Ford purists look away: This 5.3L LS crate engine now resides under the hood of a Fox Body Mustang. Learn more about this Blue Oval/BowTie mashup here. (Image/Summit Racing)

If you’re thinking about an LS engine swap, LS engine build, or LS engine upgrade, the first place you’ll likely start looking is at the LS motor’s displacement. And that’s why we’re writing this series of tech posts. It’ll break down each of the LS engine’s most popular displacements.

Learn more about each LS engine displacement:
* 4.8L LS Engine Guide: Block Specs, Swap Resources & Build Info
* 5.3L LS Engine Guide: Block Specs, Swap Resources & Build Info
* 5.7L LS Engine Guide: Block Specs, Swap Resources & Build Info
* 6.0L LS Engine Guide: Block Specs, Swap Resources & Build Info
6.2L LS Engine Guide: Block Specs, Swap Resources & Build Info
* 7.0L LS Engine Guide: Block Specs, Swap Resources & Build Info

This handy LS resource page is a good one to bookmark if you’re considering an LS crate engine for a swap, or looking for a 5.3L LS short block to use a basis for a high horsepower build.

You may also want to check out our Definitive Guide to LS Engine Specs and LS Engine Upgrades.

The 5.3L LS Engine Family

The 5.3L LS, or Vortec 5300, is primarily a truck/SUV engine that spanned both the Gen. III and Gen. IV versions of the GM LS lifespan. It’s essentially a longer-stroke version of the 4.8L LS and powered vehicles such as the Silverado, Sierra, Yukon, and Escalade. The engine is made with both cast iron blocks (LM7) and aluminum versions (LM4 and L33). The later Gen. IV versions incorporate newer technology such GM’s Active Fuel Management and could also be found in passenger cars (LS4) like the Impala and Monte Carlo.

The 5.3L family is one of the more popular swap options. It was the most-produced engine from the Gen. III, IV, and V eras, and there are plenty of these engines lying around in cast iron and aluminum form. GM 5.3L LS engines can had at a reasonable and can be made to produce very good power with the variety of aftermarket upgrades available.

Your hunt for the right 5.3L engine starts with this spec chart:

5.3L LS Engine Spec Guide

YearsLiterCodeVehicleCam BoltsReluctorVVTAFMFlex FuelVIN
(8th Digit)
2007-095.3LY5Truck/SUV158x/4xNoYesNo JIron Cathedral
2007-20115.3LC9Truck/SUV1 58x/4x2010+YesYes3Alum.Cathedral
2005-065.3LH6SUV324x/1xNoYesNoMAlum. Cathedral
2007-095.3LH6SUV158x/4xNoYesNo MAlum.Cathedral
2008-095.3LH8Truck/SUV158x/4xNoNoNoLAlum. Cathedral
2010-145.3LMFVan1 58x/4xYesNo Yes4IronCathedral
2005-065.3LS4FWD Car358x/4xNoYesNoCAlum.Cathedral
2007-095.3LS4FWD Car158x/4xNoYes NoCAlum.Cathedral
[Image: 2006 Chevrolet Impala 5.3 L LS4 V8 engine | GNU License]

Looking for an 5.3L LS Engine?

Here are two LS Engine Spotter’s Guides that will help:

LS Engine Swap Parts Guide

Our friends over at Summit Racing developed a helpful resource that’ll give you an idea of some of the parts you’ll need to complete your LS engine swap—including specific LS swap requirements for exact vehicle models. You can check it out here:

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Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.