LSA Swap Guide by LSX Innovations
The LSA supercharger has become a very popular power adder in the LS market. It’s very difficult to beat the price per horsepower that they provide. This guide is intended to walk you through all the basic necessities to get your LSA swap going.
First and foremost you will need an LSA supercharger. Most people go with a takeoff unit which in most cases works out just fine. You will want to make sure the unit has good bearings, and the coating is still good on the rotors before you install the unit. It’s always easier to have it sent off to be rebuilt before you install it than after the fact.
It is always a good idea to make sure the unit has a solid isolator installed. Some used units already have these installed. The factory spring loaded unit is known to fail, and is the reason for the recall of these units originally.
You will want to seek out a reputable repair and porting shop to do the work for you. This can be a complicated process and best left to professionals. Porting is not required during the rebuild, but it will help you make the most of your investment.
There is basically only 2 choices for a lid the CTS-V version and the ZL1 version.
The CTS-V version has rear exit ports for the intercooler brick, it has more internal volume, better cooling but has a weaker fin design and are normally only found used. The lid actually sits closer to the intercooler thus why it head soaks a tad more. It also has better rear transition which is a great improvement for the rear cylinders. Usually only use the CTS-V lid for hot rod swaps, trucks, CTS-V 1 cars, and some gto’s.
GM part number: 12631035
The ZL1 version has front exit ports for the intercooler brick, and is more expensive than the CTS-V unit. This lid is more sought after due to it does not heat soak as bad as the CTS-V. It also looks better and has a stronger fin design. If you plan to run your car hard or overdrive the supercharger this is the lid for you.
GM part number: 12622236
Intercooler and Pump:
The LSA supercharger uses a front mount heat exchanger (like a radiator) and an electric intercooler pump to cool the intercooler brick inside the supercharger. You will want the most efficient heat exchanger you can fit on your vehicle. You can find a variety of heat exchangers and pump on sites like Summit Racing. A lot of guys just go with the factory GM parts
GM part numbers:
Heat exchanger: 22879421
Intercooler pump: 22901367
Combinations with more boost than stock we increase coolant capacity, larger intercoolers with good name brand (afco, thermal dynamics, fluidyne etc. I try to stay away from the cheap china coolers since they are larger in size and are a bar/plate design but less efficient at removing heat from the coolant. A properly sized (smaller than china core) tube and fin design will remove heat at a faster rate.
In most cases the factory LSA fuel rail work just fine. In high horsepower applications or on vehicles that see a lot of track time the stock dead head fuel rails are less than ideal. The fuel can vaporize in the rails after sitting for 20-30 minutes and can cause hot start issues. The only way around this is to use a return style fuel rail preferably with dual inlets and dual outlets. Fore innovations and Radum both make billet rails that will solve the issues above.
The factory LSA fuel injectors are also adequate in most swaps. If you plan to install a smaller supercharger pulley you will need to source injectors based on your horsepower goals.
We recommend fuel injector connection, Fuel injector development, and ID injectors. FIC has some of the best customer service, Injector Dynamics has the best quality control. ID being the most expensive, FIC being medium price. Stay away from FAST injectors or injectors from china which do not offer any quality control or injector data. Your tuner will thank you and possibly charge you less due to the less amount of time they need to mess with them.
If you want more power out of your LSA swap you will need to install a smaller diameter supercharger pulley. We recommend going with an aftermarket Griptec pulley for a couple reasons. The biggest reason is the fact they do grip better than any other pulley. They have a patent on their design, and their pulleys are not actually smooth they have a textured pattern that grips the belt much better than a smooth pulley.
The other reason we recommend only this brand is you can run as small as a 2.38 diameter pulley without machining the supercharger snout.
A good second option for pulleys is Lingenfelter if ZPE is out of stock. SCOL, and several vendors sell the ZPE pulley. I recommend the 2.45 mk2 as the lowest on trucks or 6 rib. Usually great for stock bottom ends. 9-14 psi depending on mods.
The LSA supercharger has square ports, and a lot of LSA swaps go onto engines with cathedral port heads. OUR LSA adapters will allow you to use your LSA supercharger on an engine with cathedral port heads. They come with factory style gaskets, Hardware and are precision machined from Billet aluminum.
LSA Supercharger Adapter Plates
The factory LSA cars run 3 belts One 6 rib for the main accessory drive, one for the AC, and a one 8 rib belt for just the supercharger. There is nothing wrong with this setup, but it is expensive and usually not necessary in MOST LSA swap applications.
The supercharger has an 8 rib pulley and the middle of the 6 grooves aligns with the truck spacing accessories. So if you are using a truck spacing front accessory drive you can use the middle 6 ribs of the supercharger and run a 6 rib system.
6 rib systems have developed a bad reputation due to belt slip, and throwing belts. While these issues exist with our competitors kits we at LSX Innovations have solved both of these issues. The 2 contributing factors to belt slip are lack of belt wrap, and lack of belt tension.
Our systems have considerably more belt wrap on the crank, and the supercharger pulley. In addition, most of our kits utilize a heavy-duty automatic belt tensioner, and Billet tensioner bracket. Our tensioner bracket has 6 indexable positions as well to accommodate more belt choices.
Belts get thrown because the pulleys are not all aligned properly, or the bracketry is not rigid enough and flexes under load. Another contributing factor is long lengths of belt with no idler pulleys to guide the belt. Our systems are all made from Billet aluminum. The thinnest brackets are ½ inch while others are solid billet up to 1.0 thick. Our spacers are made from Billet 7075 to avoid mushrooming over as well. We also use more idlers to help guide the belt. The combination of more idlers, more belt wrap, thicker, and stronger materials ensures that your belt will stay on track.
The LSX Innovations 6 rib LSA systems are simply the best on the market and will support all but the highest horsepower LSA applications. We offer 6 rib LSA drives in a variety of combinations. We have kits for truck drives, LS1 drives, and LS3 drives. We also sell our HD belt tensioner, brackets, and idler brackets separately so if you have an existing kit and are having issues you can resolve them without buying a complete new kit
If you are part of the 10% that really does need an 8 rib system the factory LSA drive will suit your needs. If you are looking for an aftermarket 8 rib system check out lssimple.net Murphy Wallace makes a great 8 rib system as well.
LSA Drive Systems by LSX Innovations
On 6 ribs systems, you will need to make sure you have the correct water pump for your application.
Truck systems with gen3 water pump only work (without modification) when intake adapters are used. The water outlet will need to be bent slightly, or trimmed to clear the bypass solenoid.
Gen4 pumps will clear with or without intake adapters, but the bypass solenoid may need to be rotated or removed completely (not to be confused with the bypass valve/actuator). Only the E67 ECU can run the solenoid so it’s usually of little concern.
F body systems must use a truck water pump or an LS3 Camaro water pump in order to clear OUR double idler pulley. Keep in mind these systems only use the LS1 F body accessories, and the kit comes with new brackets to put those accessories on the truck belt line. So a truck spacing harmonic balancer will need to be used as well.
LS3 systems use the factory LS3 water pump, and accessory drive. Even for cars with electric power steering.
Bypass valve, solenoid, and actuator:
The bypass valve and bypass actuator are necessary for the supercharger to function. The valve is inside the supercharger and the actuator is on the outside of the case on the passenger side by the pulley.
The bypass solenoid is not used in most swaps because it is not required to run the supercharger and only E67 ECU’s can operate the solenoid. Consult with your tuner about your ECU and goals before deleting the solenoid.
On the supercharger snout, there are 4 vacuum ports that the factory vehicles used. The top 2 on the snout were the EVAP vent solenoid and inlet MAP sensor locations. These not used in LSA swap applications and we offer a delete kit for these 2 ports. These 2 ports are different sizes so our kit comes with a long, and a short plug. The other 2 ports were for vacuum actuated dual-mode exhaust (top 1/8” barb on snout * not on all snouts) and the side 1/8” barb which was used for the original bypass solenoid control.
Although we do not recommend it we also offer the short plugs separate in case you won't need to delete your 2nd Map sensor or the 2nd IAT sensor. See reasoning below.
LSA Vacuum Delete Plug
Some people recommend not running the Bronze colored IAT sensor or 3 bar red map sensor on the lid. We, however, recommend running these. The IAT sensor is used to pull timing safely for excessive IAT temperatures which if not monitored can cause engine damage. The red 3 bar map sensor will work fine with any ECU swap currently out. Some people do not like to use this map simply because they do not understand how to tune with it correctly. This map works great and can be used with aftermarket controllers like Holley.
IAT you will need to remove 2 wires from your MAF sensor IAT and wire them to the IAT sensor in the lid. Some companies sell a plug and play harness for this; just verify correct pin location or maf sensor failure can happen.
Pinning the crank:
The stock LS harmonic balancer is pressed onto the crankshaft. This works great for stock applications, but if you use any supercharger on your LS engine you will need to pin the crank to prevent the harmonic balancer from spinning on it.
This process is very simple. Remove the stock harmonic balancer bolt. Install a crank pinning fixture with a new bolt. Use the fixture to drill a ¼ inch hole into the crank/harmonic balancer, and install a pin. Then reinstall a new harmonic balancer bolt. All bolts other than ARP replacements are 1 time use only. So you will most likley need a new bolt to perform this task. We sell crank bolts individually, and in some of our crank pin kits.
We sell a variety of crank pinning kits depending on your needs. All of our kits come with extra pins so you can do a friends crank, or keep them for another project. Only 1 pin is necessary, but we provide 2 holes in our pin fixtures so you can do a 2nd hole for peace of mind.
We hope you have found this guide helpful. If you have any specific questions please do not hesitate to email us. firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: This guide is intended for informational purposes only. You will need to verify everything for your own specific needs and the vehicle being worked on. The information here is for general application. With that in mind, there is no guarantee of fit and/or function for a specific vehicle.
LSA Crank Pin Kits by LSX Innovations