To LS swap or not...

Discussion in 'California 2nd Genners' started by birdnherd64, May 4, 2018.

  1. birdnherd64

    birdnherd64 New Member

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    To quote that sage, Kelly Bundy, "I'm on the Horns of an Enema."

    The more I research the options available to improving the performance of my '77 small block (within the confines of our beloved Californian smog rules), the more I think I'd be miles ahead to buy a complete, gently used LS and swap it into the car.

    If I were to go the LS route, what CA emissions Road Blocks would I have to overcome. My understanding is if I bought a motor out of a car/truck out of a 2003, I would be required to use the emission equipment that came on a 2003 into my Camaro.

    Has anyone gone this route?

    birdnherd64
     
  2. Knuckle Dragger

    Knuckle Dragger Mayor of Simpleton Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    You can't use a truck motor in a car. Other then that you are correct the emission controls need to be exactly the same as the donor vehicle. I've been through the process, worked as a smog tech in California and spent a short time with the BAR. I would be happy to answer any specific questions you have, but keep in mind I left almost 10 years ago and some stuff has changed. There are a bunch more guys that have been through the process I'm sure will post up too.

    FYI, we know from past posts this site is reviewed by at least someone from the Bureau of Automotive Repair. Be careful of what you post, especially details like vin license etc. While I fully support following California emissions laws I'd hate for off hand comment to get someones attention and cause you grief through the process.
     
    1972_Z-28 likes this.
  3. birdnherd64

    birdnherd64 New Member

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    Hey Knuckle Dragger,

    Thanks so much for the input. I suspected a truck motor would be an issue, but wasn't sure. Would I be able to use a motor out of any car, or would I be limited to a Camaro/Firebird?

    I also appreciate the advice about who is reading the post. I had a CHP friend that used to log into some of the tuner sites so he'd know how people were hiding their illegal systems. While I'm not a big fan of our CA emissions rules, they are there and I certainly want to be sure I'm following them.
     
  4. Knuckle Dragger

    Knuckle Dragger Mayor of Simpleton Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Any car will work but you'll have to meet that car's standards and have the right equipment. Stay quiet on any internal modifications you've made. Just don't modify it so much it won't burn clean. I honestly have no idea how sophisticated they are on custom "tunes" they are. I don't remember them checking my software at all but that was 12-15 years back when I got my TPI through. A lot has changed.
     
  5. birdnherd64

    birdnherd64 New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. Knowing i can spread out to Corvettes, Impalas, and other RWD cars does increase my options.

    I wouldn't be looking to make any internal mods or tuner updates to the LS Platform. My wife and I should be just fine with what Chevy did engine-software wise. If we decide we need more power I reckon we could go with the LS3 E-Rod (400+ HP and Torque should make that Camaro an E-Ticket ride!).
     
  6. birdnherd64

    birdnherd64 New Member

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    Thanks to Knuckle Dragger's help, I'm starting to get some clarity on what I'm looking for. For what I can afford to spend, my best bet looks to be an LS1/T56 or LS6/T56 combo. Finding a few Trans Am, Z28, GTO, and even Cadillac CTS combinations on Craigslist and eBay for around $5500 to $6K. Are there better resources to check out I'm not thinking of? Are the TA, Z28, GTO, and CTS platforms all essentially the same, or will one be an easier fit into my '77?

    I will definitely limit my search to original CA engine/trannys to be sure I get all the required emission components with my purchase.

    I'm so looking forward to the CRC Camaro & Firebird Show next month. Hoping to hear some success/horror stories on similar swaps and perhaps join a new club!
     
  7. Turbo70Camaro

    Turbo70Camaro Veteran Member Gold Member

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    LKQ junkyards are pretty good for complete takeouts with electronics and cats...................... call them up many locations in so cal.
     
  8. Lars_2Gen

    Lars_2Gen Veteran Member

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    To add to that... LKQ Pick-a-Part is having a 40% off sale this weekend. Not sure if they'll honor that for stuff they remove, but IF you could find a newer Z-28 or Trans-Am in a yard and pull it yourself, you would have a killer deal. Going to grab an electric fan for the wife's Mustang and maaaayyy come home with a 5.3 LS for future experimentation.
     
  9. birdnherd64

    birdnherd64 New Member

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    Wow, thanks for the advice. Getting ready to chat ith the Sun Valley facility right now.
     

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