Project V8 RX-7: Part 7 - Bringing the E-ROD LS3 to Life! (Almost)

by Jeff Naeyaert

Now that we've checked "mount the engine and transmission" off our E-ROD LS3 swap checklist we can turn our attention to all the little things needed to get our RX-7 on the road.  What's left?  We need a fuel pump, cooling system, shifter, driveshaft, exhaust and we still have all the wiring left to do.  In this episode, we figure we can tackle the fuel and cooling systems as well as the wiring before we put you to sleep.  Let's get to work!


Fuel Pump

We begin with the fuel pump, of which the E-ROD kit does not come equipped.  This is actually a good thing, because if it did--being a California smog legal kit--that would be the only pump we could technically use.  So the choice is up to us!

Had we started this project with a stock RX-7, the simplest way to fuel our E-ROD kit would be to modify the RX-7 fuel pump assembly to accommodate a higher capacity pump and then add a non-adjustable 60 psi fuel pressure regulator needed for the LS3.

Unfortunately, we’ve already thrown out our old RX-7 pump assembly.  Remember we had an LS1 in our RX-7 prior to the E-ROD and to earn CARB approval on the old swap we had to use the same fuel pump, regulator and carbon canister that came from the donor vehicle—in our case a 2001 Camaro.   For us, the easiest option was to modify the Camaro fuel pump assembly we were already using.  The good thing is that old LS1 pump assembly already has the correct in-tank regulator we need and we’ve already mounted the stock RX-7 fuel level sender onto it!  

The stock Camaro fuel pump assembly we'll be using to fuel our E-ROD LS3.  The Camaro fuel level sender was removed and replaced by the RX-7's stock sender seen here riveted to the side.


On the underside of the top of the fuel pump assembly is the stock Camaro in-tank fuel pressure regulator.


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Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Tuesday, January 03, 2012 1:20 PM
Jeff - The pain-staking detail is excellent to say the least! I'm hoping your exhaust calls for something a little mean in nature :)
Tuesday, January 03, 2012 6:34 PM
I'm curious, what are the advantages of the LS3? Emissions and a little more power? Looking through the older installments didn't really have a clear answer as to why you're going through all of this work to swap LSx's.

Though I've gotta say it's coming together very nicely.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, January 03, 2012 8:30 PM
More like a lot more power (430 vs 255) plus reliability, emissions and even fuel economy.
Jeff Naeyaert
Jeff Naeyaertlink
Tuesday, January 03, 2012 9:33 PM
i think he meant LS3 vs LS1.. if that's the case, yeah, it's about 100 more hp depending on what numbers you believe. The LS1 was already installed and getting a little soft before we started MotoIQ so we decided to start off with something fresh. The LS1 was great though and even with only 350hp it boned the f#@& out!
Wednesday, January 04, 2012 4:35 AM
Jeff's right, I understand doing an LS swap in general, I didn't quite get why you'd go from an LS1 to and LS3. Thanks, it looks great! It's surprising how much room is in the engine bay for a motor like that.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012 8:55 PM
What are you planning on using for a rear end setup? I've read that the diff mounts on the FD's are notorious for breaking under high horsepower/torque.

Also, PLEASE tell you're not really going to leave the stock FD fuel filter where it is (stock location on top of diff)! I hated changing that damn thing on my FD.
Jeff Naeyaert
Jeff Naeyaertlink
Wednesday, January 04, 2012 11:09 PM
LOL, yes, leaving the fuel filter where it is for now.. if I end up having to change the fuel system for more flow later i'll probably relocate it ;)

I've got a long term plan for the rear diff, but just to get the car going I've got a stopgap solution you can read about in a few weeks when the next installment comes out!
Friday, April 06, 2012 8:33 AM
I'm loving this series! Did it ever get finished? Will there be a next article?
Monday, May 07, 2012 11:58 AM
long time + no update = I haz a sad
Jeff Naeyaert
Jeff Naeyaertlink
Monday, May 07, 2012 1:22 PM
a crapload of updates are coming very soon! :)
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 7:59 PM
I was looking for a better way to wire up the reverse lockout and found this:


I think it should work basically like the Camaro ECU and activate the reverse lockout when you're stopped.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 10:00 AM
Sorry for digging up an old article, just reading it for the first time now.

One thing I try to do when locating components in a swap, is paying attention to the case designs of the electrical boxes. If a resistor pack or something has a finned aluminum case on it, then I keep it in the engine bay and try to place it somewhere it will get airflow. Looking at the erod ecu's design with its all aluminum sealed and finned construction, and weather proof connectors, I'd say the gm engineers were concerned about heat dissipation and intended for it to be mounted in the engine bay, not insulated under carpet near your foot heaters. Heat is the cause of most failures for just about everything, might be an idea to relocate it or cool it. Yes I'm aware this car has been up and running for awhile, still have to reat the rest of the areticles. Great project!
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