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Old 05-14-2018, 01:47 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: NoVA
Default Pillows LS swap into 960 build v-log - the shade tree conversion bible

This conversion has been a longtime in the making. Thanks for the information and support of the TB members and LS1Tech Hybrid conversions along the way that have provided guidance and motivation.

Most all updates will be in text and/or video blogs on YouTube. With Photobucket gone, I have been lazy on transitioning to a different picture hosting service. YouTube integrates well on my phone, which helps post information quickly and easily. Links will be provided as progress moves along. Note that I do not edit my videos or add any bling whatsoever, sorry if they are dry but at the same time they are short and zero rambletron to waste your time. I hate watching 15 minutes of blather for no real information at all.

The victim is a 1992 Volvo 960 wagon named Savage Wagon. Nothing yet is Savage about it at all... When backs up 400ish HP then the 960 will be pretty Savage ;)

I know there are multiple ways to setup and install a LS powerplant in your Volvo swap. The goal is to retain all factory functionality with dash gauges and A/C. Basically a stock looking and functioning swap that you would be proud to daily. There are numerous swaps that have been completed that do not account for A/C, dash gauges, and any real efforts to make the car whole again as a real driver. Which is okay, but to get all the electronics right does require extra time and expense over a junkyard swap and burnouts. It really depends on what your goals are as to what you will gain out of this build thread.

All parts to make this conversion will be listed with sources and prices. Links provided to manufactures of custom parts and honest reviews of what works and what does not.

Other sites and places are dedicated to LS engine building and transmission selection. I will not bore you with drivetrain details unless someone asks. Basically it is a 5.3 truck LS engine with LS7 cam mated to a hydraulic Gen4 T5 transmission. The length and dimensions are very similar to that of a T56 and installation is basically the same. I know I have a mutant setup, it should work for me, but choose as you feel fit for your needs.

- 2003 Silverado 5.3 engine modified with LS7 cam and supporting upgrades
- Gen4 T5 manual transmission - built up properly
- Hot Rod Works adapter plate
- SBC Truck bellhousing
- Speedway GM Hydraulic TO bearing
- 940T clutch and pedal set
- 940T Clutch Master Cylinder (M12x1.0 output)
- STS LS conversion mounts

960 engine harness will be modified to use:
- temperature sensor
- starter signal
- voltage regulation
- oil pressure gauge
- coolant temperature gauge
- power functions to control the LS ECU

ECU will be programmed by LT1SWAP.com. You can choose your functions depending on the way you pin out the loom. I plan on DBW throttle control and using the Fuel Composition Sensor for E85. Spreadsheet to follow on that detail. Note that once the car is up and running, a proper tune will need performed on the engine to optimize power and fueling.

The tunnel was pounded out per JTR 740 specifications. See their website for the PDF download... Bring a sledgehammer and move the metal quickly. Really, you will be there all day with a 3lb mini sledge.
FREE: 1988 745, Redblock engine, and AW30-40 - All free no shipping
2006 XC70 Wagon - "Chuck Feo" - Daughters ride - stock
1992 965 - "Savage Wagon" w LS 5.3 LM7 + LS7 cam + GM T5 swap in progress.
1983 Jeep Cherokee - LS 5.3 LM7 + LS9 cam + SM465 swap in progress
1971 Chevy C-10 w 5.3 LS (LS2 cam) & GM T5 trans
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:41 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: NoVA

Initial walk around after tearout.


Drivetrain quick walk through.


Last edited by Pillow; 05-15-2018 at 07:51 PM..
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:48 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: NoVA

STS Machine LS swap mounts review...

Quality kit overall, but the description is 100% wrong. Many people have called BS on this before and they were right.

Plan on LS1 or LS6 (read low) intake manifold with matching throttle body.
Also you will need an alternator and power steering pump relocation bracket kit. I just purchased the ICT Billet kit as it will relocate the truck accessories without having to purchase LS1 specific parts.
Add to this you will need a LS1 water pump and standoff spacers. Again I purchased ICT Billet spacers and an AC Delco water pump.

I had an LS1 intake and TB on hand #hoarder and swapped it in. The hood will close properly with this setup. The truck DBW TB is too high. A Truck DBC will fit, but not the direction I was going. Oh yeah, the LS1 TB wiring is different, IDK what I am going to do there yet.

So for an extra ~$400 you can close the hood and not have to cut a hole in it.

Next up, headers. The C5 Z06 or trunk exhaust manifolds do not fit. More to come there.
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:16 AM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: NoVA

Accessory drive part numbers from ICT Billet:

Item # Description Qty
551778 LS Truck Saginaw Power Steering Pump & Alternator Bracket Kit LSX LQ4 5.3L 6.0L 1
551445 LS Truck Block - Drill Template 1
551690-71 (LS1 Camaro to Truck) Water Pump Spacer .7" Adapter Swap kit LSX LS LS2 LQ4 GTO 1


ACDelco 252-846 Professional Water Pump Kit
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Old 05-16-2018, 06:36 PM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: NoVA

I just purchased a set of new take-off LS3 exhaust manifolds. Lets see if those fit.... Wait for it... Wait for it... Seriously probably a week delay at this point.
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Old Today, 08:35 AM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Weare, NH

A friend of mine designed and sells LS mounts for 700/900, he said there is no way to get the LS low enough in the chassis for a truck manifold and accessories to clear the hood. His quick and dirty solution was to cut out the center of the hood and make it into a cowl hood. Obviously not a solution for everyone.
1985 740GLE sedan winter beater Cali car.
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