A True Budget LS Swap Using Junk Yard Parts
For this LS swap, we decided to ignore any new flashy parts and swapped an LS engine and transmission that were as budget-conscious as. October '17 - Swap Meet from the October, issue of Hemmings Muscle that offers speedometer gears for my Camaro with a TH transmission?. You never know what you will see at a swap meet. Here's a The 1st ZL-1 Super Stock '69 Camaro BY JOHN BAECHTEL. Chevy Vega and The can .
If you use your existing transmission, the driveshaft can stay. To make matters worse, the car has a two piece driveshaft. We ponied up, gave the experts at Inland Empire Driveline a call, and had a new driveshaft made. This ensures a perfect fit and no vibration cruising down the road. Even hopping on the freeway doing 75 mph, the car has zero vibrations.
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The new driveshaft from Inland Empire Driveline that completed the swap. Exhaust Just like the other parts, there are many options for an exhaust. Many header companies are now making LS conversion headers to fit in classic cars.
If your car is unusual you might have to test fit and see what works. You could utilize the factory manifolds as well, assuming they fit. Some people have had great luck in using the cast-iron Camaro manifolds, as they are tight to the block, and rear exiting. What you use depends on your budget and space available. Since we were on a budget, we were determined to keep the cast-factory manifolds.
This took a little massaging of the frame for clearance on the passenger side. Mainly, the rag joint that connects the steering column to the gear box. It was way too big. Luckily, Borgeson makes a steel coupler that dramatically reduced the size. From here, we had a local muffler shop weld up the exhaust pipes to connect from the manifolds, to the rest of the stock exhaust.
Oil Pan Besides the motor mounts, one of the biggest concerns is the oil pan. Cross member placement along with steering linkage is all going to factor into the equation as well. Several companies make pans that are low profile and designed to work around cross members and suspension. Again, this all depends on your application.
Make sure to pay attention to where your cross member is, and if the steering components are in the front or rear of that cross member as these will affect which pan you use.
In this case, the factory truck pan fit perfectly. However, when we looked under the car, it was hanging down just waiting to get clipped on a speed bump. We were on a budget, but had to get an oil pan that tucked up nicely to give us plenty of ground clearance.
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This pan is nice for several reasons. Lastly, the oil pan kit comes complete with everything needed, including the correct pickup tube. Swapping out the pan took about an hour. Luckily, there are a lot of different options out there. Some companies make gas tanks with high pressure fuel pumps inside, much like a factory set up. Another option is to use an external mounted pump, but you will have to install some sort of sump to suck up fuel. Part of the fuel system we picked up for a six-pack.
We picked these up and headed back home. This allows the fuel that sloshes back in the tank to reach the sump. We slapped it on our tank and called it a day. This allowed us to get adequate fuel to the engine, as well as plumb the return to the lowest point. If they fail, your car burns to the ground. The extra cost was easy insurance for us, and has already paid dividends.
The first time we turned the key and primed the system, we had zero leaks. The finished fuel system: The post-filter was installed after the axle. The last piece of the fuel system that required attention was the throttle linkage. The throttle cable that came with it was about two feet too short for us to be able to use. Once again we called up Lokar Performance Products, who sent us out a inch throttle cable.
After fabricating a small bracket on the floor to attach the cable to the factory throttle pedal, we were in business.
Their universal throttle cable really made it easy to adapt to any car, and it only took us about an hour to install. Accessories The last thing to consider are the engine accessories themselves. Not all LS engine accessory mounting is the same; a Corvette differs from a Silverado.
You might have to move some accessories to clear cross members, gear boxes, suspension, or other items. There are options for complete aftermarket drive systems that compact everything, but drive the price up of a conversion. With a lot of measuring and a little massaging, we were able to get the factory truck accessories to work.
We removed the compressor and the rest of the accessories fit fine. Air Intake The cherry on top of this swap was bolting on the cold air intake. You should never just stick a filter on the end of the throttle body. The best way is to install a cold air intake system. We tried to install the factory intake tubes, but on this car, there was simply no way to make it work. The only way it would have worked was to cut a hole in the inner fender, and mount the air filter by the tire.
This would cause a lot of debris to get stuck in the filter, along with water and possible damage from rocks. What we did was contact our friends at Spectre Performance.
They already make intake kits for popular LS swaps, such as Camaro and Chevelle. With that in mind, we made arrangements to utilize Westech Performance's chassis dyno and contacted SA Engine Design to get their recommendation on achieving our goals.
Their input was rather simple: Start with the ignition, move onto the fuel, then increase the airflow. Total timing was set to 36 degrees of total advance, the engine coolant temperature sat around degrees, and the oil was warmed to degrees. We could tell the engine was running rough but decided to make a pull anyway to see exactly what we were starting with. After a quick look around, we noticed the No. When we initially pulled the burnt wire, we noticed it was a suppression core design.
These wires are generally inexpensive and mainly built for low-performance factory engines that don't require a lot of spark energy. Since our engine already had an induction upgrade, we wanted to make sure our electrical system was up to snuff.
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We added a set of high-performance Flame Thrower 8mm spiral-core Pertronix spark-plug wires. To be sure there wouldn't be any more hot header mishaps, we used a set of Made For You wire separators before firing the Camaro back to life.
After running the engine through its powerband we saw substantial peak gains of 48 lb-ft and 41 hp, with average gains of 42 lb-ft and 27 hp. The rear-wheel gains were impressive, which makes it important for us to mention the majority of the gained power came from being able to ignite all eight cylinders instead of seven.
The upgraded ignition components may not have been directly related to the huge power increases, but their ability to deliver a consistently hotter spark at high rpm makes them a necessity on any high-performance engine.
With more performance testing on the way, we wanted to make sure the cylinders would receive the greatest amount of spark energy a stock engine application could have. Fuel Flow Peak Power: A single-plane intake manifold draws less vacuum than a dual-plane design, causing it to pull less fuel from the carburetor's main metering circuit jets. To correct for this, we attempted to increase our stock jetting from primary and secondary by two jet sizes, to primary and secondary.
The added fuel made a slight difference, posting the same lb-ft at 3, rpm and a slight gain at hp at 5, rpm.
With averages of 41 lb-ft of torque and 6 hp, the jetting definitely made a positive change. While a larger jet may have made slightly greater power, it would more than likely hurt the fuel curve when our new and improved Weiand dual-plane manifold went into place. Air Delivery Peak Power: