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240SX LS2 Power Swap

240SX LS2 Power Swap

PUMPING UP A 1996 240SX SE WITH LS2 MUSCLE

Engine swapping has enjoyed a massive resurgence thanks to the availability of reasonably priced light weight performance engines like the Chevrolet LS series and follow on V8s. The lucky recipients of many of these performance swaps are often underpowered, but sexy imports with zoomy looks and a crying need for the infusion of some American V8 muscle; a match made in hot rodding heaven. An advertising and PR supervisor for Holley/MSD, Blane Burnett is a keen observer of  the peformance potential lurking in untapped sources and he knew the 240SX was ripe for cultivating a multi-capable performance machine suitable for drag racing, autocrossing and the street.
An LS2/T56 powertrain sourced from a 2005 GTO formed the basis for this cool swap. It comes as a 6.0L, 400 HP engine in the GTO and it easily accommodates performance upgrades.
Since the hot rodders code dictates that you may not leave well enough alone, engine upgrades were, of course mandatory. The LS2 rebuild/upgrade incorporated forged CP pistons and Carrillo rods, a Brian Tooley Racing camshsaft, Holley Dominator EFI, an MSD Atomic Air Force intake manifold, Holley Billet LS Fuel Rails, Holley throttle body, Hooker Stainless S14 LS 1 7/8'' swap headers and K&N 4'' open element air filter.

HOOKER SWAP COMPONENTS

Nissan 240SX S13/S14 LS Swap Headers
1-7/8'' primaries x 3'' collectors, 3/8'' Thick TIG welded flat flanges, 304 Stainless Steel Construction
Gen III/IV Engine Swap Mounting Brackets (LS1/LS2/LS6/LS7) for S14 Nissan 240SX chassis
Hooker Nissan 240SX S14 Exhaust Kit
These are the Hooker components required to complete this swap. They include engine and transmission mounts, long tube stainless headers and a full exhaust system with Hooker Aerochamber muffler. (see parts list at the end of of the story)

TRANSMISSION UPGRADES

The T56 transmisson came in a package deal with the engine. This is often the best way to purchase the powertrain if you can manage it. Before test fitting the engine Blane noted that it is necessary to remove the shifter. This is also a good time to clean the transmission and replace the rear seal if necessary. A good idea is to fit it with masking over the top of the mating surface so you don't scrape it on anything underneath the car. He also determined that you can use an F-body shifter on the GTO transmission as long as you swap out the shifter receivers inside the rear of the trans as shown in the adjacent photos.
Blane found that he could use an F-body shifter on the GTO transmission by swapping out the shifter receivers inside the rear of the trans as shown. Then he upgraded the shifter with a new Hurst Performance unit.
An LS7 clutch kit with RAM 19.2 lb. flywheel from www.sdparts.com upgraded the engine/trans interface with quality parts. The flywheel is installed and torqued to 15 ft.lbs, 37 ft.lb. and 74 ft lb. in three separate passes while cross tightening the bolt pattern. The pilot bushing was also replaced at this time. The pressure plate torque figures are done in four passes: 1st: 7 lb ft. 2nd: 18 lb ft 3rd: 30 lb ft. 4th: 52 lb ft. Blane notes that even the bellhousing has a toraque spec of 37 lb ft.

PLUMBING THE THROWOUT BEARING

Blane simplified the plumbing chore for the hydraulic throwout bearing by purchasing a Clutch Master Adapter Kit from Street Elite Performance.  You have to transfer the actuating rod from the OEM Clutch master to the Wilwood unit because the new one is too short. Using snap ring pliers, remove the snap ring holding the rod in on both masters and swap the rod out of the old one into the new one in the reverse fashion that you took it apart.

ACCESSORY DRIVES AND COOLING SYSTEM

The cooling system is a critical part of any engine swap project, particularly into smaller cars with limited space around the engine. Further, Blane was intent on keeping the car's AC system operational, so he selected a Hinson LS radiator kit with a 3-inch double pass core. It came with a pair of Spal electric fans. They proved too thick to fit within the available dimensions so he saved them for another project. He jumped on the research wagon determined to find a solution that would provide more space with the accessory drive system in place. 
Noting the clearance issue with the radiator, Blane sought a solution to the standard GTO front dress that came on the engine. (left) He found it in a shorter accessory drive kit from a Cadillac CTS-V. 
The stock LS2 damper was removed with a puller and replaced with a shorter damper from the CTS-V. Combined with the rest of the CTS-V front dress components, this gained an additional 3/4 inch clearance to the radiator.
This view shows the additional clearance gained by switching to the CTS-V front dress components. Blane settled on a Mishimoto shroud and fans and had them adapted to the Hinson radiator. He plans to upgrade this at some point, but so far, it has provided exemplary service.

CHASSIS MODS

The goal of building a hot street car that is also a capable performer on the track or at the dragstrip is a formidable task, but it highlights the corfe ingredients of basic hot rodding; engine swapping with chassis and suspension mods to craft a homebuilt supercar. Blane took these challenges to heart and tackled the suspension upgrades to make the car a capable handler that could be autocrossed or flung through the corners at a track day.
Blane opted to upgrade the entire suspension including the strut/shock assemblies. He had saved all the suspension components from a previous donor car so he was able to have everything powder coated prior to swapping out the parts.
He selected Stance GR+ Pro coilovers with SPL suspension arms and purchased new steering rack bushings and boots
Current mod list:
Powertrain: -LS2 engine rebuild by Richard Holdener out of Cali-forged pistons and rods from CP and Carillo -Brian Tooley Racing Camshaft-Hooker S14 Engine Mount Swap kit-Hooker Stainless S14 LS 1 7/8'' swap headers, Y into 3'' single out with Hooker Aerochamber Muffler-OEM LS7 clutch/pressure plate from Scoggins Dickey -RAM flywheel (19 lb) -Engine Management: Holley Dominator EFI - Holley Billet LS Fuel Rails -Hurst T56 Shifter -CTS-V Front Drive Accessories-Street Elite Performance Clutch Master Adaptor Kit--K&N 4'' open element air filter-
T56 trans was recently rebuilt by American Powertrain with a race tolerance spec, it is now fortified with carbon synchros, billet fork pads, and heavy-duty slider springs. Torque is transferred through an OEM LS7 clutch mated to a 19-pound Ram flywheel.

Power Steering:
 -KRC LS Power Steering Pump- Earl's power steering cooler and Earl's lines and fittings.

Cooling:
 -Hinson LS S14 Radiator kit- Custom fan shroud fabricated by Level 7 Motorsports out of Marion, IL. Single 15'' SPAL fan. Earl's oil cooler and Earl's Ultra Pro hoses and fittings.

Suspension: 
-Driftworks Geomaster 3 drop knuckles front and rear - SPL tension rods- http://www.splparts.com/chassis-S14.html-SPL outer tie rods- -SPL rear eccentric lock-out -Feal 441 Single Adjustable Coilovers-Extended Travel version-Circuit Sports rear toe rods and traction bars (will most likely be going SPL on these before all is said and done. I had these laying around from my last car).  New Setup: -Advan TCIII wheels Front: 18x9''+25mm with 10mm spacer. Rear:18x10''+35mm -Falken RT615K tires, square setup: 275/35/R18 Old setup:-275 section width Nitto NT-05's mounted on 17X10 FNO1R-C's in the rear 235 width NT-05's on the 17x 8 FNO1R-C's

Interior/Safety:
 -Autopower roll bar with bolt-in harness bar, welded extra material to floor to bolt it to for more roll over strength- http://www.autopowerindustries.com/rollbars.asp -Sparco Evo 2 seats with Planted Engineering seat brackets-Willans harnesses -S15 steering wheel (always like how nice those looked) -Racepak IQ3S dash behind steering wheel- Holley EFI touchscreen to monitor engine parameters, etc. installed where radio previously resided. -Racepak's solid state Street Smartwire PDM (power distribution module) unit has replaced the entire OEM body harness, reducing weight, removing the need for fuses and relays, and increasing the car's reliability overall.