Bryan Meadows Does An LS-Swap On His ’68 C10 And Burns Them Down!

Bryan lights them up. Image via screenshot.

Bryan lights them up and demonstrates just how much power an LS makes right out of the box. Image via screenshot.

Bryan Meadows is what we would call an “LS-Swap Junkie.” We say that because he can’t buy a vehicle without LS-swapping it. Take his cherry, sky blue 1968 Chevy C10 as an example. Unlike most other owners of a classic C10, Bryan bought it last year with the express intent of putting a 2005 Gen III 5.3 LS and 4L60E, that he found dirt cheap at a junkyard in town, in it.

What Bryan’s LS-Swap Entailed

Part of the engine reconditioning was to change the head gaskets. Images courtesy Bryan Meadows

Bryan first went through and reconditioned the engine and cleaned it up. For proper exhaust flow, he next picked up a set of LS exhaust manifolds. To get a decent bump in power output, Bryan also installed an LS6 camshaft in the 5.3. To ensure good solid launches, he installed a 3600 stall converter in the 4L60E.

The 5.3 Gen III LS and 4L60E transmission were assembled at Bryan's house. Image courtesy Bryan Meadows.

The 5.3 Gen III LS and 4L60E transmission were assembled at Bryan’s house. Image courtesy Bryan Meadows.

While he waited to get together with his brother in Midland, Texas to do the work, he picked up all the parts needed for the LS-swap. First, he picked up a set of Dirty Dingo motor mounts to make the engine fit properly. The increase in horsepower he wanted required a high-pressure inline fuel pump, while the LS engine and 4L60E transmission required a PSI wiring harness and ECM.

Doing An LS-Swap In The ’68 Over The Weekend

The engine is all dressed up and ready to party. Image courtesy Bryan Meadows.

The engine is all dressed up and ready to party. Image courtesy Bryan Meadows.

Bryan says that he and his brother AJ chatted via text while Bryan gathered the parts he’d need and did the work on the engine and transmission prior to the installation. They had the crazy idea to do the whole LS-swap in a single weekend. Their grandfather is an old SBC gearhead himself, so, one Friday, Bryan piled grandpa, himself, and his son Braxton in his truck and set off on the 350-mile road trip from New Braunfels to Midland, arriving at 4:30 p.m. that afternoon.

The engine and trans are in with the fenders off. Image courtesy Bryan Meadows.

The engine and trans are in with the fenders off. Image courtesy Bryan Meadows.

They hit the ground running, with Braxton and grandpa helping out where they could and grandpa giving advice and learning about the Gen III LS along the way. Being what Bryan calls a “small-block Chevy expert” the advice grandpa gave was indispensable, even though he’s a little behind the times on the Gen III LS stuff.

Just need to run wiring and fuel lines now. Image courtesy Bryan Meadows.

Just need to run wiring and fuel lines and put the fenders back on now. Image courtesy Bryan Meadows.

By early that evening, they had the engine and transmission in the ’68 where it belonged. Bryan tells us this is because he had four of the best helpers a man could ever ask for working on this project with him. They were unstoppable. However, they were surprised and a little bummed later that night when they realized it was approaching midnight and they’d have to knock off for the day. By this time they had the engine and transmission set and the mounts torqued down and had taken care of a bunch of “little things.”

Day Two Picks Up Where Day One Left Off

Day Two started with a trip to the parts store for a little “something or other” that was needed but forgotten in the run up to the weekend LS-swap. When Bryan got back, they got finished installing the fuel system, running new lines and installing that high pressure/high volume inline fuel pump.

Everything's coming together now. Image courtesy Bryan Meadows.

Everything’s coming together now and the LS looks like it was meant to be in the truck from the factory. Image courtesy Bryan Meadows.

While the rest of them kept up with the install, about a half dozen more trips to the parts store to pick up “enough BS to keep us smiling” were required. At almost exactly 3:30 p.m. that afternoon, they hit the key on her and she perked right up and sounded sweet. High fives all around.  Unfortunately, one thing nobody took into account in the run up to this stunning project was the driveshaft. It was too long, so Bryan ended up trailering his “new” LS-swapped ’68 Chevy C10 home.

What’s Happened Since the LS-Swap Was Finished

She's a beauty, isn't she? Images courtesy Bryan Meadows.

Bryan’s done quite a bit to the truck since he fit the driveshaft correctly. Bryan wanted to use the truck in this year’s Hot Rod Power Tour, so there was actually quite a bit more work to it that Braxton and Bailey helped him with. A completely new interior was first on the hit list.

Left: A shot of the engine bay with everything complete. Center: Braxton helped dad and grandpa, and Uncle AJ during the install. Right: A profile shot. Images courtesy Bryan Meadows.

Age and the Texas humidity has taken a toll on the body, so new rocker panels came next. The newly installed LS needed more airflow, so Bryan fit a cowl induction hood to help it breath more easily. Since you can’t have a beautiful truck without beautiful wheels and tires, the old ones were tossed in favor of the ones you see in the video and images. An Air ride system, AC from Vintage Air, and new power brakes completed the project.

Bryan burns them down in his LS-swapped '68 Chevy C10. Images from screenshots.

Bryan usually does his LS-swaps at home. He tells us that’s because his “three favorite guys” were there the whole time, which made it the most enjoyable LS-swap project he’s ever done, and will probably ever do. With helpers like those, we’d have to agree Bryan.

Bryan's current stable of LS-swapped vehicles. Stay tuned. We'll bed covering the Camaro and Impala soon!. Screenshot.

Bryan’s current stable of LS-swapped vehicles. Stay tuned. We’ll bed covering the Camaro and Impala soon!. Screenshot.

 

About the author

Mike Aguilar

Mike has been wrenching on cars since the early 1970s when he worked at his dad's auto repair shop. By the age of 14 Mike had built his first performance suspension, and by 16 he had built, and was racing cars in several sanctioned events in the San Francisco bay area.
Read My Articles

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