Tough times have forced many to pinch pennies, and enthusiasts have not been immune. But a new awareness of the value of a dollar doesn't dictate a death sentence for the hobby we know and love; it just means one must be all the more mindful of prices when shopping for go-fast goodies.

For example, when you're looking at shelling out a lot of dough for a hi-po engine, you want to be darn sure you'll get a good return on your investment. Fortunately, many respectable engine builders offer good deals on assembled LS mills, and this trend has clearly been helped by the falling prices of some of the parts that go into them. But with smart component shopping and some know-how, the motivated DIYer can put together his or her own motor and save even more-and, hopefully, have a fun and rewarding engine build experience in the process.

In this issue, we continue our quest for all-out LS horsepower for minimum investment. We're not cheating the bottom line by incorporating any used components, either-everything down to the engine block is all-new. An N/A build has been chosen in order to forego additional monies spent for power adders, not to mention the unrealistic factor of simply turning up the juice or boost for a high horsepower number. And while factory bottom ends are sturdy enough to reliably supply plenty of tire-shredding torque, extra cubic inches over what a stock-stroke crank can supply opens up the potential for many more ponies, so a stroker it is.

Having put together our short-block in our August installment, it's time to finish off the assembly, so follow along in the photo captions to get the gist of how it's done.

Editor's Note: In the interest of saving space, some details were skipped over during this build. For a more step-by-step breakdown, see Werner's "My First Stroker" series in GMHTP August, September, and November '06. You may also consult his book, "How to Rebuild GM LS-Series Engines" available from www.cartechbooks.com as well as your local book retailer or GM dealer.

Dollars And Dyno Graphs
Stroker Parts And Price Breakdown
Short-Block Parts Subtotal:
$2,862

Long-Block Parts Total (Includes Short-Block Parts):
$6,904

Machine Work Total:
$925

Total Additional Parts To Complete "Crate Engine":
$2,524

Tools & Miscellaneous Total:
$371

Before getting to our results, an analysis of how much it took to put together our 408 is in order. Check out the accompanying table for a full breakdown, noting that when possible, all prices quoted here and elsewhere in this story are those of major retailers and have been rounded to the nearest dollar. Some prices of new-to-the-market components were quoted from the manufacturer so are a tad high, and a few-notably, rotating assembly components-have been adjusted to reflect prices you can find on the web (as opposed to MSRP) so may differ from what you saw in Part 1. Finally, prices not directly available are estimated, as is the case with machine shop labor. Since readers attempting to duplicate this build may already have a donor LS to reuse parts from, we've done our best to classify all parts into "long-block" (minimum for build) and "crate engine" (soup to nuts) distinctions. Even so, the category breakdowns are not exact-for example, you could not get away with reusing a stock F-body intake with rectangular-port heads, making the L76 mandatory for an F-car application-but we feel this breakdown best matches how engine builders market their assemblies.

As one can see from the accompanying table, it took just over $6,900 in parts and another $925 in (estimated) machine work costs to put this mill together, bringing total investment to $7,800 and change for the build if one assumes a donor F-body LS1 is available to supply the likes of engine sensors and covers (figure another $2,500 or so if not). The grand total figure of $10,353, then, represents a complete "crate engine" that could be built and dropped straight into an F-body engine bay. Of course, if you're going this route, it's likely you already had headers/exhaust/intake and some driveline upgrades necessary to handle the power, but that's all beyond the scope of this story anyhow. Take a look around at comparable engines from respected builders; while absolute apples-to-apples comparisons are virtually impossible, we think you'll agree a decent amount of dough was saved by choosing our own parts and assembling the engine at home. The downside is the extra time and care that must be taken, of course, but most who go this route will find having done their own engine assembly most rewarding indeed.

For testing, the 408 was brought out to southeastern-PA-based RaceKrafters, a top-notch shop well known for late-model high-performance, and one which we called on in the past during GMHTP's 355 LT1 build (see the recent "Top End" series) as well as various TPI stories. Whether you're talking about a mild street engine or a 7-second drag race mill, RaceKrafters offers everything from full engine machining and assembly services to both engine and chassis dyno testing and tuning. These guys quite literally do it all-and damn well, we might add.

Once the RaceKrafters crew got our mill mounted onto their dyno, they broke it in and were successfully making over 550 hp when-uh-oh-the engine started making some strange noises. Fortunately, our LS was in good hands ... in the exercise of utmost caution, a disassembly was undertaken, which revealed damaged main bearings that appeared to have been set on the tight side of clearance (perhaps this author should have put more credence in his Plastigage readings-see Part 1 of this build!). With the necessary fixes and adjustments made, the 408 was reassembled and dyno testing resumed. The skilled hands of RaceKrafters President Bob Wise put much time into perfecting a tune for us, and when all was said and done, 554 horsepower and 508.5 lb-ft were the result.

That's a lot of output, especially considering the money put into this finance-friendly stroker; but alas, it falls somewhat short of expectations. It would stand to reason that a higher-flowing intake manifold could add a bunch more ponies, and the 1.75-inch headers used in this test are almost certainly holding us back. Never ones to back down from a challenge, we've got some tricks waiting in the wings to remedy these shortcomings (while still keeping with the budget theme), so watch the next issue of GMHTP-the dyno flogging has only just begun!

Part / Procedure DescriptionProviderPart NumberPrice
SHORT BLOCK:
Engine Block, GM LQ9 SAM12572808$725
Main bearings, Clevite 77SAMMS-2199 H $145
Rod bearings, Clevite 77SAMCB-663HN$30
Cam bearingsSAM-$30
Pistons / RingsWisecoK464F3$587
Connecting Rods, K1 TechnologiesWisecoCH6125ALLB-LSL8-A$519
Crankshaft, K1 TechnologiesWiseco346-4000RB6F-24$597
Main stud kitARP234-5608$187
SHORT BLOCK PARTS SUBTOTAL:$2,862
LONG BLOCK:
Head bolt kitARP134-3610$114
Cam bolt kitARP134-1003$9
L92 heads, GMPP, CNC-ported w/valve upgradeSDPC88958698 (x 2, w/options)$1,284
6.0/6.2L head gaskets, GM (pair)SDPC12610046 (x 2)$84
Yella Terra rockers, 1.7 ratioSDPCYT6667$443
Oil pump, GMPPSDPC17801830$73
Lifter trays, GMSDPC12595365 (x 4)$32
Crank bolt, GMSDPC12557840$5
CamshaftCOMP54-474-11 $397
LiftersCOMP850-16 $198
Timing setCOMP7153$116
Valve sealsCOMP511-16$25
Pushrods, 5/16" chromemolyCOMP7796-16$117
NexTek valve springsManley221436-16$265
Ti valve spring retainers Manley23623-16$223
Valve locksManley13098-16$62
Valve spring seatsManley42334-16$76
Oil pump pickup girdleBRP-$20
Throttle body, 90mmAccufabC90$499
LONG BLOCK PARTS TOTAL (INCLUDES SHORT BLOCK PARTS):$6,904
MACHINE WORK (*PRICES ESTIMATED):
Check fit of Manley valves to L92 headsLRB-$60
Hone LQ9 cylinder bores to 4.030*SAM-$200
Line hone LQ9 block*SAM-$150
Mill LQ9 block decks 0.010*SAM-$80
Install cam bearings*SAM-$45
Wash block for final assembly*SAM-$90
Balance rotating assembly*SAM-$300
MACHINE WORK TOTAL:$925
SUBTOTAL OF REQUIRED LONG BLOCK PARTS + MACHINE WORK:$7,829
ADDITIONAL PARTS TO COMPLETE "CRATE ENGINE":
Plug/Dowel/Side Bolt kitSDPCSDL SPK $74
LS3 valve cover, driver side, GMSDPC12570427$115
LS3 valve cover, passenger side, GMSDPC12582224$91
Windage tray, GMSDPC12558253$23
Oil pump pickup tube, GMSDPC12558251$41
Cylind head coolant crossover pipe, GMSDPC12602544$36
Cylinder head coolant caps, GMSDPC12602540 (x 2)$13
Cylinder head coolant crossover/cap bolts, GMSDPC11588714 (x 4)$15
Gen III front cover, GMSDPC12561243$76
Rear cover, GMSDPC12615666$54
Valley cover, Gen III "LS6," GMSDPC12577927$75
Cam retainer plate, GMSDPC12589016$20
Cam retainer plate bolts, GMSDPC11561455 (x 4)$13
Crank sensor, 24X, GMSDPC12560228$63
Cam sensor, Gen III, GMSDPC12561211$65
Oil pressure sensor, F-car, GMSDPC12562267$55
Knock sensors, Gen III, GMSDPC12589867 (x 2)$91
Knock sensor wiring harness, GMSDPC12601822$38
Lifter tray bolts, GMSDPC12551163 (x 4)$9
Oil pan, F-car, GMSDPC12598151$221
Fuel rail bolts, GMSDPC12554211 (x 4)$26
Intake manifold bolts, GMSDPC12552344 (x 10)$39
MAP extension harness, KatechSDPCKAT-4751$31
Pilot bearing, GMSDPC14061685$17
L76 intake, GMSDPC12590124$276
Fuel rails for L76, GMSDPC12572174$164
Fuel injector retainer clips, GMGM Dealer24503227 (x 8)$15
Coolant temperature sensor, GMGM Dealer12608814$22
Cylinder head plug, GMGM Dealer12553191$6
Misc. bolts, GMGM Dealer-$5
Harmonic damperSummitSUM-C2500 $170
Fuel injectors, 50 lb/hrFAST30507-8$396
Fuel injector adapter harnessesFAST170604-8$49
Washers (to space windage tray)Sears-$1
Throttle cable bracketSLP12509$70
Spark plugsZEX82071-8$49
TOTAL ADDITIONAL PARTS TO COMPLETE "CRATE ENGINE":$2,524
GRAND TOTAL FOR "CRATE ENGINE"$10,353
TOOLS & MISCELLANEOUS:
Valve spring compressor, Performance ToolSummitWMR-W89409 $39
Valve spring height micrometer, ProformSummitPRO-66902 $48
Non-adjustable piston ring compressorSummitSME-904030 $24
Cylinder head work stands, Trick FlowSummitTFS-9100 $32
Valve train checking springs, ProformSummitPRO-66793 $6
Max-Tuff Assembly Lube, Royal PurpleSummitRPO-RP01335 $16
"Bearing Guard" Assembly Lubricant, CleviteSummitCLE-2800B2 $8
Magnetic Base and Dial Indicator Kit SummitSUM-900016-1 $26
LS Engine CradleSDPCLS CRADLE RED$39
Oil, Break-in Royal Purple11487 (x 5.5)$44
Oil, XPR 5W-30Royal Purple01021 (x 5.5)$82
Oil filter, PF48GM Dealer89017524$7
TOOLS & MISCELLANEOUS TOTAL:$371
SOURCE
Accufab
1516 E. Francis St.
Ontario
CA  91761
909-930-1751
www.accufabracing.com
RaceKrafters Automotive Machine
1140 Dillerville Rd.
Lancaster
PA  17601
7-17/-399-8780
www.racekrafters.com
ARP
531 Spectrum Circle
Oxnard
CA  93030
805-278-7223
Royal Purple
BRP Hot Rods
5849 Rogers Rd.
Cumming
GA  30040
7-70/-751-0687
www.brphotrods.com
Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center
Lubbock
TX
N/A
www.sdparts.com
COMP Cams SLP Performance Parts
1501 Industrial Way North
Toms River
NJ  08755
FAST
151 Industrial Dr.
Ashland
MS  38603
Summit Racing Equipment
P.O. Box 909
Akron
OH  44309
LRB Performance Machine Company
22-B Lasinski Rd.
Franklin
NJ  07416
Zex
3418 Democrat Rd.
Memphis
TN  38118
Manley
1960 Swarthmore Ave.
Lakewood
NJ  08701
7-32/-905-3366
www.manleyperformance .com
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