LS Engine Swap On A Budget – Part 1 – Chassis Intro, Oil Pan & Engine Mounts

LS Engine Swap On A Budget – Part 1 – Chassis Intro, Oil Pan & Engine Mounts


Hi I’m Chuck Hanson, Welcome to Chuck’s Garage. You know it’s been a while since the last
time I saw ya, but you know what? I’ve been busy, in fact I got caught up in
this pro-touring bug here, and if you don’t know what pro-touring is, it’s basically when
you take a cool old classic car like one of my Chevelles here and you update the brakes,
the suspension, the engine transmission, and even the creature comforts so what you end
up with is a cool classic car, that does everything just as well as a new car does, now let me
show you what I got going on here. Well here’s what we started with, basically
we’ve got a 69′ Chevelle chassis here that I picked up off of Craigslist for 100 bucks,
now that’s a really smoking deal, I don’t care how you cut it but what it does is it
sets the tone for this entire build, because what I’m going to do here is I’m going to
build this thing up on a fairly tight budget, using junkyard parts in some cases, just making
sure that we use, the best parts that we can that are going to give us the biggest bang
for our buck. Now here’s what we started with here, we started
with a set of control arms, these are 2 door control arms that we got from right stuff
detailing. Now if you’ll look down here on the lower
control arm, you’ll see that the lower control arm also incorporates a sway bar link, this
is adjustable and it’s also bushed with bushings here and that’s really going to help that
inch and a quarter bar work to it’s maximum effectiveness. Now further out here take a look at these
brakes, these also came from right stuff detailing. 13 inch rotors, cross drilled slotted, zinc
washed the whole deal, and we’ve topped it off with a set of their aluminum 4 piston
calipers, these are their signature series, they come powder coated in either black or
red, now this is a lot of brake for the buck. Now here’s what we got going on out back,
if you remember, we said we’re going to do this whole build with an eye towards a budget
and well, to that end we went ahead and talked to our friends at original parts group, and
they hooked us up with a set of their rear control arms. Now these are basically stock style rear control
arms but as you can see they’ve been bushed. Now we’ve got them on both upper and lower,
and the lower ones are fully boxed, they’ve got the bushings, and we put a 1 inch sway
bar in there that we also got from OPG. Now the rear end, man I got a smoking deal
on the rear end, that’s a 12 bolt rear end that I also got off of Craigslist, picked
it up for 800 bucks, now as I was a little bit skeptical about it, but it was a nice
clean housing and everything, and once I opened up the guts, man was I surprised, 331 piles
in that baby there, perfect gear for what I’ve got in mind here. Now we also finished things up with the right
stuff rear disk brakes set up here and a set of lowering springs and that’s basically what
we got going on out back here. Again real budget build up and it’s set us
up real nicely, oh one more thing, I got to tell you about my deal on my wheels here,
check these out, I was at the swap meet and run up on these, the guy started out at 1,200
dollars, brand new, well I think he said they had 500 miles on them, but these are some
brand new, tires on 17 x 9 1/2 inch rims out back 17 x 8s out front, perfect for what we’re
going to do with the pro-touring theme there. I know some guys like larger rims but hey,
I’m hung on the 17s, I like the look, I like the side wall, it gives you a little more
cushon as you go down the road, and the best thing is, he started out at 1,200 dollars,
I rolled these things out the door for 800 bucks, sweet. Let’s take a look at the engine I’ve got going
on in here, now I just kind of stabbed this thing in here for grins, temporarily buy hey,
It’s a big block 454, great engine, great power, and they’ve been in service for a long
time, a lot of guys still really like these things, but since they’ve been around for
a long time that’s all the more reason to give them an update. Now one of the most popular platforms for
this engine swap is the LS series of engines and for good reason. They’re every where, you can buy them at junk
yards, you can buy them out of people’s back yards, you can buy them out of a wreck vehicle,
whatever, but they’re everywhere, and they’re cheap, relatively speaking. I mean it’s not unheard of to buy a complete
LS engine for 2, 3, 4, 5 hundred dollars, now the aftermarket has also embraced those
engines with all kinds of parts including what it takes to put one into these old chassis
here. Now I’m going to show you what I picked up
for a real nice price. Hey, this is the 53 that I picked up, I snatched
it out of an 03′ Tahoe that had suffered some body damage, was totaled out, but that was
a good deal for me. This thing 120,000 miles on it, the car did
run and drive, so I got to start it, drive it around the lot a little bit, and I was
pretty satisfied with it, so I paid the man 600 bucks, again a smoking deal, you can get
these things everywhere. Now these things are so popular because they
come in a wide variety of sizes, you can get a 4.8, you can get a 5.3, a 6 liter and even
a 6.2. Of course they come in everything from Tahoe’s
to Corvette’s, and they come in all kinds of different horsepower ratings, now I went
with this 5.3 here because it’s going to leave us a lot of potential to build on later on,
we can do a head swap, cam swap, whatever we want, but this is going to be a good solid
platform for us to build on and we kind of spend our money as we go. Now for transmission, we’re gonna go with
this 4L60E, now this is a another smoking deal, I’m the king of deals here I guess,
but a friend of mine built this transmission for me, he needed a set of old port big block
cylinder heads and a posey for his son’s Chevelle that he’s building, and I was able to hook
him up, he hooked me up with the transmission, everybody wins. So now that we’ve got the basics covered,
let me show you what it’s gonna take to put this LS engine, into that classic Chevelle
chassis right there. Now installing an LS engine into a classic
Chevelle chassis is a whole lot easier than it used to be just a few years ago, thanks
to some parts that are being manufactured by companies like Holley and Hooker. Now one of the most critical parts to make
this swap a success is the oil pan, and Holley has made just what you need right here, this
is a heavy duty, cast aluminum oil pan here that’s gonna bolt right up on the LS engine,
but check it out, it’s got a shortened sump here that’s going to allow you to clear most
cross members, this thing will fit from 55′ to 87′ GM chassis, most of them. Now it also still retains that 5 1/2 quart
capacity here, 6 quarts with the oil filter, and speaking of that, this thing even comes
with it’s own built in oil filter adaptor, and to make the whole shebang work, Holley
has even included their own special pickup for this oil pan. Now we need to set the engine in that chassis,
and here’s what we need to do it, Hooke offers a set of engine plates here that’s gonna allow
us to really position the engine in a number of places, but what we’re going to start with
here is this engine plate that’s going to position the engine in the exact same stock
location as original. Now what I mean by that is, the mating surface
between the bell housing and the back of the block is going to be in the original location,
now if that doesn’t work for you check this out, they’ve also got plates that move the
engine forward 3 inches, an inch and a quarter, and a half an inch. Now the way these things work is they attach
to the block with 4 special bolts. Just like that they’ve got a special beveled
head on it, and they bolt right up to the block there and of course these three holes
are where your original motor mounts go, they bolt right up and allow you to slip things
right down into place. Now if you’re working on a car that has late
model clam shell type motor mounts, and I think they started using those things right
around 1973, then this is a brand new item that Hooker’s come out with that’s going to
allow you to put an LS motor into those applications as well. Now obviously the clam shell mount just slips
right into place here, they bolt up with the 4 same beveled bolts here. Now what these also do for you is they’re
going to move the motor up half an inch in the engine compartment, and they’re also going
to move it forward an inch and a quarter, that’s it, no getting around it, it’s time
to get our hands dirty. Now before we can install the new oil pan
from Holley, we’ve got to take the old one off first, get all the premier bolts off there,
and then gently pry this thing up and out of the way. Now you may get lucky and reuse the old gasket
but in our case we just weren’t able to do that, when we took the oil pan off, it left
a portion of the old gasket right here. This seals up the feed lines for the oil filter,
and obviously we’re going to need a new gasket. So now that we’ve got the oil pan out of the
way we can remove the stock pickup. I’ve already taken out one bolt up front here,
one in the back, one on the side here, this thing should just lift right out of place. Well after reading the instructions, looks
like the stock tray is going to stay in place, now the next step is to test fit the pickup
tube that comes with the oil pan kit. I put the O ring on here that’s supplied in
the kit, and we’ll slip the pickup into place there, and where we really need to check for
interference is right here on this last mounting point, want to make sure that it will bolt
up and go flat on the tray there, looks like we’re going to have to do a little bit of
trimming to make that work, but that shouldn’t take more than a second there, get that done,
we’ll be good to go. Well since we had clearance issues here, we
decided it was a little bit easier to remove material from this mounting leg here for the
pickup than to take it off of the tray itself, so this is where we ground just a little bit
away, that’s going to give us the clearance that we need. There it is. Well according to the instructions once you
get the pickup mounted, it tells you to rotate the engine over by hand, to make sure you
got plenty of clearance with the crankshaft, between it and the pickup mount right there. I don’t hear any grinding or any weird noises
so I guess we’re good to go. Now before we install that new pan gasket,
we’re gonna go ahead and clean up the pan rails here, make sure that we got a nice clean
mating surface, and that will ensure everything seals up nice and tight. Now one of the final steps before bolting
up the pan is to put a dab of RTV at each one of the 4 corners, the instructions tell
you exactly where it goes, but thats crucial to make sure that the oil pan gasket seals
up well. Well now we’re ready to put the oil pan on
place, but I’m going to show you a little trick first. We got this new gasket on here, but here’s
something that will help hold the gasket in place while you get it inverted. Put a bolt in each one of the 4 corners, we’ve
got our 4 in there, that way, the rubber around the gasket will hold the gasket in place,
we can invert it, set it down, we’re good to go. Now let’s turn our attention to getting that
old big block out of the way. Take the bolts out of the motor mounts and
lift her out with the engine poise. Alright we’re getting close now, the next
step is to bolt up our motor plates, and then after that we’ll bolt up the actual motor
mounts. Well now we’re about ready to bolt up the
transmission before we do we’re gonna torque the flex plate in place, torquing it down
to 75 foot pounds. Alright there we go, now it took us a better
part of the day to slap this 5.3 on this chassis here but I tell you what, man that thing looks
just like it grew there from the factory thanks to those Hooker mounts and that oil pan from
the folks at Holley. Now I’ve checked underneath there, there is
absolutely no interference issues between the oil pan and the chassis, and like I say,
it looks like it grew there from the factory. Now we’ve still got plenty of work slated
for this thing, we’ve got a lot of things we want to do to it, we’re gonna put a Holley
front accessory drive system on it, we’re gonna do the coil covers, we’re actually gonna
swap out this ugly factory intake here and put something really cool on it, nice cool
looking intake and throttle body. We’re gonna do exhaust, plump the fuel system,
and hey, you’re actually gonna here this thing run before we put the body on it, so you want
to make sure that you stick with us, keep your eye on this channel here, you’ll be glad
you did because we got a lot of cool stuff planned, this is great stuff man I love it.

About the Author: Michael Flood

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