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Old February 16th, 2012, 07:47 PM   #1
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Current engine in a 1955 98

Would an LS2 be overkill in a '55 98? Would it fit? Would this require a redesign of the rear suspension to handle the beast?
Would the Vortec 5300 be more appropriate?

Last edited by pcard; February 17th, 2012 at 08:48 AM. Reason: Clarification
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Old February 16th, 2012, 08:43 PM   #2
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Theres no such thing as overkill. But with that much power I would defiantly add some beef to the frame as well as the rear suspension. I don't see why you couldn't stick with the leaf springs but you will have axle wrap and wheel hop without some sort of traction improving device. And if you're using the stock rearend it wont last.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 07:02 AM   #3
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I imagined it would be that way. I would like to go with the most up to date technology as possible without getting myself into trouble. My next choice is the V5300.
Thanks, Peter
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Old February 17th, 2012, 08:15 AM   #4
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Here's my .02

Take "LS2" out of your question,

Just ask if anyone has ever put a 400hp-500hp engine in a 1955 Olds 98 and what was necessary to handle it.
(keep in mind the LS2 is SAE net hp rated, and all motors pre-1972 were GROSS hp rated. big difference.)
That will broaden your response rate in other sections.

Another thing to keep in mind......
Making 400hp is one thing, but HOOKING 400hp is another beast altogether.
You can sit and spin all day long and the rear end will live. But if you hook it with slicks or drag radials
it will probably grenade, because it wasn't built to handle that kind of power.

I'm not familiar with the 1955 Olds 98, but I can assure you other people have put BBO and SBO in excess of 400hp in them.
I know several guys who have put LS engines into tri-five Chevy's and they're all over the place.

The only differences here is, the engine mounting and what transmission you're going to use with the LS2 instead.
By all means if you want modern power, and daily driver manners, the LS2 is definitely a great selection.
But you have to upgrade the rest of the car to handle it.......that includes the driveshaft IMO.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 08:58 AM   #5
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Considering that I will not be putting slicks on, perhaps I do not need all that power. Would something like an LH8 be better behaved? Probably less expensive too.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 10:57 AM   #6
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Used LS2 wont be found under $3k.
I boungt an 05 LM7, 5.3, 50k miles with EVERYTHING (accessories, ecu, harness, TAC, pedal, pump, etc) for $800 and 1 year warantee.
I'm surpised how well the 5.3 pulls even with a 2.73 rear in my 72 442. You wont be disappointed as a daily driver.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 01:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Considering that I will not be putting slicks on, perhaps I do not need all that power. Would something like an LH8 be better behaved? Probably less expensive too.
Like Gary said....anything with LS1, LS2, LS3 etc brings a premium because of the car accessorie, intake, and aluminum block. However a GM Vortec engine (truck) is LS based and is just as powerful but for 1/3rd the price or less depending on which you choose.

The nice thing about A-bodies is you can use the Vortec truck accessories which save you about $800. You just swap on a car intake from Ebay for $150-$300 and a car oil pan ($100-$200) and you are set.

Like Gary said, LM7 which are 5.3L Vortecs range from about 275-315hp and are less then $1000 in most cases. Where else are you going to get fuel injection that cheap!!!!
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Old February 17th, 2012, 01:27 PM   #8
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Ha, I've bought 2 LS1 intake/fuel rails for $40 each!
Post a pic of the engine compartment, preferably without an engine. That will help determine which oil pan you'll need.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 04:20 PM   #9
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The engine compartment will take any of the Chevy motors, 324's are large engines! The frames are plenty stout for 400+ HP,It's Xed at the front with 5/16 I beam and it's hell for strength. If you wanted to the transmission will take 600 HP with mods and was the basis for many rails and rods in the 60's, it's where B&M hydro got their start and name. But on the other hand I'm sure the adapter alone would probably cost more than a TH400. You would have to do something with the rear end because it's a peg leg and with no traction, no go. New styled brakes would be a must, it's a 4000 LB + car'and hard to stop when going at just reasonable speeds.

This is your forum and your car but a 394 would give you 345+ Hp with a lot less hassle and modifications.I know a lot of the fun is in the build so sometimes the hassle is part of it, but when you are all done you still have a 4000 LB car to try to get to go fast....Tedd
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Old February 17th, 2012, 06:59 PM   #10
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Thanks all. I do not know how to change the title of the thread ACE - tried.
Some good food for thought.
Tedd - I love your car! I am thinking of going this route in order to get modern tech that I can "forget" about in a '55 daily driver, give me good MPG and cold AC.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 08:35 PM   #11
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pcard, thanks for the complement.

I'm more of a purist now than I once was, I have made many engine swaps in my past, in fact my car was almost 425 powered, had it laying next to the 324 ready to go in then I found the parts that had been elusive for weeks. Best decision I ever made.

Don't be afraid to build a 55 324 as a daily driver, gas mileage will be poor, won't lye about that, but it can be built as if it was new again. I wouldn't hesitate to head across the states tomorrow in mine and we often do 1200- 1500 mile trips with no problems. I would rather travel with class than fast, and mine will also have have A/C when I quit showing it in points events...Just my 2 cents... Tedd

PS. Do what ever turns you on it's your car after all.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 09:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
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This is your forum and your car but a 394 would give you 345+ Hp with a lot less hassle and modifications.

you still have a 4000 LB car to try to get to go fast....Tedd
Two things to keep in mind here with Tedd's information he offered here.

1st. This 1964 10.5:1 compression special edition 394 he's talking about was 345 GROSS hp rated.
When talking about a modern engine against a Vintage pre-1972 engine, the HP rated values are not the same.
You have to put both engines into the same measurement system to get an accurate perception to compare them.
I'd say a very large % of hot rodders don't do this.

GROSS VS NET HP RATINGS

345hp in the Gross rated system is more like 280-290hp in today's SAE/net hp system that's been in use for 40 years now.
So to make things a fair comparison, using the
SAE/Net HP: (1972-present)
394ci 6.5L big block = 280hp VS 327ci 5.3L LS small block = 315hp

GROSS HP: (pre-1972 method)
394ci 6.5L big block = 345hp VS 327ci 5.3L LS small block = 375-385hp.

2nd.> Todays' hot performance Pony Cars (Camaro SS, Shelby GT500,) are all about 4000lbs.
They're doing 12's with the modern drivetrains
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Last edited by Aceshigh; February 18th, 2012 at 07:20 AM.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 07:15 AM   #13
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4000lbs is no big deal
Keep in mind 5.3s and 6.0s come in 5500lb SUVs.
You can have more than adequate power, at a similar or lower cost, twice the gas milage, better rilability, and parts availability at every Autozone in the country.
I wouldn't suggest hacking up a numbers matching car, but there really is no downside to these swaps.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 08:39 AM   #14
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Here's a great crate engine weight chart I found for 2011.
http://www.gmperformanceparts.com/_r...ineQRC2008.pdf

As you can see the 5.3L 327ci engine is only 433lbs, stripped.
Whereas the 394ci Big Block Olds is going to be probably ~170lbs heavier. (thread)
I'm going to assume that's an accessorized motor though for the benefit of the doubt.

Quote:
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4000lbs is no big deal
Keep in mind 5.3s and 6.0s come in 5500lb SUVs.
Exactly, it's the base engine in the Suburbans which are a beast of an SUV.

The #1 ranked LARGE SUV in America has been the Suburban for quite some time now.
#2 is the Tahoe, and both use the 5.3L 327ci LS based motor.

They're also the base engine in all full size GM standard duty pickups.
Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, etc. So a 4000lb car is a vacation for it.

http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com...le-Large-SUVs/
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 08:55 AM   #15
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Trolling the forums for information about installing a current engine in an Old classic is interesting and you get a diversity of opinion, but it can be time consuming. Is there a single publication which discusses the various engine options and applicatons, along with an "assembly manual"?

Tedd - I am a purist also (witness my SX), but I must be schizophrenic because I get excited about doing wild and crazy things too. I would never consider swapping into a car that had its correct engine, but am looking for the good solid candidate that has already been compromised.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 09:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Is there a single publication which discusses the various engine options and applicatons, along with an "assembly manual"?
Yeah right!!! Uh....no.
There's never a one stop "how to" manual for custom jobs.

The best you can hope for is resources and information from various sites like.....
THE BIBLE > http://ls1tech.com/forums/conversion...ap-guides.html
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Old February 18th, 2012, 09:34 AM   #17
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I found these on Amazon:
"How to Swap GM LS - Series engines into almost Anything" by Jefferson Bryant
"GM LS-Series Engines The complete Swap Manual" by Joesph Potak

I have no idea if they are good or not, but maybe a good start.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 09:39 AM   #18
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Quote:
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but maybe a good start.
Absolutely, I think they really would be a great start.
Judging by the reviews, alot of topics are covered to consider in a swap.

Read this review though......
http://www.amazon.com/review/R1NTHZV...R1NTHZVXV3VFBR

Just so you know, S&P = Street and Performance.
One of the first pioneers of offering LS conversion parts, and I got parts from them in 2006 for my 1st swap.
They are quite pricey..... www.hotrodlane.cc
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Old February 18th, 2012, 10:06 AM   #19
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There used to be a manual on how to put an LS into any vehicle. But just after a few years, a lot of that is obsolete. You can find general info on Wiki if you look under Vortec. Pre 07 (Gen III) motors have more support and generally dont have DOD or VVT and are easier to rig for DBW. There are also little idiosyncracies with some years you should be aware of.
But for a 1st time swap in any car, first thing you want to check is the physical capability of swapping. This is usually restricted by the crossmember location, compartment and trans tunnel sizes, and steering compunent locations. I wanted to swap an LS in a Mercedes 380SL, but crossmember location and a massive steering box made it impossible. A pic of the engine compartment and some dimensions will give a good approximation of oil pan, exhaust manifolds, cooling system layout, engine mounts, etc that you'll need.
Next figure out EXACTLY what you want on the car. And I mean EVERYTHING, power steering, AC & controls (stock/aftermarket), transmission, gauges, cooling system, fuel system....everything you can think of. You can usually address issues one at a time on
LS1tech and find someone who has done it.
Post the info and list here and we can give you the info we have, but more importantly, what questions will need to be asked to get a useful response.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 10:13 AM   #20
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There was a guy here in SA that installed a ls7 in his 55 delta i think it was, sucker did easy 12's lol. And the thing about 4k lb cars and an ls2, my caprice weighs 4k with me in it and i do high 14's on the track (lt-1/t-56 combo) Good luck with this conversion, might get frustrating and who knows on the cost but i am sure it will be worth it in the end. Mainly cause it is your project and what you want
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Old February 18th, 2012, 10:26 AM   #21
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The challenge with the 55 LS swap is the going to be the rear steer power steering location. It is a huge box. and does not leave any room for the side motor mounts. I would suggest a fat man or similar rack and pinion front end conversion. Some guys have used a Plymouth volare full front end conversion which also requires cutting off the front of the frame. Its all doable just depends on your pocketbook. You would get the added braking power to handle the hp as well with this conversion.

The 55 Olds also has an "X" frame with a mid bearing split drive shaft which can cause some conversion challenges. I would suggest a single drive shaft and an upgraded rearend too
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Old February 18th, 2012, 11:23 AM   #22
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What other upgrades do you plan on doing? Are you planning on keeping the original front suspension or doing a subframe swap or a Mustang II front suspension? I'm in the process of planning my 5.3 swap into my '53...But I'm putting a Mustang II crossmember from Heidts.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 12:08 PM   #23
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Sounds like this particular vehicle will be a bit more involved with any engine swap.

However, the reaction you'll get from people seeing the power coming from it would be priceless.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 12:17 PM   #24
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If I remember correctly the a body frame fits under the 55. With slight modification. Might make things easier
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Old February 20th, 2012, 08:23 AM   #25
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I have no specific ideas of what to do at this point, just want to go into this with my eyes wide open. I do not want to cobble something together that makes driving the car dangerous or uncomfortable. I do not want to change the original geometry too much. If that is neccessary I may rethink the idea completely.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 08:24 AM   #26
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I think most of the chassis could take the power, but the brakes would fail you pretty quickly.
But building a 394 up to 350-400 horsepower shouldn't be too hard.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 10:09 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcard View Post
I have no specific ideas of what to do at this point, just want to go into this with my eyes wide open. I do not want to cobble something together that makes driving the car dangerous or uncomfortable. I do not want to change the original geometry too much. If that is neccessary I may rethink the idea completely.
If you want I can get a hold of that guy who did it amd see what he did for you. I know it is possible and def safe, especially if he was drag racing it lol.
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Old February 29th, 2012, 08:11 PM   #28
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That would be great if you could put me in touch with him.
Thanks!!
P.S. Sorry for the delay in gettin gback to you.
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Old February 29th, 2012, 11:13 PM   #29
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Sent an email out to see if we can hunt him down for you
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Old March 1st, 2012, 07:33 AM   #30
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Cheers.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 08:38 AM   #31
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You could always just slip a 455 in there. That's been down before. On this site alone a 455 has been installed in just about every 50's Olds built
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Old March 1st, 2012, 09:05 AM   #32
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A 455 would certinly work, but I am looking for the most current tech that will work, aside from hybrid.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 09:35 AM   #33
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Batteries and a electric motor Most current tech.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 09:37 AM   #34
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I knew someone would bring that up (I thought about it too ).
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Old March 1st, 2012, 09:41 AM   #35
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If fabrication does not scare you its all doable. careful layout and the right components and your good to go

Upgrades along with the engine

Transmission
front end (rack and pinion)
Disc brakes up front for sure
New style rear end with large drum or disc (might as well go disc)
Single drive line
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Old March 1st, 2012, 09:53 AM   #36
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PM sent on info, did not want to post in forums do to personal number and such. Hope this helps
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Old March 18th, 2012, 05:05 PM   #37
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you ever hear anything on this and see if you wanted to do it?
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Old March 18th, 2012, 06:16 PM   #38
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I am building 55 88 with an LS2 and 4L60E. If I can help answer any questions, let me know.

The car I bought had no drive train and a bad front clip job from an old trans am, so I went with a FatMan front stub.

I think you'll at least want to go with different crossmember as you'll probably have trouble getting the LS sitting right with the stock front end. The front mount rack will help a lot too.

Headers are the other pain.

Good luck!

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Old March 18th, 2012, 07:50 PM   #39
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Hey Tom: I think I am a bit afraid of the scope of this at the moment; it is wayyyyy beyond my skill set and time availablity. Maybe in a few years.

I want to thank everyone for their posts. It is always best to go into something with eyes wide open, and you helped me make a good decision.

Thanks, Peter
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