Cost Breakdown of building a V8 LS swap Nissan 240SX

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the overall cost of building a Chevrolet Performance LS3 V8 crate engine powered Nissan 240SX so this story will focus on breaking down the cost of such a build. If you’re looking for the complete Swap Guide it can be found here.

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Remember though, this is merely a breakdown of what I spent, there are ways to do it cheaper but I didn’t want to cut any corners so I used new, quality parts where ever I could. The end result was a car that I couldn’t be happier with. Everything functioned properly and best of all, I had a reliable 430hp and 424ft-lbs on tap almost anytime I needed it.

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The chart below is the going price for every component I used during the build, including items like a complete rebuild of the transmission.

DRIVETRAIN
Chevrolet Performance LS3 Crate Engine E-Rod Kit (Includes ECU, Wiring harness,air filter, sensors, etc.) $7,400.00
Chevrolet Performance CTS-V Accessory Drive Systems with A/C $815.00
(PS pump, alternator, AC, belts, pulley kit for LS3)
Tremec used T56 6-spd manual transmission $1,500.00
RPM Transmission stage 4 T56 rebuild $2,395.00
Quicktime Bellhousing $640.00
MGW T56 short shifter $209.00
SPEC Stage 2+ Clutch $500.00
SPEC Aluminum Flywheel $410.00
MSD Dynaforce Starter $250.00
Sikky LS Swap Kit (mounts, oil pan, driveshaft, oil filter relocation kit) $1,750.00
Sikky Power Steering line $129.00
Sikky front sway bar $289.00
Sikky Clutch Master kit $250.00
FUEL
Deatschwerks 300LPH Fuel Pump $169.00
Earls Fuel lines & fittings $200.00
Corvette Fuel Filter/Regulator $60.00
COOLING
Mishimoto S13 240SX Aluminum Radiator $300.00
Mishimoto S13 240SX Fan Shroud $250.00
Mishimoto S13 Radiator Hoses $100.00
WIRING/INTAKE/EXHAUST
Jordan Innovations wiring service (custom wiring of LS e-rod harness into S13 chassis) $500.00
Custom exhaust system using Vibrant Performance piping (material cost) $650.00
K&N Camaro SS intake System $320.00
Misc purchases (heater hose, fittings, etc.) $100.00
TOTAL $19,186.00

 

As you can see the total expenses total just a tad over $19,000 which I already know has some of you picking up your jaw off the floor. The reality is it’s not cheap to build a car of this caliber, just have a look at most muscle car builds they’re easily in excess of $20-$60K and yet no one bats an eye at it.

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I realize most of the 240SX crowd isn’t going to have this type of cash laying around so I’ve created another breakdown of what I consider to be a bare bones budget build that doesn’t include a lot of the fancy parts and instead uses only necessary items needed to get a reliable V8 swap accomplished.

DRIVETRAIN
LS1/LS2 Junkyard Engine, ECU, Wiring Harness & Transmission from 98-02 F-Body $4,500.00
SPEC Stage 2+ Clutch $500.00
Sikky LS Swap Kit (mounts, oil pan, driveshaft, oil filter relocation kit) $1,750.00
Sikky Power Steering line $129.00
FUEL/COOLING/INTAKE/EXHAUST
Deatschwerks 300LPH Fuel Pump $169.00
Corvette Fuel Filter/Regulator $60.00
Mishimoto S13 240SX Aluminum Radiator (Need an upgraded rad to handle the heat of an LS) $300.00
Wiring Specialties LS Swap wiring harness $650.00
Custom stock header to S13 aftermarket exhaust merge pipe $150.00
DIY intake (metal pipe, 90-deg couple, air filter) $60.00
TOTAL $8,268.00

 

There are a few items that you could still do without, a new clutch or the plug-in wiring harness but in my opinion both are worth spending money on since the last thing you want to deal with is a burnt out or slipping clutch (you’re building this car to beat on it right? A used stock clutch won’t last long) or wiring issues. Electrical issues are pretty much the number one email I get for any of the swap stories on this site so having a harness that’s guaranteed to work is worth its weight in gold, trust me on this one.

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As you can tell, the swap still adds up to over $8K so it by no means is that much cheaper. I’ve read stories and heard folk lores of these swaps being done for a couple thousand but I don’t believe it. I suppose if you take a junkyard truck engine and mate it to a worn out T56, make your own mounts and ghetto rig everything else then maybe… But that shit’s never going to hold up to repeated abuse and punishment.

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Bottom line is, there are expensive and cheap options when doing this swap. Choose wisely and you’ll have a V8 powered S-chassis that will be dead reliable and ready for abuse. Cut corners and mark my words, you’ll be fixing and replacing parts before you know it, adding down time to a car that you want to drive and worst of all spending more money on it. I think it’s fair to say that’s something none of us like to do.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to answer it!

 

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15 Comments on "Cost Breakdown of building a V8 LS swap Nissan 240SX"

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capster15gsxr
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Hi thank you for all the info! But what type of engine management system would you recommend?

DanielArmandoDuarte
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you can still go cheaper whit a silverado engine the 4.8 or the 5.3 but is a good list men!

Random
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capster15gsxr factory GM ECU is best for a simple swap. But if you really wanted to go for the gusto, AEM Infinity.

Colineibert
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Hey have a quick question for you, When you purchased your gto mishimoto rad hoses did you go with ls1 or ls2?

Midnite
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do you have part numbers on some of the smaller things like the bell housing, flywheel, starter, radiator, etc?

GrinilKhanna
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Does your adjusted list ($8k list), include parts for a 240sx that would also be California Smog Bar’d legal car?

Happy240sx
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Does the instrument cluster work with wiring harness or are some mods for this. Also, is there an exhaust kit out there yet for this swap that just bolts together, I’m running a Sr20DET with turbo and kit included 4″ exhaust form turbo back so I thinking this will be sufficient for the LS. I know the OEM third member that comes with the 240 will take up 400hp. But if you are doing this swap you should consider swapping it out with a 1995-96 Infinity J-30 LSD for posi-traction ($350.00). It’s just a matter of removing the pumpkin covers and swapping them… Read more »
kisdaway
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Bellhousing – part# RM-8020
Flywheel part# SC75C
Starter part #msd5096
Radiator part# mmrad-240-89ka
Ctsv accessorie kit part# 19155066

kisdaway
Guest

The thing bout them truck ones there steel blocks not aluminum. Weights like 100lbs more

alexdwillems
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There are aluminum 5.3s from trailblazers.

CuriousGuy
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When using the quicktime bellhousing do you still have to hammer the transmission tunnel in?

trent
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what header did he use?

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