Installing a LS1 in my 1977 Camaro

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

  1. FatnLow

    FatnLow Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    You get right to work, I got to hand it to ya on that one. Glad you got it up and running. Though judging your track record on turning cars I bet it will be moving north if he gains steady employment and is willing to spend a little more since it is now up and running A1. The Corvette purchase looks like a nice one. So did the seller post a good description and did it meet (most) of your expectations? Congrats.
     
  2. jerhofer

    jerhofer Veteran Member

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    I was a little disappointed with the Corvette. I haven't talked with the seller yet. Since I had the 968 on the lift, I haven't had a chance to look at the bottom. The seller mentioned that he had just noticed a power steering leak. When I got the car, the PS reservoir was empty. I filled it and drove it a little over 20 miles and it was empty again!! I am going to check that out this morning. While I wasn't expecting a 100 point car and did not pay a 100 point price, the paint was the most disappointing thing so far. He thought it had been painted about 8 years ago but the painter did a poor job. I can see having it painted next winter. There were also more cracks in the fiberglas than he mentioned. While I know the fiberglas is prone to cracking, I specifically asked about this and he said there was only one or two places. Not so. I will talk with him once I have inspected the bottom.

    On the plus side, it runs great. It starts easily, idles at 800RPM and accelerates well. The shifter works great and is the best of the three C2 Corvettes I have owned. It tracks down the road well with no pulling. The drum brakes work better than expected but he had told me they had been rebuilt and it shows. The ride is very comfortable.

    My problem is I am too particular. However, if it had been perfect, I wouldn't have anything to work on. It will get better from this point on.

    As for the Porsche being stronger than the Camaro, I did not take into consideration that the Camaro had 3:08 gears compared to the 3:70 gears in the Porsche.
     
  3. mrvedit

    mrvedit Veteran Member

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    The understatement of the day. :) :)
    I'm sure you will enjoy the new car and turn it into something really special we will all drool over. Good luck with it.
     
  4. sbca96

    sbca96 Veteran Member

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    +1

    I wasnt saying an LT1 is stronger than an LS1, just the difference isnt as much
    as many will claim to justify the added install expense. I would be curious as
    to how much weight was shed on your '77 Camaro and how much weight was
    added in the LT1 swap to the Porsche. I dont know the gear ratio a 968 has
    for 1st gear, but running a straight 4 cyl I would guess its low. I bet the LT1
    is geared way too low which will kill its top end and exaggerate its take off. I
    bet tweaking the axle ratio will make a more pleasurable driver.

    The 3.08 ratio is what I wanted for our '78 Camaro LT1 swap, but I found that
    3.42 ratio instead - it will just have to do (for now). The Impala SS has a 3.08
    which works nicely.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  5. jerhofer

    jerhofer Veteran Member

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    Been Busy!!

    The past two months or so have been really busy on the car front.

    One issue on 944/968's as they get older is that the glass on the rear hatch separates from the frame. The guy who sold me the torque tube knew a guy in Easley, SC who fixed these. He quoted me $150 over the phone with me taking the hatch to him. Surprise, surprise, he found there was more wrong than he had bargained for. However, he went way beyond the call and absolutely made the hatch look like new. Knowing he had spent more time than he had planned for, I asked him how much I owed him and he said he would live with the $150 estimate. I gave him an extra $30 buck because it was such a good job. Because of his detail work, I am going to take my Corvette to him to have him install a new windshield.

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    Next up was the interior. The dashes crack in these car and this one was one of the worst I have ever seen. On top of that, the previous owner had painted with what appeared to be textured bedliner paint. And he installed the 968 numbers on the passenger airbag...crooked.

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    The power mirrors did not work, the passenger window would go down but not up. And, evidently because the lights were burned out in the instrument panel, he cut away the lens, installed a string of LED lights, cut a piece of plexiglas and used his favorite mounting agent...silicone. I call him the silicone man as anything that was remotely loose was dabbed with silicone including carpet seams. He also installed early 944 door panels and painted the door handles and the speaker grills red. Very attractive.

    [​IMG]

    This was one of his typical wiring connections. Some people should not be allowed to work on cars.

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    I found a used dash on EBay, ripped everything out and made it habitable. The torque tube guy had a used instrument panel. We drove home with no water temp or fuel gauge. As I was removing the instrument panel, I discovered that one of the three plugs was not attached, which just happened to be those two gauges. Plugged them in, started the motor and they worked.

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    I discovered a wired had broken off on the power mirror switch plug. A little solder and it was good to go. The passenger window switch was bad but EBay found me a used one for cheap. And on, and on and on. The more I dug into it, the more I found. There was a squeal from the front of the motor. My son thought it was the AC compressor. I installed a shorter serpentine belt to bypass the compressor and the squeal was gone. The pulley was not aligned correctly which burned out the clutch. I have a rebuilt compressor but have not had time to fix that yet. However, it is next on the list as summer has arrived here.

    Cleaned up the engine bay a bit as well.

    [​IMG]

    The good part is the car is simply a blast to drive. I ran a normally aspirated 944 as a track car for five years back in the early 90's and had forgotten how great these cars handle. And with the LT1 torque, it is a whole new ballgame. Wish I would have had this motor in my 944 track car.

    Next time I will tell you about the Corvette.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRX9Q-f1Z-U
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  6. mrvedit

    mrvedit Veteran Member

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    Wow. Beautiful cars and great progress on the 968.

    I thought I saw some dust on your garage floor, but I must be mistaken. ;)
     
  7. jerhofer

    jerhofer Veteran Member

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    Where????? I must have missed it.

    Seriously, this is a working garage so it gets dirty. In one of the photos above, you may have see an engine sitting against the wall. That is a 525HP LS3 that we installed in my son's '69 Camaro this past weekend. Because he had been depositing parts in my garage the past month, it was a mess.
     
  8. mrvedit

    mrvedit Veteran Member

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    A mess? Perhaps someone should send you a picture of what a mess looks like. It might shock you. I've eaten lunch off dirtier cafeteria plates than that LS3.
    We are all jealous.
     
  9. jerhofer

    jerhofer Veteran Member

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    Thanks.

    We pulled the old motor Thursday evening and had it running with the exhaust hooked up Sunday evening. Unfortunately, he could not drive it home. We had a hydraulic clutch release issue and will have to change out the clutch cylinder for a larger one with more throw. The clutch was only releasing partly. The part should be here Wednesday and we will put it in Thursday evening. Hopefully, that is the correct fix.

    He already had a Tremec 5 speed in the Camaro and is using that transmission with the LS3. Here are some pics.

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  10. FatnLow

    FatnLow Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    That rear suspension turned out nice on the '69. I'm sure that car will give permasmile to your son every time he hits the key.

    The wiring job on the Porsche shows the mad skills the previous owner had. I mean bedliner on the dash and crooked numbers. I just couldn't deal with a job like that. Every time I turn my head and see them crooked would kill me. It looks like you are getting it close. I can't believe you repainted the handles and speakers?? Great work.
     

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