Upgrading the Buick Riviera with an LS Swap – A DIY Adventure

Upgrading the Buick Riviera with an LS Swap – A DIY Adventure

Free photo mechanic working in workshop

Looking to take your Buick Riviera to the next level? Consider upgrading it with an LS swap! In this article, we will delve into the exciting world of DIY LS engine swaps and explore how you can transform your Buick Riviera into a modern-day performance machine.

The Appeal of LS Swaps for DIY Enthusiasts

As a DIY enthusiast, the prospect of an LS swapped Buick Riviera offers a unique opportunity to combine your love for classic cars with modern performance. The Buick Riviera, with its iconic styling and luxurious features, presents the perfect platform for such a project. With a bit of mechanical know-how and a willingness to learn, you can undertake this adventure and create a truly one-of-a-kind vehicle.

Choosing the Right LS Engine

When it comes to LS swaps, one of the key considerations is selecting the right engine for your Buick Riviera. The LS engine family offers a wide range of options, each with its own characteristics and power outputs. Factors such as budget, desiredperformance, and compatibility with the Buick Riviera’s chassis need to be taken into account. Research and consult with experts or online communities to make an informed decision.

Step-by-Step Guide to LS Swapping Your Buick Riviera

Step 1: Planning and Research

Begin by researching the specific requirements and challenges of LS swapping a Buick Riviera. Understand the modifications needed, such as engine mounts, exhaust system, fuel system, and cooling system upgrades. Plan your budget, timeline, and gather the necessary tools.

Step 2: Engine Removal

Disconnect the battery and drain all fluids from the original engine. Remove the engine, transmission, and associated components carefully. Take note of the original engine’s mounting points and wiring connections for reference during the installation of the LS engine.

Step 3: Preparation of LS Engine

Clean and inspect the LS engine to ensure it’s in good condition. Replace any worn-out components and make necessary modifications for compatibility with the Buick Riviera’s chassis. This may include installing engine mounts, headers, and other accessories.

Step 4: Installation of LS Engine

Position the LS engine into the engine bay of the Buick Riviera and secure it using the appropriate engine mounts. Connect the wiring harness, fuel system, and cooling system components. Ensure proper alignment with the transmission and drivetrain.

Step 5: Wiring and Integration

Integrating the LS engine’s wiring harness into the Buick Riviera’s electrical system requires careful attention. Connect the necessary wires, ensuring proper functionality of components such as ignition, fuel injection, and sensors. Seek professional assistance if needed.

Step 6: Exhaust System and Cooling Upgrades

Install an exhaust system that is compatible with the LS engine and Buick Riviera’s chassis. Ensure proper routing and clearance. Consider upgrading the cooling system with a more efficient radiator and electric fans to handle the increased power.

Step 7: Tuning and Testing

Once the installation is complete, it’s time to tune the LS engine for optimal performance. Use a standalone engine management system or consult a professional tuner to adjust fuel and ignition parameters. Perform thorough testing to identify and address any issues.


Embarking on an LS swap journey for your Buick Riviera is an exciting and rewarding DIY adventure. By upgrading the engine with a modern LS powerplant, you can transform your classic car into a high-performance machine that combines timeless elegance with modern-day power. Remember to plan carefully, gather the necessary resources, and seek guidance when needed. Enjoy the process and savor the satisfaction of creating a unique and thrilling driving experience with your LS swapped Buick Riviera.

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