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Small Block Chevy Swap worth it?


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Trans is 4L60E mated to Nissan TX10 Trasnfer Case.

 

SAS Dana 44 with 4.88 gears, 3 link front, and 4 link triangulated rear. ARB front and rear, and 14" travel coilovers all 4 corners.

 

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I've got lots of pics but it'll take some time to get them organized. Here's a couple of the rear suspension for now. Had some rust on the floor and ended up cutting the floor out, which is how this whole build started.

 

I added gussets to the truss osnce these pics were taken.

 

 

 

IMG-20110531-00003_zps5cbf871f.jpgIMG-20110531-00006_zpsfec50b95.jpg

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I've got lots of pics but it'll take some time to get them organized. Here's a couple of the rear suspension for now. Had some rust on the floor and ended up cutting the floor out, which is how this whole build started.

 

I added gussets to the truss since these pics were taken.

 

 

 

IMG-20110531-00003_zps5cbf871f.jpgIMG-20110531-00006_zpsfec50b95.jpg

 

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I tried to engineer things for ease of maintanance.

 

The rad is mounted as a unit with the e-fan. It's installed by 4 bolts - 2 to the custom cross member, and 2 lower on the frame in the front. The exhaust is 3 sections for each side, with a seperate section for the "H" crossover.

. IMG-20130304-00122_zpsf95458aa.jpgIMG-20130101-00450_zps160d0f8b.jpgIMG-20121220-00409_zps0dd1c3fa.jpgIMG-20121023-00260_zpsd54d5b16.jpgIMG-20121023-00259_zps07b61eb5.jpg

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More pics!!! Sick build dude. Wasn't expecting to see all that underneath. Show is the front SAS build! How did you mate the 4l60e to the TX 10?

 

Used a adapter from Adavance Adapters to mate the trans to transfer case. I'm not sure if they still stock the adapters, but Mark's 4WD in Australia shows the carry them on their website.

 

http://www.marks4wd.com/transfer-case-adaptors/nissan/navara-pathfinder-1.html

 

To do this, the tranny output shaft needs to be replaced with the one that comes in the kit with the adapter, and a GM speed sensor and reluctor ring (get this from "Jags that Run" - http://www.jagsthatrun.com/ ) that matches your engine/PCM. I still use the Pathfinder speedometer, as I went from 4.37 gears to 4.88, and I also went from 31" to 35" tires which only puts me back within a few mph/kph at 10 MPH or 100 KMH. Not enough to mess with the speedo gears.

 

The front was a lot of work, but I didn't start from scratch as I had an SAS with leaf springs which I did about 12 years ago. I was probably one of thew 1st guys to do it. I had the UCA lift (PITA and uselss), and then the 4" Trailmaster kit, and then finally went all out to an SAS.

 

Got more than the 14" of travel - and no binding. The build is done and fully functional, but still have things like limit straps, bump stops, coverting to custom cable shift for trans case, etc, etc. etc. Have taken it for a few test runs, and the estimated 350 HP and torque is unbelievable. TOTALLY WORTH THE EFFORT, especially in 4WD and ARB front and rear engaged. No lack of power or traction...

 

 

IMG-20140228-01335_zpsaaa309b8.jpg

 

 

 

 

IMG-20140228-01336_zpseb15d6e6.jpg

 

 

 

 

IMG-20140301-01341_zps72d4990d.jpg

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Have flexed it a few times but not to the extreme yet. Once the bump stops are in and the limit straps, then I'll push it to the 14" travel limit. For now, I'm pretty happy with how its turned out. I've still to do the rear bumper (front is done - have LED DRL and turn signal combo) and tire carrier

 

I'll post a pic of the rear with the dual stainless tailpipes that give away that there's something different under the hood. The front doesn;t give any indication of what's lurking under the hood.

 

The placement of the engine and radiator / e-fans and front bumper (with the body lift) allows being able to mount the a/c condenser, aux tranny oil cooler and engine oil cooler all behind the stock grill. So thoses that are worried about space, it is possible to swap in a V8 with the full array of accessories on the front of the engine.

 

It is a very tight fight, but with the body lift, a short (12" - 14" tall) a/c condenser, is protected behind the new bumper, and the 2 smaller (trans and engine) oil coolers (approx. 8" tall) can go side by side above the a/c condenser (behind the stock grill). Those parts aren;t in yet, but the room is there for that.

 

 

IMG-20130508-00265_zps5f84cd17.jpg

 

 

 

IMG-20130508-00263_zps8616d547.jpg

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after all the times my friends told me, youd never fit a v8 in there.... this is really cool. i have a couple questions...

 

how much longer would you say the LT1 is from the VG30? it looks like it was meant to be, from the photos.

 

Also, why the LT1?

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after all the times my friends told me, youd never fit a v8 in there.... this is really cool. i have a couple questions...

 

how much longer would you say the LT1 is from the VG30? it looks like it was meant to be, from the photos.

 

Also, why the LT1?

 

The dimensions for the VG30 flywheel to cranknose is approx. 22", and the SBC (LS1) is 28.75 and earlier SBC is 29.42 - so there's about 7" more with the SBC.

 

I've a body lift which allows more room to place the engine few inches more towards the rear, and with e-fans and custom mounting for the rad and e-fan set up, the unit can can be positioned so that the deepest part of the fans fit into the front of the block above the crank pulley etc. My rad is about 2" thick, and the fan's at their deepest is 4" (total 6" for approx. 4,000 cfm). By positioning things this way, there is about 3/4" clearance for between the fan and all the critical pulley components. Its tight for maintenance, but like you said, it looks like it was "meant to be there". Also, I've built things so that the front bumper, fan and rad units come out fairly easily as 2 units if I have to get into that part of the engine.

 

Why the LT1 - just good timing when its was available, and it had very little mileage (less than 70,000 K). The LT1 has the Opti Spark distributor (on the front), so there were no issues as far as the usual problems from the normal SBC distributor at the back of the block. There are some weaknesses with the OptiSpark, but there are 2 or 3 conversion upgrades to minimize or totally eliminate the use of the OpitSpark distributor, so that's on the list of upgrades in the not too distant future. So for these reasons and the extra HP as it sits, along with more with bolt on upgrades, I thought it was the way to go.

 

I could have probablty set the motor back another 1.5" (in hindsight) but that would have meant that if the engine had to be pulled, or trans dropped out, I would have to take both out to be able to seperate them. The initial plan was to make a custom grill if necessary, but luckily even with the motor not being back as far as it could have been, all I'm going to have to do is shave a bit of the inside of the OEM grill (btw I've swapped the Pathfinder grill for a Hardbody grill) to be able to fit everything behind it. Unless someone looks for things, there's nothing but the tailpipes to tell there's over 300HP under the hood.

 

I modified the original LT1 oil pan, but the clearance underneath is touch and go on full suspension compression. I think there might be contact at a few spots, so I will be going to a S10 4x4 pan and extending it (there's info on a few sites for guys doing S10 V8 conversions with the same issue), so that' is in the plans shortly.

 

For headers, I went with a set of tight fight headers (Sanderson CC11-P) that are a shorty header. With the 3" body lift, I was able to set my engine a bit higher then what (I believe) the few after market V8 motor mount kits (4x4parts.com, etc.) out there. If the engine sits too low, the passenger side header connector will hit the frame rail, so that means frame rail mod, or modifying the connector on that side. The driver side has plenty of clearance. I looked at block huggers, but i think the frame rail issue and motor mount clearance issues be worst and be problematic on both sides. This seems to be the best way to go.

 

The engine height issue is a tradeoff between no body lift and a larger suspension lift. The body lift allows for less suspension lif, and this allows for better angles on the front and rear link arms, and all the steering linkage at ride height. This means less oil pan clearance, but I deceided I'd rather have more relaxed linkage angles etc. and find a oil pan solution (which I think I have).

 

With 300HP, I wanted a balance between great street handling, to go along with the 14" off road wheel travel capability.

Edited by V8path
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  • 4 weeks later...

I have a question for ya V8Path.... can I drive my Pathy up to you & have you do the same for me? Give me the list & I'll get the stuff together & there you be....Just kidding. Want to do that sooooo bad though.

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I have a question for ya V8Path.... can I drive my Pathy up to you & have you do the same for me? Give me the list & I'll get the stuff together & there you be....Just kidding. Want to do that sooooo bad though.

 

I certainly learned a lot on this build, so if or when you decide to start, I'd be happy to answer any questions. My build isn't quick finished yet. Working on front and rear bumpers, and am starting to gather parts to deal with the dreaded Opti Spark distributor in the Lt1 engine. Going to convert to a LS based system using the LS based PCM (allows way better ability to tune) and the Vortec/LS ignition coil pack and does away with the Distributor altogether.

 

More to come...

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  • 3 weeks later...

What are you using for computers?

Retro fit stock stuff or stand alone?

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Not sure what you mean by retro fit stock or stand alone?

 

The PCM and engine wire harness are from an 94 LT1. I had to make a few PCM programming changes and re-worked the engine harness and removed the wires from the harness that were for the GM gauges and instruments. The rest of it was to determine which Nissan gauge sensors to retain for the Nissan gauges, and which other senders to change for aftermarket gauges and to run the LT1 PCM.

 

When doing a swap between 2 completely different vehicles, by the time the modifications are made to the harness and PCM, the result is a standalone unit anyways. Once the wire harness was modified, it was simply power and ground hook ups for the PCM, and the rest was things like brake signal from the Nissan for TCC lockup, and powering the NIssan fuel pump replay (however if necessary or desired, could have used a standalone relay for the fuel pump and do away with the Nissan relay altogether). Delete all the A/C signals, as the PCM will register the extra load when the A/C is on and adjust accordingly. There will be low/high and temp switches inline in the AC system to trigger fans and shut offs as required.

 

I am planning to convert the LT1 Opti Spark based ignition with a conversion kit to upgrade (get rid of the Opti Spark) to the 8 coil pack from the LS based engine. That will require a LS based wire harness with a somewhat major re-work to re-tro fit a later harness with an older engine, and will be running the LS based PCM which allows for way more and better tuning capabilities - such as spark timing, precise injector flow rates, etc. etc., and a much stronger spark given the individual coils for each cylinder.

 

This is my 3rd swap, so its not as scary as it would be for someone who's never done a swap like this before.

 

Am going to build a custom dual rate sway bar (front and rear) to replace the existing custom front and rear - one heavy rate for on-road, and one relatively light rate to maintain stability but allow for good flex for off road. By the time I'm done, expect to be pushing 350 to 370 HP and slightly more torque, so want to have this handle on the road, and off road.

 

Took it out the other day for a test drive, and 0 - 60 was, let's just say, it was non OEM Nissan...

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Ahh nice u retro'd the stock computer's from the chevy.

 

Should try something like mega squirt+mega shift to really unleash the beast!

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

The reason for getting rid of the Opti Spark is primarily reliability, and going to individual coil pack is going to help with throttle response and drive-ability. The LT1 PCM is fairly limited with tuning by going to the LS based PCM, I think it'll be pretty good for fine tuning the injectors. Going to upgrade to 36 lb injectors.

 

The conversion I'm looking to do will pretty much give me the same tune-ability, and uses off the self parts (outside of the cam reluctor ring), so for the $ I'm likely going to stick to the original plan.

 

I'm guessing I'm at mid 300 HP, and with 4.88 gears, it already pulls unbelievable off the line. Don't think the need for more HP is really a goal any longer.

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  • 10 months later...

Been a while since I looked at this posting and notice there's been no comments for almost a year, but more than 2,000 views since my last posting.

 

Lots of interest/curiosity, but no comments?

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I want to do this when time to replace engine. First plan was to get it started with wheeling equipment. What kind of mileage do you get? I use mine as commuter and play.

 

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

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There are so many variables to mileage - tire size, ring and pinion gear ratio, tuning, whether your stomping on the gas, etc. etc. I've seen identical motor sizes in different vehicles and some have great mileage and some terrible, so what my gas mileage is won't really be the same for someone else.

 

I had a 4.3L in before this swap, and that was about the same as the original 3.0 but the 4.3 had a lot more torque and I had gone to 4.88 gears and 33" tires. So far, the Lt1 (5.7) is a bit thirstier than the 4.3L but not by a lot if I take it easy.

 

The problem is that with all that HP, especially since its like a new toy when I first had it out, it was almost impossible to resist the urge to stomp on the gas pedal.

 

I've entered into the next phase of the obsession and started to get into PCM tuning with some of the LT1 software. We'll see where that leads and I'll get an update when I get around to doing some serious tuning. Part of the reason I've delayed the tuning is that I'm considering ditching the OptiSpark distributor and going to a full LS based PCM and the 8 individual coils, which allows for major tune-ability over the LT1 PCM

 

From there I'm looking at a doubler setup with a 241 for reduction, and a NP205 (DSD), and it if makes sense (an doing a lot of homework on it still) going to a 6 speed manual T56 trans, which combined would give me double low gears for off road, and double over drive (the T56 comes with a final overdrive of .62 to .5) for the highway.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by V8path
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

There are so many variables to mileage - tire size, ring and pinion gear ratio, tuning, whether your stomping on the gas, etc. etc. I've seen identical motor sizes in different vehicles and some have great mileage and some terrible, so what my gas mileage is won't really be the same for someone else.

 

I had a 4.3L in before this swap, and that was about the same as the original 3.0 but the 4.3 had a lot more torque and I had gone to 4.88 gears and 33" tires. So far, the Lt1 (5.7) is a bit thirstier than the 4.3L but not by a lot if I take it easy.

 

The problem is that with all that HP, especially since its like a new toy when I first had it out, it was almost impossible to resist the urge to stomp on the gas pedal.

 

I've entered into the next phase of the obsession and started to get into PCM tuning with some of the LT1 software. We'll see where that leads and I'll get an update when I get around to doing some serious tuning. Part of the reason I've delayed the tuning is that I'm considering ditching the OptiSpark distributor and going to a full LS based PCM and the 8 individual coils, which allows for major tune-ability over the LT1 PCM

 

From there I'm looking at a doubler setup with a 241 for reduction, and a NP205 (DSD), and it if makes sense (an doing a lot of homework on it still) going to a 6 speed manual T56 trans, which combined would give me double low gears for off road, and double over drive (the T56 comes with a final overdrive of .62 to .5) for the highway.

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome

 

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

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Awesome

 

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

 

The T56 plans are still under consideration. I've been looking at the Tremec TR6060 which is the newer version of the T56, and is stronger and there are better choices of a final OD gear ratio. The older T56's were mostly .50 or .56 which (on paper) puts me at 1,600 to 1,750 RPM for highway cruising. That's a bit low for the engine for efficient power and torque., and let's face it, these projects are not built for 100 mile per hour plus runs, but it would be nice to have great highway capabilities as most of us are hours away from good off road locations, and having the engine whining at 3K plus RPM's for hours isn't great for the ears or gas conservation.

 

This is one of those "once you start the swap", not finishing it becomes a very costly change of heart.

 

I'm going to need a custom trans to t-case adapter, clutch linkage, etc., and new front and rear drive shafts. Outside the custom adapter, is finding a clutch that will handle the weight and torque of a truck and 35" tires. The original T-56's were never meant for that, and from the research, the clutch is a major area to address if longevity and reliability is the goal. There's no point doing this unless it performs!

 

When this starts, the plan is to do the doubler and trans at the same time. A Pathy with 350HP, a /doubler/NP205, and 6 speed manual double over drive, would be a great thing.

Edited by V8path
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