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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We all know the spunky little Equinox is a bit, sluggish, to put it nicely. I had an idea for an engine swap. The 5.3l V8 aka the LS4, specifically found in the '05-'09 Chevy Impala SS, Monte Carlo SS, Pontiac Grand Prix GXP, and the Buick LaCrosse Super. They're all fwd vehicles and have the massive V8 under their hoods mounted the "wrong way". In theory, I know it'll be way more difficult, you could drop the entire front sub-frame and see how close it is to bolting into the Nox. I would like to try to do this swap but I have to pay off my Nox first. Don't want to void that warranty that was only for 60k miles and I'm at 66k and had to buy a new transmission because the warranty was gone.. Anyway let's get back on track. Does anyone have experience with any of the listed cars above? What would be some of the bigger hurdles for a swap like this?

*I shouldn't have to say this, but we're all human. Don't be dicks in your responses. If you don't have anything constructive to say, keep it to yourself :rolleyes:
 

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I suspect that it will be too wide to fit. But you certainly are thinking outside the box.
 

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I’m all about engine swaps! Put an LS6 crate motor in my LS1 equipped ‘98 Z28. Easy swap because it was a direct swap! Now I say that because it’s always easier to swap in a direct drop in, or at least a motor that was at least an option in the platform that’s getting the swap. I’m all about American V8 muscle too, but I want to point out an LS4 in an ‘09 Impala SS was rated at 303 HP. The 3.6 in my ‘15 Nox is rated at 301 HP. It would be a whole lot easier to swap in a 3.6 than a 5.3 and the performance would be similar, if not equal because the V8 is going to weigh more than the V6... If you’re insistent on a swap, find a wrecked 3.6 with all the parts you’ll need and go to town!

BUT, if do do a V8 swap, be sure to document it and post pictures...I’ve got a spare LS1 in my garage 🤔
 

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Shoehorning an LS4 into the current Equinox will be quite a challenge (and require lots of saw blades). I agree that a 3.6L swap could be more feasible depending on how much metal fab/component relocation work you are willing to take on.

Personally, I would take the easy route and drop in a 2.0t motor with a 9sp.
 

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Having enough room to fit the V-8 and larger transmission in will be your worst problem.
You might think about putting a V-6 in instead, still tight but a better chance of success.

The 2019 Cadillac CT6 has a twin turbo 3.0L V-6 (LGW) that puts out 404 HP and 400 Lb Ft of torque.
This is a proven engine that is on the road now.
Which brings up another thought, with that much power and torque, All Wheel Drive would be almost necessary.

Rumor has it this will be the engine comming in the 2023 Blazer SS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've read your comments, and I've done some more research as well. The transmission that comes on the LS4 is kinda crap. It's the same trans they used for the supercharged V6 in the Grand Prix GTP, and it wasn't really good enough for that application. There is a way to bolt up the transaxle from a Northstar V8 and it'll hold up to some decent power. As one of you said, a bigger trans means it may be tougher to fit the 5.3 in than before. But if there's a will, there's a way. GM already thought of some space saving issues like turning the intake around, mounting the starter to the trans rather than the block, etc. If I can get some funds saved up, and pay off my car, I'd be willing to guinea pig this for everyone. As for staying fwd or going awd, going awd has crossed my mind, but I'd be fine with smoking the front tires where ever and when ever I please 🤣
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
...I’ve got a spare LS1 in my garage 🤔
I'm also not sure the LS1 would work. The LS4 was specifically designed for the fwd application. Like how the mounted the starter to the trans, there is no spot for it on the block. There's a few things the specifically did to make it being fwd work in those cars.
 

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...just thinking out load...almost seems it might be easier to convert to rwd if you’ve got to do a bunch of fabricating anyway... Trailblazer SS as a donor 🤔
 

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Nope...just measured for the fun it...From the back of my firewall to the radiator in my Z28 is 32”...it’s only 26” in the Equinox...rwd conversion wouldn’t work without TONS of work 😞
 

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Oh, and what year is your Equinox?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
How wide is your LS6? I've seen that LS6 heads can bolt to the LS4 block
 

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LS1/6 measures 23” wide...it’s going to be tight!
 

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...There’s a used 3.6 out of a 2015 Terrain with 49K miles for $1003 on eBay...looks like a tree fell on the car, but missed the engine...
 

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...some real world performance numbers with the 3.6 V6 can be found here;
 

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All the turbo versions of the V6 (CTS-V Sport, CT6, & ATS-V) are longitudinal RWD engines and the heads, blocks, and entire front of the motor are very different from the TFWD versions.

The 4T80-E (Northstar) trans is a LOT bigger than the 4T65-E (LS4) and has a different bolt pattern to the engine.

I didn't realize this was for the last gen Nox. Of course the V6 is a direct bolt in. The problem with achieving tire melting smoke at will is you have to get into the engine/trans computers to turn off transmission/axle/diff gear protection algorithms. Smoky burnouts and drive line durability don't coexist well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A couple links for the 4T65-E to 4T80-E conversion:

And a link to a short video of my 2.4l Nox smoking the front tires nicely:
 

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The twin turbo 3.0 would be a possibility, however I think a supercharger would take up less space with equal power.
 
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