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Thread: LS Swap?

  1. #1
    VIP Member STL_G8GT's Avatar
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    Default LS Swap?

    Hey guys, lately I've been looking into a resto-mod project and it's pretty foreign territory for me.

    I'm probably going to try and find something that's a great body (cause that's not my thing), and just do the engine/trans, elec myself.

    I would probably just go to the pick n pull and find a 5.3 or 6.0 and 4l60/60e/80, and the rebuild part is no problem-o. It's the interface that I've got questions about.

    Do I try and pull the entire engine harness/ecm/gas pedal from whatever I find? Will I have to use a chipped key? Is a piggyback or replacement controller the way to go instead?

    I know this is a pretty wide open question, but I know I've got to start somewhere with it.
    2009 PBM G8 GT
    Pat G 218/226, ARP Bits, DSteck/Shane Tuned, Magnacharger Chrome 2300 1:1, RCR Ported/Polished TB, Blower, & L92 Heads w/ LS3 intake valves, Comp Cams Trunion Upgrade Kit, ARH 1 7/8 catted/Magnaflow MidMuff/Solo Axlebacks, RotoFab, VaporWorx PWM 1:1 fuel system, ID850 injectors
    Mike Norris Motorsports Catchcan, AEM 30-4100, JHP Boost/Fuel Gauge Pod
    TSW Nurburgring Matte Gray 18" w/Nitto 555 & 555R, Satin Black SS Brembo Fronts, BMR Trailing Arms, Pedders Sway Bars, Whiteline Bushings
    Gloss Black Valve Covers, 6k HID, V6 Handles, Interior/License Plate LEDs, Debadged, Holden Black Trim, Polk Dxi, GXP diffusor, a few bits from Crazy Paul

    Originally Posted by TonyKarter
    Anyone who has ever worked on a car has been in your position, and sitting cross-legged on a concrete floor with a dim shop light is its own kind of hell... Chalk it up as one of the rites of passage.
    RIP Charlie - GRRRR8
    RIP Chris Wells - Panzer Leader

  2. #2
    Member gatorayde's Avatar
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    You might get lucky, but Ive seen a lot of junk yard motors with cut wiring harnesses. At that point, if you don't have to deal with emissions, you can get a megasquirt + harness setup for a reasonable price, all plug and play. The MS tuning studio is easier to deal with than HPTuners from what I understand (though I still prefer HPTuners, as that's what Im used to using. To each his own). Otherwise you can get a plug-and-play OEM harness that's fully trimmed down from various reputable companies, and only have a handful of wires (12v and grounds) to run, and then source the correct ECU. If you're not electrically savvy, and need a harness, this is probably the best route to go.

    I personally enjoy electrical work and wiring, and would try to find a complete engine + harness + ECU + Pedal and trim out what you don't need. But that's just me.

    And yes, if it's DBW, definitely try to grab the pedal and harness if you can, just less of a headache down the road when you wire everything. There's a bit of research involved in knowing which ECU's to jive with certain pedals, from what I recall.

    The key won't be an issue even with the stock ECU, as you can delete VATS easily in HPTuners or EFIlive, and start it with a push button if you really wanted to.
    Last edited by gatorayde; 09-29-2017 at 10:22 AM.

  3. #3
    VIP Member STL_G8GT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gatorayde View Post
    You might get lucky, but Ive seen a lot of junk yard motors with cut wiring harnesses. At that point, if you don't have to deal with emissions, you can get a megasquirt + harness setup for a reasonable price, all plug and play. The MS tuning studio is easier to deal with than HPTuners from what I understand (though I still prefer HPTuners, as that's what Im used to using. To each his own). Otherwise you can get a plug-and-play OEM harness that's fully trimmed down from various reputable companies, and only have a handful of wires (12v and grounds) to run, and then source the correct ECU. If you're not electrically savvy, and need a harness, this is probably the best route to go.

    I personally enjoy electrical work and wiring, and would try to find a complete engine + harness + ECU + Pedal and trim out what you don't need. But that's just me.

    And yes, if it's DBW, definitely try to grab the pedal and harness if you can, just less of a headache down the road when you wire everything. There's a bit of research involved in knowing which ECU's to jive with certain pedals, from what I recall.

    The key won't be an issue even with the stock ECU, as you can delete VATS easily in HPTuners or EFIlive, and start it with a push button if you really wanted to.
    Thank you
    2009 PBM G8 GT
    Pat G 218/226, ARP Bits, DSteck/Shane Tuned, Magnacharger Chrome 2300 1:1, RCR Ported/Polished TB, Blower, & L92 Heads w/ LS3 intake valves, Comp Cams Trunion Upgrade Kit, ARH 1 7/8 catted/Magnaflow MidMuff/Solo Axlebacks, RotoFab, VaporWorx PWM 1:1 fuel system, ID850 injectors
    Mike Norris Motorsports Catchcan, AEM 30-4100, JHP Boost/Fuel Gauge Pod
    TSW Nurburgring Matte Gray 18" w/Nitto 555 & 555R, Satin Black SS Brembo Fronts, BMR Trailing Arms, Pedders Sway Bars, Whiteline Bushings
    Gloss Black Valve Covers, 6k HID, V6 Handles, Interior/License Plate LEDs, Debadged, Holden Black Trim, Polk Dxi, GXP diffusor, a few bits from Crazy Paul

    Originally Posted by TonyKarter
    Anyone who has ever worked on a car has been in your position, and sitting cross-legged on a concrete floor with a dim shop light is its own kind of hell... Chalk it up as one of the rites of passage.
    RIP Charlie - GRRRR8
    RIP Chris Wells - Panzer Leader

  4. #4
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    As someone who is mid-way thru an LS swap, I can offer a few tidbits. While I was able to purchase a low-mile L33 5.3 (aluminum block Gen III-24X reluctor) with the complete harness intact, the cost to convert the OEM harness isn't really competitive with the cost of a new aftermarket harness anymore. Try PSI conversions, I found their harness prices reasonable. They also offer a reprogrammed ECU for almost the same price as a used one. Do try to get the pedal setup if it is DBW. The benefit of buying a complete "takeout" is you don't get nickel-and-dimed buying everything ELSE you need, especially if you can buy the 4L60E at the same time. There are water pump/intake compatibility issues (Vortec motors have a taller water pump than car-variants, i.e. no car-manifold on motor with truck water pump). If you are dropping an LS in place of an SBC, then "adapter" motor mounts may be a good option, in my case I fabbed the frame-side, and used Express Van motor mounts. You'll of course need ~58 PSI of fuel (I used an S10 tank, with flex-fuel pump), the Corvette filter/regulator is the piece to use, unless you buy an earlier motor with supply and return lines. If you have the hood clearance, the truck intake (while ugly- but that can be fixed) offers more torque than any other OEM piece. There is plenty of good oil pan data out there too (CTS-V pan worked for me). Good luck! The LS motor has been with us for 20 years, and the aftermarket gets stronger every day.
    2009.1 G8 GT MSM, Sport & Premium
    Creature Comfort:
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    XM & OnStar out, BLUESTAR in

    Show:
    debadged except GM chicklets
    custom GXP front fascia, GXP rear diffuser
    Holden Center Caps

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    VMS ECM/TCM tune, Vararam, HSRK, ARH 1-3/4" LTH, HFCs into stock mufflers, Mobil 1, Pedders low-hanging fruit

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    VIP Member BuildItYourSelf's Avatar
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    52wasp is right.
    A standalone harness is cheaper then trying to mess with a vehicle specific harness.
    You can get a kit cheaper in most cases. But you can find a donor kit and save more. A donor kit will be just a harness basically and you take the pedal, ecm, sensors and what not front a donor vehicle.
    The great thing about gm is that many vehicles share the a act same part. Need a maf? One from a truck is the same as a corvette. And in most cases a new one is cheaper then what a parts yard will charge.
    2008 GT-M. PBM, #885

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    VIP Member STL_G8GT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuildItYourSelf View Post
    52wasp is right.
    A standalone harness is cheaper then trying to mess with a vehicle specific harness.
    You can get a kit cheaper in most cases. But you can find a donor kit and save more. A donor kit will be just a harness basically and you take the pedal, ecm, sensors and what not front a donor vehicle.
    The great thing about gm is that many vehicles share the a act same part. Need a maf? One from a truck is the same as a corvette. And in most cases a new one is cheaper then what a parts yard will charge.
    Awesome, thank you
    2009 PBM G8 GT
    Pat G 218/226, ARP Bits, DSteck/Shane Tuned, Magnacharger Chrome 2300 1:1, RCR Ported/Polished TB, Blower, & L92 Heads w/ LS3 intake valves, Comp Cams Trunion Upgrade Kit, ARH 1 7/8 catted/Magnaflow MidMuff/Solo Axlebacks, RotoFab, VaporWorx PWM 1:1 fuel system, ID850 injectors
    Mike Norris Motorsports Catchcan, AEM 30-4100, JHP Boost/Fuel Gauge Pod
    TSW Nurburgring Matte Gray 18" w/Nitto 555 & 555R, Satin Black SS Brembo Fronts, BMR Trailing Arms, Pedders Sway Bars, Whiteline Bushings
    Gloss Black Valve Covers, 6k HID, V6 Handles, Interior/License Plate LEDs, Debadged, Holden Black Trim, Polk Dxi, GXP diffusor, a few bits from Crazy Paul

    Originally Posted by TonyKarter
    Anyone who has ever worked on a car has been in your position, and sitting cross-legged on a concrete floor with a dim shop light is its own kind of hell... Chalk it up as one of the rites of passage.
    RIP Charlie - GRRRR8
    RIP Chris Wells - Panzer Leader

  7. #7
    VIP Member BuildItYourSelf's Avatar
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    Also check out ebay and Facebook pages that people sell and swap resto mod parts.
    I don't remember what page it was but I did see a e-mod harness with pedal, fuse box and what not for like $250 I wanna say.
    So the deals are out there.

    Don't be like the guy at a local shop and install the Holly "carb" looking kit with generic tune on a built ls3. The kit was like $1500 and when he got it tuned it made 360hp. Haha finally the owner talked to a few of us local ls guys and he got stock ls3 intake and all that stuff to make it like our cars or other ls cars. He had it tuned on the dyno and made 480 whp. And when it was said and done he made it basically like an emod kit for less then he sold the Holly kit.
    2008 GT-M. PBM, #885

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    VIP Member matts88yj's Avatar
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    Not sure that I can provide much more than what has been stated above but I'll echo the above as far as getting all of the parts and pieces that you can from the doner vehicle. I pulled a 5.3 and 4L60e out of a 2005 Chevy Tahoe with 30,000 miles on the clock complete (engine, trans, wiring harness, computer, gas pedal) for $1000 to stick in my Jeep Wrangler YJ. As of today I have not touched any of the guts of the engine. I had a local guy build the transmission to the point of, and I quote "You can put a warmed up LS3 under the hood of this thing and it will still laugh at it." Practically everything was upgraded transmission wise. I sent the harness off to Speartech to have them work their magic on it and they are excellent to deal with. They can do pretty much anything you can think of as far as the wiring harness goes. Aside from that the only other things that were changed was the oil pan and the exhaust manifolds. I will say that if you're looking at aftermarket exhaust manifolds, stay away from Sanderson headers. Their ceramic coated versions do not hold up at all. Depending on what you do for the oil pan, check out Improved Racing and at least one of their oil pan baffles. I've used a few of their parts over the years and have always been impressed with their quality and service. They also sell a lot of fluid coolers, line and fittings.
    - Matt

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    Beyond Help todds87ss's Avatar
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    There is also the 6 speed manual/carb option - low fuel pressure means stock fuel tank and components for older cars, the only wiring issues are related to spark - MSD has simple solutions, you get the Old School look (and performance)of a carb. The real downside is that this combo does not fit under a lot of hoods...
    I have seen 400hp from this simple setup.
    Just another option.
    Yes for us larger guys that screw can be a pain!

    08 G8 GT, IOM, Rotofab, HSRK, Kooks LTs, track pipes, Custom engine covers, catch can, radiator cover, and tranny tunnel brace. 402hp/396tq - not bad for a bolt -on car.
    8.43 1/8th; 2.01 60' - no skillz.

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