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Thread: Z3 M Coupe Track Car gets LS Swap

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Salem, Nh
    My Cars
    01 Z3M Coupe

    Z3 M Coupe Track Car gets LS Swap

    Many here followed my rebuild read, since it was done I've decided to swap in an LS1 / T-56 6 speed to replace the S54 / 5 speed that was in there and figured that it was time for a new build thread. So here it is:

    I picked up a low mileage LS1 / T-56 from a guy in MD that bought it to swap into a E36 but gave up on the project. The motor was from an 2002 Trans Am which was ideal IMO because it already has the higher flowing LS6 manifold on it and uses a cable activated throttle body eliminating the need for an electronic pedal.

    Turned out that I was able to make a single road trip to delivery the s54 to the buyers shop in NJ and then onto MD to pick up the Motor. I left the s54 in the car with the front end off ready to pull out and loaded the car in the trailer. Drove to the shop where they pulled the motor, loaded the car back into the trailer, left the trailer in NJ, drove to MD, loaded the LS in the back of my truck, drove back to NJ, hooked up the trailer and drove home. Round trip was 20 hours but it amazingly went exactly as planned without a hitch and the buyer of my s54 paid for gas and tolls.

    Here is the LS1 as I picked it up, with stand included.

    I then bought the engine over to Golen Engines a engine builder who happens to specialize in LS motor builds for road race applications as well as others. It worked out really well since his shop is only about a 30 minute drive from my house and he was willing to go through the motor and dyno tune it for me using the Holley HP EFI system. Chad at Golen is the owner and he was one of the first shops to start working with the Holley system when it first came out 10 years ago so he knows it and the LS engines inside and out. The Holley system runs closed loop using speed density with MAP and O2 sensor eliminating the need for a MAF sensor. Chad checked the engine over completely looked over the bearings and did a leak down test and was very happy with it. He spec'd out a Comp Endurance style CAM at 231/237 598/610 114+4 installed it along with new beehive springs, keeper, retainers, LS7 timing chain, a Dailey Engineering dry sump system and the Holley EFI. The goal was to hit around 475 HP and we were both pleasantly surprised with the results;

    Engine Dyno Comparisons of the S54 and the LS1 is replacing it:

    A Dry sump system is an absolute must for any LS that see's regular track duty and the The Dailey Dry Sump is a work of art. With the pan and pump integrated together it eliminates the need for complex and hard to plumb scavenge lines going from the pump to pan and I noticed that on the engine dyno oil pressure was almost completely constant north of 70 psi regardless of RPM's:

    Engine fits very nicely into the engine bay using Sikky solid mounts. Engine is in place to do plumbing, transmission not mounted yet:

    Driver side with slim steering shaft, low mount 200A single wire alternator and remote oil filter mount:

    Pass side and underneath, Dailey pump and pan provide plenty of clearance and there is now a ton of room between the front of the engine and the radiator:

    Peterson tank installed in place of Pass Seat = short lines to pump and better weight distribution by putting it on the opposite side of fat me and down low in the center of the car. I Fabricated a mount and put a drain valve with hose through the floor in for easy oil changes. The tank was stupid expensive but it has superior baffling, a built in stainless steel reusable filter on the scavenge return side, a built in breather, and dipstick, now I just need to run 2 each -16an lines through the firewall to the pump:

    I installed a Walbro 255 pump in the stock location in the tank and modified the lines to exit straight out running through the cockpit to a Aeroquip filter and regulator mounted behind the expansion tank on the fire wall, visible in one of the above pics.

    Before the flamethrowers get turned on for running fuel lines inside the car let me just say that rally cars have been doing this for ever, there are even some factory OEM cars that still do this and the lines I used are PTFE lined, braided stainless with an outer fireproof sleeve so three layers compared to the single rubber hose normally under the car ready to be torn apart during an off road excursion. They lines have crimped ends and were supplied by BMRS who builds lines for almost all the pro guys. Additionally there are no fittings or junctions in the cockpit, these are all sealed and behind metal at the tank and in the engine compartment. It keeps the lines away from the headers and exhaust that'll now run on the drivers side and under the car. And finally if I get hit hard enough to bust a line that is mounted on the driveshaft tunnel inside the car I'm probably dead anyway.

    Moving slowly making some progress and have most of the wiring and plumbing done. I was able to re-use my Mishimoto radiator and there was ample room in front to re-mount my oil cooler behind it and run the air intake to the drives side and run the upper radiator hose to the motor. With none of them even touching. Having installed a Electric PS pump tucked in behind the pass headlight helped make room for the air intake with a 110 degree elbow off the throttle body and another 90 it all fit nicely and placed the filter right behind the air intake ducts in the drivers headlight

    A stock LS has steam vent ports on the heads, 2 in the front and 2 in the rear. Mine came with the rears blocked off which has been reported to cause the 7 & 8 cylinders to run hotter due to trapped air. Most performance LS engine builders suggest running all 4 to a expansion tank so with some -4an fittings and hose I came up with this arrangement which also allows me to vent the radiator, a bit of an octopus but it should do the job

    I added an a oil temp gauge to my dash and mounted the sensor in the dry sump tank to keep an eye on oil temps. I could have added an expansion harness to my Holley Digital dash to display it there but with the s-54 it only varied a few by a few degrees once up to temp and I'm reusing the same oil cooler so this was the simpler way to go.
    The holley digital dash replaces the Motec, is fully programmable and has data logging for all engine parameters but no track analysis capability so I'll add an AIM Solo for this.

    Last edited by CMM3; 12-04-2018 at 09:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    My Cars
    99 M3, 11 GT3RS
    wow. hour car was already sick!
    99 M3 STU/ GTS3 Project

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Salem, Nh
    My Cars
    01 Z3M Coupe
    It's been a pretty smooth project, and the car saw the road (up and down my street) for the first time this weekend. The biggest challenge was getting a set of headers made. I tired to fit some aftermarket brand made for and e36/LS swap and they just didn't fit. A shop I've worked with pointed me to a local guy that's been building headers for just about everything imaginable for 30 years. He made separate down tubes and used slip on collectors with bolt together tabs so I can R&R the headers without taking anything else apart, including leaving the steering column in place. From the headers dual 3" feed to an x-pipe then a into some magnaflow resonators then out through borla mufflers 3" all the way. It sounds incredible.

    The car is now getting corner balanced and aligned and my see it's first track day this weekend weather dependent.

    I'll post some pictures and a video of the finished product soon.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    My Cars
    I was wondering how this was going. Headers, to me anyway, seem to be the biggest pain with this swap. Looking forward to checking these out.

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