The LS4 engine has not been a popular choice when it comes to an LS-swap. The powerplant offers several challenges, whether you are trying to use it in a front-wheel-drive (FWD) or rear-wheel-drive (RWD) application. In a FWD configuration, you are limited to the type of transmission you can run in stock form, with the LS4 4T65eHD being your only option. Like the 4L60e, the 4T65eHD is underwhelming in performance and tends to bring a premium when purchased at a junkyard. For a RWD setup, you will have a couple of problems. One is that the engine block does not have any provisions for mounting the starter. The second problem is the LS4 has a specific bolt pattern for the 4T65 transmission and will not bolt up to a 4l60e, 4l80e, TH400, etc. One area of the LS4’s design that can open up some possibilities is with the oil pan.
You might be thinking, “Why even bother with the LS4?” Several enthusiasts are interested in building a performance FWD combination. The LS4 offers the same performance potential as the rest of the LS family, and most, if not all of the aftermarket parts will work on the engine.
Brandon Furches of LS4king.com is one enthusiast that has pushed the limits with his 700-plus horsepower turbocharged FWD Monte Carlo. When the 4T65eHD transmission became the weak link, he sliced and diced the factory oil pan so he could accommodate the heavy-duty 4T80e transmission. While the modified oil pan worked, Brandon admits that it was extremely time-consuming to fabricate and somewhat crude. Plus, it resulted in the loss of about a half quart of oil capacity. To fix these ailments, Brandon elected to work with Moroso on this venture. Brandon said, “We have been developing a production-based oil pan solution for well over a year now. We decided to work with Moroso and teamed up to bring the pan to market. This is a collaborative piece where Moroso took our design and significantly improved it. These pans will only be available through LS4King.com.”
Naturally, the new oil pan from Moroso is a work of art. In addition to having a provision for relocating the starter, this oil pan is a huge improvement over the OEM design. The factory LS4 oil pan has no baffles. It just has a big open sump. Moroso took the extra step to create a diamond-shape trap door oil baffle, which dramatically increases oil control. The capacity was also slightly increased to almost 7-quarts. Every pan comes with a high-flow pick-up tube and a spin-on oil filter adapter. The customer will have the option for a remote mount oil filter adapter. The pan also features a -10AN female O-ring fitting between the 3-4 main caps, which can be utilized as an oil return for turbo applications.
Brandon explains, “The pans were designed with the primary objective of relocating the starter. However, any serious LS4 enthusiast should consider the pan. Even if they are using a stock transmission, this pan offers far superior oil control under acceleration and braking than is available with the OEM pan. This might be especially attractive to the Fiero swap enthusiasts.”
While the oil pan was designed for the FWD enthusiasts, this would also allow the LS4 to be used in RWD applications where there is adequate subframe clearance. While in most cases, it would be more economical to start with a RWD block, this new part still opens up more possibilities. This oil pan would also serve useful for any LS swap enthusiast that needs a more “center sump” style design as it will work on any production LS engine block.
Pricing is being finalized, and Brandon tells us that the units will be available in about five weeks which will be just intime for the LS4king.com 2020 FWD competition.