nice, clearly smart.

So, in sum, I was pleasantly surprised by the LS1 swapped XK8 Andrew brought. As the prototype car, it was clearly not the top example out there, and I'd opt to do some things differently if I were to do it (LS3, 6L80e, maybe a lamer exhaust). But it was plain to see (for me) that these kits clearly have much more mechanical thought behind them than the typical stick-an-LS-in-it swap. Cool stuff. Will I do it to mine? Hopefully it won't come to that--I'd rather keep the car on the road with the original engine as long as possible. But I feel a little better about my options in case the engine does grenade itself.
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by EnjoyEverySandwich View Post
Sure, there was some burble, but for someone like me, it could easily be toned down
The big difference between the original Jaguar engine and an American V8 is the crankshaft design, it's not just the sound. American V8 are typically cross-plane (the crankshaft does not fit flat on a table), whereas other V8s are in-plane (the crankshaft kind of fits flat on a table). Crankshaft design dictates firing sequence, which dictates exhaust design and therefore what the V8 sounds like. This is why American V8s sound the way they do (Think Mustang, Camero "burble") and are so different from European V8s (Ferrari, Jaguar, Audi, etc.). In the end, the car will sound like the engine in it. Same discussion for a hypothetical V6, V12, or even diesel conversion I suppose, you would have to be happy with the final sound.
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by fmertz View Post
The big difference between the original Jaguar engine and an American V8 is the crankshaft design, it's not just the sound. American V8 are typically cross-plane (the crankshaft does not fit flat on a table), whereas other V8s are in-plane (the crankshaft kind of fits flat on a table). Crankshaft design dictates firing sequence, which dictates exhaust design and therefore what the V8 sounds like. This is why American V8s sound the way they do (Think Mustang, Camero "burble") and are so different from European V8s (Ferrari, Jaguar, Audi, etc.).
Well that's just wrong.

While the Ferrari V8's are indeed a flat-plane crank, all the others; Maserati, Audi, Merc, BMW, Jaguar, Aston are cross-plane.
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by fmertz View Post
The big difference between the original Jaguar engine and an American V8 is the crankshaft design, it's not just the sound. American V8 are typically cross-plane (the crankshaft does not fit flat on a table), whereas other V8s are in-plane (the crankshaft kind of fits flat on a table). Crankshaft design dictates firing sequence, which dictates exhaust design and therefore what the V8 sounds like. This is why American V8s sound the way they do (Think Mustang, Camero "burble") and are so different from European V8s (Ferrari, Jaguar, Audi, etc.). In the end, the car will sound like the engine in it. Same discussion for a hypothetical V6, V12, or even diesel conversion I suppose, you would have to be happy with the final sound.
Thanks for the info--for the very reasons you state, no one should expect an LS to be as smooth as european V8s. My burble concern was more regarding vibrations and idle, like the difference between an OEM C6 corvette vs a random car that's had the same engine swapped into it and hasn't had the acoustics quite figured out.

That being said, did you see the guy that converted his corvette's V8 to a flat-plane crank? It's something to see (and hear). Gnarly stuff.
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Cambo View Post
Well that's just wrong.

While the Ferrari V8's are indeed a flat-plane crank, all the others; Maserati, Audi, Merc, BMW, Jaguar, Aston are cross-plane.
I had somewhat suspected this (AMGs burble quite a bit), but don't have the expertise to correct anyone. Cam design also plays a part, too, right? Europeans typically go with less-aggressive cams, is my (potentially wrong) understanding.

Didn't one of the more recent Mustang GT500s have a flat-plane crank?

 
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Old 01-22-2019, 03:42 PM
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The cam specs plays a very big role in the sound of the motor, also we're comparing a "traditional" single-cam overhead valve with 2 valves per cylinder, to quad-cam 4-valve per cylinder design.

Yes the Mustang with the Voodoo engine is flat-plane, that's pretty much the only V8 on the market apart from the Ferrari which is flat-plane, this design is far less common than people think.
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:33 PM
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Yes, I believe it's the 5.0 Originally brought out in the Boss 302, of a couple years ago, that has the flat plane crank, and a unique sound especially when compared to the old 302 from the 70's to about 1996. But it's a unique engine altogether, with no interchangeable parts to other Ford engines. It's a design all it's own.

Jack
 
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Old 01-23-2019, 05:50 AM
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I just got a lead on a '98 XK8 Coupe with a blown motor (timing chain failure) that I would like to install an LS in. I may be calling Jaguar Specialties soon. I plan to make it as burbly as legally possible.
 
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Ronald Vennell View Post
I just got a lead on a '98 XK8 Coupe with a blown motor (timing chain failure) that I would like to install an LS in. I may be calling Jaguar Specialties soon. I plan to make it as burbly as legally possible.
Hope you post some videos when you do! I'd definitely like to see that.
 
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:33 AM
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Hmm ls with a turbo in a jaguar. I like one offs that function well and surprise the hell out of other drivers.
 
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:30 AM
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I'm about half-way through my LS1/4L60E swap into a '97 XK8 coupe which was purchased with a bad engine for this specific purpose. Actually I purchased the LS swap kit and car both directly from Jaguar Specialties (Andrew). He was very helpful in getting the car on the hauler (shipped from CA to OH) and has been very responsive to my sometimes stupid questions concerning the swap itself.

I hope to have the car on the road by spring and use it as my spring/summer/fall daily driver. Like Ronald mentioned above, mine will be quite burbly as well since I've installed a slightly upgraded cam. Once it proves itself reliable, I'll be researching if a centrifugal supercharger will fit under the hood (i.e. ProCharger).
 
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:18 PM
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While I like my XKR's 370HP/389Ftlbs, this has always been interesting. Getting serious power out of an LS isn't hard or expensive. The big appeal would be going faster modded LS with a manual transmission attached. These threads are kind of cool to see and I love seeing them.

Most X100s will never be collectible. Too common. I know mine has 110k on it now and it's in better shape than when I bought it 40k miles ago, still not worth squat. I'm just having fun!
 
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:17 AM
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*never* maybe isn't the right word- for a long time maybe. 100s of thousands (sorry, millions) of Camaros were made, yet they command a pretty good price if original so....

Every time an X100 goes to the crushers the price goes up just a little... its a matter of time.
 
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:40 AM
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Yeah, I'm curious about appreciation, too. I saw an 05 or 06 xkr in basically perfect condition with like 4000 miles or something that sold for $44k on bring a trailer a few months ago. That car was definitely the exception, not the rule.

Jaguar made way more X100 convertibles than coupes (I think the ratio is like 6:1, but correct me on that). I would hope the rarity of the coupe would make them command more of a premium, but I've yet to see it happen in a significant way. Who knows.

I think part of the issue is that these cars were not heralded in the same way as e.g. the DB7 when they were still being made. They were largely tame, quiet, and comfortable, yet still somehow sports cars? Don't get me wrong--I love the X100--but I'm not hopeful that they'll become cool again, or appreciate significantly. I would love to be proven wrong on that, though!
 
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by dsnyder586 View Post
*never* maybe isn't the right word- for a long time maybe. 100s of thousands (sorry, millions) of Camaros were made, yet they command a pretty good price if original so....

Every time an X100 goes to the crushers the price goes up just a little... its a matter of time.
Put the money in an index fund for the same amount of time and watch that even picking the rocking car usually doesn't beat the market. You also didn't have to maintain anything for that money to grow. By the time the Jaguar is worth a decent amount, that amount will still be smaller than what you'd have in the brokerage account.

The cars are a blast for cheap money though, have fun with them!
 
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Old 01-25-2019, 10:27 AM
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Default thoughts from my experience

While my Jaguar is not an XK8/XKE/X100, my is a a 1963 Jaguar 3.8s and it has a modern LS1 5.3 that is mildly modified with around 400 HP. The car looks fairly stock on the outside but has upgraded wheels with 245's on all four corners, all of the modern features of a new car such as AC, power steering, WIFI/blue tooth, back up camera, electric Jaguar leather seats with headrests, and actually a lot more beyond most current cars such as a refrigerator, printer, and that list is large. Anyway, the V8 is much lighter than the Jag stock engine which provides a better road handling. The sound is totally dependent on how you choose to muffle the car's exhaust while there are slight pitch between 6 and 8, you can make it sound many ways based on the muffler and exhaust design. For me I chose to keep it quiet so as to keep it more of a sleeper. The LS V8 is such an improvement as the engine is smooth and so much more power. The V8 now increases the performance from 0-60 to 3.9 to 4.0 seconds. The V8 is also such an easy engine to maintain not much to do other than change the oil as it is computer controlled, coil packs for each cylinder so no distributor/points/etc. and with the computer controlled ECU starting is easy and no matter what elevation the car preforms perfectly. I have finished the car about 3 years ago and have about 100,000 miles on it and I doubt the stock Jaguar would be as trouble free and the LS engines easily go 250,000 + miles without issues.

As far as value, the reality today is if a classic car is upgraded with a the right modern V8 then it will often increase the value compared to stock and if the entire car is built to a true restomod then it can out pace a numbers matching car, just see the trends at Barrett Jackson and others. Today quality restomod cars are commanding higher prices than numbers matching in many instances. The reason to me is that people love certain classic cars but fewer people buy them as just collector toys, people want to drive them and expect modern performance. I have had several purchase offers from $60-75K which is way more than any stock Jaguar 3.8s.

An LS swap is a lot of work but if you do it well the end result is incredible performance, great reliability, same or better fuel economy, and the value of the car in my opinion would increase compare to stock.




 
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Old 01-25-2019, 10:33 AM
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Your car is badass! I don't think I see anything I don't think is cool on it. It has AC from the looks of it too and that is hugely appealing to me. I, and many others, would definitely like your car over OEM; it's a classic you can use and use without worrying about making the value worse. The 100 point cars are cool too, but I like this because you can get in, roast the tires, and be chilly cool with nice audio from the stereo.
 
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Old 01-25-2019, 10:43 AM
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nicely done primaz!!!
 
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Old 01-25-2019, 10:48 AM
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What a nicely done example. Wow.

One question, though: the 5.3 is typically the truck variant, right, and usually an iron block. Since this is lighter, would this then be the L33 (aluminum block, but same 5.3 displacement)? Just curious.
 
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Old 01-25-2019, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by EnjoyEverySandwich View Post
What a nicely done example. Wow.

One question, though: the 5.3 is typically the truck variant, right, and usually an iron block. Since this is lighter, would this then be the L33 (aluminum block, but same 5.3 displacement)? Just curious.
Either LS variant would work fine in a Jaguar, I just did this one because of the circumstances, it was a great deal that I could not pass up. The main difference is the truck intake is geared for more torque which I have tons of but it does not limit the drivability in anyway. LS engines are nice as there are so many tuners everywhere that can tune them to your specific needs and desires; once tuned the engine is just no maintenance. I would always recommend that any restomod Jaguar use an aluminum block and head V8 as they are so light and improve the balance/handling of the car plus that is what people want for resale. If you see a restomod with a carbureted V8 or any old school iron block, etc. those will DEFINAETLEY have reduced resale value. People today want a plug and play car where you just put in gas and the car is fast, handles well, and reliable. The recent Barrett Jackson auction in Arizona there were so many restomod muscle cars that sold for 1.5 to 4X of a perfect numbers matching car, that is the trend.

Andrew with jaguar specialties is GREAT and he helped me with a number of parts and information for my car. He has proven kits for the Jaguars in this forum and I would highly recommend him. You can also use him and find a good local mechanical to do all of the work and while it will be an investment to do the swap the end result is phenomenal. As an example my car has blown away so many modern sedans and having that incredible speed at your fingertips makes driving so enjoyable!
 

Last edited by primaz; 01-25-2019 at 11:57 AM.
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