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Thread: VIN1049 - LS4 swap

  1. #1
    Not a DeLorean Guru
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Rochester, NY

    Posts:    1,962

    My VIN:    01049

    VIN1049 - LS4 swap

    Between being a horsepower & torque addict, and my PRV starting to show minor signs of rot, I am in the middle of doing an LS4 swap.

    I am doing a collaborative effort with Mr. Schattenkirk for my swap. He has provided me with the "hard" parts for this, and is providing technical input as I go along. By 'hard parts', I mean the following:

    Motor mounts
    Transmission mounts
    Flywheel
    Transmission to engine adapter plate
    Starter adapter

    Basically, the custom parts that have to be made in order to put an LS4 into the DeLorean.

    So why an LS4, instead of the LS1? A few reasons - 1. It is much cheaper than the LS1 to buy used. 2. The front accessory drive is quite a bit flatter, allowing for easier fitment.

    The LS4 is down on power by about 50 horse compared to the LS1, but we're still talking 300+ stock, which is quite gnarly in a light car with shitty handling like the DeLorean. I'm also a damned maniac, and have installed a fairly gnarly camshaft into my LS4 motor.

    Our aim with this project is to try to do the swap as simply as possible, to show that you don't have to be a genius to pull it off. Let me be 100% perfectly clear - "as simply as possible" does not mean simple, and certainly not what anyone would call cheap! Simply as possible refers to without the need for welding, minimal wiring modifications, minimal frame modifications, etc.

    As far as expenses go, once I have completed the swap, I expect to be somewhere around the $9,000 territory.

    I am going to use this thread as a sort of documentation of the process, so that in the future if someone else wishes to do the swap, they will hopefully find as many answers to their questions as possible right here. I am going to show quite a few pictures, talk about each step as I do it, and, probably to my own regret, will track the expenses here as well.

    I will not be providing any detail on the removal of the PRV motor. For one thing, my setup was EFI with cams/exhaust, so my process was slightly different from stock. Also, removing the PRV is documented in the workshop manual, and frankly, is simple enough that you should be able to figure it out without a manual. If you can't, you probably shouldn't try this swap

    So, here's a breakdown of the entirety of the project:

    Remove PRV - done

    Prep work on car
    Repair fuse #1 wire, run add-a-fuse to a power distribution stud
    Remove Megasquirt & associated wiring
    Test fit motor mounts and drill holes for motor mount supports
    Cut shifter linkage frame hole
    Send shifter rod to Josh for re-work
    Find and fix all cracked epoxy and rust issues on frame

    Transmission
    Disassemble for input shaft coupler & inspection
    Re-assemble with new gaskets, etc
    Grind bellhousing for pressure plate clearance

    Fuel system
    Use existing pump and get dual stage bypass fuel pressure regulator. Make proper AN hose.

    LS rebuild
    Grind block for starter clearance
    Strip down exterior completely
    Install DoD delete kit & cam kit
    Install new oil pan
    Clean-up and reassemble exterior, with carb manifold & carb

    Transmission & engine
    Install clutch assembly
    Install adapter plate
    Mate transmission & engine
    Install starter
    Install re-worked shifter linkage rod
    Mount assembly into car; line up transmission mounts first, then motor mounts
    Fill engine oil
    Install shift linkage and adjust
    Hook up reverse light switch
    Rebuild axles
    Install axles
    Fill transmission oil
    Hook up clutch slave cylinder and bleed

    Fuel system
    Hook up fuel filter & carb, test that fuel gets to carb

    Cooling system
    Re-arrange hard pipes to passenger side
    Install coolant temperature sensors (one for DMC gauge, one for MSD box)
    Hook up water pump feed and return hoses
    Hook up heater core feed and return hoses
    Vacuum and fill system

    Front accessory drive
    Install modified steering pump
    Install alternator
    Install A/C compressor
    Install tensioner
    Install drive belt

    Exhaust
    Install exhaust manifolds
    Install oxygen sensors

    Electrical
    Alternator
    Ignition box, including all sensor connections
    Carb choke
    Starter
    Otterstat
    Ignition box to tach signal converter to tach wire
    Oil pressure gauge
    Oil level warning light sender
    A/C compressor
    Coolant temperature sender
    Oxygen sensors
    Coil packs & wires
    Engine ground

    Exhaust
    Install mufflers
    Pipe manifolds to mufflers

    Startup test
    Hook up battery
    Unhook ignition coils
    Crank car several times to build up oil pressure
    Hook ignition coils back up
    Start engine
    Run engine up to temperature
    Make adjustments to carb's idle circuit as necessary

    Air conditioning
    Make and run custom hoses
    Vacuum system
    Fill system

    Re-assemble engine cover, fascia, louvers


    Here's the sticker shock section. I am not including what I paid for the hard parts, because that's a private transaction, and will likely vary in the future based on changes that may need to be made. I also do not wish to speak for Josh.

    Josh Schattenkirk LS swap hard parts
    flywheel
    adapter plate
    motor mounts
    transmission mounts
    slave cylinder spacers
    throwout bearing
    various high-grade nuts and bolts

    DPNW input shaft coupler $200?

    Custom brackets/hoses for Miata brakes $375

    Wilwood calipers from Flying Miata $550

    Banjo bolts + ends for brakes $37

    Two Ford Esort rear hubs $85

    Two Miata front rotors $45

    SBC motor mounts $90

    Plug wires $80

    Oil pan, pickup, windage try $275

    Carb conversion kit $1,100

    DoD delete kit $415

    Big cam kit $777

    Motor, freight shipped $1,300

    Cam & crank sensor, head bolt thread chaser, oil pump o-ring, harmonic balancer $220

    Trunion bearing set $160

    Head refurbishing $460

    Exhaust manifolds $300

    Fuel delivery parts $450
    dual stage pressure regulator, fittings, hose

    Throttle linkage kit $35


    There is definitely room for cost reduction in the above list, such as the refurbishing of the heads, the DoD delete, and the big cam kit. But I want to do this swap as complete as possible upfront, to my personal tastes.

    One thing that may interest folks is that I am using a carb and MSD box for this swap. Why would I use comparatively archaic engine management compared to the GM EFI & ECU setup? A few reasons - 1. The EFI setup creates some challenging packaging issues for the swap. The carb manifold eliminates those challenges. 2. A carb and MSD ignition controller GREATLY simplify the amount of wiring that needs to be done for the install. 3. Learning experience; I've never done much with carbs before.

    So, let's get rolling with some posts & pictures.
    -Mike
    1981 DeLorean, heads/cams/exhaust, EFI
    1999 Corvette, heads/cam/exhaust, 440 BHP
    2005 Elise, stock
    2016 Chevy Cruze

  2. #2
    Not a DeLorean Guru
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Rochester, NY

    Posts:    1,962

    My VIN:    01049

    Received the motor via freight (eBay purchase), and quickly got to work tearing down to replace the oil pan, replace all the gaskets and seals, and upgrade the camshaft. Stock LS4 oil pan will not clear the DeLorean frame, but the oil pan from the LS2/LS3 Pontiac GTO will.

    I'm not going to go into much detail on this process here, as everything LS is documented in about 5,000 different places on the web.

    SDC10778.jpg

    SDC10789.jpg

    SDC10817.jpg
    -Mike
    1981 DeLorean, heads/cams/exhaust, EFI
    1999 Corvette, heads/cam/exhaust, 440 BHP
    2005 Elise, stock
    2016 Chevy Cruze

  3. #3
    Not a DeLorean Guru
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Rochester, NY

    Posts:    1,962

    My VIN:    01049

    PRV out of the car. Had a "party" with a few friends to get the engine out, and it was removed in less than 5 hours. Huge thanks to Derrin for coming all the way from Maryland to help out.

    SDC10837.jpg

    SDC10840.jpg

    SDC10842.jpg

    Then, later on, Derrin and I tested fitting the LS4 motor by itself (no transmission) to make sure that the motor mounts would work for my car. As you can see - success!

    SDC10855.jpg
    -Mike
    1981 DeLorean, heads/cams/exhaust, EFI
    1999 Corvette, heads/cam/exhaust, 440 BHP
    2005 Elise, stock
    2016 Chevy Cruze

  4. #4
    Not a DeLorean Guru
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Rochester, NY

    Posts:    1,962

    My VIN:    01049

    Next up - I've temporarily placed the MSD box and harness into the engine bay to get a loose idea of how I am going to route the wiring.

    SDC10880.jpg
    -Mike
    1981 DeLorean, heads/cams/exhaust, EFI
    1999 Corvette, heads/cam/exhaust, 440 BHP
    2005 Elise, stock
    2016 Chevy Cruze

  5. #5
    Not a DeLorean Guru
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Rochester, NY

    Posts:    1,962

    My VIN:    01049

    Last night I purchased a universal carb throttle linkage kit from the local parts store, and then installed & adjusted the throttle cable.

    SDC10887.jpg
    -Mike
    1981 DeLorean, heads/cams/exhaust, EFI
    1999 Corvette, heads/cam/exhaust, 440 BHP
    2005 Elise, stock
    2016 Chevy Cruze

  6. #6
    Not a DeLorean Guru
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Rochester, NY

    Posts:    1,962

    My VIN:    01049

    My next steps that I plan on doing this week will be:

    Finish removing an left-over bits from the Megasquirt EFI setup
    Remove shifter rod and send out for machining
    Plumb the fuel delivery system

    Pictures and commentary will be posted as I make headway. I'm going to try to get as much done as possible over the next few weeks, as the weather is starting to get quite cold here in the Northeast. Once the snowfall hits, I probably won't do much, if any work, for a few months so at some point this thread will go dormant for quite a while.
    -Mike
    1981 DeLorean, heads/cams/exhaust, EFI
    1999 Corvette, heads/cam/exhaust, 440 BHP
    2005 Elise, stock
    2016 Chevy Cruze

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Somewhere in the Ford Galaxy

    Posts:    66

    My VIN:    1561

    Good luck, Mike! You, sir, are nuts.
    Todd, VIN 1561

    http://1561project.com

  8. #8
    Not a DeLorean Guru
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Rochester, NY

    Posts:    1,962

    My VIN:    01049

    Quote Originally Posted by todd1561 View Post
    Good luck, Mike! You, sir, are nuts.
    broke*
    -Mike
    1981 DeLorean, heads/cams/exhaust, EFI
    1999 Corvette, heads/cam/exhaust, 440 BHP
    2005 Elise, stock
    2016 Chevy Cruze

  9. #9
    Not a DeLorean Guru
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Rochester, NY

    Posts:    1,962

    My VIN:    01049

    Removed the shifter rod to be sent off for machining. Boy, they REALLY do not give you much room in that accumulator access area. Or "hole of hell", as I shall call it.
    -Mike
    1981 DeLorean, heads/cams/exhaust, EFI
    1999 Corvette, heads/cam/exhaust, 440 BHP
    2005 Elise, stock
    2016 Chevy Cruze

  10. #10
    Matt Drive Stainless's Avatar
    Join Date:  Mar 2016

    Location:  Washington D.C.

    Posts:    431

    Are those engine mounts 100% solid? I don't see any rubber in the photos.
    New & Improved V3 S/S Alternator Tensioning Bracket - $39.99
    New & Used DeLorean Parts on eBay HERE.
    S/S Upper Alternator Bracket for Saturn/Autozone Alternator - $39.99
    QA1 Coil-Over Suspension Kit - Complete Kit - $1,149.99 w/ FREE SHIPPING
    QA1 "DIY" Coil-Over Suspension Kit - $99.99
    Mirror switch rebuilding service w/ new springs & ball bearings - $49.50
    HEI Performance Ignition Module (Exchange) - $149.99
    Welding services also (all metals)!
    http://www.drivestainless.com

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