S-10 Forum banner
Not open for further replies.
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
This post is a compilation of parts, suggestions, tips, and practices to successfully swap an LS-based engine into an S10 Truck (2WD and Blazer variants)

Most swappers generally underestimate the total costs and time for these conversions.

Keep the engine bay clean. Once the original engine is pulled out, spend $10.00 on some degreaser and a car wash pressure washer. Can of black paint is under $5.00

Since no truck is built the same, it isn't easy to put a specific construction price on the conversion. Parts range from complete swap kits from CPW to junkyard dog conversions (using take-off fans, radiators, modified f-body exhaust manifolds, DIY wiring harnesses, etc.)

This will not cover every combination but will primarily cover the installation of a Stock LS engine and either manual or auto-trans in these trucks.


Except for the oil pan and exhaust system, the 4WD swaps are the same. This swap will require a custom or fabricated oil pan, exhaust system, vacuum lines, better cooling, etc. The exhaust may include modified F-Body manifolds or custom headers.

4WD swaps are more labour-intensive. Clearances are much tighter. The front differential interferes with every "stock" LSx oil pan. Several exchanges have been completed using H3 Alpha pans and dropping the differential by 3/4"

If the engine's back side is in the same location as the back side of the 4.3, then the front and rear driveshafts will not require modification. However, moving the machine backward (to gain clearance for the radiator and fans) will require shortening the rear and lengthening the front driveshaft.

The 4WD S10 uses a remote oil filtration system, which is advantageous but requires additional plumbing.

The skid plates (if they are retained) hinder air flow out of the engine compartment.

Suppliers of shortie and long-tube headers state that their headings are for 2WD applications.

This will be a closed post, updated for new and better suggestions/parts/techniques. (send me a PM for suggestions)

Each component of the swap is in a separate section:

Engine components
Front accessories
Oil Pans
Engine Identification

· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)

Cooling is one of the most important expenses for this swap:

CPW has the following components available:

Fans must be installed with a shroud that completely covers the back of the surface of the radiator. Otherwise, at low speeds, the only air movement through the radiator will be the surface area of the fans. Depending on the type of fan, you can lose 40-60% efficiency of your cooling system.

Go here for pricing information: http://currentperformance.com/Swap_Parts/Radiator.html

Fans will flow 2780 CFM at 12V:

CPW fan/radiator kit installed in a GEN 2 S10 Truck

Front of radiator with CPW A/C condenser mounted

CPW complete kit also comes with a modified hood latch support bracket:

CPW Fans installed on Gen 2 Radiator Core Support:

CPW Fans using Truck Accessories:

08-02 Camaro LS1 Cooling Fans mounted on the back of a stock Gen 1 S10 Radiator in the stock position.

Griffin Radiator: Summit Racing, Part Number GRI-1-25271-X

The inlet/outlets are in non-traditional locations, but it does fit in the core pretty good. Fabrication is required for hoses, mounts,
fans, etc.

Stock S10 Radiator, recessed into the core support with a set of Dodge Intrepid (junkyard) fans:

Carefully trimming of the core support allows the 4.3 radiator to be recessed forward:

Mounting brackets to install the fan/shroud combination need to be fabricated:

LS2 Corvette vs LS1 Waterpump. LS2 Version provides additional clearance for cooling fans.


It is mandatory that distilled water be used when using an aluminum radiator. Tap water contains minerals which will corrode aluminum.

Use a quality radiator cap that has a rating recommended for your radiator. 14lbs is typical.

Use new high quality hose clamps on all water hoses, (radiator and heater)


An external transmission cooler can be installed in a variety of locations:

On the core support, in front of the radiator:

Under the truck:

Heater core:

If the truck is 10 years old or older, I'd suggest the following preventative maintenance item:

Replace the heater core if it is still the original unit.

· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)

The wiring harness is the nervous system for these swaps. If your intention is to build your own harness or modify and existing harness, you must ensure that your connections are electrically secure. These modifications can be made. It takes a good set of manuals, a talented hand at soldering and re-pinning, as well as a lot of patience.

For most people, a pre-made harness is the best solution. Jared at CPW is a sponsor of this section and offers ready-made solutions for these swaps:

There are other vendors who can provide these harnesses, but CPW builds them specifically for your application. You must provide him with all of the details about your truck and the new engine/trans combo. He also needs to know if your jurisdiction requires emissions testing.

This harness isn't cheap, but it is the best solution for most people.

Refer to his web-site for additional information and to order.


Generic Sensor Locations: (originally from Street and Performance...thanks to Undaunted for the info)

(1) Throttle Body Assembly
(2) Fuel Injectors
(3) Oil Pressure Sensor
(4) Knock Sensor
(5) Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor
(6) Camshaft Position Sensor

(1) MAP Sensor
(2) EVAP Canister Purge Valve
(3) Coil Assembly
(4) O2 Sensor Bank 1
(5) O2 Sensor Bank 2
(6) Knock Sensor Bank 2


Make sure the battery, engine, transmission, body and frame all have large gauge, clean ground cables to each other. Grind the frame to ensure that there is no paint, coating and/or rust. There must be good continuity between ground cables and grounds.

· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
A/C systems

There are several solutions to install A/C compressors for these conversions.
1. Use the stock compressor, located in the stock location.
2. Use a High mount relocation bracket that moves a Sanden compressor to the upper passenger side of the engine.
a. Street and Performance style bracket without a tensioner
b. CPW (and others) style bracket with a factory tensioner
A factory style installation requires a notched and boxed passenger side frame:
Note dimensions of notch. As long as the frame is properly and carefully re-welded, no strength will be compromised.
Take the time to grind, prime and paint any welded areas.

Measure twice and cut once is the key to making this fit:
This cut can be made with a variety of cut-off tools and/or a plasma cutter.


This version used mounts that placed the engine higher in the engine bay, decreasing the amount needed to be clearanced.

The TBSS Compressor is shorter and may be an alternative: A custom offset mount is required with Vette Accessories.

High Mount systems:
Kwik-Perf (which is the brand carried by CPW) relocates a Sanden style compressor to the upper right of the engine.
This eliminates the requirement to notch and box the passenger side frame rail. Cost of just the bracket is around $200.
Other parts required: Compressor, tensioner and the appropriate engine accessories.
These brackets are made for Truck, F-Body and Corvette accessory belt routing.

CPW system installed:

Oil filler cap is still accessible:

S&P style w/o belt tensioner: A disadvantage of this type of bracket is the elimination of the belt tensioner.
The serpentine belt must be periodically adjusted manually. Cost is in the $350 range.
Note that this engine uses LS1 Corvette Accessories and waterpump.

A/C lines for CPR High mount compressor:

They use a different dryer than factory, but we can supply that also, $20 for the dryer.

The lines are $225

Hoses can also be fabricated at any hydraulic hose shop. Check the "yellow pages" or google your location.

Another option for engines with truck pulleys is using a stock S10 compressor using a "pre-vortec" style A/C bracket:

http://www.maliburacing.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=79059 (Thanks to Maliburacing.com)

Here's a final pic:


· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Crank Pulleys/Drive Accessories

Alternator will hit the P/S gearbox with F-Body Accessories:

Note the location of the alternator. This will hit the powersteering pump. CPW or Kwik has a bracket to relocate it to the high position.

Corvette is the best application: Belt is closest to engine.

LS2 Corvette engine: Note flat faced water pump.

Truck Pulley vs Corvette Pulley

From the front edge of the timing cover to the outer edge of the pulley

· Corvette: 2 1/8”

· F-Body/GTO: 2 15/16”​

· Truck: 3 11/16”​

Power Steering Pumps:

Corvette parts have to be a little different. In this case, the shaft diameter of most LS-based Corvette pumps is .66″. All other Type II (or TC) pumps including Camaros, Firebirds, and most other GM passenger cars are .75″ diameter.

GM has a 5-inch-diameter pulley (PN 10166335). This smaller pulley has a 0.750-inch shaft diameter.

Read more: http://www.carcraft.com/techarticle...y_drive_swap_guide/viewall.html#ixzz1UvUO4auQ

There are 6-groove serpentine pulley diameters from about 5.25″ to 6.625″. This difference will change the RPM of the pump relative to the engine RPM but for most street applications, you probably won’t register much difference in actual steering feel.

In the photo below, you'll see one other important difference besides the diameter. Notice that the smaller pulley has access holes, while the larger one does not.

When selecting a pulley, it is recommended using one with the holes. Otherwise, anytime you want to install or remove the pump, you'll have to pull the pulley to get to the bolts that mount the pump. Not a big deal if you have the right puller and right installation tools. But if you don't, this saves a you time. If you change the pulley to a smaller on, this may also affect the diameter of the serpentine belt.

CPW carries the upper A/C relocation and Alternater relocation brackets. For additional fitment illustrations, see below:


Kwik alternator/PS bracket and CPW A/C bracket:


· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Exhaust System

There are several proven solutions for exhaust systems for these conversions:

Shortie Headers:

Racing Innovations has a header kit that is very popular:
They are TIG Welded, Stainless Steel, have 1 5/8 Primary Tubes, 2 1/2 Collectors, and 3/8 Thick Header Flanges
Angled spark plug boots are recommended for clearance.
They also have Reducers/exhaust starter tubes with o2 sensor bungs attached and Includes Header Gaskets
These work with Racing Innovation and Supply adapter mounts (p.n. 13000) and factory style 2.8L v6 frame mounts.

Carshopinc 1 5/8" shortie headers:

BRP Mid-length headers:

2010/2011 F-Body Manifolds: Do Not Fit without some modification. Hit in several locations (6/28/2012)
Pics below show fitting with slight mods to steering column and steering box on a ZR2 Blazer.

Modified 98-99 F-Body exhaust manifolds:

Clearance to Steering shaft with modified F-Body exhaust manifolds:

Some swaps have been made easier using a late model Jeep steering shaft. It has a narrower fitment.

Long Tube:

CPW: The Stainlessworks longtube headers are sold by CPW.


Dyno testing by CPW revealed significant HP increases when Long tube headers replaced modified F-body manifolds:
Some of the increase was found at higher RPM's, where the free flowing headers increased the operating range:

Fabricating headers is another option, if you have the time, patience and experience with a Mig/Tig welder:

Plan on at least 40-60 hours.
F-Body vs Shorty vs Long tubes on an LS1 with FAST, CNC heads and a custom cam:


Stock full size truck manifolds, TBSS manifolds, Corvette manifolds, CTSV, 5.3 Trailblazer manifolds will not fit.
Sell them on Performancetruck dot com

C6 Z06: (Do not fit)

C6 LS2/3: (Do not fit)

Manifold Gaskets: The best ones are GM 12617944, factory exhaust manifold gaskets.


Stock 4.3 crossmember can be used, but may need to be slightly relocated, depending on engine mounts and transmission.

From the G-Force web site: This crossmember is a direct bolt-in. Provides all kinds of room for your exhaust and gues what...It actually works! Just bolt it in and go.
Fits the following transmissions: TH350, Muncie, PG, T-10, 700R4, 4L60/e, Super T-10, Saginaw, TH200. Finished in black powder coat, includes mounting hardware. $259.00

2010 Camaro Manifold on Drivers side (ZR2 with CPW Mounts)

Steering shaft clearance after mod to mounts. Elongated holes in steering column mount and moved over 3/16" then added 1/8" washers under front two steering box mounting pads.
This resulted in over 1/4" clearance between steering shaft and exhaust manifold.

Driver's side clearancing:

Hooker LS conversion manifold on passenger side (ZR2 with CPW Mounts)


· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Swap Resources

The S10Forum conversion section if possibly one of the best resources for LSx-based engine swaps into S10's.

If you are new to swapping or just want to see what's being done on other swaps, please read through the swaps in this section.

While there are no books that specifically detail how to swap an LS-based engine into an S10,
there are several books available on to learn about LS-Engines:

Chevy LS1/LS6 Performance by Christopher Endres
How to build High-Performance Chevy LS1/LS6 V-8's by Will Handzel
How to swap GM LS-Series engines into almost anything by Jefferson Bryant
Chevy LS Engine Conversion Handbook by Shawn Henderson 2011

Each of these books are available through Barnes and Noble

· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Fuel Systems

There are many solutions to fueling an LS motor in an S10, which requires a rail pressure of 58-62 psi:

- Use a stock 2.2 Flex fuel fuel pump
- Walbro 255 in place of the stock 4.3 pump.
- In-line external fuel pump. (least favored solution)

There are two types of fuel rails:

Returnless and Return:

To use the returnless system, you'll need a Fuel filter/FP regulator from a late Vette. AC Delco GF822

FUEL system
  • (Thanks BlackX): For a 2.2L Flex fuel truck, NO MODIFICATIONS are required to the fuel system! The factory flex fuel pump has supported 491RWHP and the filter has a built in regulator. Same as the Corvette. Used (2) Russell part# 640850 fittings and a short section of braided stainless line that was all that was required.
  • 03' 2.2L Flex fuel S-10 filter (GM 15077584) or (Wix 33100). The S-10 has the male quick connect outlet already, so all you have to do is snap on the Russel fitting.
Corvette Filter/Regulator Setup is GM Part#10299146 (or Wix 33737)

Filter Mounting

Fitting for the end of the filter/regulator to adapt it to a quick disconnect fitting. Aeromotive 15104 (available from Jegs or Summit Racing)

This is for the "return-style" fuel rail

Fuel Rail Connection Adapter:

The new Russell quick connect fitting with the screw cap are a nice alternative to the fittings with the plastic pinch style retainers.
3/8 Feed: 644123 (http://www.summitracing.com/parts/RUS-644123)
5/16 Return: 644113(http://www.summitracing.com/parts/RUS-644113)

There is an adapter fitting made by Russel Part#640850 that will adapt the GM rail to #6AN fitting. For guys wishing to adapt #6AN to their existing 5/16" return line use part #640860

Russell Part# 640940 its a great alternative to the Aeromotive 15104 fitting for those running the vette fuel filter. The Aeromotive 15104 is approximately $50, depending on were you get it from where as the RUS - 640940 is approximately $10-$12 (Thanks Dan, AKA S10Studduts01S)

Double pumper Fuel pump for high horse power applications:

An external regulator can also be used in certain applications:

Aeromotive 340 Pump:

Same physical dimensions as the Walbro 255, however, (according to the installation instructions, the polarities are reversed on the Aeromotive pump compared to stock, and Walbro).

Racetronix Hot-wire Kit:

Why use a Racetronix Fuel Pump Upgrade Harness?

The Wiring Harness

High performance fuel pumps need a good power source in order to perform to their full potential. On average a Walbro high-performance fuel pump requires twice as much power as a factory fuel pump. Factory wiring is just enough for a factory pumps power requirements because manufacturers need to save cost and weight. Racetronix field tests have shown that running a high-performance fuel pump off of the factory wiring can cut pump performance by 30% or more. Problems with failing factory relays, connectors/terminals and fuse contacts are also common when excessive load is placed on them.

The Racetronix plug and play harness is designed to remove all fuel pump load from the factory pump circuits while providing the pump with a new heavy-duty power source. The Racetronix harness gets its power directly from the alternator's battery terminal. The voltage at the alternators output is typically 1-2 volts higher than at the battery when the motor is running (high charge/load conditions and WOT). This means that your Walbro high-performance pump can provide as much as 20% more fuel in some cases. The Racetronix harness uses high-quality automotive-grade wire which is resistant to oil, gas, heat and rot. The main length of wire in the Racetronix harness is ten-gauge stranded copper. This is three to four gauges thicker than factory wire which helps reduce resistive power loss to almost non-existent levels. This helps improve pump performance by as much as another 10-20%.High-quality weatherproof fuse holders and relays are used for maximum reliability. The Racetronix harness has factory-type connectors which plug directly into your fuel pump module/sender so no cutting or splicing is required. The Racetronix harness has a redundant ground upgrade as it is necessary to improve the harness on the negative side of the pump's supply as well.

There is nothing worse than being in the middle of an installation only to find that the manufacturer has skimped on installation hardware. This is why Racetronix supplies a spare ATM fuse, 25 black nylon wire ties, silicon grease and stainless mounting hardware with each kit.

Racetronix harnesses are considered the best by which all others are judged. Attention to detail in every Racetronix harness is evident at first glance. Racetronix spares no expense to ensure reliability, ease of installation and performance.
All Racetronix harnesses are assembled using our computerized crimp-quality monitoring system and then circuit checked for the utmost in reliability. As with most Racetronix harnesses the FPWH-001 is backed by our limited lifetime warranty.


An optional battery to body ground upgrade kit is available (P/N BGK8). This kit upgrades the under-rated factory ground wire running from the battery to the chassis. It includes an 8 gauge copper wire fitted with terminals and battery nuts with accessory taps. We highly recommend this inexpensive option because this is a weak point in these cars.

The Racetronix harness comes equipped with an interface connector just after the relay (see product picture above). This connector in combination with an optionally supplied connector set (P/N PBIC) allows for easy plug and play addition of a pump booster / voltage amplifier such as the MSD or KB units. These voltage amplifiers / boosters will allow the Racetronix single in-tank pump system to support an additional 100-200 flywheel HP (B.S.F.C. dependant) when run at 16-17 volts. This configuration offloads the excessive current draw placed on the factory wiring onto the heavy gauge Racetronix harness system. System diagnosis becomes easier by simply being able to unplug, isolate and bypass sections of the wiring system.

Automotive Performance Engineering (APE)

Ron has a website with a variety of HP walbro pumps. Great prices/fast shipping: http://www.autoperformanceengineering.com/html/kits.html

· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Engine Mounts

Engine mounts are available from a variety of sources.

It would probably be wise to choose a supplier who can provide both mounts and headers. This will provide some assurance
that the parts are compatable and will fit your application.

CPW Mounts:

Mounts can also be fabricated:


· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
MAF sensor and Air Intake

For ease of programming, it's best to retain the MAF that came with the engine that you purchased.

If starting from scratch, either purchase the correct unit for your engine/drivetrain combination, or
work with your harness provider/tuner to determine a different application.

There can be a slight gain of power by going to a larger MAF, but it may require specific programming changes that your
tuner would need to know.

It it generally not worth the money to purchase an larger aftermarket MAF for a "mostly" stock engine.

Will Hanzel recommends the Escalade or Corvette 85mm MAF for the best flow.

For 99% of swappers it is generally recommended use a factory screened maf because of the many different intake pipe options people are using. There are factory MAF's that do not have a screen and they are "tuned" for the specific intake (Corvette)

It is highly recommended not to "de-screen" a "screened" MAF. These are a tuning nightmare.

The 03+ MAF 5-Pin Connector

The 5.3 Truck MAF 1998-02 5-Pin connector:

Changes in MAF, from the original application, may require a calibration change to account for the new readings. Keep that in mind.

There are several guys on the Corvette forums who have transitioned to the LS3 MAF inside a 100mm tube. This setup requires a new program and will not run with an LS1/2 program. There is power to be made with this hardware, however, it's in F/I setups.

Air Intake Systems

There are a variety of solutions for fabricating an induction system. The best is one with a filter that is isolate from the engine bay heat.

Example 1:

Initially, the filter housing (for an AirRaid TBSS filter) was fabbed up to get air through the core support.

The next step was to fab a "snorkel" to pull air from the tow hook cutout in the bumper cover.

Last thing was to cover the filter housing in an insulating wrap and install a seal on the top.

Option 2: Dual snorkel

Option 3: Factory type

A K&N tube was used on this one: 57-3061

Option 4: Not Ideal :(

Not picking on anyone :D


· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Throttle Body

For simplicities sake, use the throttle body that is stock on the engine you select.

The F-Body LS1 Engine uses a cable driven 75mm throttle body.

The early LQ4 engines used an 80mm Throttle body. For a stock GM cable throttlebody, this is the best.

Later trucks used an 85mm DBW throttle body.

The Y-Body LS1 used an 85mm DBW throttle body.

The LS2 GTO and Vette used a low profile DBW 90mm Throttle body.

If your swap requires a cable driven throttle body, you will need to find one compatible with your manifold and/or swap intake

Take the time to properly locate the throttle cable bracket on your engine. This is one example:

Lokar LS1 throttle cable bracket:

LS1 Bracket
The billet aluminum bracket mounts to the side of the LS1 manifold and is available with a single stud for throttle only or double stud to add a cruse control cable.

Work with the harness provider and/or programmer to ensure that the DBW controls are deleted from the PCM and replaced with
appropriate tables for a cable driven throttle body.

Conversly, swapping in a DBW throttle bodied engine will require a little more work. An appropriate DBW pedal and TAC module (for some motors) is required. Discuss this portion of the swap with the harness supplier.

For example, CPW can provide a DBW harness, pedal, modules and PCM in a complete "plug-n-play" package.

Note pedal in upper right hand corner:


· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Budgeting for your project

A conversion project needs a budget plan before you begin. It will be difficult to determine any kind of a standard budget because of the nature of acquiring parts for these conversions.

Some people will scrounge and beg for the cheapest possible solution, while others will purchase new parts and pay for installations.

It is recommended that you at least try to document what you might need to spend before you begin this project by making a list.

Start with:

(the 4.8 and 5.3 share a common block. You can determine size by looking at the head gasket. There's a small tab that's visible which lists the engine displacement)
Engine mounts (sometimes best to get headers and mounts as a matched set to ensure fitment)
Oil pan
Harness (New harness, converted harness, home-built harness)
Exhaust system (manifolds, headers, catalytic converters, pipes, mufflers to tailpipes)
Most people need a shop to install the exhaust from the headers back.
A/C vacuum, leak test and charge
Cooling system (radiator, fans, shroud, condensor, radiator mounts)
Front Accessories (waterpump, P/S, Alternator, A/C system)
Frame modifications (notching and boxing for A/C and/or Oil pan)
Transmission crossmember modifications.
Fuel system (from the pump to filter/regulator to fuel lines)
Driveshaft modifications
PCM and tuning (critical parts)
Emissions legality
Where are you going to work on your truck?
Service Manuals for torque specs and references
Plugs, wires, vacuum lines, hoses, clamps, soldering tools and supplies, heat shrink.
Thermostat (always use a new one)
Fluids: Antifreeze, P/S fluid, Brake Fluid, trans fluid, rear differential fluid, wiper fluid.

Is this your primary source of transportation. Keep in mind that you'll need, at a minimum, of 2-3 weeks if you are doing this by yourself.
Experienced builders, and builders who have all parts necessary for the swap, will require less time.

· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·

The truck coils and brackets seem to fit better for S10 Conversions. However, you won't be able to use the popular Corvette Fuel rail covers.

(insert Pictures)

There are several options. You can mount the coils remotely and/or you may need to relocate the rear coils or modify the brackets for fitment.


· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Oil pan information

The oil pan is one of the critical fitment components of this swap.

You'll need the matching oil pickup, windage tray, dipstick tube and dipstick for the pan you determine best for your swap.

There are several options:

LS2 Corvette oil pan:

H3 Alpha Oil Pan:

CPW has this pan in inventory!


Modified Truck oil pan:

Milodon LSx Pan

5 Quart, plus filter (remote) 7.5" sump depth
(as of 1/31/11, there are no pictures of this pan installed on an engine in an S10 available)

Mast Swap Pan:


Sump is 8.84" long, 5.63" deep,


The Corvette LS2 pan provides the greatest ground clearance of any stock pan, but will require a notched and
boxed front crossmember on a 2WD truck. The notch provides access to remove the pan, if required, once the engine is

A 2WD Blazer uses mounts which mount the engine slightly higher. A notch may not be required:

The Hummer H3 Alpha pan provides the greatest crossmember clearance in 2WD truck, but it may hang below the crossmember in 2WD trucks.

In a Blazer, it is about even with the crossmember

The modified truck oil pan will work. It's best to begin with a pan that has never had oil in it. It is difficult to obtain a secure
weld if the aluminum has previously been oil soaked. It is possible to clean a pan, but for the cost, go for the new pan.

Typically, the pan will need to be modified in two areas; front sump for crossmember clearance and bottom of sump for ground clearance.

Another "hot-rodder" modified pan. It worked fine in his application. Note clean welds!

However, whatever oil pan used, you are responsible to ensure that it fits properly.

Holley pan vs the GM swap pan:


One small area of attention is the O-ring between the pickup tube and the oil pump.
You'll want to lube the pickup tube when you insert it. If the O-Ring "rolls-up" when you insert
the tube, the pump will cavitate and not provide sufficient oil pressure.


GM Part number: 12584922 for the red o-ring

Pick-up tube:

If the pickup tube is being re-used from another application, make sure that the screen in the pickup
is not clogged with debris. Flush until it's clean.


· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)

An aluminum LS1, 5.3, or 6.0 is approximately the same weight as a 4.3 engine. (approximately 450-480 lbs) This greatly simplifies what is needed to keep the suspension geometry correct. However, if starting with a 4-cylinder engine, you might consider upgrading to 6-cylinder springs.


Verify that your steering components are in good condition.

Flaming River U-Joint replacement for steering column "rag-joint": http://www.s10forum.com/forum/f178/how-to-flaming-river-u-joint-steering-mod-395639/

Steering Gearbox:

The best factory S10 gearbox is the unit from option code ZQ8. This box will provide the quickest steering ratio.
It is a direct bolt on component. You'll need the ZQ8 steering gearbox and the pitman arm that is attached to it.

This box provides a constant 12.7-to-1 ratio, whereas the Blazer box is a 17-to-1 ratio. The extended cab has a variable ratio gearbox.

There are numerous options to increasing the performance of the steering.

Here is a link to a thread where the owner swapped in an '88 Monte Carlo SS box: http://www.s10forum.com/forum/f178/steering-gear-replacement-tips-and-pics-378011/

It is always recommended to ensure that the suspension and brakes are in good operating condition. However, when swapping in a higher horsepower engine combination, your driving demands will change.

In order to accomodate these changes, conduct a thorough inspection of the suspension of the truck. This would include shocks, sway bars, bushings, ball joints, hubs, brakes and brake lines.

If your truck has single piston front calipers, from a pure safety concern, you should consider at a minimum, "resurfacing" the rotors and upgrading brake pad to a high performance pad, such as Hawk HPS or comparable pad.

Stock single Piston Front Brakes: Too small for an LS-based swap

Stock Dual Piston Front Brakes:

The next step would be to consider a dual piston/rotor/spindle combination from a 98+ Blazer. This is a popular swap and with a high performance pad, will increase the stopping power of the truck.

Here is a site that has a wide variety of "Big Brake" options for the S-Series Trucks: http://www.flynbye.com/catalog/c6_p1.html

There are several other options, which include C5 Corvette or LS1 Camaro rotors/calipers, which can be installed with custom brackets. This option will require a larger diameter wheel to clear the larger brake calipers. Keep in mind that the C5 Corvette rear disk conversion doesn't accomodate the emergency brake system. This feature will be lost. (this may not impact owners with automatic transmissions)

C5 Z06 Brakes:

C6 Z06 Brakes

There a couple of S10 Trucks/Blazers which the owners have installed C6 Z06 Brakes, front and rear. This is at least a $2,000 conversion plus the expense for the larger diameter, Corvette specific, wheels.

There are also aftermarket solutions from Baer, Kore, and SSSB (and others).

Install new brake lines if the hoses on the truck are damaged, nicked, or are "spongy" feeling. Stainless braided lines are not too expensive and are a good addition.

A conversion to a Hydroboost system will provide the greatest braking pedal pressure for LS conversions, however, actual braking distance will be limited by tire selection. This conversion also provides more room in the engine compartment, by eliminating the vaccuum booster on the firewall. This conversion is discussed in great detail in the braking forum.

Rear Brakes:

All trucks have drum rear brakes, which aren't bad, considering that the front brakes provide the majority of the stopping force.

There are several options:

1. Rebuild the rear brakes with quality parts and HP pads. Resurface the drums.

2. Swap the rear drums for disks from a Blazer and/or swap the entire rear axle assembly.

3. C5/C6 Z06 Brakes


Always use the appropriate brake fluid for the vehicle, follow proper procedures to bleed and maintain brakes.

Although it may be common sense, increased power will greatly increase accelleration and potentially top speed. If brakes are in the stock condition, the truck will not be able to stop safely.

Shock Absorbers:

The stock shock absorbers on the truck will probably near their "end-of-life". Replace them with a quality, high performance shock. Brand name isn't important and is usually a personal preference.


When getting a new driveshaft made or getting yours shortened, install solid universal joints (right) as they offer a significant strength advantage over greaseable hollow joints (left). If you are installing greaseable U-joints, index them so the grease fitting is under compression as they transfer driveshaft torque. This makes them much less of a liability in high-power applications

S10's use a Saganaw 3R U-Joint

Do not re-use the U-bolts that attach the driveshaft to the rear pinion. Again, cheap insurance against failure. (About $10.00)

Always have the driveshaft balanced before installing it. This is cheap insurance against vibration.

Sway Bars:

Sway bars from a Blazer are slightly larger in diameter and will bolt to the truck without modification.

Urethane bushings on the front sway bar will help to improve the "feel" of the truck by marginally reducing flex within the mounting bracket.

The ZQ8 option package uses a front sway bar that is 1.3" or 33mm thick.
This bar will work on all 2WD 82-03 S10 Trucks and Blazers.
It's a direct bolt-on upgrade.

The rear ZQ8 bar is also a direct bolt-on for 82-03 S10 Trucks.

The Blazer ZQ8 bar is different. Mounting points are in different locations.
Blazer rear sway bar:

When scavenged from a salvage yard, make sure you get all of the end links/brackets/bolts, bushings, etc.

· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·

It is your responsibility to conduct the necessary research to determine whether your location requires vehicle inspections and emissions testing. This is going to become increasingly more prevalent in the future.

It is very easy for a swap to be emissions compliant!

Aftermarket High Performance Converters:

While these will not make a vehicle legal without all of the other hardware, parts are available to support power and clean air.

California has well-published standards on how to properly swap and certify a vehicle. This excerpt from JTR illustrates this:


At least one swapper in Arizona, who is on this forum, illustrated the difficulty that he had with his swap and getting it through emissions testing. He used a GTO engine instead of a Truck based engine. (This is an area that must be researched before starting the swap.) By programming the engine as a "truck" instead of a car, the risk of failing an inspection can possibly be mitigated.

Many locations do not inspect vehicles for emissions and it becomes a personal decision on what should be done.


Go to Google and type in: Emissions testing (insert your state)

· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)

The stock 4.3 transmission is typically "worn-out" by the time most people want to swap engines. It may last for a while, but it will quit working, usually at the worst time.

If you are going with the 4.3 transmission, pull it out and have it rebuilt with performance parts.

LS-based 4.8 and 5.3 truck engines are available with either a 4L60E, 4L65E or 4L70E transmissions.

The LQ4 and LQ9 engines are available with either a 4L65E or 4L80E transmission. For S10 conversions, the 4L60-70 series transmissions are the easiest. The 6-liter TBSS engine comes with the 4L70E transmission.

F-Body engines have the 4L60E trans.

These transmissions have a torque rating of approximately 350-400 ftlbs. Keep this in mind once performance modifications
begin with the engine.

These transmissions require a transmission fluid cooler. This can range from an in-radiator (simplest) to an external aftermarket unit.
Some swappers use a cooler with a built-in electric fan, controlled by a temperature switch.

Remember, temperature is the killer of automatic transmissions. A cooler is manditory.

Common and prudent modifications to these transmissions include mild shift kits and Corvette servos.
Performance modifications to the engine may require high performance build-ups and/or a performance transmission.

(Phoenix transmissions in Weatherford TX, Monster transmissions, FLT Transmissions, and many others. Research this independantly)

For a stock drivetrain, it's easiest and most cost effective to retain the stock torque converter.

For performance applications, a higher stall converter may be appropriate for your drivetrain/useage combination. Research this independantly also.

New Torque Converter installation:

1. Flush out transmission oil cooler and lines. Add a quart of new transmission fluid to the torque converter. Using the aid of a helper, stand the transmission on the tail shaft and carefully install the torque converter onto the transmission. Spin the torque converter and listen for 3 distinct clicks as it drops into the transmission. The following are measurements you can make to insure the torque converter is all the way in the transmission:

4L60E = 1.125" from bellhousing to converter pads.

GM 4L80E = 1.030" from bellhousing to converter pads.

Distance may vary +/- .050".

2. Remove any debris in the crankshaft pilot hole and lubricate. Clean and lubricate the dowel pins. Check to see that dowel pins will be in the transmission bellhousing by more than .250".

3. Mount transmission to the back of the engine block making sure the bellhousing fits squarely against the block. If it does not, find out why! Is there something between the bellhousing and block or has the torque converter slipped out of the transmission? DO NOT PULL UP THE BELLHOUSING TO THE BLOCK USING THE BELLHOUSING BOLTS!!!!

4. After the transmission bellhousing bolts are tightened, check to see if the torque converter will turn by hand. Push the torque converter back into the transmission as far as it will go. Using feeler gauges or calipers measure the gap between the flexplate converter mounting pad and the torque converter mounting pad. If gap distance is between .060" and .187" it is OK to bolt up the torque converter using RED Loctite on the bolts. If the gap is greater than .187" install a .060" flat washer between the torque converter and flexplate.

5. Finish installing the cross member, exhaust, driveshaft, etc. Add 5 quarts of good quality transmission fluid. Start the engine and immediately add 2 more quarts. Check the fluid and finish filling the transmission to proper level.

4L80/4L80E Transmissions

The 4L80e Transmission is another option, but it does require additional modifications to fit.

LS-x trans to LS-x engine, no spacers needed

An older type trans to LS-x, either use a spacer OR long crank 6.0 (early, 99-01) with the flat flexplate, put the spacer between the flexplate and crank.

If it's a dished plate, put the spacer on after the flexplate.

Unless a custom built converter is used, keep the older type TCs with the older trans(s10 TC is for older type trans), TRAILblazer TC(I6) is for LSx trans

Flex Plate:

Flex Plate:

Factory Spacer:

Dished Flexplate with Spacer:

T-56 6-Speed

There are a couple of variants of this transmission.

The LS Camaro
The CTSv
The Viper

T-56 Installation:

When installing the engine/tranny be sure to either trim or massage the lip from the firewall to the tunnel. It clears fine without trimming but makes clutch changes nearly impossible. You cannot access the top bell housing bolts with the lip in place.

A speed bleeder is also a must IMO. If you do a clutch change or have the typical loss of pedal pressure that is common in the T-56 hydraulics, it is nearly impossible to bleed the system without this. The bleeder bolt has very little clearance to get a wrench on it.

Also a great idea to replace the hydraulic fluid with a non-synthetic racing brake fluid to help keep the fluid from boiling during with spirited driving. (yes this even happens on the new C6Z06

The stock S-10 hydraulics are sufficient. This includes the master cylinder, line, fittings, and pedal. (I know some have used the stock 4.3 slave cylinder). I recommend changing the slave cylinder since this was an OEM issue and still is.

You can use the stock 4.3 5-speed tranny crossmember (modified), stock auto crossmember (modified) and/or BRP makes a T-56 crossmember.

It may be necessary to patch the existing shifter hole in the transmission tunnel and make a new one aprox. 4" to 6" back.

It's possible to use the stock F-body shifter, boot, knob.

A stock Blazer '95 to '97 console, that was originally a column shift truck, can be used. Cut out the the bottom of the cup holder and the insert. Wrap the stock F-body shifter boot around the insert and glue (or rivits and/glue.) This works really well and makes for easy access to the shifter mounting bolts.

On an extended cab truck, the 2-piece driveshaft will need to be shortened approximately 1.5" (measure twice and cut once!) Always install new joints, new carrier bearing, and have the shaft balanced.

T-56 with a GTO shifter knob in a '95-'97 Blazer console:

T-56 with a F-body shifter in a '98-'05 Blazer Console

(Nice Gen 3 Firebird seats!)

(Thanks for the pics Petro)

6L80/6L90E transmissions

The newer 6L80e/6L90e transmissions have a larger physical casing and will not fit in the transmission tunnel without modification. In addition, only a couple of harness suppliers (Street & Performance, MAST, Speartech, etc) have products which will operate these transmissions. From a practical standpoint, these transmissions are not good solutions for S10 Conversions yet.

The Pontiac G8 with the 6L80E transmission uses a transmission fluid pan which is 3/4" shorter than the Cadillac version. This will help with ground clearance.

Gen I Automatics Behind Gen III/IV Engines

(Everything you wanted to know about mounting transmissions to LS engines: http://www.carcraft.com/techarticles/ccrp_0810_engine_transmission_swap_gen_3/torque_specs.html)

The same mismatch between the 0.400-inch-shorter crank flange position relative to the bellhousing is what makes matching up a typical TH350/TH400/200-4R, a 700-R4 or a "non-LS-engine" 4L60e to a Gen III/IV engine a bit different. The beauty of this swap is most of the mismatch situations can be solved with the use of a simple steel adapter.

GM actually faced an identical situation when bolting the 4L80E automatics behind 5.3L and 6.0L engines in larger trucks. The 4L80E automatic is basically a Gen I-style automatic, which required an adapter.

To compensate, GM created a simple steel spacer (GM PN 12563532 and 6 new flexplate bolts PN 12563533) that bolts on the Gen III/IV crank flange and combines with a flat flexplate. All this information is published in the GM Performance Parts LS1 engine swapping performance pamphlet.

The adapter and flat flexplate, along with longer metric bolts, are intended to be used together and will allow you to bolt any Powerglide, TH350, TH400, 700-R4, or 200-4R automatic to a Gen III/IV version engine. The part numbers for these pieces can be found in the parts list at the end of this story.

Unfortunately, there are also a few minor details that need to be addressed. For example, the flat flexplate used with the spacer is designed for a 300mm (11.8-inch) bolt pattern, while most Gen I transmission torque converters use an 11.7-inch bolt pattern. The difference between these two bolt patterns ends up being roughly around 1/8 inch. The 300mm bolt pattern holes can be carefully elongated with a file or die grinder to accommodate the smaller Gen I converter bolt pattern.

TCI makes a similar package that offers an SFI-approved performance flexplate and includes the adapter and bolts, all for an excellent price through SDPC. This flexplate bolts up to the Gen III/IV crankshaft and also features a dual converter bolt pattern that will accommodate both the early and metric torque converter bolt patterns, so no modifications are necessary.


FASTENER..............(ft-lb, unless specified)
Flywheel bolts.................15 (1st pass)
....................................37 (2nd pass)
....................................74 (final pass)
Bellhousing bolts..............37
Pressure plate bolts, ARP...35

Transmission Identification:

You can determine the type of transmission from the 4 large alpha-numeric characters on the transmission's ID tag. The 1st position is the Year Model of the transmission. The 2nd and 3rd positions determine the model of the transmission (4L60E) The 4th position determines what transmission family it belongs to. To the right is a sample ID Tag. ID Tag styles vary.

1. Model Year
2. Model Code
3. Transmission Family
4. Transmission Assembly Number
5. Julian Date
6. Sequential Serial Number
7. Source Code
8. Broadcast Code
9. Bar Code
10. Transmission I.D.

Below are some of the Transmission Broadcast Codes that are common.
Only Position 2/3/4 are listed because the 1st position changes with the year.
The number of Connector Pins is also listed.

2/3/4 Broadcast Code___Transmission Model__# of Connector Pins

· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Intake Manifolds:

LS6 manifold is on the left. LS1 Manifold is on right.

Engine Identification:

Here are the current engine descriptions for LSx engines (as of Jan 2011)


· Premium Member
3,891 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·

One subject that rarely comes up in discussion is the security of your project.

You need to budget money and time for consideration of how to secure your truck.

Many owners don't have garages, you can't be with your truck 24/7, you have to park it in public lots. What can you do?

There are active methods and their are passive devices.

Every one of your projects should have, at the minimum, a kill switch. This could easily be integrated into your wiring harness during installation.

What's a kill switch? It's simply a device with cuts power to a key component, (fuel pump) so the truck will crank, but not start.

Cost? under $50.

Wire the switch in-line with the ground for the FP Relay or the frame ground for the FP. Use a hidden switch or re-task an unused factory switch.

My favorite is the Ravelco. It uses a multi-terminal plug which completes circuits for 1-3 devices.

Active devices are alarm systems. There are so many different types of alarms that it becomes important to do the research on the type of alarm that best fits your truck and budget.

The last type is a tracker type, like LoJack ($695) or one of a dozen other technologies that use GPS and/or have a subscription service to monitor and track the location of your truck. Subscriptions costs range from as little as $10/month to $30/month.

Another type of system uses an RF device to control the FP relay. You replace the factory relay with a modified relay that has an on/off switch controlled by an RF device.

Wheel theft is also an issue.

Basic wheel locks are good for the amateur, but won't stop a determined thief. Gorilla makes a lock called the Gorilla Guard. This has a rotating sleeve on the outside of the lug which prevents a common method of defeating wheel locks. (they just used a special lug to remove them or hammer on a socket to remove them)

If you have to park it for a while, you can always buy a "boot" device that bolts to a tire.

Don't use a "club" and think your truck is safe.

Get your glass etched with the VIN number

Park with your wheels turned full lock.
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Not open for further replies.