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V8 Engine Swap for Dummies: Nissan 240SX LS Swap

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Nissan 240SX

Nissan 240SX
Photo: nzhamstar via Flickr

So you’ve bought a Nissan 240SX and have dreams of turning it into a drift car or track monster. One of the most popular ways to do this is to throw out the old 2.4-liter four cylinder in favor of a big American V8. Thankfully, the LS-Series V8 engines from GM and the Nissan 240SX fit each other like it was always meant to be. In fact, the weight distribution is actually more balanced with the V8 than with the stock engine.

Whether you’re going to send it to a shop or do it yourself like some kind of mad scientist, here’s a basic list of what you’ll need to get started with your Nissan 240SX LS swap.

Find a General Motors LS V8 Engine

LS1 in a Pontiac GTO

LS1 in a Pontiac GTO
Photo: Mitch Barrie via Flickr

The LS-Series engines are perfect candidates for V8 swaps. They’re light, compact, and extremely powerful. There’s also a huge selection to choose from, from cheap 5.3-liter engines out of some Silverado in a junkyard to the insane 6.2-liter, 600-horsepower LS9. GM also sells them as crate motors, which means you’ll get a brand new engine with a warranty and all the wiring you’ll need to make it work correctly.

We recommend getting your hands on an LS1 for this particular car, which run around $2,000-$3,000 used. Remember, you get what you pay for, so a cheap truck motor is probably going to give you more trouble than it’s worth.

Find a Tremtec T56 Transmission

The Tremtec T56 is a six-speed manual and pretty much fits right in to the 240SX with only slight modification needed. Plus, it’s cheap if you go the used route at around $800-$1400. For best results, you might need to hammer out the transmission tunnel a little to fit the T56 or get a smaller bellhousing. Also, get a short shifter to give yourself more room around the dashboard.

While you’re putting everything together, it’s the perfect opportunity to install a good clutch, so keep that in mind.

Find a Mount Kit & Accessories

LS Swapped 240SX

LS Swapped 240SX
Photo: dave_7 via Flickr

If your LS isn’t from a Corvette, GTO, or F-body GM car, you’ll need to buy the proper accessories or it won’t fit. If your new engine isn’t from a GTO, you’ll need a new oil pan, too.

The best way to get around all these fitment headaches is to buy a mount kit with all the parts included. As we said before, this is a popular swap, so there are tons of kits out there that make it as easy as possible and give you confidence that everything will fit right.

Upgrade Everything

If you’re going for big power, you might want to consider upgrading the rear differential and axles. Remember, the car had a four-cylinder in it and wasn’t designed to handle the huge torque of a V8. Wider rear wheels will help reduce wheelspin.

If you’re serious about racing your new and improved Nissan, we highly recommend some safety upgrades like a roll cage and a proper racing seat with a harness.

Now that you know what you’re getting into, check out the many online forums and blogs out there that have detailed walk-throughs and parts lists from the hundreds of people who have done this project before you, and have fun!