What Does LS Swap Mean?

What Does LS Swap Mean

An engine swap means exactly what it says on the tin – you swap an old engine out for a new one.

This can be done to replace an engine that has previously failed, or to upgrade an engine with a better one. 

One of the most popular engine swaps is called an LS swap, and this uses a GM-made engine.

There is plenty of room for customization when doing this, so it’s a great option for people looking to customize their cars! 

Let’s look more into LS swaps so that you’re prepared for when you try it yourself. 

LS Swap Customizations

You can use any engine made with GM for an LS swap. These will all vary in cost and features, but the most affordable options will usually be priced somewhere around $500.

These engines will offer you a great power boost compared to the price! 

If you’re looking for something more expensive, LS1, LS3, and LS7 engines are all made for Corvettes.

This means that they’re all small, lightweight, and durable. Not only this, but they also offer better power, so they’re a better investment in the long run. 

LS swaps are better for your car since they save on fuel mileage and leave you with better drive-ability.

It’s always advisable to change out your engine every so often anyway to keep your car reliable, so LS swaps are more common than you might think. 

Mounting Your Motor

When completing an LS swap, you might need to use an adapter plate to help the transition to LS engine.

These adapters come in the form of plates and can be bolted onto the LS engine, securing the engine to the crossmember. 

You can get the adapters to be adjustable so that you have free rein over where you want to mount it. These will attach to where the transmission links to the engine. 

Most cars will need the LS engine to be brought forward to prevent any firewall clearance issues.

To be safe, it’s always best to measure these adjustments beforehand. We like to measure a few times to make sure that our measurements are accurate. 

What About Your Transmission?

There are plenty of options for you to choose from when it comes to the transmission of your LS engine swap. Any transmission that will work with a GM engine is the one for you! 

These include GM TH350, TH400, and 700R automatic transmissions. These will need a flexplate adapter to fit, but they’re still popular when you’re trying to stick under a budget. 

Alternatively, the GM 4L60E is another good option, and many praise it on its great performance as well as its impressive price point. 

You could also opt for a manual transmission if you’d prefer, with the T56 and TR6060 being some of the most impressive ones on the market.

These two options can also bolt easily to the LS engine, making installation simple and quick. 

Other manual transmission options often come with additional adaptations to be able to use them safely, so they can be more effort than they’re worth. 

Wiring Your LS Swap

Wiring Your LS Swap

With any LS swap, you’ll need to do some wiring. There are three options here – standalone harnesses, custom harnesses, or rewiring the original harness that came with the engine. 

The choice is yours – it all depends on your skillset and how confident you are with wiring. 

Rewiring the harness that came with the engine is the one that most people decide upon, and this is because it’s the cheapest.

You can get a professional to do it, so you don’t need any experience. 

Plus, you paid for the engine so why not use all of its parts? 

The writing process might seem simple to begin with, but you really don’t want to do it incorrectly.

For this reason, we always recommend using a professional unless you’re entirely confident with your skills. 

Listen To Your Gauges!

Gauges tell you everything you need to know about your car, so always listen to what they’re trying to tell you. 

You can install a mechanical gauge directly into the LS engine block thanks to adapter fittings. Here you can also use a factory speedometer, if you want to. 

Alternatively, you can wire an electronic gauge directly into the LS wiring harness. Simple! 

Fuel Systems

The most common fuel system in an LS swap is to use a C5 Corvette fuel pressure regulator and an electric pump.

Make sure that this has the right amount of flow for your car before installing it! 

Bear in mind that you’ll need a fuel injection-rated fuel line before installing this.

Otherwise, you might find that your system is failing due to a lack of consistent pressure. 

While not necessary, an intake pump with correct baffling is also recommended so that you don’t find your engine suffering from fuel starvation when you reach a low gas level. 

Exhaust System 

Again, when completing an LS swap, there are plenty of exhaust systems to choose from.

However, all of these will require a factory pipe lengthening or shortening depending on the current exhaust system on your vehicle. 

If you want to benefit from higher horsepower, use headers (see also ‘What Are Headers On A Car?‘) rather than a factory LS manifold.

You’ll see an improvement in your horsepower here as well as benefiting from the manifolds’ low-end torque and a quieter engine.


To answer your original question, an LS swap is simply swapping your current engine for a GM one.

This can be done to modify your vehicle, or simply replace the engine when it has failed or has become old. 

LS engine swaps affect plenty of systems on your vehicle, such as the transmission, exhaust system, gauges, and more. 

If you’re thinking of completing an LS swap but don’t know where to start, always talk to a professional beforehand.

They will be able to assist you with your mission, as well as knowing the correct practices to keep you and your vehicle safe.

Dave Oliver

Dave Oliver is a seasoned car modification expert with over twenty years of experience in the field. His knowledge spans from restoring vintage models to implementing the latest customization technologies. He brings his passion and expertise to life through informative and engaging articles.

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