Are you a fan or owner of a Lincoln LS? Have you heard of (or experienced first hand) the various issues with the stock engine and transmission?
If you answered yes to any of the questions and have ended up here, then I am going to assume you have also thought of installing a different v8 engine, and maybe even specifically a GM ‘LS” engine.
I often get asked alot of questions such as “what all is required to LS swap my Lincoln?”, or “how much fabrication is involved?”, “how much did it cost?”, “How does it fit?”, and in this article we will answer these questions and more.
Before we get to far and the die hard ford fans comment below, I would like to state that you can swap a ford Coyote, or similar engine into these cars, it has been done. Infact you can swap any engine you want into any car, someone has even swapped a 1UZ into a Lincoln LS! The issue is time, & money, and for most people the GM LS engine family is the easiest on both. This blog will focus on questions asked about a GM LS swap.
Let's get into some quick terminology, when we use the word GM “LS” engine we are referring to any of the following engines as their transmission bolt pattern, and overall dimensions are identical amongst these engines; 4.8, 5.3, 5.7 (LS1), 6.0 (LS2) , 6.2 (LS3), 7.0 (LS7). There are also both cast aluminum and cast iron versions of (most) of these engine blocks.
The first question we are going to answer is “How does it fit?” shameless plug, it fits quite nicely with our LS engine mount kit. Our kit is designed to be used with the 20146 or 20138 Moroso (Front Sump) Oil pan *sold separately*. With the engine installed there is significantly more room between the heads and shock towers than the stock DOHC engine as the dimensions of the GM engine are quite smaller than the 3.9. Note* You can attempt to use a different pan but know that our mount kit is designed around this.
To GM LS Swap your Lincoln, here are the basic things you need to understand, and if you end up paying someone to do the swap read this before you freak out when you see the total for their quote.
Wiring- you will not be able to reuse any part of the OEM Lincoln engine harness, and will need to either purchase, use a modified GM harness, or build your own for the GM LS engine. You can find many engine harness options by simply searching for “ls engine harness” on google. All harnesses at a minimum will require new power & ground wires to be run to your battery and a location to be picked out to mount either a stock GM computer, or an aftermarket unit like a Holley.
Interior- keeping the stock gauge cluster, climate controls and adapting in the factory headlight & turn signal circuit is going to require a large amount of time figuring out the correct pinouts to splice into while not disrupting the CAN system in the car. This is going to be a huge price increase to those of you who want to do a “streetcar” build and keep as much of the interior and stock car functions as possible.
Fuel Tank- Currently there are no aftermarket options to allow you to run upgraded fuel pumps and fuel lines from the stock tank (we may be working on that), so in nearly all swaps its going to make sense to simply install a fuel cell in the trunk.
Cooling- In most cases the easiest thing to do is to ditch the stock radiator & fan and purchase a shrouded radiator with a fan, or a circle track 3” or similar aluminum radiator and fix an electric fan to it. Our most common setup is to use a dodge charger fan part # 68050129AA and purchase a radiator that fits the shroud. The dimensions of this fan shroud are 24x19.5” for reference. This fan is also brushless so it has a very low amp draw of ~14 amps on startup and stabilizes around 7 while running.
Transmission- As you can guess the stock transmission in the Lincoln does not bolt up to the GM LS engine, but don't fret, the sky's the limit on what type of transmission you want to bolt to your LS swap in both automatic and manual trims. As for space, the transmission tunnel does get a little tight as you get closer to the middle of the vehicle, there may be some modifications needed to the sheet metal in that area if you are running a large transmission. T56, and CD009 manual transmissions seem to fit here with no issues. I do not have experience with automatic transmission but there shouldn't be any issues unless you install a monster like the 6l80e. Something to note is that modification may be required to the shifter hole on the interior of the car for whatever transmission you use. In the case of the CD009, the hole had to be continued another 4-5 inches toward the rear of the car.
Driveshaft- You will absolutely need a custom driveshaft, the stock driveshaft only fits the stock automatic transmission, and the rubber coupler that is on the stock diff is a no go as well. You can reuse the stock 8.0 diff- which we are going to go into below, but you will need to swap out the diff pinion nose flange with a STRANGE #U1596 for your custom driveshaft, and you will also need a small metal spacer to install with this flange, which you can purchase from our website. Any local driveshaft shop in your area should be able to make a custom one for you but we personally use Patterson Driveline & Machine here in Indiana.
Differential- There are two *easy* options for this, the first option is to use the 8.0 Diff, the V8 versions were iron (stronger), and there were two gear options, 3.58 and 3.31. I have successfully run around 470hp through the stock diff and axles without an issue.
You can do an 8.8 swap, and the details of what you need for that can be found here, but basically you need a mark VIII or Cobra diff to start with. The 8.8 diff has two front mounting points instead of one, and we are developing a weld on mounting bracket to install this that you can find for sale on our website once available.
Engine Exhaust Headers- There are a ton of options for LS engine exhaust headers, in our experience the best headers that work for this swap are "block hugger" or "tight tuck" headers which are made by patriot and other companies. Long tubes will not work without some serious cut and modification due to the proximity of the frame rails and steering rack on the drivers side. Depending on what block hugger set you buy you may need to cut the exhaust and weld in flat plates to give extra clearance around the steering shaft! Cost Expectations- If this is a build you are doing yourself, I would plan to budget between $7000-$14000 depending on how wild of an engine build you do. If this is something you are paying a shop to do, expect to budget between $10,000-$15,000.
In general all LS Swaps have both easy and hard aspects, and swapping a Lincoln LS is not particularly complicated. The biggest hurdle you will face is deciding how much of the stock interior and functions you want to keep, because once you start removing items, trust me, it's not worth turning back. If you want to see videos of the LS Swapped LS, checkout our youtube page.