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Old 02-25-2021, 04:08 PM   #1
jibble
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Default Recommendations for LS engine swap shops?

Hi all, I have been doing a bunch of searching online and on this particular forum, but can't seem to find a list of recommended shops where people have successfully converted their 240s into demons...I am located in the New York City area, and inquiring for a shop preferably in the NY Tristate, or if need be in the North East area that might be able to assist in a BUDGET LS engine/transmission/rear end if needed swap.

If anybody has completed a swap recently in the past 3-5 years, I would also appreciate an idea of how much this project might cost?

Thanks!
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Old 02-25-2021, 07:36 PM   #2
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Pretty much any custom car or hot rod shop should be able to do a swap like that for you... but you're going to spend a lot of money.
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Old 02-25-2021, 07:59 PM   #3
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Your best budget option is to buy a car already swapped, or mostly swapped. I work at a shop where we have a couple LS swaps, none of them are inexpensive.
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Old 02-25-2021, 08:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jibble View Post
Hi all, I have been doing a bunch of searching online and on this particular forum, but can't seem to find a list of recommended shops where people have successfully converted their 240s into demons...I am located in the New York City area, and inquiring for a shop preferably in the NY Tristate, or if need be in the North East area that might be able to assist in a BUDGET LS engine/transmission/rear end if needed swap.

If anybody has completed a swap recently in the past 3-5 years, I would also appreciate an idea of how much this project might cost?

Thanks!
A turbo LS 245 was just listed on Craigslist (or FB marketplace, forgot) in the last day or two. Check out the orphans thread in the for sale section.

I am nearing completion on my LS swapped 242 and haven't kept track of costs for a bit (for my own sanity) but would estimate somewhere near $15-20k easily, with a majority of work done by me.

I took the easy but more expensive route and ordered off the shelf parts versus fabricating stuff myself.
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:26 PM   #5
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Budget builds and paying for labor don't mix.
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:33 PM   #6
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Budget builds and paying for labor don't mix.
Well put.

The swaps at the shop are all $50k plus swaps, due to the parts involved and the labor. We don't use junkyard motors, transmissions, or rears though.

Our shop would do whatever you want to a point, if you supply the engine and other parts and just pay to have them installed you might save some. If you bought stuff that doesn't turn out to be worn out.

You will get some frowns and a talking to if you aren't doing supporting mods like suspension, brakes, tires, etc.
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:42 PM   #7
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I did mine without much in the way of fabrication at all. A bit of hammering here and there - some exhaust welding (relocated WG's, scratch built DP).

Even doing all that, it adds up quite a bit.

Going with an automatic trans would make it a lot simpler, no turbo would make it a lot simpler, simpler also equating cost/time. 350 - 400 hp (depending on what you do to a normally aspirated LS) is probably loads of fun.
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:50 PM   #8
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I did mine without much in the way of fabrication at all. A bit of hammering here and there - some exhaust welding (relocated WG's, scratch built DP).

Even doing all that, it adds up quite a bit.

Going with an automatic trans would make it a lot simpler, no turbo would make it a lot simpler, simpler also equating cost/time. 350 - 400 hp (depending on what you do to a normally aspirated LS) is probably loads of fun.
I thought the manual trans was easier, but it did involve a Wilwood master cylinder, hydraulic throwout bearing different clutch pedal, etc.
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Old 02-25-2021, 09:56 PM   #9
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Could have been the CD009 I used. Had to modify the trans to fit the LS (not hard or terribly precise, just lop off the bellhousing and remove the front cover and bolt on the adapter plate). Then to get the shifter in the right spot, had to take the tail end off the trans and chop a shifter rod and reassemble. And had to convert to a hydraulic clutch.

I'm just assuming it's a bit easier to stuff a GM auto box under there, hammer the tunnel as needed, and hook up a shifter (which doesn't have to hook directly to the trans and poke up in the correct spot)? Of course, not having done it, I'm probably just assuming it's easier than it is.

I think I still need to find a clutch master cylinder with a smaller bore. Reduce the pedal effort a bit, and lengthen the engagement point a bit. Currently the engagement point is pretty damn small.
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Old 02-25-2021, 10:09 PM   #10
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Luckily I didn't have to hammer anything, or modify the transmission at all. I have a TKO600 trans. I thought I needed to hamer, but I just had the wrong trans mount bushing. The only cutting was a little trimming around the shifter hole in the front. The only hookup is a hydraulic hose to the throwout bearing, and installing the STS hydro clutch pedal.

The hydro boost brake stuff was way more involved, but still not too bad. Just a bunch of hoses and reinforcements.
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Old 02-25-2021, 10:13 PM   #11
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Thanks for the input all. By expressing the "budget build" I guess I was implying that I don't need a show car ready build, and more of a junkyard build as long as all parts are fully functional etc. I do agree with the other comments----suspension/brakes would all be upgraded---but based on what I am reading, I think I should be able to handle those items at home on my own. I can wrench basic items, but just don't have the skill/knowledge/tools for an engine swap at home. And my wife would kill me.

$50k is way above my budget, however. But thank you for the offer @2turbotoys, but not in range at this point.

@patrickstar: Will and have been on the lookout for prebuilt, thanks!
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Old 02-25-2021, 10:22 PM   #12
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If you can do the suspension, brakes, etc, you can totally do the rest. Buy the STS machining engine swap kit, it all just bolts on. There is a lot to figure out, but it is kinda fun and none of it is hardcore fab work. I can't weld aluminum so I had some of that done else where, no biggie. Do it yourself, get an engine hoist and stand from Harbor Freight along with a couple good floor jacks. Ask questions here, start a build thread, we got your back.
Read the project threads from myself and several others, tons of good info. PM them afterwards for specific questions.
My wife is glad I'm out wrenching instead of in the house all the time lol. Hopefully you can come to an agreement on it,
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Old 02-26-2021, 07:58 AM   #13
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I can wrench basic items, but just don't have the skill/knowledge/tools for an engine swap at home. And my wife would kill me.
If you have any amount of garage or driveway space, I'd give it a try.

DIY LS isn't too hard these days, but getting all the parts and ancillary bits together is what gets expensive.
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:17 AM   #14
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yeah the nickle and dime factor even for a domestic engine gets pretty high pretty fast.
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:48 AM   #15
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Yeah, there was a thread not long ago on that subject. I hadn't done the maths diligently up to that point, just sort of casually added up a couple of the bigger chunks and had a figure in my head that was probably short by 1/3rd, or even 1/2.

http://forums.tbforums.com/showthread.php?t=358672

I have a hunch that people who do V8 swaps 'in a weekend' and 'for $1500' are leaving a lot out.
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:51 AM   #16
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I have a hunch that people who do V8 swaps 'in a weekend' and 'for $1500' are leaving a lot out.
Also the guys who claim "You can get a good LS for $300 and a 6-pack!"

Dunno where they're finding them, but around me "everyone knows what they got" and even a clapped out truck engine is $1000+

Sure, you could pull one from a junkyard, but condition is unknown at that point, and that $300 engine turns into a full rebuild
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:57 AM   #17
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go to pullapart and get one, be selective about the stuff you bolt on, and you can probably do ok, but that's not even really the biggest expense depending on what you're doing (and if you just drop in a stock 5.3 ****ter, you've gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to put a heavier 250hp engine in your car).

I think I priced a engine/trans dropout locally at pullapart around $500 or so after the dust and fees settled (they tease you with a low price then smoke you with core charges and environmental fees), but it's up to you to kinda make sure you're not getting junk. pull a valve cover and see what it looks like, things like that.
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Old 02-26-2021, 11:01 AM   #18
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but if you're buying one that's already out, yeah, they're not that cheap. 1k-1500 for an engine/trans/harness/ecu is what I see around here (or more depending on what you get).
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Old 02-26-2021, 11:10 AM   #19
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Junkyards know what sells for a good price, so odds are you will rarely ever come across a 'yard engine' that's one of the bigger displacements (5.7, 6.0, etc) and/or one of the aluminum block versions. Those get pulled up front and ebay'ed.

But yeah, if you want a tired(probably) iron blocked 4.8 or 5.3 - I see those all the time in the PnP style yards around here. I've never bought one, but the pricing seems to indicate that a yard motor is a yard motor is a yard motor. Something like $200 - $300, depending on the yard. Another $100 - $150 for a transmission. Some of them will even pull them for you for about the same price - I've bought a couple of Volvo redblocks from them, I've never had to pay extra, or wrangle the cherry picker/crane thing around in the yard and pull it myself. They just got the big forklift tractor out, hauled the car up front, a few minutes with the smoke wrench, then they plonked it down on my trailer.
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Old 02-26-2021, 01:17 PM   #20
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Junkyards know what sells for a good price, so odds are you will rarely ever come across a 'yard engine' that's one of the bigger displacements (5.7, 6.0, etc) and/or one of the aluminum block versions. Those get pulled up front and ebay'ed.

But yeah, if you want a tired(probably) iron blocked 4.8 or 5.3 - I see those all the time in the PnP style yards around here. I've never bought one, but the pricing seems to indicate that a yard motor is a yard motor is a yard motor. Something like $200 - $300, depending on the yard. Another $100 - $150 for a transmission. Some of them will even pull them for you for about the same price - I've bought a couple of Volvo redblocks from them, I've never had to pay extra, or wrangle the cherry picker/crane thing around in the yard and pull it myself. They just got the big forklift tractor out, hauled the car up front, a few minutes with the smoke wrench, then they plonked it down on my trailer.
Wish I could find a yard who would do that, I spent 4hrs pulling a 95 squirter block by myself at our local PNP. Would have gladly paid some extra $$$ to have them do it
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Old 02-26-2021, 01:28 PM   #21
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Wish I could find a yard who would do that, I spent 4hrs pulling a 95 squirter block by myself at our local PNP. Would have gladly paid some extra $$$ to have them do it
There are guys at the yards who will pull engines. They charge about $100 to pull an engine
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Old 02-26-2021, 02:01 PM   #22
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A couple of yards around here (Speedway, riverside) will pull them for 'free' (I guess they do charge a bit more than the others, but they're also 'variable' pricing - nothing posted, they just sort of look you over like a carnie guessing your weight, then state a take-it-or-leave-it price) - Pick-n-Pill and LKQ/UPAP have the portable hoists and I guess they'd expect you to pull it. Guess which ones I'd buy a motor from, lol.
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Old 02-26-2021, 02:08 PM   #23
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My 6.0 for the IROC-Z I have was way overpriced. $650 got me two "rebuildable" 6.0 blocks. One had thrown a rod through the cylinder, the other had a blown head gasket. I sold the one with the hole for $300, and the other is in the engine shop for a long time. These things are pricey. It's all the getting things piece by piece, because nearly every place will sell every part separately, with them knowing they can make more money that way.
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Old 02-26-2021, 02:38 PM   #24
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There are guys at the yards who will pull engines. They charge about $100 to pull an engine
I haven't met any of them at my local yards
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Old 02-26-2021, 02:46 PM   #25
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I haven't met any of them at my local yards
Me neither! Must not be available in the PNW
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