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Old 08-16-2017, 02:01 AM   #1
Pro Performance
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LS Swap Write Up

I did a little write up on the LS swap for our '90 project. I posted a link to it on our site, but is also all below as well. Let us know what you think or have any questions. Just hoping this will help the next guy wanting to LS swap his 88-98.

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TECH ARTICLE
LS Swap into 88-98 GM Truck




We have always wanted to build a 88-98 sport truck, and with the popularity of these trucks coming back, now was the perfect time. At the moment, these trucks are relatively cheap to pick up, and can be found with full power, AC, tilt, etc. For the base of our project, we started with a 1990 C1500 truck that we purchased locally. We were able to buy the truck for $3,300, in which the owner claimed a “383”, but we knew that probably wasn't true. Knowing we had pranks to LS swap the truck, we did not worry too much about the engine in the truck, and was looking more for a straight & clean body.



Our intention was to see how inexpensive we can do the swap, and kept record of most costs. By using as many parts from the donor Yukon, we were able to keep cost down and give it a more factory look. Almost as if the truck came with a LS. At the end of this article, we will breakdown the cost we incurred, which covers most items, and maybe just missing a few misc. items.

The engine is a 5.3 / 4L60E combo that was pulled from a 2005 Yukon. The first tasks were to clean up the engine, and do some preventative maintenance to it, knowing it has over 100K miles. Plus, it is easier to work on them out of the truck and do these things now, rather than later.

We stripped the complete harness off the engine. The water pump, knock harness in the valley cover, intake gaskets & thermostat are all replaced.

Water Pump: Gates 45005
Knock Harness: Dorman 917-033
Intake Gaskets: Fel-Pro MS92211
Thermostat: Motorad 456-187












Knowing we will have AC in the truck and re-use most all that is there, we needed a bracket for the compressor. All other accessories were used from the 2005 Yukon. We turned to Dirty Dingo for the AC bracket, which mounts it up on the passenger side, same area as the factory compressor. We could have used the R4 compressor that originally came with the truck, but decided to replace it with a new Sanden 508. Using the Dirty Dingo adapter on the back of the Sanden 508, allowed us to use the factory AC lines with little “massaging” to get them to line up. No need for new hoses or anything, which kept costs down and made the process that much easier.

AC Bracket: DD-LS-SANDEN-AC-TR








To adapt to the factory vacuum booster on the truck, we needed to get a vacuum port fitting to go into the back of the manifold. Some LS engine will have this blocked off, like ours did. This barbed fitting is a AC Delco part, 12559760.



Now that we got the engine all prepped for install, it was time to work on the harness. This was our first attempt as modifying a harness, which went smoother than I thought. Just have to have patience and keep very organized. LT1swap.com is a great source for everything needed to modify your own harness. It will even tell you where to get the fuse block and relay connectors.






We once again used Dirty Dingo for the mounts to set the LS in the truck. These mounts make it so much easier to install, since they have adjust for both front-to-back and side-to-side. Being we used the factory exhaust manifolds from the Yukon, we had to shift the engine ever so slightly to the drivers side, and also move it back some.

Dirty Dingo Mounts: DD-2550C




Once dropped in, it looked right at home in the engine bay. We modified the factory intake to clear the new compressor bracket, and added a aftermarket file to the end. Even the factory clutch fan worked in the shroud, and cools the truck great. Now it was time to address the fuel pump. The earlier 88-95 trucks with the TBI engine used a low pressure fuel injection system / pump. We replaced the in tank pump with a AC Delco unit that could provide the pressure needed for the LS engine. This pump adapted right to the factory drop-in assembly. Keep in mind, because the previous system was low pressure, you will need to change all soft hose on the fuel lines, since it cant handle the higher pressures of the new pump. Using XRP fittings and hose, we plumbed in a Corvette fuel filter and regulator combination to make things easy. This was installed in the same place as the factory filter. If installing in a 96-98 truck, then you can use the pump already in the tank, and then adapt the mentioned Corvette fuel filter / regulator inline.

The upper radiator hose and PS lines from the Yukon were able to be used as well. They hose worked great, and used a steam port hose adapter, to plumb the steam port hose into the cooling system. The upper radiator hose was a great fit into the factory radiator.

Corvette Fuel Filter / Regualtor: WIX 33737
In Tank Pump: AC Delco EP381

Note:
We did not use the barbed fittings and clamps you see attached to the fuel filter and fuel rail. After a few hundred miles, we found leaks and proved very difficult to seal the system. This is not something we wanted to take a chance on, so opted to upgrade to all AN fittings from XRP.











Hope this helps the next guy doing an LS swap in his 88-98 truck, and provide a general walk through of what we did.

Cost Breakdown:
5.3 Engine / 4L60E Trans: $1,900
Fuel Pump: $30
Knock Harness: $22
Intake Gaskets: $34
Thermostat: $11
Water Pump: $65
Vacuum Port Fitting: $8
Dirty Dingo AC Bracket: $250
Dirty Dingo LS Mounts: $105
Belt: $31
Fuel Filter: $45
Fuel Fittings / Line: $150
Exhaust: $300
Air Filter: $28
Harness Fuse Block Parts: $20
Misc. Items: $50
Total: $3,049
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Last edited by Pro Performance; 08-16-2017 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:58 AM   #2
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

You guys can do my '88 Sierra next !! ( maybe next year?)
Nice job!!
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:15 AM   #3
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

Thanks for the right up with prices and part numbers, that is really helpful.
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Old 08-16-2017, 10:41 AM   #4
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by mountie View Post
You guys can do my '88 Sierra next !! ( maybe next year?)
Nice job!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol' Drippy View Post
Thanks for the right up with prices and part numbers, that is really helpful.
Thanks guys!
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Old 08-16-2017, 01:29 PM   #5
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

With the new configuration, brings more performance. You need better stopping power. May I suggest the newer master cylinder. I put it in my '88 and quite the difference.
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Old 08-16-2017, 02:03 PM   #6
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by mountie View Post
With the new configuration, brings more performance. You need better stopping power. May I suggest the newer master cylinder. I put it in my '88 and quite the difference.
I agree. On this truck we left the stock master / booster, but have plenty of stopping since we did our Pro Performance 14"/13" big brake kit.

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Old 08-16-2017, 02:39 PM   #7
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

This was an outstanding write-up and a display of beautiful work!
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:27 PM   #8
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

What I want to know more about it the computer. Where you put it. What was needed to mate up the existing components, such as gages, cruice control, etc.
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:32 PM   #9
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kudzupatch View Post
What I want to know more about it the computer. Where you put it. What was needed to mate up the existing components, such as gages, cruice control, etc.
I can write take pictures and add to it. I mounted the computer on the core support. I did not have to worry about gauges, since I used Dakota Digital and they pull info from the OBDII port or have their own sensors. The cruise control was wired into the factory stalk, and used a test light to determine what wires were what. That may vary across the years of trucks.

I will get more info and add accordingly.
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Old 08-17-2017, 08:51 AM   #10
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

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I will get more info and add accordingly.
I would appreciate that. I have considered this in a driver Suburban but always concerned about getting all the components working properly. Mainly what is involved in swapping computers and making the connected accessories work properly. Mechanical is pretty straight forward for me.
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Old 08-18-2017, 01:20 AM   #11
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

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Originally Posted by Kudzupatch View Post
I would appreciate that. I have considered this in a driver Suburban but always concerned about getting all the components working properly. Mainly what is involved in swapping computers and making the connected accessories work properly. Mechanical is pretty straight forward for me.
Here is a picture of the computer on the core support, and the adapter for the R4 compressor lines. I used a GM computer bracket, PN 15995679.

OI have a sheet that I wrote down all the colors that I matched up on the cruise. That won't apply to all LS swaps though, as mine engine had the TAC module. Not all DBW's have a TAC module and allow you to pull the 4 wires from the harness. Also, I believe the wire colors from the column for the cruise vary between all years.



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Old 08-23-2017, 11:47 PM   #12
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

Nice write up, thank you! Is your ac converted to R134 now or is it still R12?
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:18 AM   #13
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

Converted over since we used the 508.
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Old 08-24-2017, 02:24 PM   #14
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

Been looking more at this swap and oil pressure and water temp have separate sensors for gage and computer so should be no problem with gauges as far as I can tell.

Ran into an issue that I am not sure about. My Suburban has anti-lock brakes and it appears they are controlled by the computer? Still trying to verify that. If so swapping to an LS computer will require removing the unit and some new brake lines.
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:23 AM   #15
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

The ABS should have a separate computer (located under the master / booster), and not controlled by the original engine computer.
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Old 08-25-2017, 05:22 AM   #16
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

Nice looking write-up. Good reference for the future.
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Old 08-25-2017, 08:33 AM   #17
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Re: LS Swap Write Up

Mine is the old Kelsey Hays monster unit on the fender well. Could still have a separate one but i can't find much info on them. Haven't tried chasing wires but it may be seperate unit.
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