Out of Curiosity - XJS Handbrake Lever

I learnt to drive on a car that had a “umbrella” style of handbrake lever similar to that in a Series 2 XJ - and I hated it and I still do.

Out of curiosity has anyone changed the XJ handbrake to one out of an XJS? If so what are the major issues to be addressed?



No own experience, Garry, but a few assumptions:

IIRC (haha!) the XJS was basically built upon the already available XJ SWB platform - the same as was used for the XJ coupés.

So, my first assumption would be that if you’ve got an XJS donor car and can scavenge all of the necessary bits and pieces - and take many photos! - that sounds feasible with the seat and the handbrake recess the biggest problem. Maybe the floor pan reinforcement is welded on, adding complexity.

My second assumption though would relate to the handbrake function which is, say, less than stellar, and I am not sure whether it would be improved by the on-floor lever. True, you avoid one change of direction, but you also lose a significant amount of lever movement. Then again, Jaguar trusted the floor lever to be sufficient for XJS cars and these aren’t much lighter than the XJ coupés.

Good luck


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

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They‘ll be the same and a well adjusted handbrake is as strong as the main rear calipers…

Since the pads aren’t much good for handbrake turns I don’t see the point yet. Isn’t the XJS lever kind of in the way?

That was what I thought too, David - but someone pointed out that the lever could be let down without releasing the handbrake…?

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

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Thanks for those comments - I had thought of most of the issues raised - hence I was hoping someone had actually done it - I am not an early adopter so will not normally try something if it has not been done.

Just not keen on the umbrella - have always had pull up handbrakes on cars I actually have owned until now.

I don’t mind the umbrella, we have many Mercedes and Mercedes style handbrakes here which are far worse, and I don’t see much benefit from the lever especially if it’s left of the seat. What probably changes is how the cable is routed into the cabin so you‘d need a plate and cable and the lever obviously, I didn’t find it in a parts drawing so you‘d have to look for it. It is definitely easier to leave as is.

The main issue with ‘our’ Jaguars’ handbrake is its inherit weakness with disc pads - not much to be done about that. Many other makes, and Jaguar later, used drums for the handbrake - a different ballpark entirely…:slight_smile:

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

While it fails often mine holds on hills pointing downhill and in drive - and the numbers don’t lie, it’s just 10-20% behind the main pads…

Yes indeed, 90% of the times it’s the pads that give.
So I transformed a set of 80’s Datsun pads to fit and solved the problem for ever.

I fixed them with county and ferodo pads… so far so good, the design itself is good but they seem to need occasional (decade? with every head gasket?) maintenance…

The problem with discs is to get enough handbrake pad pressure using just muscles, David. Which is why we have the booster on the main brakes, without it the braking effect is pitiful. Softer pads is of course a braking improvement…

And as always, ‘use it or lose it’ - certainly valid for the hand brake…:slight_smile:

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

But there is enough! Plenty to hold the car on the steepest hill, probably even the test hill at MIRA.

I wouldn’t use it to stop the car unless in an emergency but it would…

‘Stop the car’ is a strong statement, David; it will eventually do so given time anyway. Or more likely, with strong enough application, it would tear the lining off its backing. But ‘any port in a storm’

Your faith in the handbrake is stronger than mine…:slight_smile:

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

The handbrake lever in the XJS is pulled to engage, then the handle is lowered back down (the handle ‘up’ would be in the way of getting out of or getting back into the car).

To release the XJS handbrake, pull the handle up, press the button to release the handbrake, then, while holding the button in, lower the handle.

A common cause of wearing out, glazing over, overheating, the XJS handbrake pads is driving off with the handbrake still on.

If you don’t pull the handbrake up, press and hold the button, then lower the handle, you don’t really know if the handbrake is on or not.

Sure, there is a dim warning light that you might notice that indicates that the handbrake brake is on … unless the bulb is burned out, or it’s just to dim to see, etc…

I’ve found that the handbrake in my 83 XJS might stop me from pushing the when on a level parking lot (i.e., not much good, in my opinion).

I am very sure that your handbrake, then, is simply not as good as mine is…

Of course I am afraid to try a real stop. But I can keep an eye out for a steep hill and demonstrate. On the compulsory test stand both sides did 200 daN and locked up each wheel. Those values are never exact and two years later it did 180 or so - but that doesn’t mean it brakes worse, just that it locked up earlier.

Put a buzzer in line with the warning lamp if you feel the need Jerry, or fix your brakes and you will know it’s on! I forgot recently and the car was very sluggish somehow, and it survived that.

It’s quite possible that the handbrake pads are glazed over/overheated. When I first bought the car, I couldn’t figure out how the handle/handbrakes worked (they were likely going bad then from PO?), so I suspect that I left the handbrakes on a time or two myself.

However, being as either there was not a huge noticeable drag or the V12 and a little punch of the gas pedal overcame them. :face_with_spiral_eyes:

I bought the car from a dealer (not a Jaguar dealer) who bought it from the original owner’s estate, it is likely they did the same thing.

When I called to go look at the XJS, they said they’d have the owner (of the dealership) bring it back in and drive something else as he was driving it. Owning a dealership that sells fancy sports cars allows you to drive whatever suits your fancy. :sunglasses:

I totally agree.
A properly serviced mechanism with good brake pads, not these sh…y Jaguar ones, does stop the car.
I too can have the car in D on a steep downhill and the car will not move.

Holding the car stationary, parking, Aristides, is a different beast from absorbing the energy involved with a moving car - using 8 large pads compared to 4 small ones…:slight_smile:

But then again, hence the term ‘parking brake’…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

Well duh, it’s an emergency brake, where does it say it needs to work as well as the main brakes :hugs:

The original post was about who has fitted an XJS handbrake to a Series 2 XJ but I guess by the responses, it does not seem to have been done.

The discussion has morphed to how well disk brake handbrakes work with different views both for and against being offered. Thats OK :grinning:

I have owned three cars with handbrakes operating disk brakes, two on the rear wheels and one on the front. - oh with the XJC that is four cars. One of those cars is my Series 3 Etype and in 41 years experience with that vehicle (noting it has not had the handbrake pads changed in all that time) it has only had bad handbrake function when the operating mechanism has needed adjusting. Te same applies with the other vehicles.

The XJC handbrake is not so good at the moment but will hold after a little bit but I would not trust it without being in Park. Will be seen too at its next service - hoping it does not need pads.