Despite the GM 5.3 LQ9 engines becoming increasingly popular with auto enthusiasts, they still can be found for a decent price. Reliability among these engines has been proven through daily drivers known to go over 200k miles without any issues. In this month’s engine tech, we show you how to prepare for a 5.3 transplant. Since we are always talking about how economically sound these engines area as an investment, we wanted to show you what you would need for a transplant.

We found this engine on Craigslist for under $1,000; including the transmission and the old computer. After making a few calls, we called our friends over at Painless, who convinced us that their latest wiring and computer system was the way to go. This system will make your transplant a smooth process, as everything is labeled and ready to be plugged in. The only real modifications that we had to add to the engine were to swap out the oil pan and the exhaust manifolds. You can look around to find the pieces that you will need or you can go to some retailers that might have it all for your application. There are companies that are producing 5.3 transplant packages or LS transplant packages for about $1,150 and they usually include the oil pan, motor mounts, and exhaust headers. Given this information, you might be able to get on the road for a cheaper price than what you might have thought.

The automotive industry has dubbed the LS style engine as an option that is here to stay, and with aftermarket partners stepping up and making it easier for them to be added to a wide variety of vehicles, it’s safe to say that they aren’t going anywhere soon. With that said, follow along as we take on the task of getting a 5.3 engine to show you what a cost effective addition this can be when transplanted into your Lowrider.

<strong>1</strong>. This 5.3 was salvaged from a wreck and was ready to perform again.<strong>2</strong>. We started off by using the Holley's oil pan and motor mounts that will help with the bolt in.<strong>3</strong>. Before wrenching on the engine, we made sure that it spun, giving us a piece of mind that the engine wasn't blown or frozen.<strong>4</strong>. With this being a Truck/SUV engine, the oil pan hangs a little lower than we needed it to, so we are going to be swapping it out with a lower profile pan that doesn't hang below the frame.<strong>5</strong>. With all of the oil drained, we were able to flip the engine so we could work on swapping out the oil pickup tube.<strong>6</strong>. There are two things that you'll need to know when swapping out the pan. 1) You will need to reuse the old gasket from your oil pan. 2) You will need to bolt on the new oil pick up tube that came with the new pan.<strong>7</strong>. Arnold made sure that the Holley pan went on without an issue.<strong>8</strong>. We used ARP's engine bolt kit to seal and bolt up our engine.<strong>9</strong>. We started bolting down our oil pan the traditional way from the center out.<strong>10</strong>. This engine didn't come in perfect condition, as the exhaust bolts had to be drilled out and repaired with a helicoil kit.<strong>11</strong>. The drilled out hole gets tapped so the new thread can be used.<strong>12</strong>. The new thread coil went in and will allow us to add our exhaust manifolds as if nothing had ever happened.<strong>13</strong>. We used our Lokar oil dipstick, which will tell us how much oil, will be used. This will attach to the Hooker headers.<strong>14</strong>. There are several motor plates that will give you the stock location or that can pull the engine forward, depending on your needs.<strong>15</strong>. We opted to move our engine forward 1-inch in comparison to a stock 350.<strong>16</strong>. Since this engine was going to be installed into a smog exempt car, the EGR was going to be eliminated.<strong>17</strong>. We used this billet cut off plate to seal our intake. We found this on eBay for $25.00 shipped to our door.<strong>18</strong>. The stock water pump was also modified to allow us to plug the heater hose outlets.<strong>19</strong>. When we are ready to add the heater to our car, this will make it easy to reverse the process and attach hose fittings to our pump.<strong>20</strong>. Since we were planning to clean up the engine compartment, the factory harness was removed from the engine.<strong>21</strong>. The engine was ready to be wired.<strong>22</strong>. With all of the minor modifications and test fitting completed, this engine was ready to be transplanted.<strong>23</strong>. What made us take on our engine swap was this Painless harness kit. For about $750, you can rewire the engine and program the computer, getting you on the road ASAP.<strong>24</strong>. With the wiring labeled like this, your installation can go by quickly.<strong>25</strong>. We sent in our computer and received this programmed computer that was flashed for our needs.

Hi Performance lucas oil products inc. tech tip of the month

Lucas car care product line

In this month’s issue of the Lowrider Garage “Tip of the month” series, we discuss Lucas’ Slick Mist Interior Detailer. You heard right. Lucas produces more than just oil products. They also have a line of automotive cleaning supplies that have been tested against the harshest conditions.

Lucas Slick Mist Interior Detailer is a spray treatment exclusively formulated by Lucas Oil Products designed to clean and protect like nothing you’ve ever used. Spray as need onto your interior surfaces such as plastic, vinyl, leather, rubber and metal for a “like-new” look. Cleans and protects, dashboards, consoles, doors and trim. Also works great on household furniture.

Key Benefits:

  • Ease of Application
  • Restores Interior
  • Great for Cars, Trucks, Boats, and Airplanes
  • Shines and Protects in One Easy Application
  • Over Spray Not a Problem
  • Water Based
  • Non-oily Formula
  • pH Neutral (7-8)
  • Sling Resistant
  • Quick and Easy
  • UV Resistant Protection
  • Long Lasting

To learn more about this and other Lucas Oil Products, please log onto: