For people tired of the M96 or want their 996 to outrun a few more cars in a straight line, the LS swap is appealing. While the swap is considered to be a cost-effective alternative for the hot rodder or the blasphemer, the custom work required to have an American V8 running smoothly in the back on a 911 can cause the conversion costs to skyrocket.
There are plenty of reasons to go down this rabbit hole. Replacing that mellifluous, raspy bark of the M96 is the distinctive rumble of a Chevrolet V8, which is undeniably appealing—if only to confuse people expecting a different sort of sound. Along with that deep throated burble come impressive power gains, affordable maintenance, and similar weight to the original engine. In short, the balance is retained, the torque and power resemble those of a 996 Turbo, and the sound is, well, head-turning at least.
So far, so good. However, the complexities of an LS swap could deter all but the very ambitious and mechanically inclined. Mr. Tyler Hoover chose an aluminum LS2 from a 2006 Corvette, which, when mated to the Porsche gearbox, makes 371 horsepower at the rear wheels. This set him back $4,750. The Renegade Hybrid conversion kit, which features a water pump conversion kit, an A/C system, and an electric power steering system from a Prius, came next and cost him $7,322.
All these parts were obtained easily, but getting the whole package to work was a different story. After stumbling over a few wiring hurdles, and adding an aftermarket fuel system, the car turned over. However, as you can hear in his voice upon turnover (2:39), his feelings were mixed. That ambivalence was only increased by issues with cooling, tailor-made hoses, and a few leaks.
Engine+Conversion kit: -$12,072
Extra parts: -$3,867
Labor: -$2, 604.
Selling the broken M96: +1,500
As mentioned in his own article, the performance makes all of Hoover's frustration bearable. Yet, one has to consider the actual costs of a swap like this. For similar money (including purchase price of the original car), one could own a 996 Turbo, a C5 Z06, or any number of contemporary sports cars with loads of performance. There's no denying the interesting combination of parts or the incredible acceleration, but by no means is this swap a cheap alternative. Does it strike you as a worthwhile endeavor?