The Truth About Cars » LS1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:55:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » LS1 Piston Slap: FREE Cressida, Sanjeev! Wed, 06 Mar 2013 12:36:30 +0000 Jonny writes:

Hey sanjeev, i’m looking for some advice on what i should do here. The car: 1987 Toyota Cressida, 170,000kms (i live in vancouver, BC), usual mid-eighties toyota rust, other than needing brakes it seems to run great. i paid exactly $0.00 for the car.

a friend’s parents moved away and just wanted to get rid of it. so they gave it to me. thankfully, i work at a dealer service department so any minor repairs and maintenance will be fairly cheap. low miles, RWD, inline-6, loaded with sweet eighties luxury options…. it seems too awesome NOT to drive!
what should i do?
- sell it?
- keep it and drive it?
- send it to a denver self-service yard for Murilee to photograph at a later date?

any tips/experience you can share with a car like this would be greatly appreciated
thanks a lot.

Sanjeev answers:

Much like you not knowing my name, I (Sanjeev) know nothing about your personal situation.  Maybe you could use the extra $300-400 (US) in scrap value for something else in your life.

Nobody needs a free Cressida, per se.

That said, I am super jealous and you need to keep it. Cressidas are just that cool: I suggest you mortgage your future and do a 2JZ-swap.  Or even better, this:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Oh yes, LS1-FTW!  Sajeev hasn’t said that in a long time, so Sanjeev’s gotta take up the slack. You know what to do, so you better do it.

LS1-FTW: do it, to it.


Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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GEN V Small Block Chevy = LT1-FTW? Wed, 24 Oct 2012 17:20:14 +0000 There’s a new small block in town, baby: keeping the spirit of the original 1949 Kettering OHV V8 alive. Piston Slap says the new name is sad: mediocre memories of the Optispark munching, reverse flow coolin’ LT-1 is not a fitting successor to the sheer splendiferousness that was the LSX.  Vellum Venom says that the 2006 Ford F-150 called, asking for its fender emblem back.  But what’s the real story?

All snark aside, the GEN V small block is a stunning piece of engineering on paper.  The LT1′s (no dash) forged crank and connecting rods are pure hot-rod porn.  Plus, gadgets found elsewhere:  direct injection, variable valve timing and…wait for it…another try at displacement on demand for a V8.  Third time is the charm, perhaps, and the promise of 26MPG from Six-Point-Two liters of engine sends the Porsche 911′s puny boxer motor packing.  And this is the beginning, you know there will be hotter (LT4, anyone?) version with even more power. With the “Kettering factor” present in the compact, low center of gravity LT1, this must be the lightest production V8 @ 465lbs**: let’s put one in a new BMW M5, compare the cost, ease of repair, road course performance (even with 100 less ponies), etc just to prove a point.  And then do more LT1 swaps on the competition.  That would make a statement!

Or just put it in the Cadillac ATS (optional) and CTS (standard) and call it a day. That won’t happen, but kudos to GM Powertrain for another motor that will be The One To Have in your next engine swap fantasy.

And to that idiotic rumor of Chevy putting a twin-turbo V6 in the Corvette?  Oh please: LT1-FTW, SON!

 **dave504 corrected me, the normally-injected Ford Coyote is lighter.  My bad.

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Product Review: E30 LS1 Conversion (Van Swearingen) Thu, 05 Aug 2010 15:04:56 +0000

For its day, the BMW E30 3-series was an impressive blend of German craftsmanship, understated and cohesive style with remarkable performance. Then again, the E30 may lack straight line performance but the handling remains stellar. And the look is almost timeless. But it needs more than 200 horsepower to truly shine outside of its numerous wins at the 24 Hours Of LeMons. Perhaps 345 horses will help the cause. So let’s put a lightweight, torque intensive V8 under the hood to fix that singular shortcoming.

Steve and Garret Van Swearingen found me via Piston Slap, and showed us all they had the resources to make it happen. Furthermore, these gentlemen possess the foresight to realize that others are similarly demented: though perhaps not as adventurous. Enter their self-published PDF document, E30-LS1, the definitive record on how to install a Chevy LS-X into the near perfect BMW E30.

Because of all the maniacal, pro-Chevy LS swap Piston Slap rants I’ve bestowed upon TTAC readers, Steve gave me a copy of the conversion article, gratis. No, I didn’t rush out and buy an E30, a late-model Pontiac GTO donor car (preferred) and clear my garage of my current projects, though his work is so detailed and intriguing that I considered it. Too bad the conversion isn’t a walk in the park: and his document is complete information overload.

With that in mind, legal liabilities come with this knowledge. Like anyone who lives in a cubicle, Steve and Garret understand CYA statements, which occupy the document’s first chapter. Such is life.

Without giving away the entire bill of sale, let’s hit the highlights of the E30-LS1 instruction manual. Most noticeably, the document is filled with CAD drawings of everything from the (modified) Pontiac GTO oil pan, brake booster linkages and transmission mounts. And that’s only a short list. While I didn’t make any of the parts to verify accuracy, anyone knowledgeable in CAD sees that Steve and Garret did their homework.

There are impressive hand drawings: while some are crude enough to require a second look, all are clear, detailed and valuable.  Take the custom intake tube leading to the LS-X’s centrally located throttle body: decent renderings, but with valuable notes that add to the document’s (somewhat) easy to read nature.  You know, for a deeply technical discussion.

Photographs abound, showing how the finished product looks: I especially like the photos of the rethought, re-engineered brake booster/master cylinder at the firewall, as that is a fairly complicated component to make for your average weekend wrench turner. But the stunning 3D renderings of the redesigned transmission mount might be the coolest diagram. Other renderings show how the T-56 6-speed transmission bolts into the E30 body, step-by-step. While not showing an exploded view diagram, this looks cleaner and easier to digest.

But pictures and drawings aren’t gonna get it done.  So they wrote easy to understand, somewhat un-technical copy explaining what parts are needed. It even tells you where to buy them. This saves a tremendous amount of time, even in the Internet age.

And even more details are sweated, telling you where a certain GM part fits under the E30’s bonnet, and what modification (hose, screw, clamp, etc) is needed to make it right. If words take too long, odds are there’s a picture to speed up the process. A great example is the content given to fabricate the GM-BMW hybrid A/C system under hood.  Yes, you have OEM levels of refinement here too.

Not every idea is set in stone: I imagine one can cut a corner or two with a zip-tie.  That is, if you’re a complete slacker. And that’s your call: everything needed to make that judgment is available.

But, on a limited production basis, Steve and Garret are offering a number of parts for the E30-LS1 swap. They went as far as removing the real-world tested parts on their personal E30: engine and transmission mounts, brake booster linkage system, second differential mount and the radiator mount.  The parts are removed to build welding fixtures from them, and many of the parts were redesigned to be laser-cut, in order to make it feasible to produce multiple copies.

Why is that relevant?  Because, much like a regular shade tree mechanic, Steve and Garret originally made these parts with crude tools like a hacksaw and file. So they are hoping to sell the kit (including the document reviewed here) for between $1200 and $1500. The standalone document is $99, which is certainly the best use of your time and money, should you buy into the E30-LS1 value proposition.

I see the light, and would take the plunge if I could. If this kind of mechanical mayhem is up your alley, pick up an E30-LS1 guide or the conversion parts by emailing

Steve and Garret Van Swearingen provided TTAC with a complimentary copy of their E30-LS1 Guide for evaluation purposes.

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Piston Slap: E30 + LS1 = WIN Mon, 07 Dec 2009 15:36:20 +0000

Steve from Seattle writes:

As regularly mentioned on Piston Slap, the LS-X engines are the best in the world for their compact size, low weight, simplicity, reliability, cost and ability to make more power with simple bolt-ons. So I wanted to share my project to TTAC’s readers: we put a ’99 LS-1 and T56 into our BMW E30.  Everything works, A/C, cruise control, etc.  Seriously.

It’s a sleeper, except for the “357i” numbers on the trunk (nice of BMW to make a “735″ that we could cut apart) and our “E30-LS1″ license plate!! Only those ‘in the know’ get it.

We published a “How-To” CD, which documents how to build the E30-LS1.  It contains pictures from the build, Catia drawings, wiring, fuel system, driveshaft mods, engine mounts, radiator system, A/C, HydroBoost, etc.  I also have more pictures here.

Thanks and I hope everyone likes it.

Sajeev replies:

How can I not promote the hard work you did on this BMW? And you took the time to document and self-publish everything?  Perfect.

I hope you motivate the Best and Brightest to tackle their own automotive projects. Which embodies the spirit of Piston Slap: the E30-LS1 is automotive lunacy and perfection in one package, likely to tick off every BMW fanboi.  And shame them into silence with a command performance.   Regarding your how-to CD: maybe TTAC needs another project car…maybe not. But a closer look with a Product Review is certainly in order.

Bonus!  A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

The E30 is a fantastic platform from stem to stern.  But don’t take my word for it, look at it’s racing success in the 24 Hours Of LeMons. But the engines are more than a little outdated for any other event.  And what better upgrade than a lightweight LS-X motor for AMG-levels of grunt with proper BMW poise in the corners?  Epic Win.

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