1993 LS Swap (6.0L LQ4 and built 4L60e)

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Mar 26, 2011
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71
Starting my build thread on my LS swapped 80's series. This truck was purchased new by my father back in 1993 and was passed down to me when I began driving. Since then, I've absolutely fallen in love with the truck and made an extensive number of modifications including: ARB bull bar/winch, home made rear bumper, home made roof rack, home made sliders, 4" slee lift, on board air (train horn), etc.

I decided to go with an LS swap for the usual reasons. 270,000+ miles had me worried about reliability, I was tired of being under-powered, I always wished my 80's was built in the states so this was my way of adding some domestic content, but most of all I was running out of potential modifications and I wanted to attempt my first engine swap.

I did quite a bit of research leading up to this swap, including taking 200+ pages of notes from various Mud swap threads. I will post that document once I figure out a way to upload it to dropbox or some other file sharing service. Given that this was my first engine swap, I still had/have numerous questions after all of my research. My goal with this thread is to create to ultimate 80 series LS swap guide. I will do my best to document all my steps and make an idiot proof guide for those that follow.

Some pictures of my rig on her final journey prior to tear down.
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Joined
Mar 26, 2011
Messages
71
Running Parts List: [PN = part number]

  1. 6.0L LQ4 engine - from Tilden Motor Sports (see below for engine discussion)
  2. Built 4L60e transmission Stage 2 (From Tilden Motor Sports)
  3. Mark's adapter (ordered directly from Australia, this was cheaper than buying from advanced adapters) PN MFK1195AE6
  4. Hooker Headers PN 2312HKR (per previous swaps)
  5. Spark plug wires - MSD 32829
  6. 3x bolts to attach torque converter to fly wheel PN 11589040
  7. New F Body Oil Pan PN 12628771, pickup tube PN 12558251, windage tray PN 12558253 - got these off of Summit
  8. Transmission dipstick and tube - TCI 743865
  9. Supra Fuel Pump - Denso 950-0155 - got this on Amazon
  10. New Belts Gates K040378 K060935
The rest are organized by subsystem-

Fuel Line

1) Russel 640850, 610160, 610020, 640380 (to be brazed onto toyo fitting)
2) Wix 3373 (fuel regulator)

Power Steering


Parts list first:
1) Borgeson 925121
2) Russell 648060
3) Derale Performance 13220 (if you want to upgrade cooling capability)
4) some -6AN hose (~12-16")
5) 2x 90 -6AN degree elbow hose end to female -6
6) 1x 90 degree male to male -6AN coupler
7) 1x female to female -6AN coupler
8) 3-4' of 3/8" fuel line

Shifter Cable
1) Trailblazer Cable - PN 15785087
The rest depends what your trans came with. Mine was completely naked so I needed to order some parts
2) bracket to hold the trans end of the cable - PN 15200802
3) Arm to attach shifter end to the trans shifter flange PN 15082892
4) Nut to hold arm onto shifter flange - PN 11514603
5) I ordered this retainer PN 10217245 - but I have no idea what its for. DONT ORDER

Regarding my engine choice, many individuals worked directly with junk yards to source an engine transmission combo for their swaps. I personally didn't want to deal with junk yards and was also looking for a "ready to run" solution. Tilden Motor Sports in Northern CA was able to find me a low mileage engine (~40,000 mi) and also provided a ready to run simplified harness and ECM. I also bought a built 4L60 transmission that is rated to 450 HP and 500 lbs/ft from them at the same time. The first low mileage engine they found for me had a cracked block when they tested it so I had to wait some time to find the low mileage LQ4 I was looking for. I decided on the LQ4 because of cost and because of how these engines are set up for truck applications. Given that my rig is already a heavy beast the added weight of the iron block was not a point of concern for me.

If I were to do it again, I probably would have thought harder about getting a 4L80 trans, especially now that I've seen how much extra space is in the transmission tunnel of the land cruiser. Oh well...

Also a few notable links from later in this build thread-
1) Link to 252 PAGES OF LS ENGINE SWAP NOTES that I took in preparation for the build: Dropbox - Combined Engine Swap Notes.docx
2) Time lapse of the engine going in for the last time-
 
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Joined
Mar 26, 2011
Messages
71
Pulling the old drivetrain is a pretty straight forward affair. I'm not going to go into detail in this thread on the removal as it is all detailed in the field service manual. Just follow all of the steps and you should be fine. If I recall correctly, the FSM doesn't call for taking apart the entire front grill, but I did this anyway as I wanted maximum access.

I was able to pull the drive train with one helper over the course of a weekend.

A couple of notes: 1) The most difficult part that I found was with the old exhaust system. There are several hard to see and completely rusted hangers that I ended up just cutting off with a sawzall. 2) I pulled the entire drivetrain at once - engine, trans, transfer case with a harbor freight engine puller - it worked pretty well except that the whole drivetrain becomes very tail heavy. I got under the car with a rolling jack (placed under the transfer case) and used this to help slide the drivetrain out 3) I labeled all the harness ends as I unplugged them 4) the bulk of the harness comes out with the engine, however there is a smaller harness that remains in the engine bay

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Once I pulled the old drivetrain I began prepping the new drivetrain for a test fitting. First I pulled the Toyota transfer case off the old transmission. I then went about modifying my 2WD 4L60 transmission so that I could attach the Mark's adapter and the HF2A T-case. My adapter that shipped from Mark's came with old instructions. I was completely perplexed as to why the dimensions didn't make sense in terms of cutting off the spud shaft of the GM transmission. It took a decent amount of online sleuthing to figure out that there were newer installation instructions available with the proper dimensions (I believe I found these on the advanced adapters website).

Once the 4L60 output shaft was trimmed down to size I began attaching the Mark's adapter with anti-seize on all the bolts. I also ran into a problem during this process when one of the stock toyota bolts was too long for the tapped hole in the adapter, a quick trip to the local ACE hardware solved this problem. The hole for those curious is right below where the shifter plate bolts on.

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Joined
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Messages
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The next step is attaching the transmission and transfer case to the LS motor. Similar to how the whole drivetrain was removed as one unit, I'm opting to place the entire new drivetrain in at once. NOTE: If swapping oil pans you should consider doing this now before you attach the transmission, especially if you have access to an engine stand. If you don't have an engine stand then there isn't an advantage to swapping the pan now. See below for oil pan swap guidance.

My torque converter was also provided from Tilden Motor Sports- I am actually unsure of the model or type, I'm sure whoever you are getting your transmission from can provide you with a recommended torque converter. To get this on I first filled it with transmission fluid (so as not to have a dry converter when I first start the engine). I also lubed up the input shaft with trans fluid before putting the torque converter on. Attaching a torque converter is straight forward you just push it on and turn it some until both sets of gears are engaged (make sure you get the second set of gears on. The converter should slide on some, then you spin and push, and then it slides on some more). I then mated the transmission to the engine using the supplied hardware. These are big ass bolts so I just tightened them up nice and tight with a 1/2" driver.

At this point you will also have to attach the flywheel to the torque converter. I went to the GM dealer and bought the specialized bolts (PN 11589040) for this, they come with lock tight already applied. You basically spin the engine over and line them up with the torque converter bolt holes. There is a port on the opposite side of the starter that lets you get in there with a wrench and tighten them one at a time.

One issue I ran into was that the vehicle speed sensor that came of the original tail shaft of the 4L60 did not fit properly into the Mark's adapter. I simply cut off some metal and snugged it in as you can see in the photos below. Now that everything is bolted together it's time to test fit the new drivetrain.

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Joined
Mar 26, 2011
Messages
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Ran into a little issue in preparation for test fitting my engine. I noticed after I had torqued up my Hooker Headers (PN 2312HKR) that they didn't look super flush with the heads. I decided to be cautious and pull them off again and investigate. Thank god I did. Upon inspection, the tolerances on the headers were so off that they weren't making uniform good seals with the gaskets. As you can see from the photos, the imprint of the rings just isn't there in certain sections. I'm currently waiting to hear back from Hooker, but it hasn't been the best customer service interaction to date. They are very concerned that I bought the headers a year ago and have only got around to installing them now - not sure how that is particularly relevant, but we shall see. Hopefully they send me a replacement set. Either that or I'm going to have to take them somewhere to be re-surfaced for $50-75. Hopefully this get resolved soon...

UPDATE- Hooker is sending me a new set of headers free of charge- very nice of them. Apparently they changed the way the headers are designed and no longer use the raised flanges around the exhaust ports on the heads and are now flat planed all the way across the header. I'll post pictures of the new headers below.


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