Category Archives: E30-LS1

Anything related to the ultimate swap of them all, The E30 – LS1 Swap

Ares: E30-LS1 – Removable Core Support


Welcome to the second installment of the E30-LS1 Build.

Here we discuss a topic that is on every E30 enthusiast’s mind – How to effectively make the radiator core support removable. And this is just the first of 2 parts discussing this very in-depth topic.

To start, we’d like to quantify this discussion. Let’s list out the requirements:

  1. Must be easy/quick to remove – Mechanically & Electrically
  2. Must be relatively simple to construct
  3. Must look stock
  4. Must maintain stock functionality

Historically, an easily removable assembly, whether it be a subframe, engine, radiator, or any other subassembly of a rally or race car is key in order to get it back in the race. Here, we try to replicate that to the best of our ability in Ares. Below is a rough list of the pros and cons to doing such a modification. Also are a small list of items that could make/break your effort. This write-up is designed to de-risk your project and execute a professional looking E30 Front Subframe:

Pros Cons


How to cut the core? We performed a combination of drilling out existing spot welds with cutting and re-welding our own support structure to maintain stability and strength of the assembly. See below for cutting/drilling locations:

Radiator Core0

There are certainly many methods to incorporate a removable core support while maintaining to all of these requirements, but we will show you at a high level how we plan to execute that with Ares.

Here we have our documented main attachment points. These points must be, strong and somewhat concealed, while maintaining ease of accessibility with hand tools. Below you’ll see the basic structure of Garagistic’s go-forward approach when constructing to all of this criteria.

Radiator Core

The prototype modifications have been made as shown below. You can see where it was decided to make the connections. Each of these mechanical connections shall have either weld nuts attached or the holes tapped for ease of installation/removal. All tapped holes shall have at least 3 threads to meet the minimum torque requirements for a thread of that size.e30-removable-core-support (29)

e30-removable-core-support (26)   e30-removable-core-support (52)

Above are some pictures of the entire assembly after construction has been conceptualized.

Now let’s go back to our criteria – our requirements for our removable subframe. See below for the responses to our self-induced requirements.

  1. Must be easy/quick to remove – Mechanically & Electrically
    1. 6 Bolts, assembly pulls out by pulling toward the front of the car. No binding occurs
    2. C101/X20 style connector mounted directly on the fender wall near the ABS Pump
    3. Removal/installation of the core support and supporting structure will take no more than 10 minutes, including bumper, valence, core support, headlights..etc.
  2. Must be relatively simple to construct
    1. Basic welding knowledge, making steel brackets, and welding nuts or tapping for ease of remove/install.
    2. Need die grinder, angle grinder to make brackets and sheet metal bracing
  3. Must look stock
    1. Utilized existing support with modifications.
    2. Holds factory E30 radiator or an aftermarket Moshimoto with stock mount locations
  4. Must maintain stock functionality
    1. All electrical signals maintained
    2. Mounting points easily accessible.
    3. Maintains stock strength

More info to come in the second installment as we finalize our electrical routing! Because many of the signals require 10-12 gauge wire, we cannot use a simple aftermarket connector. Therefore, we plan to use a lightly used C101/X20 style connector and mounting it bulkhead in the side of the fender, thereby concealing the routing of the wires from the fuse box to the front end of the car. This helps the project remain inexpensive, available connectors, and no special pin/depin tools. The signals involved are:


e30-removable-core-support (2)

Want more detail? Stay tuned for the official write-up of the E30-LS1 through Macalent LLC. There’ll be much  more detail with step-by-step instructions on how to on the construction of the removable core support, hardware listing, hole drilling for spot welds, measurements,  and suggested wiring for the one-connector hookup, making this super easy for the shady-tree mechanic.

Thanks for reading and continue to stay tuned for regular updates on this amazing project!

Introducing the God of War: Ares, The Formidable E30 – LS1

LS1 Timeline

The time has come…and the schedule above confirms!

That’s right! This is the start of WEEKLY updates to our most recent and proudest build. You’ll get the opportunity to follow us with fresh new status each week. You’ll also get a chance to learn all about the inner workings of the LS1 and what makes it so popular in today’s car culture. But most importantly once the build is complete, you’ll have the knowledge to complete this swap yourself.

So here we are, collecting parts, making jigs, stocking up on raw material, and getting psyched to keep you all updated every step of the way!

The 1997-2005 General Motors Engine “LS1” is one of the most popular engines in the modern automotive tuning realm. First introduced in 1997 Corvette and then in 1998-2002 in the Camaro Z28.


Why is it so damn popular?  Well, here’s a start:

  • Lightweight – Aluminum block option, aluminum heads that flow so well from the factory, and don’t often weigh much more than the 4cyl/6cyl iron blocks they replaced.
  • Simple – One Single Center Camshaft w/ pushrods, easy tune-ups. Low end “Y” Block has the fewest main bolts (6 bolts, 4 cap and 2 cross). One piece pan gasket with an oil pan that actually provides structural rigidity to the assembly.
  • Compact Power/lb – +/-350hp and +/-365lb-ft, depending on year
  • Attainable – Almost overabundant! Find it in the Camaro, Corvette, GTO, Firebird. Chevy trucks came with iron-block 4.8L/ 5.3L. And the 6.0L/6.2L engines were aluminum. Most of the car engines came in 5.3L, 5.7L, 6.0L, 6.2L and 7.0L sizes. Not only are there options when deciding on displacement, there are also choices when deciding if you want an iron or aluminum block. More on this below…
  • Reliable – High Mileage LS1’s with tons of field data, Extra Long Head Bolts to reduce variation in mass production.
  • Aftermarket – Replacement parts are cheap, not only because of the inherent mass production, but also that it’s american, making parts produced from hundreds of american manufacturers. Add a performance camshaft, Exhaust Headers, free flow intake and a free flow exhaust setup. just that will source you 400rwhp.
  • Fuel Economy – Could push up to 30mpg!
  • Price/Power Ratio – Off the charts. You can pick it up at the junkyard, do regular maintenance and get yourself an amazing swapped car.

Aluminum block really better? Actually yes…

Aluminum is better because it’s lighter (about 100# less compared to it iron LS1 counterpart), but requires iron sleeves. It cools better, and therefore extracts the heat through the coolant quicker than iron.

Iron is cheap, strong, can take a beating, and is great for turbo-charging over 1000rwhp. this version was primarily used in the Chevy Trucks.

In the end, aluminum is the future and best candidate for most tuners’ applications.

Let’s get technical. Here are the 5.7L Aluminum Block LS1 specs:

  • Block: 319-T5 Aluminum, 90deg, Deep skirt with cast-in iron sleeves. (careful with a stroker kit though)
  • Head: 356-T6 Aluminum, Cross flow, wedge combustion chamber.
  • Pistons: Cast Aluminum, Flat Top, 15.5oz Ea
  • Bore: 3.898 in, 4.4in Spacing
  • Stroke: 3.62 in
  • Displacement: 8*3.14* (Bore/2) * (Bore/2) * Stroke = 345.7 cu in (or 5.7L)
  • Valve  Intake: 2.00″ Dia, 200 deg, 0.5″ lift, 0.05″ duration
  • Valve Exhaust: 1.55″ Dia, 203 deg, 0.5″ lift, 0.05″ duration
  • Head Gasket: 0.052″ Compressed
  • Compression Ratio: 10.1:1
  • Firing Order: 1-8-7-2-6-5-4-3
  • Ignition: One COP (coil on plug) per cylinder. Saturation achieved in only 2 revolutions (4 in predecessor).
  • Crate Weight: ~390#
  • Spark Plug Gap: 0.06″
  • Bearing Caps: 4 vertical bolts, 2 cross bolts
  • Induction Type: One-Piece Composite Intake
  • Throttle Body Dia: 75.0mm
  • Transmission: Borg Warner / Tremec T56 6-Speed Gearbox

Tremec vs. Borg Warner:

TheT-56 was initially developed/built by Borg Warner. They were available in the 93-97 LT-1 cars (iron block). In1997, Borg Warner sold the T-56 out to a company called Tremec. Tremec began building the T-56 transmissions in Mexico out of inferior parts with cheap/weak synchros and gears. Every 6-Speed transmission you find in an LS1 Camaro, Firebird or Corvette is from the Mexican company Tremec T-56. Predominately early failure of the synchros are observed, causing the transmission to bind, grind, and whine.

Rebuilding a T-56 takes specialty equipment, expensive parts, and extremely detailed knowledge base in order to execute effectively.

So here we have Ares. Our signature V8 e30 ls1 build, sharing with our fans every step of the build. There’s a reason why they say the LS1 was built by the hands of God; The God of War – Ares.

And that’s exactly what we’re introducing to you. The BMW E30 colliding with the most ubiquitous, powerful, and insanely compact engine: The LS1.


(Image courtesy of