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'86 El Camino in progress.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks in advance, and if I have missed a post with this information, please let me know.

86 el camino, stock.

I was hoping to have a bit more time before I dumped a huge wad of cash on this, but because of previous owners kludges, (and a shop tossing on an incorrect new carb) I essentially need to have the top end of the 305 rebuilt, and Im betting that the rest of it needs it as well. Not worth the cash.

I can get a 4.8/5.3L 2000-2002 vortec engine from a Silverado with a matching trans (guessing 4L60E) when I have cash on hand and a way to put it in the back of my truck.

I have researched what I am going to need to get this done, but I lack the knowledge and experience to know what exactly I need. I have upgraded the radiator, and will get a proper fan set up when I figure out the rest of it.

Has anyone had experience or knows of the best swap kits that are available for putting this engine/transmission combination into an 86 G body El camino? I have found several, but I dont know enough to know which is the best bang for the buck, as it were. Any thoughts and links would be much appreciated!

Also, I have found several EFI ready fuel tank/pump combos, but none list the El-camino on compatible models. Is this a model specific issue?

Also, where do I look to find a driveshaft that will fit this upgrade?

Thank you,
 

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Hello,

Your last question will be answered first. It depends on your transmission. Generally speaking, the driveshaft will need to be shortened and re-balanced at 2500 shaft RPM or a new shaft can be built from scratch all new.

Swap kits for an 86 El Camino? I have not seen any for G-body vehicles. Some things may need to be fabbed from raw steel but you won't know until you try. I used Holley forward-bias engine frame stands with F-body engine mounts to move the motor and trans forward so as to avoid sheet metal work on the floor pan. My oil pan is a Holley 302-2 pan because the original LM7 truck pan would have been very close to the pavement in an EC. I went with a set of Holley A-body LS swap headers because the LM7 exhaust manifolds would not fit between the frame rails.

The Aeromotive people make an EFI fuel pump kit that can convert your present fuel tank for use with an LS engine.


My LS engine powertrain control module rests on top of the glove box but under the dash cover and I bought my LS wire harness and fuel pump relay control assembly from PSI Conversions.

I re-used my original transmission control member with my 4L60E with a slight spacer change at the center of the mount under the tail of the transmission.

I also read two LS swap books cover to cover before choosing my engine / transmission and starting my swap.

Rick
 

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Welcome, and best of luck with your swap. I have found there's several "kits" available and these will decrease fitment problems down the road. I used Dirty Dingo slider mounts and a G-Force crossmember with Hedmann G- body swap mid length headers. This combo works pretty good but I would suggest running F-body acc. drive and you will have to run a cable type shifter (I used a B&M Megashifter) because the headers are in the way of the stock linkage.

My original driveshaft was shortened about 3" (you'll have to measure after you get your swap installed where you're happy with it.) by a local DS shop for about $140 including new heavy duty U-joints.

As far as fuel tanks go, you can get away with a stock baffled tank and a 4.3FI hanger but running my old tank was a disaster in the end because I didn't realize how much rust was in it. Les Wilson came up with a great solution and I fixed mine with a similar set-up. This one is a good read.


Good luck! And let us hear questions and we'll try to answer. Also, the best place for info during my swap was WWW.LT1SWAP.com. Lot's of useful info there. I didn't find this place until I had my car running, it would have saved me a lot of headaches, but Brendan's site was extremely helpful. So ask away and have fun, I can promise you an LS swap is more aggravation than expected but the end result is also more than satisfying! Having a mild cam in a 5.3 putting out 400hp that starts up instantly even after sitting 2 weeks is just nice. Had so much fun on my ElCo that I'm doin an 86 Mustang with a 6.0 just for giggles!
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Joe
 

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Swap kits for an 86 El Camino? I have not seen any for G-body vehicles.....
You're kidding right? Holley has some of the most complete swap kits available and they have done a complete Monte Carlo SS. I can tell you from current experience that if you stick with all Holley parts, you will have minimal frustration and the highest compatibility. Don't skimp on the oil pan, motor mounts, crossmember and the rest will be a breeze.
 

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Oh yes, I agree that Holley has plenty of swap parts but I don't think anybody packages it together as an assembled kit. For most of your swap, you will have to have knowledge of the individual parts you require and buy them separately.

Rick
 

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True. While it's not a complete kit, the stage 2 from Holley is what will get you headed in the best direction so that you don't have headaches later when you're half way complete or more (such as my case). I wish like hell I had gone with this kit instead of piecing together Dirty Dingo engine mounts, Summit (g-force) transmission crossmember, and GM Performance oil pan. Each of those items are quality in themselves, but do not work optimally together. Then again, I've even had ICT items not work perfectly with other ICT items.

Holley Stage 2 Gbody LS Swap
 

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There is quite a thread on another forum that details the monte ss they built when designing this stuff. I did end up getting all of my exhaust parts through them from the Hooker manifolds to the Flowmaster drop down tube and rear section that exits straight out the rear. It's all quality stuff. Again, if I would have started with their motor mounts and oil pan, things would have went a lot smoother.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the information, and sorry for the late reply. Work is a bit crazy lately. Hate to say it, but I am having the swap done professionally, as I lack the knowhow and time to do it myself. Am kicking around the idea of rebuilding the stock 305 just to learn how.

Anyways, it seems that a crash has lost the links I had saved for a few sites that offered swap kits; mounts, headers, the whole 9 yards, hence my questions here.

The engine and transmission should be essentially turnkey, electronics included, and little to no work needed other than fitting it in and bolting it up, and I am hoping for as much one stop shopping as I can get as fixing all the other little things adds up quick, and I am having the suspension upgraded at the same time (easy to find kits for that!) Im just trying to avoid as much of the inevitable cost cascade as I can, and avoiding things like having to notch the frame to fit the AC compressor to fit an LM7 into a G-body. And I just need headers that will fit. Have seen some complete exhaust systems for the truck my upgrade is coming out of for very cheap, so pretty much cut and paste for that part of it, plus the cost of the glass packs.

I will definitely check out the Holley kits and spend some quality time with my shop to figure out the best way to go with this, and will find those sites offering swap kits, and report back with that information.

Thanks you, and will update when I can.
 

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