The Black Pearls LM7 5.3 LS SWAP! | Page 9 | Ford Explorer 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!!


I have a buddy that is a drag-racer but started working for a ****ty 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.


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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about double the price but i guess i had to spend money at some point during this build :(:(:(

We used a nice 2 stick shifter for the 84 Ranger I built (4r70w/np205) The one we used was a JB Fabrication shifter.

Cable shifter, Double, Ford, NP-205 Billet style P/N BIL205F

Its been in there for years working perfectly. We used a column shifter for the trans and mounted the cable shifter for the twin stick 205 on the floor hump, Ill see if I have any finished interior pics

I remember thinking "You paid how much?!?!?!" when I first learned about the shifter options. Its a nice setup because its modular, so you can always go back and add a 3rd or 4th cable......


Thinking I might build my own triple shifters... Thinking a push/pull locking T-handle control cable. That may take up a lot less room.

or run a set of Allstar shifters like these (minus the shift rods) runs $19.99 on speedway)
allstar triple stick.jpg

Then its a matter of some simple hardware and three push/pull cables

Got some good R&D work done this week.


Just realized I didnt get an overall picture of the engine in there:banghead:

A teaser pic for the haters on FB. Does show how far down the engine sits in the engine bay.


Should have some decent room for the radiator, but as it looks right now, the 3.0 (not 3.6) Taurus E-fan is not going to fit.


Also, the F-body (Camaro) oil pan is not going to work with the factory crossmember without a bunch of work.
Fortunately, my buddy needs this oil pan, and he has a truck oil pan for is 6.0 LS. So some horse trading should get the job done.

The difference comes in where that stepped section of the pan is to the left in the picture. The truck oil pan is about 3 inches shorter in that area (I believe where that cast brace is to the left of the drain plug)

A tape measure indicates that with the truck oil pan, it will clear thales factory crossmember and be able to push the motor further from the firewall, but only an inch or so. Which is what I would like to see.

The Camaro exhaust manifolds swapped side to side and turned (exhaust exit forward of the motor mounts) are not going to work. My buddy also has a set of truck manifolds that he is going to give me to try out. The exit is swept back at about 45degree vs straight down with the Camaro (which puts the flanges RIGHT on top of the frame.)

Drivers side (NEED to remove the HCU)

Passenger side. You can see where the exhaust flange lands.


I know from another forum member that S10 LS Swap shorty header fit with no mods to frame or steering so I very well might just end up doing that and be done with it.

Removed the factory fuel filter and installed the C7 Corvette fuel filter/pressure regulator... and the return line works perfect!

So all I will need to mess with is the fuel feed line to and from the filter and get the Walbro 255 in-tank pump that fits the explorer. Already confirmed with Walbro directly that they do make an OEM and 255lpm fuel pump that is a direct swap on the explorer.

Well would you look at that, nice twist. I know the ground strap screw is ugly but I dont have a good eyelet on hand.

The tapped up lines are just there to help keep dirt out. Those are two quick connects from something I hacked up at work and saved for size reference when I order the -AN fittings.

And I get rid of all this crap! Not sure what I am going to do with the evap line there. Most likely just plug it or vent is someway for fuel vapor/tank expansion.

Anyone have any idea what this thing is??

A wise man insists I still need it but doesn't remember why

Your getting a better idea of what has to be done, and what can't be.

Steering shaft and exhaust is going to be fun, no matter what you use. Thinking with the body lift room, you might be able to use taller mounts to help. Maybe place it just high enough to clear, and cut the lift pucks shorter after wards, to lower it some.

Just a thought is all.

Yeah that's why I haven't taking the BL off yet, but taking the body lift off I think is going to be more hassle than its work with the bumpers and sliders already built and installed


I forgot I had a -6AN fitting. Just one that came with the factory fuel rail.

I think 10 feet off -6AN Braided SS fuel line.

Ford quick connect to -6AN (fuel tank.)

Chevy MALE quick connect to -6AN (Filtrt outlet to engine)

And since the Holey Fuel rail came with -8AN fitting at the rail inlet I'll need to reduse that to -6AN

I keep forgetting that the fuel rail is a straight cut o-ring fitting so I am keep this on here for reference:



After much debate, I am going to run a Northwest Fab Eco-box (np241c internals) bolted to a Ford Np205 and still run the triple stick setup.
eco wb blend.jpg

With a trip being planned and i dont even have the drive-train in yet, I am going to forgo the Eco box for now and just run the NP241C this year. Much still needs to be done to the drive-train and the toy-hauler before the trip.

The NP241 is a chain driven Xcase and it does have a slip yoke in the rear (SYE kits are availble but there is no point in that if i am going to only run it for a year or so.)
2. GM New Process 208/241 | Tech Vault | Advance Adapters

winters with tuffy1.jpg

Ill be adding to the Tuffy console i have now and mounting the Winters shifter close to the driver side of the console so there will be no extended reach to the shifter. With a single cable shifter to the left of that. Gauges and switches will be forward of shifters.
winters with tuffy2.jpg

winters with tuffy4.jpg

And I figured out that the factory drivers side bracket (alternator and power steering pump) are not going to work with the explorer steering gear... GoatBuilt to the rescue:

This bracket setup uses the factory alt and PS pump and just rises them up several inches.

There is also a bracket to mount a York 210 on the passenger side.

I have a TH400 to NP241 adapter coming that i scored pretty cheap... still hasnt shipped yet.

I was thinking for a while of getting a e-box from NWF for the front of the Atlas II, but then drove it for a while and decided it was already good. Mostly to extent the front and shorten the rear drive shafts, but that 10 to 1 (3.8 Atlas) low range would be good too.

I was thinking for a while of getting a e-box from NWF for the front of the Atlas II, but then drove it for a while and decided it was already good. Mostly to extent the front and shorten the rear drive shafts, but that 10 to 1 (3.8 Atlas) low range would be good too.

10:1 would be nice. With that setup I'm looking at 5.33:1

That will he pretty good. I was thinking is was going to he something like 4:1 but the np241 has 2.72 gears in it

The th400 to np241 adater finally shipped today. ETA is Saturday.
np241 adapter.jpg

Thinking i might take the empty 400 case and bolt it to the engine, then bolt up the 241 and see what everything kinda looks like.

Mocked up the drive-train last night for giggles and sh!ts. Looks like i am going to need ever-so-slightly shorter driveshafts front and rear. With so many variations available for the 88-98 Chevy trucks i may look into getting a factory front and rear shaft cut down and see how well that works. I think the only catch-22 will be rear axle setup for a double-cardan rear driveshaft.

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Got the 241 and all that mocked up over the weekend.
an odd angle but you can see the steering shaft clears nicely so no modifications there. The flange on the exhaust manifold is going to get chopped off and a down pipe will be welded on so a slip on y-pipe can be fabbed up.
passenger manifold will get cut and turned a bit with the same treatment as the drivers side.
and the engine does not sit too bad in the factory K-member
and that is the factory explorer 4.0 radiator sitting in its factory position. Definitely going to need a pusher fan stuffed in the grille lol