View Single Post
Old 19-02-15, 15:57   #1
Gold Members
Join Date: 11-07-06
Location: WA, SOR
Car: Vlc wagon, 89 GSXR 1100
Trader Rating: (20)
The basic guide to installing an LS engine in a VL Commdore

First off this isnt the most simple conversion in the world but if you can turn spanners you shouldn't too many issues. (you will still have lots of issues)

Parts you will require:

1x LS series engine of your choosing (LS1,2,3 LSx, LSa)
1x Suitable gearbox of your choosing (T56, 4L65E 4L80e, Turbo 400, Turbo 350, Powerglide)
1x engine K frame. I used a VL V8 k frame but you can use the VL Rb30 K frame with the right mounts)
I used a mix of Pacemaker and CRS conversion bits for mine;
Pacemaker headers ( 100% garenteed to fit if you use pacemaker mounts)
Pacemaker engine mounts (Tough mounts are also more than suitable)
Pacemaker gearbox mount.
I stayed with the RB30ET radiator as the inlet and outlet are in a much more convenient position than other commodore radiators and I already had one (duh)

Fuel system, I already had a Walbro intank fuel pump with a surge tank, 044 and a SARD FPR and plumbed this up as a returnless system with the factory fuel rails however I then changed the fuel rails to after market ones and ran a conventional style returned system.

Tailshaft. I went custom on this with a VL rear section and T56 front section, just measure from the oil seal on your gearbox to the two holes on your floor pan that the center bearing bolts to and take it to a tailshaft joint and get them to do it (about $300-$400).

Clutch system. the vl used a 5/8 bore master cylinder and t56's take a 3/4" bore, take your master cylinder to a clutch place and they will re bore/sleve it and make a new hard line to adapt it to the t56 slave. Make sure you either buy a concentric slave cylinder with a remote bleeder or get a remote bleeder made up for the slave cylinder as with the narrow VL trans tunnel it is impossible to bleed the clutch with the box in the car. (you will also have to bash the tunnel out to clear the reverse switch on a T56)

Loom. there are quite a few tutortals on modifying the factory loom yourself but I just paid the money. you can get ready modified looms on exchange off ebay for about $5-600 which take away all the pain and hassle and leave you with only 5 wires to hook up.

Cooling system. as the LS engines run an electric thermo fan you will need to as well. AU thermo fans are a cheap effective option and there a thread on here on modifying them for use with a VL radiator.

Speedo. as the T56 and 4L65E use a pulsed output you can either buy a kit from the US for about $1500 to change the output shaft housing to a cable output and then get your cable modified to suit, use a cable x unit from CRS (about $500) or look at using after market guages)

Other little things:

Starter conversion. if you intend on running power steering and use pacemaker headers you will need to run a LHS starter conversion (I used a CRS one ($850) without issue)

The coil pack on your rear drivers side cylinder will foul on the brake booster and needs to be relocated. can either relocate all 8 or just move the one coil pack up to the top bolt hole and run a longer spark lead.

To get your factory oil pressure and water temp guages to work you will need to adapt the factory senders to the LS, the oil pressure sender is at the back of the intake manifold and the water temp can be taken from the rear of the drivers side head, you will either need an adaptor or drill and re tap it to suit an RB sender.

Battery can be left in factory position or relocated to the boot - your choice)

Clutch slave cylinder: I used a Malwood one as they come with a remote bleeder which you will need in a tight VL trans tunnel. It works but the bleeder could be a bit longer to make it easier to bleed. ~$183 delivered

Ride height. as the LS weighs significantly less than an RB, your car will now ride higher at the front, this can be fixed with lower front springs, higher rear springs or an angle grinder - depends how much money you have left from your conversion....

Shifter: T56 - will need to be cut and re positioned to use factory surround, Auto; will need to use a cable VL shifter or go an after market (B&M or similar)

Exhaust: you wont be able to fit a twin 3" system over the diff but you can fit a twin 2.5" system at a pinch. If you arnt going to get it engineered then Twin 3" dumped at the diff FTW

Throttle cable: I used a VX SS cable from an ss WITHOUT cruise control.

At the front of the engine is a coolant bleed line, this will need to be tapped into your top radiator hose.

It is highly recommended that if you are running stock VL brakes you upgrade to VT twin spots with a VT master cylinder and VS booster as a minimum ( conversion threads in the Tech articles forum). Do not run ****ty factory VL brakes with this much power.


Engine ~$1300 second hand for LS1
Gearbox $1000 for T56
Full pacemaker conversion kit $2600 (CRS is cheaper but dodgy)
Loom ~$600
Tailshaft $300-$400
Exhaust $1500 for twin 2.5" in mild steel
Clutch Master ~$200-$300
AU thermos $50
Cable x speedo adaptor $500
Throttle cable:$100
I would then budget another $1500-$2000 for the little things that get forgotten, especially if you want it engineered.

I hope this has been helpful and is only a guide from my own experience

Last edited by VLWAGONIT; 19-06-15 at 16:31.
VLWAGONIT is offline   Reply With Quote