'78 Big Block to 6.0 Swap

Discussion in 'High Tech Retrofits' started by Gene'78-LSX, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. Gene'78-LSX

    Gene'78-LSX Member

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    Well I'm back. I was side tracked with more important things my first born decided to arrive on the scene I now have a little baby girl! :innocent: I went with the Holley/hooker engine mounts and crossmember they just came in along with the oil pump pickup tube girdle and my gaskets. I have decided to leave the engine stock (cam heads etc.) for the first attempt at the swap. I have a long way to go before it will be able to move under its own power and I can always upgrade later.

    I have seen mid length headers but does anyone know of some good shorty headers that will work in a '78 with the LQ9? I ran long tubes on the big block but my brother has a sweet set of equal length shorty headers on his must@#$ and he never has problems with gaskets etc.

    I hope to swap oil pans and drop the engine and trans in this weekend. Does anyone know if I need to use a different windage tray when changing from the truck oil pan to the F-body oil pan?

    I hope to use my dads lift but the lift cylinder is leaking so we have to try to lower his chevelle repair the cylinder and then get my car twenty miles from my house to his to use it. Our utility trailer was too tall to load the car with the big block but now it sits pretty high without the engine and it would only need to make a one way trip, so I think I will look for some recruits to help load it. :) These things never work out as easy as they seem.
     
  2. Gene'78-LSX

    Gene'78-LSX Member

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    Finally I figured out how to post pics! Hey don't laugh I'm new at this. Well I made some progress today. I figured out that you cannot use the Truck windage tray with a F-body pan unless you cut off the portion from the first main to the second main. The F-body pan is so shallow at the front of the engine that it actually has a relief in the casting to provide extra room for the crank in the first journal.


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    You also have to create a window for the oil pump pickup tube support bracket.
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    I was planning no using the TB from the 5.3 since it is a cable type but I ran into another snag. The 5.3 pulls vacuum from the TB to vent the crank case pressure out of the passenger side valve cover and the 6.0 has a port on the intake directly behind the port on the TB which prevents it from bolting up.
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    I'm not sure if it would better to use the 5.3 intake on the 6.0 or cut the pipe before the bend on the TB and plug it? The 5.3 intake looks like it went through some trauma when it was removed from it's former service (broken connectors cracked sensors etc,) I'm not sure if I trust it to not have a crack/leak.

    We got the Chevelle down and removed the lift cylinder but we are going to have to wait until Monday to get replacement seals and o-rings. I am only going to get about one day a week to work at his shop so it looks like there wont be an LS in the Camaro this weekend :whine:

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  3. Gene'78-LSX

    Gene'78-LSX Member

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    Some pics ;)

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    My '01 WS6 man do I miss it! This is when I fell for the LS engines.

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  4. Gene'78-LSX

    Gene'78-LSX Member

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    Well we repaired lift cylinder and amazingly everything works again and no leaks ;) The Camaro fit nicely on the utility trailer without the big block and trans. It is amazing how heavy the car is just as a roller I guess they still used steel in '78 ;) I cant remember how much fuel is in the tank I guess I should pump that all out before it goes bad. I have an electric pump so it should get most of it out but any suggestions on what I should do to get the rest out? I bought the tank new and wont be able to use it with the EFI so if anyone needs a good clean 21 gal tank I will make a deal!

    I was going to stap the motor and trans last night then I realized that I had an exhaust manifold bolt broke off in the head. It was protruding so I grabbed it with a vice grip and as soon as I began to turn it snapped off one thread below flush :mad: Next I decided to weld a tit on the bolt and then placed a nut over the tit and welded it up. I had high hopes but it just twisted the nut off of the tit. I retried the process several times and it always ended the same :mad: Next I decided to drill a hole in the bolt and use an easy out. I took my time to make sure I drilled exactly in the center not to hit the threads in the head etc. Finally I slowly started putting pressure on the easy out while my friend was tapping on the head with a brass mallet again with high hopes and snap the easy out broke flush with the head inside of the bolt :mad: At this point I decided to call it a night. Any advice out there? My next step is to pull the head and take a trip to the machine shop I guess. Perhaps the Camaro it is trying to tell me that I need to upgrade the heads ;) Anyone have any rectangle port heads for sale?
     
  5. Gene'78-LSX

    Gene'78-LSX Member

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    The broken bolt is no more!! Several broken drill bits one broken drill a new easyout set a diamond tip dremel bit and a tungsten carbide dremel bit a few choice words and the head is repaired! [​IMG]
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    The engine and trans are in the car! The Holley mounts do set the engine close to the firewall but everything looks good so far. I ran out of energy at about 1:00 am so it will have to sit on the lift for another week. It looks like the truck intake might clear the factory hood that would save some $ for now so I can order the accessory setup and Fast XFI 2.0 setup.
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    I'm not sure what to do on the exhaust. The car has a 3" mandrel bent dual setup that connected to long-tubes on the Big Block. I don't know if I should go with long-tubes again or just use the Holley manifolds? Getting the engine in the car got me motivated again :cool:

    It looks like I'm going to have to order small block springs for my front QA1 coil overs. The car looks like it has a 4" lift kit on it right now :screwup: does anyone know the best spring rating for these setups? I would like something on the stiff side where it will not nose dive under hard braking but not overly harsh where it will rattle your teeth on every bump.
     
  6. mrvedit

    mrvedit Veteran Member

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    You are making great progress!
    I'm using the Holley mounst with long tube Holley headers.
    I noticed a big performance boost when I switched from a 2.5" non-mandrel dual "X" exhaust to a 3" mandrel dual "X" exhaust (Pyres with race mufflers).
    When working on the exhaust, I highly recommend having provisions for the stock O2 sensors (most LS headers do) and at least one wideband O2 sensor right after the header(s).
     
  7. Madmike72

    Madmike72 Veteran Member

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    Good job getting the exhaust stud out. I had 4 broken ones. I welded nuts on the first three and took them out no problem. The 4th one is flush in the head and the welder trick isn't working. I'm gonna snap off an easy out in it tonight. lol. If you want shorty headers you can modify the stock truck manifolds into whatever you need. Just cut the flanges off and add some pipe to them. They're cast steel not cast iron. They weld up nice. I found some pipe at work that was the same thickness as the manifolds. I think it may be fence post but it was the perfect thickness and diameter. If you can weld/fab it's a cheap way to get it done. You can always change to headers later. Figure out what the whole LS swap will cost and then double that number. Stuff adds up fast. Good luck and keep us updated.
     
  8. Gene'78-LSX

    Gene'78-LSX Member

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    Thank you! I just wish I had more time to work on it.

    That's good to know about the manifolds. I did find a source for manifolds (local hotrod shop) where I can get free takeoffs so I need to go dumpster diving lol. If I can't find any that fit I might have to look for some pipe and give that a try.

    Kooks makes some sweet stainless headers but the say that you must use the dirty dingo slider engine mounts. Has anyone tried these with the Holley mounts? They are out of my budget at the moment but it would be good to know if they are an option down the road.....

    Hope you had better luck with the eazyout than I did. The new Irwin set I picked up at Lowes was the spiral design and proved to be much stronger than the Craftsman square design. The kit was $24 and it came with 5 easyouts and matching drill bits.

    Well it's a no-go on the truck intake under the stock hood and I don't want to change the hood so I'm gonna have to switch to a car intake. I might have another option......I will update early next week if it pans out. ;)

    The drive shaft that I had for the TH350 with a long tailshaft is about 3/4" too long as it will only leave about 1/4" of slack between the yoke and the trans tail housing. I read somewhere it should be about 1" of travel left to allow for suspension travel. I had a lot of trouble finding the correct u-joints as the shaft is a 10-bolt shaft and the rear is a 12-bolt so I needed the combo joints and they never fit quite right. I think I am going to get a new forged rear yoke and have a shaft build with known common spicer solid joints. I also noticed that my driveline angles are not correct so I might need to order some shims before measuring for the new shaft.

    I decided to pull the steering gear box and attempt to replace the leaking seal on the input shaft while I was stalled on the intake situation. I remembered that I still had another complete unit that I pulled from an '81 Z28 parts car that I once had. Turns out it is in better condition than the one I pulled from my car. The '81 feels very smooth without any slop and mine seems to be overly tight and clunky. I got out the wire wheel cleaned and painted the '81 and let it bake in the sun for a few hours to my surprise when I went to retrieve it there was powersteering fluid leaking from the input shaft seal :mad: I guess this is a common issue after 30+ years. I found a seal kit that should be in tomorrow for $8 :happy: I know its not a new delphi 600 but if it does not leak and its smooth it will be good enough for now! There seems to be some slack (clunking) in my steering column so I might need to pull it and inspect I have never had one out before so I'm not sure exactly what I will be looking for... :bowtie:
     
  9. Gene'78-LSX

    Gene'78-LSX Member

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    mrvedit

    You have some impressive # in your sig. What is your driveline setup on your '81? Gears, tires, leaf spring, 4-link etc. Our local track is open again apparently they dropped NHRA and are now IHRA sanctioned. I don't follow all the politics I just know that everyone is starting to return to the track so it would be nice to know a proven setup to lay down some solid numbers.

    I ran my '78 once with the bigblock and 4-speed on nitto K555(s) but it just blew the tires away and had major wheel hop when it tried to bite. I am thinking about getting a set of weld rims or similar to mount some slicks for the next attempt with the LS. Any info on know working combos would be much appreciated.

    I completed the R&R on the Steering Gear box last night! It was super simple and if I ever have to do it again I would not even pull the steering box from the car. I took a pick and removed the dust seal and then drilled two small holes in the oil seal one on each side threaded in a sheet metal screw just far enough to catch the seal and then used a pair of side cutters to grab and pry the seal up on each side. Clean everything real well then install in reverse order. Now I have to overhaul the other box my dad wants to convert his Chevelle from manual steering.
     
  10. Gene'78-LSX

    Gene'78-LSX Member

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    Okay so the build has changed slightly. With the truck intake not fitting I was left with the decision to spend money on cathedral port intake like a Fast 92 or stock Ls6 Ls1 intake, injectors, fuel rail etc. and keep the 317 heads:( or switch over to the Ls3 style heads and intake. Well if you do the head and intake swap you might as well swap the cam to match the new heads....and the list keeps growing.... And then I found a deal on a TSP 402" Ls2 out of a vette complete from intake to oil pan accessories harness computer the works. I also found a set of exhaust manifolds off of a 2000 Camaro though not ideal they might work for now. I need to figure out what vette accessory brackets work and what needs to be changed. I was looking at the Dirty Dingo kit DD-LS1-ALT-PS-SANDEN-CV and the Holley kit 20-132 but I'm not sure what needs to be changed other than the a/c location if anyone knows please chime in! Holley provides very detailed instructions and it seem that I have most of the correct part numbers. I will probably swap the engines this weekend and then try to bolt up the ps and alternator to see if they will work with the vette brackets and go from there. I don't know long the 4l60e is going to last but hopefully it will until I can afford a 6-speed swap. So anyone in the market for an LQ9 or a 5.3? :bowtie:
     

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