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Old 05-30-2018, 09:46 PM   #1
240 5.3
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Default Small block Chevy (LS) swap

How hard is it to drop a LS engine into a 240 volvo? Does the engine just bolt in or do you need a new cross member? Anyone have any tips on the swap?
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:02 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by 240 5.3 View Post
How hard is it to drop a LS engine into a 240 volvo?
Not hard these days now that you can buy mounts that someone else has made: https://www.stsmachininginc.com/prod...x-motor-mounts

Of course, just setting the engine in the engine bay is the easy part.

Quote:
Does the engine just bolt in or do you need a new cross member?
I'm just going to pretend I didn't see the first part of that question and answer the second one. You don't need a new crossmember if you get the correct oil pan. The mounts above use a particular Holley oil pan.

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Anyone have any tips on the swap?
Ponder that choice of a supercharger vs. a turbo. The superchargers are starting to show up used at not utterly insane prices, and can be swapped onto older LS engines with some adapters. The turbos get complicated with all that plumbing. I tend to think the turbo will be more fun to play with, but the supercharger might be a bit simpler to work with.

If Id' gone with a supercharger, I would probably get A/C. As is, there's exhaust and turbo parts everywhere a compressor could go.

I'm partway through putting a turbo LS (LH8 GenIV from a Hummer H3 Alpha) with a Nissan CD009 6 spd manual in my 240 wagon.
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:07 PM   #3
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I was thinking a 50 or 100 shot of nitrous to accompany the LS. I don't suppose the stock driveshaft and rear end will take the abuse from the new motor. I just want a 400 hp street/strip car
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:28 PM   #4
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I'm planning on a custom driveshaft and have a narrowed Ford 8.8 for the rear axle.

The stock Volvo axle might survive for a while if you don't put much tire on it. Lol, traction limited.
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:56 PM   #5
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How hard is the wiring for the swap? Sorry for all the questions I've never done anything like this
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:15 PM   #6
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Hard is a very relative term. However, and try not to take this the wrong way, if you have to ask, it's probably going to be hard. If you knew enough about it to not need to ask, it will probably be a breeze.

I guess it all depends on what you're planning on using to run the engine. Stock wiring harness and stock GM ECU's? Lots of junkyards will pull a complete setup out of a car/truck/van/whatever that really only has a few interfaces with the rest of the car. Then it's sort of up to you to figure out how much of the rest of the stuff you want to work properly (tach, temp gauges, stuff like that).

I was feeling LAZY AS HELL and just threw money at a Megasquirt system with a pre-built harness (the 'Gold box' system) - I've wired up my previous motor (COP/sequential injection MS3X on a 16V B230 turbo) and just didn't feel like doing all the work this time. Plus a professionally made harness will look so tidy.
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Old 05-31-2018, 12:17 AM   #7
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Its a pretty sizeable project for someone that has never done any work of this kind. Just being honest with you.

I have done lots of motor swaps and the LS swap is easy. Know that there are going to be things you have to figure out on your own or spend a ton of time doing research on this here forum.

STSmachining is your friend. They know a lot about the swap and their mounts work well and allow you to drop in an engine with little fuss.

Know that you are going to have to touch all systems of the car though, driveline, transmission, pedals both clutch and fuel if you are running a manual, exhaust, power steering, fuel system, cooling system, gauges.

The big stuff like getting the engine and transmission to fit in the car is easy, getting a well sorted out swap is the time killer.

I am in the middle of an LS Swap into an 83 242 with an LS Supercharger on it. There is a fair bit of info on my 2 ls swap build threads on here.

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Old 05-31-2018, 05:37 PM   #8
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Link to Hackster's current swap....

https://forums.tbforums.com/showthread.php?t=341261
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Old 05-31-2018, 06:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 240 5.3 View Post
I just want a 400 hp street/strip car
Cam swap gets you 400+ easy flywheel out of a 5.3.

What is your mechanical ability? How deep are your pockets?

There is really good info available for the 240 swaps here on TB and on LS1Tech.com. Read away and you will see some well done conversions.
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Old 06-01-2018, 02:10 AM   #10
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I plan on doing a 5.3 all aluminum junkyard build. Custom driveshaft, custom engine mounts, 8.8 rear end, and a 50 shot of nitrous to give it a little extra kick in the 1/4 mile. The most technical thing I've worked on is a power steering pump change on a chevy cavalier. Pain in the neck but it was doable (had to unbolt an engine mount and Jack it up to get the last pulley bolt off, and no pulley tool). I'm also going to have a friend help me work on it who's worked on cars a lot more than I have, I'm knowledgeable about cars and what certain parts do and how they interact with each other, however I've never worked on anything that's very technical like this.
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Old 06-01-2018, 07:02 AM   #11
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Which aluminum block do you think you’ll find in a junkyard?
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Old 06-01-2018, 09:33 AM   #12
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You are taking on a lot without much details of your goals. Set a goal and then design in detail to it with the information you can gather online or in books.

What 1/4 time are you looking for? HP goal? (8.8 probably unnecessary) What trans?

100% get an iron block 5.3.

Again what can you realistically do vs what do you need to pay for.

And the big question: What is your budget? Don't believe some of the Sloppy stories where they did it on ish laying in the garage. You will have thousands tied up in any LS swap on any car period. For reference my 960 swap will come in about $4000 for the swap parts and materials. The good core complete 5.3 take out was only $500, the motors are cheap it's the "other" stuff that adds up.

Hackster's build is incredible, use it as motivation. I cannot imagine what amount of $$$ he has in it though. The engine alone is probably 8k+.

Don't forget the stage zero items for the suspension and brakes wheels tires to support 400HP. 400 on small tires is a handful. Add 1500-2000 for this stage 0.

Having fun yet? I'm just trying to realistically set expectations.

Last edited by Pillow; 06-01-2018 at 09:39 AM..
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Old 06-01-2018, 09:51 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by SlowRide View Post
Which aluminum block do you think you’ll find in a junkyard?
Yeah, iron 4,8's and 5.3's are all over the place. Aluminum 5.3's? Somewhat rare and always pulled up front in the yard and sold online.

On the plus side, hot rod type guys don't want the 5.3, they've gotta have that 6.0. So the alu 5.3's don't cost *too* much. Not like the alu 6.0's.
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Old 06-01-2018, 10:01 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by 240 5.3 View Post
The most technical thing I've worked on is a power steering pump change on a chevy cavalier.
That's about a 1-2 hour job. I've done several since I've had 5 of those cars.

An LS swap is a MUCH bigger job. Plan on about $2-3K for oil pan, headers, STS mounts, exhaust, cooling, trans install and wiring. More if you go with a stick shift instead of an auto. Plus it will take months. It is NOT easy. I'm still in the research stage on my swap. I bought a junkyard engine that is currently completely apart because I'm going to completely rebuild it before I start the swap. Mine will be very mild daily driver with hopefully 350-400 hp. No turbos on my build for simplicity and more reliability.

The very best advice that you can get right now is to read. READ. READ!! And then READ SOME MORE!!!!!! Look at every thread on this forum, and look at the LS forums.

"The most expensive tool you can own is experience."

You can do it, but do not think that you can just jump in and swap an engine in a weekend. It is very hard. I've built 3 cars from the frame up (or subframe on unibody cars), and I've built about a dozen engines. I know it will take me a very long time. I have a buddy that is a professional mechanic that thought he would swap a junkyard LS into his Caprice in a month. His car has been apart for 8 months now and the end is not in sight because he did not plan ahead or research what he is getting into.

Do your research.
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Old 06-01-2018, 10:08 AM   #15
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I've been waiting about 4, 4 1/2 weeks for the shifter I need to proceed with my swap.

An auto trans would be easier, I think.
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pillow View Post
You are taking on a lot without much details of your goals. Set a goal and then design in detail to it with the information you can gather online or in books.

What 1/4 time are you looking for? HP goal? (8.8 probably unnecessary) What trans?

100% get an iron block 5.3.

Again what can you realistically do vs what do you need to pay for.

And the big question: What is your budget? Don't believe some of the Sloppy stories where they did it on ish laying in the garage. You will have thousands tied up in any LS swap on any car period. For reference my 960 swap will come in about $4000 for the swap parts and materials. The good core complete 5.3 take out was only $500, the motors are cheap it's the "other" stuff that adds up.

Hackster's build is incredible, use it as motivation. I cannot imagine what amount of $$$ he has in it though. The engine alone is probably 8k+.

Don't forget the stage zero items for the suspension and brakes wheels tires to support 400HP. 400 on small tires is a handful. Add 1500-2000 for this stage 0.

Having fun yet? I'm just trying to realistically set expectations.
I plan on buying a 240, rip the engine and trans out along with the driveshaft and sell them. I don't want it to be 100% professional, I just want to make it go and have fun. The only reason I was an 8.8 is because I'm always going to be tempted to thrash on it. Racing seats with a 5 point harness, just the basic "throw the LS in, get it to run and drive, and throw on any additional stuff later". I want to do a daily build, no crazy horsepower, maybe a 13 second car, that doesn't really matter until I really start building it up to its full potential. Like I said before I just want the basics to the build and then see if I want to go any further. Oh and an automatic all the way, don't have to worry about a clutch and they're more practical for cruising. The only reason I wanted the aluminum block was because I wouldn't have to deal with the truck intake issue with the stock 240 hood.

Last edited by 240 5.3; 06-01-2018 at 11:37 PM..
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:53 PM   #17
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That's about a 1-2 hour job. I've done several since I've had 5 of those cars.
How in the hell did you do that in 1-2 hours? I had to undo one side of the engine mounts and Jack the engine up to get to the last pulley bolt, I also didn't have a pulley tool so that took extra time, but never would I imagine it'd only take 2 hours.
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
rip the engine and trans out along with the driveshaft and sell them.
That gets you $50, maybe less.

Quote:
13 second car
Stock rear end is fine for that. Add a factory limited slip and you are good until low 12s. It's essentially a Dana 30. Again 5.3 with LS6 cam and you are 13s = easy.

Quote:
I wouldn't have to deal with the truck intake issue with the stock 240 hood.
240s have more room, don't quote me, but I think the trunk intake clears.

Use this site for wiring tips: http://lt1swap.com/. Also Brandon can reset you ECU. Once running, have it properly tuned on a dyno.

Get Sloppy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4XNxOUuoJ4
https://sites.google.com/site/sloppywiki/
Mostly turbo ish, but also some good general tech tips for the ultra cheap... It serves a purpose, but you really want to raise your game on some of this.
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:22 AM   #19
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Truck intake won’t clear a flathood
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:11 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnMc View Post
Yeah, iron 4,8's and 5.3's are all over the place. Aluminum 5.3's? Somewhat rare and always pulled up front in the yard and sold online.

On the plus side, hot rod type guys don't want the 5.3, they've gotta have that 6.0. So the alu 5.3's don't cost *too* much. Not like the alu 6.0's.
Truth.

However, LM4’s showup in Enclaves and Buick rainiers because nobody suspects the LM4. Youre swapping the pan and cam anyways, do rods, springs, trunnions, and a proper oil pump and you can delete the DoD that turns people away from these aluminum 5.3’s.

A good example:
http://turbobricks.com/forums/showthread.php?t=307077
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:42 AM   #21
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Hoooooboy. Sorry but I feel like you're gonna have a hard time with this, get frustrated and then just sell a 240 she'll to the junkyard.
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:56 AM   #22
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I think you need to realistically think this out and maybe work your way up to it. Getting and engine and using something like sts mounts can be the easiest part. It's all the little stuff that makes things like this a challenge. Dealing with the right intake the accessories, what did system, making it work with the stock wiring, plumbing, cooling etc. That's the nitty gritty that trips people up. It's stuff like that makes the budgets and time lines go up. Not saying you can't do it. But just trying to paint a realistic picture here. And you said you had a friend that was going to help you out. You can't always depend on that. Maybe he's a great friend and can but sometimes life happens. He may not be as available or always know what to do. You have to count on yourself first.
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:43 PM   #23
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Honestly the only thing I'm worried about is the wiring harness, fuel system, and bolting a TH350 to an LS motor. Everything else seems moderately easy, I plan on just buying the parts one by one and then doing the swap, that'll definetaly save time instead of waiting for the parts. The only reason I'm worried about the wiring harness is because I don't know what you can and can't remove from it, I'm going to do some research and print out the diagram for the harness. Other than that I feel like it'd be doable to cram it together in about a month with everything ready to go. Does that sound feasible?
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:51 PM   #24
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4L60E. Screw the old TH series, get a modern trans w OD that is controlled by the ECU.

http://fitechefi.com/products/ultima...trans-control/

easy... sort of.
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Old 06-03-2018, 10:03 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by 240 5.3 View Post
Honestly the only thing I'm worried about is the wiring harness, fuel system, and bolting a TH350 to an LS motor. Everything else seems moderately easy, I plan on just buying the parts one by one and then doing the swap, that'll definetaly save time instead of waiting for the parts. The only reason I'm worried about the wiring harness is because I don't know what you can and can't remove from it, I'm going to do some research and print out the diagram for the harness. Other than that I feel like it'd be doable to cram it together in about a month with everything ready to go. Does that sound feasible?
A month? Do you have any other responsibilities?

Money makes things easy. There are standalone harness for every conceivable motor/trans/pcm combo you pick, they can come with dedicated fuse boxes, but prepare for $500-$700.

It all adds up fast.
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