For those who fancy the notion of shoehorning a modern LT engine into a classic GM platform or some other machine, sourcing the bevy of conversion components required for the swap itself can be both time-consuming and expensive. Looking to lend a helping hand, the team over at Holley has taken the time and put in the research to offer LT engine swap enthusiasts a straightforward swap solution.
Appropriately named LT Gen-V Swap Systems, the minds behind some of the most incredible aftermarket automotive inventions in history have crafted up a series of accouterments to suit every LT motor. And they’ve gone on to make them compatible with an impressive array of automobiles.
Everything from 1967-’69 F-body Camaros and Firebirds, X-bodies, C10s, Blazers and Jimmys, C1500 and K1500 pickups, and even Wranglers are covered by Holley’s Gen-V LT Swap Systems.
Here are the ten key steps that the brand recommends following to get that LT swap successfully underway, along with the products that will help make it all possible.
Step 1: Engine & Transmission Mounts
Before starting the swap process, one must first source the appropriate motor and transmission mounts to make that modern V8 sit just right. Again, Holley has made it easy for us by piecing together entire LT swap mount kits covering everything from engine mounting brackets and polyurethane mounts to transmission cross members.
Using CAD modeling/FEA analysis Holley’s LT swap mounts feature levels of fitment, strength, weight, safety, and appearance that are tough to beat. In addition, each part features welded steel construction and supports the optimum engine, transmission, and drivetrain U-joint angles, making fitment issues a thing of the past.
Step 2: Oil Pans
Even if your LT swap goes in without a hitch, there’s a good chance that the factory oil pan will sit entirely too low or come into contact with another component on the vehicle. To alleviate these concerns, Holley has developed a low-profile oil pan that gives the LT engine greater undercarriage clearance, but with OE fitment and durability still in mind.
Holley’s LT swap oil pans also allow additional clearance for vehicles rocking a steering linkage that rests behind the engine cross-member. In addition, the oil pan’s solid machined aluminum structure sports a 1/2-inch NPT port for easy turbo oil return adaptation or PCV oil return installation.
Holley’s LT oil pan has clearance for a 4.00-inch crankshaft stroke and GM F-Body oil pan compatibility. This product’s OE-style features offer oil filter mounting, oil cooler port provisions, engine NVH suppression, flange gaskets, and bell-housing attachments for easy installation and peace of mind. In addition, each kit comes complete with a windage tray, sump baffle, OE-style pick-up tube, sump port plug, oil filter stud, billet oil passage cover, and more. Hinge-door oil baffles are also available as a separate upgrade.
Step 3: Headers & Exhaust Manifolds
Step 4: Exhaust Systems
Being that your header has to feed fumes somewhere, Holley has made its Hooker-offshoot’s entire line of BlackHeart exhaust components a cornerstone of the whole LT Swap System lineup. Formed from 18-gauge 409 stainless steel and loaded with smooth mandrel bends, 3-inch H-pipe crossover configurations, and dual rear exhaust ports, it’s no wonder that Hooker is considered one of the best exhaust manufacturers on the market.
Adding further fuel to the fire is the level of compatibility that comes with a Holley/Hooker LT Swap System exhaust. Any rear-mounted fuel tank, wide rear wheel and tire layout, and aftermarket Panhard/track bar is fair game. Each exhaust comes complete with all of the necessary hardware you need for the installation and comes backed by Holley’s limited lifetime warranty.
Step 5: Fuel Tanks
There’s no way of getting around it. Throwing an LT engine into a retro ride means upgrading your vehicle’s EFI system. However, before the tuning side of the situation can even be addressed, a fuel tank must first be selected. Enter Holley Sniper’s EFI Conversion Fuel Tanks, complete with 400 liter-per-hour (LPH) fuel pumps, internal baffling, fuel level senders, filler necks, and a powder-coated finish for unrivaled protection and appeal.
A couple of special notes on this part of the LT swap is that every fuel sender unit on one of these tanks supports 0-90 ohm fuel gauges and comes recessed in-tank alongside the fuel pump for easy installation. Finished with EFI-style baffling and a massive 4.3-liter internal fuel tray, the risk of fuel pump starvation is officially a thing of the past with this conversion.
Step 6: Radiator
Fuel isn’t the only fluid you will need to address in an LT swapped machine, with radiators resting at the top of the “must swap” stack. Holley’s “Frostbite” aluminum radiators cool better than OEM, weigh less, come with TIG welded seams, and rock a dual-pass design for cross-flow cooling.
These radiators strike an impressive balance between performance and value, featuring triple-core genetics, a staggering amount of cooling-fins-per-inch for hardcore cooling, and a Frostbite high-performance 16-psi radiator cap. Just note that mounting brackets and other necessary fixings to get these radiators situated are sold separately.
Step 7: Suspension
Coilovers aren’t always a necessary option — or even feasible — for a restomod build. This is why Holley has rolled out its LT swap suspension systems for popular platforms like lowered C10 trucks, which have been designed to work with one-piece driveshafts, and come constructed from 1/4-inch steel with a powder-coated finish for increased longevity and looks. In addition, each of these suspension kits comes with all of the necessary hardware for affixing components to the stock mounting points, thus eliminating the need for cutting and welding.
We have made a huge push to provide people with parts needed to LT-swap their vehicles. The goal is to make an LT swap as painless as an LS swap and have complete packages that work together rather than people needing to mix and match components or fabricate them from scratch. – Evan Perkins
This not only removes the risk of driveshaft clearance issues while retaining the appropriate pinion angle, but it also allows dual exhaust systems to pass through the cross member’s structure instead of underneath. So naturally, there are a slew of other LT swap suspension options available for various vehicles, all boasting multiple package options for different needs, so don’t hesitate to contact Holley’s help hotline if you have any questions or concerns.
Step 8: Accessory Drive
One of the things that all LT swaps require is a revised accessory drive system. This is especially true in older vehicles, where power steering may not have been an option back in the day. Available in mid-mount, high-mount, and low-mount configurations, Holley’s LT accessory drive systems are a must if you plan to relocate your alternator, delete A/C, or freshen up your V8’s pulley setup. Each kit is available in a natural aluminum, black, or polished finish for that added pizzazz.
Step 9: Terminator X and X Max Tuning
Holley’s Terminator X and X Max are the latest and greatest standalone plug-and-play EFI control systems to grace the brand’s portfolio. Engineered to give both rookie and veteran fans of the GM Gen-V LT engine the engine control they crave, this ECU tuning solution offers an insane value.
Support focuses on direct injection and VVT augmentation and offers Terminator X Max buyers drive-by-wire control, integrated 1-bar MAP sensors, vacuum hose adapters, and total GM 4L60/4L80 automatic transmission control. These standalone kits even include four inputs and outputs for things like additional pressure sensors, electric fan fine-tuning, boost control solenoids, and progressive nitrous control, to name but a few.
Step 10: Universal Parts and Finishing Touches
A series of finishing touches and bolt-ons must also be carefully selected to make an LT swap look and perform at its best. Again, Holley makes it easy by including universal parts like plumbing pieces and air intake systems transmission accouterments, and a bevy of basics to create an LT swap look and perform at its best, which people tend to forget as add-on options toward the bottom of each LT order.
Just one more way that Holley has you covered every step of the way, as its LT Swap Systems relieve headaches, eliminate guesswork, and add both performance perks and aesthetic appeal to your modern GM V8-powered build.