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Old 05-28-2013, 09:40 PM   #1
Root2812
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Pre-LS swap questions

Hey guys. I just have a few questions that I couldn't find answers for that I'd like to ask you all about. My project is a 1950 chevy 3100 and I want an LS engine for a few reasons. The first is for the reliability and (call me what you want) I like the look of the ls1/ls6 intakes with fuel rail covers. I will buy either a 4.8 or a 5.3 depending on the deal I find but I plan on using the car intake manifold strictly for the appearance. I see a lot of guys say to stay clear of the ls1 intake and get the ls6 but with the higher cost is it something I need to do? What are the benefits and will I really notice? I think the HP of the stock 4.8 will be plenty for what I want to do. I might pull a small trailer but mostly just cruise.

The 1950 has clearance issues so I know I need the car oil pan and exhaust manifolds but I have also heard that the truck accessory's won't fit. If I swap to either corvette or Camaro accessory brackets how many brackets are there? I can't seem to tell the parts apart enough to count them on any of the pictures I have seen.

Is it even possible to use a stock temp gauge or oil pressure gauge?

Last, I have a free 700r4 from a 1985 Impala (had a 305) and a free rear end with 3.73 gears. If I go with an ls motor can I use the stock torque converter or do I need a different one? I don't plan on racing or doing burnouts, just cruising, car shows, and towing a small to mid sized camper.

I appreciate any replys to any of my noobie questions. I saw I wrote a novel trying to give as much info as I could so I bolded the questions so they stick out.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:49 AM   #2
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

Subbed! Found your thread looking for the same answers. I'm kinda leaning towards a vette engine.
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:10 PM   #3
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

Someone here will hopefully correct me if I'm wrong. I just went ahead and bought new autometer temp and pressure gauges but I do believe that autometer makes adapters to allow the use of the stock gauges. The only problem I for see is that the pressure gauge doesn't have any numerical values and the optimal pressure of the new motor may not be the same as the old one.
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:44 PM   #4
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

I would say try to find a motor as complete as you can and then try and run everything that came with it (i.e. brackets, intake manifold, exhaust manifolds, etc). I dont have any experience with the 50's trucks but I would try the stock parts first to try and save money. You might be able to trim your problem areas a little and then box it back in for security.

I understand the "wanting" the car manifold for looks but the truck manifold can be cleaned up. Picture from this build thread. But the truck manifold definately will work better in a truck that sees some towing.

On you torque converter question, yes you can use the stock. In fact you would not want a higher stall for towing. It would slip more and generate more heat.
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Old 05-29-2013, 02:53 PM   #5
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

I'm actually working on making a bracket out of scrap metal so that I can put a tbss engine cover over my truck intake. I came by two of them on pure happenstance but they look much better IMO than the bare intake or vortec cover

I should be done my swap by the end of June and right now I am estimating $4k when its all done. I found a killer deal on my engine but the only thing I really went expensive with was the headers.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:18 PM   #6
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

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Originally Posted by FarmerSid View Post
Subbed! Found your thread looking for the same answers. I'm kinda leaning towards a vette engine.
Thanks for subscribing. I hope we both can find our answers. I'd go with a true corvette engine too but its way to spendy. Good luck on your build.

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Someone here will hopefully correct me if I'm wrong. I just went ahead and bought new autometer temp and pressure gauges but I do believe that autometer makes adapters to allow the use of the stock gauges. The only problem I for see is that the pressure gauge doesn't have any numerical values and the optimal pressure of the new motor may not be the same as the old one.
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Thank you. I will look into Autometer for those adapters.

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Originally Posted by ChevyCruizer View Post
I would say try to find a motor as complete as you can and then try and run everything that came with it (i.e. brackets, intake manifold, exhaust manifolds, etc). I dont have any experience with the 50's trucks but I would try the stock parts first to try and save money. You might be able to trim your problem areas a little and then box it back in for security.

I understand the "wanting" the car manifold for looks but the truck manifold can be cleaned up. Picture from this build thread. But the truck manifold definately will work better in a truck that sees some towing.

On you torque converter question, yes you can use the stock. In fact you would not want a higher stall for towing. It would slip more and generate more heat.
I might stay with stock parts for the beginning but I have heard that the truck accessories won't work on the 50. It would hit the firewall and the radiator. Its really tight front to back but supposedly the car accessories are closer to the block and will fit. Thanks for the info on the torque converter. The wife and I are looking at campers in the 3000-3500 pound range so I will need to be able to tow 4000 pounds to be safe. I'm not really sure if that's heavy for these motors.
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Old 05-30-2013, 11:14 AM   #7
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

the easiest way would be to find a pullout 5.3 from a wreck. The 5.3 will give you the torque where you need it and also great fuel economy. You can find a decent mileage pull out at a wrecking yard for about $500 bucks I buy them all the time. As long as the motor was running prior to pull out then the rest should be fine. If you want more power the easiest way would be a mild cam, mid length or long tube headers, cold air intake and tune.

as far as clearance for the rest I would suggest the ls1 camaro/trans am oil pan, windage tray, and pickup tube. That is the lowest profile setup on the market. since the truck front acc touch the radiator the best option is the camaro/trans am front acc for ease of installation. If your truck is going to be an a/c truck and you are using a truck or camaro harness I would suggest going with the camaro/trans am front accessories or the vintage air ls frontrunner setup. If you go with corvette or gto setup the alternator is on the bottom and the truck or camaro harness won't work unless you extend the wires. You can use the 700r4 with the ls motor and I think the only thing that is different is the flexplate....I can confirm that tomorrow if you want. I would be more comfortable using a 4L60E with it though IMO. An Ls1 intake manifold will be plenty for what you're doing. The LS6 has different runners to better match the LS6 heads. You will thoroughly enjoy a 5.3 with the camaro setup.
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Old 05-30-2013, 11:19 AM   #8
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

2 tensioners, alt bracket, alternator, a/c compressor, a/c compressor bracket, ps pump, ps resevoir, ps bracket, water pump and crank pulley/dampner.
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:21 PM   #9
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

Just a thought, but the Silverado SS or Escalade engine covers work well with the truck intake, if you are going to keep truck accessories. This might not work in the '50, but just general info. As far as the towing, I think I would try to get the 4L60E that comes with the 5.3 for ease of use with the ECM you will be using. If it works in a current 1/2 ton truck, it should work in yours, too.
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:41 PM   #10
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

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Originally Posted by 66C06 View Post
the easiest way would be to find a pullout 5.3 from a wreck. The 5.3 will give you the torque where you need it and also great fuel economy. You can find a decent mileage pull out at a wrecking yard for about $500 bucks I buy them all the time. As long as the motor was running prior to pull out then the rest should be fine. If you want more power the easiest way would be a mild cam, mid length or long tube headers, cold air intake and tune.

as far as clearance for the rest I would suggest the ls1 camaro/trans am oil pan, windage tray, and pickup tube. That is the lowest profile setup on the market. since the truck front acc touch the radiator the best option is the camaro/trans am front acc for ease of installation. If your truck is going to be an a/c truck and you are using a truck or camaro harness I would suggest going with the camaro/trans am front accessories or the vintage air ls frontrunner setup. If you go with corvette or gto setup the alternator is on the bottom and the truck or camaro harness won't work unless you extend the wires. You can use the 700r4 with the ls motor and I think the only thing that is different is the flexplate....I can confirm that tomorrow if you want. I would be more comfortable using a 4L60E with it though IMO. An Ls1 intake manifold will be plenty for what you're doing. The LS6 has different runners to better match the LS6 heads. You will thoroughly enjoy a 5.3 with the camaro setup.
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2 tensioners, alt bracket, alternator, a/c compressor, a/c compressor bracket, ps pump, ps resevoir, ps bracket, water pump and crank pulley/dampner.
So much excellent information. Thank You. If I can find a decent priced 2wd 4l60e I will go that way but here in MN its not very common to find a lot of trucks that are 2wd and those take outs that are sell for quite a bit. If I got the 5.3 out of a truck could I use a 4l60e out of an express van with a 4.3? I know where a few of those are.
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Old 05-31-2013, 01:20 AM   #11
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

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So much excellent information. Thank You. If I can find a decent priced 2wd 4l60e I will go that way but here in MN its not very common to find a lot of trucks that are 2wd and those take outs that are sell for quite a bit. If I got the 5.3 out of a truck could I use a 4l60e out of an express van with a 4.3? I know where a few of those are.
You can use a 4L60 out of a van or a camaro...its all the same. If I am not mistaken you can use the camaro front accessories with the truck intake. That would give you the powerband you need for towing as well as the clearance for the radiator. The car intake won't hurt for towing as I've done many swaps in trucks using car intakes that tow regularly. Check with entropy radiator as well. They can make an all aluminum radiator with e-fans that is built year model specific for stock or LS swap applications. great product. www.entropyrad.com
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Old 05-31-2013, 11:37 AM   #12
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Talking Re: Pre-LS swap questions

Well i would go the cheaper route and get a 4.8 if the accessories would clear they can be modded to work with a car intake. I actually got rid od ps pump and re routed the belt with no ideler and it would clear a car tb fine. But if you plan on all the extras and or need clearance altough i hesitate i think your best option is a car motor. Buy the time you pay for the new water pump and the accessorie brackets and the oil pan and intake you probably will have spent more than buying a car pullout. Also temp gauge can be done with adaptors ,drill and tap pump while you have it off, buy inline top hose barb with sender hole ,well thats 3 options. Lol for the oil press i pull the oem sender out of the back ds block break the black plastic piece off and drill and tap the aluminum plug to 1/8 pipe. You wont need that sender when you convert and retune
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Old 06-01-2013, 01:02 AM   #13
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

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Well i would go the cheaper route and get a 4.8 if the accessories would clear they can be modded to work with a car intake. I actually got rid od ps pump and re routed the belt with no ideler and it would clear a car tb fine. But if you plan on all the extras and or need clearance altough i hesitate i think your best option is a car motor. Buy the time you pay for the new water pump and the accessorie brackets and the oil pan and intake you probably will have spent more than buying a car pullout. Also temp gauge can be done with adaptors ,drill and tap pump while you have it off, buy inline top hose barb with sender hole ,well thats 3 options. Lol for the oil press i pull the oem sender out of the back ds block break the black plastic piece off and drill and tap the aluminum plug to 1/8 pipe. You wont need that sender when you convert and retune
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the dimensions of the 4.8, 5.3, and 6.0 truck motors are the same. The truck front accessories are the same as well. the only difference is the thermostat housing on the newer model motors...an ls1 motor from a camaro or trans am WITH front accessories, intake to oil pan, doesn't sell for less than about 2500 and that's a running pull out. You can get the front accessories from a camaro or T/A for around 750 bucks. The most difficult to find is the power steering pump because GM doesn't manufacture them anymore. Here's a break down of cost on my GF's 92 camaro RS ls1 swap.

LS1 Corvette motor (long block no accessories, intake or oil pan) $850
LS1 Intake with fuel rails, injectors and throttle body $175
LS1 Alt, bracket, bolts (used) $60
LS1 A/C compressor and bracket w/ bolts (used) $30
LS1 Water pump (re-manufactured, lifetime warranty) $90
LS1 crank pulley (ASP Harmonic balancer) $200
ARP crank bolt $30
Valve covers $Free.99
LS1 PS pump $70
LS1 PS Bracket $75
LS1 PS Reservoir $30
LS1 Oil pan, pickup tube and windage tray $80
LS1 tensioners (2ea) $20

Total is about $1710 Now if you use a 5.3 and a factory camaro crank pulley, you can subtract about $350 from the motor and $150 from the ASP pulley.That leaves you at around $1210...
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:41 PM   #14
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

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Originally Posted by 66C06 View Post
the dimensions of the 4.8, 5.3, and 6.0 truck motors are the same. The truck front accessories are the same as well. the only difference is the thermostat housing on the newer model motors...an ls1 motor from a camaro or trans am WITH front accessories, intake to oil pan, doesn't sell for less than about 2500 and that's a running pull out. You can get the front accessories from a camaro or T/A for around 750 bucks. The most difficult to find is the power steering pump because GM doesn't manufacture them anymore. Here's a break down of cost on my GF's 92 camaro RS ls1 swap.

LS1 Corvette motor (long block no accessories, intake or oil pan) $850
LS1 Intake with fuel rails, injectors and throttle body $175
LS1 Alt, bracket, bolts (used) $60
LS1 A/C compressor and bracket w/ bolts (used) $30
LS1 Water pump (re-manufactured, lifetime warranty) $90
LS1 crank pulley (ASP Harmonic balancer) $200
ARP crank bolt $30
Valve covers $Free.99
LS1 PS pump $70
LS1 PS Bracket $75
LS1 PS Reservoir $30
LS1 Oil pan, pickup tube and windage tray $80
LS1 tensioners (2ea) $20

Total is about $1710 Now if you use a 5.3 and a factory camaro crank pulley, you can subtract about $350 from the motor and $150 from the ASP pulley.That leaves you at around $1210...
Thank you for this list of parts. This will help me out a lot.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:50 PM   #15
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

I used the stock gauges in my 69 c10. Oil pressure is a manual gauge water temp is an electric. I took the oil sending unit from the back of the 5.3 broke the plastic top off . Cleaned out the sensor and drilled and tapped the metal section. Then I used the original water temp sending unit for a 69 by drilling out the water temp sensor hole and tapping as needed.
Using the ls1 intake will work just fine for a stock setup. The ls6 intake is good for around 15-20 hp over the ls1.
On the 700r4 you will have to use a spacer to allow the snout of the converter to align . You will also have to drill 3 new bolt holes for converter bolts. The only catch is the tv cable. Look at bowtieoverdrives.com. they sell a kit to use on the ls1 intake.
Ls motors are easy to work on so have fun.
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Old 06-03-2013, 12:51 AM   #16
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

hey root2812, what ever happened to the anoka speedway drag strip? i went there a couple of times in the 70's Thanks Brian F.
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:05 PM   #17
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

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hey root2812, what ever happened to the anoka speedway drag strip? i went there a couple of times in the 70's Thanks Brian F.
The only one I know about closed around the 70's and now has large office buildings in its place. I am not sure if its the same one since I haven't lived here very long.
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:54 PM   #18
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

You guys have been very helpful so far. I found a 4.8 on CL for $250. I just can't decide if its worth the risk at that price. It supposidly runs and has 140,000 miles but its missing the starter, alternator, AC, and Harness. Those parts will add up. What do you guys think? Maybe I should wait on a complete take out.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:09 PM   #19
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

$250 is a bit high. There is a 4.8 on CL over here with everything but the harness with 100k for $450.

check car-part.com
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:45 PM   #20
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

Just a follow up to my old thread. I pulled the trigger last night and snagged a complete 5.3 take out for $300. It came out of a 2000 Silverado. I've got a long road ahead of me but I am pretty excited about it. First order of business is to make sure its good. I was told it was good but you never know until you hear it run yourself. I haven't finished the chassis yet but when I do I can get this motor dropped in. Until then I will clean it up and do some maintenance. I'd like to swap all the gaskets and seals while the engine is on the stand.

I also snagged a free tranny and rear end from my dad. He has a towing service so sometimes junkers come in. My tranny is a 700R4 that was behind a v8 before. It should hold up for what I plan to do with it but I am going to have to get the crank spacer and different fly wheel to mount it up. I like that the mechanical speedo on the 700r4 will let me retain my original speedo. The rear end is a 3.73 posi with disk brakes and 31 spline axles. The rear end was also behind a v8 before and its a common swap on my year truck so I know it will work.

Thanks for all your help and I'll keep adding on to this thread as my project moves along.




And here is a picture of the truck its going into!
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:41 PM   #21
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

That thing is gonna rock when your done. Good luck and be patient all the research in the world is still just research. Would love to see it in person someday. When I finish my swap might have to test run it over to coon rapids and check it out.
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:32 PM   #22
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

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That thing is gonna rock when your done. Good luck and be patient all the research in the world is still just research. Would love to see it in person someday. When I finish my swap might have to test run it over to coon rapids and check it out.
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I'll look forward to it. When you finish your swap you can give me pointers.
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:24 PM   #23
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

Root, I am working on the same swap in my 49. I also have the 2001 5.3 with the stock accessories. I had to pull off the A/C compressor, the stock one does not fit. For the exhaust manifolds I am using C-5 corvette, I also hear the SS Trailblazer ones will also work. The power steering should work in the stock location but will have to notch out the inner fender a bit. I was also going to us a 700R4 but don't want to deal with the PITA TV cable, so going with a 4L60E. The stock computer if you have one with the automatic transmission tune will run the 4L60E no problem. Hope that helps some.
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:28 PM   #24
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

That does help. I will have to address the PS pump issue. I know I need to swap the exhaust. How much did the C5 manifolds run you? I also TV cable. I'd rather put in the extra work and maintain my stock gauges without buying some crazy expensive adapter. Also since I have the 700r4 its only going to cost my the adapter and the tv cable to get hooked up VS the 4l60E and either replacement gauges or the adapter.

I'd like to see some pictures of yours if you have them.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:42 AM   #25
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Re: Pre-LS swap questions

Take a look at http://www.kwikperf.com/index.html they have kits to move everything up higher on the front drive system.
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