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SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
8/30/22 7:51 p.m.

My dd driver truck is out of commission for a while, and I'm considering buying a beater to drive for a while. 
 

Then I realized, this might be a good time to hunt for a suitable LS donor for my El Camino. 
 

The goals would be ease of swap, and power. The Elky weighs 4008 lbs and needs some juice to get it motivated. 
 

The El Camino is a 1960. It shares the engine bay with most Sedans of that era- the Impala, the Belair, etc. It's an X frame.

I'd probably want a 6.0L if I could get it. The displacement would help with the heavy vehicle. 
 

I can drive nearly anything for a couple months until I get my truck back on the road. 
 

Id like to be able to use as much from the donor as possible... mounts, trans, intake, accessories, harness, etc. I'd like to make it as simple as possible (even if the donor cost me a bit more). 
 

If you were able to pick a donor for this car, what would it be?

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
8/30/22 8:01 p.m.

Does the El Camino have a rear sump oil pan?

Looking for a manual or automatic transmission?

Truck motors are generally your best bet, and I would pair it with a 4l80e unless you want a manual. You will want to avoid or delete displacement on demand. Main difficulties with truck motors are a tall intake manifold, high alternator mount, and a low oil sump.

None of the factory wiring harnesses are particularly easy to swap. 

Toyman!
Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/30/22 8:11 p.m.

Suburban and vans were both available with the 6.0 and don't command the price of the trucks and Tahoes. A beater Escalade may be pretty cheap as well.

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
8/30/22 8:23 p.m.

You're going to get a million different answers and they'll all be right.  My favorite for budget friendly, readily available, and an endless market is a gen III DBC 5.3 setup. Get the whole kitten kabootle. Wiring, PCM.  

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
8/30/22 8:34 p.m.

I'll be towing a camper / working out of my Merc this fall contract season... not ideal. Tentatively looking at a beater truck, gas and the 5.7 truck sold for full ask before him and I could finalize a trade. 
So, although a lower price point than Paul, the same thought has bounced around in my head!

All used vehicles have been nuts for a bit - but truck asking prices have gone insane! I hope the sold for price ain't that high, or I'll never be able to own a decent truck again. 
And Paul: I'm glad your thinking that, and in for the info!

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
8/30/22 8:39 p.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

I'll be looking at Burbs and vans

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/30/22 9:13 p.m.

'99-up F-body.  NOT 1998.

gearheadmb
gearheadmb UltraDork
8/30/22 9:19 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

'99-up F-body.  NOT 1998.

Why not?

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
8/30/22 9:27 p.m.
Scotty:
a gen III DBC 5.3   

Not knowing modern nomenclature, 

What years are gen III, and what is DBC? 
The 5.3, I got laugh

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
8/30/22 9:33 p.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

Sorry. Drive by cable. 

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
8/30/22 9:44 p.m.

In reply to Scotty Con Queso :

Just to be sure, before drive by wire, right?

I remember DBL (drive by linkage!angel

what years are best for that?

Edit: i am modern enough I should have caught that, so no worries laugh

Ive mentioned a time or two, my hard head can be a bit denseblush

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
8/30/22 9:57 p.m.

Sclade all day.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
8/30/22 11:51 p.m.

I used a 06 G2500 van in my 67 Camaro.  The manifolds were a bit wide, so I used Hooker cast manifolds.  The engine mount adapters from Hooker, I think, also worked with the Camaro mounts  but your 60 would be different.  The intake fit under the hood, other than the stand-up purge valve.  Wiring harness was a bit of a pain because it goes out the front of the engine to the ecu, and needed a ton of corrections to exit from a prettier location.

4L80 fit in the tunnel with some low profile cooling line adapters.

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
8/30/22 11:56 p.m.
gearheadmb said:
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

'99-up F-body.  NOT 1998.

Why not?

I'm positive Pete will give more info, but i believe for 98 the cam/heads are different, and the ECU is different/harder to tune. There's also talk of oil pump/pressure differences I think, but I've also read those either failed early or lasted a while. Dunno... But I already have my '98 I've been considering using for a swap so also curious, lol.

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
8/31/22 12:41 a.m.
Appleseed said:

Sclade all day.

Like the definitive "not 98", do we have a reason, or just a personal thing? I don't know enough LS to fill a thimble, yet. So all details are good. laugh

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
8/31/22 1:38 a.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

No reason. A lot of people forget these had high output 6.0 LS engines.  Same would go for vans.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
8/31/22 4:49 a.m.

In reply to SV reX :

If you want to follow the lead of our own Calvin Nelson  you'd use a Atlas 4.2. Instead of an LS.  
   It's more powerful.  ( not my statement, his).    He's making 100 more horsepower on his 4.2 Atlas than he can make with his  5.3 LS   Yep! 100 more horsepower.   
   Under identical  conditions.  Same Dyno, same tune, same amount of boost( 19 pounds) 

OK. You aren't going to race it.  But the  prime advantage is cost.  A good junkyard Atlas engine is less expensive than an LS.  Will get better fuel mileage. In normal driving, and is capable of some really awesome power.    824 hp. 
Plus  it wouldn't be a belly button.  ( everybody's got one).   Just go find a soccer  Mom's Trailblazer or GMC Envoy  ( Buick Something )  toss on a $125 EBay Turbo  and follow His tune on UTube.  ( nivlac57 ) 
  He's running around 600 hp on a stone stock engine. ( straight out of the Junkyard unopened)   Settle for 400+ at 5-6 pounds of boost and it should last forever.   
    I will tell you from my personal experience  that is an awesome engine.  Plenty of torque to haul my heavily loaded tandem axle enclosed trailer all over the country in stone stock shape. Then once the engine is over 3500 rpm it just storms. 
     Stock the early ones 2002-2005  had 270 hp.  Then they got 290 hp. From 2006-2008 

Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself
Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself PowerDork
8/31/22 5:56 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

It's not "more powerful."

The LQ9 in the Escalade makes 345 hp and 380 lb⋅ft of torque.



And Paul is talking about a complete donor vehicle that he can use as a DD, not a junkyard engine.

Racebrick
Racebrick Reader
8/31/22 6:42 a.m.

vin identification

 

This knowledge base has everything you need to make the right decision. I prefer the gen 3 aluminum 5.3. I believe they are looked over by most people.

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
8/31/22 7:14 a.m.

In reply to Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself :

I just ignored him. 
 

I asked for an LS donor. 0% chance I want an Atlas. 
 

Not worth the energy. 

mjlogan
mjlogan New Reader
8/31/22 7:31 a.m.

2001 to 2007 2500/3500 2wd

That gets you the gold standard Lq4/4l80e.  If you want to cherry pick, go for an '04-newer to get Gen IV rods.

You've got a boat, no need to try and shave 100 lb off with an AL block.  

Escalade gets you flat top pistons and a slight bump in power, but it also gives you a 4l60e which isn't a good trade if you actually plan on putting some power down.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/31/22 8:27 a.m.
classicJackets (FS) said:
gearheadmb said:
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

'99-up F-body.  NOT 1998.

Why not?

I'm positive Pete will give more info, but i believe for 98 the cam/heads are different, and the ECU is different/harder to tune. There's also talk of oil pump/pressure differences I think, but I've also read those either failed early or lasted a while. Dunno... But I already have my '98 I've been considering using for a swap so also curious, lol.

The computer is the previous generation and not nearly as tunable.  512k vs 1 Meg, I believe.

The 99 up cars have the blue/red (maybe blue/green?) tune friendly computers with the architecture shared with the trucks, so doing a 4L80 segment swap is simple.

 

The wiring harness layout is also convenient and they all came with low intake manifolds.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/31/22 8:41 a.m.
Appleseed said:

In reply to 03Panther :

No reason. A lot of people forget these had high output 6.0 LS engines.  Same would go for vans.

Some had LQ9s, which are LQ4s with a little more compression.

A lot of newer ones had 6.2s, which are rectangle port heads and aluminum blocks...  Chevy never made an iron 6.2.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
8/31/22 10:14 a.m.
Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself said:

In reply to frenchyd :

It's not "more powerful."

The LQ9 in the Escalade makes 345 hp and 380 lb⋅ft of torque.



And Paul is talking about a complete donor vehicle that he can use as a DD, not a junkyard engine.

You are correct if you are just talking stock.   However Calvin's experience has there is more potential in the Atlas than the LS.  For the El Camino it will eventually go in.  Plus the LS is a belly button.  Everybody's got one.  
  The other part, as a daily driver a Trailblazer or Envoy would be  a lot cheaper than a Suburban or Van.  

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/31/22 10:44 a.m.
frenchyd said:
Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself said:

In reply to frenchyd :

It's not "more powerful."

The LQ9 in the Escalade makes 345 hp and 380 lb⋅ft of torque.



And Paul is talking about a complete donor vehicle that he can use as a DD, not a junkyard engine.

You are correct if you are just talking stock.   However Calvin's experience has there is more potential in the Atlas than the LS.  For the El Camino it will eventually go in.  Plus the LS is a belly button.  Everybody's got one.  
  The other part, as a daily driver a Trailblazer or Envoy would be  a lot cheaper than a Suburban or Van.  

Maaaaaaaaaaaaybe we should let Calvin speak for himself. 

I agree that most everything he does is impressive, but I don't like putting words in anyone's mouth.

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