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GoLucky Reader
5/6/19 11:54 p.m.

I like LS swaps.

I have had the itch for a while now mainly due to spending a fair bit of time working on the 5.3 swapped RX-8 that belongs to a friend. 

I started trolling my local copart and throwing lowball offers on potential donors and recently my efforts paid off. Behold $225 worth of suburban: 

Ok, so with the fees it was $460. But it runs. The front bumper was touching the tire so after a short sawzall session in the Copart parking lot it came home on a tow rope. Classy. 

The part out started strong with my sale of the wheels and tires for $375 straight away.  I had a set of rollers offered to me so it can still be moved. Some more time with the sawzall got the front end decluttered. 

As a special treat the box and manual for the Bluetooth MP3 player was in the back of the truck! Upgrade for the commuter car

A co-worker wants the trans, xfer case and seats. I will probably scrap the shell and hopefully offset some of my swap expenses. 

Lots of removal first though: It really takes the pressure off to know that nothing needs to go back together. I tried to be somewhat mindful of keeping things clean and useable and I found a way to reuse caps from liquor bottles

I started the motor and then unplugged the BCM to work around the VATS and it did the trick. A jumper wire and my bump starter got me running and the DBW still did its thing as well. 

with that accomplished I moved to this:

and there in the background is the eventual destination of this engine. 

I got some help from my large and strong 12 year old moving the cherry picker into the garage  

then separated the engine and the transmission 

Overall it has been a good time and a pretty quick week of free time work. There was a casualty though. I should have been a little more careful 

oops. Looks like I will need a coil. Lots more disassembly and cleaning in the near future as well as the disposal of the donor carcas  


Floating Doc
Floating Doc Dork
5/7/19 6:50 a.m.

I'll be following. What is the plan for a transmission?

Patrick MegaDork
5/7/19 7:27 a.m.

Lt1swap.com is your friend for wiring diagrams and pinouts

GoLucky Reader
5/7/19 7:43 a.m.

In reply to Floating Doc :

Big Red has a 700r4 that I will probably leave in for now but a manual transmission swap is something that I would like in the future 

GoLucky Reader
5/7/19 7:46 a.m.

In reply to Patrick :

Thanks. It sure is. Got a bunch of good stuff printed out for harness time. 

1SlowVW Reader
5/7/19 7:57 a.m.

That’s a smoking deal on that suburban! 

700r4 should be ok with a naturally aspirated 5.3. As a fellow ls swapper I’ll be following this.


maschinenbau Dork
5/7/19 11:59 a.m.

Tell me more about this VATS trick?

artur1808 Reader
5/7/19 12:25 p.m.

Single turbo or twins?

GoLucky Reader
5/7/19 7:38 p.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

I started the engine with the key, then with it running I unplugged the BCM and it stayed running until I shut it off. Afterward it would start and run with a 12v jumper to the “ign” fuse and my starter switch. 

GoLucky Reader
5/7/19 7:39 p.m.

In reply to artur1808 :

Yep. Eventually? 

GoLucky Reader
5/7/19 10:48 p.m.

Got the engine on the stand.

The transmission and some seats went to a new home. 

I kept the bellhousing; in case of Fab bot AR-5 future upgrade. 

Feeling good and ready to dispose of the husk. 

Run_Away Dork
5/8/19 12:04 a.m.

Following! Is the VATS trick permanent?

Floating Doc
Floating Doc Dork
5/8/19 6:58 a.m.
Run_Away said:

Following! Is the VATS trick permanent?

Yeah, I never heard of that.

GoLucky Reader
5/8/19 8:38 a.m.

In reply to Run_Away :

Good question! I guess I can find out when it goes back together; I sure hope so. This is the video I watched that gave me the idea. Obviously I started with a vehicle that already ran. 

GoLucky Reader
5/11/19 11:53 p.m.

Today I got another Suburban.  It came about by chance. Last weekend I asked a friend who I’d not seen in a while if he needed any parts from my co-part suburban. He replied that he was looking to get rid of his 2002. He told me it was just sitting for the last year and a half or two so it needs a jump to run. It also “has a misfire”.  It is mine for $200. My driveway and garage was at capacity so I told him I could get it once I made some space. 

I took the battery from the 03 and put it in fired it up and drive it home with a flashing CEL and really bad running engine. 

I figured that I could rob some parts for the pickup swap, scrap and part out and come out ahead. First order of business is to see if it can run right.

I determined that this was a 6 cylinder by pulling injector plugs and observing idle change. 3 and 6 were both not functioning.  Got out the multi meter and shot the injector wires from the pcm connector to the plug. 

Thanks Patrick for the Lt1 swap lead; the printout made it so nice and easy to determine that #3 needed a new connector.  #6 tested good so I shot the power wire from the plug to the fuse and that was also good. The plug wire was not even fully seated on the plug but putting it on didn’t solve the misfire. To test the coil pack I swapped #4 & #6.  And the misfire moved with the suspect coil. 

All right! 

Bonus parts and purchase refund: 

$5.25 in silver change and a set of new plug wires:

okay so now I have to figure out what to do with this thing now that it runs right. It seems too nice for the donor destiny I originally had in mind and might not have anything to do with the truck project. 

I went from no LS engines to two for well under $500.  It really makes sense why they are so commonly swapped into everything.  


GoLucky Reader
5/16/19 3:07 p.m.

Meanwhile back to the project at hand. This morning saw the start of the donor motor disassembly. 

Yay! Looks like it had regular oil changes. 

Took my dirty parts to work because of this: 

I did get my co-worker out of the machine first but the first load of dirty parts is getting cleaned 

GoLucky Reader
5/16/19 3:25 p.m.

Clean parts out 

I did have a casualty though. Instead of zip ties to hold everything in place I used some re-useable bubble ties and they did not all hold. The driver side fuel rail wedged between the turn table and the frame

so now 1 coil and 1 fuel rail are on my “broken by me” junkyard shopping list. 


GoLucky Reader
5/17/19 4:14 p.m.

Well dang! I drove Big Red to the frame and alignment shop today and I realized that it hasn’t been properly introduced in my thread. Meet Big Red:

tires are all junk, floors rusted, motor is a 4.3 and runs, but not that well...  basically a P.O.S.T.  Fingers crossed for a clean bill of health from the alignment shop.  

GoLucky Reader
5/17/19 6:32 p.m.

Uh oh. This is a graphic representation  of how the frame is bent. $1200-$1500 is the straightening quote. I may be in the market for a new old truck. 

Or a frame swap? Hmmmm...

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
5/17/19 6:45 p.m.

Does it have to be a truck?  You can throw a lot of junk into a Suburban... 

SyntheticBlinkerFluid UltimaDork
5/17/19 6:51 p.m.

Big Red, meet Big Red 

1SlowVW Reader
5/17/19 6:57 p.m.

Take it to a few other body shops with a frame racks, quote seems high. If it’s solid enough to be straightened then it’s worth saving.


Alternatively this is grm, so maybe use a laser pointer taped to one frame rail and then chain all four corners to heavy objects. Proceed to attach one end of a chain to the apex of the frame bend and the other to a friends truck and pull until the beam doesn’t touch the frame anymore.

GoLucky Reader
5/17/19 9:07 p.m.
pres589 (djronnebaum) said:

Does it have to be a truck?  You can throw a lot of junk into a Suburban... 

Yes you can! I do want a truck though 

GoLucky Reader
5/17/19 9:12 p.m.

In reply to 1SlowVW :

I like the lazer idea for maximum precision. 

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
5/17/19 9:41 p.m.

Ive done similar. With a straight 2x4 and a tape measure. 

Honestly, if it aligns, doesnt crab walk, doesn't eat tires, and the body gaps are good enough, send it.

Gm frames were only ever straight for a week from new anyway in that era. 

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