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Old 03-09-2012, 10:32 AM   #1
clemsontiger
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I'm going to buy a C3 and make it a daily driver LSx for less than $20k thread

Ok, I just sold my '66 Mustang and am hoping to sell my '94 C4 (see avatar). I'm wanting to buy a bumper C3, put an LS engine in it and just drive the crap out of it...daily! What could be better than driving a classic Vette, with modern running gear, every single day?

Ok, so here's my thoughts: I've got $12-14k'ish to spend on the car now. When the C4 sells I plan on doing the LS swap.

First, it's always said, and I know from experience as well, it's better to buy a car done than to do it yourself, $$$ wise. I'm not sure this is the case with an LS powered bumper C3 because I feel like typically those cars are going to be in the $30k + range, probably more of a show car than a driver (frame/undercarriage detailed, etc). I want to take a car that would fit in at any show, and drive it...the difference being it's not going to be a frame-off job...the details under the car don't have to be perfect because their going to get beat-up by the daily driving. So, what to do?

I guess what I'm trying to figure out is just how much I can use from a car that's a good car in the LS swap...and if I'm going to have to change everything, would I be better buying a car that needs more work and start from scratch? The obvious questions are:

1. Is the, say, 350 out of a '70 worth anything to anyone once I pull it?

2. Let's assume an automatic car, whatever automatic trans came in those early C3's...can I use this behind the LS?

3. Can I continue to use all the C3 brake and steering components or will I have to a rack and pinion as well as swap the master cyl out?

I've done an LS2 w/4L60E into a '64 Impala...it was an awesome engine/trans combo (and I'd like to have the 400hp as opposed to the 300 LS1), but it was outragious to do $$$ wise. :-/ I had to swap EVERYTHING it seemed to make it work. Headers, driveshaft, all kinds of electronic crap, etc...I'm looking for a much simpler swap this time, thus the reason I'm hoping to keep the original C3 trans. From what I hear, the LS1 is a much easier swap than the LS2 because of some of the electronics. I also understand that I can use the F-body accessories that may come with the LS1, only replacing the A/C compressor with Josh's bracket, using an early '80's Vette compressor (to be able to continue to use the cars factory A/C without having to make changes).

I guess what I'm looking for is a simple as swap as possible...changing as little as possible, and I'm looking for advice from you folks that know more than me about these Vettes. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:00 PM   #2
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Thumbs up! Cool Idea

I like the idea of taking something you like and give it a daily "thrashing!"

Regarding an LS install - I was considering once upon a time and had this in my files:
http://tech.corvettecentral.com/2010...-c4-corvettes/

Don't know if there is any use there - but thought I'd share that tidbit.

BTW - I'd do the suspension too FRONT and REAR - and "while-u-r-at-it" maybe it becomes a body-off...


Cheers - Jim
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:20 PM   #3
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Depending on the '70 in question, the motor may or may not be valuable. LT1 cars making 370 hp naturally are more valuable than the 300hp base motor. TCI makes an adapter for TH350/400/700R4 transmissions to mate to the LS1 that will run you about $230.

I say go for it. Looks like a fun project!
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Old 03-09-2012, 01:07 PM   #4
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You're right about F-body accessories; they will fit, but the Corvette accessory package usually fouls between the power steering pump pulley and driver's side upper A-arm rear mount bolt. I found a smaller diameter pulley that I think will work, but I haven't tried it yet; so it's just a theory for now...

Now that LS3 pull out are starting to become available, the price of an LS6 is starting to come down. There was one on eBay listed for $4.5K for a long time that wasn't selling; so you might be able to get one for $4K or so on a good day. Only 5.7L displacement, but gear the car right, and you won't be disappointed...those suckers rev fast and are fun to drive! The 405hp in underrated; more like 420-425 in most of them. I have two LS swap project (C2 and C3) going on right now with LS6's for both.
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Old 03-09-2012, 01:47 PM   #5
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FWIW: for $20K you can probably find a nice LSx car and not have to do much to it. Turn key daily driver.

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Old 03-09-2012, 02:16 PM   #6
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Just a thought and I know I will get flamed hard for this. But since you have a 94 vette and being you can't get squat for them when selling. Why not get you C3 project and buy a frame that accepts C4 suspension and use your 94 as a donor?

Sell off whatever isn't used from the 94 to help pay for the c3 frame. That alone would easily cover almost the cost of the frame.

Hell, use the LT1 drivetrain in your project. That way you have modern suspension and tire choices, better brake options.

I say just find a nice rust free chrome bumper coupe/vert body only, then use that 94 as a complete donor and have the best of both worlds in your project.
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Old 03-09-2012, 03:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6880 Mike View Post
FWIW: for $20K you can probably find a nice LSx car and not have to do much to it. Turn key daily driver.

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Old 03-09-2012, 08:31 PM   #8
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These swaps are alot easier and cheaper than when alot of us started them a few years back.So many parts and kits out there now.I have a TCI flex plate hanging on my wall that I didnt get to use since I opted to go stick.(Along with other lsx stuff) So many people doing it now that used parts are plentiful making it cheaper to do everyday.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:44 PM   #9
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the LS1 can make 400hp easy. the only difference between the LS1 and LS6 is the heads and cam. u can pick up some 243 ls6 heads for $400 all day long and then buy the cam that fits ur needs. or send the heads to Advanced Induction and they can port and polish the 243 heads and custom grind a cam for what u want out of the car. that is the route i would take. i wouldnt spend the extra money to just say that u have a factory LS6. but its ur car and ur money.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:19 PM   #10
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also every LS1 has 345hp stock. it doesnt matter if it came out of and F-body or a corvette. its the same motor. 98-00 F-bodys had the LS1 intake with little bigger cam. 01-02 F-bodys have the LS6 intake with smaller cam than the 98-00 F-bodys
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:45 AM   #11
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Thanks for the reply and advice guys!

For those of you that know, I'm still looking for some answers to my above questions...and I have a few more:

Does anybody make a plug and play harness/computer to use with an LS1? I hear about a harness from PSI Conversions as being a simple set-up, but this harness/computer stuff is Greek to me so I'm going to need a lot of help.

Still wondering how hard it is to bolt the LS1 to the early 70's trans that would have come in the car. I really want to make this as easy a job as possible, and I feel like the less I have to change the better, thus keeping the original tranny. Will keeping the original parts from the bellhousing back kill mpg? I see people getting 27mpg doing an LS swap and it being a daily drive, mpg is important somewhat.

Help guys!
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:35 AM   #12
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I wanting to convert my 72 auto coupe from the Turbo 400 to a Tremec T56 Magnum (manual trans with 6 foward gears and two of those being overdrives). The Turbo 400 sucks a lot of power and you wouldn't gain that much in fuel economy so I'd definitely get an auto or manual trans with OD. Plus the T56 will bolt right up to your ls and you wouldn't need any spacers or adapting plates. As far as the harness goes I think Painless Performance makes a plug-n-play, but do hold me to it as I haven't looked in their catalog in awhile. Check out gmperformanceparts.com as they have stuff for ls swaps, and tranny adapters to if you decide to go with a turbo 350 or 400.
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:09 PM   #13
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Current performance makes a stand alone plug and play harness you have like 5 wires to connect,that's what I have in my car. As for the stock trans it will bolt up but you will either need a new converter or the flexplate spacer. I bought a converter for my c 4 but am running the adapter in my 60 Chevy both work fine. The issue I see is your gas mileage hopes without an overdrive trans.
I have a 700r4 in my Vette and the Chevy has a 200r in it
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clemsontiger View Post
Thanks for the reply and advice guys!

For those of you that know, I'm still looking for some answers to my above questions...and I have a few more:

Does anybody make a plug and play harness/computer to use with an LS1? I hear about a harness from PSI Conversions as being a simple set-up, but this harness/computer stuff is Greek to me so I'm going to need a lot of help.

Still wondering how hard it is to bolt the LS1 to the early 70's trans that would have come in the car. I really want to make this as easy a job as possible, and I feel like the less I have to change the better, thus keeping the original tranny. Will keeping the original parts from the bellhousing back kill mpg? I see people getting 27mpg doing an LS swap and it being a daily drive, mpg is important somewhat.

Help guys!
give Josh at CustomImageCorvettes.com a call, he's a vendor here, he's the resident specialist for LSx swaps

his number is 1.507.581.3076. not only is he a wealth of information, he actually makes quite a few of the parts and can get you some of the other stuff cheaper as well if you order a bunch at once and he knows people that can do the harness, that's how i got mine done (but havent had time to plug it all in)
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:29 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmarchuk View Post
give Josh at CustomImageCorvettes.com a call, he's a vendor here, he's the resident specialist for LSx swaps

his number is 1.507.581.3076. not only is he a wealth of information, he actually makes quite a few of the parts and can get you some of the other stuff cheaper as well if you order a bunch at once and he knows people that can do the harness, that's how i got mine done (but havent had time to plug it all in)
Awesome! Thanks! I keep reading a lot about him. I'll plan on giving him a call soon!
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