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Build Breakdown: Check Out This LS4-Swapped Pontiac Montana!

Build Breakdown: Check Out This LS4-Swapped Pontiac Montana!

The GM U-vans came in three generations: Dustbuster, Dustbuster II, and “Crossover Sport Vans”. Yeah…that was GM’s own term for the revised third generation that were intended to look less a Dustbuster and more like a fat crossover. Either way, there was no denying that the third-gen U-van was really a swollen brick that used a lot of W-body architecture to get along in life. I’ve driven one ever, a rental Chevrolet Uplander that I couldn’t get out of quick enough on a business trip. It felt exactly like the 2006 Monte Carlo SS I owned as far as driving feel was concerned, but it wasn’t going to touch the Monte’s fun-to-drive factor. Glass transaxle or not, the 5.3-powered Impala SS, Monte Carlo SS…anything with an LS4 is a decent daily.

Now, I did think about how you could swap the LS4 into the Uplander, but this was 2008 when I drove the van…there weren’t any LS4s in the junkyards that weren’t balled up into near-unrecognizable parts or scorched shells. A decade later, and you can get the powertrain units fairly easily, and if you’re so inclined, you can get going on your own swap. Take this one, for instance…this is a 2005 Pontiac Montana SV6 that recently was for sale on Kijiji (Canada’s answer to Craigslist) that has been converted to LS4 power.

God as my witness, I never thought I would want a GM U-van. Now, I’m not so sure.

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9 thoughts on “Build Breakdown: Check Out This LS4-Swapped Pontiac Montana!

  1. RK - no relation

    Anybody know if this swap is possible using the van’s existing transaxle? I put a factory rebuilt in two years ago and now I have low oil pressure. It would be awesome to keep the new trans and get this engine!

    1. Kevin

      Yes it’s feasible but I don’t recommend it. That’s my montana ss and I wouldn’t dare put the factory 4t65e behind that ls4

      1. Michael

        What kind of wiring challenges are there? I\’ve heard tale that there are only a few wires that need to be ran/moved around. I can find just enough info. on this topic to be dangerous.


    Saw one doing a 4wheel (or at least 2 wheel front and back) peel so I’d say someone has done it with the 4T65E AWD unit. How long that would last is up in the air. The LS4, L36, L67, and whatever the 3500/3900 Metric60 V6’s all used the 4T65E in some form. However the lower grade units only used a 4T60E and it doesn’t hold up reliably even to a stock L36.

  3. OKSnake08

    JUNK! Utter and complete junk! Body controllers fail, sliding doors that won’t close,security systems that won’t recognize original keys. WHY WHY WHY in God’s name would anyone do ANYTHING other than crush, burn , shred, recycle or use them for target practice? Ugly outside, ugly crap plastic inside. Badge engineered crap and the reason that GM went broke. Do I sound bitter? It’s because I am, I worked for Saturn from their start. By the time I was service manager it was all rebranded junk, these piles being the worst offenders. Our “new” van looked and acted like the 100k POS Montana that our used car lot sold for a few hundred wholesale because they were all crap. You could mini tub it , twin turbo it , throw a 6 speed in it and you would still have a waste of time, worthless POS with a side door that won’t close.

  4. Ian

    I want to LS4 a 3rd gen Chrysler minivan now.
    Had an ’03 Chrysler, with the 3.3, and loved it, a V8 would be great in one.

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