LS Engine Swap: A Few Things You Need to Know

Ls Engine Swap

As humans, we have a natural tendency to want things to be better, even our vehicles. Whether you own a sedan, SUV, or a truck, among others, you would want to have upgrades that will make it perform better. After all, doing upgrades can be significantly cheaper compared to buying a new one, especially in a financially-tight economy. That being said, the idea of an LS engine swap is popular.

If it is your first time to hear about this type of engine swap, read on and we’ll share valuable insights. Even if you have heard of it before, we encourage you to finish reading this post to learn about its particulars, which will increase the likelihood that you will be confronted with successful outcomes should you decide to opt for this swap.

What is an LS Engine Swap?

Let us start with the most basic. Essentially, it refers to switching and installing a new engine. LS, meanwhile, refers to an engine that is made by General Motors or GM. You can choose from a wide selection of engines, which will depend on a couple of things, such as the vehicle that you have and your specified budget.

There are many things that can convince you to go for an LS swap, aside from the fact that it can lead to better performance. The LS has been around for more than two decades and has been trusted even by seasoned motorists. Its reputation should be more than enough to be convinced that it can indeed be beneficial in more ways than one.

Another good thing about an LS engine swap is its simplicity. It is compact and has a simple packaging. It is also lightweight and it is known for responsiveness to different types of modifications.

Looking for a New Engine

LS Engine Swap

Should you decide to have an LS swap, one of the first things that you need to do is to look for a place that will supply your engine. For most people, they will most probably consider a junkyard. They have second-hand engines of different types and can vary in terms of prices.

If budget is not a concern, you should go to an authorized seller or aftermarket car parts. They are more legitimate, and hence, can be trusted. Chances are, they will also have a wider selection of engines that you can pick for the swap.

Regardless of which one you choose, it is important that you read reviews to have an idea of the product that you are buying. More so, you should also ask for their warranty and policy on returns. As the buyer, you surely would want to be protected and have the assurance of your highest level of satisfaction, especially if you are spending a lot of money for this swap.

For those who are on a budget, 5.3 and 6.0 are two of the most common choices of an engine for the LS swap. More than being cheap, they are almost available in any junkyard.

Meanwhile, if you want an engine with an all-aluminum block, you should settle for the LS series. The LS1 was the oldest from the series, which was first seen in the 1997 C5 Corvette. It is durable, small, and lightweight, which still makes it a popular option these days, even when there are newer engines that can be considered for the swap.

For an engine that is a step up, the LS3 is also a good pick. It was first used in the 2008 Corvette. If you want more horsepower, on the other hand, the LS7 can also prove to be a good option. It is the largest of the engines that have been built by GM. They are powerful, but keep in mind that they are also expensive.

The Essentials of a Successful LS Swap

Having the right engine is just the first page of the story. It is not enough that you choose an expensive and powerful engine. Keep on reading the rest of this section and we’ll tell you more about the other important components of a successful swap.

Motor Mount

This is considered to be the foundation of the engine block, making it one of the most important components of the swap. You can find a lot of aftermarket companies offering different types of mounts that can be attached to almost any vehicle. Choose a mount that will allow you to position the engine securely and all the other components.

Low Mount AC Compressor

The good thing is that you can use the old AC compressor that you have in your car. However, you will make adjustments in the cross-member frame to fit the compressor. This can involve a lot of work. Better yet, you should look for a new compressor that will be suitable for the new engine that you will have.


Once the choice of engine has been determined, you will also have to think about the type of transmission that you want. This is going to be a matter of personal choice. For options that will be easy on the pocket, GM TH350 and 700R4 are two of the excellent choices, even if they are already old. With these transmissions, a flex plate adapter will be required.

There are also computer-controlled transmissions that are available. A good example of this is the TCI -EZ-TCU, which was created by FAST. The latter is known for its simplicity as there is no tuning or software knowledge that is necessary.

The GM 6L80E and 4L80E can also be exceptional choices, but they can be quite heavy on the pocket. For a more affordable option if you are looking for an automatic transmission, you might want to give GM 4L60E a shot.

Oil Pans

For improved oil life and engine system, the oil pan is going to assume a critical role. It is located at the engine’s bottom side. Their designs can be different depending on the clearance on where the oil pan will be installed. Think whether you have a car, truck, or any other type of vehicle so that you can choose an oil pan that is most suitable for your needs.

Exhaust System

When it comes to exhaust that will complement your engine swap, there are generally two things that you can do – use a set of headers or stock manifolds. At GM, you can find different types of manifolds that will suit your needs. You will also have a wide array of choices for aftermarket headers with great quality.

So, should you choose manifolds or headers? According to experts in the field of automotive, manifolds are better if you want to keep low-end torque. On the other hand, headers will be the ideal choice if you want to have a top-end horsepower.

Fuel System

The fuel system is composed of different parts that will work collectively for the fuel to work. These parts include fuel pump, tank, filters, and fittings. You need to be engaged in detailed planning to know the combination that will work best. Each part is separate from each other and can be modified depending on the outcome that is being envisioned.


In sum, an LS engine swap is a common route for people who would like to upgrade the way their vehicle performs without the need to buy a new one. It all starts with choosing which engine is suitable for your needs or budget. Choose one on the basis of compatibility, reliability, and power. After all, you surely would not put your money to waste by buying an engine that will not bring a significant change.

Read more: Service Engine Soon

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