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LS Swap? Has anyone done it?

Discussion in 'Need for Speed!' started by 99SportX, December 22, 2014.


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    1. 99SportX

      99SportX Elite Explorer

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      Go go gadget flame suit :D

      Has anyone ever done a Chevrolet LS series motor swap in their 2nd gen explorer, or any gen explorer for that matter? I know it is a popular swap for fox body cars.

      Links or pics would be appreciated. The google didn't yield much. I saw a thread with an 01 sport, but the project didn't appear to get anywhere. Thanks!
       
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    3. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      too wide?

      In my opinion without a body lift the 2nd generation doesn't have room for the 5.0L engine (width = 18 3/4") with decent exhaust manifolds. I doubt there is room for an LS1 that has a block width (no heads) of 18.11".
       
    4. 99SportX

      99SportX Elite Explorer

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      Well, the 5.0 is really tight, I know that for a fact. Ford didn't leave much room for the exhaust there. I haven't really spent much time comparing the LS 5.3 to the Ford 5.0 .

      I am hoping that someone has done this so I can see if it is possible or not.
       
    5. 99SportX

      99SportX Elite Explorer

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    6. 1996BLKBauer

      1996BLKBauer Well-Known Member

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      Other then that ranger, build, I haven't seen anybody do it, but you should be the first, lol. I am positive it can be done, it will just take some clever engineering.
       
    7. 99SportX

      99SportX Elite Explorer

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      I came upon a 6.0 LY6 with 4L80E this summer and I plan to put it in something. Hopefully an explorer if I can fit it. I will give it a try in the spring most likely. It is starting to get cold out and I don't think I will have my act together well enough to get going this year.
       
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    8. vroomzoomboom

      vroomzoomboom Elite Canuck STOCK SUCKS! Elite Explorer

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      this is what i would throw it into

      [​IMG]
       
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    9. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Hi Eric, how are you doing? I've missed the Explorer X guys, that fell off several years ago.

      If you are serious about the LS to swap in a 2nd gen, I can point you to a man who just finished swapping one in place of a 302, in his 80's Volvo. He's very nice, helpful, and smart enough to get it done himself. He is on the Corral a lot documenting his Volvo project, in the "East Tennnesee" thread. It's very long and his posts have been the central subject for a long time. His name is Michael Yount, he's in NC I think.

      He can tell you well how wide the LS is versus the 302, specifically the critical part, the exhaust. He has an aftermarket SS log manifold on his LS, it's very compact and has 1.75" primaries in it. I bet that would fit, and he reworked the front accessories to fit his Volvo better. There are multiple layouts for the accessories of the LS models.
       
    10. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    11. shucker1

      shucker1 Elite Explorer

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      It would be really slick if you build it up and find an old Firebird Esprit like the Rockford Files and stick it in there.

      Talk about a "Sleeper".
       
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    12. 99SportX

      99SportX Elite Explorer

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      Good to hear from you Don. It has been a while. LS swaps are all the rage in my area now so I have many local resources to work with but I will keep that guy in mind as a possibility. I was so close to buying a volvo 960 wagon this past week which would have been a v8 swap project for sure, but ended up picking up a 99 XLT in Arizona. The condition of the underbody and engine bay from no salt is truly amazing. It needs paint work and interior work, but I can handle that. My 4.0 XLT is getting a little rusty and I am going to sell it in the spring while it still has a little remaining value.
       
    13. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Yeah, my Mountaineer is starting to show signs, of coming from Milwaukee. I bought a 98 Limited to replace it, swap the Mercury parts onto it etc. I got it because it came from Georgia, zero rust, but not kept up well. It'll work for me.

      Touch base with Michael about his Volvo, I'd bet he can say how much the clearance is different around the manifolds, for the 302 and the LS. He makes it sound like a smaller engine for the external items, which is the problem with the SBF in the 2nd gen's.
       
    14. 99SportX

      99SportX Elite Explorer

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      When I tear down my 99 mountaineer to strip off any good parts, I am going to use that to test fit the 6.0 to see what challenges exist.
       

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    15. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      I'll bet the oil pan and rack will be the toughest part, besides the trans and transfer case.
       
    16. 99SportX

      99SportX Elite Explorer

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      Yeah, the motor i got is a truck motor so it has the standard rear sump pan. I think it will work fine as far as crossmember/rack clearance, but we shall see. I am going to use the 4L80E trans and no transfer case. RWD burnout machine leaving #11's everywhere.
      :burnout:

      Just today I worked out a local deal on a 99 limited 5.0 AWD with 151k miles. Deep wedgewood blue with dark gray interior. It is pretty rusty but my main goal with it is to get it for the interior components which are in generally nice shape. Heated seats, EATC, mach, steering wheel controls, wood grain trim, etc. Engine and trans seemed to run quite well on my test drive. With a little front end work it would be a good runner though so I may drive it for the winter before I decide what to do with it.
       
    17. 99SportX

      99SportX Elite Explorer

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      Well I decided to use my new 99 Limited purchase as a LS swap prototyping platform. I have the 5.0 out and attempted to put in the 6.0, but the oil pan will definitely not clear the front diff. I was planning on RWD anyway, so no big deal, but I was hoping to leave it in this parts truck for now, purely out of laziness. The exhaust manifold situation may be tricky, but I honestly feel it will fit pretty well.
       
    18. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Sounds like fun. Have you seen the manifolds available, and on the engine? This one below is an aftermarket, but SS, and he(Michael) had them coated. That's what I want for my truck, and those below are 1.75" big throughout.

      LS Log Manifold & exh coating.jpg
       
    19. 99SportX

      99SportX Elite Explorer

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      The factory exhaust manifolds that came with this engine look like they flow way better than the crummy stock manifolds for the explorer 5.0. I am going to run a turbo, so I am flipping them around. I may get some 'up and forward' style headers from ebay. The steering shaft is too close for comfort, so if I go with a welded tube header I should be able to more easily modify and reroute for some additional clearance.

      I decided to ditch the AC mainly for simplicity. I may try to give it a go some other time, but for now, that is the way it will be. I am having issues finding space for a compressor. With the narrow frame rail spacing on the explorer there is not much space, and the upper control arm mounts don't help the situation. I am not ruling it out for the long term though, I just need to think about other compressor location possibilities.

      Overall, I am very pleased with the fit of this engine and 4L80E transmission. Once i get the engine positioned exactly where I want it, I will draw up some mounts and a trans crossmember. The header situation would have been a nightmare if not for the flipped shortys though. To fit this engine NA with a conventional exhaust, custom manifolds would surely be necessary.
       
    20. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      That's it, the upper control arm mounts and frame rails are right in the way. It makes you wonder how these trucks are so different in space there, versus V8 Jeeps or others of similar body sizes.
       
    21. Josh P

      Josh P Shaggin Wagon Elite Explorer

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      LS motor fits in the aerostar, I figured it would be easier in an explorer. Battlestar.jpg
       
    22. Turdle

      Turdle Will cook for gas Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      subscribing because my buddy still sprays his 6.0 ls2 with a 100 shot, and it has 270k miles on the stock internals.

      So yeah, there's that.
       
    23. 99SportX

      99SportX Elite Explorer

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      Exactly. They can hold up to a lot of abuse. That, and if you blow it up, you just get another from the salvage yard, instead of paying for a lot of expensive internals and machine work.

      The motor itself fits fine, provided you have the proper accessory layout and clearance the AC box. The exhaust manifolds are where it would get tricky with a NA setup. Of course, 5.0 the explorer manifolds are tricky too, we just have bolt in options available. With the stock truck water pump, I have about 1.5" from the snout of the water pump pulley to the stock radiator core, but I am going to see if I can sink the engine more and tuck it back a little farther. There is a step in the firewall, and I think I can tuck the intake manifold inside that recess. Electric fans will be a must, regardless.

      It is getting cold here and with no heat in the garage, I am not going to get too much farther before spring. I will use the down time to collect parts.
       
    24. 99SportX

      99SportX Elite Explorer

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      I have the engine/trans in my parts truck with tacked up motor mounts and have been laying out the hot and cold side turbo plumbing. Trans crossmember still is nonexistent due to the ice cold concrete. I had to purchase an accessory bracket setup to mount the alternator and PS pump in a different layout. Overall I am quite happy with how it is coming together. I have most all of my parts/materials at this point so I should be able to crank away once it warms up. I mess with it for a half day here and there if I have time when the temps are above 20-25 degrees.

      No pics for now, but this thing is gonna be sick. I will start another thread when I really get going on it.
       
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    25. 99SportX

      99SportX Elite Explorer

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      I picked the project back up earlier this month and plan to have it running and driving by the end of July to work out the kinks for an event in early August. I am working on it almost daily. Things are coming along well but everything is still all in the donor vehicle. I need to pull the 5.0 out of my sport and get to swapping soon in order to hit my date but still have some fab work left before I can do it.
       
    26. Dono

      Dono V8 Limited turbo and retired SC 4.0 OHV Elite Explorer

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      obviously no frame rail issues. I can hardly wait to see how things come together and the challenges.

      Take lots of pics.
       

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