Hot Rod Forum banner
1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to the forum. Just starting my first street rod. I am disassebling a 1996 Corvette and intend to use the engine, trans and suspension in my 1948 Chevy truck. What relays, modules, etc do I need to save from the Corvette? I know to save the ECU and the engine wiring harness.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,613 Posts
This marriage makes perfect sense and should result in a well-handling, very quick truck. Since the Chevy frame is longer than the 'Vette frame and some means of lengthening the 'Vette frame will have to be employed, I might do this as a front clip swap and rear clip swap, like part A, the 'Vette front clip, part B, the pickup center section where the cab is fastened on and part C, the 'Vette rear clip. If done this way, extreme caution will have to be employed to make certain that all dimensions are within about 1/16th of an inch of each other. I would begin by putting the 'Vette chassis on a frame machine to check it out and make sure it hasn't been bent in an accident.

Sorry, I have no knowledge of the electronics required for such a swap. There are some pretty sharp fellows on this board that should be able to help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I plan to use a custom chassis or a kit from Flat out Engineering to mount the front and rear suspensions. At this point I just need guidance on what to save from the Corvette.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,604 Posts
What transmission does the Corvette have?

I am not a fan of the 96 to 99 LT1. I consider them a stepping stone from simple underpowered TBI to the LS series. The LT series are over complicated and have issues with both fuel and electrical.

If this has a manual then hooking up a 00-02( non drive by wire) LS is going to be cake. It is around half a dozen wires and there is massive amounts of documents on trimming down a harness yourself or even buy complete setup to make everything plug and play engine wise.

The 00 and newer LS engines are made to swap thats why everyone uses them. Unless the LT motor has been rebuilt or heavily modified I would start with a LS.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,685 Posts
Some years ago I put an LT1 in a '33 Willys and was very happy with it. Recently I put a C4 "Vette rear under my '39 Chevy. Maybe I can give you some of MY insight. First, the Willys ran 13 sec @ 104 MPH and on the road delivered 22 MPG. Cooled easy (reverse cooling) with the ONLY problem being the opti-spark which everyone knows about. Recommend searching for for an aftermarket wiring harness that will bring the ECU into the cab and out of the weather. Usually, if buying a harness the company offers reduced reprogramming which you will need anyway (VATS, EGR, ratios, etc.). As far as what to save from the donor...if it looks cool keep it! Might sell stuff at a swap meet. Good idea to use the front/rear suspension, worth the effort. Several area that will cost but worth it: Fuel tank, use an in-tank pump and provide an access cover in the bed. Rear end, buy/make adjustable dog bones, camber rods and toe rods. Bit costly but gives some adjustment which you may need. You're on the right track, good luck and happy build.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The vette has 4L60e. Please give any and all insight you have from your experience with your Wilys and 39 Chevy. I would like to do an LS but for now I have a good LT1 and my budget has limits so I am moving forward with the LT1.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,685 Posts
I got my LT1/4L60E and just put it in with only a good cleaning. As you know, the LT1 uses regular small block motor mounts so that's easy. The harness is your call, modify what you have or get a new one. I recommend a new one. One way or the other you will have to reprogram the ECU. Biggest problem is the fuel system. I learned from previous swaps not to use an inline pump. The pump of choice for me is an 88 Camaro. Local parts stores have them in stock and Rock Auto is $15! For fuel lines I have graduated to nylon. I noticed just about all the newer cars in the junkyard have nylon. The GM fittings are there for the taking (usually) and you can make your own tool to mate the line with the fittings.



If swapping an LSX the problems are about the same with the exception of the motor mounts. You can find diagrams on line how to make a set of adapters. The later (2007 I think) has VVT and DOD which you would want to delete. I like the drive by wire, simply hook up the wires, no holes in the firewall. If you do pick up an LS engine and it has 100,000 miles on it don't worry, in a street rod you will never wear it out!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
564 Posts
Yeah that series of-course has no frame per-se, boss, but the drop-out suspension sure lends itself to custom installs.

I have a yet-to-be-completed 78 El Camino and figure to use the motor from was an essentially free '94 Trans Am once I pulled the transmission I bought it for...everybody says just use an LS but then I start ringing up the costs for what will have to be a California emissions-compliant swap...and compare that to, "free", except for my time.

But there's been a lot of time. I pulled every wire out of that T/A and it must have took three days to have it all out onto a sheet of plywood (full 4x8 sheet, plus wires hanging over the side). That LT1 swap . com site was INVALUABLE and I spent many evening hours sorting out what portion of the harness to use, by-weight about 40%. I plotted out each circuit and tagged the wires, when it all goes into the car there will be lots of cutting and splicing to do. The ECM will also need to go out to have the security disabled, etc...hopefully the guy at the mentioned site can still do it.

I'd have to point out that much of the purpose of my doing things that way was just to give myself a lesson in newer (to me) vehicle electronics, and if you could just buy a harness from some company that knew what it was doing and was willing to provide a little phone support if you needed, you'd save yourself a bunch of effort.

With all that I have to accept that the LT1 is a bit of an oddball and some people don't like them...but as with the positive comment above, I remember they were pretty good stuff in their day. 275 hp for the F-body application will do fine for a driver.

I do have another project using a GTO LS motor, but that's something else and will be another adventure (roll eyes) I'm sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
564 Posts
...And to better answer the OP question, what wires to save is sorta too-big of a subject to cover here, you'd have to look over the service manual diagrams and make your own decisions there based on your need. In my case where I'm using the donor car wiring for lights and signals and everything else, saving them all was the way to start then it was easier to cull out the un-necessary with everything spread out on a board.
 

·
Capt Mike
Joined
·
255 Posts
Hot Pursuit

The '96 C4 Corvette LT1 w automatic trans is a great combo. Should serve you well.

I've completed several C4 LT1 transplants, and C4 IFS & IRS installations for close friends. Added photos of a 1957 Desoto Statesman with the C4 IFS & IRS that we installed. We used the C4 oem front engine cradle because of the cars weight of this car. Gives you an idea.. Flat Out's cross member is much better.

It's good to have the complete C4 ! The are several parts on the C4 that your going to want to keep. No, it's not a LSX engine, but it can serve you well and a less costly installation if your careful. Also get with '39 Master, he's also Up on these transplants.

Does the engine still Run ?? If it does then I it would be a good idea to test the fuel pump pressure, oil pressure etc for future reference. Check out the engine and trans. Once you have the engine & trans removed, check over the gaskets, best opportunity to change leaky gaskets.

The C4's are a uni-body. However they do have a Front Engine cradle that integrates the IFS suspension mounts. But it's bulky & heavy. The engine and trans is are snug fit, but everything else is much easier to disassemble.

Your wheelbase is about 10 inches longer than a C4. Don @ Flat Out can bring you up to speed. Typically it's not an issue. There is a relationship with IFS & IRS, the only concerning change is the IRS anti-squat might be increased. But I don't know of any issues at this wheelbase but it is to correct is easy.

The IRS has fantastic Anti-Dive properties when braking. Note the steep 27 degree angle on the Upper Control Arms.

Flat Out Engineering, Orange CA. A very good shop !! Don has been fabricating C4 IFS cross members kits & rear IRS kits (both versions, early and late) for a very long time. Their workmanship is outstanding ! Don made a custom narrowed late C4 front cross member for my current '37 Chevy Coupe build, I've very pleased, and the TIG welding is perfect. I've worked with Don on a few projects and I consider him to be a good trusted friend. Installing the IRS kit is relatively simple. The front cross member isn't rocket science it just takes patience and a good level stable set up. BTW, Don's IRS kit does have the Differential support and all needed ed to install. Tell Don I said hello.

I used Arm Morrison Ent in Fife WA for my frame rails and roll cage, they Bent the components to our CAD drawings and where exact as we could measure to perfect. We even clamped the frame rails side by side to verify. Since this was a full frame fabrication I borrowed a four rail frame table from a friend. Purchasing a Naked frame is a significant time saver. The purchased pricing at AME are a very fair price. Brock is my contact, worth a cal..

I'm in Oregon so I'm right between these shops. AME has also been fabricating frame for a very long time. If your somewhat close go and take the factory tour. Perhaps you could order a '48 fame without the suspension mounts. If not order a full frame without the suspension components and cut them off. Much faster and easier than fabricating a full frame. Installing Flat Outs front cross member on a new frame would be preferred by me and not that difficult with a new frame known to be in alignment.


Misc, I've learned over the years with C4's and I still have my Convert, 20+ years.

If possible use the C4 fuel tank, save you much $$$. you'll need the simple tools to disconnect the fuel lines at the engine. Keep and label the wiring for the "in tank fuel pump" . The C4's use a return line, so the fuel pump is always running. Be sure to keep all the the fuel lines and vent lines form the fuel tank to the engine. Possible use and a good reference later questions.

Pull the radiator first, then disconnect the Racks hydraulic lines and remove them. Be Certain to cap the fittings on the Rack & power steering pump with the proper caps !! Don's kit utilizes the factory C4 Rack.

Keep all the C4's wiring harness, mark which is which. I have a spare C4 Engine harness, so when if you need some assist I have a sample for reference. When your disconcerting the engine harness from the engine,, be sure to label all the sensors, it will make it much easier later. I find it easy to remove and label when the engine has been removed from the C4

Check all the vacuum lines on the engine, make sure their all connected, replace them all later - one by one. Several with be connected to, Charcoal Canister, heater control,,,, best to label these too.

Plug the ends of the Fuel lines esp at the engine fuel rail,, very important not to get Crud in them.

Automatic Trans, The C4's all use a Torque Tube and therefore there isn't a transmission cross member. But it's easy to align and Fabricate. Check with Don @ Flat Out.

There's a lot of parts that C4 owners need from a scrapped C4. Best place to list on on the Corvette Forum C4 section, parts for sale. Some of hte smallest parts are difficult to find for C4 owners.

This year C4 has the OBDI II PCM, and best of all the C4 PCM's. PM me know and I'll give a good recommendation for programming.

This year C4 has the Upgraded Optispark Distributor. There are two vacuum lines on the Optispark, be sure to replace the rubber vac lines and the check valve at some point.

Dizzy cap & rotor and plug wires. The plug wires and cap are a nightmare to change once the engine is installed. The Plug wires clamps are "different", recommend you take many photos so you know how their routed. And check the length of the new plug wires to the old originals, many are generic and too $%& long. Remove the power steering pump and this job will be much easier.

Best to keep and utilize the charcoal canister too keep the non vented fuel system. Same re the PVC system.

Upgrading the front Calipers and Rotors is simple, all off the shelf parts and relatively inexpensive. As example New Front C5 / C5 base Calipers are $250 a pair New GM, and Wilwood's Dimpled, vented , and Slotted Rotors (left or right) are $99 each, the bracket kit is a little over $100

In have a great deal of info, diagrams, photos on the C4's, happy to share

PM me if & when you need help, photos, or advice.

Good Luck and have Fun !!

Michael
Oregon
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks CaptMike! Yes, the car runs and drives. I plan to use a custom chassis from A2ZExtremeCustom. If that is cost prohibitive I will use the Flat-Out kit.

I plan to change the water pump, front & rear main seals, oil pan gasket, valve cover gaskets, and spark plugs when I get the engine out. The plug wires appear to be in great shape - they are Taylor 8mm.

I specifically chose the 96 vette due to the OBD II and the upgraded Optispark.

Once again, thanks for your input.
 

·
Capt Mike
Joined
·
255 Posts
Hot Pursuit,

Ah, then you'r schooled on many of the C4 fine points, very good. It it Coupe or a Convert ?

I don't know anything about A2Z. I see some of their photos that their welding up boxed frames with internal gussets. Welding box frames and keeping them from warping is an incredibly difficult task.

Do check out Art Morrison on-line catalog. Look over that many frames that they manufacture, note the quality. Each frame set has a specific frame Fixture with multiple alignment brackets and tabs. No grinding , no hammering and no mechanical alignment.

I've watched the AME Tech operate the hydraulic bending machine several times, it's amazing. The '48 frame basic info and photo is on page #18 of the AME catalog. And don't forget, you can purchase a perimeter frame from AME.

Shop around and speak with several frame fabrication shops. Jim Myers in Oregon also makes outstanding frames, but I don't think he will fab up a perimeter frame. He has a very high end shop. Never hurts to ask and check out his work via photos

Here are a few photos of in process on my '37 Chevy Coupe Frame early on. First test was we clamped the frame rails side by side, and the flipped them, revered the sides and clamped up again. Amazingly straight as an Arrow and Aligned. I scribed and drilled alignment holes up and down the frame rails while they where still clamped together. I tapped all the holes to a 6-32 machine screw. This made it easy to checked X, Y cross cross frame alignment when we started welding and getting cross members properly placed.

The Frame is Tack welded to four 2x4 pieces of Tubing setting at this cars final ride height with the frame table level X & Y Axis. We used several quality digital levels.

Once the Frame perimeter with cross members were Tack'd in place and checked to be Square and the frame table was still level, we install the suspension and wheels w tires.

Note the Step in the Front section of the Frame. This is because the distance from the A Pillar to the front cross member location was to small & those bends Radius where too close to bend. Steve, a lifelong friends and Mechanical Engineer, designed this frame on our Solid Works 3D CAD, this issue was quickly apparent. The overlapping of the frame members and Fish Plates on both sides of the frame from forward of Flat Out's cross member to the A Pillar solved the issues and no frame boxing nor notching was completed. All of the Frame tubing is 100% intact. The Fish Plates can be seen on the last photo.

Note the corner braces from the frame to cross members. These where TIG Tacked in place an every cross member on this frame prior to welding, extra means to secure the frame in place and square. This frame is 100% TIG welded, including the entire roll cage. TIG welding is better, no sparks, less issuers with warping but takes longer and requires very clean materials. I went overboard on this frame and roll cage because of the high HP and body in Carbon Fiber and provided little strength.

Hope some of this helps..

Michael...
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The vette is a coupe.

I am familiar with AME but they are outside my budget.

A2Z frame is a fraction of the cost. I plan to have A2Z weld the frame so they can be responsible for warpage, etc.

I have seen a couple vehicles with the C4 suspension transplant and they seem to sit higher in the rear. I want a level stance. Since you have done C4 swaps, have you encountered this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,477 Posts
I would personally ditch the LT1 for a Corvette person. They seem to have a trade value of ~$1,500 complete. Good engine, 300hp/ 335 ft/lbs torque but limited by the aftermarket in terms of wiring options. And then buy a 5.3L for $500ish with ECU. The LS ECU will control the 4L60E, and the harness can be cut down into or bought as a standalone for as little as $300. A 5.3L will put down ~400hp without much sweat.. If you ever want wild, a stock LS 4.8L/5.3L can make upwards of 1k horsepower with forced induction.

If you need the corvette looking intake, you can grab an OEM or Dorman intake and then Corvette coil covers are about $85 each
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,685 Posts
If you mount the center section (with batwings) about 1" below the floor (bed in your case) and get a set of extended outer spring bolts (9-10 inches) you can put the rear very low. Right now my running boards are at 5 1/2" and could go lower. Also, you will have to go with at least a 16" rim but tire size can be adjusted for a bit lower ride if need be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,087 Posts
I have a 93/700r4 LT1 in an s-10 chassis with a Henry J body stapled on top.

I love the engine, it runs like a dream. I probably WILL do a LS swap in the future, but only cuz a drop-in 6L sounds fun.

The guy who built my car in the early-mid 90s shortened the GM harness he used, with butt-connectors on every wire, and then enclosed it with purple corrugated plastic tubing, under the hood. The wiring in the cabin was shoved under the black astroturf carpet and sitting on the unpainted floor. He had a stainless fuelcell with an Aeromotive A1000 pump on the trunk floor. The car barely ran because the computer was completely freaking out over the dirty voltage. I cut out every splice and soldered/shrinkwrapped it back together again. I added a Petris Optispark with a vented cap and new plugs and wires. The sparkplug wire separating looms were broken. Theyre LT1 specific. Replacement ones are hard to find and spendy. So make a set out of zipties (google it, its an LT1 thing from WAY back). You need 8 or 10 zipties per side.
My cooling system was a mess, he used a 'vette radiator without a cap, and the overflow tank is pessurized. Theres 2 bleeder valves plumbed in the system, and a LOT of small chunks of hose. If you have a taller firewall than I do, you can use a more traditional F-body/B-body system with a radiator-mounted cap and an unpressurized overflow tank.
Draining my car and getting the air out on refill took some doing.
I converted my car to evans waterless coolant - which was designed for the LT1. I also replaced the waterpump and gasket when I put the petris distributor in the car and flushed the coolant, since i had half the front end removed. I also had a problem with the Ignition Control Module, the aluminum heat sink had lost the conductive paste on it and the ICM was wonky. No you cant use dielectric grease, you have to use thermal paste. My friend builds very serious gaming computers and I was able to bum a tube off him, only needed a spot the size of a coin, and a new GM ICM.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Any updates? I have a 94 lt1 in a jag, was a fun project, almost wrapped now, just a transmission issues to sort out.. because mine is obd1 i am using scan9495, a free software that lets me see everything thats going on using my laptop.. i have also started playing with tuning using tunerpro, another free program, and eehack to flash the tune.
I bought a spare pcm off of evilbay ( didn't want to brick mine that i payed to have tuned) and have been playing, i have learned how to turn off the vats, and egr etc, its a learning curve for sure, but i was able to install the spare pcm( that wouldn't run car in stock form ) upload a hotcam tune, turn off vats, and adjust speedo to correct ratio... and she fired right up, with no check engine light!!!
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top