LS into 1987 EXMOD 110

Boswalt

Well-known member
My 2.5 NA was leaking like the Exxon Valdez and I was extremely tired of almost getting run over on county roads so I decided to repower my 110. I thought a lot about a Tdi and if my LT77 was a bit stronger, probably would have looked for a good defender 200Tdi but an LS 4.8 and GM NV4500 fell into my lap for next to nothing and I decided to go LS.



We tore the engine down and are building it back up, nothing crazy, just a stock build. AA adapters bellhousing and Nick's motor mounts and adapter. I did but a disco 2 LT230 for the better ratio.


HUGE thank you to the forum for the advice, especially Andy for the parts lists.....couldn't have done it without some sort of blueprint.


My diesel is on it's way out and the new motor will be in and done by February if all goes well.
 

Attachments

Factoid

Well-known member
When you drive it for the first time you will realize how wonderfully fortunate you were to make this decision. I love mine!
 

RBBailey

NAS-ROW Addict
Callsign: KF7KFZ
I'm really curious about this, because although I do like driving the diesel, I can't get around the fact that I'd get better power and probably the same economy in a powerplant that feels "normal". So if one of these ever 'fell into my lap' I'd probably jump on it as well, then wait for the Tdi to crap out, and do the swap.

I know there are other threads out there about this, but the fact that you are using this particular engine, and just going for it, i'm going to have to subscribe.
 

Uncle Douglas

Well-known member
can't get around the fact that I'd get better power and probably the same economy in a powerplant that feels "normal".
Talking to my shop owner friends doing these conversions the max economy they are telling me they have seen is 13-14. While that may be how they are driving them, I was led to believe thats the norm for a 5.3 in a 90.
Economy/mpg isn't why you put an LS in a defender. The thousands spent on the adapters alone would buy several years supply of fuel.
 

Boswalt

Well-known member
Improving the economy isn't my goal, just ease of maintenance supported by a large supply of LS savvy friends who work cheap and are extremely skilled. Parts for the engine are cheap and available everywhere. Nick's stuff is spendy but it's a work of art and will make the install much easier.


A used Tdi kit would run me about $5-6K with no idea on the viability of the parts past the word of the importer. The LS allows me to acquire parts as funds become available, rebuild the engine, transmission and TC so my entire drivetrain is new and the total cost will be less as long as I do the work. The big plus is I CAN WORK ON THIS. If I can't fix it, a friend can. Tdi or TD5? Not so much.
 

Red90

Well-known member
Tdi parts are cheap and easy to find and they are very simple to work on.

The one and only reason to do an LS conversion is for power. It is a much more complex conversion. It is a much more complex power train. It will not be easier or cheaper to work on and won?t be more reliable.
 

Boswalt

Well-known member
Tdi parts are cheap and easy to find and they are very simple to work on.

The one and only reason to do an LS conversion is for power. It is a much more complex conversion. It is a much more complex power train. It will not be easier or cheaper to work on and won?t be more reliable.

If my LS throws a rod, I can buy a new one for $500 and completely rebuild it for under $1K.
 

Boswalt

Well-known member
Using the Napa 73117 and advanced adapter bracket. You coming down to founders day this year?
 

Factoid

Well-known member
For the price of the rebuilt 300tdi I put in my 1976 Series III, I bought the 20k mile LS3/6L80. The additional required parts for the LS were about twice that required for the 300tdi, but the amount of work to install a tdi in the Series was about the same.

I have little expectation of “great” fuel economy. The 2012 Camaro that supplied my 6.2L is advertised at 15/24. I only have about 75 miles on the conversion and my fuel gauge is not working yet as I’m having so much fun driving it, I’ve had limited troubleshooting time. I do believe Doug’s assessment is correct, but here are a couple of points to consider:

1. When you do this conversion yourself, you realize just how well engineered the LS3/6L80 set up is (as are Nick’s components) and how easy/cheap it is to work on.

2. The fit is not perfect. I wish the engine sat further back 6-8 inches. There is a lot of room between the rear of the engine and the firewall and it is really tight between the front of the engine and the radiator. This would make it much easier to work on, give better access to the front end (including the steering box that is completely covered by the accessories) and provide much better fore/aft balance. However, this is not possible given the TC shifter would sit under the seat box and in a 90 the rear drive shaft would be too short with poor angles.

3. Do not underestimate the slippery slope of upgrades. Some will justify the cost of lockers, stronger drive shafts, hardened axles, brake upgrades, etc. as upgrades they would have made anyway for a more bulletproof drivetrain.

4. And finally, it is an absolute blast to drive! The Defender was made for this power and is well suited for the conversion. It feels incredibly stable and drives like a dream. This alone is reason enough!
 

1of40

Well-known member
Tdi parts are cheap and easy to find and they are very simple to work on.

The one and only reason to do an LS conversion is for power. It is a much more complex conversion. It is a much more complex power train. It will not be easier or cheaper to work on and won?t be more reliable.


I have to respectfully disagree.


I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most of the folks doing LS conversions have a different skillset and turning wrenches isn't their strong suits.


If you're a 1%'er and use your tdi to travel ultra long distances in the wilderness or live in a small remote town then you need to be a wrench turner and the tdi is a logical choice, imo. However if you write memos for a living and/or have a young family w/kids going in a 1,000 different directions at all times then a tdi can wear you out.
 

Boswalt

Well-known member
I have to respectfully disagree.


I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most of the folks doing LS conversions have a different skillset and turning wrenches isn't their strong suits.


If you're a 1%'er and use your tdi to travel ultra long distances in the wilderness or live in a small remote town then you need to be a wrench turner and the tdi is a logical choice, imo. However if you write memos for a living and/or have a young family w/kids going in a 1,000 different directions at all times then a tdi can wear you out.


I really didn't start this thread to debate Tdi vs LS.....it's in the LS conversion forum so I hoped this would focus on support of the project, not pissing on it.


Not everyone finds the Tdi simple and the situation above is exactly why I've chosen this option. The local depth of knowledge of the LS is huge. I have resources for parts and friends with knowledge. I maybe have $3K into this and most of that is in the adapters. The engine, transmission and TC were cheap. I expect it will be under $4500 when I'm done. (fuel pump and exhaust still being sourced) I couldn't touch a Tdi for that.


I like the Tdi but we're not in England with junk yards full of them and spares in every town.
 

mgreenspan

Founding Member
I agree. For America, the LS is a great option because nearly every shop could work on that without any issues. That's huge. And there are a grillion of them sitting in junkyards.
 

MountainD

Well-known member
I've run a tank of gas on my 6.2 while driving gently. I got between 13-14mpg. That was driving strictly for mpg, and it was really, really hard to keep my foot out of it. Really hard. Honestly had original dreams of maybe 18-20... But alas.
 

Factoid

Well-known member
It is interesting. In my case, perhaps the aerodynamics difference between the sleek Camaro and flying brick 90?!
 

Boswalt

Well-known member
It is interesting. In my case, perhaps the aerodynamics difference between the sleek Camaro and flying brick 90?!
I remember getting 13-14 if I was lucky out of my 97 NAS 90. As a daily driver, that can suck a bit, especially with the price of super. As a weekend / nice day / screw around car that runs on regular..... I can live with that.
 

modernbeat

Active member
Having had many trucks (not Rovers) with LS engines in 5.3, 6.0, and 6.2 displacements, and one with an 8.1 liter, some AWD, some 4WD and some 2WD, mostly 3/4 ton, but one 1/2 ton, usually on all-terrain or mud-terrain tires, I typically saw 11-15 mpg on the highway going about the speed limit. On the best day, I may have gotten 18 mpg with a stiff wind at my back and 65 mph. The big block gets 9-11 mpg.

I've done a total of about 1.2 million miles in post-99 GM trucks.

Unless you gear it very tall and run an all-season tire, I would not ever expect any more than 15 mpg.
 

rocky

Well-known member
Hah...seems that when you stick to gas 15 is about all you can expect.....but highway only....
 
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