Not your typical pick-em-up truck... Ectotec in an '80 Chevy Luv - Cobalt SS Network



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Old 09-02-2016, 10:10 AM   #1
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Not your typical pick-em-up truck... Ectotec in an '80 Chevy Luv

After buying my Colorado and losing interest in my base model Cobalt, it eventually got traded in on my wife's new car. However, I am still quite intrigued by the Ecotec family, and had been keeping an eye out for an LSJ or Ion Redline to tinker with.

At the same time, I've never really been a car guy, and have always been more inclined to own small pickups. When this little guy reared it's head on Craigslist, the wheels in my head started turning, and a week later, it was following me home on a trailer.



Sitting in my driveway, with all the spare parts removed from the bed.



Tear down has begun, and I am in the process of removing the original motor and drivetrain. I was going to wait until I at least had a motor to start a build thread, but I have to many questions that need answered before I even track one down.
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:21 AM   #2
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I've pretty much narrowed it down to 3 options. The idea is to just make this thing a fun, reliable drive, on a reasonable budget. Right around 300hp at 2500lb is my end goal.

My main question I guess, are the pros and cons when it comes to acquiring and swapping a 2.0 Ecotec into this thing. I'm either going with an LNF, LSJ, or B207. As far as I know, either of those 3 blocks will bolt to an Aisin-5 with a Sky/Solstice bellhousing.

Ideally, I would like to find an entire car as a donor, so that I can pilfer the motor, turbo, sensors, wiring harness, pcm, and other odds and ends I can retrofit to the truck.

LNF: Pricey, more electronically advanced, closer HP/TQ numbers to my end goal.

LSJ: Cheaper, but would need turbo swapped, as the M62 would put the throttle body in the firewall.

B207: This is the route I am contemplating, as I can seem to find entire Saab 9-3s running and driving for
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:56 AM   #3
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You could go with the lsj sc and do what 3.8 sc guys do with Camaros. they cut the inlet on the supercharger and weld in a 180 pipe and weld the throttle body mount that was cut off to the end of the pipe. kinda complicated but id think it would be the cheaper path if you do it yourself since wrecked lsj's are not to hard to find.
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Old 09-02-2016, 02:18 PM   #4
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Why not boost a le5 2.4? I think one with a gen 3 block (needs clarification) would be a bit better. Course you'd have to piece the boost kit together....
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Old 09-02-2016, 03:17 PM   #5
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I picked those 3 because they are already boosted and I'm 95% sure the bellhousing would allow me to bolt it to a RWD application using OEM parts. A 2.2 or 2.4 would require something custom.
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Old 09-02-2016, 04:03 PM   #6
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I think this project is awesome! Are you going to leave the outside/interior sleeper or what are your plans there?
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Old 09-02-2016, 04:58 PM   #7
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Plan is to leave the body exactly as is, just replace some weather stripping. Convert it to 2wd and lower it a decent amount. I have another set of 17" Colorado ZQ8s like in my signature to put on it.
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Old 09-02-2016, 05:09 PM   #8
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The solstice came with a 2.4 so you should have RWD options. The slingshot is also a 2.4 ecotec so there may be more options provided from that community.
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Old 09-02-2016, 06:07 PM   #9
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I would second the solstice 2.4 option. Get a complete donor that was crashed or something, should be dirt cheap. All ecotec bellhousings are the same, or you could use the solstice trans if you wanted. You will have to modify the mounts and driveshaft no matter what, so you could just use all stock solstice drivetrain to get there.

Small turbo setup will do 300hp with ease. Any more and you would want piston/rod upgrades but that's easy when it's apart and still cheaper than finding an LNF solstice.
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:43 PM   #10
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Completely overlooked the fact that the 2.4s also had the same trans. That could very well be an option as well.
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Old 09-03-2016, 12:57 AM   #11
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there are a few other transmission options aside from the asin 5 speed in the solstice. there are conversion bellhousings available to run a t5, although thats far from the best option. with a bellhousing from quicktime performance you can bolt a t56 to the ecotec. this would by far be the most expensive, however cool to have a 6 speed. also with the deep 6th gear you could put a stupid rear end ratio in, and still cruise down the highway at 2200rpm.

one thing your going to need to keep in mind is shifter location when selecting your transmission. id bet the truck will need something with the shifter fairly far forward, something the solstice doesnt have. you may be able to build a "hybrid" transmission using a transmission from a colorado/canyon with a solstice bellhousing/front case half, as they are the same type of transmission.
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Old 09-03-2016, 09:04 AM   #12
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Yeah, I planned on getting a trans out of a Colorado from the get go. That ought to put the shifter in a prett manageable location. Those things can be had for next to nothing.
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Old 09-03-2016, 11:02 PM   #13
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Awesome build. I've always been a big fan of minis and own an s10 myself. Excited to see you progress with this. I just saw an s10 on instagram that had a turbo ecotec motor in it.
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:57 PM   #14
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Been looking into the 2.4 route, and they are definitely abundant around me, just not in the form of a Solstice. HHRs, G6s, and various Saturns all over the place.

Would it be safe to assume that the Solstice bell housing would bolt up to a 2.4 out of any of those?
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:48 PM   #15
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yup. all 2.0l, 2.2l and 2.4l ecotecs share the same bellhousing bolt pattern. there is no difference between a fwd le5 and a solstice le5. same deal with the fwd lnf and solstice lnf

one thing i found when i did my swap was used solstice parts from a wrecker were pricey, but the odds and ends could be had at a reasonable price new. i was looking at things like engine mount brackets and coolant pipes. the stuff wasnt going to work for me, but it might work for your swap.
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:56 PM   #16
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^just the guy you want to talk too!
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Old 09-15-2016, 09:47 AM   #17
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Got the truck pretty much blown apart. Interior is gutted, and so is the engine bay. Motor and trans are loose, just need to get a hoist to get them out.

Couple of complete donor cars have popped up on CL that I have been interested in, but couldn't get a hold of the owners. Go figure.

Hopefully a more exciting update sometime in the near future.
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Old 09-15-2016, 02:04 PM   #18
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Old 09-15-2016, 07:14 PM   #19
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Got a line on a 2wd frame that a guy wants to trade straight up for my 4x4 frame. Hopefully this works out. He has to dig it out of storage.

Blew the front end apart.



Motor loose and ready to come out.



Gutted what was left of the interior.



And the bed, dangling from the ceiling lol.

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Old 09-21-2016, 09:30 PM   #20
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Cool build
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Old 09-21-2016, 09:58 PM   #21
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Yanked the cab off the frame tonight. Going to start grinding all the unnecessary tabs out of the engine bay and clean it up for paint.

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Old 09-22-2016, 10:25 AM   #22
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Keep at it, this will definitely be a cool build once you get done. Did you decide on which engine your going with?
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Old 09-22-2016, 12:54 PM   #23
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Not yet. Keeping a sharper eye peeled for a LE5 or B207R, but if I find a good deal on a complete, lower mileage car with something else, I'd probably jump on that just to get the ball rolling.
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:24 PM   #24
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Pressure washed all the crud out of the cab and engine bay. I can't believe how gross it was.

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Old 09-27-2016, 11:06 AM   #25
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I have a line on a complete G5 with an L61. I can get the entire car for $600, and it only has 53k miles.

Even though it isn't my first choice for a motor, seems like this could be a potential deal to get the ball rolling!
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