A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap - Team Camaro Tech
LSx Swap LSx Engines in Non-LSx Vehicles

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post #1 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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Talking A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap

So yesterday afternoon I pulled the trigger and ordered a bunch of stuff from https://www.gmperformancemotor.com/ to upgrade my 1968 Camaro "Dorothy" from an Inline 250 Straight Six that might have had 150HP with a 2spd Power-glide to a new LS3 430HP with a 4L65e.

This is a picture of the day I bought her on November 7th 2014, my wife and I drove 15 hours from Naples up to Florence, Alabama to a place called Hut’s Auto Restoration. Tommy Hunt had picked her up just a few months earlier form the Mecum Car Auction in Tampa, she was originally from Ballston Spa, NY where Dorothy Hoyt purchased her when she was 65 years old back in 1968. I spoke to a previous owner that knew Dorthy and Harold and he said that they went down to the Chevy Dealer and all they had were Camaros with Big Blocks and Harold would not let her buy one of those so they ordered a convertible with a Six Cylinder. I did not find out that the car was from upstate NY until afterwards, not sure if I would have taken the drive if I knew the car came from the Rust Belt? Needless to say I don't think Dorothy drove the car much especially in the winter? The car only had 37,000 miles on her when I got her and the under carriage is in amazing condition solid as a rock.





At the time I purposely wanted a 68 with a straight six, back in the day I had 68 SS/RS with a 396 Big Block that got 8 miles to the gallon. Sorry but 8 miles to the gallon just seemed to take the fun out of driving it.

She was at times a little temperamental in starting, if you did not catch it just right you would have to make several attempts at getting her to turn over. Because of this I decided to give her a little update with some products from Clifford Research.




This solved my starting issues, and if you can believe it with these two Weber Carbs and the 3 into 1 Headers I was getting 23 MPG.

It was also fun at Car Shows to see people walk by and be surprised at what they found under the hood.

So as of this moment it has been 1,624 days since I bought the car, and I feel the need to get my hands dirty. Talked it over with my wife and she knows how hard I work and life is meant to be lived so I have her approval to to an upgrade to an LS3. She's a keeper, my wife that is.

First thing was to see if I could get anything for the current 250 engine and the 2spd Powerglide? Once a month a place called "Muscle Car City" has an automotive swap meet. So I drove the two hours up there, put a sign on the windshield "Engine & Tranny 4-Sale $1,200". It seemed to get a little interest but 3hrs into the morning it did not seem that I was going to have any luck, but then to my surprise someone that had walked by it earlier came back to ask about it and while we were talking someone else was waiting to discuses it also. Needless to say a guy named Tommy Lee gave me a $200 deposit for it. He plans to put it into his 1948 Chevy Fleetmaster, his friends thinks he should drop a small block in the Fleetmaster but what he liked about my engine is that it was different, that no one is going to walk up to it and expect to find a dual carb straight six in her. (same thing I experienced).

The following weekend Tommy (pictured) showed up with another $1,000 and helped me pull the engine and tranny out of the Camaro. I should have given him a discount with how much he helped with pulling it.





The first things I did was to pull the driver side fender off so that I could remove the inner and outer heater unit to make room for a Vintage Air system, its been rough here in the Florida Heat with out AC.



Also drained the gas tank and removed as much as I could from the inside.



The following are some of the items that I have already ordered and some that I will be ordering:

GM LS3 430HP Crate Engine
Holley Terminator X Max LS Engine Control Module
Holly EFI Digital Dash
4L65e 4spd Automatic Transmission
Vintage Air SureFit kit
Entropy LS3 Radiator, Dual Fan, Harness
GM Torque Converter 2400-2800
Street Beast Hydraulic Brake Assist
Sniper EFI Fuel Tank System
BMR Subframe Connectors
B&M Mega Shifter
Holley Long Tube Header - Stainless
Holley LS RETRO-FIT OIL PAN
Holley Motor Mounts and Clamshells
Holley Transmission Cross-member
Holey Accessory Drive Complete Kit

Let the Fun Begin

Also subscribe to my YouTube Channel below, I'll be uploading a lot of videos of the whole process.
.
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Last edited by 69-Pace; Apr 22nd, 19 at 07:10 PM.
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post #2 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 06:18 AM
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Re: A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap

Nice parts selection. Only thing I would do different is the stock shifter with a Shiftworks modification. I prefer the stock appearing shifter.

And get the BIM-01-2 for the gauges to interface directly to the ECM. So clean and easy.

Don
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post #3 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 06:52 AM
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I had a set of the BMR subframe connectors and they wouldnt fit at all

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post #4 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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Re: A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap

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Originally Posted by dhutton View Post
get the BIM-01-2 for the gauges to interface directly to the ECM. So clean and easy.

Don
Thanks for the heads up, was not aware of the component.
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post #5 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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Re: A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap

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Originally Posted by stamatisg1977 View Post
I had a set of the BMR subframe connectors and they wouldn't fit at all
Well, they are being delivered Monday so I will give them a try and see if I can get them installed? Only a test fit though because will need the full weight of the engine and everything else before final install.


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post #6 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 07:40 AM
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Re: A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap

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Originally Posted by Sixty8Camaro View Post
Thanks for the heads up, was not aware of the component.
There are some issues with the BIM module not being fully compatible and capable of working all the gauges with some harnesses. Would not give OP and Speedo with a GMPP harness.

I would also use the shift works set up instead of the BM

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post #7 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 08:24 AM
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Re: A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap

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Originally Posted by Vega$69 View Post
There are some issues with the BIM module not being fully compatible and capable of working all the gauges with some harnesses. Would not give OP and Speedo with a GMPP harness.

I would also use the shift works set up instead of the BM
Used the BIM several times without issue. Got all gauges working with GMPP harness and ECM. You will not get OP on an LS1 harness/ECM because it is not on the bus but that is not the case here. LS3 GMPP should be good to go.

Don
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post #8 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 08:30 AM
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Re: A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap

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Originally Posted by stamatisg1977 View Post
I had a set of the BMR subframe connectors and they wouldnt fit at all
Why Not?

BMR SUSPENSION

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post #9 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 10:14 AM
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Re: A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap

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Used the BIM several times without issue. Got all gauges working with GMPP harness and ECM. You will not get OP on an LS1 harness/ECM because it is not on the bus but that is not the case here. LS3 GMPP should be good to go.

Don
Where they Dakota digital gauges ? I had 2 LS3s with GMPP harness and they both would not get full gauge function with the BIM module.

Several calls to tech support throughout the process and they confirmed it was a known issue.

Got everything working of course but not all through the module

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post #10 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMR Suspension View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by stamatisg1977 View Post
I had a set of the BMR subframe connectors and they wouldnt fit at all
Why Not?
It was too narrow would not slip over the end of the subframe

69 Frost Green Camaro
LS3 with TSP stage 3 cam
Tremec TKO 600
Moser 12 bolt rear with ford ends 3.73:1 Eaton tru trac differential
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post #11 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 12:35 PM
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Re: A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vega$69 View Post
Where they Dakota digital gauges ? I had 2 LS3s with GMPP harness and they both would not get full gauge function with the BIM module.

Several calls to tech support throughout the process and they confirmed it was a known issue.

Got everything working of course but not all through the module
Yep VHX gauges. Did you have anything else hanging on the bus like a code scanner etc?

Don

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post #12 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 01:28 PM
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Re: A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap

VHX

Nothing else hanging it.

Chris 130 FTE experienced the same problem on 68

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post #13 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap

Sounds like I have some research ahead of me on Dakota digital gauges,


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post #14 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 19, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap

Here is tonight progress, dropped the gas tank out. It nice to see virgin sheet metal that has not seen the light of day in over 50 years.







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post #15 of 140 (permalink) Old Apr 20th, 19, 05:56 AM
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Re: A Backyard Mechanics Guide to an LS3 Swap

Only problem I had was with the speedo reading. Oil pressure works great off of the BIM. Just make sure you have “bus” selected for gauge input instead of “normal” in the DD programming menu for those inputs. I had to reprogram the rear gear setting in the tube and it works awesome now. Thanks to Jeff (workn24/7) and Bryce (Shyster) for their help in getting it fixed. If you run an GM auto or T56 super magnum it isn’t an issue, Only with other trans like LS T56 or Tko trans with a different VSS reluctor tooth count.

The GMPP harness is good for an auto because of the ability to plug the TCM into the bulkhead plug in the GMPP harness. I think if I did it over I wouldn’t necessarily use it in an manual trans car.

The DD BIM module works great and you can also read other parameters from the PCM in the gauge LED display.
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