7 Ways to save You Time, Work, and Money when doing LS engine conversions
Clearly identify what you intend to do with your LS engine.
That means decide what you’re putting the engine into, whether you should be matching it to the factory gearbox/transmission, if you should be running fly by wire throttle or cable throttle. There are quite a few variations of the LS engine, LS1, LS2 (2 variations) L98, L77, L76, LSA, the list goes on! Each different code has subtle variants on the others, each may give you the perfect result or leave you with a massive hole in your wallet and an underperforming vehicle!
Research other people who have done the same conversion!
As the old saying (actually new, but old for internet talk!) goes, google is your friend. Google the hell out of the subject, who has done it before, what problems they encountered, how they got around it, did they do their own wiring or pay someone else. Is there an off the shelf mounting kit to suit your application or will bits have to be fabricated from scratch.
Know your budget.
There can be massive price differences between the codes, if for example you’ve identified an L98 with 6 speed automatic trans would be ideal for your project but can only afford and LS1 with 4 speed automatic you will need to then question whether its going to be worth moving forward. Once again, do your research, while an L98 may be ideal in a perfect world, will the LS1 do the job you require and produce results that you will be happy with? Always keep in mind that the engine (and perhaps transmission) are only a portion of your costs, on top of that you have wiring looms, computer modifications, fuel pumps and pressure regulators, labour costs and potentially a lot more things to add to your bill. Quite often the LS engine and trans price may only be 30% of your total conversion price
Use quality parts
Quality parts cost money. There is no way around this fact. There is always a cheaper option out there, more often than not its cheaper because going to cause you A LOT more headaches in the long run. If you do it properly the first time, you only have to do it once!
Decide who is doing the work
Do you have ALL of the necessary skills to complete the conversion or would it be better to sub-contract some of the work out. Not many people have electrical, fabrication AND mechanical skills at a high enough level to do the entire job themselves. Paying someone may be the cheaper option in the long run if you incorrectly install an oil cooler for example! Do you have all the necessary tools and equipment to be able to complete the job effectively and safely. If you’re trying to shoe horn a V8 and auto trans into a Nissan patrol with 3 mates and a bit of muscle, its not going to work. You will need engine cranes, hoists, engine straps etc etc….it may be cheaper to pay someone who has these tools rather than buy them yourself
Make sure its legal!!
If you intend driving your car on the road, check with your local transport authority on the regulations. Spending thousands on a nice 4×4 that goes like a rocket is all well and good until you’re told it can no longer be used on the road and you now have a very expensive bush basher!
Buy from a reputable source
You’ve spent hours in front of the computer, printed out hundreds of pages, can fit the engine and trans with your eyes closed, got the all clear from the minister for war and finance, time to get started. What would be worse than spending a pile of your hard earned money on an engine and transmission from Joe you met on the internet only to get it home, start work and realise the engine isn’t what Joe said it was. It’s a different code, or its done 680,000 kms, not the 80,000 he said, crucial parts aren’t included and you’ll have to buy them somewhere else. The list of things that could go wrong when you buy from a reputable source is greatly reduced, in the rare cases something does go belly up, you will always have a comeback. If the people you deal with have a good name, they will want to keep it that way and will do all they can to keep you happy.