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Thread: Final Build: LSx + 4l80e + Turbo Nissan 240sx "What was I thinking"

  1. #1
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    Jul 2004

    Final Build: LSx + 4l80e + Turbo Nissan 240sx "What was I thinking"

    Car: S14 240sx
    Engine: Any "LS", Single Turbo
    Transmission: 4l80e "notoriously robust"

    The build emphasis is a few specific characteristics
    Affordable Typical 5.3 LSx specimens from 2002-2004 are inexpensive, and avail from a variety of local yards in Florida. And they deliver.
    Reliable OEM Engine and Transmission specimens from quality wrecked vehicles that already have mileage, potentially last hundred thousand(s) of miles more.
    Easy engine swap I have taken steps to ensure the engine/transmission can be removed and replaced easily if necessary (one day drivetrain swap).
    Economy An important feature for a daily driver, there will be a section how to maximize fuel economy from a vehicle.
    Power How much power will a used, junkyard "LS" style engine command reliably? My research shows that 500-700rwhp dynojet horsepower is feasible, reliable.

    The purpose for these type of thread is to de-mystify this swap so that others can prepare properly for their own builds in a "cookie cutter" fashion.
    I provide information/pictures which might assist to this end.
    Another purpose is to keep track of all work done, maintenance, etc...

    Please see a recent vehicle thread (finished) for more example of how to keep track of maintenance, repair, &c :

    The 240sx is incredibly adaptable.
    I feel almost as if Nissan intended this car to have a V8, but knew it couldn't be offered at 2800lbs with a V8 so they put a 4-cylinder instead and let us figure it out.

    Another way to see this is, the modern LS V8 drivetrain weight is similar (or even less) than sr20det, and more balanced for the car.

    Finding an engine
    random shops There are so many available, and some of them are (nearly) free, I've seen them packed into the corners of shops apparently for years, the owners forget about them, taking up space. The minute you say "five point three" some are immediately happy to get rid of them. Notice I said them. You can sometimes stumble upon two or three of good engines in a sort of buy one get one free deal I've noticed. The story is usually somebody who intended to put it into something but never finished through with that idea.
    So these are likely good engines that somebody intended to use.

    junkyards is/are an option for "delivery" sight unseen, for me it means local with a warranty and in my experience the best deal if you can't find a free one yet.
    A local junkyard delivered an incredible looking engine.

    This engine was perfect, but I guess because it was the 'first delivery' I kept looking for a 'better' engine. I drove to the junkyard to pick one out.

    I compression tested around 11 engines total. Being picky about initial condition seems important, just like for JDM engines, just remember they are all used.
    A sludge free engine from a well maintained Escalade is ideal for a 5.3L in my opinion at low cost.

    This is another way to get a free or good engine, because If the seller lies to you about the condition (in my case they said the headgasket was fine after I asked specifically to check) you can (usually) keep the engine free. I've used Ebay for 15+ years 100k sales/1000feedbacks and there is no risk to the buyer if you ask the necessary questions first.
    I still have this guy, it needs a headgasket, the compression was low on two adjacent cylinders. And it was pretty rusty so I will probably part it out.

    For swaps, remember what it is you are getting yourself into before even buying 1 part. Budget around 20k for a reliable LS/turbo/4l80e swap with air conditioning. You will need high quality parts that last a long time, and have been 'racing' tested. For example Sikky uses all their swap kits in their race cars, and thrash them around I am sure. Oil pan and engine mount design is critical to long life.

    make a list of everything, then buy everything at once and do the swap immediately, get it done. Once it drives you can take the time to finish, drive it, work on it, etc... Its always more fun to add 3hp/day to the car rather than wait until everything is in place and its ready to make some peak number which is always disappointing because it takes months if not years to truly fine tune every aspect of a performance car you put together from scratch that nobody else has any experience with, not just in the computer but also the car itself as a total machine working together.

    Here are some of my earliest estimates when I was planning which way to go, N/A, turbo, 6-speed or auto, etc...

    Use your imagination and over estimate the cost of everything.
    I did compare and contrast 5.7L/6-speed with the 5.3/4l80e/turbo swap,
    The 6-speed, 5.7L aluminum engine drivetrain costs more, handles less power, and is more expensive to replace is there is ever a problem.
    Its also 'stuck' under 500hp naturally aspirated for an economical street setup.

    I decided that I would rather have the cheaper engine (4.8/5.3), cheaper transmission(4l80e), and an extra couple hundred HP instead.
    As I could never afford to replace a six speed transmission (they are SO EXPENSIVE) or an aluminum 5.7L (those are NOT free)
    and I am really rough on equipment, I am well known for finding every little flaw and bug. I like to test everything at every conceivable possibility.

    Then, when in progress, I tried to hit every single aspect of a swap, including turbo/wiring/tuning/economy/etc...

    transmission logic / wiring

    Compressor math is necessary to determine the effectiveness of the turbo you choose. Will it be for drag, road race, or street/daily? Or for a boat.

    I'll go through how to select a turbo when I can. To select one for this app was easy enough: Choose the smallest turbo that supports the flow rate desired.
    For example I wanted 80lb/min or roughly 800hp capable. This is the smallest turbo from an OEM manufacturer (BW) that supports that much airflow.
    It also has 'room to grow', upgrades are easy without changing much. But I can't see needing more than 600 to the wheels in a car like this.
    I think its a perfect match, and 20k miles later I still do. In 2019-2020 a dyno will show what I am feeling.

    How hot does the air come out of the compressor? Even efficient boost will generate 250*F or more at street boost levels.

    Intercooling is just one of many tools we have at our disposal.
    Will show how I control exhaust gas temperature, and radiated (engine bay) temperature, how to prevent heat soak, and allow an engine to perform at max output without getting anything too hot and melting in the hottest parts of the mid-day. And still warming up the oil quickly for daily driving routines which is critical for long life.

  2. #2
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    On 1-25-17 I made the decision to begin. I went back to the junkyard and pulled a wiring harness from a Tahoe, along with it's 411 PCM. The vehicle was flex fuel, so the OS in the PCM was a little "odd" (fewer people use it the way I plan to) but it still works fine (driving on it as of today).

    Those famous words: I went to the junkyard to scope out my first LSx engine (I had never seen one before in person as of 2016) and looked at a bunch of crashed trucks. Some ripped open well enough for me to poke around and get a mental picture of the sheer size involved.
    More of that here, it sort of overlaps with this thread

    As promised I take many pictures to detail the journey (It is, after all, about the journey)

    SO first I saw these two components which I am unfamiliar with. The one on the right had some kind of line connected to it that I couldn't pull off with quite a bit of force; eventually I broke it though, and cut it, and crushed it. And then crushed it some more to be sure it was gone.

    This is the filthy ECU I pulled. Research indicates it works with both DBW and DBC.

    I think this was the DBW box. I didnt follow the wires I just snapped a pic and moved on.

    Saw this plug and figured it was a coolant cylinder head plug, wondering if HPT was going to report this as "cylinder head temp".

    Thanks to Joe, I had a 7mm to pull apart the fuse box.

    Saw those little tiny heat sinks and remembered what I was told, "the ones with the heat sinks" So these are the famous coil packs?

    The harness took 1.5 hours to pull, give or take.
    The hardest part was the couple of O2 sensors (I almost cut the wire but... i wanted the whole dang thing, and there were these strange metal connectors hidden under/around the frame that were super annoying) and the wire above the starter, and the wires that wrapped around the oil pan.

    I started wiring the harness, first took care of the 4l60e -> 4l80e wiring
    transmission wiring for the 4l80e

    I didn't remove the wires from the plug because I didn't want to fill the holes with silicone. I'd rather just leave a little piece of wire to fill the hole.

    Here is the logic and pinouts for the PRNDL switch (neutral safety switch) of the 4l80e which I found helpful

    I pulled the motor out of the 240sx, Pressure washed 240sx engine bay

    The 4l80e Transmission arrived 1-31-17 as well. In a day or two I will open it to look inside...

    Here is the turbo I am running, Geoff helped to confirm my suspicions that this is the best mate for what I plan.

    I always give "FullRace" as much business as I can, Owner Geoff has been very kind to me.

    Holding the gate and some of the hardware can give you some encouragement and excitement.
    The turbo I didn't even open the box until it was time to put it on, though. Regular air is actually full of debris and I never want that compressor inlet exposed to regular air, if I can help it. I will be using a paper filter from AFE which they claim filters better than OEM and is reusable.

    I wanted the best possible insulating blanket and the DEI caught my eye. It was very expensive so I actually emailed DEI and one of their associates responded and sponsored some of the DEI materials I got to use. Sometimes you can ask big names for discounts/extras and it can help you finish the project.
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  3. #3
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    While I was waiting to find an engine, I did more of the wiring at home on the floor. I also received some of my first LS related parts.

    thanks, finally got some time to fix up the wiring images, wiring stage 1 at least

    basically at this point, I need to see if those huge plugs fit through the fire wall of the 240sx, or is there some other way to get the harness through... I want the ECU Inside the car. Also, I need the engine so I can mock up the harness and remove un-needed length, and wire up the TPS and IACV sensors correct length and leg of the harness.

    Wiring update (2-11-17) Last night I was going to wire in my TPS and IACV when I realized I would need a shielded cable for the TPS. So I spent quite a bit of time pulling the shielded wire from the KA24DE harness and getting it cleaned up and ready for the LS harness. Next I need to make a cable for the IACV. Will put the pics below here if they fit when finished.

    The 96 240sx harness is giving me the run around. Apparently in 96 they used some pins from the 95 and some from the 96, its a sort of hybrid. I spent almost 6 hours last night just sorting out where each wire actually goes, removing un-used wires from the 240's harness, and finding some wires where there shouldn't be any. I will have to actually plug it back into the car and measure what comes out before finishing the conversion with the LS harness.

    The truck harness passes through the OEM 240sx firewall hole without any issue. I just took the little plastic pieces off the plugs and it went right in like it was made for the car. One of the things I did (without realizing it until I did it) was I reversed the injectors/coils on the engine (I moved all #1,3,5,7 over to the other side) and had to lengthen the other 4 to reach back to the far side. Somehow or other I got them mixed up (it must be the way the OEM truck harness sits on the intake manifold, vs how it "sits" on the LS1 intake) but it turned out to be a really good thing because now with the extra length, the harness can reach into the car like a stock 240sx harness (its sitting on the passenger side floor board with plenty of length).

    There it is after just passing through. I taped it up to reduce the size. I still have labels on many wires that I haven't put to use yet (like A/C wires).

    The first LS1 Intake I've ever seen in person It actually came with bolts, big sigh of relief there. A couple of ports I am trying to identify, catch me if anything is wrong!

    First thing I do is wash everything, I scrubbed out the ports with a nylon brush and some purple degreaser, I worked the throttle body and it felt a big "gritty" so I washed it with brake cleaner until it was smooth, then WD-40 basically everything to keep it from oxidizing. Usually Throttle body for fuel injected cars are water-tight, but this one has a small hole, I am guessing somebody drilled a hole in the blade for an idle related issue. I do not see any "sandwhich plate" so I hope one is not used/needed for this intake! Another thing I am going to ask, on some cars the throttle blade bolts back out and the engine eats them. The solution is loc-tite and stake them for those cars. I wonder if the LS1 has any history of this issue? Hope not, I want to just leave em be!

    Usually I see everyone using the vette regulator for LS1 returnless fuel systems; I dislike the idea of locking the fuel pressure at 60psi constant, it is much harder on the fuel pump, and fuel system, to run at such high pressure all the time. In control systems, I typically like to use the lowest pressure possible to get the job done, whether we are discussing fuel, oil, water, air, or blood pressure. So my regulator will operate around 30~psi during normal driving, and manifold reference up to about 40~psi at 0psi of manifold pressure, +1psi per pound of boost. This way, during normal driving, it will keep fuel pump wear and tear to a minimum. And just because I was curious what aeromotive would say, I sent their tech an inquiry:

    "from aeromotive tech:

    "All testing on Aeromotive fuel pumps for durability is done at 60-PSI. We typically see 2,000 run hours from a 340 Stealth Pump at 60-PSI and 13.5 volts. That said, lower pressure and/or slower speed can extend pump life, but you would need to change injectors (possibly) and retune the ECU (certainly) if you plan to run lower pressure."

    Hope that helps, let us know if you need further assistance and thanks for choosing Aeromotive!

    Brett Clow
    Tech Director
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  4. #4
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    2-9-17 I Officially made the core support removable.
    pic updated to show result with engine installed.

    I had to drill out about 12 spot welds for this to happen. It was harder than I thought, but still pretty easy. I pressure washed the engine bay, and removed any unnecessary components to clear the way for the big engine. I started hammering out the transmission tunnel. I didn't bring my camera, I literally had a car load full of items (intake, oil pan, mounts, fans, various smaller sundries, tools, etc) so I had a huge list of things to remember to take, and my camera just wasn't on the list unfortunately. Ever since I got some brake cleaner on the camera lens it just hasn't been the same, I stopped carrying it everywhere. getting a clear picture is almost impossible now. The lens is made of plastic and brakecleen melted it a little. New camera coming soon.

    Next time I see the car, I will be seeing the engine as well, and sure the bring a camera, clean the engine, install all the parts, look for clearance issues, test the engine, and get it ready for the transmission. Then, the next NEXT time I see the car, trans will mate, and the engine will go into the car and fire up briefly to check for noise (I hope there is plenty of noise!)

    In other news, HP tuners arrived today! I just got my hands on it since I got home, it was on the door step at 10pm. I wonder how long that $500 package sat there through the day? Oh well. So I will boot the ECU soon, maybe tonight even, and fiddle around with the computer some.

    Couple more staples arrived as well

    Motor should be here in a day or two (2-15 or 2-16), trans is taking longer, it isnt even shipped yet. It will give me plenty of time to sort out the engine at least...

    This is the converter you want for a street car, it works with the 4l60e flexplate, its for a 4l80E, should drive like a stock vehicle and really get the go when you want it,

    A quality torque converter is the heart of a build.
    The most important part of all.
    If this converter wasn't available for some reason- I would not have done this swap.

    Should have that in my hands within a week (pic updated to show actual unit). I had one about 13 years ago when I built my first 700R4 transmission and it really was the heart of the vehicle, the centerpiece of the combination. I wouldn't run a serious street car without a 9.5" Lockup unit.
    Heres a thumbnail of the 700R4 rebuild

    You can click for the album if curious. I was about 17 years old though, so it isnt clean like I am doing things these days. My father helped me make that special tool you see for the bottom of the transmission, there is some kind of piston down there, forgot what its called, he welded up that bar you see. We have all kinds of scrap in the backyard for making stuff like that, its what I will probably make my 4l80e crossmember adapter out of.

    next up some goodies arriving today, bought a slightly used LSx swap kit from friend. Sikky makes the best, my research indicates.

    couple other things came, ls6 valley cover, gaskets, couple v-bands.

    Got the first engine 2-15-17,

    put it on a stand.

    chased a couple threads

    and did a compression test... no bueno. 100psi on cylinders 1 and 3. I emailed the seller and waiting to hear back now...

    Wound up keeping this engine for free.

    I went to homestead!

    I went there to personally check each engine in the salvage yard, until I find the best one!

    I get there, and he hands me a list of all the 5.3's in the yard, the years and details, what vehicle and so forth. We handled a few with the forklift, and I found quite a few in the back containers, a couple interesting results too- some of the 4x4 versions had some 200psi of compression! All in all, I checked 7 different engines in approx 2.5 hours, lugging a battery, starter, impact, and a couple other tools through the yard, navigating the cars to where the engines lay spread out on little rolling carts throughout.

    Ironically, the first engine I checked turned out the be the best one of all, and the one I selected to keep. The only reason I kept going and checking the rest was- well, I was curious what else I could find, if I could do any better :D
    Nay, none of the other engines I checked were showing solid compression across the board.

    So tomorrow will be a fun day, I finally get to play with accessories, pulleys, steam ports, intakes, pressure tests, and of course- do a final compression test just to ease my mind.

    I also pulled the pan off the transmission I got back from the shop to take a couple pics,

    I love shift kits, automatic transmissions, and the way it feels when it kicks your car sideways slightly. This transmission shows minimal wear- it was very clean and cherry, the transmission shop owner confirmed it probably has about 100k just like the cluster in the auction shows (I had it shipped directly to the trans shop for inspection and shift kit installation, let somebody who does this for a living put it in). It was FREAKIN HEAVY though, I mean WOW, I could barely carry this thing into the backyard.

    To 4l80e a computer capable that originally controls a 4l60e ECU you will segment swap it.
    I started off with no idea, and luckily there are some very helpful individuals on the Hptuners site that help for free.

    Just a taste of a shift kit when I was a little kid and I've wanted one since that moment. The reality is at higher outputs the 4l80e is such a monster that when it changes gears quickly the tire immediately accelerates to the new speed, spinning tires like mad and the car gets sideways. So the tire chirp phenomenon is really only available at part throttle, because at higher outputs you don't want to spin the tire. The modern GM Ecu has a strategy called Torque Management that I will discuss later that actually allows the instant gear change to occur without the massive tire spin effect, allowing a high power car, even with stock size tires, to accelerate and shift without being dangerous to control. And you can dial it up gradually to just spin the tire... a little bit... just enough to sort of propel the car forward through the gear. Sleeeeeper

    My next day list:
    1. clean both engines and transmission free of dirt/grease (I got a free engine thanks to ebay) and chase applicable threads
    2. replace accessories & intake on the LS engine I've selected for the swap so it will fit my vehicle
    3. deal with steam ports (I have a couple ideas and parts to try)
    4. cut the ears from the 4l80e
    5. fit, cut, and measure the remaining portions of the wiring harness so it looks tidy when plugged in
    6. check oilpan fitment to decide where my oil drain-back bung will be installed. I was leaning towards passenger side rear of the pan, for some reason Sikky recommended it go there, in the rear, although common sense is telling me the front of the pan is where I want to be...

    This should take the day, most of it.
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  5. #5
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    Finally found an engine I was happy with, so I start cleaning it.

    So we start out with a little pressure wash, a little degreasing, a little scrubbing down

    That knocked alot of loose dirt free, a good start.

    After a little wire wheel they really shined up nice, this is just so I can see what I am working with.

    make sure to put oil in the cylinders after any kind of serious wash, and crank the motor over to make all the water come out of the cylinders. I keep doing this, oil, crank, oil, crank, until I see no more water coming out, and only oil.

    I mixed up some of joe's special secret sauce :D

    And realized just how tight that balancer bolt was, ha

    Cleaned up F-body balancer for installation,

    And torqued it with a new bolt

    And then... major issue with the exhaust studs. After breaking a bunch of drill bits, and snapped several extractor bits, one of them even inside one of the studs (yikes), I had to dremel it into a fine dust powder... and so I decided to pull the head and bring it to a machine shop. This was 100% my fault for not waiting long enough with the secret sauce, it probably would have been fine if I was more patient... but thats not going to happen! Full Speed A-head!

    Then it was time for re-assembly. The only way I like to put back together an OEM engine is to use the FSM (until it fails, of course)
    Some useful info I dug up for my re-assembly process. Hopefully pics in a day or two of that :D

    Until then, with love
    Stuff to do:
    Clean the rocker arm pivot bolt threads with a wire brush

    clean rocker arms, pivot balls, nuts or bolts, pushrods with solvent

    check intake manifold to head with no gasket for weird space due to head decking

    check rocker arms where they contact pushrod ends for damage galling roughspots etc

    roll each pushrod for straightness
    clean oil hole for pushrods

    check rocker arm pivot bearings for binding and roughness

    check spring installed height

    apply moly base lubricant to rocker arm pivot and faces

    check the camshaft lift with dial indicator

    tap and clean the head bolt holes, use brake cleaner

    Deck (head gasket surface) warpage limit 0.003 inch per 6 inches
    Lobe life 5.3L from 2002:
    Intake 0.268 inch
    Exhaust 0.274 inch

    extra info:
    Main bearing oil clearance: V8 engines 0.0008 to 0.0021 inch

    crankshaft end play 0.0015 to 0.007B inch

    5.3L 98-02 Top compression ring end gap 0.010 to 0.016 inch
    5.3L 98-02 Second compression ring end gap 0.017 to 0.027 inch

    more stuff to do:
    engine valley cover bolts 18ft lbs

    Installation of pushrod/rocker:
    lube lower end of pushrod and seat firmly into lifter
    apply assembly lube to valve stem and upper pushrod end
    apply clean engine oil to pivot shaft and bearing of rocker arm and install them loosely

    rotate crank until number1 is TDC
    3). With the number one piston is at TDC, tighten the intake
    valve rocker arms for the Number 1, 3, 4, and 5 cylinders and the
    exhaust rocker arms for the Number 1, 2, 7, and 8 cylinders. Tighten
    each of the specified rocker arm bolts to the torque listed in this Chapter's
    11 Rotate the crankshaft 360 degrees. Tighten the intake valve rocker
    arms for the Number 2, 6, 7, and 8 cylinders and the exhaust rocker
    arms for the Number 3, 4, 5, and 6 cylinders. Tighten each of the
    rocker arm bolts to the torque listed in this Chapter's Specifications.

    Intake manifold! : use medium strength threadlocking compound

    head and deck:
    10 The mating surfaces of the cylinder heads and block must be
    perfectly clean when the heads are installed. Gasket removal solvents
    are available at auto parts stores and may prove helpful.
    11 Use a gasket scraper to remove all traces of carbon and old gasket
    material, then wipe the mating surfaces with a cloth saturated with
    lacquer thinner or acetone.

    If there is oil on the mating surfaces when the heads are installed, the
    gaskets may not seal correctly and leaks may develop. When working
    on the block, use a vacuum cleaner to remove any debris that falls into
    the cylinders.
    12 Check the block and head mating surfaces for nicks, deep
    scratches and other damage. If damage is slight, it can be removed with
    emery cloth
    . If it is excessive, machining may be the only alternative.
    13 Use a tap of the correct size to chase the threads in the head
    bolt holes in the block. If a tap is not available, spray a liberal amount
    of brake cleaner into each hole. Use compressed air (if available) to
    remove the debris from the holes.
    9.17 Cylinder head bolt tightening sequence - all V8 engines
    Wear safety glasses or a face shield to protect your eyes when
    using compressed air.
    All cylinder head bolts should be replaced with new bolts
    14 Position the new gaskets over the dowels in the block (see illustration).
    15 Carefully position the heads on the block without disturbing the
    16 Before installing the 8mm head bolts, coat the threads with a
    medium-strength thread locking compound. Then install the new 8mm
    head bolts (bolts 11 through 15).
    17 Install new 11 mm head bolts (bolts 1 through 1 0) and tighten
    them finger tight. Following the recommended sequence (see illustration),
    tighten the bolts in four steps to the torque listed in this Chapter's

    Annnnd pictures always help :D

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  6. #6
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    at the moment I am still trying to tidy up the wiring

    1. The VSS on the 240sx normally goes from the VSS sensor -> cluster -> ECU
    In the LSx engine, it goes from the VSS sensor -> ECU -> Cluster (It looks like, pin 50 is output speed from ECU)

    So my question is, the speedo cluster in my 240sx dash is expecting a 2-wire signal from the VSS sensor, yet the LS ecu only outputs speed to a single wire. I am pretty sure if I take the VSS signal directly off the trans to the cluster like it wants, the speedo will read wrong. So how can I use the single wire (which I heard is customizable in the ECU sometimes) with my 2-wire cluster speedo input? Eh

    Answer: might need a "converter box" still investigating (ECU shows MPH so it isn't a pressing issue).

    2. Alternator wiring! Q's (I am using 98-02 Fbody alternator with 5.3L truck harness/ECU)
    I notice that "teh web" says I need to wire pin "B" (same as pin "L") To the ECU "generator/alternator turn on signal"
    My questions are:
    A: can I also wire this pin"B" to my dash-charge lamp indicator light? JW (just wonderin') I know the MIL will trip for low voltage also but I wanted my little dash light to work also lol
    B: Will the PCM control the duty-cycle of the alternator? The truck alt uses pin"C" for "field duty" but the camaro Alt doesn't have a wire there in pin "C", and I can't seem to find a def. answer to that, JW

    Answer: I wired the terminal as pictured below from Camaro alt -> truck ECU and it works fine, just follow the diagram.

    added some interesting alternator info:

    and a picture i make that shows the pins all around

    This was 3-11-17 progress and explanation, please enjoy cookies

    An what do ya know! 175psi across the board!
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  7. #7
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    This is 3-12-17
    I had a lul in progress from 3-13 to 3-15 while I fooled around more with the harness. I had a couple concerns about the factory switched 12V feeding all of the injectors/coils so I wanted to something a little more robust, at least until I can test the amperage draw of the engine running. I also had to re-wire the injectors and coils to move them opposite sides, for some reason when I got the harness on the engine the way it seemed to want to fit into the 240sx (like an OEM 240sx harness) the cylinder #2 side was on the #1 side and the others were too short to even reach the other, wrong side.

    Begin with alt bracket, if you search on the forum there are other members who have done this and show exactly how, I followed their directions with good results, although I know I wasn't perfect because I could tell the bracket wasn't absolutely perfect by the way it torqued down:

    here is some of the wiring example I had to do

    I compared LS6 to 5.3L valley cover gaskets out of curiosity

    Decided to use the truck valley cover after all. The LS6 has a PCV port, or breather, it seems, that runs to the back of the engine. The last thing I want is another hole in the engine somewhere hard to reach.

    I wanted to make sure there was no air if possible in the oil system, so I turned it over and watched the air come out of the other side while pouring into the oil pump. I am not sure that was important or necessary; I just figured I would do it anyways.

    had to cut the ears off the 4l80e, I used a pretty big grinder to do this. It made a huge mess! Be sure to triple wrap the input shaft, and the dipstick port, and all of the electronics! Then, take a shower! haha there was aluminum in my ears...
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  8. #8
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    This was 3-17-17

    Pan fittings installed

    Booted the computer up at home. First, segment swapped a DBC engine/DTC portion, then segment swapped a 4l80 trans sections into my native OS, then upgraded to the 2-bar map. So far invested 2 credits. I backed up the original OS and tune files so I can start over if necessary. I spent most of the day dealing with the computer and trying different things with varied results. HPtuners is new to me so it was and is still a learning curve.

    When I loaded the scanner to check the TPS/MAP/IACV, at first it didn't show the TPS, and I got worried that it wasn't working. After a while I figured out why it looked like it wasn't working:

    On to the engine, sikky says ya gota cut the rear section of the windage tray off. There doesn't seem to be any interference with the pan, so I have to guess this is for oil flow reasons.

    I was really skeptical of the O-ring. So many have torns theirs. I actually wasn't comfortable using this large red one shown in the picture, it was too tight of a fit, and after I tried installing and removing it a couple times I did manage to tear it. I was not surprised; I think some O-rings are better than others as far as fitment goes, or there might be a trick to the installation I haven't figured out yet. I wound up using the one sikky provided, which was slightly larger inside diameter, but seemed to fit snugly also.

    update: Indeed, there are different O-rings! I found out after doing a little research that if the pickup tube has an indentation, you would want to use the larger thicker O-ring like the one in my picture. The O-ring that came out of my engine was green, I have no idea which Style O-ring it was anymore but I did keep it so I will be getting a pic of it soon. The one that came with the sikky kit was "blue", and thin design. And that is the one I wound up using (because I tore the red one trying to fit it in there, by coincidence of course, I didn't know at the time it was the wrong O-ring for the sikky pickup tube).

    Got a look inside the motor since i had to pull the tray anyways

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  9. #9
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Initially I cranked the motor over by hand and saw oil coming out where it was supposed to. I then used the starter, but after a couple seconds I wasn't getting any pressure on the OIL pressure gauge, so I was worried about the OEM oil pump. I talked to SIKKY And they confirmed it was fairly common to have junkyard engines with failed OEM oil pumps.

    From sikky:
    "Yes so we have seen junk yard engines that came out of running cars get swapped in and have same low oil pressure issue. We assumed just like you that there was no way it could be the pump because supposedly it was running prior. After tearing everything apart we found the pump was the problem. This same thing has happened several times over the many years we have been doing these swaps. 10+ years to be exact. If you checked all the obvious stuff and it all checks out than this is likely your issue. " -Sikky rep
    So, I opted for better safe than sorry. I decided to pull the engine and change the oil pump immediately before going further.

    Here is the OEM oil pump from the 5.3L I am using. It looks brand new inside! To me anyways. I am pretty sure I changed out a perfectly good oil pump.

    Here is the new one going on. Make sure to use a torque wrench always!

    The oil pan, how I sealed it up. Silicone on BOTH sides, all the way around, but not a THICK line, just a little to help it seal up nice. If all the surfaces are brake-clean clean, razor blade and brake clean again clean, and then again and again, then it will stick down very well. Evidenced by the massive amount of work I had to do to remove it since this was the second time (went back into the change the oil pump on a whim)! It was nicely adhered to the engine, to everything really, and the line was clean and smooth and nothing was shooting out of the edges.

    Rockauto has these for like $2 each! I grabbed a couple more.

    Couple of "moving along" progress pics. I don't post many of these (because its not really a build thread) but it still helps to see progress so you get a feel for whats been done to that point, and what I was emphasizing. You can see the thin line of silicone still on the engine block surface; I had not cleaned it up at that point yet. You should be able to see that it does not protrude annoyingly in either direction, it does not take much, just use a very thin line.

    A reminder to seal the wiring clips away from water

    Install Sikky Sway bar:

    And on to the pressure testing, here is the setup, block every access port leading from the intake manifold

    Then use air compressor to build "boost pressure" and find leaks.

    When the engine is running, you can't hear what is going on. That is why you need to shut the engine off, and use a very quiet air hose (turn off that compressor!) to fill the air path with pressure and find all of the leaks. This is NOT an optional test; every forced induction setup NEEDS to be pressure tested, there are always leaks to find.

    A leaking PCV valve is NO GOOD. They should not leak like that! You need to test your PCV to make sure it seals up tight when there is boost in the manifold, or it will send boost right into the crankcase.

    Will post more detailed video at some point. Need to find a lower radiator hose, any suggestions? So far I have had "1999 C1500" suggested. And somebody else mentioned a stock camaro lower hose might work. Update: Used a Z06 vette radiator hose, fits decent but there is room for improvement.

    Also, is this the proper fitting to convert the OEM fuel rail into -6an? (RUSSEL: 640853) I'd prefer to just goto a barb fitting, if you know of one, though. My max pressure will be around 53psi if I decide to actually try 15psi of boost pressure, as my base will be 38psi~ so barb is acceptable, fuel system will be very simple. Update: NO that is NOT the fitting you want. Please see:

    For custom fabrication turbo cars, the exhaust plumbing takes precedence over everything else. I won't plumb fuel, trans, or complete/cover any wiring until the exhaust system is in place. Everything stays "open and accessible" just in case there is an issue to diagnose. Right now was just a test run of the engine to make sure it sounded right and that the ECU failed the maf and seemed to work normally within HPtuner ( I was worried the ECU would be one of those "bad ones" that doesn't proper fail the maf, luckily it seemed to do just fine ). You can think of everything in the bay as a temporary measure to test the engine before moving forward (just in case it had to come back out). The last thing we want to do is install everything and realize the motor is bad or has some kind of internal issue where it needs to be removed again, so the bare minimum is established in the bay for the engine to fire as quickly as possible before moving on to actually "investing" effort into the setup. It took twice as long as expected to get to this point (which is actually what I really did expect because that is pretty typical to "double" time when dealing in mechanics) although it is still very important to set a goal, expectation, budget, and establish a routine for completion. I feel that: "make a solid plan and don't get sidetracked" is an important lesson in actually completing the goal, even if it wasn't as quickly or perfectly as you planned.
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  10. #10
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    Intermission: I spent a couple years gathering information before jumping into this swap head first. Here is saved info I collected that might help you :D

    Phil quote turbo pipe:
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil99vette View Post
    Its my belief that the pipes should be merged before the turbo and you should have at least 3" of straight pipe before it goes into the turbo. If space doesn't allow than you do the best you can do. You don't want hard turns right before the turbo.

    Block the heater hoses, dont loop

    coils dwell
    "The dwell time at low rpm is what hurts the coils. Some coils (the round ones) will fire over 5ms by themselves hurting engines. I have ran the truck coils at 7ms above 5000rpm with good results."

    engine building?

    Alternator failure and replacement from a truck

    LS to KA weight comparison

    starter breaks

    Oil Barbell

    grease the idler pulley

    Cam oil retainer ring pressure leak spot

    fix steam ports

    low cost steam port solution:

    the Al. 5.3 is where its at:

    use Thread sealer for rocker bolts on ported heads:

    use a torque plate, heat the block, art method?

    About torque plate, NOT honing, etc

    Oil pump swap writeup

    Quick Squish post

    more misc:

    LS1 and LS2 lifter trays

    timing chain thingy
    from thread:

    Road race oil control thread

    Pullout prices

    "I hear ya! Had more trouble with machining BS trying to use aftermarket parts than I care to admit. Wish I would have stuck to factory short blocks as well. Tired of pulling apart "built" motors when guys are making twice the power on factory original stuff and racing the whole season."

    LS1 vs LS2 small thread

    O-ring is very important

    Chain rollers, PREVENT THIS

    Rear mounts WORK

    Wet sump oil falling RPM post

    Even crate engines fail, use an oem block

    weird ringland thread

    HP tuner thread

    good MEthanol thread with some calcs

    Oil Accumulator post, followed by more goodness

    reliability bottom end list

    another bottom end reliability

    Low mileage engines fail too, more reason to always use a cheap engine

    Don't rebuild that engine!

    "stock is reliable on the track"

    Engine building (machine shop/paying for work instead of doing it yourself) screws you over most of the time


    PS pressure reducing shim kit:

    All kinds of parts

    Alan grove brackets

    Holley brackets

    LS brackets lol

    "the stock LS1 throttle cable bracket, it works great with the S14 throttle cable just by simply flipping the LS1 bracket upside down! "

    240sx LS swap example forum

    COmmon turbo items

    BOLT SIZES FOR stuff LS motors

    To swap from Truck intake to LS6:
    ls6 intake
    ls1/ls6 intake bolts (can't use the truck ones, they are too short)
    97/98 vette fuel rail (for 99 to 03 trucks) or 98 to 02 f body fuel rail (04 & up)
    ls1/ls6 style injectors (i chose 28.8#'s b/c i needed bigger ones already)
    ls1/ls6 injector pigtails summit part no. MSD-2400
    ls1/ls6 water pump
    ls1/ls6 map sensor
    custom idler pulley relocation bracket
    LS6 Valley cover?

    Use Anti Seize on the V-band threads!!
    "Do coat the inside of the retainers with dry film lubricant to reduce friction between the coupling and the flanges."
    Use a flexible exhaust piece between crossover joint!!!

    "The trick we have learned from experience is to tap hard on the clamp with a mallet as you are tightening, you will vibrate the two ends flush together and when you go back to tighten the nut again, you will feel it has gotten loose."

    "Most of the guys in the 240 uses are R4 LS0278 bracket if they are doing a/c."

    " an easy way to tell if a motor is a gen3 but with the good internals, it will have the rear cam read, on the back of the "lifter valley" and have 13mm header bolts, and 13mm lifter valley bolts. They installed the larger head bolts at the same time they did the Internals, this has proved true in our experience so far."

    "Buy the LQ9 out of an Escalade and a 2wd 4L80E out of a 2500 pickup."

    Of course if you are standing in-front of a vehicle, you can look at the VIN#. 8th digit is the Engine, 10th digit is the year. T = 5.3L LM7, V= 4.8L LR4, Z = 5.3L L59 Flex Fuel (1999 to 2007) Typically 1999 to 2002 were cable driven throttle bodies, however, some did get drive by wire as early as 2000 I have seen.

    2001+ Used MLS (multi layer steel) head gaskets. This can be identified by looking for a small brass rivet in the head gasket at each end of cylinder head where head meets block. Rivet = MLS
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  11. #11
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Some pics of the transmission shifter installation and locating the turbocharger/downpipe. Notice the gate is easy to access and recirculates. This vehicle is going to be very quiet, I intend to use two mufflers and a J-pipe to bring the noise level down.

    Here is a timeline for the events that have happened so far. I consider this (6-1-17) the 49% waypoint, since the vehicle drives well and I think I have the basics covered: pinion angle, overall wiring schematic and function of devices proper, trans/engine are good, no oil/water leaks, no strange noises, turbo doesn't smoke (good drain), no exhaust leaks, no overheating, verified every cylinder fires and contributes evenly by disabling 1 injector at a time while driving, car pushes fairly well (no dragging), drives a hundred miles with no issue, basically the car seems happy.

    First, a timeline, so you can get a feel for how long it took to get to the 49% waypoint.
    1-23-17 I went to the junkyard to scope out some LSx engines. Just looked at them, I had never seen one in person before. I made a thread on an LS specific site asking questions about what I saw.
    2-2-17 I went back to the junkyard and pulled a wiring harness from a 5.3L tahoe motor, and took the 411 PCM, took it home and started the wiring (following
    2-15-17 I received my first LSx 5.3L Engine from Ebay, and it was rusty and had low compression on two cylinders (bad head gasket). I got a full refund but it set me back.
    2-21-17 I got a second engine from a local junkyard. It too had low compression on multiple cylinders. I didn't realize it at the time but that engine was probably fine to use, and just needed some cleaning and gaskets. Being inexperienced with LSx engines, however, I sent it back for another.
    2-21-17 I removed the core support from the 240sx by removing the spot welds, took about 2 hours. De-bur the holes, sand, clean, and painted it. I used POR-15 on the chassis.
    2-22-17 I received a 4l80e with 100k miles, took the pan off and it looked very good inside, red cherry fluid and minimal clutch material.
    2-23-17 I received a third LSx engine and had even worse compression and a broken piston in this one.
    2-24-17 I drove to homestead to check out the remaining LSx engines in the junkyard by myself. I brought a starter, battery, and compression tester with me, and walked throughout the junkyard and compression tested about 8 different engines they had. I wound up keeping the best one I could find, which had ~170 across the board.
    3-4-17 I pulled the heads from the engine I had selected. I bought re-freshed heads with new seals and a valve job, and exchanged my old ones in as cores.
    3-11-17 The new heads arrived and I put them on the engine with new gaskets, following FSM procedure. Spent alot of time cleaning the pistons and chasing threads.
    3-12-17 Installed F-body accessories, drilled and tapped the block for alternator, new balancer bolt, spent alot of time cleaning and chasing threads again.
    3-12-17 Also Cut the "ears" off the 4l80e and installed knock sensors, valley cover.
    3-17-17 Installed Sikky Oil pan, and booted the 411 PCM at home on the floor to connect with HPtuners, unlock it and do the 4l80e segment swap, and go 2-bar.
    3-18-17 I put the engine into the 240sx and started making trans mounts
    3-20/21-17 Made the first set of trans mounts to fit the 4l80e without cutting or banging the tunnel at all. This was a huge mistake because I found out a couple days later that there is such a thing as "pinion angle" and my home-made mounts put the trans at far too much downward slope. The trans needed to raise ALOT so I did all that work for nothing.
    3-24/25-17 Pulled the engine back out, and modded the trans tunnel heavily. I will provide more details elsewhere. For now, just know I cut out the OEM crossmember mounting locations, and hammered it up a little too much (Over kill). But the reward was worth it: the trans fit with the proper pinion angle. Had to make completely new crossmember and mounting locations, though.
    3-26-17 I spent some time cleaning; washing, scrubbing the front of the car, and added the POR-15 to the areas hidden by the core support.
    4-6/7-17 Pulled the engine back out because I thought the oil pump was bad. I pulled off the front cover, oil pan, and installed a new melling OEM oil pump. Turns out, the oil pump was probably fine. Better safe than sorry, though.
    4-10-17 Started it for the first time. It fired up and ran great even though I just guessed the initial injector settings and had no clue what the fuel pressure was.
    4-16-17 Sikky sway bar and trans oil lines install. In case you are curious, I leave the torque converter unbolted from the flexplate until I am sure everything else is ready and the engine wont have to come back out.
    4-18-17 my birthday. I installed the Camaro shifter into the 240sx and put fluid in the trans finally, and made the car drive a short distance. So far, so good!
    4-28-17 I finally was able to get the car trailored to my friends house, where we started welding up the turbo manifolds (he has a mig welder). I saw his personal LSx turbo manifolds and I wanted mine the exact same way! We woekred on it about 3 hours every day from 5pm to sunset, missing a couple days on the weekend.
    5-10-17 we finished the welding of the manifolds, overall it took about 24 hours total. I painted and wrapped them the best I could (my first time using wrap, I got very itchy) DEI titanium.
    5-18-17 Just about ready to put everything on the car and start it / drive it away.
    5-19-17 Welded in the wideband, installed the downpipe, finalized all bolt torque, used anti-seize on everything, and drove the car for the first time like a normal car. Err truck.
    5-23-17 Have about 100 miles on it and continue to finalize items on the enormous list I have

    Soon I will update again with start to finish of the multitude of minor details, such as battery relocation, battery tray reconstruction, fuel line relocation, radiator final placement, A/C condenser placement, final transmission cooler resting place, fuse box relocation, fuse panel changes, heat shield additions, fire sleeve/reflective surfaces, and of course it still needs a full exhaust system and intercooler plumbing.

    For now here is a shot under the car of where we left the exhaust off.

    Couple videos of driving it easy

    here is open downpipe

    Here is after the downpipe was extended to the trans crossmember (above picture)
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  12. #12
    Dayum. That's been a crapload of work! I admire your patience.
    If someone blows up a school with a bomb they go after the bomber ... if someone shoots up a school they go after the gun.

    A privilege is just a right that has been taken away by government.

    Political correctness is cowardice wrapped in a lie.

    2013 Acura RDX Tech, 30% tints, hardwired Escort 8500 X50

    2011 Infiniti M56, 30% ceramic tint, hard-wired Escort 8500 X50, LED cabin and trunk lighting - traded!

  13. #13
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    As I get time, I will take each aspect and open it for complete analysis. The major topics to discuss are:
    1. reliability
    2. economy
    3. power

    "cheap, fast, reliable", choose two. I like to think that with this vehicle/swap I have chosen all three.

    We will start with reliability, or any aspect of it as I come to them. I may have to come back and update this as I think of what to add later, so check back for updates in all posts.

    When I see a car, I do not see it's engine. I might see the trans, rear, brakes, axles, a/c stuff, steering and suspension, depending on how difficult it is to change. For example, struts and shocks, for a 240sx, are easy. I do not care what struts or shocks are on a 240sx when I am looking to drive it- because I know I can change them at any moments notice with ease. The OEM units do not need to be 'aligned' or 'configured' the way some things do, like tie rods. Tie rods require you to bring the car to an alignment laser machine, if you want to do it right, and a similar approach is taken for tires since most enthusiasts do not own tire mount/balancing machines. With this view, we can see that anything easily changeable that requires no fuss, can take a back seat. In other words, If I can swap struts, brakes, seats, carpet, wheels, tc rods, etc... at a moments notice without having to calibrate any of it, those parts become unimportant overall in the grand view of the vehicle (since we can always swap them out easily without any fuss).

    In an opposing view, there are parts which are difficult to change, require calibration, or both. Sometimes its not as easy as just bolting on a pair of brakes, sometimes they need to be adjusted or biased. Sometimes a driveshaft needs rebalance or rotated. Sometimes a seat doesn't sit right or you feel uncomfortable in it, and it needs a modification. Not all "easy" parts are easy. And not all "hard" parts are necessarily "hard" for the same reason.

    Which brings us to reliable cars. Automotive manufacturing has gotten so advanced that the cars you can buy now actually have parts with ten, twenty, thirty+ years of previous versions/track records in which those parts have been improved to the point that they never seem to fail, given the expected use of the vehicle. Brakes are a great example, they must be designed really, really well, so that the car will reliably stop. Brake failure is almost un-heard of in well maintained vehicles of any make. Our first goal in the theme of daily driver, reliable vehicles, is to use as many parts like that as possible. We want to use only parts with excellent track records of minimal failure rate- even if there is an aftermarket part available that is "better"- we would not consider upgrading it unless we absolutely needed it. Therefore you should not be surprised when I say I am using silvia S14 brakes on my vehicle, for example, which are identical to 300ZX TT brakes. These brakes reliably stop a 4000lb 300ZX, and they can stop my car even easier, and will be reliable for a daily driver with no configuration, I won't ever have to fuss with them.

    I would follow this trend everywhere I can, it just seems common sense. If a part will work that has been proven, and there is no need to upgrade, it will be on my vehicle that way. The deviation occurs when you start using a part outside of it's intended use. If I lower the 240sx and take corners on a race track, or launch with slicks on a transbrake, things will start to break if there are no upgrades, I could even wind up killing myself if something critical fails at the wrong moment. It is very important when participating in motorsports that you 'know the capability of your parts' with respect to the intended use. If a part only needs to go for 1 race or 1 pass, it can be allowed to fail on the 2nd pass because you already know that it needs to be changed after the 1st pass. On the other hand, if you want to drive 100,000 miles with a given part, you need the same kind of confidence or it becomes a gamble. I would not gamble unless I have to, and wherever I have to, I will use low stakes. Remember that because we will come back to it many times. It goes without saying but I had to say it because sometimes we forget that parts like wheel bearings or wheel studs can break or fail if we use them outside of their intended use, and it might get us hurt or wreck the car.

    So now, lets look at the engine. any engine in any car. Typically, this is one of those parts you 'wouldn't want' to have to change. it isn't normally easy to swap an engine, not as easy as changing a wheel or a seat anyways. There is a certain level of difficulty which may be increased dramatically when the engine configuration is unknown, or the experience and level of mechanical ability is low. A person who has never changed an engine, or never changed a tire, would be much less successful than somebody who has done 100 or 1000 of them. This is the main reason why someone like myself can get away with a 'budget turbo lsx'- i have the experience, mechanical knowledge, technology/computer/tuning, essentially every advantage when it comes to diagnosis and combustion/tuning related features of any engine, and that significantly lowers the cost of maintenance and 'building', since I am doing all of the wiring, tuning, diagnosis, and setup personally. Changing the engine, isn't as bad for me, because I was the one who put everything in the car initially, so I already know where every nut and bolt and wire goes. That makes it far easier to pull the engine. This is a key feature of this vehicle- the engine is easy to remove. I have taken further steps, a removable core support, fully V-band exhaust system, and eventually the major wiring essentials will be equally simple to remove in a flash when I am finished. My idea of a reliable engine is to make the engine similar to a lug nut- something you don't worry about, you know its there, its tight, it does it's job, but if you want to, you can swap it out for a next lug nut in a heartbeat. This eliminates a couple enormous hurdles from the LS-swap theme.

    name some major hurdles of LS swaps:
    A: expensive engines (5.7 from camaro/vette)
    B: machine work (both time involved waiting and errors)
    C: aftermarket parts compatibility/fitment
    D: engine internal work errors

    If I had purchased an expensive Camaro 5.7L engine and trashed it because of an oil system failure, I would probably be put into a position of having to buy another expensive, similar engine to replace it. Imagine if I had upgraded one with cam/heads, and THEN trashed it by accident. Now my expensive parts might also be trash, and even if there is nothing visibly wrong with them, they could harbor or infect the next engine with metallic trash. I never want to take parts from an engine which suffered a catastrophic internal/oil related failure and put them into a next engine. I keep speaking of oil related failure- but imagine the other ways an engine might get hurt, for example it ran lean and torched a piston. A naturally aspirated engine can still be ruined if it runs lean or with poor fuel. On a college student budget ("$0 income") I cannot afford an expensive engine, not the first, or second, or third... it just can't happen and the swap would not be possible for me if it was necessary to use an expensive engine. Therefore, the engine I need to use, needs to be 'free' or nearly so. Luckily, the truck LS version are exactly that- you really can throw a rock and hit one. Because the mounts of the vehicle work with any LS- anybody can take the car and put any LS motor into it after me. In other words, just because I need to use a cheap/free engine, doesn't mean you need to. If you did this swap, you could always start with a cheapy, and then graduate to a more expensive version. I eventually want to put an L33 in because it weighs like 80lbs less, for example. But at LEAST I have something to drive in the mean time, no matter how bad things get, I will always be able to drive the car for nearly free since engines are nearly free, and they come out with the speed/attention of a lug nut. THAT is my definition of reliability with respect to the engine in a car where buying a used engine is rolling the dice. That was my answer to the question "How do you ensure reliability when using USED parts?" A mix of OEM parts capable of achieving high mileage, perhaps 200k or 250k is possible, featuring a high abundance and easy to change, at very low to negligible cost. The gamble stakes are very low, the possibility of high mileage is very high, and I am not using any expensive internal parts. I have defeated the need and time wait of machine work, expensive internals and assembly errors, and many aftermarket parts. And we can still have cake- roughly 700hp is available when using a free engine.

    This would not be possible without the proven track record of these viable, robust engines in boost-nitrous applications. If there wasn't a "stock bottom end reliability list" with hundreds of 4.8/5.3/6.0 engines making around ~500-800+ horsepower for tens of thousands of miles or passes, I would not have the confidence to attempt such a feat. The fact that these motors have been around for over 15 years now and have been installed into a myriad of vehicles, many race cars, and been rock solid while doing so, is a defining feature of the LS-swap. as a side note, the 2jz-gte has a similar following, and is my second choice, but they are also 'expensive engines' to someone with $0 income. I now know that with proper tuning and configuration, maintenance, care and attention to detail, that oil pan is VERY clean, I mean SUPER clean, I am VERY careful when I go into my engines, that they will last a long time at a reasonable power level.

  14. #14
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    To continue reliability segment

    I will talk briefly about the remaining drivetrain (such as transmission) reliability options for the LS motors.

    Immediately everyone seems to think about a six speed behind an LS motor. I am not against manual transmissions, and enjoy them as much as anybody else, but there are a few issues I had this time around. The first is the simple fact that I often drive in traffic, and using a clutch, any clutch, in traffic, is a huge pain in the @$$. My car is a daily driver, a real one, and it means traffic every day, bumper to bumper, so a clutch is just not an option. The second issue is the clutch change- every 50k or so you have to drop the trans. I don't really MIND it so much, but it is nice not to need to do that. An automatic will go 150k or 200k without a clutch change or removal. The third aspect is the speed/racing/performance aspect, an automatic will always be faster than a manual trans. They are hands down "drag racing specialists", slick speedy shifts without having to think, just put the pedal down and let the computer decide when to shift, what gear is proper, and I have full control of the computer, so... it takes the mistakes and human error out of the equation and speeds the vehicle up dramatically, as the power is increasing it makes all the difference. The traffic was the real clutch killer, but when I weighted it with the faster car and lack of clutch swaps the auto was a clear winner.

    SO lets talk about the 4l60 and 4l80 for a minute as well, but first, a history scene. Chevy makes a TH350 and TH400 which we should look at first. The TH350 and TH400 are three speeds, where the TH400 (larger number) is more robust, put behind bigger engines, and generally accepted to be stronger and more 'power hungry' (more drivetrain losses). The idea is, we use the lightest parts we can get away with, right? Using common sense it makes sense from an economy point of view to use the lightest part possible, pretty much anywhere unless it interferes with the driving or reliability somehow. The problem with the TH350 and TH400 is that they are only 3-speed, final gear is 1:1, and no "daily driver" economy vehicle owned by a $0 income college student should ever be stuck with a 1:1 final gear. So now we introduce the 4-speed overdrive transmissions: 700R4 and TH400 with gear vendors. Wait, what year is it? Backup a minute- If you don't know what gear vendors is you might want to look it up. 'back in the day' if you wanted a fast, automatic daily driver, you stuck a TH400 with a gear vendors in the car, because a big bad 4-speed overdrive transmission that could handle the abuse of 800 horsepower, drag radials, nitrous, didn't exist (Or wasn't feasible or didn't catch on yet for some reason). The 700R4 is a 4-speed overdrive, but only the most meticulous, hard core machinist/builders/engineers could make one survive (and to this day) up until the 500-600 horsepower range, and even then its a bit of a gamble, especially with a sticky tire. The 700R4 is off the table for any 'real power + reliability', and therefore by implication that means so is the 4l60e trans, which is pretty much identical to the 700R4, its very nearly the same exact thing, the 4l60e is just computer controlled version of the 700R4. which leaves only: gear vendors overdrive. Very expensive. You want big power and overdrive? th400 + gear vendors. AM I missing something? Hold on I feel like I am forgetti... Ah yes. There is one other option. One last bastion of big power overdrive reliability for economical cost possibility on the table: 4l80e. You know the trucks and cars like, Escalade, silverado, tahoe, envoy, canyon, jimmy, sierra, sonoma, yukon, hummer h3, camaro, corvette? Those all can use the 4l60e. Thats right, that same weak 700R4/4l60e is in all of those performance cars, and heavy trucks. How is this possible? The factory implemented the 4l60e at about the same time they introduced "torque management". The computer pulls timing during a shift so the transmission doesn't take abuse. Not very performance-y right? So clearly, if you are serious about shifting in a hurry at full power- the 4l60e isn't going to work. Why did I mention it again, well I wanted you to think about all those heavy trucks using a 4l60e. Check the wiki, its pretty amazing how many vehicles have the 4l60e and get away with it. Anyways, as I was saying, none of them have the bigger 4l80e. Only the most heavy vehicles, sometimes diesel or 6L gasoline engine, very heavy truck, use the 4l80e. It has been compared to the TH400, and used in a wide range of heavy race car/truck applications successfully. The 4l80e is what you want if you intend to shift quickly with full power in a race car- and then have overdrive to drive on the highway at a reasonable RPM/economy. This is pretty much the only bolt on, ready to go transmission that fits the LS platform as an automatic that reliably supports big power, even with minimal modification. Whereas the 4l60e needs 3 or 4k in mods for a maybe, the 4l80e can get away with a $120 shift kit at even higher power levels with all stock internals. Again, because the trans is stock, yes: completely stock except for a shift kit, it becomes very easy to find and use them, just like the engine, and downtime is minimal if it ever did need replacement, no waiting for an expensive build. Are you starting to see a trend? Minimal gamble, high availability, easy replacement, lug nuts are the secret to $0 economical daily drivers, just squeeze them for power like a lemon if you dare.

    Moving on to the differential situation, briefly, the 240sx platform is VERY lucky in the region of rear differentials because there are some very strong options for very low cost. Many chevrolet and ford owners need to spend big $$ to get a strong rear in their cars for racing, but not us 240sx owners. for example we can stick a Q45 differential in the car, another OEM, original, high reliability part that is expected to last a long time, and it will withstand a wheels up drag racing launch, or so I am told. There are many similar options with a varying range of gear ratios which fit this category. I am sure there are stronger options, I am not saying that the Q45 is the strongest or best, but it does fit MY category of daily driver + strong enough to last forever (pretty much), given I am not using a trans brake or real slicks, it should never fail, and the gear ratio is about right, 3.5 to 3.6:1 will be a good start. I may eventually desire slightly lower numerical, 3.2X range, if I push power up beyond say 500's range. It depends on a few factors, but this will certainly suit the build for the next couple of years as a reliable option.

    I have covered engine, trans, differential aspects. The remaining parts are either OEM nissan or OEM chevy, wherever I am sure they will do their job and are as reliable as any other vehicle, or they are proven aftermarket solutions. For example the Sikky engine mounts, sway bar and driveshaft are used in hundreds of other vehicles, many race cars, posses the background of engineering, use, reliable track records, similar to the OEM parts of the same purpose (Except they are supposed to be even better, upgraded). For the record I was able to use the driveshaft without cutting it, just change the yolk for the 4l80e. Those parts rarely need maintenance or updates, perhaps the driveshaft joints will need changed after 50k or 150k miles, or something. Stock driveshaft safety loop is intact. The engine mounts look like they will last the life of the vehicle, and move over easily to any number of engines.

    So lets go back to the beginning, now that you see that I intend to drive a reliable car, with the option of easy replacement in case of any deviation from anticipated life spans. Which is entirely possible since I will be essentially doubling the output of the engine through power adder means. The factory 5.3L from a random truck probably produces around 280 horsepower, if I had to guess (I never asked or cared to find any specifics, I just know its 5.3L or whatever, and when you double that it gets ridiculous). One of the keys to keeping it intact is to use a reduced redline, i.e. lower than factory. I will of course be able to move it higher for situations, like a dyno pass or a race track, but for most of the fun on the street around town, a low redline will help maintain reliability and is more than enough power. remember most daily drivers operate in the low RPM range, stoplights and dead-stop are quite common. This car gets up and MOVES out of the way when you push the pedal down halfway, and it doesn't even have a spring in the gate yet. If we double the 280 horses of an original we wind up around 500, that would take approx a double atmosphere, or 15~psi of boost pressure (fundamental of boost pressure is that double atmosphere = nearly double power). 500 horsepower in almost any vehicle is probably alot of fun, and in a lighter one (3000~lbs) it will be fairly difficult to beat when compared to vehicles in a similar price range using stock engines, and even a fair number of modified, more expensive vehicles will have trouble keeping up. Keep in mind I am discussing only the lowest possible output, i.e. 500 horsepower is pretty much the minimum power range, using an absolutely unmodified engine with 15psi of boost. If we do even as little as a camshaft swap, the power could dramatically rise an extra 100~ horsepower for example, and the sky is the limit as we start changing more parts. Therefore, even with its most mundane, random, high mileage, untouched internals, any LS motor is still a force to be reckoned with the addition of the modern turbocharger.

  15. #15
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    The "LS" style engine from 02+ trucks (Denali, Escalade, Silverado, Tahoe, etc..) these are robust, affordable, iron block capable of 600-800 (6L I saw dyno at 1k) on boost.
    Notice I didn't say rwhp or bhp or any mention of unit there, nor did I specify how many runs the power was tolerated for. 440rwhp on one kind of dyno is 520rwhp on another dyno, so using rwhp is meaningless unless you specify the dyno, and only if that type is 'not easy to manipulate'.
    I stick to dynojet numbers because dynojet is a 'standard' from which we can compare alot of different results, it is difficult to 'fool'.
    For number of runs, unless I specify you can safely assure that I mean as a daily driver, i.e. three to twenty WOT blasts per day for 15,000 miles/year, with no mistakes.
    These engines have a great piston for daily driving (tight, low expansion, when using thin lightweight synthetic oils can last thirty+ years), but unfortunately brittle material and once they hit a certain stress threshold the material fractures along some axis. All it takes is one mistake, and the combustion event occurs some 50 times per second at 6k rpm, and just one of those gone awry can break a piston.

    1-mistake engines
    There are several precautions we take while tuning (setting up a car is tuning it) a car to prevent this from happening and I will mention as many as I can, starting with the additional shielding for TPS, crank and camshaft sensor wires that feed the OEM ecu.
    GM Does not seem to require wire shielding in place, so there is none in the OEM harness, however they also never intended their gen3/4 truck ecu to manage 7,400rpm and 25psi of boost reliably either. One little mistake in one of the triggers can cause an early timing event which will destroy the engine, and those changes can occur for any number of reasons, EMI for example- I've seen somebody flip a switch to turn on gauges and the timing of the engine would start jumping around. The Interference due to current in the wires (magnetic field around the wire) for the gauge panel was enough to disrupt the TPS and other signals to the ECU. While I've never had an issue with one of my cars, I tune alot of friend's cars (and they help me with things I don't have like alignment machines, welders and dynos. Some just do it because they are nice) and friends of friends cars, so I've seen all kinds of issues over twenty years of this stuff in spare time.

    Enough to know not to make 1-mistake.
    Forged parts pretend to offer increased reliability in the case of combustion mistakes, but I find the mistakes are not difficult to avoid if one is cautious. I've never lost an engine being careful. And the engines are so cheap even if I did lose one, it would be negligible cost. That is why this is a 'budget' build. Even though it costs $$$ to get the car built, once built its basically free to maintain forever. I won't need any income to replace the engine, just 1-day and some hand tools.

    remind me again why no forged parts
    Forged parts are expensive, and many are ruined when the engine fails for any reason. They are also difficult to install, and the owners rarely equip them properly for long service life interval. Furthermore, forged has been shown to be unnecessary at moderate power ranges (around double what any factory "LS" engines provide).

    Other goals:
    Besides the lb/min factory expectation, to weight ratio, I have a few other necessities.
    2. Need spark plug access EASY. Almost any of the original, seemingly cast manifolds make checking/changing plugs easy. If this wasn't possible I wouldn't have used/done this. I can check/change all 8 plugs in around an hour without fuss. A 2jz or sr20 would have been easier, they are far superior engines in more ways than just this though.
    2.5 Easy Bolt Access, good work flow. I need to reach everything without trouble. Bellhousing bolts, exhaust bolts, crossmember bolts, I can't have any bolts holding me up or difficult to reach that would make working on the vehicle un-fun. I've clearanced the trans tunnel such that removing every bellhousing bolt and the transmission can be done in 2hours (and I have done so already, twice). In the intercooler plumbing every hose is straight, brief, and every clamp is 'right there' nothing is near it to cut the coupler or get in the way. No tight 90's in the system either as it would inhibit performance.
    3. Vehicle must appreciate. No sense building something that is losing value. As long as there are reliable LS engines and 240sx left, I think it will only become more difficult to get a good one.
    4. Needs to be traffic friendly. most of the time I drive daily through rush hour.A/C and an automatic transmission are the two main keys here. Its why I went auto, mainly (not just because its faster.. certainly not that...)
    5. No leaks, No noise. Can't be waking people up and can't leave a drip anywhere. The car will need a cutout for max power but for normal driving it needs to be silent because thats just what a respectable car is like. Noise can be advantageous and so can stealth, its a double fun way to play the car game and saves you a headache.
    6. at least 25~mpg Economy is mostly about weight, but there are also little things we can do. I look forward to doing a section on how I squeeze max economy from a (this) vehicle. 25mpg is kind of a low bar, but for 70lb/min I think it is reasonable given the ultimately free power plant provided for us. If we set 50lb/min limit then 30mpg is the new target. These are just targets I made up from my own perception about how hard it is to put fuel in the tank as a college student with little/no income.

    To finish the reliability aspects, this is a short conclusion, the character limit forces it out of the main bodys. I will gradually add as time goes on but for now this is what I feel is most important.

    None of this would have been possible with those who tread the unknown beforehand. Knowledge of parts and mechanics is not enough; one needs to be sure about the engine/transmission/application if they intend reliable operation on a budget with few surprises. I am thankful for those that tested the waters before me, the people who sacrificed their time and effort learning about these engines and then sharing it freely, they have been instrumental, pivotal in the creation of such an affordable, reliable, high output application.

  16. #16
    Amazing write-up as usual, Kingtalon. I'm not sure I ever had the patience to take on a project this complex, and my hat's off to you.

    Big power is readily available from the factory for a price, but doing it yourself on a budget has to be satisfying.
    If someone blows up a school with a bomb they go after the bomber ... if someone shoots up a school they go after the gun.

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  17. #17
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    Its been almost a year and the car has come a LONG way.

    Trying to organize everything thats happened since then. Will come along with much progress

    Pretty sure I just broke 25mpg. As expected the mileage and power have been increasing as fine tuning and time go by.

    Also recently broke 5psi. I've been as high as 10psi for an instant.

    the chassis is turning 199,999 miles soon.
    The previous 15,000 miles I already put on it was dialing mostly in the heat control strategy. Acrylic paint is fairly weak to heat and will melt and run at the significant temperatures I am interested in, so I painted my engine parts and am periodically checking to see if the paint runs or is disturbed. So far with significant shielding the paint seems to be holding for around 8,000 miles of mid-day Florida sun in the traffic concrete highways stopped, where you can definitely see the heat waves coming off the road and every car, water is boiling from the hood. The engine seems fairly comfortable enveloped in it's 165*F intake manifold, 188*F head surface, 200*F-220*F oil temp at the valve cover which holds the ignition coils so it doesn't bother me I guess that the coils are also sometimes exposed to a 200*F range. I thought it seems strange but have no issues to report in the firing of the ignition system, or any system for that matter. It was honestly a small worry of mine that plug wires and spark plugs would become some kind of nuisance items, but so far I am on the first set of new plug wires I purchased and the second set of copper $2 plugs which seem to be working excellent still.

    basically I am to the point where I am just driving it and not really checking anything anymore. I don't expect it to leak and I don't even look now. I am used to the noise level and nothing new noises to worry about or changing has occurred. The fuel system prime pulse and starting tune is great to fire immediately on the first couple compression strokes, I am quite pleased with how easy it goes to running and how the starter from 1998 just keeps working strong. The 'low' compression motor must be a big help.

    Tonight I ran it hard for the first time at the highest boost so far- approx 5-7psi. in first, tires rolling into it around 5-10mph
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    Alright winter break is finally here. I'm out of town but grabbed a new laptop so I hope to get some real updates done the next week or two.

    -> Here we go. I am sorry if this gets out of order for a while, I am trying to fill in basically a years worth of work in the next couple posts.

    It looks like I missed a couple things above. I will first fill in some work and items that I missed talking about, that you may find important or at least interesting, maybe.
    Exhaust fab work stuff I missed:
    This is my friend Jose "Kiko" tig welding part of the exhaust system. He really loves welding, so do I, but I don't own a welder.

    Kiko is big into engine swaps. Here is his styrofoam LS engine for mock ups, I thought it was pretty cool and worth sharing.

    Next a couple more of the exhaust fab work being done progress shots

    It is very beefy, mostly stainless tube. A different friend helped mig weld everything together.
    He had done several cars this way, some of which I tuned years ago (that is how I met him), that still run great today.
    It gave me a lot of confidence that I was going in the right direction, instead of flailing around wondering whether or not the whole idea was sound or not.
    I wouldn't have even started this project without knowing in advance that somebody had the experience and time to get this part done properly.

    The stainless sections all came from the local U-pull it, mostly diesel trucks and Volvos haha. There is about $50 of junkyard exhaust tube in the car, not including flanges and V-bands. Yeah it was very cost effective, and thick, did I mention thick?
    What I really like is the lowest sections of pipe (to the ground) are actually a slight oval shape, they came from a volvo, 2.5" roughly diameter seemed a perfect fit.


    Lets see. Now at that point above we left off around 6-1-17, I still had a couple bugs to work out.
    For starters I remember the converter suddenly stopped locking up. I thought the TCC solenoid had crapped out so I changed it.
    The reason I even bring this up is to simply show how easy it was to pull the pan from the car. It was the first time dealing with the 4l80e in some capacity while it was installed in the vehicle, so sort of a landmark. The exhaust V-band slipped out and wham it was done in an hour. Simple the way I love it.
    notice also I have a full exhaust in this picture, using all factory hanger points in the rear. At some point I had taken the car to regular exhaust shop to just finish off the system and put as typical 'turbo' muffler on the car, but I will get to that in a minute.

    I love that view down the back with the pan cocked sideways and everything out of the way.
    Notice where I put the wideband. Nice and far from the turbo.

    caught the fluid dripping down in the picture, and a nice view of the tcc solenoid.

    Once the car had a full exhaust system it was VERY quiet. I didn't need two mufflers like I thought I might; You could barely hear the engine running from outside the car.
    I would go places and people would ask me if I wanted to sell my stock 240sx etc
    Anyways. One of the main reasons I wanted a very quiet car was for diagnostic value; you can usually pick up on problems with the engine/trans just by listening to them (without all the noise of the exhaust you might be surprised what you can hear)
    So this is what I heard, and it freaked me the @)#(*@ out:

    I heard that clattering and immediately asked my converter manufacturer about it. Dave at Yank suggested it might be a cracked flywheel. I did hours of searching and this was the best guess from many perspectives as well. Since I had re-used the OEM flexplate I figured what the heck, I would change it and do the rear main seal at the same time (since it had started leaking since I started using synthetic oil anyways)
    I made some threads on sites asking about it, this was one of the better ones:

    One of my friends offered to let me use his lift, which was very nice. I don't usually allow lifts (I like being self sufficient) but I figured what the heck.

    It took about an hour to pull the trans. Maybe less. It was a very easy job because my friend also happened to have a trans jack.
    As usual I was curious about every hole, nook and cranny, not afraid to ask questions

    Put a brand new rear seal, cover seal, and flex plate

    Not sure if I posed this above but also checked fluid condition and converter pull out at some point

    Turns out all of this was normal, perfect, smelled great looked great

    While I was in there i couldn't resist doing the other things I had planned for the future-
    transmission tunnel shielding and insulation.
    I used rivnuts because its pretty much a standard for professional mounting. This was my first time using a rivnut though.

    I got the insulation materials for free from the local U pull it.
    I got to the counter with a huge fluffy stack of the stuff and you know how the air gets full of little bits of dust and debris from certain kinds of it? The woman coughed and took a step back and said "Ugh, whats all that? Just take it" waving her hand for me to get lost as fast as possible,
    and thats how I wound up with more of this stuff than I'll ever need (I threw alot of the flaky stuff away already).
    Made some aluminum washers from sheet metal to help hold it up and I got plenty more shield stuff for later when I do more of the underside of the vehicle.
    Of course eventually I will 'enclose' the underside of the car to make it high speed friendly, separate the road from the drivetrain with a nice shield of some kind and a diffuser as stealthily as possible. Which will also hide the whole "omg its a V8" thing, you will look under it and still have no idea whats in it. I'll try to leave some parts of the auto exposed creatively so that to the untrained eye (who knows what the side of a 4l80e looks like? Even I forgot already...) it will appear as any other random auto might.

    I need to get the bumper and 'air flow mods' done to the front end first however, and before that I wanted to move some things around up there, relocate the trans cooler, move the intercooler up slightly, place an A/C condenser, add chassis support, finish and seal the rough edges of the core support, etc... ,so its one of those things "to do after other stuff, after other stuff"

    For now at least, the car is very quiet, AND it can stay cool inside. No more transmission heat coming through the floor after an hour of driving.

    So yeah. That did NOT fix the clattering btw.
    I Noticed that it only made noise in neutral, and only when pump pressure went above 50% duty cycle. Nobody, not Dana at probuilt, not Jake's, not even the pump refurbisher owner could tell me or even hinted that it might be the pump making that noise. Everyone I talked to was stumped and had never heard of such a thing.
    He said maybe I was just hearing something normal but because the car was so quiet and the trans was so huge I could hear it louder than normal.
    Somehow felt instinctively that it must be pump related, and took a wild (expensive) guess and bought a freshly rebuilt pump from a reputable supplier.
    I also figured it would be a smart move to replace perhaps the most important part in the transmission (If you lose the pump, you lose the trans) so this just made sense.
    In fact I realized when I had finished that maybe I should have done this in the first place as preventative maintenance.

    Showing old and new pump
    I went in ebay and bought that special tool to remove the pump (I was glad I had it, you can see it in the pic on the left) then later re-sold it for a profit (like so many other things it was a 'free' rental I guess)
    And walaa! Problem solved! Now the loudest thing on the car was a belt pulley. Which I quickly replaced and made the whole thing incredibly silent.
    SO just to reiterate: I would have NEVER heard this issue if I had a typical noisy exhaust on the car. It was only thanks to the very silent system that I was able to hone in on these details. I'll be able to tell in advance if something is going internally wrong with engine/trans thanks to the super silent system.
    It has a high diagnostic value, and the cutout makes up for the silence when I need that comforting rumble that lets me know the cylinders are healthy, equally important.
    Control systems processing
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  19. #19
    Senior Administrator palmerwmd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingtal0n View Post
    Alright winter break is finally here. I'm out of town but grabbed a new laptop so I hope to get some real updates done the next week or two.
    This is one of our most awesome threads!
    "In the end we all just play the roles given us... Sometimes they dont fit so well,... but I guess we make do."

    Dont forget MultiMedia forums!!

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  20. #20
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by palmerwmd View Post
    This is one of our most awesome threads!
    Oh man. I have so much stuff to post. Its unreal, almost insurmountable. lol

    what we do for fun I guess :D

    Its good to hear from you palmer

    In this post, fuel lines, dashboard recovery, and wiring... 50 hours of wiring.

    Fuel lines
    Since this is a daily driver, the only option for my lines is steel hard line. I do not trust braided hose under a car, and I do not trust cheap AN fittings.
    According to Aeromotive, these lines will support 750hp forced induction with their 'stealth' in tank fuel pump. And I've tuned quite a few cars so I know its true.
    Thanks to methanol injection, the whole system together will support over 800hp, and is very simple and easy to service if necessary. That is always the theme here.

    I left the hardlines plugged up for a while (still using the original hardlines to drive at that time)
    and started working on some other things that were more important.

    The dash in the car was terrible. Actually most of the car was terrible when I got it, it was in desperate need of saving.
    I love to save vehicles, refurbish, repair, replace, recover. Its in my nature to fix and make things better than they were.
    Here you can see how bad the dash was. Those huge gaps I filled with a mixture of hard plastic pieces, super glue, and epoxy.

    I've done other dashes before but never anything this bad.

    Here you can see the wet superglue as I tried to smooth the surface.

    Part of the problem for me is that I am a perfectionist, and there was no way to get this dash perfect,
    because I have very little experience in fixing dashboards. This would be only my 2nd dash attempt.

    It came out "OK" but it needs another go-around. I will pull the dash in the future to mount the ECU beneath it, and when I do that final step I will finalize the dash board surface to make it 'pretty decent'. Even with its imperfections its still 9999% better than it was though.

    Here is just an example of the sort of messes I create as I move along. And this is nothing, I tell you.

    I've done a crapload of wiring in the last 20 years. I consider myself pretty good at it by now. I've never had an issue with my wiring techniques.
    Couple of things I pay special attention to is the wiring sheaths. I typically use a fuel line to cover the wiring where it passes the metal parts of the vehicle.
    And then if visible, I may cover with good looking tubing as below.

    Here you can see the original wiring plugs sticking out of my super-protective harness layered with high pressure fuel hose.
    I kept all the original wiring intact so that I could re-install the air bag, horn, fog lights, etc...
    And actually I intend to use the fog light switch for something else.
    I even kept the windshield washer fluid plugs because I plan to use the washer switch to activate something, one day, when I figure out what it would be good for.
    No sense in removing that stuff if it can be re-used other ways.

    So you might be wondering why 50 hours of wiring in this section.
    I Pulled out the dash, carpet, seats, fender 'covers', fuse blocks, all that stuff,
    And relocated the fuse box from the front of the car, to the rear.
    It was a pretty big job. I had to extend many wires and then hide everything.

    I re-used many OEM pieces to keep the wiring safe, like the plastic wiring covers where it goes over the seat hump, and again up into the quarter panel.
    Speaking of which, the fuse box fit very easily into the rear quarter panel. I was going to move it to the trunk but when I saw how great it fit, I kind of just left it there for a while to see how it would work out. I packed it up with fire proof insulation leaving some air for it to 'breath'.
    At first I was wondering if there was some kind of fire hazard involved with doing this. But after I considered front end collisions, battery location, fuse allocation, I decided it was just as "at risk" as it is in the front of the car. The battery is directly connected to the fuse block through two wires (that red plug you see on every 240sx battery) and it does the exact same thing here still, I never changed that theme, it works exactly like it did when in the front of the car.
    Furthermore I will probably add an extra fuse just for safety (even the factory doesn't have one between the battery and fuse box).

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