Throwback Thursday: LS Intake Manifold Spotter’s Guide

The week is almost over, and once again, Thursday has landed on our doorsteps. I don’t know about you, but my weekend garage plans are already made. If your wrenching plans include a trip to the salvage yard to score a “new” LS intake for your engine swap, we can help with that. No, we are not going to scour the yards for you, but we can help make sure you choose the right engine toppings. Once again, we celebrate another editorial look-back, and jump into the way back machine to open the Power Automedia vault that houses our vast collection of articles and revisit another great informational piece.

LS intake

Millions of LS engines were shipped from GM and are now favorites among those upgrading engines in early-model cars and trucks.

In this Throwback Thursday, we’re taking a small jump back to February 2015. That’s when we put together; Spotter’s Guide to Identifying Factory LS Intake Manifolds. Since there are roughly 40 GM part numbers covering the list of intake manifolds for more than 25 variations of the Gen-III and Gen-IV LS engine family, identifying a swap-meet intake or planning a manifold swap can get a little confusing. This handy spotter’s guide to LS intake manifolds should help.

With millions of LS engines installed in production GM vehicles over 16 years, there are plenty available for swaps into older cars and trucks. Sometimes a salvage yard engine will be missing an intake, or perhaps the goal is to build a LS engine from scratch. Again, the original article will help identify intakes at swap meets, junkyards or even checking out listings online.

For instance, there are vast differences between Gen-III and Gen-IV engines. The earlier engines had cathedral-port cylinder heads, while the latter-generation sported rectangular-port heads. The LS7 is the lone wolf in the entire lineup, with a wider bolt pattern and larger intake ports, so there’s no interchangeability. Also, this guide does not cover the supercharged LSA and LS9 intakes, since they’re an integrated part of the supercharger assembly.

LS intake

The shape of the intake’s floor distinguishes the LS1 (left) and LS7 intakes. The LS7 has a flat floor, while the LS1 has a cavity running the full length. Also note the difference in ribbing between the ports. The LS1 has large “X” ribs while there are square ribs on the LS7.

Not only does the original article take a deep dive into various LS intakes, but the throttle bodies are covered as well. Did you know that most Gen-III engines – except for the Corvette and select trucks – had manually operated, cable-controlled throttle bodies, while the Gen-IV engines had throttle-by-wire, which simplified functions like traction control and cruise control? When contemplating a swap, things like that need to be considered.

There is a lot more information in the original article, and the in-depth discussion is a wealth of knowledge. If you’re looking for some insightful suggestions about swap meet shopping for your next LS intake, check out: Spotter’s Guide to Identifying Factory LS Intake ManifoldsYou’ll be glad that you did.

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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