LS swap in '77 Chevelle

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LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by Podor on Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:36 am

I have been an LS fan since '96 when the LS1 came out in the Corvette. I was going to a tech college from automotive technology and did an in-depth study on the platform for my engines class. I was blown away by the architecture. Back then, I had my '74 Chevelle with a decent 350 that I built.

After the kids came along, my hot rodding days were put on hold. I sold the Chevelle and another project car I had. I've had some other fast cars ('95 Impala SS, '09 G8 GT) but nothing I needed to work on and do myself.

Last year I found out the 5.3l in my Suburban had cracked Castech heads and a block full of sludge. I decided it would be better to replace the engine instead of messing with the 5.3 and upgraded to a GM Goodwrench LQ9. That thing runs absolutely fantastic, and has since ignited my hot rod fire to put together an car again.

Last summer I started looking for a car specifically to do a LS swap and found my '77. So the journey began.
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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by Podor on Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:44 pm

I picked up a Lq4 6.0 with a ton of extra parts last week for $800. It came with a set of 799 casting heads (same as 243 LS6/Ls2 heads), a new GM Performance Muscle Car LS oil pan, used Ls2 cam, harness and PCM, truck accessory bracket with alt and PS pump, head gasket and front cover gasket set, and some unidentified motor mount plates.

The engine is pretty worn. It spun an #6 rod bearing and has some wear in the #6 cylendar. I'll have it bored and decked, the crank reconditioned, and new forged dished pistons to keep the compression moderate. I'll have the 799s reconditioned with upgraded springs and sell the stock 317s. It should be a bit higher than 10:1 when it's done. At some point, I want to add a Magnuson Supercharger and LS3 square port heads. I plan on using ARP main, rod and head studs. Not sure about the cam yet. It should be about $800 for all the machine work, $500 for ARP hardware, $900 for pistons, $500 for valvetrain.

$3500 for purchase and rebuild long block
-$350 to sell 317 heads
-$150 to sell LS2 cam and other extra parts from purchase
-$200 to sell 350 THM
-$300 to sell 305
-$250 to sell carb and intake
$2250 total investment (hopefully)

I plan on building the wiring harness myself and using the stock PCM. I really like the Trailblazer SS style manifold. They've been used on the '07 to '13 trucks as well so they are cheap and plentiful, and they have the 4 bolt throttle body pattern and larger opening. I'll stick with a 4l80E.
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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by 77camino on Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:41 pm

What is your timeline? Are you going to make the summer show circuit?
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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by Podor on Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:46 am

77camino wrote:What is your timeline? Are you going to make the summer show circuit?

It won't be until next winter at the earliest, and that is probably a stretch. I want to get everything together to make the swap as quick as possible.
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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by BAS-Sr on Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:16 pm

Sorry to intrude on your post!

If you need any LS conversion parts, the '76 Laguna I just picked up, guy I bought it from was going to put an LS motor in it, I decided I am not going that route so I have LS motor mounts and LS Headers, both Hooker, new never been used.

Here are the CL ad's I have up if you are  interested:

https://cnj.craigslist.org/pts/d/hooker-super-competition/6473728626.html

https://cnj.craigslist.org/pts/d/hooker-super-competition-ls/6481827419.html
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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by Podor on Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:49 pm

No problem. Thanks for the offer. I've got my eye on some log tube headers and different mount plates.
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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by alowerlevel on Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:52 pm

Sounds like a solid plan, just a few things I will add my .02 cents on.
1. That Gm musclecar pan will hang down way past the xmember, my cts-v pan is about 3/4" below the xmember and that GM pan is almost 1" deeper than the cts-v.

2. While the ARP stuff is nice, the factory bolts (main, rod, head) are plenty strong enough for what your doing.  The $$ you would spend on ARP stuff could be put toward other parts.

3. I would stick with the stock pistons as well (unless they are trashed)  again they are plenty strong for what your planning (even with the blower)

Now again this is just my .02 cents, Im running all stock bolts on my 4.8 (except for the china head studs I got for almost nothing) and now with the 78mm turbo it will be 500+rwhp @ about 15psi and Im not worried about the bolts at all.
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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by Podor on Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:14 am

The machine work on the block and heads are done, I'm just waiting for my rods and pistons. The block needed to be bored .020" to get it cleaned up. After some advice from a good friend, I decided to step up some of the parts so I don't regret it later. This is an older pressed wrist pin set up with the weaker rods, so I snagged a nice set of Scat forged rods. I'll use the stock crank, but I decided to go with the ARP main stud kit. I'm sticking with a piston with a slight dish. My long term goal is to upgrade to a set of Ls3 heads and a Magnuson Supercharger, so the dish and my current 799 casting heads will be about 10.1:1 and with the Ls3 heads would be about 9.6:1, just about right for some boost. The next phase will be saving up for the valvetrain.
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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by REVINKEVIN on Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:46 pm

When you get tired with those 799 heads let me know. I might be interested. I have a 2001 SLP SS that could use a few more horsepower.
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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by Podor on Sun May 06, 2018 9:25 am

It's been a while since I last posted and I've gotten a fair amount done. This is no longer a budget build, lol. Just like any project, one thing leads to another. I've changed my focus a bit from cheap to doing it right with the best value per dollar. All the cheap LS builds are untouched lower ends just waiting to let go. If this is going in my Chevelle, I want it to be right.

This is a '03, so it has the weaker pressed pin rods. I went with Scat forged rods. They are a great value for $400, including ARP bolts. They are a bit lighter than the factory parts, so I had to have the rotating assembly balanced which added $200 to the machine work tab. I went with Sealed Power hypereutectic pistons with the factory style dish. Shouldn't have any clearance issues with the cam I picked. Super happy with the machine shop. They did a great job. Good machine shops are hard to find these days, and this one is just a few miles from the house.




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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by Podor on Sun May 06, 2018 10:08 am

Lunati has a great dual spring kit with everything including seals (73925K1). Very happy with the kit. The machine shop put the one piece valve guide seals which don't work with the dual springs. I'll use those on the extra heads to hopefully get more $ when I sell them. I used a Trick Flow LS valve spring kit that bolts to the rocker bolt bosses. Way easier than a normal valve spring compresser. I also bought Comp Cams valve spring micormeter. It made getting the valve spring installed height right a breeze.

I went with a Crane Cams 1449121 cam. It has .590/.590 lift, 280/287 advertised duration and 115 degree LSA. From what I read, it's very street-able with around 17" of vacuum and still had triple digit power gains over stock. I read one article that had a 6.0 LQ4 with aftermarket heads that added 130HP over the stock LS1 cam it came with. I doubt I'll get that, but impressive none the less.

I bought Summit's LS2 timing chain for $30 (SME-143012). It's way beefier than the stock chain. The chain must have been replaced when the last owner put in the cam. It was one of the few nice things on this motor, but for $30, I couldn't resist the upgrade. I also used Summit's lifter kit with trays (SUM-HTLSKIT). I also went with a Melling oil pump.

I bought the rocker trunnion upgrade kit (SME-143002). I want to make sure I don't have any needle bearings floating through the engine. I didn't get the installation tool yet. I was thinking about doing it without, but that may not be wise. I won't tackle that until after I get my pushrods measured.

I ordered a LS6 valley cover with the breather (12577927). These have a tendency to eat oil through the PCV system. I've heard great things about the cover vs the updated valve cover. This engine had old version of the valve cover with the fixed orifice, so it was either a new updated valve over or the valley pan. It was only $30 more for the valley pan.

I painted the block yesterday. I'll start getting everything else assembled over the next few weeks.




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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by Limey SE on Sun May 06, 2018 12:35 pm

Looks great Podor BUT its wrong color for year of Car supposed to be BLUE motor LOL

I know just razzing Looks great so far

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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by Podor on Sun May 06, 2018 3:58 pm

Limey SE wrote:Looks great Podor BUT its wrong color for year of Car supposed to be BLUE motor LOL

I know just razzing Looks great so far

Thanks! Yeah, I know it should be blue, lol. I just can't. SBC, no matter the generation, look awesome orange. I'm kind of going with the LSX454 look too.
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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by Podor on Sun May 13, 2018 9:37 am

Outside of the oil pad, the long block is done. I bought Summit Racing's trunion installation kit, which was well worth the $40. It can be done without, but it is way easier with it. It has a receiving block that has magnets to keep it on a vice with an alignment bushing, washer and driver. I'll probably upgrade the trunions on the LQ9 in my Suburban also. I have been extremely happy with the Summit branded parts. I bought their lifter kit, LS7 timing chain, Trunion kit and timing cover. All great products and most made in the US.

Come to find out, to install the Moelling performance oil pump, you have to disassemble the pump and use 6 .002-.003 feeler guages to space everything before you torque it to the block. The instruction video says that disassembly voids the warranty, lol.

Pushrods ended up being 7.350" instead of 7.400". I ordered Comp Cams Magnum series one piece pushrods.

The Holley 302-2 pan is coming. I understand it's the only pan that really fits well, and they know it. Almost $400 with no gasket or dipstick and you have to modify the windage tray. Oh well.





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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by Limey SE on Sun May 13, 2018 9:27 pm


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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

Post by Dinomyte on Mon May 21, 2018 7:41 am

Looking really nice !
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Re: LS swap in '77 Chevelle

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