Decided to LS swap

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open_road_toad

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Hey everybody,

After a lot of research I’ve decided to do a LQ4 (gen 3 6.0) with a 4L60e transmission swap into my 1988 Chevy C1500.

I thought I’d share how I came to this decision and the steps I will be taking to get there.

I have an all original unmolested truck. Had 64k miles on it when I purchased it approx 6 years ago. Old timer bought it new from a local dealer and he kept it garaged and never drove it in the snow (so I’m told). I’ve owned a couple of squarebody over the years and it’s true what they say about the GMT400. I love this truck.

It has a 350/700R4. Truck is tired. I’ve replaced all the wearables over the years. Last spring I redid the top end. It’s my daily and I use it for work.

My original intent was to rebuild the engine and upgrade it with a roller cam and aluminum headers. I then figured on installing a Holley Sniper EFI to replace the stock TBI and allow for tuning of the camshaft. I talked to a local engine builder (im in NE Ohio and we have plenty of good machine shops around here) and quickly realized that for the money I would have into the stock engine I could get a LS for less and make more power and have better fuel mileage.

I got a LQ4 out of a running 2006 truck from the local auto salvage yard. $1000. I’m in the process of tearing it down (leaving the bottom end alone) and will be replacing the oil pump, oil pickup tube o ring, gaskets, lifter bearing upgrade and installing a BTR Truck Norris cam. I’m leaving some stuff out but basically whatever needs replaced while on the stand I’m gonna do it.

I will use the Holley Terminator X to control the engine and transmission.

I’d like to do the Holley mid-mount accessory drive kit but that’s gonna add a bit to the budget. Not sure about that.

For the transmission I don’t have one. Instead of buying a used one and having it rebuilt I spoke with the guys at Performabuilt and they suggested their 4L60e Heavy Hauler model that comes with a torque converter. It’s $3900. I did the math on this and it’s cheaper than buying a used trans and having it rebuilt.

I already have a new 34” radiator and the stock fans/shrouds for a 2008 2500.

I’ll probably use ICT mounting plates. Not sure on headers yet but that should be pretty straightforward.

I will be doing all of this myself with some help from my son. This is one of the reasons I’m going with the pricey Holley Terminator system.

I’m really excited about this project. I’m gonna chip away at it over the winter and into the spring. My goal is to have a good running truck that sounds good and makes good power.

I’ll share my build with you guys as I go.

Thanks!
Todd
 

Erik the Awful

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For the transmission I don’t have one. Instead of buying a used one and having it rebuilt I spoke with the guys at Performabuilt and they suggested their 4L60e Heavy Hauler model that comes with a torque converter. It’s $3900. I did the math on this and it’s cheaper than buying a used trans and having it rebuilt.
Do not do this. Go straight for a 4L80. You can get a 4L80 from a reputable transmission builder from Summit for less than $3900.
 

open_road_toad

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Do not do this. Go straight for a 4L80. You can get a 4L80 from a reputable transmission builder from Summit for less than $3900.
My original thought was to get a 4L80 but after talking to the guys at Proformabuilt I decided to go that route. If you’re not familiar with them and/or their “Heavy Hauler” transmission I suggest you check it out. It’s the perfect transmission for my build and intended use.
 

open_road_toad

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My original thought was to get a 4L80 but after talking to the guys at Proformabuilt I decided to go that route. If you’re not familiar with them and/or their “Heavy Hauler” transmission I suggest you check it out. It’s the perfect transmission for my build and intended use.
 

Komet

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Crazy how Proformabuilt wants to sell you an expensive transmission when you could just drop a 4L80E in and be fine. I wonder what would be motivating them to make a decision like that.

The only reason I'd put a built 4L60E in something is either space limitations or the desire for a plug and play solution. Not really factors in this case. Also the stock accessory drive should fit in the bay just fine.
 

OutlawDrifter

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ICT Billets make a ton of different AC compressor adaptors that work with the truck FEAD setup, which is the only accessory you would might NEED to move.
 

L31MaxExpress

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Crazy how Proformabuilt wants to sell you an expensive transmission when you could just drop a 4L80E in and be fine. I wonder what would be motivating them to make a decision like that.

The only reason I'd put a built 4L60E in something is either space limitations or the desire for a plug and play solution. Not really factors in this case. Also the stock accessory drive should fit in the bay just fine.

I agree 1000%. I like Dana and find him a wealth of information but a 4L80E with a quality converter that has been gone through with high energy stock clutches, internally dual fed and rollerized is better in every way than a 4L60E regardless of how it is built. A stock 80E will take twice the abuse of the best built 60E and with some basic upgrades the 80E is far better than a 60E ever will be.
 
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