The Black Pearls LM7 5.3 LS SWAP! | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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The Black Pearls LM7 5.3 LS SWAP!

SO I guess the time has came early for my 5.3L LS swap on The Black Pearl!!

LET THE HATE BEGIN!!!

I have a buddy that is a drag-racer but started working for a shitty speed shop in the area and now he is burnt out from engines and all that; He is getting into guns and i have built a few ARs. We did some talking the other weekend and we figured that one of my ARs is worth about the same as his 400-450 horse Gen3 LM7 (706 heads, Gen4 internals. Titanium valve springs, retainers and guides)

Currently the piston rings are gaped and it has a cam setup for spray but he just hadn't gotten around to get nitro setup in the car yet. This is in a late 80s Monte Carlo BTW.

This are some pictures i loaded on my SAS build thread so i will post them up here to keep it all in one place.

General LS pic.jpg
This is just a general picture i found on google but thats pretty much the setup i am getting.

I have some 2010 Camaro exhaust manifolds that will be used (IF they fit!) that he threw in as well.

I went to the wrecking yard last weekend and picked up a 2000 tahoe fuseblock, harness, MAF and PCM for $40.65 out the door.
Junkyard harness.jpg

Started pulling it apart and removing ALL un-needed circuits, Factory fuse block, A/C, EVAP, Trans and a few other circuits.

harness remains.jpg


i also added a few circuits such as a secondary ground circuit for the Taurus 2-speed fan i have installed. The fans are controlled by the PCM, the PCM sends ground to the fan relays to turn them on/off at set temps (that will be programmed into the PCM when it gets tuned).

This is what we have left:
My harness.jpg


To clean things up in the engine bay i am going to use a Corvette style fuel system. There is no fuel pressure regulator on the fuel rail, it in in-line on the frame rail. It also uses a return-less system incorporated into the fuel filter, with the regulator.

Screenshot_2019-01-03-12-27-01.png

450 is overkill but this pump is a direct for to the explorer in-tank fuel pump according to Walbro.

This fuel filter will replace the factory Explorer fuel filter. It is a Corvette fuel filter with a built in fuel pressure regulator. With a return line back to the tank for unused fuel.
Filter regulator.JPG


These engines require 60PSI fuel pressure and the 1gen explorers are only pushing around 30-40 PSI.
 
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KurtECV

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As for getting the engine into place, it will come with an F-Body oil pan for clearance but i am going to cut the factory engine cross member out completing from the rivets and install a set of universal motor mounts
LS motor mounts.jpg


Then once all that is done, it will get a new custom cross-member like @BKennedy suggested.
 
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KurtECV

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The reason i removed all the transmission control circuits is because i am going with a Ford NP435 (4-speed, granny-low) manual transmission from a 1983 F-350.

The pilot bearing on the LS is already setup like the only Chevy 350s because my buddy had a TH400 trans behind the 5.3L
NP435.JPG


That is a Dana 20 transfer case mated to the 435 with a Advanced Adapters conversion piece.

a Chevy 350 manual trans bellhousing will bolt to the NP435 and the truck will use a 168 tooth flywheel and 12" clutch disk.

I am hoping that Novak will be able to help me out with a Hydro clutch setup so i can use the factory Explorer setup, may have to go to a bigger clutch master but we will see. Novak also has adjustable throwout bearings that are going to be used
 
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BKennedy

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Finally, something different in my forum.

The 5.3 I have in my 2008 Silverado runs very well and has a lot of power for a small block. When this is completed, it should be a powerhouse of a Explorer. Take lots of pictures and add details please.

Only problem I ever had with my 5.3 was when it started burning oil like crazy, I am talking over a quart a day with no exhaust smoke. I took it to the dealership since it was still under warranty and my brother is the senior service writer there. There are two "fixes" for that known issue; replace the pistons and rings, or replace the heads. He ordered up both fixes. The heads and pistons come complete so about the only thing left inside the engine was the crank. It was great to get a completely rebuilt engine at 84,000 miles.

Since your engine is already rebuilt and you know the builder, you shouldn't have any issues.
 
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KurtECV

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I will have to put new rings in it... the ones that are in it are gaped 0.003 to run a nos system. while i am in there i am going to freshen it up as well as a new cam (because the current cam is set up for NOS as well.)

The trucks have seen the rings burning oil because they are working harder than ever before... that is why GM went to the 8 quart system instead of just the 6 qt.

6 qt trucks are coming in when no oil and the 8 qt trucks are coming in 6 qts low. thats at least what i have seen at my dealership
 
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KurtECV

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I am going to document the crap out of it... it has never been done before, i have been all over the net, FB and youtube and have never seen a Gen1 explorer with an LS swap
 
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KurtECV

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I got a little done on the harness tonight.

On the factory fuse block connector there are tons of circuits. Most were cut out that powered things like the a\c clutch or the transmission ECT. The wiring that was left were a dozen or so pink 22 gauge wires that powered:
coil packs on each bank x2

each injector x8 (pcm grounded activation)

front heated oxygen sensors (front only, rear O2s were deleted)

MAF sensor

The coil packs are going to be combined to a single fuse.

All 8 injectors with be split up into two fuses, one fuse for each bank. As you see here:
Resized952019010395221630(1).jpg
The injectors only require one amp to operate, so I am adding 5 feet of 16 gauge wire (I'm sure that will be trimmed later when I find a suitable place for the new fuse block.) Again, soldered and double adhesive shrink tubing used.

The HO2S and MAF will be combined into one fuse as well.
 
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KurtECV

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I didn't get a good shot of the fuse block that came in today before my phone died. But this is the one I got. Sadly, it is not waterproof. But what do you expect for 10 bucks. I will go the old school way and add dielectric grease to the terminals and I will find a suitable o-ring that will fit around the top and bottom covers, as well as a rubber grommet where the harness passes between the fuse block case and the bottom cover.
51NpWkwh5OL._AC_SY400_.jpg


You can see from this picture that one relay is different than the other 5. That is because it is made for a 5-pin relay, the others are for a 4-pin relay.

The reason this is important is because of the 3.0l (not 3.6l) Taurus fan I have been running for about 5 years now. In its current form I have it wires to 2 4-pin relays on a DpDt switch inside the rig.

Where this new 5-pin relay comes into play is in this diagram:
Capture+_2019-01-04-00-08-26.png
 
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410Fortune

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Very nice!

I am sure it has been done, just not put online. The 5.3 is very popular engine in the desert, rocks and mud and the Gen I explorer is also

Now with a 4 speed manual and a dana 20 t case, Probably not!!
This should be one bomb proof drive train when you are finished. I am loving this thread thanks for sharing!
What year is that 5.3 from?
 
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KurtECV

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Very nice!

I am sure it has been done, just not put online. The 5.3 is very popular engine in the desert, rocks and mud and the Gen I explorer is also

Now with a 4 speed manual and a dana 20 t case, Probably not!!
This should be one bomb proof drive train when you are finished. I am loving this thread thanks for sharing!
What year is that 5.3 from?

Yes i have seen the prerunners with them, all of the ones i have seen are running full engine cages so i am not counting those.. I am talking about gen1 explorers with full fender wells and all that, a stock looking explorer as far as the engine bay is concerned.

Yeah i wasnt planning on putting a built 5.3 in it... this one almost literally fell in my lap. I have been trying to get this motor from him for almost 4 years!

So now i am thinking the 435 might not be the best idea. More so on the Dana 20. I have seen a few early broncos with an LS/435/d20 so i know its been done. i will have to do some research on what upgrades have been done to them and plan accordingly.

It is a 2002 LM7
 
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BKennedy

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I am talking about gen1 explorers with full fender wells and all that, a stock looking explorer as far as the engine bay is concerned.

It would be so fun to pull up next to people who know engines and watch them double take at the familiar LS rumble coming out of a Explorer.
 
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KurtECV

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Right. I still dont know what i want to do with the cam... stock? rattler? I have to replace it anyways I am just trying to find one that works well at low RPM. I can run something like .650 lift with the valve springs that are already in it, but that would put my rpm range from like 2500 to 7000
 
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KurtECV

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Thats the plan. just looking for a good cam upgrade without doing a custom grind and having to pay more than my rig is worth lmao
 
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I figure it is just a universal photo of the Vette filter/regulator but do not use those 1 piece AN adapters! There is an updated version that is 2 piece and screws together for a much better connection. The 1pc have been known to pop off and cause fires.

Cool swap! I'm looking forward to the progress mainly because I have a 5.3 just sitting around right now :D
 
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KurtECV

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After speaking with my buddy (we are pulling the motor tomorrow morning) I might look into a built automatic.

He has a th400 bolted behind the LS right now. There are some minor changes between the old 350s and the LS engines as far as the transmissions go and I am getting everything required to run a th350/th400/700r4 auto trans... As far as torque converters and all that came would be easier to come by because I stall converter would put the engine into a higher rpm range to be able to use more camshaft that are available....

Anyone have any input on this?
 
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KurtECV

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Good to know @Brian1

Does anyone had a link to a how to on pushing the radiator into the core support on the 1gens?

I have actually been searching for a very long time (before I even put the e-fan in my rig) and have never found a how to
 
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KurtECV

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I figure it is just a universal photo of the Vette filter/regulator but do not use those 1 piece AN adapters! There is an updated version that is 2 piece and screws together for a much better connection. The 1pc have been known to pop off and cause fires.

Cool swap! I'm looking forward to the progress mainly because I have a 5.3 just sitting around right now :D

That is the factory c5 vette fuel filter/regulator but with the AN adaper
 
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KurtECV

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What are you going to use to replace the explorer's sending unit in the gas tank? Swap in a Chevy tank or an aftermarket fuel cell?

The in-tank fuel pump (screenshot) in the original post is a direct replacement pump for the explorer's fuel pump... But it will flow 450LPH And push 35-120 psi of fuel. 58psi is required.

The 255lph pump would be sufficient actually.
 
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