LS Engine Swap Tips - Heart Transplant

Here are the latest products to help you swap an LS motor into your vintage Chevy.

The Super Chevy Archives Jun 16, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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Intake Manifolds

There are a number of production-based intake manifolds, as well as a multitude of aftermarket units. The LS1, LS6 and truck manifolds interchange, but the truck manifold is pretty tall so it might pose a hood clearance issue. These engines share a common intake gasket design. The LS6 intake is a popular upgrade for LS1 engines and adds 10 to 15 horsepower. If you are looking to keep the system a bit simpler by running a carburetor, you are in luck as there are a few intakes offered that allow the use of a carb.

The newest thing in the LS intake market is Holley's GM LS3/L92 Modular Hi--Ram-style intake manifold. Coupling this Hi-Ram intake with the high-flowing LS3/L92 cylinder heads has outstanding potential for N/A and forced- induction applications at a budget-minded cost. The base is designed to be modular in configuration to accept a wide range of carbureted and EFI tops and to be attractive to builders and fabricators as the foundation for custom induction systems. EFI fuel rails feature --8 fittings with passages large enough to accommodate high fuel flows and dampen pressure pulsations in the fuel system and come standard with EFI Hi--Ram-style kits.

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Reluctor Wheel Identification

Currently, there are two generations of reluctor wheel in the LS family. What's a reluctor wheel? A reluctor wheel is part of the ignition system. Much like a crank trigger, it (combined with a sensor) tells the ECU what position the crank is in, so it can fire the coils off at the correct time. The easiest way to determine which version is which is the location of the cam sensor. Gen-III engines have the cam sensor located in the block at the rear of the intake manifold. Gen-IV engines have the cam sensor located in the front cover. Also, Gen-III engines have 24X crank sensors, and Gen-IV has 58X. The 24X sensor has a black connector, and the 58X has a gray connector. Engine controllers must be matched to this sensor, or the engine will not run.

Complete Swap Kits

Among the newest offerings out there are the complete swap kits. These will include a lot of stuff needed to transplant an LS under the hood in one part number. What is nice about the kits is all the components were developed together so you know the motor mounts and exhaust or throttle body and pedal will work together in you car. The manufacturer will dictate the completeness of the kit; you must decide what you actually need compared to what is packaged together.

FAST's new EZ-EFI kits allow anyone to easily run a GM LS Gen-III/IV engine and transmission outside of its original vehicle and factory controller. The FAST kits are the perfect "no headache" and "no expert required" complete solution for transplanting late-model engines. Everything is covered, from fuel to spark and from engine through electronic transmission. The optional package stages allow you to select the right level of kit based on your individual needs. The kits are available in four different options: Engine Kits with EZ-TCU Transmission Controller; Engine & Manifold Kits; and Engine & Manifold Kits with EZ-TCU Transmission Controller.

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Hedman Husler's line of Muscle Rods products consists of headers, engine mounts and transmission crossmember combinations that are vehicle- and transmission-specific. Muscle Rods mounts and crossmembers are designed to ensure that the engine is set in the correct position to allow for factory accessories on the front of the engine, and that the factory recommended 3-to-5 degrees pinion angle is maintained. The company also gives you a choice in exhaust with short- and long-tube headers. The Muscle Rods headers and LS-conversion mount kits are sold separately and are available for Tri-Five and X-frame cars, as well as, A-, B-, F-, G- and X-body vehicles.

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