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1985 Jimmy LS Swap build- Resurrecting the War Pig

rpcraft

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rpcraft submitted a new Build:

1985 Jimmy LS Swap build- Resurrecting the War Pig

Well, I am starting a LS swap on my 85 Jimmy Sierra Classic. Along with that I am tearing out the interior (because what is left is ruined). Going to go ahead and do noise and heat liner along with some new carpet, side panels (will make my own because I have done it before on a 77 Jimmy I had back in the 90's). Probably going to go with some good quality junkyard seats since I have access to a bunch of pick-n-pulls aroud DFW. I already started gutting the engine bay and am starting to pull out the wiring and A/C box. I already have the 5.3 LM7, Flex plate spacer kit, motor mount adapters, new baffled TBI tank, sending unit and high pressure pump along with some F-body LS swap headers. I got the motor complete with the harness and ECU which I know I am going to have to have modified and slimmed down (the harness at least). I think I am going to go ahead and start with the 700R4 just because I'd rather not spend too much time focusing on the drive train to start with (aside from normal PM on brakes and gear oil, etc etc). I know it's a downhill run once you mod one thing but I'm doing it on a budget which can be spread out over time. so first step is getting the motor in and everything up to a point where it will move under it's own power so I can get it the heck out of the garage and road legal it. I'm sure a 4l60E will get swapped over at some point jus tbecause the 700R4 is an unknown factor (as far as how long it will hold up) so I think what I am going to do is just leave the plug for the harness and have it disabled in the ECU for the time being, and somewhere down the road I can have the function re-enabled and hook the harness. I'll probably just tied it up out of the way or maybe add an additional disconnect plug closer to the ECU down the road.

Right now I am not planning on lifting it but I also don't have the urge to move beyond 33 inch tires so even if I do find the springs to be sprung probably the most I will do is a 2 inch spring lift, front and rear. i'm looking at axle options, and I know right now its got 3.08's in it. With 33's I was thinking 3.73's would have it in the power band for daily driver duty but from what I'm reading on some other builds it seems like 4.10's might be a little more appropriate, and I think if that is the case I can later on swap a 14 bolt and D60 in with a locker in the rear and pretty much be right in the gearing sweat spot.

As I mentioned earlier the inside is a mess, and that includes...

Read more about this build here...

View attachment 230471
 
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rpcraft

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OK, while I have gotten this started I do have a question first up. As I was stripping stuff off the front this weekend to make room I was looking at a bracket that I just can't recall seeing on most builds so I was curious if it is needed. I put an annotation on the photo with a point to the bracket I am talking about. Hopefully someone can let me know if it is needed. I never remember it being on my 77 but that had a Dana 44 on the front and it was mostly stock so maybe I just never looked that closely at it.

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I'm using a set of these headers with recomendations from a few other locations that they have worked on the k5 and k10 LS swaps so I'm not averse to leaving it off. I'm not planning on doing heavy 4Wd activities in it but I'm smart enough to realize sometimes the unplanned events are what end up screwing up the day.

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Also, as some may notice I have one of the older Warn bumper winches that comes in multiple pieces and I'm thinking that the center piece looks really stout... Not so much the end pieces. I was thinking of just taking some 1/2 inch plate and welding a tube style/prerunner setup to the plate and cutting it so that it would bolt and attach to the Warn center piece. I'm no big fan of chrome so I was curious if anyone has ever found black door handles or at the very least maybe had them powder coated and how did that hold up if so done?

Thanks in advance for any offers for advice or info anyone can share.
 

ZooMad75

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Might want to peek into my build thread as I've got an identical combo in mine. 5.3/700r4. The pinion snubber got pulled on mine. With lifted springs, chances of the pinon getting close to it is much less.

Some tips I learned on mine. Since you have the truck torn down so far to the frame, wire wheel the frame and paint it. Clean everything for that matter and put a fresh coat of paint on it. You'll thank yourself later. It's worth putting in the effort at this point. For the 700r4 to work, you'll need to get a kit for the TV cable. Bowtie Overdrives is the only place I found that makes a direct bolt on for the cable throttle truck style intake. Mine was simple to install and works well.

Get polyurethane engine mounts and put them in your stock clamshells. You won't have to come back and do it again if you go with the crappy parts store chinese rubber ones. As far as adapter plates for the engine mounts on the block, there are MANY to choose from. I'd suggest going with ones that keep the engine in a stock location so that the trans/tcase doesn't move requiring adjusting lengths of both front and rear driveshafts.

You'll want to go up in gearing from the 3.08's for sure. 33's would work best with 3.73's to keep the 5.3 in the right rpm band when cruising. I'm running 35's with 4.10's and am running around 1600 rpm at 60 mph with the TCC not hooked up yet. A little bit steeper gear with the larger than stock tire will help keep the 700 from hunting between 3rd and 4th at highway speed.

I'm at the stage of my build where I'm driving it, dialing in the tuning. Power is so much better than my old 350 in my old K5. Driveability is night and day better.

Good luck on the build!
 

rpcraft

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Thanks for the info. I just drilled apart the clamshells last weekend and put in the energy suspension Red Poly innards. I was going to put them on the frame but I got in the garage and realized how rusty everything still looked and thought I better hold off and do a little more cleaning, and painting. I already got the Transdapt 4595 adapters which are supposed to slide the motor back one inch to put the back of the motor in the stock location. I literally just ordered the Poly trans mount and also have that TV adapter for from BTO on my parts to buy list.

I'm curious to know if you were able to reuse the support arm that goes between the transfer case and the transmission bell housing or not?
 

ZooMad75

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I'm curious to know if you were able to reuse the support arm that goes between the transfer case and the transmission bell housing or not?
I didn't end up using them for the mere fact they were long gone on mine, I haven't been looking too hard to find them.
 

rpcraft

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Anyone have advice for how to best loosen up the membrane on the footwell / floorboard area?

I got some of what was loose peeled up but then it started ripping apart and I nearly tore more than the membrane when it let go...

I was thinking of putting some Acetone on it tonight and letting it sit overnight (minus the extension chord sitting there)...

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rpcraft

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Is there a chance there are some soft top owners /conversions that have gone to a full time soft top that might be willing to part with their original hard top bolts and the matching aluminum trim panels?

Just noticed today mine are missing almost all the bolts (Glad I didn't find out the hard way while I was having it towed).
 

rpcraft

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Well, some updates.

I have been chipping away at little things because I have been having to travel through work 6 days a week so I just have not had adequate time to do much else. I had to remove some broken exhaust bolts out of the heads and I had luck with two of them and an Ez-out but the last one snapped so I ended up purchasing a Lincoln 135 Amp Ez-welder to facilitate that. Having done it afterwards I just wish I had gotten the welder and done it to begin with, lol. After getting the funds together to start collecting most of the parts and tools to do the motor swap, fuel system, complete wiring harness, and all the stuff to get it physically running I'm finally making some progress on the weekends but probably not too much until December when my travel finally comes to a close.

So far I have found out, never use Transdapt engine adapter plates because they are complete and utter garbage. I ended up going with Dirty Dingo mounts even though a few folks had concerns about build quality back in the day but they seem plenty beefy and if you compare them to the Transdapt garbage it's a difference of night and day. I have combined them with the Speed-Engineering headers and they worked great together. I had to do a little clearancing on some tabs for the headers but I talked to a few folks on the LS forums and they said no worries and to go ahead and do so.
My goal today was to mount up the transfer case and then stab the motor and transmission and bolt it up but I was at the car wash this morning cleaning up the transmission and transfer case and discovered a nice wad of JB weld on the tail shaft. Looks like the previous owner figured they could get by with that fix but I figure after what I am spending in parts and tools to do this swap the last thing I am going to do is put a cracked transmission housing into play so it looks like I won't be using the 700R4. It sucks but I was already on the fence about using it anyways. I'll just move on thte 4l60E and it makes it easier to just not have to worry about adapting the TV cable (which is sort of why i was waiting to buy any of those solutions to begin with). The ECU I have was set up for the 4l60E so it looks like I'll just have to figure out, once I get the transmission, if I need the older style or newer style adapter piece between the trans and transfer case. In the mean time I have a few photos of the motor sitting in it's home. Keep in mind I'm still test fitting so once I am happy everything's going to go in OK I'll tear the bigger parts off and brush/roll on some paint (yeah you read that right, lol).

Just going to go flat black on everything (except the heads and headers of course).

Motor stabbed...
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Passenger side header clearance
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Drivers side header clearance - it looks close but I have the motor slid all the way back against the firewall just checking for header clearance.
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Nasty cracks in the tail-housing area of the 700R4
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I think, knowing how most people usually try to pull these and don't realize how little the transfer case moves vs how heavy the transmission is. Probably pulled by someone used to working on 2 wheel drives as well. Looks like they pulled the motor and then didn't support the transmission well and it dropped and ended up flexing so much at the adapter piece that it cracked the ears off the transmission. What really cracks me up is they guy I got this truck from really planned on just tossing this transmission in and running it....

I gotta couple more weeks that I'll be traveling with work so I'll probably order a replacement 4l60E so it comes in just as I am back to "working" from home. If all goes well that will be around the second week of December so maybe in my spare time I will go ahead and have the bulk of the accessories and wiring back on the motor along with finish stripping the wiring, carpet, and interior crud out of the cab and finish cleaning and repairing the rusty holes, and then that will allow me to drop the tank and start running my fuel lines!!!!

I am pretty sure the Transfer case needs to be rebuilt as well but I think I am just going to pick up the rebuild kit and do it myself unless I can find someone who does them for a fair price. I don't mind learning to do it myself and I'm fairly sure I can take it on with little fan fare... Probably just a few tools I'll need to pick up (yay more tools!!!!).
 

rpcraft

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OK, little update:::

Replacement trans has arrived, sadly so has colder weather. Gotta find me one of those little jet heaters for the garage now.

Took a little detective work to figure out what the best option would be but I decided to go with a 1998 Model 4l60E from a Z71 truck. Allows for the 2000 LS ECU to plug right in control it fine with the 4 bolt rear housing that will bolt directly to the T case adapter for my NP208. I'll still need the inline adapter for the speedometer cable and speed sensor to the ECU but that's easy to live with.

Now I just gotta get it all lined up and figure out how I am gonna go about getting it in. I still need to pop off the flex plate and grind out the mounting holes for the flex plate but I think I am going to do that, then once I am sure it fits well mount the motor and the trans together and slide it in, then use a ratche strap to support the transmission on the frame rails while I use a jack to lift in the transfer case (already mounted to the cross member.

I am going to be doing it mostly from the floor (aside from using the engine hoist to stab the motor/trans combo) and I may be able to wrangle a friend in to help me steady stuff but my main concern is just not breaking any of the hardware (or crushing my skull I guess also)


Anyone with advice on how to do it best, please feel free to offer me advice!!!

Photo of it while soaking with the Castrol Super clean on it

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brans87

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yeah being the little guy 6' tall and 160 lbs it helped alot when i did motor and transmission swap in my buddy's K1500.
 
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rpcraft

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I think I would if I was going to do further projects in the future but I think what I will probably do is spend that 100 bucks on some jack stands and then just slide under the truck with it on my chest with me on a creeper and my floor jack. We'll see though. I'm not as strong as I was the first time I did it on my 77 so many years ago.
 

skunked

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You can rig up a platform with a strap and use your floor jack.
 

rpcraft

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Well, had a little setback for a while, mostly just time and work related. Had to pop the flex plate off to get it setup for the old school torque converter holes and finally got the time to get it back on. I have a motorcycle project taking up the rest of my free time right now because I have a ride coming up at the end of June but fortunately it's about complete. 'm not in a huge rush right now because I am also on a holding pattern on getting back my PCM and wiring harness for the engine. Once I get my motorcycle back off the bike stand I'm going to switch back over to the War Pig and do a better job of degreasing and cleaning the engine, transmission, and transfer case, and hit it with some of the duplicolor engine silver/aluminum finish, then once its all dried hide them in the side garage and break out the wire brush attachment on the death wheel and get some paint on the firewalls and front frame rails but I think I am going to do them in flat black just because I'm not a fan of shiny engine bays. I'm not making a show truck but I figure with the drive train light colored it will help in case I have to identify any leaking points just in case.
 

robster495

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Hey man I just did basically the same thing, have you done your wiring harness or is it getting worked by someone? And are you going 4l60e? I just got out of a huge nightmare trying to reuse my 700 (sheeez). If you have questions I've subscribed. I just did the same swap on my 90 burb and its officially done.
 

rpcraft

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I have my harness and ECU sent in to Kenny Cash. I got in contact with him through the LS swapped squares facebook page. Pricing was pretty affordable for the harness conversion and ECU reprog. Was around 400 for both, and I could have done the harness but I have plenty other projects on my plate lately so tackling a wire harness is something I just lack the time and desire to do (especially considering I am already going to be doing the chassis harness as well). He also provides the ECU with a base tune and I can data-log to have him dial it in further with email updates. Once I get it running and then running well with some exhaust and all the basic trouble shooting done I'll probably make a trip to the dyno just to get it dialed in perfectly. I think he's going to have the harness finished in about 2 or 3 weeks so in that time I have a motorcycle trip going to Canada and then when I get back I am hoping to have that back so I can put everything in the truck and clear off some shelf space. In the mean time, I'm swapping in the 4l60e out of a 1997 z71 chevy 1/2 ton truck. According to Kenny it matches well with the 2000 LM7 and the matching ECU and the harness mated up well so no real need to do anything but the necessary ECU tuning bits. The only catch is the trans is reported to have about 120K miles on it

I started out with a 700r4 that was supposed to be out of my Jimmy and it probably was but it looks like the PO was a bit heavy handed with taking it out or something because the tail section had a big nasty crack that was hidden by jb weld and mud. They had also tried to mount it all to a 2wd crossmember with the wrong trans mount so who knows if that is what caused the crack or not.... Needless to say there was to much questionable stuff going on and I should have just gotten the trans with my motor because it would have been a much newer unit with lower miles and the cost at the time probably would have been negligable. Needless to say I have most all the parts to get it done except a front drive shaft (which is not needed right now) and maybe some other trivial stuff (exhaust and SBC gauge swap stuff, which I am waiting on until after I get the harness back anyways.

Right now I just need to get a trans jack so I can lift the transmission in place, bolt it on, and then mount the transfer case and cross member. I am probably going to get that done next weekend or maybe this Sunday if I get my butt in gear but I have just been lazy about it while waiting on the harness.
 

robster495

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Nice update. Man do I wish I had a trans jack. I've only ever done my trans work with ratchet straps, no fancy lifts or anything at my garage lol. Good to hear you're doing 60e, much better option. I'll go back to my amazon order and show you the parts I used to keep my current gages.

One thing I will say is about the ECT sender. The 5.3 one needs to be in one head (so your ecm knows what's up), and your original gage one can fortunately go in the other head mirrored (with a conversion part that I'll link you). Works like a charm. The other conversion piece I needed was for the oil pressure gage.

Make sure you have the correct injectors, and that the tstat matches what the ecm thinks it is, or you'll run rich (happened to me until I hit my dyno session). In the mean time if you have questions, ask! I'll go digging into my amazon orders and find you the conversion pieces I used.


EDIT: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015NFR82Y/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015NG418C/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Another question, did you get a new fuel pump?
 
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