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Old 06-20-2011, 04:57 PM   #1
hokie04
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Default C2 LS1 Conversion List

I am thinking about doing an engine transplant over the Winter to a LS1with EFI. Is their a list in archives or does someone have a list of required parts and modifications? I plan on using stock frame.

Also would a LS3 engine be more difficult and costly as far as modifications are concerned not engine cost?
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Old 06-20-2011, 06:18 PM   #2
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Nope, the LS1 and LS3 engine are the same thing. Kind of like the difference between a 283 and a 350 smallblock. Given a choice, always go with the LS3. The ECM is 1/4 the size of a LS1 ECM and it makes a bunch more power. The LS3 is also Drive-by-wire throttle, which is easier to use in a retrofit.



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Old 06-20-2011, 10:07 PM   #3
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The LS3 bolts in just the same as the LS1 but has the huge square port heads that can easily pump out well over 500 hp with a cam and headers.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:54 AM   #4
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And hopefully you know that "bolt-in" means, buy a bunch of stuff, have it not fit, modify it to fit, decide you want something else a little different, buy a bunch more stuff, modify it to fit... repeat...

We are doing a conversion right now, bought an LS2 and harnesss, 5 speed, power brakes, steeroids PS kit, you name it.

If you want to get a stand alone harness and engine package, I can put you in touch with a guy.

Also, I ended up having to go with customer accessories to make it work, I could not use any of the C5/6 accessories straight off the shelf, despite having multiple people tell me that they bolt right in. Fortunately I have a mill, a lathe and a welder and was able to fab anything I needed.

I have built quite a few cars, we went through a few oil pans, motor mounts, etc. before we found something that worked with ALL of the parts that we put on the car.

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Old 06-21-2011, 09:10 AM   #5
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What would you say are the biggest obstacles installing a LS3 to a stock frame? I figure if I go with a Tremec that should give the the trans enough beef. I think the unknowns bother me; new gas tank, dual lines, electric fuel pump, motor mounts, new rad and how it mounts, hood clearances. That is why I was hoping to get an experience list from someone who has been there and done that. Similiar to the list on the forum I used to do a body off restoration.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hokie04 View Post
What would you say are the biggest obstacles installing a LS3 to a stock frame? I figure if I go with a Tremec that should give the the trans enough beef. I think the unknowns bother me; new gas tank, dual lines, electric fuel pump, motor mounts, new rad and how it mounts, hood clearances. That is why I was hoping to get an experience list from someone who has been there and done that. Similiar to the list on the forum I used to do a body off restoration.
There are quite honestly quite a few issues that we have come across.

Fuel system - this was not an issue, you don't need a new fuel tank. We modified the stock one and used an external pump, fed from a stock pick up. OEM (not 65) fuel filter, etc. You don't need to run dual lines either.

Radiator, there is a drop in item here from DeWitt's with Electric Fans

We did the engine with a Keisler 5 speed TKO600. This came with its own set of issues, the largest issue is the fact that the stock firewall was never intended to have a hydraulic clutch master to it. Had I known this when I had the engine and trans out, it would be been much easier to deal with. Instead we had to reinforce the firewall with the entire thing assembled.

The clutch was also an issue, use a stock LS7 clutch or Keisler's clutch, if you go with them, with their bell housing and you will be fine. I also made my cross member removable and made a custom one for the car and transmission. I don't see how it is would be possible to get the trans in there without making it removable.

The motor mounts, accessories, oil pan, etc. was something we went through several interations on. The car is together and we have driven it, so all of the issues have been overcome.

There are no hood issues with the engine, at least with our hood, I think a Maggie would actually fit, we have a stock hood with a 427 scoop in it.

I used a stock set of Vette manifolds from the LS2 and the factory sidepipes. I modified the factory pipes to get rid of the crushed sections and used all mandrel bends. Worked great, sounds good.

I also fabricated the Hydroboost setup, all of the lines, the AC lines had to be custom, it is just making a lot of different systems work together.

Hope that helps. I assume you are going to do this work yourself?
Hopefully you have a lift as well.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:39 AM   #7
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Try this link:
www.masthotrod.com

They had an ad in Hot Rod mag, have a lot of conversion pieces/info
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hokie04 View Post
What would you say are the biggest obstacles installing a LS3 to a stock frame? I figure if I go with a Tremec that should give the the trans enough beef. I think the unknowns bother me; new gas tank, dual lines, electric fuel pump, motor mounts, new rad and how it mounts, hood clearances. That is why I was hoping to get an experience list from someone who has been there and done that. Similiar to the list on the forum I used to do a body off restoration.
I think you will find a lot of info from various projects that will help. With the LS3 and late LS2s, you will not need dual fuel lines all the way to the engine. I'll list a few of the vendors/parts used for my project:
Frame: Newman Car Creations
LS3: Mast Motorsports LS3 crate (comes with harness,foot pedal, etc)
Motor mounts: Street and Performance
Headers: Street and Performance
Radiator: Custom Be Cool- both outlets on passenger side
Fuel tank/pump: Rock valley stainless (custom based on my combo)
Trans: TKO-600

You can also look up posts by John McGraw, Jeff Cleary, Rich Lagasse, Beachdude (R.J. Gordon) and a few others that have done these conversions and have helped a lot of people. Have fun!
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:51 AM   #9
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A couple notes that I know of:

-Oil pans: Use the f-body oil pans. A couple of others may fit, but this one is your best bet.
-Motor mounts: Not all motor mount conversion kits are the same, some mount the engine more forward/rearward or vertically. I used the Art Morrison mounts and the location is perfect.
-Front accessory drive: Use GM accessory drives, as these are the most compact. The F-body drive system works very well.
-Throttle actuation: I've done both DBW and cable. The cable setup on a Corvette is very simple (actually, it's simple on just about all cars). Either setup works well for me.
-Intake Manifolds: Truck manifolds won't fit. Use passenger car intakes.
-Exhaust Manifolds: Stock truck manifolds fit great. I haven't tried any headers yet, but many mid-lengths should fit OK.
-Power brake boosters. A 7" dual diaphragm booster will be needed. Even with this clearance is very tight to the coil packs. Pedal feel is pretty good (don't use a single diaphragm booster!)
-Engine harness: I've done this three ways: modify stock harness, Speartech harness, and PSI harness. The stock harness will work just fine if you are on a tight budget and are comfortable with wiring. If not, Speartech and PSI both make equally good harnesses (although PSI is about $300 cheaper). My next project will probably use a PSI harness again.
-Transmissions: All Tremecs are very large above the shaft C/L and will probably require some modifications. A stock Muncie can be adapted if you are so inclined. I used a 4L60 and clearance is extremely tight, but it does fit without any body or frame modifications.
-Gauges: I had a tough time with this one. The stock gauges in these cars are great compared to other '60s cars, and I didn't want to put in Autometers or anything aftermarket. I had my gauges converted to electronic to Redline Gauge Works in CA and they did a wonderful job. Expensive, but worth the price. IMO it's the only right way to do it.

I think that's about it. My goal for this build was to have the car appear totally stock with the hood closed. Most LS conversions have clues here and there that will tell you a LS engine is installed...nothing wrong with that, I just like the stealth appearance. Another goal was to not have to modify ANYTHING on the factory frame or body. The value on these cars can be heavily placed on originality and this car was bone-stock with not one "bubba" modification (bubbafication as I call it). I could put the 327-300 back in and nobody would know a different engine was in there at some point.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:49 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the input! I have a lot of information to digest.
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:47 AM   #11
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My List:
Purchase ZZ4 or ZZ383, if more money burning a hole, buy five or six speed, then FAST Fuel injection.

Install

enjoy next summer
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
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My List:
Purchase ZZ4 or ZZ383, if more money burning a hole, buy five or six speed, then FAST Fuel injection.

Install

enjoy next summer
I'm afraid that has nothing to do with the OP's question.
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Old 06-22-2011, 04:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I'm afraid that has nothing to do with the OP's question.
To have a little fun(don't start flaming me), I look at ZZ383 setup with FAST FI, the "rough" estimate is $7600 not including accessories, pulleys, etc. If you want to use MASS Flo setup, add another $1,000

LS3, hot cam setup I have was $9,000 not including accessories, pulleys, etc. which that kit was expen$ive.

If you went used LS route, you would save quite a bit. When you start adding everything else you will need, the costs above jump up significantly.

Just wanted to see what the cost comparision would be bearing in mind that you could not make each configuration exactly the same.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:11 AM   #14
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Let me see how much ignorance I can show here with these questions. What blocks will accept the LS3 FI intake system? What heads will accept the LS3 FI intake?

Will any of the LS intakes fit the older Vortex engines?

My goal here is dependability, 300+ hp, and the LS look linked to stock muncie 4 speed. Little change as possible to engine bay.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hokie04 View Post
Let me see how much ignorance I can show here with these questions. What blocks will accept the LS3 FI intake system? What heads will accept the LS3 FI intake?

Will any of the LS intakes fit the older Vortex engines?

My goal here is dependability, 300+ hp, and the LS look linked to stock muncie 4 speed. Little change as possible to engine bay.
All blocks will accept an LS3 head, these are also called an L92 head, there is apparently a difference in the casting finish, but I have used both and have noticed no difference in performance.

You only want to use an LS3 upper on on an engine with a 4" bore or better. This would mean a 6L Iron, LS2, LS3 or and LS7 block.

The only heads will work with an LS3 intake are either LS3 heads or L92 heads.

None of the LS anything (except the bell housing for those that want to get technical) will work on the LS engine, everything is different. A completely different and superior architecture, hands down.

IMO, you are wasting your time and energy to put an LS engine in the car and not go to a modern transmission. If you are going to stick with a Muncie and just want a little more power, I would get a ZZ4 crate motor as suggested with a carb and throw it in there and be done.

Of course there are FI options for those engines as well, but if you are going to put something in there that is FI, might as well do an LS, the programming, availability of parts, etc. etc. is FAR beyond what you can get from other platforms.

IF you really wanted to do this on a budget, you could find an LS1 or a 5.3L iron block engine from a truck and use that for your swap. You are still going to get 320-350 HP and could put a cam in an LS1 and get near 400 with it. Just put an LS6 or LS2 intake manifold on the engine, whether truck or LS1 and be done with it.

Hope that helps. As for the other items, if you use an iron block, LS1, LS6, LS2, LS3 etc, it will bolt in exactly the same. My suggestion is to set a budget and buy the newest, low mileage engine you can find for your build. There is NO reason you cannot use a 30-40k mile engine for your build. These engines are great with up to 70k on them. Rebuild parts are readily available if you had to do that down the road.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:45 AM   #16
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The LS3 injection and intake will only fit LS3 and other late engines like the L99 and L76. The heads on these engines, which have only been built since 2007, are different from earlier engines.

The LS1 injection and intake will only work on GenIII engines built from 97 through 2006.

If you want to use an earlier LT style engine, you will need to use the LT style injection.

IMHO, trying to put LS3 injection on a earlier engine would be akin to putting a $500 saddle on a $50 horse. The LS is such a great engine for a number of reasons and it works well as a complete system. Trying to cobble together an engine using parts from different generations, will just lead to heartache and an engine that won't perform up to your expectations.

I have a bone-stock LS2 engine in my 65 and it is more power than almost anyone could ever want, and way more power than the 245 tires can put to the ground. I have a LS3 in my 67 Chevelle station wagon and it is downright scary! Even with 285 tires, the tires go up in smoke at a touch of the throttle. Even my 59 with a LS1 is a handfull at full throttle.

Find yourself a good pullout engine or buy a new crate engine, and you will have years of fun boiling the hides off your rear wheels! The LS swap is a little work, but the end result is a car that gets good fuel economy, has incredible bottom end torque, starts the first crank every time, is dependable as the day is long, and will make enough power to scare most people.
They will not be the least expensive option, but they sure are fun!



Regards, John McGraw
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Old 06-23-2011, 12:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John McGraw View Post
The LS3 injection and intake will only fit LS3 and other late engines like the L99 and L76. The heads on these engines, which have only been built since 2007, are different from earlier engines.

The LS1 injection and intake will only work on GenIII engines built from 97 through 2006.

If you want to use an earlier LT style engine, you will need to use the LT style injection.

IMHO, trying to put LS3 injection on a earlier engine would be akin to putting a $500 saddle on a $50 horse. The LS is such a great engine for a number of reasons and it works well as a complete system. Trying to cobble together an engine using parts from different generations, will just lead to heartache and an engine that won't perform up to your expectations.


I have a bone-stock LS2 engine in my 65 and it is more power than almost anyone could ever want, and way more power than the 245 tires can put to the ground. I have a LS3 in my 67 Chevelle station wagon and it is downright scary! Even with 285 tires, the tires go up in smoke at a touch of the throttle. Even my 59 with a LS1 is a handfull at full throttle.

Find yourself a good pullout engine or buy a new crate engine, and you will have years of fun boiling the hides off your rear wheels! The LS swap is a little work, but the end result is a car that gets good fuel economy, has incredible bottom end torque, starts the first crank every time, is dependable as the day is long, and will make enough power to scare most people.
They will not be the least expensive option, but they sure are fun!



Regards, John McGraw

Thanks John,

In the two Corvettes are you using there stock frames?

Thanks, Richard
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Old 06-23-2011, 01:33 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hokie04 View Post
Thanks John,

In the two Corvettes are you using there stock frames?

Thanks, Richard
Nope, SRIII chassis on both of them, but it really does not make any difference. Any chassis that accepts a smallblock, will accept a LS engine.
There are no substantial issues with putting a LS engine in a stock frame.

The reason that I went with an aftermarket frame, was that I wanted more current suspension, not for any kind of engine clearance.

Regards, John McGraw
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:08 PM   #19
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Seen a lot of LS Transplants in vehicles during the hot rod power tour, It has come a long ways and parts availability is much better.

I have what I call a Budget Conversion, my car does not compare to many of the cars on this forum, but it is a driver and is treated as one.

I live in Florida, so the car see's hot/humid weather.

1- Factory Radiator, I bent up a coat hanger and went to the auto parts store and started looking, found 2 hoses that would work. Car has never got over 210, I will eventually replace with a Aluminum factory type.

2- Hooker Headers/Side pipes, My good friend Taz cut the small block flanges off, welded LS flanges on and modified some pipes, I am running a 4L60, so I did not have to worry about a Z-bar, I would have done a hydraulic anyways if I was going to do a 5/6 speed.

3- 4L60 fits, no Trans tunnel mods. (thanks John McGraw)

4- 6.0 Iron block out of a 2004 GMC 2500, changed pistons/cam/oil pan/Z06 intake and F-body throttle cable. not sure I was smart on all that.

5- No regrets on doing the conversion, would have done some things different if doing over, but hey, that is what experience gets you. I have never had somebody not offer advice on a pm that I sent.

Thanks to all that have helped with my projects.

R.J.
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:48 PM   #20
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My Nephew bought a used LS1 for a song. He is putting it in a 1970 Chevy Truck. Making his own headers...I can put you in contact with him, if you want
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:48 PM
 
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