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Old 07-13-2018, 10:33 AM   #1  
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Ls1 rx8?

So I've recently come across an ad for an LS1 swapped RX8. I'm probably insane but the seller is asking 10,000 for it which seems semi-reasonable considering LS Motors aren't cheap and all the work to get the thing put together and running properly (assuming that it is). It is an Automatic which although is not ideal as I miss having one but seems like it would be less prone to swap related issues as it's self contained and isn't possibly being operated by clutch system parts that were never designed to work together.

Am I nuts for even considering it? Seems like a relatively inexpensive alternative and slightly more practical alternative to a Camaro. My biggest hesitation is that although I like to consider myself somewhat mechanically inclined but I live in a subdivision and do not have the lift and tools required for any serious maintenance besides the normal oil change, spark plugs, air filter. So presuming the swap is done correctly, is it pretty low maintenance from there?

Which bring's me to the final and ultimate question: how do I know the swap is done right? What questions should I be asking? and where the heck do I take this thing if something breaks? There is a local shop that does a lot of work on LS motors so that is comforting at least.
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:37 AM   #2  
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my advice get the camaro.

it's probably for sale for 10k cause they ran out of money to "finish" the swap and are looking to dump it to some unsuspecting fool or all the lights on the dash make it impossible to pass local inspections.

if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:47 AM   #3  
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A $10k LS swapped RX-8 could theoretically be good. I've seen nice ones on the LS Powered RX8 facespace group for about that much.

That said, it probably isn't. The devil is in the details and the builder could have done an amazing job or you could be fixing **** for the rest of your life.

I'd probably dig a little deeper and go over the car with a fine-toothed comb for hours before making a decision.
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:55 AM   #4  
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That's where I'm at with it too. It would be a 3rd car and I'm in Kentucky so there is no such thing as a "local inspection". I was going to call the guy for more details but wasn't sure what to ask besides where the engine and trans came from and how many miles are on them. How long ago the swap was done / how many miles on it since would be a good indicator of whether it has a good chance of being sorted out or not.

Problem is if it's not sorted out I'm not sure anyone is going to want to deal with it and it's basically an RX8 shell and a nice motor.
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:58 AM   #5  
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Then again I do have someone in the extended family whose house is literally a giant metal garage with house built inside it (not joking). Maybe I just need to make friends with them
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:10 AM   #6  
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Are you familiar with the LS family of motors? If not, get familiar. They're like Barbie dolls for dudes... infinite options for upgrading, customizing, and such. Make sure you know what you're getting in the motor (which block, head, cam, crank, pistons, valves, tune, # of miles, etc).

Then you want to know the following (off the top of my head, probably lots more):
  • Is it an actual LS block or a truck motor? Which one (get the code like LS2, LM4, L76, etc).
  • If it's a truck motor, which intake and accessories did he use? (those will have to come from a car due to clearance issues)
  • What transmission did he use?
  • Which rear-end is in the car?
  • Did he use a kit or custom fab the mounting? If a kit, which one?
  • Does it still have the powerplant frame? If not, how are the transmission and diff supported?
  • Which oil pan did he use? Some kits require using an oil pan out of an LS1 Camaro.
  • How is he getting data to the dash? Did he keep the Mazda ECU and harness and somehow pass data from the GM ECU to the Mazda system? Or did he make some kind of Arduino or Raspberry Pi CAN-BUS translator? (Some put a tone wheel on the GM crank and keep the ESS connected to the Mazda ECU for RPM signal.)
  • Are there any permanent warning lights on the dash?
  • If using two ECUs, which one is connected to the factory OBD-II port?
  • Does it have AC? Which AC compressor did he use?
  • What power steering system is used? The original EPS system can be used if you can pass RPM signal to it but I think most opt for a Miata rack and use hydraulic adapters to connect the rack to the GM pump.
  • How did he correct the steering geometry to deal with bump steer (if at all)?
  • Is the ABS still functioning?
  • What did he do for the drive shaft?
  • Does it have a front swaybar? If not, will one fit?

Here's an FAQ for one of the kits:
https://www.ls1rx8.com/faq.html

Last edited by NotAPreppie; 07-13-2018 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:24 PM   #7  
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I would find out who did the work, the supporting mods that went with the build and whether or not the lights on the dash are on because that could result in an issue in some states.

Find out which LS motor it is, because there are several. If it's an aluminum block LS1, LS2, LS3, LS7, (which I doubt it is) or LSX.

LS motors are seriously bullet proof, get great fuel mileage if you're casually driving and can make some serious power. But if it's an iron block, i'd stay away then it's just a tahoe or silverado motor, not meant for a sports car.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:43 PM   #8  
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Here's my take.

If you know how/enjoy working on cars, I would have no problem buying a swapped car.

If you don't know how to work on cars, or mind spending a fat knot on getting it repaired, I wouldn't.

No matter how good the swap is, it will likely never have a OEM fit, finish, or reliability.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:47 PM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeAfterRx8 View Post
Find out which LS motor it is, because there are several. If it's an aluminum block LS1, LS2, LS3, LS7, (which I doubt it is) or LSX.
There are several truck motors with Aluminum blocks...
5.3L
LM4, L33, LH6, LH8, LH9, LC9, LS4 (though this last one doesn't apply since it's a transverse application).

6.2L
L92, L99

The difference between a "truck" motor and "sportscar" motor is mostly in the cam and head. If you get a $500 or $1000 aluminum "truck" motor (LM4), find somebody on eBay or Craigslist selling their compatible 799 or LS head after upgrading, add in a hotter cam, and you now have a "sportscar" motor. Add a free-flowing exhaust and 400 HP isn't far away.

https://oppositelock.kinja.com/speed...und-1125469009

I kind of want to build a de-stroked screamer based around a 4" bore L92 or L99 block with an LR4 crank. With the right parts, spinning to 8k should be easy. If I actually had money to spend (rather than just going "off the shelf") I'd have a custom crankshaft and cam made and do a flat-plane crank. Make it wail like a Ferrari.

Last edited by NotAPreppie; 07-13-2018 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 07-20-2018, 05:21 PM   #10  
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Did you end up getting any details? $10K is not a bad price at all (again depending upon the quality of the job and what engine is in it). I have an LS3 in a Miata and it's a blast. However it's not a street car! Sure you could drive it on the streets but you wouldn't get to enjoy it for all its glory!
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