When performing an LS swap on a vehicle, you will be faced with several challenges along the way. Since GM did not build these engines for older model cars, you’ll need to figure out the best accessory drive, fuel system, and motor mounts for your specific application. Another area of concern is the oil pan. In some cases, the factory pans will work. But most of the time, they will not, due to a lack of clearance around the frame or steering linkage. But don’t worry, the aftermarket has plenty of options that will allow you to shoehorn an LS engine into the tightest of places.
Chevrolet Performance knows the LS swap’s popularity and has been offering LS and LT crate engines for a few years now. They also provide their own LS Muscle Car Oil Pan Kit (PN 19212593). Chevrolet states that this pan fits virtually all 1955-1995 GM front-engine rear-wheel-drive V8 cars, and includes bolts, gaskets, pickup tube, nuts, windage tray, oil pan, and dipstick. This oil pan has a 5-quart capacity and can accept a max stroke of 3.620-inches.
Holley is known for its development in the LS swap game and offers several different oil pan solutions. Its GM LS Swap Oil Pan (PN VK090000) is designed to fit most 1955-87 GM classic cars and trucks. This unit is comparable to the GM Muscle Car Oil Pan Kit, but it offers a lower profile for added ground clearance. This kit includes a cast oil pan (PN 302-1), dipstick tube, sump baffle, pickup tube, sump plug, bolts, gasket, oil filter stud, silicone RTV, and oil passage cover. This 5.5-quart oil pan will also accept a maximum crankshaft stroke of 4.25-inches.
If you need more clearance from the front of the oil pan, Holley has a couple of more options with PN 302-2 and PN 302-3, which offer even more clearance and includes two 1/2-inch national pipe thread (NPT) oil bosses for those running turbocharged LS combinations. Holley notes that the 302-3 is perfect for 1967-1969 Camaro/Firebird, 1968-1974 Nova/Apollo/Ventura/Omega, 1982-1992 F-body, 1978-1987 G-body, and 1964-1972 A-body applications. The pan will also work with 1979-2004 Mustang and 1979-1986 Capri Fox bodies. The 302-3 oil pan will also clear a 4.00-inch stroke crankshaft for those running additional cubic-inches.
If you’re looking for an LS oil pan for a specific application like street/strip, road racing, drag racing, or even circle track, Moroso has several applications. Unlike the GM Performance and Holley units, these pans are not cast aluminum. Instead, Moroso fabricates and builds theirs out of sheet metal. According to Moroso, its steel road race oil pan (PN 20142) has a 7-quart capacity and is six-inches deep. This unit will fit 1968-72 Novas, 65-72 Chevelles, 1967-2015 Camaros and Firebirds, 1953-96 Corvettes, 1978-88 G-body, and S10/S15 truck and blazer. These pans also incorporate a race-proven diamond shape four trap door assembly and anti-slosh baffle that keeps oil in the oil pump pick-up area during road racing and drag racing.
Custom Oil Pans
While these three manufactures will cover around 90-percent of the oil pans needed for a swap, there are a few instances where you need something special. You might have to find an experienced welder to modify one of the oil pans mentioned above for your specific application. However, there are companies out there like Sikky Manufacturing and LOJ Conversion that specialize in specific applications like Infiniti, Nissan, Toyotas, and BMWs and offer a wide array of custom oil pans.
With the LS-swap’s popularity, the odds are pretty good that someone has already built something similar to your project. So do some research and take good measurements before purchasing your new oil pan. You will be glad you did.