Engine Power Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

Summit Racing
Cam Motion Camshaft
Summit Racing
Cam Motion Mild Performance LS Camshafts
Summit Racing
Cometic MLS Head Gaskets
Summit Racing
Precision Turbo and Engine Gen2 Turbochargers
Summit Racing
Trick Flow GenX 255 Cylinder Heads
Summit Racing
Trick Flow Hydraulic Lifters
Summit Racing
Trick Flow Hydraulic Roller Camshaft
Summit Racing
Trick Flow Pushrods
Summit Racing
WD-40 Smart Straw Multi-Use Oil
Ultra Torque Lube
ATI Performance Products
650 CFM Classic Holley Carburetor
Dual Plane Manifold
Holley Mid-Rise Intake - GM LS3
Q-Series Carburetor 950CFM Black Diamond
Sniper Nitrous Oxide Kit
Late Model Engines
GM LS7 CNC Ported Heads
Late Model Engines
LME Billet Intake LS7
Late Model Engines
LS Billet Valve Covers
Matco Tools
1/2" Drive Torque and Angle Meter
Matco Tools
MATCO Tools are the Official Tool Supplier to PowerNation
The Industrial Depot
Tools, Hardware, Shop Supplies
VHT Wrinkle Plus Coatings

Episode Transcript

[ Music ]

(Pat)>> You're watching Powernation.

(Mike)>> There's nothing like building big power.

(Pat)>> And whether it's a boneyard build or a special high performance project there's nothing like going from mild to wild.

(Mike)>> So strap in and hang on because it's about to get all LS. [ Music ]

(Mike)>> Today the focus is on the LS. We're going from mild to wild on some of our favorite performance builds.

(Pat)>> We're gonna take a little break from the action on our 440 Camaro engine build to do something different, and I'm gonna call it take out tech, and what that refers to is going to a salvage yard or a donor vehicle and getting a running engine for your vehicle. Now that can be anything from a daily driver to a hot rod, or even something that you'll take off road, and a very popular engine for that is this, an LQ-4 truck engine. Now there's a lot of parts that are available for it and it's easy to get running out of the box. One question we always get asked is why don't you dyno the engine with some of the stock parts on it? Well that's a good point. So today we're gonna take and get this engine running with the minimal amount of parts we have too to get it on the dyno. The easiest and cheapest way to get this bullet making steam is to carburate it. So we'll start there.

(Mike)>> WD 40 is used around the intake port so the O-rings in the manifold seal properly. Doing this dry can damage the seals. This is Holley's dual plane manifold for LS-1, LS-2, and LS-6 engines which have a cathedral style port. The stock cam sensor is installed followed by the crankshaft sensor. [ Music ] Next the o-e-m coil pack setups go on. This is typically what you would get with a donor engine. [ Music ] With the engine on the dyno stand it's rolling into the chamber. We'll run it with a one inch carb spacer and a trusty little 650 c-f-m classic HP from Holley. [ engine starting ]

(Pat)>> Alright we're starting this up. We're gonna be running it on 93 octane pump gas, and the timing is gonna be conservative, 24 degrees total because we don't know really what's gonna happen. So it's gonna be run from 3,000 to 6,000 r-p-m on the pulls.

(Mike)>> Ready?

(Pat)>> I was born ready. [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> That was very smooth, very clean. This thing does have a ton of manifold vacuum. Meanwhile let's go jamb that 950 on there. [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> There's a little boost in power. 414 pound feet for torque, 364 horse. This is literally a donor bone stock LQ-4 take out that we did the absolute minimum if you were gonna put it in a hot rod or something. We stuff a carburetor on it, a standalone ignition system.

(Mike)>> And it makes respectable numbers. The factory rockers do have a needle bearing fulcrum but not a roller tip. They are a 1.7 ratio just like what we're putting on. These Summit rocker arms use their own pedestal stands and alignment bars. They have a full roller tip, and this design will improve the rocker's geometry. So we shall see some decent results.

(Pat)>> That was a nice looking rocker for the price too.

(Mike)>> It's a Summit brand rocker. Nice little piece. Everything's the same, sweep, timing, the whole nine yards.

(Pat)>> Give her the raspberries.

(Mike)>> Here we go! [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> How about them apples! 375 horse, 419 pound feet. 9 horse from about 20 minutes of work. The stock heads come off along with 51 thousandths composite head gasket. Since the heads are off new Trick Flow lifters will go back in the stock trays. Cometic m-l-s steel head gaskets with a 36 thousandths compressed thickness are placed on the decks. That makes way for one of our favorite bolt ons, the cylinder heads. Try 3,500 to 6,500. [ engine starting ] [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> 416 horse, 440 pound feet of torque. That's literally with a stock cam, which is a little baby cam. Now you know what the next step is.

(Mike)>> Cam shaft! Cam motion has been making horsepower for 40 years. They're always on the cutting edge of lobe design for street cars all the way up to full blown race applications.

(Pat)>> Alright the only thing we've swapped out is the cam and the timing set. So everything else being the same we should see a significant increase in power with this. This is gonna be good. [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> That did exactly what it was supposed to do. 511 horse, 454 pound feet of torque. That is absolutely incredible. This is actually pretty incredible, and as far as engine building is concerned with literally bolting stuff on. Anybody can do this. Up next we've got the real horsepower recipe for the working man's bullet.

(Mike)>> When it comes down to it we're normal gearheads just like all of you. Now in the shop today we're gonna be assembling an engine that you've either heard or seen a lot about.

(Pat)>> The 6 liter LS truck short block known as the LQ-4 has proven itself time and time again. These short blocks can be purchased as take outs for a little less than $1,000 bucks with plenty of life left in them, or you can find them re-manned or in basically new form for a little under $2,000, but either way you go you have a great platform for reliability and impressive power.

(Mike)>> The recipe for that impressive power statement Pat mentioned is fairly easy to come up with. We have a stout bottom end from the factory that is ready for a killer induction package.

(Pat)>> This 6 liter has a four inch bore and a 3.622 stroke, which comes out to 364 cubic inches. Now in factory trim they were rated at 300 horsepower and 360 pound feet of torque.

(Mike)>> We're using that re-manned short block. So we don't have to touch the rotating assembly. Now we're gonna start off with the cam shaft, which is the brain of the engine and it affects several different things. Now it precisely controls when the valves open and close, which directly influences how much power is made and at what r-p-m. This is a Trick Flow hydraulic roller with a 3,000 to 7,000 r-p-m range. The timing chain is also from Trick Flow and has 9 keyway positions to help dial in the cam exactly where you want it. Now the oil pump hub is slid on. Since the timing chain is a thicker double row these spacers are used to position the pump accordingly. With the shims in for proper alignment the pump is torqued into place. We painted the timing cover with VHT Wrinkle Plus for a cool look. Now the stock windage tray is laid in place and the oil pickup is positioned and tightened down. To cap off the bottom end the pan is seated on the gasket and snugged down as well.

(Pat)>> These Gen-X 255's are known for making great power. Trick Flow did a ton of development work on the ports so you don't have to touch them. Now the push rods can drop in. These are Trick Flow pieces that measure 7.750 and have an 80 thousandths wall thickness.

(Mike)>> These heads use a t-f-s rocker stand specific to this head. Now they require an offset intake rocker and the exhaust rockers are in line. Supplied fasteners will secure them. They're both a factory 1.7 ratio.

(Pat)>> This is Holley's midrise LS-3 carbureted manifold. It has an operating range from 2,500 to 7,000 r-p-m and a 41-50 square bore flange.

(Mike)>> Up top our trusty Quick Fuel Technologies Black Diamond 950 c-f-m four barrel carburetor will feed it 93 octane pump gas. This classy looking working man's bullet will be mated to the dyno and ready for completion. Alright the workin' man's bullet is all hooked up and ready to run on the dyno. Now the components we used made for a super simple installation and heck, we expect some pretty decent power out of this thing.

(Pat)>> Now we're gonna get it fired up and let it run to break in for about 15 minutes to make sure everything is doing what it's supposed to be doing, and then on to some power pulls. Few things run as smooth as a well-built LS. Alright that is not too bad, everything's fine. We haven't found any peaks yet but 455 at 5,000 and 478 pound feet of torque.

(Mike)>> So we'll increase the sweep and go from 3,500 to 6,500 r-p-m. [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> She made some good power right there.

(Mike)>> 540 horse, 483 pound feet. This thing has not found peak yet at 6,500.

(Pat)>> We'll drop a one inch spacer on to see how it affects our power curve.

(Mike)>> And Pat has a theory.

(Pat)>> It's gonna do one of three things. It's gonna make more power, less power, or it'll stay the same. I guarantee it'll do one of those three.

(Mike)>> Here we go!

(Pat)>> The spacer increases plenum volume and helps the air make a smoother transition into the intake runner.

(Mike)>> Let's see what she cranked. [ engine idling ]

(Mike)>> There it is.

(Pat)>> 553!

(Mike)>> Not bad!

(Pat)>> 487 pound feet of torque.

(Mike)>> These two graphs show the runs before and after the one inch spacer. It was worth 10 horsepower.

(Pat)>> Definite improvement.

(Mike)>> It picked up on both sides.

(Pat)>> Yep definite improvement. Let's see what the fuel looks like. The fuel is affected a little bit as far as air/fuel ratio but it put it in a nice range. It's got great oil pressure. How's that for a bolt together enigne?

(Mike)>> I'll tell you what. This was the working man's bullet and right now it's making 1.49 horsepower per cube on a bone stock bottom end at a little over 10:1. Up next from the boneyard to big power, we're building power on the cheap.

(Mike)>> Now this is a Vortec 5,300 LM-7 LS engine. It has an iron block, aluminum heads, and it was introduced in 1999. Now this engine is known as the garden variety of the gen threes.

(Pat)>> This engine was pulled out of a Silverado that met its end with a hard front end collision. Now we were told it was a good runner with no known issues. Instead of just cleaning it up and dropping it in a project wouldn't you want to know its condition, especially if you want it to run efficiently for any amount of time?

(Mike)>> This project is getting the badge name Low Buck Vortec, and it's for a good reason. We're going to tear this engine down, thoroughly clean all the parts, do some block upgrades, and spice up the oiling system including the oil pump. Then the entire engine is going back together with minimal new parts. When this engine was pulled pretty much everything was left intact. We won't need several parts and pieces, like the wiring harness. So it will go first. The exhaust manifolds are cast iron. We will be using a set of dyno headers later. So these go in the scrap bin.

(Pat)>> There is some truth to the saying it's all in the pan. Well for as many miles as they say is on it.

(Mike)>> Typical LS pan.

(Pat)>> Any high mileage well used engine is gonna be a little dirty. You can never really tell what's going on until you tear into it.

(Mike)>> See the corrosion down in here, and that one looks brand new?

(Pat)>> Okay this is the exact reason why you tear an engine apart very slowly and look at everything because this will tell you that you have an issue. It's crucial to label parts as you're disassembling any engine. This is what I'm very interested in seeing.

(Mike)>> This is the go to moment.

(Pat)>> Dude look at that!

(Mike)>> High mileage LS and the bearings look new.

(Pat)>> Wow! A thorough cleaning in the jet washer will knock off years' worth of grime. We'll give the engine another pass in the jet washer and begin assembly. One of the few new parts we're installing on this engine is a set of main bearings. Before installing the rod and piston assemblies lube the cylinders with break in oil. We'll also lube the wrist pins as well as the rings. Using a ring compressor they are gently tapped into place. The fasteners are torqued to 15 pound feet. Then 85 degrees on our Matco half inch drive digital torque and angle meter. We replace the stock cam with a Cam Motion LS-1 Stage 3 hydraulic roller. This is a mild performance cam that still works with stock components. The cylinder heads were installed with new stock torque to yield fasteners and torqued to 22 pound feet initially. Then we used a torque angle meter to tighten the fasteners two rounds of 90 degrees. [ Music ] Finishing out the build is the valvetrain, oil pan, and one more aftermarket piece, a Holley dual plane intake manifold. We're almost ready to fire up the Vortec but first we need to install some electronic components. First is the coolant temperature sensor, followed by the cam sensor. Alright on our budget extravaganza here this engine requires zero break in. So go from 3,000 to 6,000 and make a hit.

(Mike)>> Here we go! [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> Look at that. That is used rings, used rod bearings, used rod bolts, 337 horse.

(Mike)>> 351 pound feet of torque. So now here's the thing. We did this to show everybody how they could get a junkyard engine, do a little tech to it, and put a power adder on.

(Pat)>> I guess the power adder is nitrous, and you know how I am, a naturally aspirated guy. This is a good way to do it though because this is the cheapest you could do it to make the most power you can, bang for the buck. Stick that plate on.

(Mike)>> Let's do it.

(Pat)>> We're running a Holley Sniper nitrous system, which has a range of 150 to 250 horsepower depending on the size of the jet. I'm arming it!

(Mike)>> Here we go! [ engine revving ]

(Mike)>> Holy crap! 724 pound feet of torque, 564 horsepower from a 150 shot.

(Pat)>> So on our 150,000 we reused pretty much everything engine, I think we flirted with disaster right there.

(Mike)>> But we won!

(Pat)>> This time we won. Nice job! Up next it's time to get wicked and wild with our Test Sled bullet.

(Pat)>> We are getting ready to experience one heck of a ride. Around 1,300 horsepower and a finished weight of just under 2,000 pounds makes for one wicked power to weight ratio, and we've been getting some things ready for the engine build. So now it's time to get dyno ready. This is LME's highly proven 2,000 horsepower capable LSX extreme crate engine.

(Mike)>> This one has a 58-X reluctor wheel, a wet sump oiling system, and you can order this engine with a 9.5 to a 10.5 to one compression ratio. Just specify what you need.

(Pat)>> The heads are LME's custom LS-7 six bolt c-n-c ported design. Victory d-l-c coated 2.250 titanium intake valves and 1.600 Inconel exhaust valves were spec'ed for our applications. PSI DR 424 dual valve springs are good to 800 thousandths lift. They use titanium retainers and machined locks. The heads are located on the smaller ARP outer studs, and then massive ARP half inch head studs are torqued in sequence to 120 pound feet using ARP's Ultra Torque lube. The stand is bolted to the head and torqued to 45 pound feet. Heavy duty Manley three-eighths diameter push rods with 135 thousandths wall handle the valve lifting duties. Stability and durability are important in the valve train. LME sent us this Crower shaft rocker setup that utilizes stainless steel bodies with roller tips and trunnions. The LME valve covers are machined in house from a block of billet. Another block of billet is carved into LME's signature LS-7 intake. The intake is designed and built entirely by LME. With a touch of light oil on the O-rings the manifold is installed. Finishing off the assembly is an ATI super damper.

(Mike)>> Now we can roll this 427 inch LME race crate extreme LS engine into the cell. The turbo is a Precision 86-85 gen two with sportsman v-bands on the inlet and outlet. The 86 millimeter compressor wheel is machined from a 26-18 aluminum forging. This turbo has a 1,500 horsepower rating, and is perfect for the street or the strip.

(Pat)>> Kenny Duttweiler is more than just a turbo guru. He is a pioneer in the performance turbo charging industry. From setting records at the Bonneville Salt Flats to having his engines burn up the streets and tracks during drag week, Kenny is someone everyone looks up to and trusts do to the innovation and durability of his work. We're going for big horsepower and Kenny is the guy to have here. In 1981 Kenny built his first turbo system for an underpowered stock truck.

(Kenny)>> The GMC dealer had a whole bunch of half tons but they were all six cylinders. Well I would really prefer to have a 350 V-8 but I needed a truck. So I took the six cylinder and promptly turbocharged it.

(Pat)>> Well this is the moment we've all been waiting for. We've got Kenny at the controls on the computer. We've got Mike on the dyno controls, and I'm just here for moral support. The engine has been fired up. I have set the valve lash and we are ready to rock. So we're gonna make a baseline pull to see where we are, and Kenny it's a safe tune. So we're gonna make a pull and see what happens.

(Kenny)>> It'll only get better from here. [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> Thing's got 92 pounds of oil pressure and a bunch of boost.

(Mike)>> 1,080, 1,080 horsepower, 883 pound feet of torque.

(Pat)>> Wow! For the next run on our 427 inch LME extreme crate engine we increased the timing one and a half degrees for a total of 25.5. We chilled the intercooler and put our buts back in the seats for another pull and it couldn't be any cooler. [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> She did it.

(Kenny)>> Our boost picked back up too.

(Mike)>> 1,210! 1,210 horse!

(Pat)>> 993 foot pounds. That thing made 993 at 6,200 and our power. Look how nice it levels off. Oh my goodness that's beautiful. 1,202, 1,206, 1,206, 1,208, up 7,000.

(Kenny)>> Good wide, over the top deal isn't it?

(Mike)>> Great job Kenny. This is awesome. We hope you enjoyed these builds as much as we did.

(Pat)>> And as always if you want to find out more about anything you've seen today head on over to Powernation TV dot com.
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