Installing a LS1 in my 1977 Camaro

Discussion in 'High Tech Retrofits' started by jerhofer, May 14, 2011.

  1. jerhofer

    jerhofer Veteran Member

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    Bought a car!!

    1964 Corvette Coupe. 327/365HP, 4 spd, PS, PB, PW, Knock off wheels, numbers matching. I have had two '67 roadsters in my past and have always had a sweet spot in my heart for these cars. Since I am not really a convertible guy, I was only looking for a coupe. This car promises to be a very nice car but not a Bloomington gold type car. In other words, I can drive it.

    Also, I graduated from high school in 1964. Perfect car to drive to the 50th class reunion.

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    Unfortunately, it is in Seattle, WA. If all goes according to plan, it should be picked up next week and I should see it the first part of March. I bought in on EBay from a guy who says he has owned 360 cars. Great guy and very knowledgeable.

    It does not have air so that will be the first project. I looked at both Vintage and Classic air and like the Classic setup better. Either one of them do not require major surgery to install so the car could easily go back to stock. I will be saving any pieces I take off the car and storing them in a dry place.

    My son has already discovered a fuel injection system that looks like the system available as an option in '64.

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  2. FatnLow

    FatnLow Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    New autocross toy??? Congrats.
     
  3. jerhofer

    jerhofer Veteran Member

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    Don't know about that but the drum brakes may have to go.
     
  4. 71RS/SS396

    71RS/SS396 Veteran Member

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    LS transplant time? I've been looking at possibly doing a 65/66 with an SR III chassis and an LS. I drove one this fall and was impressed with that chassis.
     
  5. jerhofer

    jerhofer Veteran Member

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    Have to see how it runs. I don't think I will be modifying this car too much. Besides the AC and brakes, I am looking at doing something with the sound system. I will have to take a hard look at that fuel injection system as well.

    I looked up the specs for this motor and it shows 365HP at 6200RPM. It was a screamer for its time. Of course, that was the old HP ratings so it is probably closer to 275HP in today's ratings. Also, it is 11 to 1 compression.
     
  6. sbca96

    sbca96 Veteran Member

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  7. jerhofer

    jerhofer Veteran Member

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    Nice looking Avanti. We used to live near South Bend and toured the old Studebaker factory with the local Porsche club. This was back in the 80's when the Avanti was being built again. Very interesting tour.

    The Mongoose Vettes do look interesting. Thanks for the link.
     
  8. Aceshigh

    Aceshigh Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    That is a truly badass 944 with the LS in it.

    I've always been curious how much those cars weigh and how fun that would be.
     
  9. jerhofer

    jerhofer Veteran Member

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    The 968 Story

    My wife and I flew to Memphis to pick up the 968 three weeks ago. Since Memphis is only a two hour drive from Sikeston, MO where we had lived for eight years, we had made plans to drive there to hook up with friends.

    The car was disappointing. I only paid $8K for the car and I did not expect a perfect car, but the condition was not as good as I expected. The guy who owned it did some truly strange things that he thought enhanced the car. NOT!! Starting the car revealed something squealing on the front end of the motor. The intensity diminished after a few moments but it was still there. The shifter was extremely sloppy, the paint was poor, the interior was a mess but that LT1 sure looked and sounded good. I took short drive around the block and it seemed to run OK.

    If we had not already made plans to meet our friends, I probably would have passed on the car. However, since I had promised the guy I would take it when he had someone there a week earlier that laid $10K on his dining room table, I felt obligated. So money was exchanged and we hit the road.

    Kind of!! When the engine reached 4K RPM, it was like it hit a rev limiter. And there was a tremendous vibration that shook the whole car. We actually got off the interstate with plans to take it back, when it seemed to settle down. We decided to press on and had a wonderful time visiting friends. The next morning we left MO for NC. All was well until the intense vibration reappeared after a hard acceleration. We stopped the car and when we resumed the vibrations disappeared. This happened two more times after hard acceleration sometimes combined with a lane change. Each time, after we came to a stop, it was OK.

    Since the goal now was to get the car home, I drove like there was an egg on the accelerator and kept the RPM's below 3500 and it ran perfectly. Gas mileage was somewhat disappointing but I later learned the stock 968 rear end ratio is 3:70 so it was turning around 3200RPM at 80MPH.

    I washed, polished and waxed the exterior and it began to look better.

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    I also replaced his air intake with some pieces that I bought at AutoZone. They were chrome but I painted them black which seemed to fit better with this engine compartment.

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    The next day I pulled the plugs and found all the left side plugs were fouled. That suggested the O2 sensor. After replacing the plugs, the wires, the coil and the O2 sensor, it now ran like it should and pulled strong to red line. Also, my son was pretty sure the squealing was coming from the AC compressor. We installed a shorter serpentine belt to run everything but the compressor and the squeal was gone. Turns out the compressor bracket had broken and the owner had it repaired by someone who did not get the pulley lined up correctly.

    The engine running right revealed the next issue...a slipping clutch. Or so it appeared. Actually, the problem turned out to be the throw out bearing as the clutch was worn but not worn out. The defective throw out bearing was not allowing the clutch to engage like it should.

    A week before I picked up the car, the local Porsche club had a swap meet. At that swap meet, I was telling one of the vendors that I was going to get the 968 with the LT1. He said he had exactly what I needed. That turned out to be a new correct clutch, pressure plate, a 12lb aluminum flywheel, a ECU and the wiring harness for a LT1 swap in a 968. And I bought it all for $100!!! I told the guy now that I had all of these parts, it was pretty well guaranteed that I would NOT need them in the car I was getting. WRONG!!

    After buying a pilot bearing with adapter and a new throwout bearing, I had all the parts I needed. My son came over, we dropped the transmission, pulled back the torque tube, removed the original clutch and installed all of the new pieces. As we got ready to move the torque tube in place, we noticed the one piece driveshaft was flopping around in the tube. Not a good thing!! So, we lowered the rear suspension and removed the torque tube. The bearings had pushed out of the retainers and were lying in the torque tube.

    After doing some research, I decided to try to find a used torque tube. The guy I bought the LT1 parts from knew a guy who had a torque tube. It was from a '87 924S with 60K miles for $200. After pressure washing the transmission and torque tube, we put everything back together last Saturday, fixed the sloppy shifter (need new bushings) and went for a test drive.

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    WOW!! It ran like a scalded cat!! Lots of rubber in first, a goodly amount in second and a nice chirp into third!!! Way faster than my Camaro was. But it also weighs about 700lbs less. The shifter worked great and the clutch was smooth as butter.

    Now I am torn as to what to do with the car. I had posed a question on a 944 forum about the car and a guy in Canada recognized the car. He had called about the car the same day I picked it up and had told the owner that if I did not take the car, he would. He still wants the car and I have given him a full update on what I found and the repairs we made. But last week, he lost his job and, while he has prospects for a new job, he may or may not be able to get it.

    I drove it over 100 miles today and it performed flawlessly and is a blast to drive. It is going to be a tough decision to make but I got the '64 Vette last week and I want to spend some time on it as well.

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    Here's a video of the 968 with my buddy Reese driving.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRX9Q-f1Z-U&feature=youtu.be
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  10. sbca96

    sbca96 Veteran Member

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    At first I was like "oh no!" but it sounds like you took action and solved it nicely.
    If you can get a different axle ratio for it, depending on the trans, I would look
    to around a 3.20-3.46 .. that 3.70 is overkill for a driver IMO.

    Looks like a stock 968 weighs about 3100 pounds, with the LT1 I would assume
    the weight is higher (isnt the Porsche a little aluminum 4 cyl?) So lets figure its
    about 200 pounds heavier up front for about 3300 pounds. Your Camaro was
    3600 pounds with the all cast iron V8 in it, so with the LSx motor, it should've
    shed about 150-250 pounds, perhaps more from what I recall of your build, so I
    think the Camaro was about 3400 pounds .. which means about 100-200 pound
    difference between the two cars .. no where near 700 pounds.

    I only point this out because people are increasingly dissing the LT1, and its not
    a bad engine by any means. There are a lot of reasons to go LTx rather than a
    LSx when considering an EFI swap. They are quite popular in RX7s. That said I
    do have two LS1s in my driveway and know they make good power. But I drive
    the '95 4200 pound Impala SS and get reminded LT1s can be quite fun too!

    I hope you decide to keep the Porsche for a while, maybe try a better freeway
    geared axle ratio and see if you like it. As far as fun factory, I never had reason
    to complain with my '93 Z28 LT1/4L60 with the factor 2.73 axle w/posi. It could
    smoke the 275/40R17s without much effort even with 265k on the clock!!:bowtie:

    Again, beautiful Corvette.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012

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