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Old 03-22-2020, 11:06 PM   #1
Ceej
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Default B230f+t vs LS swap

Sort of a loaded title, I suppose Iíll clarify lol
I recently bought my first Volvo, an 89 245 and plan to make it my DD/project.
It runs and drives pretty well but Iím on the fence as to which direction to take with it.
Add a turbo and supporting mods or swap in a Junkyard LS? My goal would be around 300whp.

I would do the work myself including any fabrication, welding and wiring required for mounts, exhaust, driveline, harness splicing e.t.c.

Cost wise looks to be comparable, unless I was to add power to the LS.

I think a 300whp red block would be refreshing in a sea of LS swaps but itís hard to resist a powerful lumpy v8.

To those of you with experience, which do you prefer and why?
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:13 PM   #2
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+t

V8s don't belong in these engine bays
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:30 PM   #3
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+t

V8s don't belong in these engine bays
Why is that?

Itís my understanding they fit pretty well with some cross member and steering shaft work.
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:33 PM   #4
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+t

V8s don't belong in these engine bays
Lol, don't be a fanboy.

Nothing wrong with either one, but 300 hp is nothing from an LS. You can buy a factory motor with no mods that will do way more than that.

My 300+ hp redblock required a lot of mods and there was always something to deal with.

So I went LS. 450 hp with a cam swap. Would have taken a ton of money to do that with the old B230.
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:48 PM   #5
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Why is that?

It’s my understanding they fit pretty well with some cross member and steering shaft work.
I just don't like them personally, not a bad swap but I prefer an inline motor in just about anything. Don't let my personal preference offend you, do what you like and make an old Volvo fast.

As far as swaps go LS into anything is a tried and true method, mounts are available and making a standalone harness is easy and well documented
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:50 PM   #6
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what is your propose to use?

300+ is affordable with B230+ big T with very reliable, very easy to work with, and very cheap maintenance cost.

if you want more look for 16V+big T with a good set of pistons and rod.

if you want extreme fun on straight road LS should be good.

Here 1uz-fe(V8 4000cc 32V) or 1JZ-GTE is most common in old Volvo or old Benz.
they ran superb in the straight road, but in conner.......
Too heavy engine and too much power makes they need strong suspension set up, so uncomfortable to daily use, but they have to.
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 2turbotoys View Post
Lol, don't be a fanboy.

Nothing wrong with either one, but 300 hp is nothing from an LS. You can buy a factory motor with no mods that will do way more than that.

My 300+ hp redblock required a lot of mods and there was always something to deal with.

So I went LS. 450 hp with a cam swap. Would have taken a ton of money to do that with the old B230.
Thatís another worry of mine. Iíve spent countless hours trying to trouble shoot and tinker with issues on WRXís and turbo swapped Datsuns. Iím kind of burned out on that aspect of chasing horsepower through forced induction. I was hoping that maybe just maybe Volvoís were different.

How do you like the driveability of your swap?

How does the power compare between the two?
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:04 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by zhor View Post
what is your propose to use?

300+ is affordable with B230+ big T with very reliable, very easy to work with, and very cheap maintenance cost.

if you want more look for 16V+big T with a good set of pistons and rod.

if you want extreme fun on straight road LS should be good.

Here 1uz-fe(V8 4000cc 32V) or 1JZ-GTE is most common in old Volvo or old Benz.
they ran superb in the straight road, but in conner.......
Too heavy engine and too much power makes they need strong suspension set up, so uncomfortable to daily use, but they have to.
I would use it for a daily/spirited weekend driving and take it to the strip during the summer.

Thanks for the advice. I think I might be leaning towards extreme fun with a mix of reliability and low cost.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:09 AM   #9
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My swap is not finished yet, but it has been pretty straightforward work. Check my build thread.

Have you driven a Corvette or other car with a high output V8? Instant tire burning torque. Something in between, the turbo V6 Grand National..

I have always had high output modified turbo 4 cylinders, built up Volvos, Porsche 944 Turbo, but I drove a lot of different cars and decided to go with the V8. I just wanted that noise and acceleration for a change.

Drivability is such a relative thing. What you like may not be what I like.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by 2turbotoys View Post
My swap is not finished yet, but it has been pretty straightforward work. Check my build thread.

Have you driven a Corvette or other car with a high output V8? Instant tire burning torque. Something in between, the turbo V6 Grand National..

I have always had high output modified turbo 4 cylinders, built up Volvos, Porsche 944 Turbo, but I drove a lot of different cars and decided to go with the V8. I just wanted that noise and acceleration for a change.

Drivability is such a relative thing. What you like may not be what I like.

I havenít driven a high output v8 but I have a modified 24v cummins running 35psi. She burns em pretty easy. I do really like the 2 stroke like power band that turbo 4 cylinders have though. How did your Volvo put you in the seat compared to other cars youíve driven?
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:40 AM   #11
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No matter how you do it, an LS swap will cost you $5k minimum; especially if you want a manual trans. A 300whp +t setup could probably be had for $2500 with a t5 trans swap if you shopped it right.
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ceej View Post
I would use it for a daily/spirited weekend driving and take it to the strip during the summer.

Thanks for the advice. I think I might be leaning towards extreme fun with a mix of reliability and low cost.
my 944 got 16+T(gt28) now approx 200+ @0.7 bar with zf autotrans
easy to call power since 2500rpm
real fast in conner with "sach supertouring shock up" with the sound of tires slip to the road

ever put 1.2 bar, but it not easy to daily drive, so reduce to 0.7 is more fun.
944 is quite heavy, I look for the way to diet her.

I imaging if 234+T go into Benz 190E or Mazda mx5
what the fun is that!!!....

About manitenance cost, until now i only change oil and filter.....

I have v8 but in 4x4 landrover
for sure, V8 n/a is more durable and more throttle responsive. but you need to pay alot more fuel cost.
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:05 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by RvolvoR View Post
No matter how you do it, an LS swap will cost you $5k minimum; especially if you want a manual trans. A 300whp +t setup could probably be had for $2500 with a t5 trans swap if you shopped it right.
This is a huge consideration. I recently worked up a rough estimate for an LS swap for a customer into a 240. About $6000, engine/trans swap only, no supporting mods such as brakes, rear end, etc.
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:31 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by RvolvoR View Post
No matter how you do it, an LS swap will cost you $5k minimum; especially if you want a manual trans. A 300whp +t setup could probably be had for $2500 with a t5 trans swap if you shopped it right.
I’ve done motor swaps in the past and understand it always costing more than expected as well as the nickel and dime stuff and unexpected hiccups. $2500 for the +T and t5 trans seems about right on the cheap end but I don’t see an LS swap costing 5k for just a junkyard engine and trans. Out here they can be had with wiring and ecu for $800-1000. How do you figure it would cost another 4k on top of that? From everything I’ve added up I’m getting 2-3k at the high end for a stock NA swap with 4l60e. I could even use a th400 to save a few hundred.

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Old 03-23-2020, 11:55 AM   #15
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I've sort of run through the various options on my '93 wagon.

Started off with an 8V with plenty of mods, probably around 275 hp.

Then when that blew up (some iffy 93 octane pump gas) - I went to a 16V.

Went through several iterations on that - ended up with something like 350 whp.

And I kept having issues with headgaskets. Everything was flat, using MLS gaskets and ARP head studs - but every 5K(ish) miles it would start pushing coolant out, and swapping HG's on a 16V is a bit more involved than on an 8V. Plus a few other rebuilds along the way (split cylinder bore and damaged pistons due to fuel system limitations, broken wrist pin). Some of that was probably due to my (lack of) tuning skills - I may have been running too much ignition advance and not hearing anything because of the way E85 burns.

Anyhow, a few years ago I yanked that motor out and put in an aluminum Gen4 5.3L (LH8 variety), with a single turbo, and a Nissan 6 speed manual.

Yes, the costs pile up more than the 16V swap ever did. And it took a while - regardless of how some parts of the swap and hooking the two parts (engine/trans) together, there are still a lot of details to work out. Plus I didn't spend too much time per week on it, and sometimes I'd let it sit for a month.

Anyhow - now with it all together it's probably at something like 500 hp (running pump premium and base WG springs pressures - about 6. or 7 psi). And... it's a freaking hoot. The engine makes about as much power off boost as the 16V motor made on boost. And when the boost kicks in, it's silly fast. The small motor/big turbo 16V motor was basically a 115 hp motor (not much) off boost, and it felt like it. And even with a nice fast spooling turbo (BW EFR) you were still dealing with that amount of HP until you'd kept the pedal down for that bit of lag, and then beast mode for a few seconds until you shifted. Not entirely on/off, but sort of. The LS turbo has gobs of power immediately available, off boost, from low rpms. And huge amounts of power when on boost.

And the motor isn't even trying hard at this point. 500HP is barely above stock, 6 psi isn't stressing things out. It will probably last forever doing that. I do have plans to go up from there some:
- bigger fuel system, switch to E85
- add boost control and blow some more air at it
- swap rear axle from stock Volvo to narrowed Ford 8.8 and put some wider tires on it.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:03 PM   #16
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If you can get a complete LS pullout for $800-1k, then that's the answer. 300whp will take hardly any effort with a 5.3L and a baby cam (LS6 cam). And, a 4L60E would probably live okay because the car is so light.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:27 PM   #17
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From a money standpoint, LS starts making more sense atthe 450whp mark. Culberro likes the Ford 302 at the 300-350 whp mark if you don’t want to deal with the other downsides of a turbo Redblock.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:44 PM   #18
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Iíve done motor swaps in the past and understand it always costing more than expected as well as the nickel and dime stuff and unexpected hiccups. $2500 for the +T and t5 trans seems about right on the cheap end but I donít see an LS swap costing 5k for just a junkyard engine and trans. Out here they can be had with wiring and ecu for $800-1000. How do you figure it would cost another 4k on top of that? From everything Iíve added up Iím getting 2-3k at the high end for a stock NA swap with 4l60e. I could even use a th400 to save a few hundred.
again, manual changes a lot of stuff. A t56 being at least $1500 and then an LS7 clutch/flywheel for another $600-700 adds a lot to it. Anyways, oil pan, manifolds, accessory drive setup, cooling system, driveshaft, shifter, etc etc aren't free. Yes, you can absolutely get a takeout for $1000 for a 5.3, but by the time you get it in the car and running even with a 4l60 or th400 it will be $4k with a decent converter in it too. Why just slop it all together if it ends up driving like crap because you cut corners to make it cheap?
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:03 PM   #19
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From a money standpoint, LS starts making more sense atthe 450whp mark. Culberro likes the Ford 302 at the 300-350 whp mark if you donít want to deal with the other downsides of a turbo Redblock.
Not the 302, but the 5.slow. It's a fair bit lighter.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:12 PM   #20
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And even at the 300 whp level, there's the 'quality' of the HP to consider, not just the 'quantity'. A small motor with a big turbo is going to be, even with a $$$$ turbo, going to have some lag. And be a bit peaky. And be a bit 'quirky' at producing power - a bit of an on/off switch. I was able to get mine fairly well behaved using electronic boost control tied to throttle position/RPM (in MS) - that helped get some degree of linearity back into the gas pedal.

But a big NA motor? It's just instant-on with that 300 whp. At low rpms - it's got grunt. At any point in time you press the gas, you've got the HP instantly. And peak HP aside, there's the 'area under the curve' - how wide that torque curve is.

I never weighed my car before with the turbo 16V motor in it, so I can't really compare to say how much weight the turbo LS/6-spd manual added. But my best guess would be 'very little. A chunky iron blocked 4 cylinder vs. a modern al lalu small-block V8? it's not a foregone conclusion that the V8 weighs more, or by much. Who knows, it might even weigh less if you don't have a turbo and use some lighter headers in place of the cast iron exhaust manifolds.

And at least when I bought mine - the alu 5.3's were still relatively cheap. Everyone seems to want the relatively rare alu 5.7/6.0 motors. So while the alu 5.3's weren't dirt cheap like the iron blocked truck motors, they were still less than half the price of the bigger displacement alu motors.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:43 PM   #21
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again, manual changes a lot of stuff. A t56 being at least $1500 and then an LS7 clutch/flywheel for another $600-700 adds a lot to it. Anyways, oil pan, manifolds, accessory drive setup, cooling system, driveshaft, shifter, etc etc aren't free. Yes, you can absolutely get a takeout for $1000 for a 5.3, but by the time you get it in the car and running even with a 4l60 or th400 it will be $4k with a decent converter in it too. Why just slop it all together if it ends up driving like crap because you cut corners to make it cheap?
Again, I would be using a 4l60 or th400 and not a t56.

5.3, 4l60, wiring and ecu $800-1000
Material to fab mounts free from work, bushings $30
Radiator, fan and hoses $300.
Driveline balance after I fab one $80 maybe.
New u joints $40.
Shifter for the tranny $250.
Tune up and fluids $200.
Exhaust $200
Intake $50-100
Misc $200-300

Thatís $2200-2500

Even if I forgot to list something Iím still not seeing where youíre coming up with another $2000 Also, unless I add a cam and a turbo why would I need to upgrade the torque converter?

How is any of that cutting corners? How would it drive like crap? Itís basically just installing a stock setup into the car.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:54 PM   #22
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Not the 302, but the 5.slow. It's a fair bit lighter.
Iíve considered this route as well. What mods do you have and how do you like it?
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:57 PM   #23
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I think you should do the LS route. It sounds like you're more in favor of ls swap versus +t. Bare bones swap, considering nothing bad comes up. $2.5-3K seems reasonable.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:59 PM   #24
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And even at the 300 whp level, there's the 'quality' of the HP to consider, not just the 'quantity'. A small motor with a big turbo is going to be, even with a $$$$ turbo, going to have some lag. And be a bit peaky. And be a bit 'quirky' at producing power - a bit of an on/off switch. I was able to get mine fairly well behaved using electronic boost control tied to throttle position/RPM (in MS) - that helped get some degree of linearity back into the gas pedal.

But a big NA motor? It's just instant-on with that 300 whp. At low rpms - it's got grunt. At any point in time you press the gas, you've got the HP instantly. And peak HP aside, there's the 'area under the curve' - how wide that torque curve is.

I never weighed my car before with the turbo 16V motor in it, so I can't really compare to say how much weight the turbo LS/6-spd manual added. But my best guess would be 'very little. A chunky iron blocked 4 cylinder vs. a modern al lalu small-block V8? it's not a foregone conclusion that the V8 weighs more, or by much. Who knows, it might even weigh less if you don't have a turbo and use some lighter headers in place of the cast iron exhaust manifolds.

And at least when I bought mine - the alu 5.3's were still relatively cheap. Everyone seems to want the relatively rare alu 5.7/6.0 motors. So while the alu 5.3's weren't dirt cheap like the iron blocked truck motors, they were still less than half the price of the bigger displacement alu motors.

All valid points. I think if I recall an ls series 4.8/5.3 is only about 100-150lbs heavier than a redblock. I like the instant power but I also like that at the factory power level the LS is already at the top end safe level of a redblockís. Seems like a better choice for reliability and longevity.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:59 PM   #25
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From the pure enjoyment angle, I would go with the LS, LM swap. If you can fabricate, you are going to be in the $3,000 range for a complete swap. You will have something that will out perform any Volvo engine you can possibly install in your car. It isn't just the numbers on paper. In order to get a "Real" 300 hp reliably out of a redblock engine, the cost is going to be higher than the Chevrolet swap. Then, you have to consider the aftermarket support. To bump it up to 500 hp from their stock 310-325 HP rating takes ~ another $2,000. The Volvo engine is not reliable at that level, period. The weight of the two engines is very close. The fully dressed LS1-LS6 weighs approximately 460 lb. A long block B230 without manifolds, turbo or any accessories weighs 310 lb. I have shipped several. Fully dressed with the flywheel, turbo, manifolds, starter etc they are approaching 450 lb. Almost the same weight, 2X the power stock. I'll take the LS if performance, reliability, fuel efficiency, emissions output, quick starts, smoothness etc are my goal. Hmmmm, what's left? Purity of the build? I'll leave that to the rest of you.
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