My 1000.00 "ls" LM7 swap

Discussion in 'High Tech Retrofits' started by greencamaro1981, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. greencamaro1981

    greencamaro1981 Veteran Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    My car started out as a 1981 with the awesome v6 and a 3 speed, in high school I swapped out the 3 with a 4 speed, and built a sweet (to a 16yo) 305 from another car. Last year I lost a head gasket (10 years now) so I grabbed my spare 350 and tossed it in, and absolutely hated it. Had the wrong cam, kept overheating, backfired? Popped? When decelerating and had a max rpm of 4900. Obviously not a car motor but was awesome for burnouts.

    This summer I was gifted a new T5 from an 88 Camaro. I was in the process of getting that into my car when I found a 2001 Yukon for $800.00, I bought it with the intent to toss the 5.3 into my car and have a “ls” swap and a 5 speed! Yes, I know t5s are weak but as I am too old (smart…?) to race on the streets, I also work for the sheriffs office so this is for cruising, and it is at least the T5 WC even the “racing spec” one.

    I pulled the 5.3, computer and complete harness to include the computer and fuse box and most of the wires throughout the Yukon extra wire and plugs are worth their weight in gold). Kept the fuel pump and a few other misc parts (cruise box, manifolds, all lines and wires pertaining to engine, and some I cant remember) I parted the Yukon out for 1000, of the remaining parts, so I am sitting good.

    I pulled out my 350, the tired Saginaw 4speed 2nd gear was going and sold it as a whole to another guy for his street truck. 1200$.

    I started working around and got the engine and Trans mated (see parts list) I made my own brackets for the engine adapter plates, and after numerous trails I gave up on the 5.3 pan hung too low and bought a 5.7 f body pan. I built ¾ inch setback plates. The Trans cross member is the stock one just turned around I had to cut off the angled mount on the t5 but it bolted up great.

    Moving to the fuel system I added a new 3/8 fuel line from the tank so I have same size there and back (in hindsight a corvette regulator would have been easier). For the fuel pump I welded a flat plat on top of the stock tank, and cut the mount from the Yukon tank and installed it with a gasoline resistant gasket and it held about 15 psi of pressure for a few hours while I was testing for air holes (obviously I re opened the stock tank vent after testing).

    I sent the PCM to lt1swap guy and he had it back in 3 days ready to go. I re worked my harness on his instructions and now have a 4 fuse pcm controller.

    The exhaust would not let me use the stock truck manifolds I was hoping for, but I bought a cheapo set of headders off ebay. The driver fit perfectly, the passenger needed about 1 inch on the cross member moved so I cut and rewelded for clearance.

    For the clutch I made a plate that indexes off the 621 bell housing and places the pivot ball in a stock ish location. I had to narrow the stock z bar ½ inch.

    Intake is a 50$ generic kit for a 2001 gmc truck just pointed toward the passenger side and fit pretty well actually. I did have to lengthen the MAF wires to get them routed where I wanted them. I also kept the stock cruise control module and have it wired into the car (yet to test it). I have to change the console shifter opening back a little bit but its pretty close now.

    It is currently in and running, waiting on driveshaft and I am re doing my cluster to have a better layout

    I can try and itemize anything you want or give more info on what I had done. I am very comfortable as a welder and builder, all of the swap can be done with a drill, small welder, grinder, and tap/die set most of all everything has to be soldiered.


    Attached Files:

  2. greencamaro1981

    greencamaro1981 Veteran Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    name cost # ordered from
    comlete yukon 200 craigslist
    engine trans sale 1200 craigslist
    Trans 0
    621 bell housing 0 found in dads garage!

    engine bearings -130 clevitte sets oreilly
    oil pump -30 m259 melling amazon
    oil pan -180 GMP77A oreilly
    oil pick up -50 304s oreilly
    gasket set -100 Fshb8 amazon
    headders -100 gereric china ebay
    flywheel -75 nfw1050 oreilly
    Clutch kit -100 k5552-03 oreilly
    pilot bearing -27 302CC oreilly
    driveshaft -150 local shop local Shop
    Spectre 4inch -15 specre oreilly
    4 inch tube -10 specre oreilly
    intake -50 ebay generic ebay
    speed sensor -45 4160 dakota digital ebay
    oil guage line -15 equus oreilly
    fuel line -40 bulk steel/rubber oreilly
    computer -85 online
    Misc Bolts -40 hardware home depot
    exhaust -50 local shop local Shop
    misc electrical -100 all sorts amazon
    oil filter -4 pf49 oreilly
    oil/fluids -50 house brand oreilly
    new grinder -20 chicago electric harbor freight
    Totals -66 so close to 100 out of pocket
  3. budro6968

    budro6968 Veteran Member

    Apr 2, 2016
    Jax Florida
    You did some good horse trading to get all that. Can you post some pic's of the mods you did on the pass side cross member. My 81 has a chunk cut out on the P/S brace. I wondered why? The car has truck type log manifolds so that may have been done with the intention of installing headers. Which I will do. Some one also chopped part of the D/S Motor Mount clam shell. Have no Idea why.
  4. badazz81z28

    badazz81z28 Veteran Member

    May 4, 2001
    Las Vegas, NV
    You can def do a decent swap for not much money at all. The little details and preference can drive cost...All my LS swaps not only worked, but look very appealing while looking under the hood. A lot of LS swaps done on the cheap look like a cobbled mess.
  5. 1971CamaroGuy

    1971CamaroGuy LS Swapped 1971 Camaro

    Oct 31, 2004
    There's a 2nd Gen LS facebook group I am on and a good portion of the members pull the motor directly out of a junked truck and directly into their engine bay with no attention to detail to either. Basically doing the swap as cheaply as possible just for the sake of it "working". That's tough on my OCD lol.
  6. greencamaro1981

    greencamaro1981 Veteran Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    are you still using photo bucket to post pics? ill get a bunch up when i can get it working again
  7. badazz81z28

    badazz81z28 Veteran Member

    May 4, 2001
    Las Vegas, NV
    No, just upload them here

    Attached Files:

    CasperCasper likes this.
  8. greencamaro1981

    greencamaro1981 Veteran Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    for some reason it loaded a bunch of duplicates, but,...

    pic 1 is the engine currently, looks sloppy, but i have both harness in there now, about half of the wires will be removed.
    pic 2. is the computer location inside of the driver fender (rubber isolated mount), and where the intake/air cleaner is.
    pic 3 is my power distribution, now its a mess but half of those wires are in separate looms as i built the harness on the floor then moved to the car, i will remove about 3/4 of the plastic and have a much cleaner install, the 2 relays and the 4 fuses are the ecm/engine controller, and the studs are just remote terminals for power, again i still have a bunch of the original harness and will be removing it once im sure im done with it.
    pic 5/6 are of me test fitting the headder to the cross member i notched about 1 inch vertical and 1/2 inch horizontal on the member. i am in the process of moving the brake line and finish welding it all up (these pics are a little older)'

    in the engine bay pic you can see the cruise box location on the driver inner fender, these are the truck accessories an alternator from an o1 s10 with the 4.3 bolted in and give 1/2 clearance to the hood, i have a cowl hood so the intake height is not an issue for me.

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