My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

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My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by alowerlevel on Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:01 am

Well I figure Its about time to start a thread on my car now that Ive had some time to finally start working on it.

I bought back in July of '09, found it on craigslist about 45min away in PA, got a great deal on it ($1200) and brought it back home to NJ.

Pretty basic & mostly original 73 Malibu w/ a gutless 307 and only 60,xxx miles on it.











Turns out its pretty damn close in color to my Nantucket blue '67,  didnt even realize it untill we put it in the garage next to the '67




Pulled the interior out cause the carpet was all funky from the rear window leaking.
Mostly just minor surface rust






Only a few small spots rusted through



Took off the almost new tires and wheels that were on it and put them on my blazer. Then just threw some random tires and wheels on the 73 that we had laying around.



Then life got in the way and this is were she sat untouched for 4 years..............




.......Until this past April when I found a deal I couldnt pass up on a complete 4.8l from a 2000 Chevy truck.




Will try to get the rest of the pics up later today.  Give Me Beer


Last edited by alowerlevel on Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:36 am; edited 8 times in total
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by 77mali on Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:30 am

Nice car. Glad you're saving it! Good luck with the swap.
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by driveit on Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:49 am

I was looking at this and was wanting to know more about the 4.8. I found that it is a 293ci motor. I had not heard a lot about it. My old truck had the 5.3 and it was a good running motor. I found this article that you might be interested in.

http://www.superchevy.com/how-to/engines-drivetrain/1306-4-8l-vs-5-3l-engine-tech-little-ls-slugfest/

I also found the article below.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_small-block_engine
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by pila on Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:27 pm

That looks like a straight solid body ! Very Happy  Floor rust is not too bad for that age.
Bumper chrome looks nice too !

On my Elco, I laid a layer of fiberglass cloth with a few coats of West system epoxy, after some minor fixing of rust spots on the floors. The idea being that if the carpet gets wet, it wont rust the floor again...


Bill

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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by alowerlevel on Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:14 am

driveit wrote:I was looking at this and was wanting to know more about the 4.8.  I found that it is a 293ci motor.  I had not heard a lot about it.  My old truck had the 5.3  and it was a good running motor.  I found this article that you might be interested in.

http://www.superchevy.com/how-to/engines-drivetrain/1306-4-8l-vs-5-3l-engine-tech-little-ls-slugfest/

I also found the article below.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_small-block_engine
Yea the 4.8s use all the same parts as the 5.3's except for the crank, rods and pistons, everything else (block, heads, cam, intake, etc) is the same.  Its rated @ 275hp & 285tq from the factory, and with a better air intake, good exhaust, electric fans, and the '00 ls1 cam I put in it, it should be around 300-310hp and 320ish tq, and hoping for 20+mpg on regular gas.  Next years plans are slap a turbo on it and shoot for at least 500rwhp.

pila wrote:That looks like a straight solid body ! Very Happy   Floor rust is not too bad for that age.
Bumper chrome looks nice too !

On my Elco, I laid a layer of fiberglass cloth with a few coats of West system epoxy, after some minor fixing of rust spots on the floors.  The idea being that if the carpet gets wet, it wont rust the floor again...


Bill

Thanks, Yea its actually really clean for a $1200 car  Shocked  .  Im not real worried about the rusty floor yet, maybe Ill have my brother fix it later (hes a bodyman) right now my goal is to get it running by Sept.


Last edited by alowerlevel on Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by driveit on Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:11 pm

You can do it. Just keep at it and don't let it get you down.
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by alowerlevel on Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:53 pm

Ok so this post should take you up to where it sets today


Got some factory bucket seat tracks (non swivel) cheap off ebay and bolted them to some seats (I dont even know what they are from) I had laying around and then bolted them to the floor in place of the bench.
And yes they are tan, but at least now I can comfortably fit in the damn car  Very Happy  (Im 6'5)



Started taking the 4.8 apart to change oil pan & pickup and install a '00 ls1 cam I got dirt cheap, and while I was at it I decided to do new gaskets, valve springs, timing chain and oil pump too.


Motors pretty clean for having 140k miles on it



CtsV pan and new flexplate


Cant find the pics of them, but I used The Car Shop Inc 1" setback plates and just bolted the factory motor mounts from the 307 to them.  With those and the ctsv pan on it was time to test fit.


Almost perfect, just need to cut down 1 of the bosses on the side of the pan (its there for part of the oil cooler in a ctsv) Can see the one I cut here (top one in pic)


Its in and bolted up. Never even took the factory th350 out of the car, just unbolted it from the 307, put a higher stall converter in I had, and bolted the 4.8 to it.  Will be doing a shift kit as well, just want to get it running first.



Here you can see how far the ctsv pan hangs below the crossmember (floor jack is under the trans not the oilpan)


Put head studs in for 2 reasons, #1 the chinese studs were only $10 more than a set of GM head bolts and I can re-use the studs unlike the TTY headbolts. #2 Im planning on turboing this motor next year and these studs are a little extra insurance to keep everything together @ 15psi.



Swapped the factory steering box out for a 12.5:1 box from a Jeep Grand Cherokee using the pitman arm from the chevelle box and attached to the factory column with a rag joint for a mid 80s chevy truck, and to the 4.8s power steering pump with the pressure hose for a 80s Monte SS. These are the best pics I have of it, didnt take any while I was doing it.



Then started putting it back together (dont have pics of everything cause as usual I forget to stop and take pics  Head Bang )




Even the radiator hoses from the 4.8 worked (had to cut the lower a bit)




Biggest surprise I found was the stock throttle cable from the 4.8 fit perfectly with only minor mods to the hole where it passes through the firewall, and shortening it about 1".
(truck on the right)



Re-wired the stock harness from the 4.8 to be stand alone by myself (this took longer than getting the motor in the car) then started laying it out in the car before I wrap it back up. Going to put the computer and fuse/relay block behind driver side headlight.







Got my brother to weld a sump on the factory gas tank to feed the Bosch 044 fuel pump.




Thats as many pics as Ive got right now, working on getting the factory exhaust manifolds to fit currently, then finish the harness, fuel system and exhaust.
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by alowerlevel on Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:04 pm

And even better is that I shouldnt be into the whole car for more than $3500
Rough caculations from what I can recall (I dont have the totals with me)
$1200 for the car
$500 for the complete 4.8
$300 for the ctsv pan and flexplate
$6-700 in other parts (gaskets, studs, springs, nuts & bolts etc)
and probably another $5-600 to go between exhaust, finishing the fuel system, and other odds and ends.


Then by hopefully by next spring its turbo time  Twisted Evil
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by 77mali on Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:22 pm

That's terrific.
 Beer 
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by alowerlevel on Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:03 pm











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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by dynchel on Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:23 am

Nice work.   Thumbs up
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by driveit on Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:00 pm

Looks like you got her in. Got to give her a run yet?
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by ratnfested on Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:27 pm

I'll be installing mine soon. Cant wait to start that part of the project. I'm interested in where I will put the PCM and wiring thorugh the F/W and all the details. plus I am gonna make the AC work. I'm anxious and nervous.
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by alowerlevel on Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:39 pm

dynchel wrote:Nice work.   Thumbs up

Thanks
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by alowerlevel on Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:42 pm

driveit wrote:Looks like you got her in.  Got to give her a run yet?

Yea only put about 10 miles on her so far, theres still some temporary things on it that I need to make permanet before I really start driving it (wire tires holding up some wiring and the air intake)
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by alowerlevel on Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:43 pm

ratnfested wrote:I'll be installing mine soon. Cant wait to start that part of the project. I'm interested in where I will put the PCM and wiring thorugh the F/W and all the details. plus I am gonna make the AC work. I'm anxious and nervous.

I mounted mine on the driver side inner fender, you can kinda see it in the last pic a few inches from the end of the air cleaner
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by alowerlevel on Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:49 pm

Heres a few semi better pics of where the ecm is mounted (youll have to excuse the wiring clusterf**k, Im still working on that, wanted to make sure I rewired the harness right before I started making things look nice)



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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by driveit on Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:17 pm

Awesome. Any power mods to come, or are you keeping her mostly stock?
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by alowerlevel on Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:29 pm

Stock for now, but its getting a turbo (hopefully) next year, and shooting for at least 500hp at the wheels (600+ crank hp)
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by driveit on Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:06 pm

Now we are talkin.
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by alowerlevel on Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:00 pm

driveit wrote:Now we are talkin.

Oh yea.... a 78mm @ about 14-16psi should get me to my goal with the 4.8.
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by driveit on Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:30 pm

Sounds nice. Maybe that's what I need to do too. What kind of money is that type of setup compared to buying a higher horse engine to start with?
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by alowerlevel on Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:46 pm

I figure its going to cost me another $2-2500 for the turbo build.  But seeing as Im already planning on a turbo I already have installed a fuel system that will support more than the power Im looking to make, and can fabricate the rest of the system myself.  But when you think about it, having 5-600hp for around 4 grand, that still runs on pump gas, and drives like a normal car until you get into boost, in my mind its a no brainer.   If you want to read up on turbo ls motors check out https://sites.google.com/site/sloppywiki/ theres alot of good reading there on how to make junkyard ls motors go fast, and theres alot of fast guys doing the same on ls1tech.com
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by Crawf388 on Sun Feb 07, 2016 1:48 am

So what was the final word on your exhaust system? Did you get the factory 4.8 manifolds to tuck in there?

Also, you seemed to have no problem with the truck manifold clearing the hood, in fact it looks like it was no where near close. Is that right? I'm starting my 75 Laguna LQ9 swap next week and looking for a few tips. Thanks!
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Re: My 73 Chevelle turbo LS swap

Post by alowerlevel on Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:26 am

Crawf388 wrote:So what was the final word on your exhaust system?  Did you get the factory 4.8 manifolds to tuck in there?  

Also, you seemed to have no problem with the truck manifold clearing the hood, in fact it looks like it was no where near close.   Is that right?   I'm starting my 75 Laguna LQ9 swap next week and looking for a few tips.  Thanks!  

Nope the truck exhaust manifolds wouldnt fit, well the driverside fit but the pass side was no where close to fitting. I used a set of f-body manifolds I had laying around, and they fit fine with 1 minor mod, had to take out 1 of the studs on the pass side manifold and replace it with a nut & bolt.

Yep truck intake cleared no problem with the mounts and plates I used, only had to slightly notch the underside of the hood in 1 spot to clear the intake cover, but if I didnt use the cover the hood closed with room to spare without any cutting.
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