Our original plan for our smog-legal E-Rod swap into the EcoNova was to use the stock front-drive assembly for a ’10-current Camaro, since it’s available separately and cheaply straight from GMPP. The problem with that arrangement, however, is the standard LS engine layout isn’t a drop-in fit for most muscle cars if you want to retain all of the accessories, especially A/C, which is a must for this project since we’re picturing it as a comfortable daily driver

Unfortunately, the LS’s main misaligned accessory is the A/C compressor, since the factory bracket places it low and wide on the passenger side of the engine which causes interference with the chassis in most swaps. If the engine is placed far enough forward, the subframe will be the issue, which means that notching is an option. Nevertheless, if it’s been slid rearward in favor of better weight distribution, it may be the upper A-arm that gets in the way.

One option here would be a relocation bracket that will swing the compressor over enough to fit. That gets it in the right place, but the GM variable displacement compressor still poses a temperature regulation issue. Rick Love at Vintage Air clarified for us that GM pairs their compressor with a fixed orifice tube, but aftermarket systems such as Vintage Air’s retrofit kits employ a Thermostatic Expansion Valve that requires a fixed displacement compressor. Mixing the variable displacement with a Thermostatic Expansion Valve results in the components fighting one another to regulate the pressure and temperature, which is guaranteed to decrease cooling performance (probably no better than 55 degrees) and greatly reduce compressor life. The Pilot Operated Absolute (POA) valves used on most ’60s and ’70s cars (to regulate pressure) present similar issues. Well, there goes the simplicity and budget aspect of the kit.

Rather than swap the compressor and change the bracket, we decided to just go for a bolt-in solution that would also include the upgraded aftermarket components that we’d like to swap in anyway. Top on our list of must-haves in a kit was something that combined quality construction and strength with subdued looks. Polished billet looks great on some cars, but we wanted to retain the factory bolt-in feel. Plus, we didn’t want our pulleys to be the shiniest thing on the whole car.

Eddie Motorsports’ (EM) new S-Drive LS pulley kit fits all the right points for our swap; it arranges the power steering pump, alternator, and A/C compressor into the tightest package possible, is available in a low-bling machined finish, and you get the good stuff while leaving some lunch money in your wallet, which, of course, we’ll probably just spend on more parts. The full kit with all accessories in machine finish comes in at $2,395—add $100 for polish finish, or $200 for their custom Fusioncoat colors. Not bad at all considering all the high-quality accessories are included, like the Edelbrock water pump, Sanden compressor, Powermaster alternator, Maval power steering pump, Gates belt tensioner, and ATI dampener and hub.

So we headed over to Bodie Stroud Industries and yanked the E-Rod LS3 out of the EcoNova project to get our front-drive system in order. While it’s definitely not a requirement to pull the engine to swap this kit on, it does make life easier. If you’re doing it in-car, expect to pull the fan and radiator for clearance.

Rather than swap the compressor and change the bracket, we decided to just go for a bolt-in solution…
SOURCE
Eddie Motorsports
11479 Sixth Street
Rancho Cucamonga
CA  91730
888-813-1293
http://www.eddiemotorsports.com/
Vintage Air
18865 Goll Street
San Antonio
TX  78266
800-862-6658
http://www.vintageair.com
Bodie Stroud Industries
818-768-7600
www.BodieStroud.com