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Ls Swap Single Turbo Build

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  • Ls Swap Single Turbo Build

    This is my build thread from 2013 and continues today. My truck has run 5.8s in the 1/8 with room to grow. I am sharing my build thread on this forum to help people out who want to LS swap their trucks. For now I am just doing the text and will upload photos (I have a million) once I learn how to do it on this forum.


    I have been on the forum for a long time and have owned a fairly stock sy for a while. I have been fairly involved in the LS scene for a long time, and was presented with an opportunity to purchase a syclone with an ls swap this summer. Its a 47k mile body, but the work done was pretty bad. I was planning on doing a single turbo setup when I purchased it, but didn't realize just how bad the origional conversion was done so it will take more work than previously expected. Plans are for a 4L80E (being built now), iron LS motor (370-402 cubes), and a single 94 mm GT5594 turbo from Forced Inductions.

    I have started fabbing stainless headers for the first time from sch10 stainless weld els. I have completed the drivers side and working on the pass side currently. I started with a Miller Econotig and picked up a Dynasty 200dx (world of difference, fyi). I am fortunate to have friends who have given me advice along the way, and figured that since I have searched the net before looking for advice on projects, it's not a bad idea to share what I have learned so far. I own a couple LS based cars, and this project isn't on a "rush" status, so I will update when I can regarding new progress on the build.

    To start, here is my drivers side header not quite 100% finished but I will grab pics next time I am in the shop of the finished product:
    Last edited by FastBlackTA; 08-06-2017, 08:24 PM.

  • #2
    As for the truck when I purchased it:

    The only real good points about the swap are the turbotime oil pan and I can use all the ls brackets that were on the engine for the accessories. The truck had no A/C and won't for this build either as a 94mm deal is just huge and getting everything to fit is a hassle in itself. Possibly tackle a/c later on..

    It had a stock reman syclone trans in it.


    • #3
      the 4L80E I am doing is being upgraded with parts from Jakes Performance including trans brake by a friend.


      • #4
        Fitting a 5 in downpipe:

        No issues with firewall. However, the turbo isn't a small one so it is very close to pass headlight and I have yet to determine what I will do for a inner fenderwell if I even have one. I purchased engine mounts from RPM and for mock up so far so good. I did purchase a crossmember for a 4L80E trans from them that is going to require modification although I need to point out that this is in no means their fault as the tolerences in these trucks plus the differences in swaps make it difficult to make a "universal" crossmember.

        I am keeping it AWD and hope that the TC will live through the abuse but no idea how much it can take.

        I am by no means a welder by trade but have friends that have given advice and I have spent a decent amount of time practicing. Here is my merge to the turbo:

        Uploaded with

        If you have any questions feel free to ask.


        • #5
          Front end and When I thought about running methanol injection (in the end decided on air to water)

          Purchased sportmachines front A Arms and coil over. Hope to have cab on by this weekend. Used POR 15 after stripping the frame from surface rust and such. I am fortunate to have a great painter and friends to help on this stuff. Once it is donw, it will be back at my shop so I can finish the tubo hotside and start on an intercooler. Going to run air to air with methanol injection.


          • #6
            Cam from Brian Tooley Racing:

            My good friend Brian Tooley is designing a camshaft to help me with the lag it will have on the street.

            I have a transbrake setup for the track to spool it up.


            • #7
              I was asked if I back purged the welds:

              Most of the thin walled parts of the system system is back purged. The headers are sch10 stainless so it's not "as" critical although I did start doing it.

              The turbo will be supported by one or two braces that will come off the engine block.Note - this still isn't done - running sch10 stainless so my headers are very durable.


              • #8
                When I found out the 5in downpipe didn't fit:

                Also - I had to cut the sh!t out of the firewall to get that 5 inch downpipe to fit. You really don't realize just how little room there is until you start trying to fit everything up. I'm going to have to build the firewall and floor section I cut out to clear the downpipe which when looking inside the truck protrudes in where the passengers feet would sit. I'm lucky to have a friend that is good at forming sheet metal I'm probably going to ask for his assistance in that haha. Of course get some heat shield from a place like vibrant as well.


                • #9
                  I actually thought about ditching the AWD setup because I was concerned it wouldn't live. So far, its OK. I am running a syclone transfer case. Here is what I posted a few years back when I was concerned about the transfer case living:

                  The shame of it is I have thought about ditching the AWD setup because I am concerned about the transfer case and front diff. My brother squashed that idea yesterday - AWD is what made the syclones so cool.

                  I just hope that the front diff/transfer case are up to the task. I am thinking about doing the powertrax locker deal up front if I can find one.


                  • #10
                    Information on my intercooler from 417 motorsports. I am seeing about 10 degrees above ambient in the 1/8. I run c16. From a few years back:

                    This is the intake setup I will be running. After spending hours on end figuring out where to put an intercooler, I decided to go with this route. It is near impossible to fit a radiator, fan, and 6 inch thick intercooler up front. I was going to move the radiator to the bed, but I really don't like that idea.

                    The intercooler goes in between the intake runners and the intake top on a holley hi ram for the LS motors. It is made by 417 motorsports and my good friend Brian Tooley from BTR Racing is getting me one.

                    Looked into mounting an air to water in the engine bay, and this is the cleanest setup I can find. The issue is it will require a minimum of a 4 inch cowl hood, and even then some of the intercooler piping running to the intake will protrude a little through the hood.

                    Packaging on these trucks is very tough! I didn't want intercooler piping running through the cab to a rear mounted intercooler, nor do I really have the space to mount a pt2000 intercooler under the hood.


                    • #11
                      The intake is tall with the high ram:
                      the front of the intake is really high due to the angle of the motor. The cold side pipe, TB, and front of intake will be exposed through the hood. Probably will do a 2 or 4 inch cowl.

                      Spec'd out a 12 bolt rear with Moser. That's about it.....probably going with a 35 spline unit which may or may not be overkill with a wavetrack diff. (I ended up going with a spool in the rear. It is just fine on the street.)


                      • #12
                        For the street I really like the corvette gs look..... But for races a stock Syclone wheel w slicks all around or radials up front may be in order. May widen the stock sy wheels for that

                        (I ended up running the c4 GS wheels with Hoosiers. Hoosier was a phenomenal source for help via their tech support). Yes, we run 1.39 60 ft on 17 inch repro c4 wheels off ebay

                        From 6/8/14: Doesn't look like it but got a lot done this week. Really trying to make good use of my time on this truck as I have been very busy at work. It's heading to a friends shop this week to have the firewall patched up and a couple of odds and ends taken care of. I hope to be working on the downpipe back exhaust later this week sometime...

                        (I ended up making the downpipe but as some of you know now, my downpipe runs out of the hood for tire clearence).

                        From 6/14/2014: Good news! Firewall is fixed from where I had to notch it. My buddy did some awesome work on it.

                        I Hope to get close to finishing exhaust this weekend. Will either dump before rear end or go all the way out the back. 5 inches all the way back.

                        (Once again, the notch ended up being unnecessary. I just ran it out of the hood)


                        • #13

                          Went by the machine shop late Friday and it looks like my engine is almost done. Iron block 402, callies crank, oliver rods, weisco pistons (spec by Brian Tooley), Trick Flow 245 heads, Morel lifters.....

                          Waiting on the oil pan from Moroso. My engine builder (who is a very good friend) is very meticulous and didn't like the Turbo Time pan that came with the truck. He asked me if I wanted a custom pan to which I replied "let me think about it." I called him the next day and said "go ahead" and his response was "good because I ordered it two weeks ago!" haha!

                          If anybody is looking for a turbo time ls swap pan and ls swap engine mounts shoot me a PM.

                          Going to the beach for a week so won't have anything to update for a bit.


                          • #14
                            7/27/14: 4L80 fitment

                            the firewall was already massaged by the previous owner....truck had an ls1 in it when I bought it (but have since torn it apart I think I drove it 5 minutes with the previous setup haha)

                            still waiting on my motor and trans to arrive. should be next week. have gotten a good amount of things done and I am ready for the motor/trans now.


                            • #15

                              It's been a little frustrating over the past few weeks waiting on an oil pan from Moroso. It is now two weeks late and won't ship until Thursday.

                              This weekend I hope to finish wrapping all the turbo hot side and start on the crossmember for the driveshaft loop.

                              If ANYBODY out there has a lead on a correct length 12 bolt for a syclone I would greatly appreciate it. Going to order a brand new one from Moser otherwise with the wave track.

                              (moroso pan was worth the wait. trust me. once again, I went with a spool in the rear and love it.)