An LS swap refers to the process of replacing the original engine in a vehicle with a General Motors (GM) LS series engine. LS engines are popular choices for swaps due to their excellent power-to-weight ratio, availability, and aftermarket support. When performing an LS swap, one crucial aspect is ensuring the proper air intake system to feed the engine with the necessary air for combustion. Below are the essential air intake parts typically involved in an LS swap:
Air Filter: The air filter is the first line of defense in the intake system. It prevents dust, debris, and contaminants from entering the engine. There are various types of air filters, including paper, cotton, foam, and reusable high-flow filters. Performance-oriented LS swaps often use high-flow air filters to improve air intake efficiency.
Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF): The MAF sensor measures the mass of incoming air to the engine and sends this data to the engine control module (ECM). The ECM uses this information to calculate the appropriate amount of fuel to deliver to achieve the desired air-fuel ratio.
Intake Tube: The intake tube connects the air filter to the throttle body or intake manifold. It is usually made of plastic, aluminum, or composite materials and should have a smooth interior surface to promote smooth airflow.
Throttle Body: The throttle body controls the amount of air entering the engine based on the driver’s input through the gas pedal. Aftermarket throttle bodies with larger diameters are available, which can help increase airflow and potentially improve engine performance.
Intake Manifold: The intake manifold distributes the air from the throttle body to each cylinder’s intake ports. LS engines come with different types of intake manifolds, such as truck-style, car-style, or aftermarket performance versions. The choice of intake manifold can influence torque, horsepower, and powerband characteristics.
Intake Manifold Gaskets: Proper gaskets are essential to ensure a leak-free seal between the intake manifold and the engine block, preventing any uncontrolled air leaks that could affect performance.
Intake Air Temperature (IAT) Sensor: The IAT sensor measures the temperature of the incoming air. The ECM uses this information to adjust the fuel mixture according to the air density, which changes with temperature.
PCV System: The Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) system helps to recycle blow-by gases from the crankcase back into the intake manifold to be burned during combustion. It is essential to maintain proper crankcase ventilation for engine health.
Breather System: The breather system is responsible for allowing fresh air into the engine to replace the blow-by gases removed by the PCV system. It typically includes a valve cover breather and/or an oil separator.
Intake Air Ducting: In some LS swap installations, additional ducting might be necessary to route the air from the front of the vehicle to the air filter and intake components.
When performing an LS swap, it’s essential to consider the specific LS engine model being used and the target vehicle’s configuration. There are various aftermarket companies specializing in LS swap parts, making it easier to find compatible and performance-enhancing components for the air intake system and the entire engine swap project. Always ensure that the air intake system is properly designed and sealed to avoid any potential issues and ensure optimal engine performance.