Camaro LB8 motor swap

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Camaro LB8 motor swap

Postby red cube » Thu May 04, 2017 10:21 pm


I have a line on a 2.8 MPFI out of a late 80's F-body. It's $100 and only 91k miles. Now I know the FWD MPFI engines have aluminum heads, which means swapping back to TBI is a problem if I don't want to re-wire the Trooper. However, reading through the Camaro forums seems to indicate that the early F-body MPFI 2.8s used a different intake than later motors and cast iron heads. Unfortunately, the Camaro boards don't spend much time on 2.8s other than how involved it is to swap in a V8, or just swap in a 3.4...

So has anyone here swapped the early F-body MPFI 2.8? I know I'd have to drill the starter mounts, and I think that the Isuzu uses different oil light and pressure switches. If the manifolds can swap, then I can bolt on a new t/body to replace the fire damaged one currently on Red Cube. I know that it wouldn't be a huge hp improvement over the Trooper 2.8 (135 vs. 125 hp) but Red Cube's 2.8 had well over 200k miles, and I'm guessing it probably never made more than 100 hp in my ownership. The 91k miles on the Camaro motor is very tempting, including the fact that it's probably still fluid-tight. Which Red Cube's engine has never been in my ownership.

I haven't come across any F-body 3.4s without intergalactic mileage, and folks were even asking $800 - 1000 for those.

So, is this 2.8 a good option, or will I have to completely tear it apart to make it work?

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Re: Camaro LB8 motor swap

Postby geoffinbc » Fri May 05, 2017 3:52 am

Not really worth the effort. I would hold out for a 3.4L or a Rodeo 3.1L. Throw a few good parts at either motor and your off to a better start.
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Re: Camaro LB8 motor swap

Postby Ed Mc. » Fri May 05, 2017 4:48 am

The 2.8 MPFI motor, from what I recall, has the same cast-iron heads as our ZuZu 2.8's. Don't think there'd really be any performance advantage using one of those motors, bolted up to a TBI and TBI intake. If the motor does indeed have only 97,000 miles on it, it shouldn't be too worn out.

You could pull it down for a "refresh" and install a 3.1/3.4 crankshaft along with 3.1 iron-head pistons (Camaro 3.1, Rodeo/PU 3.1). With the low miles the cylinders shouldn't be worn out; no need for machine shop to bore the block, and you could install standard-size pistons.

This would be a nice performance upgrade and $100 is pretty cheap for a core motor.

You'd still have to do the starter mods, the drilling kit is somewhere around $85 shipped from Rodney Dickman Fieros.

You might even consider installing a Comp Cams 252 "torquer" grind cam kit for an extra boost. Along with some Comp Cams Magnum 1.6:1 roller-tipped rocker arms, and you'll have a strong-running 3.1.

Definitely an improvement over a stock 2.8, you'll really appreciate the extra torque.

Just a thought, as Geoff said there are a number of ways to go. Including a 3.1 out of an early-90's GM FWD minivan; Pontiac Transport, Lumina APV, Olds Silhouette. The early engines were iron-headed TBI-equipped with starter already on the correct side to bolt up to the MUA trans.
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