If you read the title and thought, “great, another LS-swap article”, you might want to keep your reservations in check until you read through this one. This article isn’t going to tell you how easy it is or what companies have what parts to make the swap doable. If you’re looking for that information, click here. This article is actually going to talk about one of the main aspects of an LS swap that seems to cause the most headaches for many enthusiasts—connecting the engine to an ECU.
When classic car owners first started grabbing Chevrolet’s LS engines from salvage yards and installing them into their classic cars, these modernizing hot rodders also needed to either grab the original ECU and wiring harness—along with its unnecessary wires—and adapt it to fit their application.
For many, that was feasible. But most didn’t want all those extra wires. What’s more, if re-pinning was required, that was too daunting a task. What’s more, the now “re-engineered” wire harness often looked cumbersome in the car with its cut-and-spliced wires or the extra wires bundled and unsuccessfully hidden. It took a few years for simple and reliable wiring alternatives to become available.
As you know, the LS engine was only available with fuel injection. But to get around the wiring involved with running the EFI, some enthusiasts would make their modern mill old-school by installing a carburetor. While that works, it really does negate the premise of installing a modern engine in your classic. If keeping your modern engine fueled by EFI is what you are looking to do, you can have the modern mill in all its glory? We’re here to show you one of the latest offerings to help you easily control your swapped motivator.
There is no denying the name Edelbrock is synonymous with performance. This aftermarket company has been supplying parts to enthusiasts for years. Now, the folks there are happy to talk about the latest LS-swap offering that is really a must-have product.
Edelbrock offers a way to simplify the LS-swap process by delivering its “junkyard wire harness” and engine control unit. The harness is a quick and easy way to connect the Pro-Flo 4 EFI ECU to your engine. In case you are wondering, no, the harness will not work with a General Motors factory ECU. However, the complete kit (PN 35711 for 24X reluctor and 35712 for 58x reluctor) are available for less than $1,000, and that includes a 7-inch Android Tablet. According to Trent Goodwin of Edelbrock, “The engine harnesses are all a standard length, so you can install the ECU under the hood or under your dash. To use the Android device in Bluetooth, it is recommended it be within 8 to 12 feet to connect to your ECU. We have had Edelbrock techs walk completely around the vehicle and it stays connected.”
The supplied ECU and wire harness can be used for any level of LS performance. However, these both also come Edelbrock’s E-Tuner application installed in the tablet, which eliminates the need for laptop tuning or costly dyno sessions. The E-Tuner is a user-friendly app that uses Bluetooth connectivity to communicate with the ECU. It can be downloaded free of charge in the Google Play Store to use with your Android-based Tablet or smartphone.
Before you get nervous about the possibility of having to tune your modern mill, rest easy. Tuning is not required, but the option is there if you wish to tweak a few parameters. The key to the E-Tuner’s simplicity is the installed Setup Wizard that guides you step-by-step through the initial programming for your particular engine. Once you provide the Wizard with basic data (the type of engine, cubic inches, firing order, and cam profile), the E-Tuner then selects the most appropriate base calibration for your engine. What’s more, as you drive the vehicle, the self-learning E-Tuner continually maximizes the fuel map according to the environment and your driving style so that your engine is always performing at its best.
While the E-tune system does have engine-run parameters already installed, we asked Trent if advanced tuning is also an option. “The tuning parameters are all based on your engine parameters,” he says. “Edelbrock has 60 pre-built engine maps to help with this process. Also, this system will handle naturally aspirated and boosted applications (two bar/up to 15psi) up to 1,000 horsepower. For those wanted to tweak the tunes for a more refined tune, certain tuning parameters like start-up fuel squirt, air-fuel ratios, ignition curve, idle speed, acceleration fuel, coolant fans, rev-limiter, A/C idle compensation, and much more.”
Keep in mind, these ECU kits only provide the core connections you need to successfully complete an engine swap. This is a kit for just engine controls and is not designed to control electronic transmissions. It provides connections for Mass Air Flow sensor (MAF), coolant temperature, air temperature sensors, injector connections, and so on. This compactness provides a clean harness that is matched to the Pro-Flo 4 system, which manages the engine. In fact, all you do is install the harness and ECU, answer a few questions during setup, upload the base map, and start driving the vehicle. The Pro-Flo 4 ECU is a self-learning system, so it will tune the car while it runs, and even adjust for minor engine modifications.
If you’re installing a Gen III/IV LS engine into your classic and want to retain the LS engine’s OEM electronic fuel injection system but don’t need the tablet, making the right connections is just as easy. The new Pro-Flo 4 LS ECU and Harness Kit (PN: 357110 for 24x reluctor and 357120 for 58x reluctor) is exactly what you’ll need to complete the installation and get your car up and running without purchasing the tablet.
As with all kits, the ECU is compact, which helps create a clean installation, and the harness is designed to integrate seamlessly with the existing LS injectors, coils, camshaft/crankshaft sensors, and other factory intake manifold connections. To say this will greatly simplify the installation, start-up, and performance tuning processes is an understatement. These kits provide the perfect solution for those “junkyard” LS engine swaps where the factory ECU and wiring harness may be missing or damaged. As mentioned, these two kits do not come with the Edelbrock E-Tune tablet but will still allow your engine to run with the preset parameters. This is a great kit for those installing a stock engine.
Completing that LS swap has never been easier. Many companies are making complete engine-mounting kits to physically install the engine and transmission in the car or truck, and now, Edelbrock has an easy-to-use solution for making it all run.