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LS newbie needing advice on engine swap

This is a discussion on LS newbie needing advice on engine swap within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Originally Posted by AMGguy I said I haven't decided yet, listed what I have, and asked what I would need ...

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by AMGguy View Post
    I said I haven't decided yet, listed what I have, and asked what I would need to get each configuration work.

    Anyways, I found a 99 SS with a hydro locked engine, drove through a flood and blew the heads right off the car (not literally off, you know what I mean). It's a 6 speed, trans works fine and has all the accessories and ECU. It's a friend of mine and it's been sitting in his garage for several years now rotting, I'm trying to talk him into selling it to me and I'll be able to get a lot of the other needed parts off that it sounds like. Maybe I can swap the block and heads with his.

    On a different note, I've noticed a LOT of LS1's that come equipped with a 4L60E from the factory, why would anyone say it wouldn't work? I'm still searching for wiring schematics or a FSM if anyone has any links. Trying to figure out what sensors are required inputs for the ECU to make the trans work properly. I might just go dual ECU again (had to do the same thing on the Mercedes).
    Again, that Caprice LT1 is an iron headed, weak kneed boat anchor, but I'm sure you already know this. It would be a HUGE waste of money, time, and resources to install it. Go with the LSx. Putting in the LT1 now will be disappointing at best. Then you'll realize that the LT1 - LS1 swap would essentially be starting from scratch again.

    The 4L60E will work on any LSx engine. But you are reading into the suggestions wrong. There are different versions of the 4L60E, and installing an LT1 era trans onto the LS1 will require some work. Better to get the 4L60E desgined for the LSx stuff.

    Congratulations on wiring your Mercedes. You do know how integrated all the vehicle modules are on that vehicle, right? You put in a standalone PCM and other vehicle systems will not work properly. And if they don't work properly, why have them at all. Elaborating, if you don't have those Mercedes systems operational, why bother with the Mercedes even?
    Last edited by Marc 85Z28; 04-25-2009 at 06:21 AM.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc 85Z28 View Post
    Again, that Caprice LT1 is an iron headed, weak kneed boat anchor, but I'm sure you already know this. It would be a HUGE waste of money, time, and resources to install it. Go with the LSx. Putting in the LT1 now will be disappointing at best. Then you'll realize that the LT1 - LS1 swap would essentially be starting from scratch again.

    The 4L60E will work on any LSx engine. But you are reading into the suggestions wrong. There are different versions of the 4L60E, and installing an LT1 era trans onto the LS1 will require some work. Better to get the 4L60E desgined for the LSx stuff.

    Congratulations on wiring your Mercedes. You do know how integrated all the vehicle modules are on that vehicle, right? You put in a standalone PCM and other vehicle systems will not work properly. And if they don't work properly, why have them at all. Elaborating, if you don't have those Mercedes systems operational, why bother with the Mercedes even?
    Thanks for the input Marc, the different versions of trans makes sense now. The only reason I would go with the LT is because it would be at no immediate cost to me now, whereas I would go over budget on the LS swap. I know the engine seems like a big boat anchor compared to the LS, but it could just be the overweight boat anchor car it's currently in (86 firebird). Speaking of a boat anchor, a working LT1 is less of a boat anchor than a blown M112, haha. Even if I have to use forced induction I could get this engine decently fast.

    Regarding the components, YES this is a huge drawback. The reason I would still go mercedes is because it would be a 3k pound paperweight if I don't put something in it. The dealer refuses to work on it because of the custom work, and the transmission shop wants $4k alone for a reman transmission, and then I still need to find a new engine for it (expensive even on ebay, I've been looking for a while now). Show me a lightweight F-body that comes with an automatic-retractible hardtop convertible and maybe I'll change my mind on the matter. Regardless of the PITA factor, it's a really nice looking really rare car that would otherwise go to waste.

    I've thought about what I would lose and how to get around it.
    1) Air conditioning!
    Huge part of it for me. I'm going to have to make a bracket to bolt my AC compressor to the engine with the rest of the accessories that will allow my compressor pulley to line up with the belt, then make me a custom sized belt (been down that road, it's not as expensive as it sounds). Currently the bird has no AC, I might have to stick with this configuration until I can get a bracket that works. I'll be spending a lot of time at my uncle's machine shop, that's for sure.
    2) Cruise control.
    I am 99% confident that I can wire up an aftermarket (or factory off an LT1 car) cruise control module to my factory switches just based off the wiring diagrams.
    3) Gauges.
    All of my gauges are electronically controlled off the ECU. They're not mechanical or run off sensors, they all connect to the ECU. Take the ECU out, no more gauges. This is probably the biggest wiring obstacle for me. One option is to leave the Mercedes ECU and wire the hall sensor and other sensors to the Chevy sensors that emit an equivalent signal to get the gauges to work, but that's more afternoons of ohmmeters and oscilloscopes and figuring out what ohm resistor goes between which sensors than I want to mess with. Currently all of my sensors and gauges on the firebird are custom/universal anyways, so I will likely have to go this route on the mercedes when I swap motors. I lose my fancy "AMG" branded speedo and gauge cluster, because mercedes is a big pain in the ass. I will have to pull out my whole cluster and wire up a universal tach, speedo, water temp, and fuel gauge. The plus side is, I'm great with fiberglass (I made a ducted hood for my car, kick panels, a gauge pod for my A-arm, and flush mounted a touch screen in the dash) and I think I could do a really awesome carbon fiber instrument cluster in my dash with stylish gauges and be happy with it. This would save me a LOT of wiring headache. Like I said in a previous post, no integration at all, just a 100% swap, wiring included.
    4) Drive by wire/drive by cable.
    Mercedes throttle is drive by wire, there is no cable attached. It's a potentiometer that sends an electric signal to the ECU and the ECU determines how much throttle to give at the electronic throttle body. The bad part is, I take away the ECU and I take away the ability to throttle. The good part is, I hated this configuration way before considering an engine swap and wanted to change it to drive by cable anyways and now I get to. When the "electronic traction control" kicks in, it's nothing more than just cutting throttle electronically at the TB.
    5) Ignition?
    One module I'm uncertain of is the ignition switch. I need to check the wiring diagrams to see if the ECU controls the electronic ignition or if there is a separate module that detects the key chip (to get the remote start working I had to hide a key near the sensor to allow it to start without a key in the ignition.) It's possible I will need to wire up my own ignition column if it's ECU controlled. The easy way to test this will be to unplug the ECU and see if the starter turns over, I just haven't done this yet.

    The hardtop roof has it's own module and won't be affected, the transmission has it's own module but will be replaced by the 4L60E module, the sound system is integrated but is already aftermarket (carputer/touchscreen), the security system is integrated but has it's own module and won't be affected (plus I added an aftermarket alarm anyways).

    Other than that, there's really nothing on the car that won't work after the swap.
    Last edited by AMGguy; 04-26-2009 at 12:36 AM.

  3. #23
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    so....why aren't you in electrical engineering school?

  4. #24
    Seriously, I don't care how good of an engineer you may be, or how good you are with electrical and electronic systems. Getting an LT1 or LS1 to run in harmony with the Mercedes PCM is absolutely impossible.

    And the traction control or stability assist is ALOT more than just the PCM limiting the throttle. The PCM communicates on a network with the ABS for all sorts of operational parameters - including the traction control.

    And getting the gauges to work will also most likely be impossible. The gauges are electronically controlled. Meaning the use that same communications network for information on the PCM. They cannot be hardwired.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc 85Z28 View Post
    Seriously, I don't care how good of an engineer you may be, or how good you are with electrical and electronic systems. Getting an LT1 or LS1 to run in harmony with the Mercedes PCM is absolutely impossible.

    And the traction control or stability assist is ALOT more than just the PCM limiting the throttle. The PCM communicates on a network with the ABS for all sorts of operational parameters - including the traction control.

    And getting the gauges to work will also most likely be impossible. The gauges are electronically controlled. Meaning the use that same communications network for information on the PCM. They cannot be hardwired.

    I think Frost will back you up on this...

  6. #26
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    LT1 or LS1, you may as well have an F-body with an AMG Mercedes tuxedo.... I personally would sell ALL of that stuff, and repair your current car...even if you have to sell it all down to stock again, it would be better to start from the beginning than to shove Chevrolet down this masterpiece of German engineering's throat....

    Just my opinion of course If you could make it work though, I will agree with most on here who say LT1 is a waste of time if you have a perfectly good LS block....so MANY options more than an LT.....take your time man, save up your money and build it right the first time.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by AMGguy View Post
    I decided to use the LT1 (I know, I know! poor decision, right?) but since my budget is only around $2500 then I can get the LT1 swapped and running in the car much quicker and cheaper than the LS engine since I already have everything for the LT1 and will have a lot to buy for the LS1. I added up all the parts and upgrades for an LS swap that I would want and it would be a little over budget. Since I have another block to work with, I will probably build it up over the winter and possibly swap to the LS next year with a 6 speed. This way I'm not pressured into buying a lot of stuff I don't have in a short amount of time and I can just use something that I already know works.

    Thanks for your input, answered a few of the questions regarding LT and LS that I wasn't sure about. I'll likely post my progress on this board if anyone is interested.
    Please do post your progress, I'm sure the majority of people on here would be interested. Sounds like quite an undertaking, but if you're determined, anything is possible.

    As you've learned, LTX and LSX are totally separate engine families. If you're going to go through with the swap, I would only consider the LSX family. The LT family is just an inferior design, not to mention harder to work with and heavier. If you're on a budget, I guess you'll have to work with what you've got access too though.

    Best of luck, be sure to post up pics of the progress. Feel free to ask questions, and don't get discouraged by the guys who may tell you its impossible. They are only trying to help you realize what a complex and expensive project this is so you don't get over your head. Sounds like you're quite experienced with wiring though, which will be the worst part I'd say, so if you're up to it than more power to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc 85Z28 View Post
    Seriously, I don't care how good of an engineer you may be, or how good you are with electrical and electronic systems. Getting an LT1 or LS1 to run in harmony with the Mercedes PCM is absolutely impossible.

    And the traction control or stability assist is ALOT more than just the PCM limiting the throttle. The PCM communicates on a network with the ABS for all sorts of operational parameters - including the traction control.

    And getting the gauges to work will also most likely be impossible. The gauges are electronically controlled. Meaning the use that same communications network for information on the PCM. They cannot be hardwired.
    Regarding Mercedes PCM integration and gauges, you pretty much summed up my long post in a matter of sentences (basically, I already said that).

    However, Mercedes ETC is different than the ETC's on other systems, it is in fact just a PCM throttle limitation. I tested this time and time again. The "limp-in mode" also limits throttle at the ETB (as well as transmission shifts and shuts off the supercharger clutch circuit.)
    Last edited by AMGguy; 04-27-2009 at 12:30 PM.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by AMGguy View Post
    However, Mercedes ETC is different than the ETC's on other systems, it is in fact just a PCM throttle limitation. I tested this time and time again. The "limp-in mode" also limits throttle at the ETB (as well as transmission shifts and shuts off the supercharger clutch circuit.)
    ALL traction control systems need to see individual wheel speeds as a PID. The wheel speed sensors report to the ABS, not the PCM. The ABS sends this data to the PCM. The traction control may not slow actual wheel speed by pulsing the ABS valves, but the ABS data is necessary.
    Last edited by Marc 85Z28; 04-28-2009 at 08:38 AM.

  10. #30
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    I was referring to what it limits (output), not where it gets input (ABS, etc). The throttle wouldn't make any sense if that were the case.

  11. #31
    cutting and welding mark21742's Avatar
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    I agreethat the LS motor would be a much better match for what you are planing that the LT.
    You might want to checkout Summit Racing and some others, they offer several swap kits with harnesses and computers for engine management that will make the swap much easier for you. Most of your Mercedes sensor will probably be closer than you think to the GM parts.....might need to run a set of resistors here and there to get reading in the right areas.
    I've spent many nights in the garage kicking myself in the head wiring thing that didn't fit eachother and in the it was all working properly and worth the headaches because I won lol
    sounds like a great project man good luck and keep us posted!

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ls1fan74 View Post
    wow, subscribing to this-I know some ppl swap LS1's into their 3.8 camaro/bird but the advice to them is mostly "for the amount of $$ just buy a Z28" I wanna see how difficult this turns out to be. good luck tho
    Someone has alot of homework to attend to.

  13. #33
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    Nice project. Good luck. Atleast you have a plan which is more than most who take on a project. It will definetly be something different. Since you are going with the lt motor you could also put a carb on that so you can be up and running quicker and can worry about the wiring for the ecu later.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigrondownhiller View Post
    Nice project. Good luck. Atleast you have a plan which is more than most who take on a project. It will definetly be something different. Since you are going with the lt motor you could also put a carb on that so you can be up and running quicker and can worry about the wiring for the ecu later.
    i am SO guilty of not planning project out all the way.....i get them done....but end up half way through kicking myself for not thinking them all the way through

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    any progress on this??

  16. #36
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    If you get a special bell housing you can put a turbo 350 in it-but that is around $800

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