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

    Introduction/background: Will create one later

    Car: S14 240sx
    Engine: Any LSx, Single Turbo
    Transmission: 4l80e "notoriously strong"

    Description: Easy engine swap, affordable engines/transmissions, Economy and Reliability
    The build emphasis is a few specific characteristics
    Affordable Typical 5.3 LSx specimens from 2002-2004 are very inexpensive, currently $400 to $800 from a variety of local yards in Florida. Other LSx exist to choose from as well.
    Reliable OEM Engine and Transmission specimens from quality wrecked vehicles already have mileage, and are proven to last hundreds of thousands of miles more.
    Easy engine swap I have taken measures to ensure the engine can be removed and replaced within hours.
    Economy The most important feature for my daily driver, and so I will prioritize it in every aspect.
    Power will take care of itself. How much power will a $500 junkyard 5.3L LSx command? Word on the street is, 'more than I need'.



    I will start from the absolute beginning, as somebody who had never seen an LSx in person before, I was curious to look at one before making the final decision to go this route. I made a visit to the local junkyard and took some pictures, and made a thread on an LSx based website, asking others who were more familiar about these engines some general questions. These are my pictures and questions.



    The first thing I noted was that the junkyard had a bunch of these, presumably 5.3's (Is it always a 5.3?) with the engine exposed like this, where I could easily pull the harness out. Is my guess accurate? That is, would the harness be cake to come out considering the condition of an engine like this? It looks like it, at first.


    This picture is just to clarify terminology. Are the labels accurate? Are those the "good coils" everyone loves to use for boost? I am guessing not.


    So this one is where it gets messy. I want to verify that is in fact the ECU for the engine. Also, is that the trans computer with it? And finally, it looks like the ECU harness is integrated to the fuse box. How do I deal with that? Will I need to remove the entire fuse box with the engine harness?


    This is a picture of the A/C compressor I saw on the trucks. It is mounted low, and looks "small" to me. is this the smallest compressor they make for LSx engine? Also is this the same or similar location as the F-body uses? Or GTO? I wll not be using Truck accessories for my swap, only F-body and GTO items will work. But if the compressor is "small" I might be able to re-use the truck version and just move it. Or something. Thoughts?



    This appears to be the OBD port inside the truck, as part of the factory chassis harness. Can I cut it out and re-wire it to the engine harness, or will I need to pull the chassis harness out, or how will I deal with this? I want to use HP tuner so I need this port I think.


    Final thoughts: It looks like a GEN3 engine is the way to go (low cost and easy electronics, and no DoD), if I can find one from a truck with the 13mm header bolts and rear camshaft sensor I will take everything after I check under the valve cover and do a compression test, then grab a spare longblock if I can find it as well.

    A helpful member responded immediately:
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeNova
    5.3s are the most common.
    Hardest part about the wiring is the O2 sensors and trans connectors.

    If those are round coils with heat sinks, they are the good coils.

    There is not a separate transmission controller on a Gen 3, the PCM does it all.
    There is a large white connector that goes in the bottom of the fuse panel. 7mm bolt holds it in. Loosen the bolt, pull the connector our of the fuse panel.

    You can't use an F-body compressor in a swap, at least not easily. They are variable displacement vs fixed displacement on the truck compressors. Depending on the vehicle, they are mounted in the same spot on cars/trucks.

    You can cut out the OBD port and wire it in later. There is a wire in the harness that goes to it, it will be in one of the square connectors on the harness. You'll cut off the big square connector later, and can just run the OBD wire straight to it. The OBD port only gets a single wire from the PCM. The other wires the port uses are just power and grounds.
    I continued asking questions:
    So I've been reading and it keeps mentioning that some ECU have blue/red connectors, and the later models have blue/green. I am looking at the picture above and the one below and it just looks blue to me. What am I missing? where is the red or green? I Must be looking at the wrong thing?



    Edit; I think I figured it out. The colors are on the inside, I have to pull the plug out first to see them. Im leaving the question up there though so others can follow the thread/conversation and learn if they never saw such things.

    Next observations (new question), anything wrong with these injectors:
    12613412, 12609749 - used in 2010+ Flex Fuel engines, these are drop in high flow injectors, that fit the rails on the 4.8/5.3/6.0 non flex fuel engines. (same injector height). These are 50lb/hr injectors.
    LT1swap.com says they are 50lb/hour which should support 650bhp?? Ebay has them for $80~

    -I later found out that those injectors only work with the Truck style intake manifold, and I intended to use the LS1 style (camaro/vette) so they will not work.

    Moving on,

    I've looked through all the wiring details and they seem reasonable. Only a couple wires I am still unsure of:
    wiring pinout:
    http://lt1swap.com/99-02_vortec_pcm.htm

    Questions:

    Pin 34, I send a ground to tell the ECU I am neutral? Will the 4l80e have this "range sensor" I am guessing so
    Pin 13, cruise control engage signal. I want cruise. I am hoping for DBW but how does this single wire work? I send a ground to enable cruise? meh
    Pin 33, pretty sure this is the ground from the brake pedal switch
    pin 50, vehicle speed output, what is this for? To speedo?

    Next, I read that

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeNova View Post
    You can also use a 4L60e transmission harness, you'll just have to buy an 8 dollar VSS connector and spend 10-15 minutes taking a couple of pins out of the trans connector and splicing them to the new VSS connector. It should be MUCH easier to find a 4L60e harness.

    And then I read this:
    http://lt1swap.com/4l60e_4l80e_harness.htm

    And I can't find any info on the VSS connector, or where to get it. I am also a little confused by some of the instructions. Any further clarification would be great :D


    My plan is to wait and see what my engine will have (dbw or cable) and then, if DBW I will grab all the DBW stuff with it and go that route. I was going to grab a harness in advance but it would be a shame to pull apart a harness for DBW, grab all the stuff, and wind up with a cable driven engine.


    More useful responses from the helpful member:
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeNova
    Pin 34: If the vehicle you're using has a built in neutral safety, this is irrelevant.
    Most cars/trucks have the neutral safety switch on the column or in the shifter. You could wire one in with an aftermarket shifter fairly easily and do away with the wire from the PCM.

    You don't need the range sensor on the side of the trans. In a swap, its only function will be neutral safety. Its just easier to use the wire coming from the PCM than to run multiple to the switch on side of trans.

    Pin 13:
    All of the cruise control info for DBW was on LT1swap:
    http://lt1swap.com/dbw.htm

    Pin 33:
    You might have to install a relay, since most older brake switches provide power and not ground. Use the switch to activate a relay that cuts the power to it.

    Pin 50:
    Speedo.




    Google: vss connector 4l80e. Should be able to score one for less than $8 shipped. You pull two wires out of the 4l60e trans connector and splice them onto the connector.

    As for DBW/DBC, you can use a DBW harness on a DBC engine, you'll just have to spend $15 on IAC and TPS connectors and pin them into the harness. Doing it the other way around is more difficult, as there aren't many places that sell the DBW connectors separate.
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  2. #2
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    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).

    I grabbed a harness and PCM (ecu) from the junkyard from an 02 Tahoe. I Wonder was it the 4l60 or 4l80 in that truck? (wiki says 4l60e but i will double check the harness) Anyways, the harness had blue and red connectors so it will work with throttle cable. Tonight I washed it and de-taped some of it while it was drying at my friends shop.

    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





    On 1-31-17 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 me as usual to confirm my suspicions that this is the best mate for what I plan.[/SIZE]
    http://www.full-race.com/store/turbo...64-5mm-1.html/


    A shot of the gate and some of the hardware, notice everything says "full race" wherever possible :D



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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.

    update:
    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!

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  4. #4
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    2-9-17 I Officially made the core support removable. 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, but the hammer I was using was just not going to cut it. I decided to come back next time with a bigger hammer. 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 likes to melt plastic.

    Next time I see the car, I will be seeing the engine as well, and sure the bring the 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,


    should have that in my hands within a week. 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...



    update: On my third engine now, in a day or two will know if it is good or not, just got the trans also and will know in a day or two as well, and then hopefully I will be able to actually make real progress bolting things down where they go!

    3/2/17
    I went to homestead!


    I went there to personally check each engine in the salvage yard, until I find a good one! I've been having them shipped to me which apparently isn't going to work for me, I guess I am too picky to take "just anything".

    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 take home with me. 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, probably 200lbs~ if I had to guess. I do not think my engine hoist is up the job of engine+trans so this might be very interesting when it comes time to install these things.

    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
    Specifications.
    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
    **WARNING:
    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
    gaskets.
    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
    Specifications.

    Annnnd pictures always help :D



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  6. #6
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    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:
    http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...4&postcount=20

    https://ls1tech.com/forums/conversio...l#post14588749

    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
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    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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    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
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    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.
    Video:
    https://youtu.be/rYZmZqn3-x0

    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:
    http://silviav8forums.com/forum/view...564&highlight=


    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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    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.
    -https://ls1tech.com/forums/forced-induction/1619207-out-curiousity-why-does-everyone-use-2-5-crossover-pipe-17.html#post17995746


    Block the heater hoses, dont loop
    http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billav...CoolingSystems

    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."
    http://www.yellowbullet.com/forum/sh...8&postcount=81


    engine building?
    http://www.performanceboats.com/gn7-...ng-engine.html

    Alternator failure and replacement from a truck
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...failure-s.html

    LS to KA weight comparison
    https://ls1tech.com/forums/conversio...ce-inside.html

    starter breaks
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/general-ma...ock-broke.html


    Oil Barbell
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...check-out.html

    grease the idler pulley
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/general-ma...r-pulleys.html

    Cam oil retainer ring pressure leak spot
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...-yourself.html

    fix steam ports
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...ittings-2.html

    low cost steam port solution:
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...l#post18968703

    the Al. 5.3 is where its at:
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/forced-ind...d-5-3-a-2.html

    use Thread sealer for rocker bolts on ported heads:
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...l#post19354813

    use a torque plate, heat the block, art method?
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...l#post19357911


    Oil pump swap writeup
    http://www.ls1howto.com/index.php?article=4

    Quick Squish post
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...l#post19357948

    more misc:http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...l#post19235581

    LS1 and LS2 lifter trays
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...l#post19357201


    timing chain thingy
    http://www.summitracing.com/parts/tfs-30675600
    from thread: http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...pump-seal.html


    Road race oil control thread
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...-race-car.html

    Pullout prices
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/texas-memb...-pullouts.html

    --------------------
    "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."
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/forced-ind...l#post19525070
    --------------------

    http://ls1tech.com/forums/automatic-...rise-rate.html

    LS1 vs LS2 small thread
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...ifference.html

    O-ring is very important
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...ults-pics.html

    Chain rollers, PREVENT THIS
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...-ls6-pics.html

    Rear mounts WORK
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/forced-ind...on-t-work.html

    Wet sump oil falling RPM post
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/forced-ind...l#post19413247

    Even crate engines fail, use an oem block
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...crate-ls3.html

    weird ringland thread
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation...k-pistons.html

    HP tuner thread
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/forced-ind...ers-boost.html


    good MEthanol thread with some calcs
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/forced-ind...or-outlet.html

    Oil Accumulator post, followed by more goodness
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/forced-ind...l#post19350850

    another bottom end reliability
    www.corvetteforum.com/forums/c6-forced-induction-nitrous/3365021-forced-induction-engine-reliability-list.html

    PS pressure reducing shim kit:
    http://www.borgeson.com/xcart/catalo...p-1-c-133.html

    All kinds of parts
    http://www.dirtydingo.com/shop/index.php?cPath=373_375

    Alan grove brackets
    http://www.alangrovecomponents.com/LS.htm

    Holley brackets
    https://www.holley.com/products/acce...y/parts/20-131

    LS brackets lol
    http://lsbrackets.com/

    "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
    https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/fo...8/75101/page3/

    COmmon turbo items
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/forced-ind...7-11-16-a.html

    BOLT SIZES FOR stuff LS motors
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/conversion...l#post14902403

    -----------------------------------------
    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
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    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 LT1swap.com)
    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. ALL of them had poor compression on at least one cylinder. I wound up taking the best one I could find, which had 170 across the board, except for cyl#6 had only 150.
    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.

    I want to thank everybody who is contributing to this build and I will do so again at the end more completely (names); I will add contact info for those friends who own shops/businesses near the end. For now, please know that I have done NONE of the welding myself, as I do not own a welder. That is why there are few/none pictures of the welds (trans xmember or manifolds) as I can not take any credit for them. I will post some eventually but re-state this disclaimer, I really don't like putting a bunch of pictures of things that I don't do myself on the internet, I tend to avoid that. I will of course provide finished pictures of the setup once everything has been painted/wrapped/shielded properly so it can be copied effectively if you wish. I have never made a trans crossmember before (I didn't weld it but I did cut and shape and drill it, line it up etc) so it might not be ideal, keep that in mind.

    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
    https://youtu.be/jxoviUheZQA

    Here is after the downpipe was extended to the trans crossmember (above picture)
    https://youtu.be/rRnOqT4cyxQ
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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.
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    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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    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. They 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, or 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 to be rebalanced 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 because they are so important, 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.


    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.


    This concludes the engine reliability segment.

  14. #14
    Administrator Kingtal0n's Avatar
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    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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    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.
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