Builds Another LS swap? Really???

Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
542
Location
Tucson, AZ
Hello all,

I figured I would take a few moments to lay out what I have been up to since my Rug Road knuckle stud debacle. I bought my 1997 LX450 Easter weekend in 2017. I had a 2000 100 series before and regretted selling it from day one. I knew I wanted another, but thought the 80 series would be my next target. I had 3 requirements; it had to be rust free, have a strait body, and be triple locked. @D_Web actually found this one, and after some quick negotiation via email, it was spoken for and we headed north to bring it back. It already had the OME lift and ARB front bar that I wanted, so I paid a bit more than I set out to and brought it home. I had it in my mind to LS swap an 80 for some time, but after boiling this one over climbing a pass on the way home, and developing the 1FZ motor noise, I figured it was a firm plan. I drove the thing another 6000 miles with it making the noise, and it never got worse nor did it ever drive weird. It just kept on kachunk-kachunking its way down the road throwing back gallons of 87 as well as any Cruiser does. The last trail run I took it on was the January 2018 Rug Road run. All was going well until White Steve called over the radio that he saw an oil trail and for everyone to check their rigs. Low and behold, it was mine. I had lost the right front knuckle studs, well 3 out of the 4, and the knuckle displaced, munched the oil seal and nearly destroyed the lower bearing. My fellow CSC'ers sprang into action and we got it all back together and got me off the trail and home after enjoying the rest of the weekend. Great people in this club.

Upon returning home, I set out ordering all the bits for a front axle rebuild and spent the next few weekends elbow deep in birf soup and brake cleaner. After a full treatment of Marlin Crawler parts, it was back rolling. The issue was that the more I dug into the rig, the more I ended up replacing/rebuilding/rehabbing, and it wasn't long before I came to the decision to just go through it all and the search for a new dino burner. I spent the next 6 months filling part of my garage and office with everything I thought I might want for my dream 80 build. I contacted a few salvage companies and told them what I was doing and what I wanted. Take it from me, building report with folks pays dividends. I was able to get a 27,000 mile L96 6.0L from a 2012 Chevy 2500, a 35,000 mile 6L80 for a 2014 Camaro SS, and a Mark's 4WD kit from the land of Oz. The harness, ECM, TCM re-flash, cruise control, tap shift, and all the associated electronic bits came from Speartech in Indiana. I am still procuring the odds and ends like throttle pedal, engine oil cooler, intake tubing and MAF, etc. I will be running a new AC Delco fan and fan clutch to keep up with the cooling loads here in the the land of the burning sun. I officially started the swap a few weeks ago with the help of a buddy from work, in a single 8 hour day, we had the hood, front clip, all the peripherals, engine, tranny, and T case sitting divorced from their former homes.

Tear down near complete, I moved to prepping the new power train. I ordered a bunch of bolt kits and loose bits from Summit and Amazon, then commenced to mating the 6L80 to the LS. That was a PITA with out all the fancy fixtures and tooling, but a trip to Lowes netted a framing stud that just nearly leaped into the shape of an engine cradle. After filling the torque converter and installing it, the tranny met the engine and they have been getting along great ever since. Thank God for YouTube.

So here I sit, on a Sunday night, knees reminding me that I spent all weekend standing, kneeling, and crawling around on concrete trying to restore my noble stead to a better image of its former self. I got the motor stabbed for the first fit up today, and have a few hours of work still to resolve the issues I found.

Here is my build list this far:

Marlin Crawler full front axle rebuild with upgraded studs and hardware - DONE
Spectre Offroad HD Chromo Steering Link and Drag Link with HD ends - DONE
27,000 mile L96 6.0 liter from a 2012 Chevy 2500 - DONE
35,000 mile 6L80e form a 2014 Camaro SS - DONE
Mark's 4WD LS Swap kit - DONE
Speartech LS Harness, ECM, TCM flash, cruise module, Cruise stalk, tap shift module - DONE
Manefre 38 gallon long range tank - DONE
Corvette Fuel filter/regulator - DONE
Lokar LS throttle pedal - DONE
Slee Dual Batttery kit - DONE
Surco Safari Rack - DONE
ARB 2.5m Awning - DONE
Slee Sway Bar blocks and new bushings - DONE
Slee Castor Plates - DONE
New Control arm bushings - Pending
GAST 100% duty cycle air compressor w/5 gallon air tank ARB Dual Compressor with 3 Gal Tank - Pending
New L&R visors - BOOOOOOO No longer available in part network....................
New Front seat leather - Pending
Credit Card debt - PAID OFF!!!!

Wants:
270 degree awning - Pending
BIO Step Sliders - ORDERED
Single Swing rear bumper, undecided on brand - Avid Offroad Single Swing Custom - DONE


I guess some pics are in order?

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Last edited:
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
542
Location
Tucson, AZ
Despite reading the instructions from Mark's....I had to try to fit it up anyway. I will be modifying the RH motor mount, and RH firewall this week. Seeing it in the chassis was a great motivator even though I knew if had to come right back out.

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Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
542
Location
Tucson, AZ
Wow, very nice! Any thoughts on your cooling system/fan set up?
Hey Murf,

I am running a new AC Delco fan and clutch, which by the size, I think will pull plenty of air. The 80 series engine bay doesnt flow a ton of air once you stuff a V8 in there, but I am starting with the stock radiator and building a shroud to start. Fingers are crossed, but the back up will be a Ron Davis setup. I want to try the stock cooler first though as the RD unit, while dead sexy and a guaranteed fix, was quoted at $1100 for a high volume radiator with integrated oil cooler. I expect to have a few snags in the process and will be running a few shake down runs before striking off on a big run. Planning to have it all complete and fully functional by year end. Ideally, it'll be read for full scale duty in January.

On a side note, do you have a recommendation on radius arm bushes and sway bar bushes? Those are knackered and now is the time to replace them. Also, what are your thoughts on steering box adjustment? Any pitfalls I need to keep in mind. I want to just run through everything I can now, so it is good for full time use when done.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
542
Location
Tucson, AZ
A little progress report: I got the motor mount modified and the motor bolted in. Well long story short, it was all for not. I admit Nick and Joel at Mark's 4WD were 100% honest in saying this kit is for a RH model, but I had to try anyway. As you can see, the kit makes accommodation for the steering bits being on the wrong side of the engine bay and that means I have about 1/8" clearance between the PS Pump pulley and the steering box. No go. Not to worry. I called up Advance Adapters and Mat hooked me up with some LS Swap Motor mounts and a sweet t-shirt. They will get here this week and I will get to cutting out the existing ones. With luck, I will have it all back in next weekend. I also made use of my buddy's Bridgeport again to slot the cross member, but forgot to lock the table down and the end mill wandered a t bit. All in all, no biggie. It'll work. After the motor gets bolted in for good, it'll be time for hoses, and a bracket to mount the new throttle pedal. Onward!

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Joined
Sep 22, 2011
Messages
82
 
Murf, the stock radiator will keep up fine. We have never had a issue even in the summer. My swap is getting close to being done but my buddies we did over three years ago and 30k miles has never had a issue even towing over of 11K pounds up camp verde hill. A good GM fan clutch and shroud and he will be set.

ARJRM are you going to merge the factory harness into the speartech harness to retain all the diff lock, t-case , oil level light ,etc ? Or are you going to isolate it as well?
We prefer to merge them as it ends up cleaner and more factory like.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
542
Location
Tucson, AZ
Murf, the stock radiator will keep up fine. We have never had a issue even in the summer. My swap is getting close to being done but my buddies we did over three years ago and 30k miles has never had a issue even towing over of 11K pounds up camp verde hill. A good GM fan clutch and shroud and he will be set.

ARJRM are you going to merge the factory harness into the speartech harness to retain all the diff lock, t-case , oil level light ,etc ? Or are you going to isolate it as well?
We prefer to merge them as it ends up cleaner and more factory like.
Thanks for the intel. What did you guys do for a fan shroud?

On the harness, I want it to be as seamless as possible, which means I will try to integrate the two. Any info you have on that is welcome.
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2011
Messages
82
 
Fan shroud we used a summit part . P/N sum-380457-SH . its a universal that fits just about perfect. You have to measure then cut it out and add then install the ring. I can send you a pic of the end result if you want or need. Turns out very clean and works fantastic. From my experience the electric fans are great unless you want to tow, they have a hard time keeping up in our heat even on some of the stock trucks compared to the clutch fan set up.

The harness I'm not a sure I can explain it typing. Basically you look up the diagrams for the land cruiser and find the circuits you need to keep and then de loom the harness and splice in where you need to. Toyota list then as IH3 IH1 those have a lot of the wires you need. I'm at work or I would list the specifics. The reason we do it that way is only the outside harness get cut and then it all plugs into the plugs going through the firewall so its all serviceable and easy to t/s in the event you need to. That way also the factory ignition and start wire are all retained. Even the factory low oil level, factory park neutral function all that good stuff. All depends on how factory like you want it.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
542
Location
Tucson, AZ
Thanks a ton, meant to tell you that earlier. I ordered the shroud and some other bits. What did you do for a trans shift cable? I am running a 6L80 and trying to get away from using the truck cable as it is ~5ft long and leaves a big loop floating out there.
 

Saddletramp

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Joined
Mar 24, 2006
Messages
4,341
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Scottsdale, AZ
 
 
Thanks a ton, meant to tell you that earlier. I ordered the shroud and some other bits. What did you do for a trans shift cable? I am running a 6L80 and trying to get away from using the truck cable as it is ~5ft long and leaves a big loop floating out there.

Lokar might make an adapter
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2011
Messages
82
 
You will have have to modify the landcruiser shiftier base to make it work. As far as the cable we use a TBSS cable, no matter what it ends up a bit long but not as bad as it seems once in wraps around from the trans to the shifter base. Making it work where it shows the proper gear selection is tricky.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
542
Location
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After a few weeks of traveling for work, holidays, and general higher priorities, I made some more progress in the garage this weekend. I was able to finish the motor mounts and that was no small feat. I had the engine in and out so many times, I have become a whizz at it. After seing that the Mark's Mounts were not going to work for the reason shown above, I ordered a set of Advance Adapters LS Swap mounts. Those guys were supper cool and threw in a shirt after telling them about the project. Super cool. The factory motor mounts were no joke by the way. They were a PITA to remove.

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Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
542
Location
Tucson, AZ
After getting the stocker out and prepping the frame rails, I began practicing puting the motor in and pulling it out, which eventually showed me all the bits I needed to finalize the position and get them tacked in. I found the level needed for good access to the AC Compressor fittings, and pretty much centered in the frame. Once I put the readiator back in, I measured 54mm clearance from fan hub to the cores. Good to go!

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