2.4 / LS1 engine swap blues [Archive] - Nissan Xterra Forum

2.4 / LS1 engine swap blues

06-26-2012, 02:34 AM
So here's the dilemma, bought a 2004 x with a 2.4 and 150k miles.. Body and interior are in good shape, but it has a blown head gasket.. Meaning blown so bad that water drips out between the head and block..A Not even joking..also I am getting no injector pulse.. Replaced the distribute and still nothing.. Only had it a week, and I decided between 2 options

I basically counted out rebuilding the stock engine since it's toast

Option 1
Purchase a used 2.4, toss in a new clutch for good measure and call it a day.. Estimated cost will be between 1500 and 2k for motor, clutch, and maybe new water pump, hoses, ect

Option 2
Install a 5.3 or 6.0 chevy LS series truck engine..
I can fab up new mounts, trans cross member, exhaust ect.. Cost of a motor, tranny, and all wiring looks to be about a grand, plus fuel pump, custom driveshaft ect.. Figured it's gona be in the same 2 k range, maybe a little more if I have to buy a new radiator and accessories

So obviously the ls1 seems like the cooler option, but I want some feedback on what u guys think.. For the ls1 I am fairly certain I will need a 2004 or newer motor because of emissions ( correct me if I'm wrong) but if I use a stand alone aftermarket harness will the year of the block even matter, plus I know with an LS swap I will have to deal with issues like a cooling setup, speedometer and tach, shifter placement, ect.. It is a project that I would love to tackle just to say I did it, But I want to fully think this through beforehand

Also, let's say I want to sell this bad boy a few years down the road.. Not sure what the resale on an LS1 powered xterra would be to anyone that isn't a member of this website lol

06-26-2012, 06:16 AM
How are you planning to do the ls1?swap for 2k hell the motor and Ecu alone will run you 2k

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Xterra Mike
06-26-2012, 06:58 AM
Option 3 would be to find a 3.3 and swap it in. Probably easier than the ls1 swap and a little more power than the 2.4l. The LS1 swap would be cool though. There was a member on here that did a LS6 swap. Don't know how that turned out though.

06-26-2012, 08:47 AM
5.3 idk bout emissions but a buddy of mine picked up a wrecked truck for $500(totaled) pulled motor & trans ecu, the works, & scrapped what was left of the truck for a few bucks.

06-26-2012, 08:49 AM
Whats emission related your worried about? Iowa doesnt test so i dont understand half of this crap.

06-26-2012, 11:10 AM
How are you planning to do the ls1?swap for 2k hell the motor and Ecu alone will run you 2k

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The OP has mentioned in this thread that he has an LS1 engin sitting around collecting dust


06-26-2012, 12:47 PM
Yea but honestly I am saving that LS for a 69 camaro.. You can find 5.3 LS style engine ( iron block truck engine) for 500 bucks all day long and the trans runs about the same.. I just can't see spending what they are asking for a used 2.4 with a jillion miles on it.. Best price I've seen is 1200 plus shipping and it had about 160k on the clock

06-26-2012, 12:50 PM
Also, is the 2.4 block and head out of a 240sx interchangeable with the truck block.. I've researched it a lot and can't find a solid answer.. I know it is the ka24 series engine, but if a 240 block and head will work I might do that for now, if nothing else just so I can drive it a little bit

An iif I go the LS route I will do a build thread beginning to end.. Seems like everyone that I have seen attempt this has never finished it

06-26-2012, 02:12 PM
Forget the camaro, you have an x and a motor...... I dont see a problem here i see a solution.

The biggest thing ive been worried about with doing a v8 swap is wether or not the factory tank & fuel pump could keep up.

06-26-2012, 05:53 PM
From what I've seen xterras have 30-40 psi of fuel pressure, not sure if that is before or after the regulator.. an LS1 needs about 50 -60..,I'd try the stock pump for shits and giggles on a stock motor, if that doesn't work then just throw a walbro pump on it. Very popular external ls swap fuel pump .. biggest issue I am worried about is physical depth of the engine bay, I don't want to cut the core support and still wanna have ac, but I'm not too keep on chopping up a firewall either.. I measured last night and one of the two will have to be clearanced at least a couple inches

06-27-2012, 10:08 AM
There is a guy that dropped an ls1 inside a frontier on pirate and his fit pretty snug with the rad up front but he had the option to move the radiator.

06-27-2012, 10:35 AM
why not the 4.3? Its pretty good engine and would fix the cutting issue. Iirc with a little tune you could get way more then the stock X 3.3.

06-27-2012, 11:28 AM
i like option 3.

06-27-2012, 04:42 PM
dude. DO IT. you know you want to. v8's are AWESOME. DOOOOOO ITTTTTT

06-27-2012, 06:46 PM
If you go option 1, you really don't need to buy an new/used engine.... just take the head off and take it to a machine shop (or do it yourself) to see if it is warped or not, and also magnetic dial caliper the TDC of each piston when the head is off to make sure you didn't bend a rod or loose a bearing. It is cheaper (and easier) to do that than you may think. If everything is still in spec and it was just a head gasket failure, replace the upper gaskets, head bolts and put it back together. Worry about the injector pulse when you get the motor back together. If it still doesn't pulse out the way it should, check the FSM and follow the troubleshooting protocol. Just by reading what happened, I think you lost injector pulse when your AFR's went wacky with the coolant in the burn cycle (ecu went limp to prevent further damage). The KA24DE's are really simple to work on, everything you can use on the 240sx, you can use on the xterra with supported hardware. I know this because I have used xterra/frontier 2.4L's in my past turbo builds. Ever seen a boosted 4 cylinder xterra that makes more power than the vg33e version???? maybe you can be the first

If you go route 2.. just plan on a lot of unexpected complications/expenses and not having it on the road for awhile once you cut the original motor mounts out. <---been there.

06-29-2012, 09:38 AM
Thanks for all the useful info buddy, I might see If I can get that head gasket off on Monday.. is there a chance mathe bearings could be shot but still in spec just from gettin so hott

06-29-2012, 05:41 PM
No problem... I try to save money when I can, and if I can help someone else save money, that is even better

06-30-2012, 07:13 PM
KA's are tanks, they can take a lot of abuse, they are really solid motors. My friends was overheated so many times, had a water pump seize up so we cut the belt and drove the mile back to my house to swap it out (with a few cool downs), also had a radiator hose explode, limped it a half mile to shop that we could park it safely in. What finally killed it was when he sold it to a friend and he drove it 5 hours back to camp lajeune with it overheating the entire time.

01-30-2013, 06:56 PM
Any Updates on the LS swap? It has always been in the back of my mind to to do this to my 06X!

01-30-2013, 07:23 PM
I say go route #2. You can go on CL and find a donor truck for 1000 bucks more than likely.

Also Ronin Has ALOT of info on putting another engine in the X as you can see by his sig. Do attempt to fix the motor you have with a new head gasket and if it works you can start saving money and planning your swap. If it fails... Well then you can start planning your swap.

01-30-2013, 08:27 PM
Any Updates on the LS swap? It has always been in the back of my mind to to do this to my 06X!

It would be easier just to supercharge yours plus you'd Make more power