Tom Foglesong is the '10 Engine Swap Drags King of the Hill. His car dipped into the 12s o
Everything about the Engine Swap Drags (ESD) was cool. Take King of the Hill winner Tom Foglesong for example. Driving his grandfather's '68 Camaro with a lightly modified 5.3 swapped in from an '05 Suburban, he beat the entire N/A field, then took out a 10-second nitrous Camaro for the overall win.
These kinds of glorious underdog achievements are exactly what we were aiming for when we hatched the Engine Swap Drags concept. We wanted to turn over a rock and find the hard-core guys who use ingenuity and skill instead of dollars and professional builders to put together some fast cars using bitchin' new powerplants from Detroit. In the end, we found a lot of great cars, but only the most hard-core were willing to make it to Arizona for the race. Those heroes and their engine-swapping ideas are immortalized here.
The fastest power-adder car was Mark Haller in his nitrous'd Chevy. He also won the fastes
Jeff Beck had never drag raced before but beat Rod Smokowski's '72 Nova by 0.060 in a head
For the rest of you, we will be running this event again. If you have a pre-'92 American street car with a GM LS, Ford modular, or Chrysler 5.7 or 6.1L Hemi engine and can pass a basic NHRA tech inspection, you qualify. We're not looking for pure race cars or pro-built stuff-we want you to swing a new engine over an old fender and get out and race. Carbs are OK if you don't like fuel injection, and the final round uses a dial-in, so you don't even have to be rocket fast, just consistent. If you want to play, watch for updates in the magazine and check CarCraft.com to see what is happening. This is your chance to get involved and have some fun. We guarantee a spot in the magazine if you compete, and who knows, you might just win it all.
Rod Smokowski was put out early when Beck squeezed by him in the lights, but he still had
It's easy to be the fastest Ford when you are the only Ford at the race. It's easier when
Thanks to MSD Ignition, Ford Racing, and Firebird Raceway.
For some reason, no Mopars bothered to show, even though we had a prize for them, too. We
Beck won the first round in the normally aspirated class but lost in the final to eventual
Buick LS Cruiser
We were just getting things organized at the ESD when Beck rolled in with his Buick. Frankly, the car appeared too nice to be an ESD candidate. With a flick of the hood release, we were greeted with an Escalade LQ9 6.0L hunched between the inner fender panels. The installation was every bit as clean as the exterior, which is really no surprise when you learn that Beck's history includes a long stint at Santini USA Paint and Body. Several years ago, Beck bought his own business and now all the work is done at Anderson's Frame and Alignment in Garden Grove, California.
Who: Jeff Beck
What: '68 Buick Skylark
Where: Garden Grove, CA
Engine: '04 LQ9 6.0L with
factory EFI control
4L65E four-speed automatic
Rearend: Chevy 12-bolt, 4.10:1
Beck used a Howell Engine Developments wiring harness with enough wire to hide the ECM und
The Milodon oil pan demands the use of an external oil filter. Beck used a Hamburger's rem
Beck retained the factory Buick firewall A/C components and mounted the compressor with a
The LQ9 6.0L looks like it has always been in the Buick's engine compartment. A combinatio
A. Beck retained the stock truck LQ9 intake manifold but added an LS1 Camaro cable-operated throttle body using a Lokar cable that bolted right in.
B. LS engine builder Ken Duttweiler says to not plug the heater hose connections on LS engines. If you are not using a heater, you still must loop the connection between the two heater outlets.
C. You can also remove the heater hose nipples from the water pump and tap them for AN fittings using a 3/4-inch pipe tap. We've tried it and it works great.
D. Most electric water temp sending units are too big to fit the stock, metric fittings drilled into the heads. You can create an adapter, or you can also drill and tap a 3/4-inch pipe thread hole in the top of the water pump for a mechanical water temp pickup.
It doesn't look like a really fast car, does it? That's exactly what Haller wants you to t
While this car looks much more the part of the dedicated third-generation racer, Mark Haller's priority has always been to make it a street car. "It's really a simple car, and I always intended to drive it on the street." The drivetrain fits right into that plan with an iron LQ4 6.0L short-block, a Comp hydraulic roller cam, some headwork, a Turbo 350 trans, and a 9-inch out back for durability. Haller and his crew, Brandon Felpz and Warren Rabb, flogged on the car, and Mark also wanted to thank his buddy Ernie Greene at Sav-On Transmissions in Phoenix who made the Turbo 350 live. They were still sorting out the nitrous system during ESD, with a final pass of 10.52 at 127 mph that reveals the car's potential.
Who: Mark Haller
What: '82 Chevrolet Z28 Camaro
Where: Glendale, AZ
Engine: '04 Chevy truck 6.0L, carbureted
Rearend: Moser 9-inch, 3.50:1
Cast-iron manifolds on a nitrous engine? You bet. Haller says the manifolds are from an '0
The TH350 trans requires an adapter spacer from Hughes (PN HP3795) and a flat flexplate (H
The Gen IV engines use a separate thermostat housing (PN 12587395) and thermostat compared
A. Using the '98 to '02 Camaro oil pan (GM PN 12628771) was one of the easier choices that produced sufficient clearance around the engine crossmember.
Haller used a Trans-Dapt engine mount kit (Trans-Dapt PN 4575) that moves the engine forward roughly 1 inch to position the 6.0L in the Camaro engine bay. Haller says he had to massage a few things to make it fit. Moving the engine forward allowed access to the bellhousing bolts.
B. Haller retained the stock Camaro K-member but did have to notch it and reinforce the cut to clear the alternator used with the F-car-style accessory drive. Using the '98 to '02 Camaro oil pan (GM PN 12628771) was one of the easier choices that produced sufficient clearance around the engine crossmember.
C. Haller used a Trans-Dapt engine mount kit (Trans-Dapt PN4575) that moves the engine forward roughly 1 inch to position the 6.0L in the Camaro engine bay. Haller says he had to massage a few things to make it fit. Moving the engine forward allowed access to the bellhousing bolts.
Using the '98 to '02 Camaro oil pan (GM PN12628771) was one of the easier choices that produced sufficient clearance around the engine crossmember.
If you look up the word innocuous in the dictionary, it should show a picture of Rob Smoko
"I decided that the more parts I could use from that '04 GTO, the better it would be." That was Rob Smokowski's reasoning for purchasing a rolled '04 GTO with 31,000 miles for a mere $5,000. He stripped everything he thought useful, sold other parts he didn't need for $1,000, and still has plenty of spares for his daily driver '04 six-speed GTO he bought brand new. He says he has roughly $4,000 in the entire swap. "Plus, if I break down somewhere, the parts I need will be for an '04 GTO." The original Nova was a 50,000-mile six-cylinder in pretty good shape. Bolting in the LS1 and T56 manual gearbox was easy with help from an LH3 oil pan. He also used an American Touring Specialties (t56kit.com) crossmember to position the trans. One of the mildly challenging aspects of the swap was adapting the hydraulic clutch master to the stock clutch pedal. Smokowski says the key is to keep the rod from the pedal to the master level at midstroke, and he started by placing the pedal at the floor with the master cylinder at maximum stroke. He then fabricated a bracket to locate the actuator rod to the pedal in the correct location and to help limit pedal return travel. Smokowski says excessive return travel can destroy the master. He also used a QuickTime bellhousing to connect the trans to the engine along with a Monster clutch.
Smokowski used a Hummer LH3 oil pan, which clears the crossmember but is very deep, placin
Smokowski first installed the stock harness and fired the engine in the car. Then he began
Who: Rob Smokowski
What: '72 Chevrolet Nova
Where: Phoenix, AZ
Engine: '04 GTO LS1 5.7L
Transmission: T56 six-speed
Rearend: GM 12-bolt, 3.31:1
Smokowski also wanted to use the original '04 GTO fuel pump assembly, but at 8 inches, it
Smokowski welded a steel AN bung to the end of the stock engine fuel line to adapt the sto
The motor fits nicely in the engine compartment with homemade engine mount plates and Hook
A. Smokowski retained the two LS1 factory fuse blocks under the hood, but if you wanted to hide them, they could be repositioned under the dash or perhaps above the inner fender panel on the passenger side.
B. If you're looking for a better fuel pump pickup and fuel return for an otherwise stock muscle car fuel tank, Robbmcperformance.com makes a very nice all-aluminum fuel pickup assembly with a -8 inlet and return.
C. Smokowski heard about a cool idea to adapt the stock throttle body inlet to an airbox fixed to the hood that would integrate a filter under the hood to pull cool air in from a cowl hoodscoop.
Tom's Camaro has been part of his family for longer than Tom has been around. This car was originally purchased by his grandfather at a Chevrolet dealership in Albuquerque, New Mexico. "It was a very basic car. It had the 250 inline-six, a three-speed column-shifted manual transmission, and a push-button AM radio," he told us. His grandfather owned the car until his death in May 2007. He left it for Tom in his will.
The first thing Tom did was swap the front drum brakes for discs. "It all took off from there," he says. After the front brakes came Hotchkis front springs, then a Hotchkis sway bar. He upgraded the rear suspension similarly not too long after that. But it was when he was helping a friend swap a cam into an '02 Camaro that he decided to do an LS swap. "The engine was so easy to work on, I knew I didn't want to build a regular small-block after that," he said. In early 2008, he started collecting the parts he needed, and by the end of the year, he found a great deal on a 5.3 out of a Suburban. The rest, as they say, is history.
Who: Tom Foglesong
What: '67 Chevrolet Camaro / '05 LM7
Where: Tempe, Arizona
Engine: '05 LM7 5.3L
Transmission: '04 GTO T56 six-speed
A. The stock 8.2-inch 10-bolt axle remains in place. Tom's got 3.73:1 gears in it.
B. A used T56 from an '04 GTO is bolted up to the engine. Foglesong picked it up for a pretty good price, too. Fortunately, he disassembled the box to inspect it prior to installing because two of the gears needed to be replaced. The synchro teeth in the gear faces were badly worn. Apparently, the GTO owner was an autocrosser and road racer, and the gearbox suffered because of it. Factoring in the cost of the repairs to the purchase price, Foglesong may have been able to buy a new transmission from the start. The bellhousing is stock to the '04 GTO. However, his clutch is from an LS7 application. He got one for a great price from a friend of his who bought the whole assembly, flywheel, pressure plate, and friction disc as a takeoff from a shop that builds sandrails. It pays off to shop in odd places for parts like this.
C. First-gen Camaros are rear steer, and that causes clearance problems with LS oil pans. Foglesong bought an F-car pan and had it notched to clear his car's centerlink. Otherwise, it fits his stock crossmember perfectly.
D. Originally, Foglesong tried a pair of Edelbrock motor mounts, but they placed the engine far enough back in the engine compartment that he had clearance problems with his heater. He bought new mounts from Car Shop Inc. that locate the engine farther forward than the Edelbrock mounts.
E. Edelbrock delivers the fuel to Foglesong's diminutive LS engine. An Edelbrock 650-cfm Thunder AVS carburetor is parked on top of a Performer RPM LS1 intake manifold.
A Carter universal inline fuel pump is mounted to the floor near the Camaro's original gas
The tubes are by American Racing Headers and measure 17/8 inch at the primaries and 3 inch
This is an LM7 out of an '05 Chevrolet Suburban. Foglesong purchased it used through LKQ R
A. Foglesong pieced together an F-car accessory drive, buying a new alternator, used power steering and water pumps, and new brackets from GMpartsdirect.com. He does not have air conditioning; otherwise, he would have had to notch the engine crossmember to clear the A/C compressor.
B. An MSD 6LS box controls the ignition timing. Foglesong bought a custom wiring harness from Innovative Wiring.
Kevin Kenley's Mustang should look familiar. We ran a six-page feature on it in the June '10 issue. The Engine Swap Drags was still in the planning stages when we did the photo shoot, but we did hint to Kevin at the time that we were planning a drag racing contest that would be a good match for his car. He agreed to be there no matter what.
Because Kenley's car is subject to California's biannual smog testing, he had to decide if he wanted this to be a dedicated race car, never to see the street again, or to be an emissions-compliant, state-certified engine swap. One is the easy path, the other, convoluted, aggravating, and expensive. He chose the latter. To make the car compliant, he had to swap the entire fuel system and all the emissions controls from an '04 Mustang Cobra donor car. Fortunately, the floorpans for '79 to '04 Mustangs are all the same. The '04 fuel lines fit his '81 exactly. The gas tank straps needed to be relocated to fit the newer tank, though, and he had to find a place to locate the '04's massive EVAP canister. In the end, he was able to meet all the state's requirements. As far as the state is concerned, his car is an '04 Cobra in an '81 wrapper.
The most labor-intensive part of most engine swaps is the wiring. Grafting a new engine's harness to the one in your older car takes a lot of patience, planning, and good wiring diagrams of each car. One thing you don't need however is an engineering degree. Though it looks like a daunting task, if you work carefully, this is something almost anyone can do. Kenley is good with wiring but admitted to being intimidated by the maze of wires he had to sort through when he started to rewire the car. He reckons he had to make about 300 splices to join the harnesses from the two cars together.
Because Kenley had only just finished the engine swap and supercharger upgrade a couple of months before we met him at the photo shoot, he was still trying to figure out a good suspension setup and how to launch the car. He described to us mad thrashes on his days off, changing springs and shocks, blasting down the dragstrip, fixing broken parts, and negotiating a steep learning curve during that time.
Though he was disappointed with his performance at ESD, we applaud his efforts. When he's able to get all the power to the ground, Kevin's car will be wicked fast.
Who: Kevin Kenley
What: '81 Ford Mustang/'04 Supercharged DOHC 4.6L
Where: Rancho Cucamonga, California
Engine: '04 Mustang Cobra 4V 4.6
Transmission: Dodge Viper T56 six-speed
A. Ford's venerable 8.8-inch solid axle is out back. It was built with Currie 9-inch bearing ends. A Detroit Locker spins 3.37:1 gears.
B. Kenley has been working on this car for more than 15 years. Originally a lowly, four-cylinder commuter special, he bought it to do a wicked 302 build. The project was shelved several times for a variety of personal reasons, then took a U-turn when he found a good deal on a complete 4.6 out of a wrecked '04 Cobra. The swap began in 2005, and he was finally able to get it on the road in November 2009.
C. This is a 4.6L, 32-valve V-8 out of an '04 Mustang SVT Cobra. These engines were the only 4.6s to come from the factory with a forged rotating assembly. Since it is so well equipped from the factory, Kenley didn't mess with the long-block. The cams, springs, and rotating assembly are all stock.
D. Kenley bought a used T56 from a Dodge Viper and changed the input shaft to fit the clutch and pilot bushing on his Ford.
E. Believe it or not, the engine still has the factory iron exhaust manifolds. This seemed to be the best option when considering how to fit this massive engine into the Fox-body engine bay.
Originally equipped with Eaton M112 Roots-type superchargers, the biggest performance bang
An '04 Mustang computer runs the show. Tuned on the chassis dyno by Adam Montague at ST Mo
Kenley replaced the engine crossmember with a tubular one from AJE Racing. It's a bolt-in