This is where it gets tough. The LS1 does not fit the Exocet like it does the Miata. That would be too easy. It’s not a simple matter of lifting it into place and tightening a few bolts.
This is the lower cradle, as supplied by V8R. And you can see how it fits on the engine. It not only locates the engine, but also the lower suspension pieces and the steering rack. It’s a very tight fit.
It also limits your exhaust choices. There’s no way stock LS1 or Corvette manifolds will fit. They’re pretty heavy anyway. Most LS1 shorty and swap headers won’t fit, either. Check out the “Exhaust” post for more on that subject.
I started by bolting the cradle to the engine. I did not add any suspension or steering components at this point. During initial assembly, there’s a lot of fiddling around and adjustments to make. Easier to do with fewer parts. In the future, engine removal will simply be dropping the whole cradle.
The whole engine, transmission, and cradle were set on a furniture dolly. The frame was lifted up using a 4 post lift. The engine assembly was then rolled under the chassis, and the chassis was lowered onto the engine. This actually worked very well. Which was good, because I ended up doing that a bunch of times.
The was some frame interference around the bellhousing. I had to notch the frame here just a little bit. The aluminum panel also needed to be trimmed a bit.
Adding the rest of the engine and steering bits turned out to a PITA.