1978 F150 5.3 LM7 Swap - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums



1978 F150 5.3 LM7 Swap

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Old 07-27-2013, 03:28 PM
Rossta86 Rossta86 is offline
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1978 F150 5.3 LM7 Swap

I am replacing this

with this


The truck had a 351M that had low oil pressure and only had 30 psi of compression in cylinder 1. The new engine is GM 5.3L LM7 out of a 2000 Chevy Silverado.

Got the engine pulled out



I had to have a look at the cylinders of the 5.3. Scraped some carbon buildup off of the pistons and cylinder heads. EGR really makes a mess. I could still see cross hatching in all the cylinders.





I made an oil pressure sensor adpater. First I gutted the Factory GM sensor as it is not read by the ECU, just a dummy light or gauge. Next i tig welded a 1/4 NPT bushing to it. Still learning on the tig......



For the coolant temperature sensor I drilled and tapped a spare port on the passenger side head to 3/8 NPT for the factory ford sensor.



Clutch and bellhousing setup to attach to my NP435.


First you have to turn down the front bearing retainer to slip fit the bellhousing


Next you have to slot the upper holes of the NP435. Then drill a hole in the bellhousing to meet the lower passenger side NP435 bolt hole. Finally you drill a hole in the undrilled lower driverside ear of the NP435 to meet the GM bellhousing hole.


Where I am at currently is making a bushing so I can use the stock ford pilot bearing. Just needs to measure and cut to the right length.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:47 PM
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Ziegelsteinfaust Ziegelsteinfaust is offline
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That is quite a swap.

How does the Chevy oil pan fit into the 4x4 chassis?
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:53 PM
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2006lariat 2006lariat is offline
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Cool Bean's! Why (Nothing against what you are doing, as I think it is neat.) not rebuild or replace the original engine, with one that would just bolt in?
I just want to know....
Are you Carbing it, or running a separate ECU for the injection?
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:32 AM
Rossta86 Rossta86 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziegelsteinfaust View Post
That is quite a swap.

How does the Chevy oil pan fit into the 4x4 chassis?
I haven't test fit the engine yet, but I hope too soon. The transmission and transfer case will stay in their OEM locations so I don't have to make new driveshafts. Based on the size of this engine compared to the 351m I don't anticipate any issues with fitment. That said if I have to notch the cross member so be it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2006lariat View Post
Cool Bean's! Why (Nothing against what you are doing, as I think it is neat.) not rebuild or replace the original engine, with one that would just bolt in?
I just want to know....
Are you Carbing it, or running a separate ECU for the injection?
Thanks! I wanted a more modern engine with fuel injection. To rebuild the 351m to the performance level of the 5.3 and fuel inject it, I would be well over what I'll have in this swap. Its hard to compare ~40 year old technology to ~10 year old technology in terms of performance and efficiency. The engine will retain its fuel injection and OEM ECU, carburetors have their place, my engine is not one of those places.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:06 PM
ford_pickup ford_pickup is offline
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very interesting, cool idea, definitely subscribed
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:16 PM
Rossta86 Rossta86 is offline
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Finished the pilot bearing.



I'm using a truck SBC clutch fork with the Ford 351m throw out bearing.


Test fit the engine, transmission and transfer case as one. Bolted the transmission and transfer case in and then began my engine mounts. First I cut the perches off of the frame mounts and made flat plates to weld on.


Driver side mount.




Passenger side mount.




Mounts back in the truck and supporting the engine.




No problems with oil pan clearance.



I still need to pull the mounts to clean them up and paint them.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:35 AM
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Look's Good! Keep the Pic's coming!
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:50 AM
4.9L 4.9L is offline
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What a bad *** build, LS motors are monsters, I'm swapping a 6.0 into my Impala
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:47 PM
Rossta86 Rossta86 is offline
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I've made some slow progress on the truck. Mainly just installing parts that were removed to get the engine in, wiring, and plumbing the fuel system. Wiring still needs be cleaned up and stuff like the PCM still needs mounted.



I quickly modded the fuel pickup and sending unit for a return line just to try to start it. I figure that I may need to build a fuel tank or at the very least sump this one? Anyone have any experience with fuel injection and an OEM tank from an originally carbed vehicle with the stock fuel pickup? Any issues with fuel starvation?



The truck started first try once the fuel system was primed. Unfortunately it only runs for a second until it shuts off because the PCM still has VATS enabled. It does make oil pressure during its short operation and i can't hear any odd noises over the open exhaust manifolds.

I've been waiting to send the PCM off until I figured out my VSS and the number of pulses per mile to program in. I was initially going to go with a Dakota Digital sensor, but from what I can tell they do not offer a pass through sensor that will work with my style of ford speedometer cable. I really want to keep my mechanical speedometer. I believe I have a solution. My NP205 transfer case has an access plate on the passenger side.



The gear on the far left is used for low range only, but it is always spinning regardless of 2wd, 4hi, 4lo. I've found that it will give me 18 pulse per drive shaft revolution. I bought a stock GM VR sensor that I plan to install in the cover or if necessary make a new cover (thicker) that i can better machine to fit the sensor. Does anyone foresee any issues with this?
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Old 12-09-2013, 04:08 PM
goodwrench1 goodwrench1 is offline
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I recently bought a 1979 F100 4x4 with a clapped out 460. I have been considering putting exactly that 5.3 LM7 in place of the 460. I think I could freshen up the 460 a lot easier and cheaper because I have built 460s before. I have researched the LS engines for retrofit in muscle cars for a long while and I think the 5.3 is the best option for affordability and fuel economy. If you don't mind telling how much did the engine with wiring and computer or what ever was included ( please advise what was included ) cost you? I have priced having claimed low milage LM7s in the $800 range but different sources include different levels of bolt ons like alternators and ac pumps. I have an automatic not a straight drive like you so one key question I was wondering that you thread does not address is engine to bell-housing and flex plate / converter adapting. What kind of bell housing was that the went LS to your manual? Looked like a Lakewood scattersheild. I'll bet the LS engine weighs 300 pounds less than the 351M. I'm not sure about torque comparison between the LM& and a 351/400 or a 466 like I have. Keep me posted. I'm very serious about doing this so we could share info.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:23 PM
goodwrench1 goodwrench1 is offline
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One more thing I should mention with regard to you question on the return line for the gas tank. I don't know enough to answer for certain but I can tell you for sure on the nastyz28 forum under hi tech retro fits section there in no facet of installation of LS engines in formerly carbureted vehicles that has not been addressed in detail. I think these engines ( except for the fact they are not blue oval ) are one of the best swap options for our 73 - 79 series trucks. I thing these truck are the best ever built and with a 5.3 series LM7 engine in peticular I can assure you DOUBLE the gas milage and probably horse power for a sway from stock 351/400 to a 327 LM7. I just don't know how much the probably lower torque output from the smaller engine will hurt a 4x4. I'm sure the lighter weight of the LS will help in off road performance like when the front end takes a dive in a mud hole or going airborn over a jump off road! Heck yea 18 mpg all day long with a 5.3. For some reason the 6 liter suffers much worse gas milage considering the modest displacement advantage. A 8.1 liter (496 ) vortec would be a stomp *** engine in one of these too but they suck gas like a Ford 46o so whats the point?
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Old 12-10-2013, 02:07 AM
Rossta86 Rossta86 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodwrench1 View Post
I recently bought a 1979 F100 4x4 with a clapped out 460. I have been considering putting exactly that 5.3 LM7 in place of the 460. I think I could freshen up the 460 a lot easier and cheaper because I have built 460s before. I have researched the LS engines for retrofit in muscle cars for a long while and I think the 5.3 is the best option for affordability and fuel economy. If you don't mind telling how much did the engine with wiring and computer or what ever was included ( please advise what was included ) cost you? I have priced having claimed low milage LM7s in the $800 range but different sources include different levels of bolt ons like alternators and ac pumps. I have an automatic not a straight drive like you so one key question I was wondering that you thread does not address is engine to bell-housing and flex plate / converter adapting. What kind of bell housing was that the went LS to your manual? Looked like a Lakewood scattersheild. I'll bet the LS engine weighs 300 pounds less than the 351M. I'm not sure about torque comparison between the LM& and a 351/400 or a 466 like I have. Keep me posted. I'm very serious about doing this so we could share info.
I picked mine up for $600 with all accessories, partially cut wiring harness, PCM, and MAF. I had to find exhaust manifolds, air intake plumbing, fuse box among many other items. The bellhousing is a scattershield, but it is a generic SBC bellhousing and a factory one would work fine. With an automatic transmission i would recommend using the transmission and transfercase from the donor truck. Most automatic transmissions have integral bellhousings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goodwrench1 View Post
One more thing I should mention with regard to you question on the return line for the gas tank. I don't know enough to answer for certain but I can tell you for sure on the nastyz28 forum under hi tech retro fits section there in no facet of installation of LS engines in formerly carbureted vehicles that has not been addressed in detail. I think these engines ( except for the fact they are not blue oval ) are one of the best swap options for our 73 - 79 series trucks. I thing these truck are the best ever built and with a 5.3 series LM7 engine in peticular I can assure you DOUBLE the gas milage and probably horse power for a sway from stock 351/400 to a 327 LM7. I just don't know how much the probably lower torque output from the smaller engine will hurt a 4x4. I'm sure the lighter weight of the LS will help in off road performance like when the front end takes a dive in a mud hole or going airborn over a jump off road! Heck yea 18 mpg all day long with a 5.3. For some reason the 6 liter suffers much worse gas milage considering the modest displacement advantage. A 8.1 liter (496 ) vortec would be a stomp *** engine in one of these too but they suck gas like a Ford 46o so whats the point?
The 5.3 will be an upgrade from my 351m in all aspects of performance and efficiency. I am anticipating about 15 MPG after the swap given the NP-435 transmission and 3.50 rear end.
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:45 AM
goodwrench1 goodwrench1 is offline
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Thats a killer deal on an engine you can just basically drop in! I'm interested for sure because of the weight reduction and fuel economy. I will say though that the 400M has got the LM7 whipped hands down in the critical area for a 4x4 torque. The ratings for the torque are measured differently supposedly "net" torque on the 400 ( not at flywheel but at wheel ) is 300ft lb bone stock and thats at 1400 rpm! If you put a little more cam lift and duration with a 4 barrel intake and carb. the 400 is a HELL of a torque engine I'll bet pushing 400 ft lbs at the wheels at 1500 rpm! The 400 has the longest stroke of any Ford at 4" compared to 3.85" on the 460. The LM7 is rated stock torque at the flywheel between 315 and 335 ft lb at 4300 rpm. At low rpm like creeping up a grade or over obstackes in the woods the LM7 won't be pushin even half the grunt of the 400M. I don't think the 400 weighs but about 50 pounds more than the LM7. But when it comes to horse power and fuel economy the LM7 blows away the 400M. Keep up the pics and what you learn about the critical requirements of installing a modern computer controlled engine like that.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:55 PM
Rossta86 Rossta86 is offline
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Progressing on the swap....

Sent the PCM out to be re-programmed today.

A while back I put a corvette manifold on the drivers side because the truck manifold interfered with the clutch linkage.



I got a radiator from a coworker. I made a bracket for the bottom mounts and used rubber isolators to bolt it to the core support.





Mechanical fan was being stubborn and the shop air was down so no air chisel to help. The inlet and oulet of the radiator are different diameters than the thermostat housing and waterpump on engine. They are also on opposite sides. I have a few radiator hoses on order that I should be able to splice into a lower and upper hose.
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Old 01-12-2014, 05:46 PM
Giff13 Giff13 is offline
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Amazing. I too am a machinist and hope to do this swap. Now, I have a 2WD, And I would like to use a factory 5.3 trans (auto ar std,) Do you see a problem here? any advice on computer cpu problems/tips/tricks? Thanks SO much. Id like to send you a pic, your truck looks great!
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