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The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
6/4/18 11:41 a.m.


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story by matt cramer
photos by kevin adolf unless otherwise credited

“It practically bolts in.”

“You can swap one in for under a grand.”

“They’ll fit in pretty much anything.”

“It’s an easy 400 horsepower.”

The Internet is full of chatter about transplanting General Motors’s third- and fourth-generation V8s, engines commonly known by their LS designations. The biggest problem with these Internet claims isn’t that they’re outright lies, it’s that they’re just not true for everyone. A hotrodder at the top of the game is going to have a different result from a newbie wrenching in a parking lot.

Embarking on your first LS swap? Here’s how the hype stacks up against reality.

Read the rest of the story

docwyte
docwyte SuperDork
6/4/18 11:57 a.m.

The corvette accessory drive doesn't fit in alot of the imports.  The alternator is mounted too high.  In a 944 you need the F body accessories, or from a GTO. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/4/18 11:59 a.m.

Actually, the CSTV is probably the preferred option if you want a low alternator. Closer to the block than the F/GTO fitment. Available from GMPP as a kit.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
6/4/18 12:05 p.m.

Accessesories are the swap issue no one addresses. It can nickel and dime you to death. 

stylngle2003
stylngle2003 New Reader
6/4/18 1:54 p.m.
Appleseed said:

Accessesories are the swap issue no one addresses. It can nickel and dime you to death. 

especially if you spend $2500 or whatever to get one of the billet kits. absurd dollars.

Motor_Mouth
Motor_Mouth New Reader
6/4/18 3:30 p.m.

In reply to docwyte :

The 911 conversion uses block off plates and an electric water pump.   Removing the water pump altogether makes the motor super short above the damper.   You'll still need to carve out room for the damper, though.

 

Trackmouse
Trackmouse UltraDork
6/4/18 5:27 p.m.

After reading, I am SO glad I went 1uzfe! All the Bolt in benefits, and zero of the hassle I see here.  Not to mention really good power output for its displacement, all aluminum lightweight, and decent gas mileage to boot. 

buzzboy
buzzboy Reader
6/4/18 8:34 p.m.

Can we get the K24 version of this article? I've got questions

AwesomeAuto
AwesomeAuto New Reader
6/4/18 11:16 p.m.

Claim 1: An LS Swap Costs Less Than $1000
-If that doesn't include the cost of the engine, and you are actually capable of doing your own labor, $1000 is definitely do-able. The issue here is that most people want to buy extremely overpriced bolt in kits that solve their mounting/fitment issues, or they buy pre-made wiring harnesses for $650, or are squeezing it into a small enough car that it cannot use truck accessories. 

 

Claim 2: Swapping an LS for an Earlier GM V8 Is a Bolt-In Project

-Most certainly can be. $35 adapter plates allow you to reuse 3-bolt SBC engine mounts, bolting them to your block, dropping the engine in. It will bolt to your old Chevy V8 transmission. A $22 pilot hub adapter for your old torque converter will be needed, and you'll need to oval out the holes in the flexplate for the torque converter, but a stock flexplate will work. If using a truck engine, the fan will fit an old V8 shroud. A truck pan will fit the older trucks just fine, no need to switch. For most others, you'll need an F-body pan that you can get from Advance Auto using their online discount codes for $140. Worst case, you're $187 into having it dropped right in place of your old small block. From there it is hooking up accessories, wiring, and fuel.

 

Claim 3: They Can Make a Ton of Power

-There shouldn't even be an argument here. Even the weakest of them all, the 255 HP 4.8, will gain 100 HP from a proper cam/headers/tune combo. That same 4.8 will take a 250 shot of nitrous in stock form. 

 

 

 

 

 

te72
te72 Reader
6/4/18 11:48 p.m.
Trackmouse said:

After reading, I am SO glad I went 1uzfe! All the Bolt in benefits, and zero of the hassle I see here.  Not to mention really good power output for its displacement, all aluminum lightweight, and decent gas mileage to boot. 

Owner of a lovely 2000 LS here, and while I really appreciate how it drives, they are on the large side, externally, for the displacement inside. I've seen them stuffed into Miatas, but I shudder to think about servicing on a combo like that.

 

That said, pretty sure that there isn't an LS engine one that is FAA certified, like the 1UZ is. So, the Yota certainly has reliability going for it. That, and while it costs an absolute fortune to do, ITB's and titanium rods, cams and related hardware make a 1uz a VERY good sounding engine. As in, I want to do it, but I really question the sanity of doing so. That sound though...

frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
6/5/18 6:13 a.m.

In reply to docwyte : This is great advice for anyone considering any engine swap.  Those with experience and skills will have a much easier task than complete newbies.  

Tasks someone with experience will tackle easily and quickly can delay others for weeks or even completely.   

 

maschinenbau
maschinenbau Dork
6/5/18 7:52 a.m.

I'm telling you guys, VQ35 is the next hot swap for smaller project cars (ahem Miata) now that G35's are entering beater-car territory. Just under 300 hp, high revving, lightweight, compact accessory drive, RWD, manual options, strong aftermarket due to 350Z, and still pretty narrow size with the 60deg V angle. It's a tall motor, but that goofy flat intake keeps things low.

5-10 years ago, sure LS swaps were cheap, but now it seems everyone on craigslist with a high mileage 4.8 turd donor "knows what they have". 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Digital Experience Director
6/5/18 7:54 a.m.

I don't know–my 350Z has more room under the hood with the LS than it did with the VQ35. They're WIDE thanks to those cams.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
6/5/18 9:07 a.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

You may be right, but the jury is still out. 

I recently did some homework trying to see the feasibility of a VQ35 in a Miata. I didn't dig too deep, but it appears that the front sump creates a conflict, and defeating the security system can be challenging. The cost of a manual can make the swap pricey (because you will be cutting up a 350Z, not a G35)

Its an unusual swap, with no support.  So, doing it would be a trailblazing effort.

I found several VQ Miata projects. I didn't find any completed ones. 

The engine specs are certainly worthwhile, but the fit in a Miata engine bay may not be as straight forward as an LS.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/5/18 9:49 a.m.

Generally speaking, V6s are going to be narrower and taller than V8s of equivalent technology thanks to the ideal 60* angle vs 90. Fitment all depends on where you have extra room.

 

And yes, a couple of folks have tried to make the VQ35 work but I don't know of any successes.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
6/5/18 9:54 a.m.

Isn't the "wiring" (engine management, sensors, etc) a nightmare with a 350Z vintage engine?

maschinenbau
maschinenbau Dork
6/5/18 10:16 a.m.

In reply to Appleseed :

I'm about to find out! The security issue is supposed to be solved if you have the ignition switch that came with the ECU, otherwise you have to send in the ECU to get unlocked. Luckily I saved everything off my G.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr UltraDork
6/5/18 11:31 a.m.
maschinenbau said:

I'm telling you guys, VQ35 is the next hot swap for smaller project cars (ahem Miata) now that G35's are entering beater-car territory. Just under 300 hp, high revving, lightweight, compact accessory drive, RWD, manual options, strong aftermarket due to 350Z, and still pretty narrow size with the 60deg V angle. It's a tall motor, but that goofy flat intake keeps things low.

5-10 years ago, sure LS swaps were cheap, but now it seems everyone on craigslist with a high mileage 4.8 turd donor "knows what they have". 

I know an LS engine fits in a 2nd gen rx7 fairly easily and a VQ sits only a few inches off the ground if you dont want to hack a huge hole in your hood.  They are TALL!

Trackmouse
Trackmouse UltraDork
6/5/18 12:26 p.m.
te72 said:
Trackmouse said:

After reading, I am SO glad I went 1uzfe! All the Bolt in benefits, and zero of the hassle I see here.  Not to mention really good power output for its displacement, all aluminum lightweight, and decent gas mileage to boot. 

Owner of a lovely 2000 LS here, and while I really appreciate how it drives, they are on the large side, externally, for the displacement inside. I've seen them stuffed into Miatas, but I shudder to think about servicing on a combo like that.

 

That said, pretty sure that there isn't an LS engine one that is FAA certified, like the 1UZ is. So, the Yota certainly has reliability going for it. That, and while it costs an absolute fortune to do, ITB's and titanium rods, cams and related hardware make a 1uz a VERY good sounding engine. As in, I want to do it, but I really question the sanity of doing so. That sound though...

I put one in a third gen celica. Plenty of room to service. A miata could be tight. The ITBs sound good but don’t make much power, at least for the cost. Turbo is where the 1uz shines. 1,000hp is totally doable.

My whole gripe with LS motors is that you either buy a steel boat anchor for a relatively cheap price (the person has to *not* know what they are selling), or you buy an aluminum LS that’ll cost more than most cars it’s being put in. 

You can find the 4.8 and 5.3 vans and trucks, but then you have to swap heads, and dick with the other things mentioned in the article. The 1uz needs a stand-alone and that’s it. Add a turbo, amazing power. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/5/18 1:02 p.m.

1,000 hp and 1,000,000 mile lifespan? Wow!

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
6/5/18 2:46 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

1,000 hp and 1,000,000 mile lifespan? Wow!

Sigh, excuse the Toyota fanboi, you get one or the other.  Not both.

Trackmouse
Trackmouse UltraDork
6/5/18 2:51 p.m.

In reply to Stefan :

No E36 M3 Sherlock? Wow! Thanks for the heads up capt obvious! 

It will forever be a mystery to me as to how some of the more educated people on this forum cannot decipher simple dialect, and read everything out of context, and then somehow justify throwing it back in the poster’s face as if that person didn’t know what they were talking about. Incredible...

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
6/5/18 2:58 p.m.

In reply to Trackmouse :

I love you man.  C'mon, lets hug it out....

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/5/18 2:58 p.m.

Sorry, the hyperbole was getting a little thick.

TurboFocus
TurboFocus Reader
6/5/18 3:29 p.m.

whats a 1uz thing in that i can pull out of?

 

k motors can still be had for relatively cheap and are known to make gobs of power. cool for the smaller cars?

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