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Old 11-05-2019, 10:44 PM   #1
t76turbo
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Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

Someone at a shop wants my big block and trans from my 1970 swb 2wd.

He offered me a decent amount for my big block and trans and I am thinking I would drive the truck way more with a reliable turn key ls motor. But I am worried about costs and how much more I would have to come up with.

I have been reading a lot of threads in this Ls sub forum but I am still lost on how much it may cost.

Can anyone give any input on the easiest way to do the swap (other than the GM cruise and connect systems that are about 15k????
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Old 11-05-2019, 10:59 PM   #2
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

There are a LOT of variables here. This is how mine went. I found an LS1 with T56 six speed for $2500. I sold my BB and trans for $3000. As far as getting it in and running I probably spent a bit more than the $500 I made. I then decided on Vintage Air and Dakota Digital- ~ $2500 for both. SO it really depends on what you can find and exactly how you want it. All said and done Iím Very Happy I did this. I drive it Way more and really enjoy it.
Just my 2c, Good Luck
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:03 AM   #3
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

Thanks for the input. I guess I am just scared of the extra unknown stuff I will need to do the swap. I already have a Boyd’s aluminum tank and have the in take assembly and fuel lines I was going to use to put in the Holley sniper. I have the sniper just sitting on the shelf waiting to install that I guess I could sell if I do the swap and recover some of the money.

Then would need headers, motor mounts, figure out radiator if my existing big lock radiator wouldn’t work, and electronics like harness/computer as well as gauges.
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Old 11-06-2019, 02:04 AM   #4
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

I’m in it about $2500 for 5.3 and 4l60e and e fan. I still need to shorten drive shaft and new mufflers. Another $500. New under dash Ac next year will be about another $700.

Subtract $400 for the old engine and transmission.

Time wise it took way more than expected waiting for parts. Also lots of trial and error figuring out the engine mounts so I could save money. I probably pulled the engine and transmission 5 times. If I were to do it again, I’d buy a good kit(motor mount, transmission crossmember) from a reputable manufacturer.

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Old 11-06-2019, 09:13 AM   #5
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

Depending how how much u can do an easy figure is 2k to 4k for a basic drop in 5.3 and trans i
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Old 11-06-2019, 10:06 AM   #6
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

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Originally Posted by t76turbo View Post
I am thinking I would drive the truck way more with a reliable turn key ls motor. But I am worried about costs and how much more I would have to come up with.
I'd say a lot would depend on the condition of the LS engine. Where did it come from? How many miles? Can you run it on a test stand?

If it needs work, you could easily spend another $2000. A buddy of mine did just that after he bought a used LS engine and auto trans. And he still needs to have the transmission gone through. Just this week, he asked me if we should just drop in a 383 and Tremec TKO 600 and be done. Turns out he has both of those sitting on a shelf (yes, a very heavy duty shelf!) waiting to go into another project car.

I have no doubt an LS engine will make much more power than a comparable size Gen I small block. But I'm not sure you should assume they are more reliable. Seems to me that all the electronics (especially aftermarket) have the potential to make things less reliable and more difficult to troubleshoot.

Just my two cents worth.
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Old 11-06-2019, 10:37 AM   #7
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

It's easy to go down a rabbit hole doing an LS swap, but worth it in my opinion. It will nickel and dime you for sure though. It's not as simple as buying a dropout engine/trans and turning the key - there are systems that have to be modified or updated to work with the LS - electrical, fuel, coolant, brakes, gauges, AC. If you can get good money for your big block and don't mind spending $6k or more, go for it.
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Old 11-06-2019, 11:26 AM   #8
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

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It's easy to go down a rabbit hole doing an LS swap, but worth it in my opinion. It will nickel and dime you for sure though. It's not as simple as buying a dropout engine/trans and turning the key - there are systems that have to be modified or updated to work with the LS - electrical, fuel, coolant, brakes, gauges, AC. If you can get good money for your big block and don't mind spending $6k or more, go for it.
Well said!

Have to say this: A couple months ago I attended "C10s in the Park", a huge show show for 47-87 trucks in Waxahachie, TX. Just a wild ass guess, but I'd say at least 1/3 of the trucks had LS engines. Some looked totally stock, some with aftermarket intakes, a few with carbs, and others turbocharged. Think I even saw one with an LSA engine.

I think this one is super-clean.

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Old 11-06-2019, 11:36 AM   #9
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

The biggest factor is something you didn't mention, whether or not you are going to do it yourself or have a shop do it. If you are crafty and can do all your own work, or the majority of it, then you can do a swap pretty reasonably, however, if you have to pay someone, then expect it to get expensive in a hurry.
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Old 11-06-2019, 11:48 AM   #10
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

Good point ls1nova71.

What I should have mentioned also is that you can't have the expectation that you will get a dropout unit off eBay and that it will be perfect. Mine showed up with a lot of rust and corrosion as if it was sitting in the elements for months. I ended up painting the block, replacing the water pump, sandblasting and painting the alternator/power steering bracket, as well as replacing a couple sensors that were broken. Insist on good pictures of the engine before buying so you know what you're getting.

If you end up with a decent dropout, you still have to replace plugs, wires, water pump, knock sensors, intake gasket, exhaust manifolds/gaskets, tensioner pulley, idler pulley, etc. as good measure and those costs add up.

Not trying to talk you out of it, just want you to have realistic expectations.
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:02 PM   #11
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

Nice thread here. Lots of opinions and advice, and no name-calling.
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Old 11-06-2019, 05:04 PM   #12
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

A buddy of mine will be helping me do the swap. He is a master tech and has been doing motor builds and swaps for probably 30 years. He has built a number of ls engines over the last few years. It is how he makes money so I have to pay him some. But nothing like a shop.

I was offered 6k for my big block and trans. So it sounds like I can probably at least break even.
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Old 11-06-2019, 06:13 PM   #13
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

Iíve learned a bunch doing most of this myself. I did ask a mechanic for help when I got stuck and had to pay him, but next time Iíll be able to tackle this myself. It has also helped my confidence level in other mechanical or electrical issues on my other cars.

If you have the time, try it yourself and when you get stuck ask your buddy for help.
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Old 11-06-2019, 06:42 PM   #14
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

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A buddy of mine will be helping me do the swap. He is a master tech and has been doing motor builds and swaps for probably 30 years. He has built a number of ls engines over the last few years. It is how he makes money so I have to pay him some. But nothing like a shop.

I was offered 6k for my big block and trans. So it sounds like I can probably at least break even.
$6k???? I would take that deal. It must be pretty desirable to someone for that amount.
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Old 11-06-2019, 09:46 PM   #15
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

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$6k???? I would take that deal. It must be pretty desirable to someone for that amount.
Yep. It has lots of goodies on it. No where near stock.
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:56 AM   #16
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

With the new holley stuff that is working its way out the engine mounting seems like it just got a bit easier. I have been looking at it for my swap. With what you got offered I would do the swap. Looks like you have a good guy to help out so thats even better.
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Old 11-07-2019, 09:25 AM   #17
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

I was looking at the Holley systems too. I think it is the terminator x max or something like that. If you get the most feature rich model it can do drive by wire or cable, trans control, it can handle power adders, etc. it does seem like a really cool setup and potentially easier for sure.

On my list for sure.
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Old 11-07-2019, 09:25 AM   #18
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

Theres 2 schools of though on this subject.... LS or dont..
If you were starting with a truck with no drivetrain, then LS would be a no brainer..to me
Theres probably not much difference in cost in your choice at that point
Already having a running, driving truck with a sb or bb changes the thought process some..
But if you can get primo $$ for your bb I'd say go for it...a LS install is very simple and I dont get the exorbant prices that are charged for doing them..with a set of adapters they will drop right in just like any other engine....yes theres wiring and computer but that's not to difficult either..
I saw the other day where a shop charges a minimum of 15k to do a swap...and that's with a used engine...I just dont get it..
On my C30 LQ9 install I did I think I'm right under 3k on just the engine part
On my IH LM7 Install I'm going over that but I've made a few changes to this one and lucked up on a very low mileage engine which cost more from the start
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Old 11-07-2019, 02:34 PM   #19
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

I went 5.3/4L80E - I got the 5.3 for free (and the donor vehicle)

Now, I purchased a new harness vs. having one reworked or reworking one myself. I also purchased a trans crossmember that was for ease of use, but I am right at $2300 into my swap, including the purchase of a 2WD 4L80E ($600.) I've kept track of every nut/bolt/etc that I've purchased, and even tools I had to purchase for the swap.

I'd do it again, even if a few times I've been frustrated. I'm near running/driving status now, finally... and I would have spent at least that much if not more on a refreshed 350 + rebuilding my TH350.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:05 AM   #20
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

This is my detail, you could definitely do it cheaper but this may have some items you are not considering. What can get very expensive is lines and fittings (fuel and clutch line for me).


LS Swap
Speedo Swap Template 30 Chevytrucks
Speedo Box 54 Chevytrucks
96' S-10 Speedo 35 Ebay
Gas Tank/Straps 131 Summit
Wrangler Fuel Filler 17 LKQ
Gas Cap 12 Autozone
Sending Unit 33 Autozone
Gas Tank Hardware 28 Tractor Supply
Gas Tank Hardware 26 Home Depot
Gas Tank Hardware 8 Lowes
Gas Tank Hardware 6 Napa
Gas Tank Hardware 13 Autozone
Fuel Hose 2 O'Reilly
Gas Tank Hose 17 Advance
Fuel Line/Fittings 35 Autozone
Gas Tank Line/HW 37 Advance
Fuel Line/Fittings 88 Jegs
Trans Crossmember 54 Jegs
Dirty Dingo Mounts 158 Dirty Dingo
C10 Clutch Pedal 15 Rossmans
LS Swap Headers 295 Speed Eng
LS Airbox 24 LKQ
Mass Air Flow Sensor 34 LKQ
LS Intake Manifold 29 LKQ
Paint 10 Walmart
Paint 16 Autozone
GM Muscle Car Oil Pan 230 Jegs
Header Flanges 8 Jegs
EVAP Plate 11 Ebay
Clutch Master Cyl 64 Speedway
Clutch Line/Fittings 48 Speedway
Clutch Bleeder 27 Speedway
EP381 Fuel Pump 65 Rock Auto
NV3500 Trans 825 Jordan Auto
Shifter 50 Jordan Auto
Driveshaft 75 Jordan Auto
Header Paint 11 Autozone
Clutch Fitting 5 Ebay
Throwout Bearing 39 Rock Auto
Clutch Kit 160 Rock Auto
Flywheel 65 Rock Auto
Trans Mount 7 Rock Auto
Trans Bolts 10 Ebay
Clutch Pedal Pad 6 Summit
Flywheel Bolts 21 Ebay
Clutch Bolts 9 Ebay
OP Gauge Fitting 20 Speedway
Trans Paint 7 Autozone
Clutch Master Bracket 161 Forum
ECM 33 LKQ
Alternator 30 LKQ
Mass Air Flow Sensor 22 LKQ
Engine Cover 10 LKQ
Battery Junction 3 LKQ
4.8L LS Engine 831 LKQ
Standalone Harness 513 BP Automotive
ECM Reflash 138 BP Automotive
Plug Wires 60 Speed Eng
Starter 76 Rock Auto
Valve Cover Gasket 12 Rock Auto
Tensioner 19 Rock Auto
Idler 14 Rock Auto
O2 Sensors 42 Rock Auto
Coil Pack 22 Rock Auto
Thermostat 19 Rock Auto
PCV Valve 3 Autozone
Steam Vent Connector 6 Ebay
EGR Block off Plate 13 Ebay
Drive Belt 20 Rock Auto
Flywheel Cover 8 Rock Auto
Radiator Hose 13 Rock Auto
Alt/PS Bracket 30 LKQ
Battery Cable 13 LKQ
Valve Cover 25 LKQ
PS Pump 72 Rock Auto
Starter Bolts 12 Ebay
Fuel Lines 87 Jegs
Fuel Filter 29 Jegs
PS Pump Pulley 11 LKQ
Clutch Hardware 16 LMC
Fuel Rail Fittings 28 Ebay
Throttle Cable 27 Ebay
WT Gauge Adapter 16 Ebay
ECM Mount 22 Ebay
Upper Rad Hose 17 Ebay
Collector Gaskets 21 Autozone
LS Pulley Hardware 11 LKQ
Idler Pulley 21 Rock Auto
Windstar E-fans 74 Rock Auto
E-fan Connectors 19 Rock Auto
Fan Fuse Holders 12 Ebay
E-fan Electrical 45 Autozone
E-fan Electrical 18 Walmart
E-fan Hardware 7 Lowes
Trans Pigtails 21 Rock Auto
Water Temp Gauge 27 Ebay
Ground Straps 9 Ebay
Collector Flanges 30 Ebay
TPS Sensor 35 Autozone
Hoses/Hw 21 Autozone
Driveshaft 250 Triangle DS
Ground Cable 6 Walmart
ECU 42 Ebay
ECU Tune 70 Ebay
Fan Controller 29 Ebay

Total 6,211
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:09 AM   #21
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

You will notice I have ECU, Tune, MAP, TPS on here a couple times as I had a junk tune from BP Automotive and was trying to resolve this. Go with a $50 ebay tune, I used Gravel Road Tuning and it was perfect out of the box. BP Automotive has horrible customer service and their tune did not work at all for multiple reasons.
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:46 PM   #22
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

Quote:
Originally Posted by t76turbo View Post
Thanks for the input. I guess I am just scared of the extra unknown stuff I will need to do the swap. I already have a Boydís aluminum tank and have the in take assembly and fuel lines I was going to use to put in the Holley sniper. I have the sniper just sitting on the shelf waiting to install that I guess I could sell if I do the swap and recover some of the money.

Then would need headers, motor mounts, figure out radiator if my existing big lock radiator wouldnít work, and electronics like harness/computer as well as gauges.
Donít count your rad out. I used mine. Had the steam fitting added and one of the hose connections changed, I donít remember if it lower has to be bigger than upper or other way around - sorry, any way local shop did what I needed and it works perfect, original 4 core. Keeps me right at 190-200. Plus I added dual fans. Iíll get pic if needed
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Old 11-12-2019, 12:32 PM   #23
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

Iím using the stock 6 cyl radiator. So far Iíve only had it idle but with no fan it keeps the temp between 200 and 210. With the Taurus efan, it was below 200.
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Old 11-12-2019, 02:45 PM   #24
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Re: Someone wants my big block. Ls costs???

I went down this same road about a year ago.

Sold my BBC for $3k.
Budget LS swap costs ~ $3.3k

I did all the work myself on the LS swap. I purchased a used pull out 5.3/4l65E (with harness and pedal) for $1500. To do my budget swap I spent about $1800 on odds and ends (mainly fuel system upgrades) to complete my swap.

However every time I drive the LS swapped truck it was worth it. Turn key on, fuel pump primes, engine fires up, and the truck haul a$$ when you push the pedal.
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