LS Engine Swap Fundamentals


What better project than an LS Engine swap to keep your garage warm and bustling this winter, especially if your garage is already heated! 

A complete engine swap is the kind of work gearheads literally dream about doing, and the Chevy LS is the most popular motor design when it comes to replacements and upgrades for many good reasons. Over its 27-year evolution, numerous changes and iterations have improved the LS Engine, each with special performance features. Owners of older LS compatible vehicles have opportunities to get modernized and often more powerful engines dropped into their favorite car, hotrod or truck. 

There are lots of reasons the LS engine is so popular. Here are few we’ll look at:

  • Affordability
  • High performance 
  • Compact form
  • Versatile design 
  • Availability of aftermarket parts
  • Availability of information & resources

As one of the more versatile V8 engines, the LS is also prized for its affordability, and is often the best answer to the question, “what engine would be best to swap out of my sports car, hot rod, off-roader or truck?” If it’s a small-block V8 you want, look no further than the Chevy LS family of engines.

LS Engine Milestones

Few people realize this engine has a history dating all the way back to 1955 when the first generation small block V8 was introduced in the Corvette. In 1970 the LT-1 came out. Displacing 5.7L it put out a fun 370 hp. Then in 1992, the LT-1 Generation 2 introduced batch-fire injection.

1997 was a major milestone, ushering in the LS1 – “the engine that changed the world.” It was a fresh, clean design which adopted aluminum blocks and implemented computerized ignition and fueling. This paved the way for the awesome line we know today. In 2005, the Generation 4 LS2 engine changed things up a bit with 6.0L displacement, generating 400 hp.

Subsequently in the years 2006, 2008, 2009 the LS has undergone modernization and performance upgrades while offering most of the same versatility features which make it the aftermarket swap out favorite. Finally, in 2014, the Generation 5 LT1 added direct injection, displacing 6.2L and putting out 460 hp. More to come on that.

LS Aftermarket

Finding parts for the LS is easy because the aftermarket is ubiquitous, and working on this motor is insanely popular. Libraries and the internet are full of articles, books and videos on installing LS engines. The content includes plenty about knowing how to differentiate and fit the right LS engine for a wide variety of vehicle makes and models.

All this availability and information facilitates more engine swap projects and empowers even beginner mechanics with the capability to install a new engine in their car or truck. Successfully completing an engine swap is exciting and builds a lot of confidence.

The Future of the LS and LT Engines

The long term future is a question mark. There are differing views about the newer LT engines with regard to how popular they will be for automotive enthusiasts. While the power is impressive at 650 hp right from the factory in the 2015 version, some of the modernization and technology may hinder a segment of the market. It would be hard to imagine that any motor could surpass the LS engine in popularity. Only time will tell.

If you happen to need an LS Engine or are now interested in one after reading this, we invite you to call us and talk with one of our engine and parts experts. At Bow Auto Parts, all our engines come to you with all the connecting components needed and ready to install.

Let’s see if we can set you up for your best swap out experience. Call us today at 603-224-8400.

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