Gen 1 Small block to LS conversion.

Maintenance, Performance, Parts Sources

Gen 1 Small block to LS conversion.

Postby WarWagon » Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:22 pm

Starting here: I'm removing the 302Ci small block in my Vair and installing an iron block 5.3 LS engine. The 302Ci is great as a racing engine which it's built for but not as fun on the street with 3:27 gears and no low end torque to help.
Picked up an '02 5.3 engine/harness/computer and I'll be keeping the EFI on this.
I have an extended pilot bushing and a thicker Mcleod flywheel to use my existing bellhousing and clutch system.
ICT Billet motor mounts and an alternator and water pump only serpentine belt bracket setup.
Adam Knoll
Fairmont, W.V.
'65 Corsa 140 DD
'66 Crown V8 Vair
'66 Buick Riviera GS
'84 Isuzu Impulse Buick 3.8
'84 Buick Regal 3.8 blowthru turbo
'06 Chevrolet Avalanche Z71 4x4
WarWagon
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:45 pm
Location: Fairmont , WV

Re: Gen 1 Small block to LS conversion.

Postby pbeck » Wed Mar 10, 2021 10:31 pm

I think you'll enjoy the LS. Much easier to work on than the traditional small block, and much more forgiving. Seem to be capable of running on whatever octane you want to use. I initially installed mine with a Holley double pumper and eventually switched to a Holley Terminator TBI. Best move so far. Enjoy it.
Paul Beck
65 Monza Crown Conversion
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Re: Gen 1 Small block to LS conversion.

Postby WarWagon » Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:45 pm

I actually forgot about the fuel requirements or lack thereof for the stock 5.3 LS. Being able to run on 87 will be enjoyed too, my '06 Avalanche has 239k miles stock 5.3 engine. Definitely the right move.
The flywheel I got for the swap uses both the LS metric and imperial threads allowing the use of later LS pressure plates or the Gen 1 stuff. I intend to swap all my original clutch over to this engine. The swap is easy the coolant/fuel plumbing is what will need the most work but still easy.
Adam Knoll
Fairmont, W.V.
'65 Corsa 140 DD
'66 Crown V8 Vair
'66 Buick Riviera GS
'84 Isuzu Impulse Buick 3.8
'84 Buick Regal 3.8 blowthru turbo
'06 Chevrolet Avalanche Z71 4x4
WarWagon
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:45 pm
Location: Fairmont , WV

Re: Gen 1 Small block to LS conversion.

Postby pbeck » Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:48 pm

The coolant set up is definitely different. I opted not to use the stock water pump in order to gain more clearance in front of the engine. I used a Meziere remote electric pump that I mounted on the front crossmember. It's managed by a Davis-Craig controller which cycles the pump to keep the temperature at the desired level (modulates). I run 2 braided hoses (3/4") from each head, one in and one out, up through the tunnel. The pump has two 3/4" outlets and an 1 1/2" inlet from the radiator. The two return lines go into a "y" block and the an 1 1/2" back to the radiator. I use dual puller fans on the radiator also controlled by the Davis-Craig unit. Haven't had any issues with heat problems, cycles within about 10 degrees. Does make plumbing sort of a nightmare.
Paul Beck
65 Monza Crown Conversion
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Re: Gen 1 Small block to LS conversion.

Postby WarWagon » Sat May 22, 2021 6:11 pm

Normally would only be removing this for a problem but it's for an upgrade this time. Took extra time to get on this job and it is happening.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/oTehf4FL4K9BknzC9
https://photos.app.goo.gl/jnZxJopDDApGMWwb6
My '02 5.3 with harness as purchased
https://photos.app.goo.gl/irLyFtufCDV4jYNF6
The small parts batch I have, I have a relocated alternator mount bracket and part of the fuel system on the way.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/bnbUdt82qmLsRvDQ6
Adam Knoll
Fairmont, W.V.
'65 Corsa 140 DD
'66 Crown V8 Vair
'66 Buick Riviera GS
'84 Isuzu Impulse Buick 3.8
'84 Buick Regal 3.8 blowthru turbo
'06 Chevrolet Avalanche Z71 4x4
WarWagon
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:45 pm
Location: Fairmont , WV

Re: Gen 1 Small block to LS conversion.

Postby WarWagon » Sun Jul 04, 2021 5:47 pm

Small hold up on my end of this engine swap project, I've was injured at work May 24th. I'm healing up still but have 5 more weeks off work yet which will help with this swap now. This week I'be healed enough to be more mobile and getting back on this swap.
Adam Knoll
Fairmont, W.V.
'65 Corsa 140 DD
'66 Crown V8 Vair
'66 Buick Riviera GS
'84 Isuzu Impulse Buick 3.8
'84 Buick Regal 3.8 blowthru turbo
'06 Chevrolet Avalanche Z71 4x4
WarWagon
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:45 pm
Location: Fairmont , WV

Re: Gen 1 Small block to LS conversion.

Postby WarWagon » Tue Jul 06, 2021 3:53 pm

The current situation in my garage.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZQT2tsuRm6FY1wgP7
One side benefit of having a midship car:
The ability to sit down in it while you service /work on it. Certainly helping with my ankle and wrist recovery.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/QmjdZhsv22uy7N4Z7
Adam Knoll
Fairmont, W.V.
'65 Corsa 140 DD
'66 Crown V8 Vair
'66 Buick Riviera GS
'84 Isuzu Impulse Buick 3.8
'84 Buick Regal 3.8 blowthru turbo
'06 Chevrolet Avalanche Z71 4x4
WarWagon
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:45 pm
Location: Fairmont , WV

Re: Gen 1 Small block to LS conversion.

Postby WarWagon » Tue Jul 06, 2021 7:53 pm

After a few breaks and staying hydrated I got the super small block out! Next up pull the headers out and bell housing too, I need to put the bellhousing on the 5.3 and dial indicate it then it can go in the car.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/zQMQ3EnvyrepxVys9
Adam Knoll
Fairmont, W.V.
'65 Corsa 140 DD
'66 Crown V8 Vair
'66 Buick Riviera GS
'84 Isuzu Impulse Buick 3.8
'84 Buick Regal 3.8 blowthru turbo
'06 Chevrolet Avalanche Z71 4x4
WarWagon
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:45 pm
Location: Fairmont , WV

Re: Gen 1 Small block to LS conversion.

Postby WarWagon » Wed Jul 07, 2021 10:42 pm

Almost got bell housing seated then interference. The top left most bolt and the two others after it to the right on the rear cover hit the bell housing. This is a really thick modified Lakewood bell housing I'll be able to clearance the areas ok, the 168 tooth flywheel will clear the bell housing so only two small jobs to call this done.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zkLhX3b4iz4VdnhN8
Adam Knoll
Fairmont, W.V.
'65 Corsa 140 DD
'66 Crown V8 Vair
'66 Buick Riviera GS
'84 Isuzu Impulse Buick 3.8
'84 Buick Regal 3.8 blowthru turbo
'06 Chevrolet Avalanche Z71 4x4
WarWagon
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:45 pm
Location: Fairmont , WV

Re: Gen 1 Small block to LS conversion.

Postby WarWagon » Sun Jul 11, 2021 2:01 pm

I cannot find my 4" hand grinder and probably for the better, so the Nicholson hand bastard file was the tool used here. Got the clearance I needed in that spot since this is a Gen 1 SBC bell housing.
Now I can continue with the dial indicating.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/iJU3KUSVxxJG8b917
https://photos.app.goo.gl/gw86kSpNWFNGoTCi9
Adam Knoll
Fairmont, W.V.
'65 Corsa 140 DD
'66 Crown V8 Vair
'66 Buick Riviera GS
'84 Isuzu Impulse Buick 3.8
'84 Buick Regal 3.8 blowthru turbo
'06 Chevrolet Avalanche Z71 4x4
WarWagon
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:45 pm
Location: Fairmont , WV

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