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Old 09-02-2010, 03:41:34 AM   #1
76z28
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Cheapest LS engine at price and power?

So people keep saying how much cheaper the LS series engine is and how much power they make.
I am a firm believer in how good of an engine they are and how much power they make BUT they seem to be VERY expensive. People always tell me to find a used 6.2 but where will i find that at a decent price? Heads are pretty pricey too as the intake and other stuff are too.
I think it will be my future engine so i want to get a rough estimate for something in the 450 horse range(at the wheels) with an lsx block that is pretty street friendly. It is a weekend cruiser so im not worried a whole lot if it isnt super easy to drive, but what i have been seeing you can do it EASY with these engines
I love these new engines, but im just skeptical on how much they cost
another question is, will they bolt up to a turbo 400 or 350 without a problem?
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:49:01 AM   #2
Damon
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Gotta start with a salvage yard engine. Like the 6.0L truck engine. The newer 6.2s might still be a little pricey, but there are more of them hitting the salvage yards every day. They stock heads are fine for making 450HP or even more, apparently. If you want a carbureted setup then you need a different intake and a system for firing the coil-per-cylinder ignition system (I think MSD makes one). That and a well chosen cam should be all you need to hit your HP goal.

Fitting one to an older car isn't dirt-cheap, though. Factor in the cost of the mounts, possibly a new oil pan, headers, the various gyrations you need to do to hook up all the accessories, etc. and it's not the cheapest route to 450HP under the hood of a 2nd gen Camaro.

I believe earlier transmissions will bolt up (certainly the 700R4 and the electronic version of it called the 4L60E were bolted to the back of the LS1 starting in 1997/1998) although I'm sure there are probably some minor gotchas to look out for.

But it's still a heluva cool project. My next project will likely be a carbureted LS engine into an older car.
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:53:56 AM   #3
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^ good advice!
I'd probably look for a 6.0L with an iron block, they're hell for stout and will take more abuse than an aluminum block. They can be stroked to 40X cubes and run either cathedral or L92 rectangular ports. Brackets and accessories can be sourced from junkyards or ebay sellers. There's a complete swap forum over at http://www.ls1tech.com/forums, give it a look. Those guys tend to be a lot younger than folks with older cars and it'll sometimes remind you of an elementary school playground fight, but there's still plenty of good, sound advice.
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:47:14 AM   #4
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You have to shop around, craigslist may be your best bet. People know these are popular...Expect to pay the price on Ebay and the junk yard. I have not seen a decent LS1 on Ebay for less than a couple grand.
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:12:28 AM   #5
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GEN III Vortec
5.3L complete with harness and trans IIRC was ~$1000

Gen III 6.0L Vortec
LQ4 is the cheapest (just add L92 heads) http://www.superchevy.com/technical/...l92_heads.html
LQ9 fairly close (just add L92 heads) 408 budget stroker build 600+hp

Gen IV Vortec
LY6 is a 6.0L that comes with the L92 heads, so it's going to be higher.
Roughly $2000 for a complete LY6 / 4L80e over 50K
Roughly $2500 for a complete LY6 / 4L80e under 50K
These are prices I was told by RetroLSX awhile ago.....so it could be cheaper now.

L92 engine is the 6.2L and is 2007 + and they are alot more money.
I've been pricing them and most are over $4,000.
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:16:39 AM   #6
JAMMINJ007
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cheapest

Quote:
Originally Posted by 76z28
So people keep saying how much cheaper the LS series engine is and how much power they make.
I am a firm believer in how good of an engine they are and how much power they make BUT they seem to be VERY expensive. People always tell me to find a used 6.2 but where will i find that at a decent price? Heads are pretty pricey too as the intake and other stuff are too.
I think it will be my future engine so i want to get a rough estimate for something in the 450 horse range(at the wheels) with an lsx block that is pretty street friendly. It is a weekend cruiser so im not worried a whole lot if it isnt super easy to drive, but what i have been seeing you can do it EASY with these engines
I love these new engines, but im just skeptical on how much they cost
another question is, will they bolt up to a turbo 400 or 350 without a problem?


450 rwhp is going to require some extra money. I just bought a crate motor 6.0 LY6 and did a cam/intake (LS3) intake along with headers and no cats and 3in exhaust. Only made 360 to tires. Of course you have to factor stall convertor and 4l80E for low #s. Who really cares what the dyno says that same dyno will read different day to day. Due to ambient temps, humidity and what not. What really matters is how it behaves on the street and what it does on the track. I have no doubt it will see mid 11's at the track and get 18-20 mpg.

As far as cost go my was at the higher end of the spectrum. I bought everything new. Probably should have went the wrecking yard pullout method. I would say upwards of 14-15k. Mind you when you buy a crate motor you have to buy everything else separate. When I changed intakes I had to change all of the accessories i.e waterpump alternator, starter, idler and power steering along with brackets.

With alot of research and patienceI think you could do it for about $7-8,000. Which is really no more than buying a warmed over small block chevy 383 with good internals, carburator and electronics, but can safely drive it everyday with good gas mileage. Well I'm sure this is going to be debated so......
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:19:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAMMINJ007
When I changed intakes I had to change all of the accessories i.e waterpump alternator, starter, idler and power steering along with brackets.

Crap.......wasn't aware of that.

Well that blows. What intake did you change FROM and TO ??
Are you talking going from the truck intake to the LS3 intake ??
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:25:33 AM   #8
2ndgenhunter
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Give these guys a call. All they do is LS retrofits and LS engines. Hotrod revolutions 678 446 0653
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:45:34 AM   #9
JAMMINJ007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aceshigh
Crap.......wasn't aware of that.

Well that blows. What intake did you change FROM and TO ??
Are you talking going from the truck intake to the LS3 intake ??
Truck to corvette ls3
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Old 09-02-2010, 12:16:55 PM   #10
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You are going to have trouble .. "Bakersfield" for one, "76" for the other. So it
has to pass smog when you are done. The bellhousing bolt pattern it not the
same as the iron blocks, so using a 350 or 400 will be limited if even possible.

If you are on a budget .. I would suggest an LT1, it will bolt to a 350 or 400
trans, and will give you 300 hp. You can use a supercharger on it and still be
smog legal. Used systems pop up on craigslist from time to time.

Tom
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Old 09-02-2010, 12:29:34 PM   #11
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I have gone back and forth on this. After looking at all the significant peripheral costs and effort involved in making the swap (regardless of which "LS" style engine is used), it seems sort of counter-productive to cheap out on the engine itself. Therefore, I am planning to get an LS-376-480 crate motor. It costs ~$6500, but it is NEW with a warranty, it already has a good cam in it, and it is all aluminum, And, I don't have to struggle with and spend money on swapping out car for truck intake, pan, accessories, etc. To me it seems like it is worth the extra money. Still, I continue to check Craigslist for deals...
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:20:07 PM   #12
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I bought my LY6 from a wrecking yard for $1800.00. It had less than 3000 miles on it, so it's very close to a new motor. I located it using car-partdotcom. Since I'm going carb'd and running F-body accessories, I've since sold a TON of parts off of this motor that I won't be using. That has brought the price of the longblock closer to $1300. Granted, I had to re-buy accessories, but.....

Also, a TH350 or TH400 will bolt to an LS motor (iron block or aluminum) just fine. The bell bolt pattern is slightly different than a SBC/BBC, but it'll bolt up just fine with five bolts. Then you need either a convertor built specifically for a TH350/400 to LS combo, or use a conventional TH350/400 convertor with an adapter available from GM or Hughes (maybe even TCI). Because the pilot snub on a "conventional" convertor is shorter, the adapter essentially extends the crank's pilot hole to support the shorter hub of the convertor. A LS-specific TH350/TH400 convertor is built with this longer hub so no adapter is required.

Check the link to my build thread in my sig and you should find a little more info that will hopefully help you out.
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:51:33 PM   #13
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I thought I could budget my LSX swap with a 5.3 vortec engine, and do it for less than $2000....boy was I wrong. I'm in excess of $3500 and the engine isn't running yet.

Good rule of thumb, whatever your budget is....the actual cost will be double or even triple when done. All the little things add up....the LS based engines are cheap.

FWIW I ended up switching intakes to clear the hood...ended up getting a 5.7 camaro accessory set for intake clearance, then it went from there. Don't forget the oil pan too....a f-body oil pan, pick-up, and windage tray can cost in excess of $200 or more depend on if it's new or used.

The only thing that is 5.3 on my budget 5.3 engine is the block, coils and heads now...
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:57:57 PM   #14
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JAMMINJ007- I'm surprised at that low number? Was it on a Mustang dyno? Was it a teeny tiny cam? 360hp with a 20% loss is 450hp at the flywheel. Stock L92 headed engines make close to that with a stock cam and headers.

sbca91- The LT1 swap isnt much cheaper than a 5.3L swap, and you'll be handicapped by the old head design. It's just not worth it anymore. The biggest pitfall is that people over-do it and spend money in areas that aren't necessary. (I'm guilty too...didn't NEED a double roller or a ported oil pump or head studs or MLS gaskets...or....or...). For a basic swap of a stock engine all you need are mounts and adaptors for the transmission and maybe headers, stock manifolds are no fun. As was said before, the 350/400/700r4 trans bolts right up minus one bolt hole that doesn't exist on the GenIII motor. For my aplication, 700r4 with Edelbrock headers, I had to trim a tab off the passenger side bellhousing to make everything fit.
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Old 09-02-2010, 05:11:48 PM   #15
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Depends on what "worth it" is and to who. The 275 hp version of the LT1
moves my '93 Camaro down the road with all the fun I could want. With the
260K on it, it still lights them up with reckless abandon. These engines make
good power, and a complete setup can be had now for less than just the LS
engine itself. We bought a complete side impact '94 Firebird for 2300 about
5 years ago, a steal at the time, but with only 67k on the clock, still not a
bad deal now since everything forward of the windshield is usable. The LT1
actually bolts in, which means you dont have to take any of the engine off
and stock these things make nice power. Compared to the 118 hp 305 we
are pulling out for this swap, this will be a monster. Since it has to pass the
CA emissions test, its nice to have a complete car to copy, thats a hurdle in
California, and something the other States will eventually see.

My wife has a '99 Camaro SS, and it does have a lot of power, but truthfully,
the LT1 SOUNDS so much better ... and I cant say why.

To each their own .. but the LT1 will always be better ON A BUDGET.

Tom
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