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LS Swap It Brah!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well it seems I keep seeing more and more people with V6 Fbodys wanting to know if they should do a V8 swap. Well the answer is maybe. If you do not mind the amount of work involved and have an emotional attachment to your car I say go for it!(That's my case) If the last sentence doesn't apply to you then sell your V6 and just buy the V8 car. In the end it costs about the same minus all the work. To help people out I am going to take parts of my old build thread from MAY2010 and turn it into a neat write up. The car is a 96 Camaro with a 3.8 originally auto but T5 swapped in AUG2009. You can also swap with the automatic but I went with a 6spd. Here goes!

Parts my car already had:
-Eaton LSD w/ 4.10 gears
-Bilstien HD shocks all around
-LS1 Aluminum drive shaft

These are the parts I needed to complete my swap. I'll include pictures of the parts I have pictures for.

-Complete LS1 w/ pcm and harness (I got a 02 w/ 36k miles. The 01-02 already have the LS6 intake on them.)
-T56 for LS1 (Mine was from a 00 T/A)
-LS1 exhaust (your old V6 exhaust wont bolt to the LS1)
- LS1 K-member (I got mine complete with steering rack, brakes, 1LE sway bar and shocks w/ springs.)
-LS1 steering rack (It is needed for clearance issues, mine came w/ my K-member)
-LS1 Front brakes are optional (I got them since they came with my K-member)
-LS1 Throttle cable
-93-97 LT1 T56 cross member (LS1 cross member doesn't bolt in to a 93-97 car!)
-99 Corvette fuel filter (you need this since the 3.8 has a return fuel system and the LS1 is return less, it also is going to be your fuel pressure regulator)
-LS1 radiator
-All radiator and heater hoses
-Clutch, pressure plate and flywheel (mine were OEM and still attached to the motor)
-98 Coolant temp sensor (98 uses a 3 wire so that I was able to use my temp gauge)
-The bolts to bolt the transmission to the engine if you don't have them.
-Butt connectors (the ones that can be melted and sealed with a heat gun)
-Extra wire

LS1 complete motor with harness, pcm, manifolds, flywheel, clutch and pressure plate


T56 for 98-02 LS1


98-02 LS1 K-member with steering rack and brakes


99 Corvette fuel filter


LS1 Radiator


I swapped in a Walbro 255 fuel pump a few weeks before the swap. I used the trap door method. I can't remember if the V6 uses the same fuel pump or not. But for future plans I needed a higher flow pump anyways.

This is the cut out of the trap door.


Factory V6 fuel pump


Fresh Piece of metal screwed down and sealed with silicone.


I dropped the motor out of the bottom of the car. If you have access to a lift that will make life much easier. If you do not you can still do the swap. You just need to get the car up on jack stands high enough to let the motor down and slide it out under. I pulled the motor from the donor car with jack stands. I was fortunate enough to have a lift for the actually swap though.

Car on lift


Car on jack stands


Day 1: Friday Night (estimated time spent working was 5hrs)

-First thing is to disconnect the battery.
-Drain all fluids and dispose
-Remove shifter knob inside car
-Unplug the 3 electrical plugs on the passenger side fender well
-Disconnect A/C hoses(your "supposed" to properly dispose of contents in A/C)
-Disconnect radiator hoses
-Disconnect fuel lines
-Disconnect throttle cable
-Disconnect front break lines at ABS block (mine were stuck on to tight so I cut the lines and reattached them with flare fittings)
-Pull out radiator and A/C condenser
-Remove bolt on steering column to steering rack
-Remove the 4 bolts on each front shock on the fender wells
-Disconnect ABS wires near wheel

It should start to look like this after all that


-Disconnect the 3 electrical plugs that run through the firewall under the dash.


Lift the car up high enough to be able to fit the motor out the bottom. Put jack stand on the sides of the car if you don't have lift access. Make sure you have a working E-brake! And put something to chalk the wheels rear wheels. This is where the lift makes life a million times easier.

-Disconnect driveshaft by undoing the 4 bolts holding it to the differential housing. Push it towards the transmission to get it off the differential housing. Once out of the housing pull it out of the transmission.
-Remove the torque arm from the transmission but leave it on the differential
-Unbolt and cut out the old V6 exhaust. Once the exhaust is cut out you can get ready to drop out the motor.
-Disconnect clutch hydraulic line

V6 Exhaust after being unbolted and cut


I used an ATV/motorcycle jack to put under the K-member. I definitely recommend using one if you have access to it. Also place a jack under the transmission.

ATV jack under K-member and jack under transmission


-Disconnect the 4 bolts holding the 2 mounts
-Disconnect the 4 bolts hold the transmission cross member to the body of the car
-Disconnect the 6 bolts holding the K-member

At this point everything is being supported by the jacks. Slowly lower the whole thing down. Keep watching the engine bay to make sure nothing is getting caught or in case you forget to disconnect something.

Engine lowered


Engine removed


No more engine :D


3.8 V6 chillin


Day 2: Saturday/Sunday 0800-0300

Well if you made it this far congrats!

Since I cut the brake lines I needed to make the flares on the lines. Hopefully the lines aren't stuck on the ABS block like mine. Then you won't have to do this.


Time to install the LS1!

-Disconnect old throttle cable and install LS1 cable
-Also a good time to clean the engine bay if you had a leaky mess old motor in there.

First get the LS1 K-member situated on the ATV jack.


Mount the LS1 on the K-member


-Mount T56 to LS1


T56 mounted to LS1


Move LS1 assembly under the car


Lower body down over the car


Watch from the top too to make sure nothing gets caught!


-As you are dropping down the car make sure to connect the steering column back to the steering rack!
-As the shock mounts get closer to the top of the wheel well make sure you try to line them up

It will probably take you some finesse and patience to get the K-member lined up and bolted back in.
-Bolt up K- member
-Bolt up the shock mounts
-Bolt sway bar back to body of the car
-Bolt transmission cross member back up.
-Reconnect torque arm
-Reinstall driveshaft

LS1 assembly bolted in


Another view before radiator and A/C condenser installed


Radiator installed


-Connect clutch hydraulic line
-Run the power and ground cables over towards the battery area
-Reconnect brake lines
-Reconnect ABS wires
-Reconnect Heater hoses
-Coolant hoses
-Reconnect Reinstall LS1 radiator and LS1 condenser (if you want to run A/C)
-Install bolt on steering column where it connects to steering rack
-Connect throttle cable
-Connect 99 Corvette fuel filter to fuel lines and connect to fuel rail

Fuel filter connected to fuel lines


All connected and bolted in


OMGosh! You now have a LS1 bolted in your car and connected up! Time for the fun part! Wiring!

Day 3: Sunday 1000-2300

This is the worst part of the swap. You now have to do all the wiring. It felt very overwhelming at first but after doing it once it wasn't that bad.

Now to figure out the electrical for this swap I search for a few months on LS1tech for all the information I needed. Basically you have to match the wires from the cars harness to the wires on the engine harness. Unfortunately they don't all match up on the plugs from the factory. You will have to either re-pin the connectors which I didn't know how to do or have the tools for. Or you cut the wires and move them on the plugs to match each other. I did the cut and splice into the plugs method. First I looked up each plug and labeled each plug before I cut anything. Then I would label the individual wires on that plug. This kept everything organized and there were no mistakes on which wire is what since there many are that are the same color. I sniped the plugs that go from the 3.8 to the interior so I could just work on the wiring in the engine bay instead of doing it under the dash.

Labeled Plugs


Labeling Wires


Getting connected!


LS1 plug info printed from LS1tech taped to the windshield


96 Camaro plug info from service manual


Cleaned up


Different view cleaned up


When I connected the fuel pump wires in the harnesses the fuel pump would continuously run when the battery was connected. So I ended up wiring in a relay to solve that problem.

To get the coolant gauge to work you need to install the 98 coolant temp sensor and run the 3rd wire to the cars harness that runs into the car.

The 96 doesn't have an ignition power wire for INJ Bank 2 that the LS1 harness has. If you don't power this only half the motor will run. I ran a wire from the fuse block and put the 20amp inline fuse on the wire. You also need to connect the purple starter wire from the LS1 starter to the battery. I can't remember if there was already a wire from the battery with the 3.8.

Basically for the wiring you just have to match what is on the cars plug to the LS1 plugs. I spent Monday, Tuesday and about 30min Wednesday night finishing the wiring. I had to work 8hrs in the shop at work then those nights go back to my friends and work a few hours on the Camaro. If I did it all again I could probably do everything in 2 ½ days.

Refill all the fluids on the car and go for the test fire! My car fired up the first time and stayed running. I did end up having an issue with the MAF getting ignition power and the car was running of the MAP. So I ran another wire with ignition power to the MAF sensor and fixed that problem. The front O2 sensors are on that circuit too. So make sure to power the whole circuit.

For the intake you can build a custom one from
Silicone 90

Notes:
-Bleed front brakes
-Burp the cooling system
-Check for leaks

I did almost the entire swap by myself. I told my friends to not hangout because it is distracting. They would stop in to visit and check it out once and awhile. I was lucky because when someone would stop by it was right at a time i needed a second set of hands to hold something. In the end 90% of the work was done by me. So in the end I guess you could do a complete LS1 swap in a weekend. I wasn't to focused that Sunday so not as much electrical got done as it could have.

This is not the only way to LS swap a Fbody. This is just the way I did it. This is just a guide for people to use. I take no responsibility for anything that goes wrong. This is how I did my swap and the car runs great. Just had to add that in:icon15:
 

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Token Firebird Owner
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All this has taught me is:
  • Electrical Sucks
  • I should buy an ATV jack already after doing 3+ pulls/installs without one :lol:
Thanks dude. Might want to add something about bleeding the brakes, burping the cooling system, and checking for leaks five times while it's running before lowering it to the ground.
 

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LS Swap It Brah!
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4,730 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I might have missed some things. If you see something I might have missed please tell me. I did the swap over a year ago but this should give everyone a really good idea of what to expect with a V8 Swap. I spent all day putting this together,lol.

All this has taught me is:
  • Electrical Sucks
  • I should buy an ATV jack already after doing 3+ pulls/installs without one :lol:
Thanks dude. Might want to add something about bleeding the brakes, burping the cooling system, and checking for leaks five times while it's running before lowering it to the ground.
Good point. I work as a mechanic so that is just kind of assumed. But Ill add it in.
 

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this thread is relevant to my interests... my practical plans, not so much, but my interests, most certainly.
 

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LS Swap It Brah!
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
this thread is relevant to my interests... my practical plans, not so much, but my interests, most certainly.
If you ever do a LS1 swap you better call me and have me come out there!:lol: Id love to do it again and see how much more time i can cut out.:icon15:
 

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If you ever do a LS1 swap you better call me and have me come out there!:lol: Id love to do it again and see how much more time i can cut out.:icon15:
your not too far from me, you can always come over and help me out, right? haha
 

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LS Swap It Brah!
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
your not too far from me, you can always come over and help me out, right? haha
haha sure, buy all the parts and provide the food and drinks. I wont be to busy since i wont be working for about 8-10months after i get home. I am going on a long road trip tho. If you do it make sure its a 98 motor with harness and PCM so the electrical is mostly just plug and play.
 

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Call me... MR. SnIpEz
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I absolutely refuse to swap a '98 LS1 in my car. I would only do '99 or higher, but that's just me
 

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I think he's saying use a 98 motor for a pre-99 car.
 

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LS Swap It Brah!
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Redbird98 has a 98 Firebird. Def easier to just get a complete 98 LS1 when it comes to the electrical. Just replace the oil pump, timing chain and rod bolts before you put the motor in the car:icon15:
 

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99 Corvette fuel filter (you need this since the 3.8 has a return fuel system and the LS1 is return less.) If im converting my 3.4 to a ls1 is the fuel system the same and will the 99 corvette filter work for a 01 ls1?
 

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99 Corvette fuel filter (you need this since the 3.8 has a return fuel system and the LS1 is return less.)
If im converting my 3.4 to a ls1 is the fuel system the same and will the 99 corvette filter work for a 01 ls1?
 

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Call me... MR. SnIpEz
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I think he's saying use a 98 motor for a pre-99 car.
I knew exactly what he meant

Redbird98 has a 98 Firebird. Def easier to just get a complete 98 LS1 when it comes to the electrical. Just replace the oil pump, timing chain and rod bolts before you put the motor in the car:icon15:
Yeah I have a '98 too, but I wouldn't swap a 98 in my car still. Sure it's easier but I'd rather go through the slightly extra hassle to get a later model. 98's have too many issues that I'd rather not deal with
 

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LS Swap It Brah!
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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
If im converting my 3.4 to a ls1 is the fuel system the same and will the 99 corvette filter work for a 01 ls1?
Does the 3.4 use a returnless or return fuel system? I haven't touched one in a Camaro before. I cant remember from all the fwd 3.4s ive worked on if they are return or returnless. How many fuel lines do you have running to the motor? If you have 2 youll need the 99 Vette filter. Unless you want to convert completely over to the LS1 fuel setup which would be some wiring and getting a different sending unit and LS1 lines(easier to just get the vette filter).

edit: The filter will work for any of the yrs for the LS1.

double edit: I actually had 3 lines run to my 3.8 because 1 of them is the evap line. Idk if the 3.4 has the evap line. If it does youll have 3 lines.
 

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Has anyone swopped a 3.8 v6 manual to a ls1 z28 automatic successfully, If so I need details, I know the fuel lines are diffrent, and K member but the issue is the interior wire harness I need to know what is diffrent in the two so I can debate saving my factory conditioned dash or swop to my cheap donor.
 

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forshow6970422 said:
Has anyone swopped a 3.8 v6 manual to a ls1 z28 automatic successfully, If so I need details, I know the fuel lines are diffrent, and K member but the issue is the interior wire harness I need to know what is diffrent in the two so I can debate saving my factory conditioned dash or swop to my cheap donor.
Omg...
 
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