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Strongly considering ls1 swap...


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#1 MaxxAction

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 01:50 PM

Hey guys...

Just looking for a little info. I am just kinda sick of the vg motor, and am actually considering doing a TT ls1 swap. I know it would be quite a bit of fab work, but crazy horsepower at smaller boost is very appealing to me. Being able to get to the turbos is very appealing to me. Being able to get my hands down past the upper plenum to work on anything is very appealing to me. so for those who have done the ls swap, what were the costs involved?

#2 Mikelly

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 05:02 PM

Here is the question I would have, based on my 5 years living with a 650HP supercar...

What kind of power do you think you need and what is the intended use?

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#3 MaxxAction

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:33 PM

Hey Mike....

it's not so much about more power as it is less hassle. My car now is pretty well built, jwt500 cams, 1mm over ferrea valve trains, Carrillo Rods, 40 over forged pistons, 740 injectors, gt2560r turbos, 58mm TB's, ported heads, 2.5 breather piping, 3 inch exhaust, you get the idea. It is just a ******* hassle all the time. I fix one thing, and something else starts going nuts. Like right now, I have the rebuilt VTC gears that are supposed to be rattle proof, and one of them rattles like hell, and I just got through having to replace the cometic head gaskets. Last year it ate the drive dowel for the CAS because the bracket wasn't completely square on the head. Right aftter I built the motor a timing stud broke and lunched a couple of valves. I have to replace the oil pressure sending unit every year. No one within 500 miles of me can tune nissans. I am just getting sick of messing with this motor.

I am thinking that yes, the fab on an LS1 conversion would be a lot of work, but once it gets dialed in, it is so much less as far as complexity, and with its compact width, much easier to work on should I need to.

As far as use, I been messin with HP since I was about 12, and have always been a motor head. I like to take a car to the strip a couple times a year, and love the twisty roads more than anything. But most of all, I just like having that hp under my foot if I want it, but to be honest, my car sees WOT maybe twice a week, and that is usually a 2nd-3rd gear pull. I cannot remember the last time the car was much over a hundred mph.

Edited by MaxxAction, 15 September 2012 - 07:04 PM.


#4 dts300z

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 03:36 AM

Do it! I'm switching over from an LT1 in my Z32 right now and can't be more pleased about it. I messed with the vg engine for years and I'll never look back. The LT1 was nice and cheap when I first did the swap in 2003 so I stuck with it and since the new rave on the 4.8 and 5.3 ls series engines came about (and the demise of the LT1) it's really a no brainer for me. To be able to make a reliable 600+ rwhp out of a stock long block that I picked up for $280 at the local yard with another one ready to go in it just in case... hahaha you can't beat it. You could buy 3 long blocks for the money you have in pistons alone and it's more reliable and tuner friendly with the stock PCM.

Check out my build. The link is in my sig. I'm modding the firewall again for this swap and I'll be sure to take a lot of good pictures that should help anyone interested in doing the swap and retain the factory steering geometry. I'm not worried about creature comforts. After all I'm building a race car not a daily driver, although the reliability WILL be there but you would have to deal with no power steering, no a/c or heat.

#5 MaxxAction

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 05:42 PM

Do it! I'm switching over from an LT1 in my Z32 right now and can't be more pleased about it. I messed with the vg engine for years and I'll never look back. The LT1 was nice and cheap when I first did the swap in 2003 so I stuck with it and since the new rave on the 4.8 and 5.3 ls series engines came about (and the demise of the LT1) it's really a no brainer for me. To be able to make a reliable 600+ rwhp out of a stock long block that I picked up for $280 at the local yard with another one ready to go in it just in case... hahaha you can't beat it. You could buy 3 long blocks for the money you have in pistons alone and it's more reliable and tuner friendly with the stock PCM.

Check out my build. The link is in my sig. I'm modding the firewall again for this swap and I'll be sure to take a lot of good pictures that should help anyone interested in doing the swap and retain the factory steering geometry. I'm not worried about creature comforts. After all I'm building a race car not a daily driver, although the reliability WILL be there but you would have to deal with no power steering, no a/c or heat.



Yeah dts, I saw your build....

Very nice work. What did you do as far as transmission? I was thinking of trying to adapt the stock tranny, but i understand it would take a flywheel spacer which could be a headache. Did you cut the tunnel because it wa an lt and not an ls? I have seen several ls builds that didn't modify the tunnel in any way. I would also like to retain all the factory accessories, which wold take some extensive fab, but solid be doable.

I am considering doing a high, front mount twin turbo setup with the turbos I already have, gt2560r's. I know a bigger turbo would push a lot more hp, but drivability, reliability is a bigger concern than max hp for me, not to mention that Ina stock bottom end, about 10 psi is all I could push anyway.

Edited by MaxxAction, 19 September 2012 - 05:42 PM.


#6 dts300z

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 04:23 PM

Thanky Sir! I've used a 4l60e (on the first swap) then went to a t56 (really good choice) and now I'm running a th350. I've ran a few transmissions over the years and by far I would say I miss the t56 the most. Great for daily driving and the 6th gear really helps with highway cruising.

The nice thing I've noticed about using the stock transmission is the "not modding the firewall" part of it. To be honest I know the Z32 tranny is a nice piece but once you've driven a T56 you won't go back. The one thing I've noticed with the swaps utilizing the Z32 tranny is that the engine sits pretty far forward. Not a fan of this at all. This leaves little room for cooling options and with a fire breathing V8 that's not a good thing. Especially a turbocharged V8.

One thing to keep in mind while doing this swap especially if you want to retain creature comforts is that you don't have to stick with the factory assemblies i.e. heater core, evap., condenser, air box etc... you can find low profile systems that you can adapt to fit and work with the Z you just wouldn't be able to keep the climate control unless you wanted to figure that out.

I cut the firewall initially for the LT1. Now that I'm swapping to the LSX it needed to be done to fit a proper cooling system and fit the turbocharger up front, although it seems the LSx is a little shorter, it still has a bunch of different things going on. Don't get me wrong it could be done without modding the firewall but this is going to take quite a bit of modification elsewhere to get it to work. Personally I wouldn't go this route because you end up messing with steering geometry and that always becomes a gamble especially if you don't know what your doing (I don't lol). I could probably figure it out but I'm not worried about cutting into the firewall as you have seen.

Good luck with your choice! I'm in and out of here quite a bit so if you have anything you need some insight on let me know... not that I know what I'm doing but I've been around the block on this one a few times.


Yeah dts, I saw your build....

Very nice work. What did you do as far as transmission? I was thinking of trying to adapt the stock tranny, but i understand it would take a flywheel spacer which could be a headache. Did you cut the tunnel because it wa an lt and not an ls? I have seen several ls builds that didn't modify the tunnel in any way. I would also like to retain all the factory accessories, which wold take some extensive fab, but solid be doable.

I am considering doing a high, front mount twin turbo setup with the turbos I already have, gt2560r's. I know a bigger turbo would push a lot more hp, but drivability, reliability is a bigger concern than max hp for me, not to mention that Ina stock bottom end, about 10 psi is all I could push anyway.



#7 MaxxAction

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 02:56 PM

Hey dts...

Have you ever looked at any of the skinny bell housings available for the ls series motors? It looks like the bell housing is excessively beefy at the top, and tha seems to be the issue. Also the hurst tko 5 speed looks dynamite, and looks like the case on it is thinner than the ones that come in the gto/camaro/firebirds.

Edited by MaxxAction, 04 October 2012 - 03:01 PM.


#8 dts300z

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 05:51 AM

Hey dts...

Have you ever looked at any of the skinny bell housings available for the ls series motors? It looks like the bell housing is excessively beefy at the top, and tha seems to be the issue. Also the hurst tko 5 speed looks dynamite, and looks like the case on it is thinner than the ones that come in the gto/camaro/firebirds.


I'm running a th350 now. The bell on it isn't so bad. I've never looked into a different bell housing though. The biggest problem I'm running into is the configuration of the LS series block and heads. On the old sbc style blocks the mating surface for the transmission sits about 2" roughly from the back of the passenger head (the LS series sits just about flush so the back of the head is at the back of the block). This allowed the block to sit 2" further back in the trans tunnel. I'm keeping the same transmission location so I don't have to get another drive shaft and also so I have enough clearance for the radiator and fans I want to run.

The engine compartment in the Z32 is just short and the configuration really messes with trying to get an adequate radiator and fans, then you run into height issues and end up having to modify the oil pan to get it to fit under the hood.

I know it can be done. There was a guy here in Jax that had successfully completed the swap without modding the firewall. I never got to see it but I know the guy that did the fabrication on the oil pan and a few other things for him. I'll ask around and see if I can come up with more info.

#9 ROCK4173

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 07:20 AM

I used a Autokraft oil pan with my swap. I am using a LQ4 with a Tremec T-56. I was able to get the motor and transmission mounted with out cutting the firewall. There was some small massaging with a 2lb ball peen hammer. The trick to getting the motor in with the clutch and bellhousing attached is to drop the K members about 3 inches and it pops right in. Then bolt the K member back up and bolt the motor down.

#10 Mikelly

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 04:43 PM

I'll be selling some LS1 go fast parts here in the next few weeks... Head/cam/valvetrain...

Mike

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#11 MaxxAction

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 02:38 PM

So...

Been doin a little research, and I am beginning to lean towards an l37 06 plus northstar rwd engine. According to one article I read, the crank in those motors is good for 800hp, the rods over 500hp, and the engine will turn 8500 rpm and stay together with a set of valve springs. It is three inches longer than the vg motor, and two inches more narrow., and weigns about the same. I like the strength of the bottom end, and especially dig the higher rpms available with the shorter stroke of the 4.6 motor. My goal isn't immense hp, looking for a little more torque at lower rpm, and a bit less headache.

Edited by MaxxAction, 09 October 2012 - 02:41 PM.


#12 dts300z

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:33 AM

I used a Autokraft oil pan with my swap. I am using a LQ4 with a Tremec T-56. I was able to get the motor and transmission mounted with out cutting the firewall. There was some small massaging with a 2lb ball peen hammer. The trick to getting the motor in with the clutch and bellhousing attached is to drop the K members about 3 inches and it pops right in. Then bolt the K member back up and bolt the motor down.


Yep that's about what it took to get my first LT1 swap done.

I've used the same trick to get the VG in and out of many Zs with the trans attached. Works well... it's just getting it past the oil pan sump.

#13 MaxxAction

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 03:36 PM

Reviving this thread...

 

So guys. A little guidance. LM7? LS1? LQ9? There are so many SBC choices. Obviously the truck motors are much cheaper, but also made to breathe less, so more mods required like intake and cam. Anyone got any input?



#14 MaxxAction

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 10:47 AM

So...

 

I finished my swap about 6 weeks ago. No turbos, yet.

 

Cool story of how I came by this motor.

 

I saw this motor on ebay, and called the guy. He said he took it in on trade towards a race motor he built, and it's just been sitting in his shop for the last three years.

The guy gives me the address, and tells me to come to the back of the building. I had no idea what this place was.

I pull into this place, and I can see through the bay doors on the side all these huge mills and machines. Turns out, it is a machine shop that makes exotic parts for NASCAR engines, wrist pins, retainers, locks, etc, and for companies like Ferrea, CP, Wiseco. And they build engines for SCCA, and Trans-Am racing teams. This place was incredible.

He showed me around, and as we are walking past these tables, I see work orders for Joe Gibbs Racing, Burger King Racing, Ferrea, CP. He shows me a set of rods and pistons out of a Nascar engine, a blank billet that is getting carved into a nascar cylinder head. As you can imagine, I am walking around with a semi-stiffy this whole time.

Those nascar engines use what's called a "ring Seal" piston, no skirt. The rods are absolutely amazing, made of some material I have never heard of, and cost about a thousand dollars apiece.

Now when he rebuilds these motors for the road race teams, they just install all new stuff, and discard the old, even if it is perfectly serviceable. He has boxes and boxes of forged rods, pistons, valves, valve springs, cams, etc.

So finally, we go to the back corner of his shop to check out the motor after I wipe the drool off the corners of my mouth. I ask him to pull the plugs so I can look at the bores, turn the motor over a couple times, etc.

We get the plugs out, go to turn the motor, and it won't turn. Looked a little closer, and one of the cylinders was full of water. Shit.

So he kinda freaks out. Apologizing all over himself, telling me that the the motor was running, seemingly well, three years ago when it came in his shop, that he took it in on trade towards a racing motor but never touched it cause the road race motors are all LS-6 four inch bore motors, he couldn't use the block, so it just sat. He said he knew the guy, and the car, and had no idea anything was wrong with the engine (his buddy took advantage of him sounds like to me) and that he can't understand how this happened.

So we talk about it for awhile, and he sticks his hand out and grabs mine and shakes it, and tells me that he's going to put it back together for me with parts outta their shop, and sell it to me for the same price. He said it was abusy time for them, and it would take a couple of months (it was actually about four months) but that he would get it done. I offer to give him some money to start on it, he says "no, you drove all the way over here, and this is not how I do things, I am going to make this right. I'll send you some pics when I get started on it, and you can come pick it up when it's done."

 

The motor was completely gone through top to bottom. New bearings, rings, Mahle Pistons, a set of crower forged rods, a 575 int/574 exh total lift, 224/224 duration 112 centerline cam, mild porting on the heads, Gm performance 600 lift springs, all new gaskets, ready to roll.

 

photo2_zps9c77e8af.jpg

 

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Talk about stepping in shit and smelling like a rose.

 

Anyway, I got the motor back in may, and earnestly started working on getting the car ready to accept it.

 

rad1_zpsd31e12a6.jpg

 

You can see in this pic how I set up the cooling system. The water pump is off of a c6 vette, which flows a little better, and picks up about 2.5 inches of clearance. The radiator is a perfromance model for a Sentra Spec-v, and I had the inlet modified to line up with the waterpump outlet. I had to trim the core support, and cut the stock radiator brackets out in the bottom of the core support to make it fit. The fans are Felx-a-lite fans for a Jeep CJ7, supposed to be good for 2800 cfm. The fan works fine, but the radiator is actually right on the edge of keeping the motor cool. I am going to add an 11x11x2 heat exchanger on the heater core circuit with an 8 inch fan on it, which should give me the extra cooling CI I need to solve the problem.

 

IMG_20140711_194843_zps363cf804.jpg

 

I had to fabricate the heater hoses, radiator hoses, throttle cable bracket, vacuum and PCV system, etc.

 

airbox2_zpsbc291f35.jpg

 

Last week I fabbed up this air box to draw cool air from outside the bay cause these damn engines run so hot that it was saturating the IAT and throwing my idle into oscillation. I still need to add a cover of some sort to the hole in the fender well.

 

Overall I am very pleased with the results. I still need to get it to a reputable tuner to get it dialed in right, but even with the tuning I have been able to do just driving it, it pulls very hard. I don't think it is as high of HP as the VG was when it was right, but I have about 1500 miles on it so far, and no mechanical issues. Gotta be some kind of record.



#15 budgy

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 12:30 PM

Awesome story about the motor, you should show that guy your car someday when its all done and buy him a beer! 






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