LS Engine Swap In A Muscle Car - How It Works

LS swaps are smoking hot and here’s how to fit one inside your muscle car

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Each series of Muscle Rods headers are available as mid-length headers with a ball-and-socket–style collector, or as full-length headers with a race-style collector. For those wanting to utilize headers that provide maximum power potential, full-length headers with stepped primary tubes are also available. Tube diameters range from 1.625- all the way up to 1.875x2-inch stepped tubes. Regardless of the tube style or diameter, the smooth, mandrel-bent Muscle Rods tubes provide performance that is far superior to cast LS manifolds or generic LS headers. The Husler R&D gurus went so far as to tune the primary tube lengths to work with the LS engine’s timing curve. This added feature optimizes exhaust scavenging for maximum power potential. In fact, mid-length Muscle Rods models can add as much as 20-25 hp at the rear wheels, and full-length models can add as much as 45 hp. All Muscle Rods LS Swap headers are offered in a variety of finishes. LS guys can choose from raw mild steel headers that they can finish however they want, Hedman’s HTC silver ceramic-metallic coating, or Husler’s new Black Maxx ceramic-metallic finish.

Liz Miles: Hooker offers headers for several LS swap applications, and is constantly engineering new ones to add to this list. Currently, we have Super Competition LS swap headers for ’55-57 Chevys, ’67-69 Camaros, and ’68-72 Chevelles. Coming soon are swap headers for second-generation Camaros as well. These headers feature 1.75-inch primaries, thick 5/16-inch flanges, 3-inch collectors, and 18-gauge steel tubing. To suit a wide variety of applications, Hooker headers are available in our traditional metallic ceramic coating, and our Darksides ceramic coatings. While our traditional metallic ceramic coatings are good for up to 1,300 degrees F, the Darksides’ coating can withstand temperatures up to 1,700 degrees. This makes it an excellent choice for forced-induction and nitrous applications. Additionally, soon to be released are our new cast-iron exhaust manifolds for use with the E-rod crate engine, or any other application where space, simplicity, or a nostalgic look is desired.”

1112chp 02  Ls Engine Swap Muscle Cars 2/5

Crossmembers

Mark Campbell: After retrofitting an LS motor into the engine compartment, the next step is figuring out how to support the transmission. F- and X-bodies, Tri-Fives, and ’58-64 fullsize Chevys typically require an aftermarket crossmember in order to use a late-model GM trans. Fortunately, they are available turnkey from a number of manufacturers, including Street and Performance. On the other hand, Chevelles and late-model Caprices can use a stock crossmember. All you have to do is slide the crossmember back on the framerails, and lower or raise it to get the driveshaft angle correct. We usually recommend a driveshaft angle of -0.5 to 2 degrees. Otherwise, you’ll have driveshaft problems and wear out the U-joints.

Engine Mounts

Liz Miles: Hooker’s engine mount plates are built to be a simple, strong, and aesthetically pleasing way to easily mount an LS small-block in a muscle car. The Hooker engine swap plate bolts to the LS motor, and a standard small-block Chevy engine mount bolts to our plate. This approach eliminates much of the fabrication work required with such swaps. Built from 3/8-inch hot rolled steel, they feature counter-sunk machine screws and a durable zinc coating. Hooker’s LS engine mount plates come in a large assortment of configurations to cover a wide range of applications. The plates can position the motor in the stock location, but we also offer plates that relocate the motor 0.5, 1.25, and 3 inches forward. We even cover G-bodies with our clamshell-style mounts. LS cylinder heads extend all the way to the bellhousing mounting surface while Gen I engines have about an inch of space. This needs to be considered when selecting the plates.

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