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Old 03-31-2017, 10:34 AM   #1
1369
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Default LS Swap: 1996 K1500

So, back in 2011 I did this to a truck of mine.

The truck used to be an old job truck my dad bought from our company and we left it all stock, but it became our "adventure truck" and we used it on all our hunting adventures. Dad passed away unexpectedly in 2008, so I took the truck home with me and have used it sparingly since then.

Well, it's time for this old dog to get a new lease on life. I'm going to trick this thing out because 1. I want to keep the truck. Chief and I had a lot of fun in it, and, 2. Because I want to.

Now, I'm not a gear head by any stretch of the imagination, so I'll be finding a shop that can do the swap as well as other items I want done to get this thing back to not only a daily driver that my boy and I can start some adventures of our own in, but also a "sleeper" under the hood.

That being said, I've decided on an LS swap due to me talking to a friend of mine from New Jersey who is all about hot rods and such since he said you can get a lot out of those motors without breaking the bank. I'm going to look at a crate motor and drivetrain, possibly from someone like Chevy Performance Products, but since we've got so many shade tree mechanics on the GS, I'd like y'alls input as well.

In addition to the motor/drivetrain, I'm looking at a 2"-3" lift, new shoes, exterior lighting, and some interior work since the old bench seat is buttsprung, etc.

Just how big do I wanna go? Any and all suggestions are welcome.
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:40 AM   #2
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i think you'll want to get more lift (4"+) to get into an actual leaf lift, not just a body lift. I think.

sweet rig

Last edited by mjbtexas; 03-31-2017 at 10:55 AM.. Reason: leaf springs
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:42 AM   #3
308 Dave
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Wait till Eric knows you're cheating on him...
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:43 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mjbtexas View Post
i think you'll want to get more lift (4"+) to get into an actual spring lift, not just a body lift. I think.

sweet rig
That's why I come here. So, to get into a suspension lift I'm probably looking at 4"+?
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:44 AM   #5
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Wait till Eric knows you're cheating on him...
Parked on the side of the road in Amarillo when I'm supposed to be on spring Break is not my idea of a vacation.
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:44 AM   #6
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Parked on the side of the road in Amarillo when I'm supposed to be on spring Break is not my idea of a vacation.
Well played.
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:51 AM   #7
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Oh heck yeah, Im tuned in! Slap a turbo in that sucker!

Hold my beer and watch this...A country boy can survive!
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:54 AM   #8
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Body lifts are trash, don't even....

As mentioned, it will probably take 4 inches of suspension to clear 33s or 35s. A leveling kit will normally get you 285s.

As far as motor mounts and wiring harnesses for the swap, there's a company called advanced adapters that specialize in that very thing. Also Internet hot rod forums are going to be your best friend, you can solve more problems on Google now days than you can at the auto supply.

If you're going to all that trouble to repower, 6 L should be the minimum. Also a heavy-duty transmission and have a good shop upgrade it, they know where the weak links are.


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Old 03-31-2017, 10:57 AM   #9
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That's why I come here. So, to get into a suspension lift I'm probably looking at 4"+?
pretty sure on that year model. but 3 to four is not a big jump IMO, but 4 to 6 is in look and function
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Old 03-31-2017, 11:15 AM   #10
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my advise would be get a 383 crate motor it'll have plenty of power and you can just bolt it in
switched out all the wiring to put the ls fuel system in it might be a nightmare
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Old 03-31-2017, 11:22 AM   #11
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I wouldn't do a crate motor personally just because of how much they cost for what you get...

I'd find a decent low mile 6.0 and go that route. Lots of parts and pieces produced to make that swap easier at this point. If you drive it hard the 4L60E trans will not last.

Most of the items regarding lift are correct but a few opinions/subjective items from me:

-You can fit big tires on this year if you aren't affraid to trim some metal. My current 98 has 33s on it with zero lift. I had a 97 with 37s on a 6", same truck with 2" body lift and 35" swampers, and buddy with 38"s on a 6" pro comp lift.. you get the idea.

Body lifts aren't horrible but they a something of a band-aid. On this exact vintage of truck nothing more than 2". Keep in mind to keep body lines right with the bumpers pictured they would need to be re-located.

Suspension Lift: Anything 2-3" is going to rely on cranking up torison bars. Even with a diff drop involved you are going to have bad suspension or steering geometry somewhere. If you go 4-6" most of those can be had as full drop kits and/or knuckle kits. Both have their pros and cons. If you are planning long term you pay for what you get in regards to lift brands as well.

If you are going bigger than 6" on ifs then I don't know what to tell you. Hope you like buying wheel bearings and ball joints

And finally... If you plan on beating on it with a 4-6" ifs lift of any sort... Get good at replacing CV axles.
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Old 03-31-2017, 11:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Moser View Post
Body lifts are trash, don't even....

As mentioned, it will probably take 4 inches of suspension to clear 33s or 35s. A leveling kit will normally get you 285s.

As far as motor mounts and wiring harnesses for the swap, there's a company called advanced adapters that specialize in that very thing. Also Internet hot rod forums are going to be your best friend, you can solve more problems on Google now days than you can at the auto supply.

If you're going to all that trouble to repower, 6 L should be the minimum. Also a heavy-duty transmission and have a good shop upgrade it, they know where the weak links are.



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As usual Moser nailed it!
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Old 03-31-2017, 01:01 PM   #13
Dale Moser
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Default LS Swap: 1996 K1500

Also don't forget headers, and build a complete 3" exhaust system.

Electric fans can make swaps easier, and free up a little horsepower. Probably want a little larger radiator to cool a bigger motor.

4L80 on the transmission at the minimum, still have it "built".

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Last edited by Dale Moser; 03-31-2017 at 01:09 PM..
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Old 03-31-2017, 01:29 PM   #14
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Great info all around folks, this is really helping me flesh out my list.

Anyone have any shop recommendations in the San Antonio area that could tackle this project?
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Old 03-31-2017, 02:17 PM   #15
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How's the line-X holding up?
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Old 03-31-2017, 02:23 PM   #16
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How's the line-X holding up?
So far so good. No real fading issues. A few spots where it's rubbed flat, but nothing major.
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Old 03-31-2017, 02:49 PM   #17
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So far so good. No real fading issues. A few spots where it's rubbed flat, but nothing major.
That's good to hear. Yours looks good. Never been a fan of the diy ones, but I saw a Superduty that was professional done like yours but in a blued steel color that I really liked, so I might look into doing one eventually.

Last edited by Dixiehunter; 03-31-2017 at 02:57 PM..
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Old 03-31-2017, 02:52 PM   #18
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Start with the LQ4 or LQ9 6.0l engine and a 4l80e transmission. Bore and stroke to 408ci. Add power adder to taste.
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Old 03-31-2017, 03:01 PM   #19
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I may have missed it but I didn't read where it was 4x4, if so I agree with those suggesting 4-6" on the lift. If not then I would just do the 2" leveling kit on a 2x4.
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Old 03-31-2017, 03:10 PM   #20
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I may have missed it but I didn't read where it was 4x4, if so I agree with those suggesting 4-6" on the lift. If not then I would just do the 2" leveling kit on a 2x4.
It is a 4x4.
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Old 03-31-2017, 03:15 PM   #21
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It is a 4x4.
I kind of figured it was, just checking. What motor is in it now?
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Old 03-31-2017, 03:21 PM   #22
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I don't know if it's still true, but the dirt track guys used to jump all over those Vortec cylinder heads that you'll be taking out.


Those 90's 350s wouldn't win many races, but they were as solid a piece as anyone ever put in a truck. We put 320k+ miles on 3 or 4 of them.
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Old 03-31-2017, 03:22 PM   #23
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5.0
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Old 03-31-2017, 03:30 PM   #24
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8.1!!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-31-2017, 03:35 PM   #25
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5.0
The swap you're looking at will definitely liven it up a bit!
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Old 03-31-2017, 03:44 PM   #26
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well if it were me I would put a stright axle up front. I had a 98 K2500 with 4.88 gears and 37 hummer take offs that ate up ball joints. The 350 is a great motor always dreamed of a 383 stroker. But I miss my old chevy. I would definitely look for a used 350 or 6.0 if you plan on anything bigger than 33's I would re gear to 4.10 or 4.56. Also as mentioned earlier get a 4L80E tranny, they are pretty tough when adding horsepower.
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:31 PM   #27
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Straight axle swaps are cool, but good ones are really expensive and most aren't a lot of fun on the highway.

There aren't really any GOOD leveling kits for that year model. I'd stick in that 3-4 inch susp. lift range, Mark. Assuming you'll be running up to a few hundred miles per trip on occaision, that will give you room for 33s but keep the geometry right and CV angles in a good reliable range, won't eat up those smaller 1/2 ton brakes ....and not require a gear swap. I think that's your sweet spot for tire/mileage/driveability/cool stance. Get a good one that drops the front diff though, and include any and all steering gear stiffeners and upgrades available. I'm a believer in billstein shocks of the appropriate length, as well as steering stabilizer.

One thing you might consider is rear lift springs, instead of blocks. If it was a 3/4 I wouldn't worry about it, but if you start sneaking up on 400hp with those 1/2 ton springs AND blocks...you are liable to get axle wrap and that eats up U-joints and makes for a harsh take off under "git some" throttle.

Last edited by Dale Moser; 03-31-2017 at 10:49 PM..
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:42 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Moser View Post
Straight axle swaps are cool, but good ones are really expensive and most aren't a lot of fun on the highway.

There aren't really any GOOD leveling kits for that year model. I'd stick in that 3-4 inch susp. lift range, Mark. Assuming you'll be running up to a few hundred miles per trip on occaision, that will give you room for 33s but keep the geometry right and CV angles in a good reliable range, won't eat up those smaller 1/2 ton brakes ....and not require a gear swap. I think that's your sweet spot for tire/mileage/driveability/cool stance. Get a good one that drops the front diff though, and include any and all steering gear stiffeners and upgrades available. I'm a believer in billstein shocks of the appropriate length, as well as steering stabilizer.


Agreed. Mud truck on 40's you need straight axle but a beefed up driver is good on a mild lift and 33's
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Old 05-03-2017, 08:40 PM   #29
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Well, found a shop in town that's done a bunch of swaps like mine and even has 2 in the shop at the moment. After talking to the owner and telling him what I am looking for, here's where we are at the moment.

Chevrolet Performance LS 6.0 376/480 HP Engines Link to motor specs

TD PERFORMANCE LS ENGINE INTO 88-98 4WD
CHEVY/GMC 1500 TRUCKS & SUVS;
AUTO/MANUAL TRANSMISSION; HTC SILVER
CERAMIC COATED HEADERS

Transmission 4L80 with transfer case

Flowmaster Exhust System

Rear Drive Shaft W Greasable CV and slip Yoke

Custom Front Drive Shaft W CV Yoke

Should go into the shop in two weeks. Looking at a 6" lift as well. He showed me a truck similar to mine he did that on and was able to use the same rims with slightly taller tires and it looked really clean.

Last edited by 1369; 05-03-2017 at 08:48 PM..
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Old 05-03-2017, 08:42 PM   #30
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Old 05-03-2017, 09:01 PM   #31
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Sounds like an awesome project. Any picks of the before??
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Old 05-03-2017, 09:04 PM   #32
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Sounds like an awesome project. Any picks of the before??
Know how I know you didn't click on the link in the first post? 😉
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Old 05-03-2017, 09:09 PM   #33
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Quote:
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Know how I know you didn't click on the link in the first post? ��
My bad I am just used to seeing the hula hoop girls without clicking on anything
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Old 05-03-2017, 09:13 PM   #34
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My bad I am just used to seeing the hula hoop girls without clicking on anything
My bad as well. Since it's "my thread" I'll throw some in tomorrow. You know, for ambiance and such.
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Old 05-03-2017, 10:29 PM   #35
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Quote:
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My bad as well. Since it's "my thread" I'll throw some in tomorrow. You know, for ambiance and such.


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Old 05-03-2017, 11:42 PM   #36
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Whatever you decide, we'll be expecting full project status and photo documentation in a thread in the D-I-Y section.
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Old 05-04-2017, 12:35 AM   #37
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I have a few buddies that are in to rock crawling and they all run LS motors. They will buy old keeps and buggies and swap out the carbed motors to ls's. Hell...one bought a $40g 2000 keep crawler and yanked out the injected 6 and threw in an LS.
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Old 05-04-2017, 08:16 AM   #38
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Old rule of thumb is there is no replacement for displacement. Your limiting factor may be the drive train of the 4WD transfer case and rear end. You can beef up any tranny with aftermarket kits like a B&M shift kit for under $100. You can get into a 376 or 383 stroker for an easy change out and be right around the 500 hp/tq mark. Or a 6.2 from a wrecked truck that will be right at 430/425 hp/tq for budget build. The only thing wrong with a 6.2 salvage engine will be the AFM and VVT that you need to get rid of.
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Old 05-04-2017, 08:44 AM   #39
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And now........ambiance

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Old 06-11-2017, 06:44 PM   #40
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Any updates on the truck??
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Old 06-11-2017, 06:57 PM   #41
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What truck im lost in a hula hoop
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Old 06-11-2017, 07:07 PM   #42
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What truck im lost in a hula hoop
Don't be fooled...pedernal isn't fishing for pics of the truck.
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:49 PM   #43
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Finally up on the rack. Motor comes out next.
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