Why LS-swapping Your BMW Is Always A Great Idea
Don’t listen to the haters, most of the time they don’t even know what their talking about.
Today we are bringing up a video by Nathan’s BMW Workshop, a BMW-specific DIY repair YouTube channel. This video is about how LS-swapping your BMW or any car in general is a bad idea. Well, as you might have guessed, we here at LS1tech couldn’t disagree more and we are here to tell you why Nathan is just wrong in so many ways.
To start, Nathan beings with the fact that supposedly, the LS-swap craze just hit the internet. This video just came out a month or two ago, but, people have been swapping in LS-based powerplants into their cars since the the LS1 was introduced in the C5 Corvette, over two decades ago.
Nathan, supposedly used to work on Corvettes and has familiarity with the platform and the older LS engines (LS1 and LS2), but hasn’t touched an LS in over 10 years. While that’s all fine and dandy, we would like to inform Nathan that a lot has changed in the aftermarket and in regard to engine swaps for LS’s in the last decade.
He then continues to state that from his experience, that LS’s are “cheap[sic]” built engines. I’m not sure anybody would agree that the sleeved cylinders, forged caps and crank, titanium rods, and valves from the LS7 are anywhere near what you would call parts from a cheaply built engine.
Nathan then lets us know that if the LS is built correctly it can hold high horsepower and if its stock it can’t hold high power for very long. We aren’t sure if he’s even listening to himself at this point, but, if you think about that statement for just a second, you’ll realize that that literally applies to every single engine, regardless of manufacturer or origin.
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This is where his comparison with a BMW E39 M5 begins. For those unfamiliar, the E39 M5 features a S62 V8 that makes 400 HP. If there is one thing these cars are known for his being unreliable and ridiculously expensive to work on. Nathan, almost realizing he can’t lie to himself, calls the S62 “fairly reliable” and that the only issue is “rod bearings”. It is a well known fact that on the majority M-model BMW engines (designated by the S engine code), rod bearings must be a replaced on a regular basis, like a wear and tear item (a $2500+ job depending on labor). He also fails to mention the common VANOS issues or the plastic timing chain guides that commonly break.
At this point, there isn’t much sense in watching the video anymore in our opinion. He mentions a couple more things like the fact that swapping a car with an LS will reduce its resale value. Yet again, another generalization. Swapping any car with any other engine other than the original one reduces its resale value, so don’t get us started why we need to explain that. There is only one real question we had for Nathan after watching the video: Tell me why I don’t want a LS2 that costs a fraction of the price, is more reliable, and makes the same power as a S62 again?