Donor engine LS3 swap - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-03-2017, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Donor engine LS3 swap

In your opinion would you buy an engine and tranny from a donor with miles or strictly new on each? Looking for an L83 or L86
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-04-2017, 01:52 PM
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In your opinion would you buy an engine and tranny from a donor with miles or strictly new on each? Looking for an L83 or L86
That is really up to you and your wallet. Obviously you can't beat brand new, but I wouldn't worry about a used engine/trans with 20-30-40k on it either. An engine with 75-100k on it, I'd pass on.

I bought a brand new LS3 crate engine and found a used 6l90 trans with 3 miles on it. Trans came out of a '15 truck that fell off the transporter.

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post #3 of 12 Old 05-04-2017, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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I wouldn't be looking for anything over 25k miles. The eBay auctions seem to have decent deals but there's nothing like looking at a motor in buying it as opposed to having delivered across the country.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-04-2017, 03:32 PM
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I bought a used LS1 that "supposedly" had only 40k on it when pulled, turned out to be nothing but problems. After throwing a rod after 8k miles in my rig, replacing it with a new LS3 from blueprint engines. lesson learned the hard way by me....
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-04-2017, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Copasspupil View Post
In your opinion would you buy an engine and tranny from a donor with miles or strictly new on each? Looking for an L83 or L86
Your going to have a hard time getting a crate production L83 or L86 they are not offered yet as far as I know. Currently the Gen V production LT1 is available through Chevrolet Performance and it is quite an engine, all the Gen V's are.

A production engine means it comes with the intake, coils, manifolds, etc.. ready to drop in. GM does offer long blocks but by the time you source the other parts it's not worth it IMO.

Part #'s for Gen V production truck engines are being released so I would expect them to be available soon which should drive down the used market prices.

The other part of the equation is a lift out engine can give you the harness, modules, mounts and other parts a crate engine will not so you have to add that in.

Now that we have done many Gen V builds were getting comfortable with the OS's, hardware and software. It's odd but some OS's work better than others and we have pretty much settled on the configurations through experience and lots of road testing. The Gen V 5.3, 6.2, 6 speed and 8 speed all have their own personalities. So at this point we are purchasing E92 ECM's 8 speed TCM's, harnesses, etc. from GM so we can support the kits like the Gen IV's.

When it comes to an LS3 I'd go new, they run just over $6k and you get a new production engine with a GM warranty. Wrecking yards know the demand for any aluminum 6.2 and jack the price up so you might save a grand over new, not worth it IMO. I have seen LS3/L99's go for good prices but there are often issues with them. With all the hype I've seen guys pay more for a used LS3 than a new one.

Now when it comes to the gen IV truck engines any of the iron used engines are a bargain IMO. They are tough engines and can run for hundreds of thousands of miles. The Gen IV iron 5.3 and 6.0 will set you back $2-2,500 and the aluminum 5.3 a bit more. The Gen IV truck 6.2's(L92, L9H and L94) went out of production a few years ago and are still holding their prices, I'd say $4-5k is a decent deal on one and they are great engines. Stay away from the L92 if possible, it's a good engine just 2007-8 OS's are difficult to work with.

It's important to work with a quality yard, I have built up relationships with yards that stand behind their engines so they are usually very good. We do pay a little extra for 10-20,000 miles engines from late model vehicles because it is lot less expensive to swap the engine just once.

After 100's of swaps I can only think of a couple bad engines we got and it was more like damage from shipping, or gummed up injectors and valve guides than an actual mechanical problem. If you find the right engine the used market give you very good value for dollar. If you want a new engine and the engine is available and your willing to pay for it go for it.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-04-2017, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Robbie you just brought up a question for me so my jeep is a 14. Do I need a 14 or newer engine to satisfy the state like California? Even though I'm in Washington state.

I'm looking at (2)5.3 one at 7k miles and another at 9. High 4s to my door with 6l80 or 6l90
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-04-2017, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Copasspupil View Post
Robbie you just brought up a question for me so my jeep is a 14. Do I need a 14 or newer engine to satisfy the state like California? Even though I'm in Washington state.

I'm looking at (2)5.3 one at 7k miles and another at 9. High 4s to my door with 6l80 or 6l90
14' was a good year because the Gen V engine was introduced and the LS3 as well as other Gen IV's were still available; so you have a choice. It's actually a Federal law regarding the engine year so all the states are subject to it but not all do not enforce it.

You want a 6l80 or 8l90 I'd stay away from the 6l90. $4-5k seems to be the going rate for a L83 liftout.

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post #8 of 12 Old 05-05-2017, 03:32 AM
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id be less leary then some here. Ive owned and been around vettes all my life. Ive also owned and been around silveados all my life. If they have been maintained at all there just getting broke in at 80k. I know buddys with vettes with ls1s ls2s and ls3s that run the crap out of them and have well over a 100k on them and they run like new. I even know a couple that have bolt ons bringing the rear wheel hp up over 500 that have over a 100k and run like a top. Short blocks on these motors are pretty bullet proof. Some need some head work. The ls6 is known for bad valve springs that can break and the z06 c6 motors were know for valve guide problems. So if a motor had much more then say 80 k id do a compression check to insure the owner isn't trying to pass a lemon and maybe to a quick valve job on the heads. that said I have to say I know ls motors with near 200k on them that have never had even head work. I would prefer to hear the motor run as some have a bit of piston slap but you can get that on a brand new motor too.
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-07-2017, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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I'd love to hear them otherwise I feel like the engine is just a boat anchor. Unfortunately, all the ones I'm finding are significantly far away so that's not an option.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-09-2017, 05:33 AM
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Well, Just to add to the mix. I picked up my '12 L96 with 28k miles and a '12 6L80 with 29k miles for $4300. Was an hour drive for me to pick up but I am very satisfied. It was not complete with harness and other accessories but since I get harness, computer and all the goodies from Robbie with their kit it was a perfect combo of engine/trans/price for me. I found a similar 6.2L and trans combo for an additional $1300. Budget said 6.0 iron block was good enough. I finally get to start pulling things apart this weekend and send it to Vegas! Will start a thread for body on swap

Good luck finding the engine you want!

2007 Black JKU, 4" Terraflex, 37" Nitto Muds, MagnaFlo, WildBoar slant back top, LS SWAP COMING SOON
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post #11 of 12 Old 05-14-2017, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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So the next question I have for all that have do it. What are the most difficult items to get done with the swap you found?
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post #12 of 12 Old 07-03-2017, 04:47 AM
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I picked up a 2014 L83 from a salvage yard about 1.5 hrs away. I recommend you get a complete pull out with everything attached. I got to even see the truck my engine came out of.
Also, the yard had the vin and mileage logged on their computer system.
I paid $4,000 out the door, and it has 11k miles on it.
With my swap, the scariest part was pulling the body of with a large chain hoist, as we did not have a lift.
The hardest part was doing this away in someone else's shop. Also, making sure I had gotten all the components to the engine and trans. Again a full drop out, with complete harness (not cut as mine was), and even the MAF sensor off the air tube is what you need. The swap itself was pretty plug and play. The current beta gen v kit is a "learn as you go" type of situation, and I personally really enjoy this. But be forewarned, it will take more time than you think, do not be ignorant and think you will do this type of swap over the weekend. I did my CJ over two weekends, and this ain't no CJ! I like to mod and it is a pleasure to work on a new(er) Jeep than my rusty old CJ.
And, if Robbie tells you to mount the engine at a certain location, then you will mount the engine in THAT location. Motech is the only company doing gen v swaps, and my hat is off to Robbie, Mitch, Cory and Christina. I have hit some snags, but I got my engine fired up and running, and my advice to anyone with a v6 Jeep is....buy the wife a nice diamond ring, go to the bank and pull the money and drop in the v8! You will not look back!
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