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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The "Reborn" project has been good to me. For a couple of months now, due to an accident that totaled my other car, I have been driving it Daily. As in putting about 2000 miles a month on the ol' BB454 engine. This is what I built the car to be, a driver. And surprisingly, it has been and continue to be extremely reliable.

If you have followed the original Project "Reborn" Build, towards the end, I went with the Edelbrock EFI system. Though it has been working pretty good, I realized that its not as good as a genuine Factory EFI system. And with so many going LS, and with the reputation of how great the LS engines are, I had to make my 74 Nova even better.

So it all started with a random curiosity search for the most powerful fuel efficient V8 engine. I landed on this site. https://www.autobytel.com/car-buying-guides/features/the-most-powerful-fuel-efficient-engines-130807/. I looked over the list till I got to #5, which happened to be the Corvette and the Camaro. Granted they had the 8 speed but the engine is basically still the same. Then I thought... "That's the engine that would be perfect for my Nova!"
I then decided to see how much it costs at GM. https://www.gmperformancemotor.com/parts/19244102.html
Saw that the general price was around $7K with just the bare engine. No pedal, wiring or ECU! I wanted the automatic and saw that GM made these engines specific for its use in the car. So the L99 went in Automatics and the LS3 went in Manuals. That finalized my choice on the engine because I wanted the tranny that goes with this engine.
Then I decided to look for this engine setup online and found a listing for a 55K 2013 Chevy Camaro with the L99 engine with tranny. And now my Nova is getting a LS Rebirth!

Here is my Nova as it sits currently.



The Donor is a 2013 Camaro "Hot Wheels" Special Edition 2SS convertible. According to the Carfax, this car was rear ended 3 times in its short life and was only in service for 4 years. And sure enough, had 55,400 miles on the clock. The last rear end collision is what rendered the car totaled. No damage to the front which was very important to me as that's where the engine lived so I'm happy to say that it was very safe.




The day it arrived I was so excited to go pick it up. I rented a U-Haul truck and they loaded it for me. I was surprised at the size of the box. I did expect it to be large but when I saw it, it was huge!



What I ordered was basically the whole Camaro without the body. This is why the crate was so large. A lot of the parts contained in the crate would ultimately not be used for my swap, but it was a package deal I was getting so I wasn't going to say no.



I got the complete L99 engine and 6L80 6 speed transmission with the driveshaft and complete fuel tank. I even have part of the Camaro's subframe with motor mounts and transmission mounts still attached. They literally cut the subframe to remove the engine completely in tack. I also got every harness for the entire car, every module such as the airbag module, OnStar module (with Battery pack), Body control module, etc. Steering wheel, Steering column, antilock brake system motor, brake booster with master cylinder, Gas and brake pedal assembly, instrument cluster, complete 4 pack gauge center console with shifter, all fuse boxes (from engine bay and interior) even the car keys! All front accessories with serpentine belt and Starter. And of course the E38 ECU with Vats removed.






The first thing I noticed about this engine is how clean it is! It looks almost brand new. I feel that I got really lucky with this find. I took off the AC and removed the Transmission. Here's more pics of the engine with subframe and transmission.






I'm really happy that I also have the tranny lines in tact.



The plan for this build is to plan out carefully everything that I would need to be able to do the swap. Purchase it all before removing a single bolt from the Nova to start the swap as I need the Nova everyday and its my only car now. Its my choice to keep the Nova as my prime daily driver and this is why I decided to upgrade with a more modern engine. Once I have everything I need, I would take the Nova out of service and do the swap as seem-less and quickly as possible so that I can put it back into service. Basically Its like I bought the Camaro but want it to have the Nova Body.

I know that this forum's members will be there to help me with info and advice to complete this swap. Just like my first build, I will document what I do to make this happen. It will take me time to get all the parts needed but once I have it all, I will spend no time getting it done.
 

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Great find and "Rebirth" of your Nova. Keep us up to date on progress and any issues you needed to overcome. I am sure some of us will head down the same direction.
 

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Should be a fun ride after its done. Cousins 2011 Ls3 camaro 6 speed is a lot of fun. Not the same engine or trans combo but should still be a fun ride. if its anything like your last build thread this should be good!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you!

When I did research on the transmission, which probably would be the part that would require the most modification to the Nova, I have found that the Camaro pan would hang down low. And with my car riding low I knew that it would be an issue.

So the very first thing I set out to buy was the 08-09 Pontiac G8 6L80 transmission oil pan (Part # 24239528 ). From my research it was the most Shallow pan available for the 6L80 transmission.




Here's the Center console. Its the 4 pack gauge setup but I am unsure if I can actually get them to work. I did go through the body control module harness to find the wires associated with the console.



A close up of the gauges.



Here's the rats nest of wires I had to sift through to find the console wires.



Now if anyone knows how to get them to work, I'm all ears. I have found that there's three wires. A red (positive) a black (negative) and a green (Data). The Green data cable is a low speed GMLAN (CAN BUS Single wire). I know that the OBD wires are high speed GMLAN. But not sure how to get the low speed from the OBD plug.

Here's the wire database. It helped me pinpoint the wire colors, where they go and what they are.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Steve, looking forward to the follow along. Best of luck on the quick conversion part. Jack
Thanks Jack!

Very clean center console setup
I specifically requested to get this center console because I have seen a Nova with one installed and it looked almost like it belonged there. I originally thought that the gauges operated independently with sensors but I see now it works off a single Data wire. I'm hoping that with the OBD setup I will be getting, that I can somehow get them to work. If it does not work then I will have to sell these and get the standard tray trim that replaces the gauges. But either way, the plan is to use this console along with bucket seats to replace the bench seat I currently have.

He's at it again. Spiders must be hibernatin'
:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl: I actually laughed at this one! Thanks for joining in!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have not started up the engine but did see it running when it was still in the car (via short video clip) right before they pulled it. So since I have received the engine, I have yet to actually start it up.

So for this week, I have been prepping the engine. The engine had no fluids so that was on the lists of things to get. For Oil I went with what was recommended by GM. Mobile 1. This engine took 8 quarts to fill up. And I prefilled the new filter with oil for no dry startup. The old filter had oil and I had to drain that. And I decided to cut it open to see if there were any metal in the pleats. All Clear.




For the coolant, it had a little Dexcool (pink stuff) and I poured Distilled water into the engine. There were a couple of areas that I had to either block off or do something to keep water in. For the water pump, I purchased two flex hoses and joined them together in a loop. The heater hose connections were looped as well. The steam port line was capped off. And the oil cooler line was also blocked off. I plan to completely flush out the Dexcool and convert to ol' Green Faithful. I read to many problems with Dexcool. Don't trust it.



I have a brand new battery hooked up and I cranked the engine a few times to get fresh oil flowing through it. Then I bolted the Camaro sub frame to the huge palette. And I also attached the rear of the engine to the palette. This made the engine steady and solid. This is in prep for the start up. The engine is already bolted to the sub frame with its own hardware.



The intake is ugly. But I am only using it for the startup. I am awaiting the original airbox and factory intake setup but this is what came with the engine. (They have to get it from another Camaro)



For fuel I will use my Edelbrock Sump fuel tank that's in my Nova. It supplies the necessary 58psi and it will be fresh filtered fuel.

Startup is planned for this weekend.:yes:
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
When I first got the engine I was thinking about how I wanted to wire it in the Nova. And since I had all the wiring associated with the car, I initially thought I would rework my own harness. But after really thinking about it, I realized that If I would rework it, the ECU would still be positioned in the front of the engine bay. That idea quickly became a bad idea.

I did not like the idea of mounting the ECU in the front because the radiator fan would heat the ECU up. I prefer to mount the ECU to the firewall, where my Edelbrock ECU is currently mounted. I know that the ECU gets airflow there because the Edelbrock ECU has an internal temp sensor which has shown to drop the temps as I drive.

So the only way to get the ECU to mount to the firewall or even inside the cabin, would be to order a custom made harness. So I ordered up a PSI Standalone harness.



It was pricy but it was worth it to have a fully worked, brand new harness that put the ECU inside the car under the dashboard or on the firewall. It shipped fast and I got it just in time for a weekend First startup plan.

I read the instruction manual from cover to cover and familiarized myself with the new harness. None of the connectors on the PSI harness were labeled. Not so much a problem because before I removed the factory harness, I labeled all the connectors.

Here's the new harness all laid out.



I do want to add that the PSI harness did not come with a few connectors. The important one was the starter solenoid plug. I had to use the factory plug to start up the engine. It also did not have the Active fuel management plug (DOD), the second O2 sensor plugs, or the Evaporative purge plug.

I connected the harness to the engine and set it all up. The harness starts from the rear of the engine. I used a test lamp as a check engine light. I used a OBD2 scanner to monitor a few parameters. I set up my battery with the charger. I screwed the gas pedal to the palette and set up a jumper with an alligator clip to use as a Key On switch. I ran a fuel line from my Nova's fuel sump tank to the LS engine. And here is the video of the startup.

This video is raw and I did not edit it. I took it with my Cell phone. Absolutely the very first attempt at starting this engine. Enjoy!
https://youtu.be/vVB_bdBApU8

 

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Steve, If your interested in using the 4 gauge pack, There is a guy on the Camaro5 site that can help you out with wiring. He's in Lake Havasu, AZ. Don't hold me to it, but I believe the gauges are controlled by a data bus system. When you get to that point and if your having trouble let me know, I'll hook you up.

Cant wait to see your progress. I've often thought about doing the exact same thing for the Wife's Hot Rod.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Steve, If your interested in using the 4 gauge pack, There is a guy on the Camaro5 site that can help you out with wiring. He's in Lake Havasu, AZ. Don't hold me to it, but I believe the gauges are controlled by a data bus system. When you get to that point and if your having trouble let me know, I'll hook you up.

Cant wait to see your progress. I've often thought about doing the exact same thing for the Wife's Hot Rod.
I am interested in getting the 4 pack to work. I have done a lot of research on how it works and where does the signal come from. And since I have every wiring harness that was in the car, I was able to trace its source right to the Body Control Module.
You are correct in that it is controlled by a Data Bus system. But there are three wires associated with the Bus system. There is 2 wires that is GMLAN High speed (500kbs). One is negative and one is positive. Both of these are used to communicate via the OBD port. These two wires are present in the harness's OBD plug.

Then there's the Single Wire Can Bus system. This is GMLAN low speed (33.3kbs) This is the data wire that is needed to send information to the 4 pack gauges. This wire is not present in the engine wire harness coming from the E38 computer. Instead, the two high speed wires (that is present on the E38 computer's connections) feed into the Body Control Module and this SW low speed wire exits from the Body control module. All three wires are located on the blue plug pins 22, 23, 24. Pin 24 is the DK Green wire that feeds infomation to the gauges. The green wire is tapped into a weird plug that is expanded to separate into many dk green wires that is fed throughout the body harness. And one of these green wires goes to pin 1 on the factory OBD plug, which is not present on the PSI harness (Or any other vendors harnesses).

I tried both the high speed negative and positive wires from the PSI harness OBD plug and the gauges did not function. So if there is another way to get them to work I'm all ears.

I took a couple hours taking apart the harness to trace all these wires and to locate the wires with plugs for the center console. I a definitely interested. If I cannot get them to work, I would end up selling the 4 pack and would have to go to the dealer to get the standard automatic console trim to replace the 4 pack. I prefer to keep the gauge setup but from my point of view, I would not get them to work without the body control module output. I am thinking that the info is changed or converted from the GMLan high speed to the GMLan low speed. But that's my thought and not definite knowledge. Please do hook me up if its even possible.

Here's the picture of the standard console trim.

 

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I think it's standard for the aftermarket harnesses not to include the second set of O2 wires. I have a PSI and mine was the same way. They generally expect that you'll nix those sensors, along with VATS, when you do your tune. The second set are not needed for the engine to run.

Also, when you're all happy with your wiring, there's a good chance you can pick up some decent bucks for selling the original one.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think it's standard for the aftermarket harnesses not to include the second set of O2 wires. I have a PSI and mine was the same way. They generally expect that you'll nix those sensors, along with VATS, when you do your tune. The second set are not needed for the engine to run.

Also, when you're all happy with your wiring, there's a good chance you can pick up some decent bucks for selling the original one.
I did call up PSI and asked specifically about the missing connectors before I ordered. The one I was initially interested in was AFM/DOD. I wanted to utilize that feature as well as VVT (which I knew was included in the harness. They responded that AFM/DOD needed the second o2 banks and cats to function properly. They also stated that the demand was to delete the feature because of 1. the high rate of failure of the special collapsible lifters and 2. the tone of the exhaust when it switches to AFM/DOD mode.

So I do understand why they are doing the harness this way and so I'm ok with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
After the engine start I decided to clean up the wiring harness a bit to make it install more cleanly and more like stock. So for now that is what I am working on. But since the engine is out on the floor I was thinking about the absence of AFM/DOD and the camshaft.

Now since I know that AFM/DOD is not going to be operating, I think that I will have to start thinking about a DOD delete kit as well as changing out the cam. I cam across this site http://www.onallcylinders.com/2017/11/30/how-to-delete-or-disable-active-fuel-management-afm-on-gm-engines/.

And according to that site it states "You MUST upgrade to a non-AFM camshaft because the cam lobes in the four AFM cylinders are ground differently. The engine will have 25 less pounds of compression in those four cylinders". Not to mention that AFM has a high failure rate and with all the miles I put on the Nova, I don't want to ever have to worry about tearing into the engine to replace those lifters as the only way to get to them is by removing the cylinder heads. So a cam swap is in my immediate future.

The one thing I want for my engine is a stock, low, steady idle or as close to it as possible. Horsepower is a plus but I don't want to sway too much away from fuel economy and this engine, with its VVT system, would help in that aspect. So HP increase is not a major factor in the cam decision. I just want to get rid of AFM/DOD and keep VVT and have all the reliability of normal lifters and all eight cylinders firing normally.

According to my research, here is the cam specifications for the L99 camshaft from the factory.

195/201 Lift .500/.492 Lobe Separation (degrees)115*

I called up Comp Cams and asked them if their smallest VVT cam would closely match the stock cam and if I needed to upgrade cam phaser limiter and valve springs.

They told me that the following cam would be a direct bolt on with stock parts. That the specs of the cam they recommend would be very similar to the stock cam and the lift increase of their camshaft over the stock camshaft is so minute. It would have a stock idle and would probably not even notice that its cammed. So here's the cam specs from Comp VVT cam.

Part# 156-400-13 (The one I am thinking of getting)
210/224 Lift .556/568 Lobe Separation (degrees)114*

For comparative purposes, I'll list the LS3 Cam specs. Obviously I cant use this cam if I want to retain VVT. But it seems close to the Comp Cam VVT cam.

204/211 Lift .551/.525 Lobe Separation (degrees)117*

Unless someone can tell me that there will be a problem with this cam, it has my vote.

The other issue I am dealing with is whether the Holley pan would be a problem with the VVT. According to Holley (I called them up), AFM/DOD has an oil baffle in the stock oil pan and if I am getting rid of DOD, then the Holley pan would be fine to use as it does not have the baffle. (If I were to keep DOD then I would not be able to use their oil pan). But what they could not tell me was if the VVT system needed a baffle in the oil pan. If the VVT needs a baffle, then their oil pan would be a no no.

So any input is greatly appreciated that would help me out with this doubt.
 

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After the engine start I decided to clean up the wiring harness a bit to make it install more cleanly and more like stock. So for now that is what I am working on. But since the engine is out on the floor I was thinking about the absence of AFM/DOD and the camshaft.

Now since I know that AFM/DOD is not going to be operating, I think that I will have to start thinking about a DOD delete kit as well as changing out the cam. I cam across this site http://www.onallcylinders.com/2017/11/30/how-to-delete-or-disable-active-fuel-management-afm-on-gm-engines/.

And according to that site it states "You MUST upgrade to a non-AFM camshaft because the cam lobes in the four AFM cylinders are ground differently. The engine will have 25 less pounds of compression in those four cylinders". Not to mention that AFM has a high failure rate and with all the miles I put on the Nova, I don't want to ever have to worry about tearing into the engine to replace those lifters as the only way to get to them is by removing the cylinder heads. So a cam swap is in my immediate future.

The one thing I want for my engine is a stock, low, steady idle or as close to it as possible. Horsepower is a plus but I don't want to sway too much away from fuel economy and this engine, with its VVT system, would help in that aspect. So HP increase is not a major factor in the cam decision. I just want to get rid of AFM/DOD and keep VVT and have all the reliability of normal lifters and all eight cylinders firing normally.

According to my research, here is the cam specifications for the L99 camshaft from the factory.

195/201 Lift .500/.492 Lobe Separation (degrees)115*

I called up Comp Cams and asked them if their smallest VVT cam would closely match the stock cam and if I needed to upgrade cam phaser limiter and valve springs.

They told me that the following cam would be a direct bolt on with stock parts. That the specs of the cam they recommend would be very similar to the stock cam and the lift increase of their camshaft over the stock camshaft is so minute. It would have a stock idle and would probably not even notice that its cammed. So here's the cam specs from Comp VVT cam.

Part# 156-400-13 (The one I am thinking of getting)
210/224 Lift .556/568 Lobe Separation (degrees)114*

For comparative purposes, I'll list the LS3 Cam specs. Obviously I cant use this cam if I want to retain VVT. But it seems close to the Comp Cam VVT cam.

204/211 Lift .551/.525 Lobe Separation (degrees)117*

Unless someone can tell me that there will be a problem with this cam, it has my vote.

The other issue I am dealing with is whether the Holley pan would be a problem with the VVT. According to Holley (I called them up), AFM/DOD has an oil baffle in the stock oil pan and if I am getting rid of DOD, then the Holley pan would be fine to use as it does not have the baffle. (If I were to keep DOD then I would not be able to use their oil pan). But what they could not tell me was if the VVT system needed a baffle in the oil pan. If the VVT needs a baffle, then their oil pan would be a no no.

So any input is greatly appreciated that would help me out with this doubt.
Here are my non-expert opinions based on a little experience and a lot of research. Bear with me as this is a bit long, but I will directly address your questions. Of course, everyone is different, so take everything with the proverbial grain of salt:

First, I have a stock LS2. The cam specs are 204/211 .525/.525 117.5

The specs are pretty close to the cam you're considering. I had agonized over whether or not to change my cam before I ever had the engine running, and agonized over what cam to get if I did so. I wanted to retain good fuel economy, but get a little more power, and I really wanted that lopey muscle car sound. I researched the issue to death, and had settled on a cam similar to your selection *if* I ever decided to change the cam.

Fast forward. The car is up and running. Now, keep in mind that I went with a full 3" mandrel-bent exhaust from the headers all the way back, with an X-pipe and Pypes Violator mufflers. I wanted every sound the engine made to be on display. But the cam remained stock.

I absolutely could not be more pleased in every way. I see NO reason for any more power - I can break the tires loose in 2nd gear. The idle is low and mellow, sounding a bit like a truck. The cam doesn't lope enough to shake the car, but there's no mistaking there's testosterone under the hood. When I press the loud pedal, it responds with LOUD. I haven't measured fuel economy, but the stock cam can't be beat in that area.

Now, the cam you chose is a little different than the LS2 cam. It has more duration on both intake and exhaust, it raises the already-higher exhaust lift, and it shortens the lobe separation. All of these things should work to give you more horsepower and possibly a higher redline. You may see a slight drop in fuel economy because of the longer duration, but you're in the range that most cam shops would call "good" fuel economy. The smaller lobe separation is the thing that bothers me. Late model cams have larger separations to improve fuel economy, smooth the idle, and - if I'm not mistaken - to increase vacuum at idle as well. So, you may be working against one of your goals with the 114 separation, which is not radical, but is heading toward the territory of the lopey idle.

All that said, you may be happy anyway with your choice. But if anything I said raises a concern, you can get a custom ground cam from whichever company you choose that is based on cam you selected, but is then tweaked just a little. I don't think the price is much different, if at all, for the custom grind.

Now, as for the windage tray, all my research indicates this is pretty much a must-have feature. While I can't speak to your engine specifically, I know that on my LS2 I was able to take the stock windage tray and perform a fairly simply cut on it, then use it with the Holley oil pan. I suspect you can do the same. If nothing else, surely the aftermarket offers something that would work. My opinion is that you should not leave out this piece regardless of the direction you take.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Just wanted to correct what Comp cam initially stated. They said the cam I was looking at would be a direct bolt on. I called to get a second opinion and its not true. Any camshaft with lift over .550 will need to limit the cam phaser of the VVT. This means every VVT camshaft would need the limitation to avoid the valves / piston interference.

They did however stated that I may be able to increase the LSA to the LS3 spec of 117* by ordering it as a custom grind. Basically everything the same but with my specified LSA. And he also stated that the 114 would idle smooth which makes my decision pretty hard. A tighter LSA means torque down lower in the curve and the wider angle means better idle/drivability and higher curve power.

So I am just at the point of trying to decide if I should chance it with their LSA (114*) version or go with a custom LSA (117*) version.

But no matter what, The stock cam and AFM/DOD lifters will be coming out. Reliability is the ultimate goal.
 
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