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 Rob’s Blog

It Saturday night and you’ve just finished your latest project so you head out to show it off to the world. It’s a slammen VR Commodore with a surprise under the hood. There’s no fitty cent pumping though the subs, you’re more than content listening to the sweet dulcet tones of the new V8 under the bonnet and every now and then you just have to give the throttle a dab to re-assure yourself its still there.

As you pull into the Maccas car park, all your mates are hollering and quickly surround the car to see what you have been up for the last month. You pull up and one of them is already pointing at the bonnet and gesturing in an upwards motion, you pull the latch, walk around and slowly unveil the “piece to resistance”. They all stand there staring in amazement at the spank’n new L98 6.0lt sitting in the engine bay as if it was always meant to be… Then the questions start flying, how did you do it? Was it hard? You must be a friggin engineering genius?..You smile, nod and soak it all in. Then THE question gets dropped, why go to all that work wouldn’t it be easier or cheaper to just build a bitchen 355ci ….

The answer to that question is not necessarily! The conversion of an LS series motor into A VB- VS Commodore is pretty straight forward these days with a number of companies coming to the party with all the components you need to do the job with minimal fabrication or cutting required.

In my opinion the beauty of the LS Series engine conversion is that it gives you  the latest technology all alloy engine that in standard form can make an easy 230rwkw, add a performance camshaft an you’ve got 280rwkw, add forced induction and 350rwkw is under your right foot. To make the same power out of a 5.0lt you would need to stroke it into a monster or build an engine with a forced induction setup which can also quickly add up to big $$bucks, not to mention by using an LS Series engine you will end up with something that is reliable, low maintenance and a little unique.

With the Aussie dollar holding up and the economy in the US still struggling, GM parts are still very reasonable with brand new L98’s selling for as little as $4K, This means you could buy all your parts for the conversion for less than a big time stoker build up on your existing 5.0lt and if you are prepared to put in a “little blood sweat and tears” and be resourceful you can keep it to a comparable budget.

Recently at HPF we had the pleasure of carrying out this exact conversion for one of our customers that came to us all the way from Singleton NSW with initial plans for a stoker 5ltr in his VS SS Commodore, after a lengthy discussion the decision was made to go for an LS based motor and T56 adapted with an off the shelf kit.

We supplied and fitted a brand new L98 crate motor that was upgraded with a set of Higgins CNC ported cylinder heads along with a HPF special grind camshaft. To give the drive train reliability we added a brand new T56 6-speed gearbox along with a custom shifter and heavy duty clutch to help get all that new power to the rear treads.

The conversion components sourced of the shelf included engine mounts and gearbox mount which allowed the engine to sit nice and low in the engine bay with ample clearance for header fitment once the firewall had some minor massaging.

 

The idea was to always keep the car looking as factory under the bonnet with the use of OEM parts where possible. We went with the cable 90mm throttle body for ease of conversion but this could be done with the OEM fly-by-wire setup with some more pedal box massaging.

We then set about sorting all the sundry items including fabricating a custom dual 3 inch exhaust to match up to the off the shelf 4-1 headers supplied by Castle Auto Electrical, upgrading the tail shaft to handle the 100% power increase, fitting a set of late model thermo fans to the standard HD V8 radiator and fabricating a custom air box to house a nice free flowing 9 inch long pod filter to allow the engine to breath..

We also upgraded the fuel system to feed the new engine the right amount of fuel to match all that power by fitting a Walbro in tank fuel pump, custom filter and fuel pressure regulator set up and we were able retain the standard L98 fuel injectors with adapters also sourced from Castle Auto Electrical. We then adapted the L98 power steering pump and lines and fitted a new LS1 160amp alternator and while we could have retained the A/C the customer made the decision to leave it out.

Other things like the fuel purge solenoid and VS charcoal canister operation where also retained, so it would be possible to perform this conversion with 100% emissions compliance and legality with the tick of approval from your local engineer if you chose to keep the engine in standard form without the heads and cam upgrade.

Finally It was then onto the Dyno where the engine calibration was remapped to suit the new heads and cam set-up with a tidy 311rwkw now at the rear wheels up from the poultry 140rwkw from the original 5.0lt. On the road the new 6.0lt capacity combined with the light VS body made for an absolute rocket ship with bundles acceleration available at any throttle position.

So if you own a VB – VS commodore and are looking to modify it into something special I would urge you to do your homework and consider the LS conversion as an option. You won’t be disappointed… neither will your mates.

Power to the people

Rob Vickery

More Information:

Click here to learn how to read a dyno graph.

HPF Warranty

HPF power packages are warranted for the parts and services installed by HPF. Please contact us for more information.

Additional Notes

  • We recommend all vehicles coming to HPF for tuning run 98 Octane fuel. Please contact us if you have a need to use different fuel.
  • Power figures listed are estimated kilowatts at the flywheel based on results typically obtained by HPF on HPF’s dynos. Typically these are based of a manual vehicle with standard driveline and standard wheels and tyres. Actual power can vary based on each specific vehicle.
  • Modifications such as this package require the vehicle to be in excellent mechanical order.
  • We advise against increasing the power output substantially on high kilometer engines, if your engine has in excessive of 150,000kms please contact us to discuss options.
  • Whilst every attempt is made to ensure prices listed online are correct, they are subject to change at any time.
  • Additional parts may be required in some cases depending on the condition of the vehicle. Cost of these parts and additional labor required may incur additional cost.
Posted in Robs Blog
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31 Comments please add yours...

  1. avatar

    Hi, I just purchased a 1990 Nissan 300zx 2+2
    Am wondering if it is possible to do a ls Swap and auto to manual conversation?
    And if so, roughly how much would it cost?

  2. avatar

    How did you setup the air box in the vs l98 conversion

  3. avatar

    Hi guys iv got a vl an what to know exactly what’s involved in doing the ls conversion

  4. avatar

    Hey there was wondering if it’s possible to fit a s/c v6 out of a vx comm. sedan into my vy sedan that has the standard v6?

  5. avatar

    Gday guys

    Looking at an LS1 conversation into my VP ute I have the engine and T56. How much would it cost for you guys to do the conversation?

    • avatar

      Hi Danny, Best bet would be to come in and have a talk with Matt as there is a lot of variables that need to be discussed before we could give you a quote.

  6. avatar

    Hi Rob
    My WM Statesman alloytec is finally giving up on me.. Thinking LSA conversion.. Any ideas on cost of fitting and getting it up and running…? ?
    Also , saw a twin turbo alloytec from Cadillac – is that something that you guys can do..?
    Cheers for your time
    Lyall

    • avatar

      Hi Lyall, I would think to do an LSA conversion including the cost of the engine,parts and labour etc could be as much as $20+K. We don’t do conversions I would recommend you speak with Mkal Automotive electrical services.

  7. avatar

    Any help guys on honda civic engine swap to a k24a in my ef sedan. Engine mount kit I can get needing someone to put engine in and drive.

    Cheers

    • avatar

      Hi Hondi, Sorry is not something we would do.

      • avatar

        Hi I have just done a conversion on a VR statesman with a ls1 was wondering the best place to fit the computer. I have fly by wire so I have to mount the extra module as well. Everything is running I just have the computer on the passenger floor at the moment. Also having prob bleeding the clutch. Any advice ?

        • avatar

          Hi Dave, Not sure if there is room behind the glove box for the ECU? Only thing I would suggest with bleeding the clutch is using a Vacuum bleeder to assist bleeding the clutch.

  8. avatar

    Hi. Ive just dropped an ls1 with t56 box behing it into my vs ute. What tailshaft is recommended? I cant find anything anywhere or will i have to get a custom one made

  9. avatar

    Hi Rob,

    Bit of an odd ball question but I’ve seen a few ls engines with the high rise manifold with couple big air filters hanging out the bonnet. To me it looks tuff and has street appeal.
    What’s your advice going from efi to carby if that’s what they’ve done. I have a ve r8 and thinking of doing the same but don’t want to lose power? Is it costly? Or even worth it?
    Is this something you’s would be interested in doing?

    Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance

    • avatar

      You can do the same thing but still keep the EFI. Its a little bit trickier on your car because its fly-by-wire (electronic throttle body) but you can by FBW throttle bodies that will fit to a Holley or similar tunnel ram manifold that will hang the air filters our of the bonnet. You will spend around 4k and unless the engine is built to suit the extra air flow, i would not expect to gain too much in power.

  10. avatar

    How easy would it be to go about getting it licensed? Definitely considering this conversion for my vs ute

    • avatar

      Hi Wayne,

      It is not particularly hard, however the engine would need to be standard to gain an emissions compliance and an engineers certificate.

  11. avatar

    Hi rob, I was just wondering what the cost of the parts, minus engine and manual gearbox as I have these, would be for a vn ss. I have a 355 stroker kit but like u have said the cost to achieve same results as an ls motor is not comparable for the outcome of hp. I am a sheet metal worker by trade and have done body mods for mates so all fab work should be a breeze but mounts, ecu and wiring kits that are proven is what I need. Thanks for your help and info and keep the great cars coming.

    Craig

    • avatar

      Hi Craig,

      I would recommend you call the Castlemaine Rod shop direct as that’s who we sourced all the conversion parts through… they will be able to give you all the pricing.

      Their number is (03) 5472 2853

      regards

      Rob Vickery

  12. avatar

    hey mate, would the price be higher if i wanted to have my VK berlina black 202 converted to the LS1 or LS2?

  13. avatar

    Sounds very nice Rob but what would be a rough price to do all this? I’ve always admired the VS but it sounds like it would be an expensive exercise. Would it be more practicable to buy a VT-onwards Gen III and start from there?

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