For this part two installment of our Chevrolet Performance Connect & Cruise LS3 transplant into our 1968 Impala, we address the necessary steps it takes to awaken the beast and make it run like a Super Sport should.
The Chevrolet Performance Connect & Cruise computer and wiring harness really is just as simple as it sounds. Just connect all of the labeled plug ends of the harness to the corresponding part on the engine and transmission and you are almost done. Each plug end is unique in order to prevent any mix-ups during the connection process. Mounting the computer and the included fuse box might be the trickiest part of the installation since it’s up to the installer to determine a location that allows for a clean end result, given that you’re limited by the length of the wiring harness. However, Chevrolet Performance makes the harness long enough that you have plenty of options. Once they are mounted, you just need to hook up the battery to the fused main power cable included in the kit, and connect the ignition wire to the keyed ignition and you’re almost cruise ready.
This engine package comes with a cruise-by-wire electronic accelerator pedal that needs to be mounted in a comfortable location based on your car and the driver’s seating position. Sometimes a bracket or pedestal needs to be fabricated to ensure it is in just the right location for cruising in comfort and in a safe spot in relation to the brake pedal. So be sure to mock it up, try it out, and let your foot be your guide.
Another important step in any engine install is the placement of the accessories. Holley Performance Products now has a line of accessory drive brackets for any of your LS engine needs. These brackets allow you some options when it comes to locating different A/C compressors. Our particular setup relocated the compressor up higher on the passenger side so it doesn’t have any clearance issues with the frame. With the brackets and accessories bolted up, all of the pulleys lined up perfectly and allowed the serpentine belt to track perfectly just like the factory intended. These accessory drives are a factory-looking and cost-effective alternative to costly billet setups.
Once all of that was finished up, all we had left to do was connect the LS3 to the radiator and hook up the performance exhaust system we received from MagnaFlow. Typically with any engine swap you end up bending a coat hanger or wire as a pattern for the shape of the radiator hoses needed to make the connections and take them to your local parts store, hoping to find something that might fit. For this project we opted to fabricate our own lines out of stainless steel U-bends in order to snake around any obstructions. The MagnaFlow exhaust similarly snakes around the underside of our Impala perfectly to route the burned gases out the back. This vehicle-specific setup fit really well right out of the box especially considering how low the car sits when we lay it out. And with the exhaust clamps supplied in the kit we were able to fine-tune it with the suspension fully collapsed to eliminate any issues we might have had.
Years ago this engine swap would have required a lot of parts hunting and custom fabrication. But now with the parts available from companies like Chevrolet Performance, CPP, Holley, and MagnaFlow, the guessing game is a thing of the past. It truly is just that easy to “Connect & Cruise.”
1. We started off by laying out the wiring harness on the engine in the general path it could go based on the labeled plug ends.
2. Now the plugging in process begins with parts such as the electronic throttle body here.
3. After the harness was routed nicely under the fuel rail, we connected all of the fuel injectors.
4. You can see here how much of the harness you have to work with when determining the mounting location of the computers and fuse block.
5. Don’t forget the connections on the electronic transmission. It gets controlled by a SuperChips computer, which is included in the Connect & Cruise kit as well.
6. Just keep connecting sensors.
7. We chose to make a bracket to hold the fuse block and computers all in one location for a sanitary install.
8. This Aeromotive fuel fitting adapts to the factory push-to-connect fitting to a -8 AN fitting.
9. After mocking up our electronic accelerator pedal in the car we decided it needed to be pulled away from the firewall that necessitated fabricating a simple sheetmetal standoff bracket. By doing that, the end seating position felt more like a factory new car instead of something just slapped together. Comfort is definitely the key.
10. Now we have to connect our Chevrolet Performance LS3 to our US Radiator so it’ll run nice and cool. We decided to use stainless steel U-bends for a cleaner install.
11. After marking our cutouts we moved over to the bandsaw for a straight and precise cut.
12. Measuring twice and cutting once makes for a perfect fit.
13. After cutting the pieces we used tape to put them together for a final mockup to check the fitment.
14. Once we were satisfied with the fitment, we welded them together with our Miller Diversion TIG Welder. We also ran a small bead around each end of them to allow the rubber hoses something to grab onto once clamped down so they can’t slip apart under pressure.
15. To connect our new stainless lines we cut pieces of rubber radiator hose to isolate any vibrations on the ends and used two hose clamps per piece.
16. Form and function.
17. The finish product navigates the radiator coolant perfectly around our intake system and looks great.
18. To get all our power to the ground we called on Inland Empire Driveline for our driveshaft needs.
19. We measured the length first from the transmission to the rearend.
20. Then we measure the rearend yolk for the proper U-joint size. Inland Empire can easily guide you through the measuring process to ensure a perfect fitting driveshaft.
21. Just remove the cap off the transmission and slide the yolk on in.
22. Fits perfectly even with the suspension fully collapsed.
23. Cruise-ready power.
24. MagnaFlow Exhaust Products offers a complete stainless exhaust system and comes with everything necessary for a performance exhaust with a smooth, deep tone.
25. MagnaFlow designed the exhaust system to fit our undercarriage perfectly.
26. Once we were happy with the location, Greg started tacking everything in place.
27. With the X-pipe in place we made the exhaust route around the CPP trans crossmember for added ground clearance.
28. Once Greg was happy with the location of the tail pipes he tightened up the exhaust clamps.
29. Everything routed masterfully to optimize clearance for the Impala’s ground-hugging stance.
30. Tailpipes exiting out the back and the kickups over the rearend allow the suspension to collapse fully so we can cruise nice and low with a deep mellow tone thanks to MagnaFlow.
Special Thanks to Engle Brothers Fabrication email@example.com