LS9 Engine Swap (6.2 liter OHV Chevy V8, supercharged, 638+ BHP)

quote:
Originally posted by webbers:
Why put a chevy engine in a Pantera?? Just because you can Is unexceptable. The 351c is more cost effective since you already have one. Easier to upgrade the motor with fuel injection, different heads etc. The cheapest bang for the buck is a stroked 302 or 351w. Lite weight too. But, of course If you can afford it, you could put any motor in. Just saying.


The 351C was not more cost effective. If you had followed all of our projects beforehand you would know that about 3 years ago, our 351C block was unusable, and it was going to cost over $3,000 to get it fixed. Instead of waste our money on fixing up a motor that is over 4 decades old, we ended up selling all of our usable parts from it, made a good chunk of change, and put it towards an LS3. Then, once that didn't have enough power for us, we decided to swap it with an LS9. Why? Because the LS9 is just about the best small block V8 ever made and it is freakin' cool.

Why put money into an engine that is over 40 years old? Our car will be just as reliable as a brand new vehicle with more power than a 351C can reliably push. Tell me the next time you can drive from California to New York and back pushing over 700HP out of a 351C.

It's not so much as finding the cheapest solution, but more about finding a solution that makes sense for us and the LS9 fits every single need we had. Was it expensive? Yeah a little bit. But compare that to a comparable Ford engine (Ford GT motor: over $30k) and it is relatively cheap.

quote:
Originally posted by webbers:
My Apologies too. I find a lot of Panteras have different engines in them. Even a 426 Hemi. LS is a good motor.


Agreed. To each their own. Cool
Over the past few weekends we have made quite a bit more progress.

Last weekend we were able to cut the firewall opening a bit wider so the front drive would fit a little bit easier and we got the engine and bellhousing test fit and it fit great!

This weekend we got the LS9 and ZF in the car. Over the next week we will need to fabricate new ZF mounts to push it back about an inch so we can assemble the front drive on the motor.

Progress has been a little slow as a lot of our time has been working on our new product that we will be announcing in the coming weeks. It is surely going to improve the way the Pantera drives for ALL Pantera owners. (Sorry, I had to plug the new product in here. We are really excited about it! Big Grin)

More progress is coming soon, that's for sure! Check out our newest blog post on the site with more pictures! 3-16-14 Updates

Chris are the exhaust manifolds that came with the engine something other than cast iron? Too shiny in the picture to be rough cast iron?

Looks like they would want to exit right on the Pantera chassis member and engine mount?

Nice compact package (except for the blower drive).
quote:
Chris are the exhaust manifolds that came with the engine something other than cast iron? Too shiny in the picture to be rough cast iron?

Looks like they would want to exit right on the Pantera chassis member and engine mount?


They are Stainless Steel. If I used them they would need a quick 90 degree turn. I haven't even test fit them with the engine in so I don't really even know if they would fit at this point.

They are beautiful units but I am really leaning towards 180's...

Scott
quote:
Originally posted by ZR1 Pantera:
quote:
Chris are the exhaust manifolds that came with the engine something other than cast iron? Too shiny in the picture to be rough cast iron?

Looks like they would want to exit right on the Pantera chassis member and engine mount?


They are Stainless Steel. If I used them they would need a quick 90 degree turn. I haven't even test fit them with the engine in so I don't really even know if they would fit at this point.

They are beautiful units but I am really leaning towards 180's...

Scott


They are nice but shorties really don't do much for you anyway.

They do reduce restriction some but don't offer any scavenging effect.

Maybe a blower engine doesn't care that much?

If you went this far, stepped tube 180's would probably be worth the effort, at least for show.
Won't the other LS headers you had before fit this engine?

I've noticed a lot of the SC engines (of all makes) with short exhausts still blow out some flames when you step off of the throttle.

I got lectured by a local cop that my entire car was illegal. He wanted to know where all of the emission equipment was?

When he found out all I was required to have was a PCV and evaporative controls AND they were there, he was speechless and walked away in a grumph!

I love doing that but I know he is out there lurking with the DB meter somewhere waiting to pull me over and do a curbside test on the exhausts. You just never know when trouble will appear out of nowhere? Wink
quote:
Originally posted by PanteraDoug:

I got lectured by a local cop that my entire car was illegal. He wanted to know where all of the emission equipment was?

When he found out all I was required to have was a PCV and evaporative controls AND they were there, he was speechless and walked away in a grumph!



I'm surprised he believed you.

Usually they are determined to "reinvent" history and say your 40 year old car should have every emission device on it ever thought of, even if they weren't invented when your car was built. Doh !
quote:
Won't the other LS headers you had before fit this engine?


Our prior engine used the stock exhaust manifolds. I made a header pipe that connected the exhaust manifold to the stock ansa exhaust. My plan was always to make headers for the old motor but I just never got around to it.

Looks like 180's are the way to go...
quote:
Originally posted by Aus Ford:
quote:
Originally posted by PanteraDoug:

I got lectured by a local cop that my entire car was illegal. He wanted to know where all of the emission equipment was?

When he found out all I was required to have was a PCV and evaporative controls AND they were there, he was speechless and walked away in a grumph!



I'm surprised he believed you.

Usually they are determined to "reinvent" history and say your 40 year old car should have every emission device on it ever thought of, even if they weren't invented when your car was built. Doh !


Worse! This cop wasn't born then yet!

I always think the issue is the headers. They are loud, but you know what? I just test drove a Porsche Cayman which is a little loud to begin with at idle and when you hit the "exhaust" button on the console the thing turns into a Harley Davidson.

The stacks of the Webers sticking up with no air cleaners on them doesn't help my case either.

I don't know how the California guys get by with this the way the CHiPs are and curbside inspections out there. NY generally doesn't care. You could always say you just blew out the muffler a minute ago here. Problem is he is still going to pull you over and the car has no ground clearance to go over the curb alongside of the road.

I had that discussion with a NYS Trooper and he wanted to know why it took so long for me to pull over. I mentioned the ground clearance and he said so what. I said that's all well and good but there was no safety/immediacy issue and I was looking for a safe place to pull over AND is NYS going to pay for the damage to the car particularly considering forcing me off of the road was not necessary? I don't think so?

He didn't like that. Gave me a speeding ticket. He does have to justify his job some how you know so that he is entitled to a pension? Wink



The way the PDK transmission works, you just keep hammering the floor with the accelerator and I'm telling you that car is loud AND you can get an optional $3500 "sport exhaust" factory installed! I don't think that makes it quieter?

Maybe Porsche comes and fights with the cop for you considering (JUST) the STANDARD Cayman is $88,000? Try about $100k for the S. The Cayman is the ENTRY level Porsche! The 911 I liked was $168,000.
So we've put quite a bit of work in the past few weeks.

We have fabricated our new billet aluminum transmission mounts that move the engine and tranny back an inch.



We got the mounts bolted onto the tranny, the tranny bolted in, and the engine mounted in.

The blower and front drive now fits perfectly in the car and the engine is perfectly centered in the car.

Our next step will be taking the motor back out, prepping the oil, fuel, and water systems, and mate the engine and transmission with the clutch and flywheel installed.

It's getting exciting! We can't wait to drive the car!



Look at more pics over at http://zr1pantera.com
Big-block conversions move the ZF back FOUR full inches with no known halfshaft problems. Biggest problem for most engines is the oil pan notch vs the under-engine crossmember. But some LS engines are dry-sump with shallow pans and can mount high enough that clearance is not an issue.

As far as the 'Chevy-in-a-Ford' thing, its well known that GM "borrowed" designs from a number of sources in building the LS series engines, including the hot-rodders. Some hard parts adapt almost directly from LS to thirty-years-older 351-Cs! Just look at them as modernized Clevelands, or what Ford might have done had they not thrown the Cleveland design in the trash in '74 & kept the Windsor truck engines.
quote:
As far as the 'Chevy-in-a-Ford' thing, its well known that GM "borrowed" designs from a number of sources in building the LS series engines, including the hot-rodders. Some hard parts adapt almost directly from LS to thirty-years-older 351-Cs! Just look at them as modernized Clevelands, or what Ford might have done had they not thrown the Cleveland design in the trash in '74 & kept the Windsor truck engines.


roll on floor See I guess we have a Ford after all...
quote:
Originally posted by Bosswrench:
Big-block conversions move the ZF back FOUR full inches with no known halfshaft problems. Biggest problem for most engines is the oil pan notch vs the under-engine crossmember. But some LS engines are dry-sump with shallow pans and can mount high enough that clearance is not an issue.

As far as the 'Chevy-in-a-Ford' thing, its well known that GM "borrowed" designs from a number of sources in building the LS series engines, including the hot-rodders. Some hard parts adapt almost directly from LS to thirty-years-older 351-Cs! Just look at them as modernized Clevelands, or what Ford might have done had they not thrown the Cleveland design in the trash in '74 & kept the Windsor truck engines.


I will say this, that is one heck of a compact engine package and really fits the chassis well.

There are 1000hp axle shafts available now, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Being the paranoid that I am I would immediately be concerned about the supercharger with the ZF since all published information and quotes from Butfoy state that it is a hard 550ft-lb torque limit.

Actually Quella proved with doing at least three 427 Ford installs into the Pantera that isn't necessarily a problem though.

There's no question the ZF held and is holding up fine with those installs.

The only thing aesthetically that bothers me here now is the coil packs sitting on the valve covers.

I acknowledge that I'm probably in the minority on that anyway as many will say form follows function and therefore they are beautiful?

There's no question that the fabricated parts like the engine and trans mounts are coming out beautifully so I can compensate by lusting for them.

I think ultimately what will set the finished install off is the headers? Those and the supercharger all tucked in like that are just going to be like a Tiffany diamond necklace hanging over the cleavage of a set of 36DD's.

I try not to stare in situations like that but most understand that it is a hopeless situation and that I am only being a moth attracted uncontrollably to the flame?

So far so good. I'm already working on my safety harness to keep me from falling into the crevice between those babies on this car.

It's seems inevitable though that you'll find me with my head stuck in there between...the header tubes! Just checking for fit you understand. Purely scientifically. Big Grin

Beautiful Chris. Can't wait to see it finished.
I personally love this swap and can't wait to see the final product.

As for Doug's aesthetic concern, I have often thought that the coil packs do take a little away from the look of the engine. Interestingly, I have seen remote mounts for the coil packs on the LS3 but do not know if they make them for the LS7. I have heard mixed reviews on these. There is also a company making a cover that looks like old school big block valve covers to hide them on the LS3.

I still would like to have that old, junk, worn out LS3 they are replacing for my Pantera.

Keep up the good work Chris and Scott.

Devin
quote:
This is what this topic is about. For those interested in the SACC Restorations LS9 Build.For those that want to start a topic to debate Chevy engines, please start your own thread. Thank you...

Sorry Scott I posted the ebay ad to show that there are others. Personally I don't like the approach the ebay car took. Your build will be fantactically functional. Looking foreword to seeing it done.
Thanks everyone for all of the positive feedback. We like doing the swap for our own enjoyment, but it's great when we get good feedback from other people that like our work as well.

Sorry for the lack of updates too, guys. We've been really busy tackling a bunch of things with the engine swap, including a couple of issues we've had to fix, and of course Easter this last weekend (which we hope everyone had a good one!)

Anywho, over the past few weeks we've been working hard in getting the engine mated with the transmission which turned into a much bigger project than we had originally anticipated. We began by installing the flywheel on the engine and it fit great! Then, we decided to attempt to polish our aluminum bellhousing and boy did that turn into a long process. We spent almost an entire day polishing that sucker and it came out pretty awesome. It could use a bit more work and elbow grease but it's good as a start. We also fabricated a brand new clutch mount that bolts directly to the bellhousing.





The next weekend we installed the discs and pressure plate onto the engine and that went very well. It fit perfect and looked bitchin'! But when we tried mounting the bellhousing onto the engine, we ran into an issue. Due to the new dual-disc and pressure plate design, the depth was increased from what we ran with the LS3. It was incredibly close to fitting, but it was off enough to cause us an issue. So to combat this issue, we ended up countersinking all the bolts on the clutch and the bellhousing so we didn't have any issues with it hitting the bellhousing.



After doing that, we still had a few areas where the clearance was too close for comfort. So what were we to do? Well of course; we had to figure out a way to mount the bellhousing on our machine to machine the edge down where it was hitting.



After spending a couple hours machining, we finally got the bellhousing to fit.



Once we got it to fit, it was time to mate the engine and the transmission.



It's been a super busy past couple of weeks but we are finally going to get the engine and transmission into the car for the final time.

Oh and I also forgot to mention that we got the fuel tank out of the car as well. We are going with a new fuel system design (very similar to what the ZR1 Corvette uses). Basically we will have a 12-15 gallon tank in the trunk area with a smaller (2-5 gallon) tank near the engine that we use as the feed for the engine. This works very similar to a dry sump oil system that makes sure the engine gets a constant flow of fuel. (It also betters the cars weight distribution and makes the engine compartment a little bit prettier and more symmetrical, because hey, everyone loves symmetry Big Grin). And we figured, it's a purpose built sports car; we don't need trunk space. Cool

Check out the full gallery on our blog
This project is very interesting.

A long time ago, I was interested in doing a Crown V-8 converion into a Corvair.

I never liked the small block Chevy engine alternatives available.

That was also before I was aware of a ZF.

This drivetrain, if money and value invested was not a consideration, is a perfect solution to that one.

I always noticed the similarities in the the tubs between the two cars as well.

I haven't even heard of one of the Corv8's even still being around, but it was an interesting thought?

I never thought you'd have this much work to do on the bellhousing but the challenge looks like fun.

Thanks for posting. I'm enjoying the thread. Smiler
quote:
Originally posted by Dago:
Nice project Chris,
I am really interested in your cabel shifter system. Do have some more information that?

grtz Arno


Thanks a lot Arno! Your engine looks very nice too! We will have more info on the cable shifter very soon. Hang tight Cool

quote:
Originally posted by PanteraDoug:
Thanks for posting. I'm enjoying the thread.


Thanks Doug!
This weekend we got quite a bit more work done on the car. We got a new support piece installed to strengthen the side of the engine hatch opening area where we cut.

Check out the video of my dad welding it in

After we got the support piece in, we decided to get our new firewall panels installed. We used to have diamond plate on our firewall but with the new engine, we decided to go with a different design. We got a brushed stainless steel plate that turned out awesome. We finished both sides and were debating whether or not to do a top piece (since the engine will cover it) but since we have left over material, we're going to finish it off and do a top piece.



After we get the top piece in, we will be putting the motor in!

View more pics here
quote:
Originally posted by Chris Bell:
This weekend we got quite a bit more work done on the car. We got a new support piece installed to strengthen the side of the engine hatch opening area where we cut.

Check out the video of my dad welding it in

After we got the support piece in, we decided to get our new firewall panels installed. We used to have diamond plate on our firewall but with the new engine, we decided to go with a different design. We got a brushed stainless steel plate that turned out awesome. We finished both sides and were debating whether or not to do a top piece (since the engine will cover it) but since we have left over material, we're going to finish it off and do a top piece.



After we get the top piece in, we will be putting the motor in!

View more pics here


Gotta make Dad earn his keep! Big Grin

I did the brushed stainless bulkhead and engine covers in my car too. I have never been sorry about that at all. I think they are a classy touch to add to any Pantera.

They can always be taken out. They are just held in by a few strategically placed stainless sheet metal screws.

I know you will love yours. They help so much in keeping the engine bay clean and presentable.

Don't use Brillo pads on them though. For some inexplicable reason the pads transfer steel to the stainless and that will leave rust stains.

Very weird if you ask me. Wipe them down with Windex like you would do with the glass and the chrome and a paper towel.

I've worked before with stainless sheet and have found that in the long run you, anyone, is better off putting 90 degree bent edges on the sheets. For one thing it hides the cut edges but more importantly if you don't the sheets have a tendency of developing ripples that you can see in the surfaces. Especially when they are exposed to heat/cool cycles. Just my opinion of a better way to do them and you definitely need a brake to do the bends on.

In my case that fit into wanting to install more firewall insulation because it created a space to put it and a shield to protect it.

Now stop talking and get back to work so we can see the finished product.

Dad has got to weld up those headers. Big Grin

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