What motor should I be looking for? - S-10 Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 03-21-2017, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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What motor should I be looking for?

I've just about got the suspension and brakes sorted on my project truck now so I'm starting to look more seriously at getting a motor to swap in.

I would love to run a turbo but I've been reading a bunch of the S10 turbo threads and have pretty much decided the complexity and cost isn't worth it for my power goals. Having 550 to 600 HP at the crank any time I step on the petal would be really cool but what I think I want to do is shoot for about 450 HP at the crank for everyday driving then a high quality N2O setup for another 100 HP or so when I "need" it.

From what I've been reading a stock aluminum LSX bottom end should handle those power levels pretty well.

Looking at the LSx Conversion Info sticky, it appears that several different 6.2 motors could start me off with 400 HP so surely a set of long tube headers and a cam would get me pretty close to my 450 HP goal. I did a couple quick searches on car-part.com and one of those motors with 100K miles on it seems to run over $3K.

So, after all the rambling above, where would you guys start to reach my HP goals? I guess $3K doesn't sound that bad if I can't locate a better deal but at what price point should I start thinking about buying a rebuilt motor rather than something from a junked truck or SUV?

Maybe I should take the money for a nice N2O setup and just put that into making the engine put out more like 550 HP normally aspirated?

I can spend about $5K on an engine, headers, harness, etc right now but can put another few grand into it if I'm patient and wait a couple months to have it all up and running. I'm not a very patient kind of guy when it comes to wanting a new toy but I'll wait if it's worth waiting for.

Anyway, hope some of the above makes sense and thanks a ton for any advice.

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post #2 of 33 Old 03-22-2017, 12:50 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

lq9 ported heads and cam should net you 450 crank without breaking the budget. The aluminum motors are light, but carry a hefty price tag.

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post #3 of 33 Old 03-22-2017, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

Thanks for the reply. I did some reading on LS1tech last night. I still have a lot more research to do but it seems like an L92 would be a pretty good starting point for my build. They are all over the place for $3500 so maybe I can get a little better deal than that on one if I shop around locally and find a private seller with one.

Probably can't quite do it for the extra $5000 I've got set aside right now by the time I buy an oil pan and other misc stuff I'll need to get it going. But just bolting in more than 400 HP with no mods is pretty appealing. And I'm definitely going with all aluminum.
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post #4 of 33 Old 03-23-2017, 02:02 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

I almost hate to ask, but do you have a budget in mind for this swap? I'm only asking, because it adds up super fast. When I did my ls1 swap, it cost me almost exactly $10,000 and my engine (with most accessories), trans, clutch and flywheel were $3500 altogether

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post #5 of 33 Old 03-23-2017, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

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I almost hate to ask, but do you have a budget in mind for this swap? I'm only asking, because it adds up super fast. When I did my ls1 swap, it cost me almost exactly $10,000 and my engine (with most accessories), trans, clutch and flywheel were $3500 altogether
I'm expecting around that in the end. The more I read the more I like the L92 motor. So I'm thinking of approaching the whole thing as below.

Buy and install L92 setup with no cam or other mods at first. Notch frame for the low mount AC compressor and use my recently rebuilt NV3500 tranny for a few months. I know I'll have to be gentle with the tranny, especially when shifting since it isn't a performance transmission.

Then buy and install T56 Magnum tranny.

Then get my rear end sorted with Cal Tracks or whatever solution I end up with. I already have a 8.5 with a Yukon Dura Grip posi diff in it and a balanced driveshaft with solid joints.

Then figure out mods for more HP from the motor and install whenever.

So, assuming full retail for everything my costs should be something like below. But hopefully I can shave some $ off if I show some patience and shop around.

L92 from JY: $3500
CPW Harness: $900
CPW Headers and motor mounts: $950
Holley 302-1 oil pan: $400
Intrepid dual fans and shroud: $100
Fuel pump and lines: $200
Hoses and misc: $250
Clutch for using NV3500 with LS motor: $200
Exhaust: ???

Total $6500

T56 Magnum and clutch: $4000

After that who knows. I may find that 400+ HP from the L92 smokes my tires so badly that I won't bother going for much more power.
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post #6 of 33 Old 03-24-2017, 05:31 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

If u use the nv1500 b4 the t56 mag your gonna have to re-do the Trans crossmember, driveshaft, and maybe cut a new hole in the floor. U might luck out and be able to use 1 of the 3 shifter locations on the magnum but your Def gonna have to move the crossmember.

I would save up for the hardware u need instead of settle for something. It might cost u more in the end. Or, take it slow, & buy something each paycheck. Then you will be able to do what you want to do instead of doing double work.

Also save yourself $900 & make the harness yourself. It's really not that bad. Take your time and use the money you wouldda spent on the cpw harness and put it towards the t56 magnum. Jmho!
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post #7 of 33 Old 03-24-2017, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

Thanks man. In case I wasn't clear, the truck already has a NV3500 and 4.3 in it. Are you saying that I'll have to do something with my cross member to use my current tranny with an LS motor then have to do it again?

I thought I read that the motor would bolt up to my tranny and the motor would stay in the same place for the T56. I know I'll have to deal with the cross member for the T56 and maybe cut the floor. If I have to jack with the 3500 mounting to use it then do it again for the 6 speed I won't take that path.
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post #8 of 33 Old 03-27-2017, 12:34 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

You don't have to move the driveline, but most people set the motor back as far as they can. So it would really benefit you to do what you wanna do now, rather than do it twice

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post #9 of 33 Old 03-27-2017, 01:17 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

What year of truck do you have? What are your plans for the ECM?

Keep in mind the L92 is a x58 crank 4x cam engine designed to run DBW. That'll be your only real trouble. You could build your own DBW pedal assembly as some here have done, but if you do you'll have to run an ECM that supports DBW while still being a serial based PCM (any of the LS1B's that's DBW).

The simple method would be to run the lingenfelter signal converter http://www.lingenfelter.com/product/...l#.WNlEadJ1q70 and run your existing PCM reprogrammed, and just run DBC instead and keep your existing pedal, just put a new lokar universal cable on to an aftermarket TB. This would be easier to tune and all of your gauges will still work.

You would also want to delete the AFM/DoD components in the L92 valley, and use a LS3 valley cover (it blocks off the boss risers used by the AFM/DoD system). You would also need to swap the front VVT cover for a regular LS2/3 cover, and delete the VVT cam and run a standard 3 bolt cam with a new 3 bolt 4x timing gear. You can do to a much better cam than what the L92 comes with anyway and pick up hp/tq easy to reach your goals. Even a mild 220/228 112+2 around .598/.598 would wake the engine up.

The L92 uses pistons that have relief cuts on the exhaust valve side only- this is for the VVT system again.

Basically, read up more on how to make a Gen IV run like a Gen III.

Your other option is to run a Gen IV controller like the E38 as a stand-alone and have the stock PCM run your gauges. You'd need a custom harness for this but CPW can do this also.

My personal recommendation to you would be to look for a wrecked escalade, 2002-2005 with the LQ9 6.0 iron block. This is a Gen III engine that has almost all of the displacement you want. It will be cheaper than the L92 to find in a wreckers. It is 24x/1x, so it will run on your stock PCM. It uses in-valley KS, which are easy to program for. It is also big enough displacement wise to accept L92/LS3 heads, and you can run L92/LS3 top end on it if you want, or you can run cathedral port stuff from LS1/LS6.

The LQ9 comes with 317 heads which are 72cc, great for boosted applications. You can swap on 243 casting heads which are around 65cc if I recall. You can find'em on LS6's, but also the 6.0 LS2's used in the trailblazers. The 243's are pretty decent heads.

I would argue a LQ9/243 swap would be easier/cheaper to do on your budget and give you 85-90% of the ponies you're looking for.

More-over, you can bore out virtually every LQ9 block to LS3 spec. the LQ9 at 4.000 generally accepts the 4.065 bore of the L92/LS3, and frequently accepts bores up to 4.070 and sometimes as high as 4.090. There are reports of +4.100 but I've never seen one that didn't blow up. Anything above 4.060 should be sonic checked. In short- you can build a Gen III iron L92 if you wanted to.

If you can find one, they're becoming rare- you could also run a Gen III L33. 5.3 alum block. One of the interesting things of the L33 is it is cast more like an LS2, in that the L33 sleeves are extra-thick, and can be bored out to 4.00 to be an LS2.

You could also run an LS2 trailblazer engine, the first year of the LS2 in the TBSS is 24x/1x, at a point they switch over and the last of the TBSS LS2 are x58/4x. So you'd have to watch out for that. There is a vin code change delineating the switch I just don't know what it is off hand.

Just be aware that our trucks right up to their end used serial, not canbus ECM's. All Gen IV engines (well with a few wonky exceptions early on like the LS2) used canbus.

My build is an LS3 that I rebuilt (bored to 4.080) with a 24x crank and 1x cam, DBC, using a 07' savannah ECM running my factory gauges. The cam I mentioned above is my cam. I went with it due to exactly 0 degrees of overlap- so I can pass smog basically. If you aren't limited where you are you could run what ever cam you want really. (Well up to a point regarding PTV issues).

I actually have a bare block LQ9 sitting around that I might build up one day... who knows.

Hope that helps in making your decisions!
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post #10 of 33 Old 03-27-2017, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

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You don't have to move the driveline, but most people set the motor back as far as they can. So it would really benefit you to do what you wanna do now, rather than do it twice
Thanks. I definitely want the motor as low and far back as I can get it so I'll make sure to understand what I'm doing and have a plan before buying anything. It does sound like doing the motor and trans at the same time would be the easiest route overall. I was mostly hoping to not have the truck torn apart for months getting it all going and separating the motor and trans installs seemed like a logical way to go.
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post #11 of 33 Old 03-27-2017, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

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What year of truck do you have? What are your plans for the ECM?

My personal recommendation to you would be to look for a wrecked escalade, 2002-2005 with the LQ9 6.0 iron block. This is a Gen III engine that has almost all of the displacement you want. It will be cheaper than the L92 to find in a wreckers. It is 24x/1x, so it will run on your stock PCM. It uses in-valley KS, which are easy to program for. It is also big enough displacement wise to accept L92/LS3 heads, and you can run L92/LS3 top end on it if you want, or you can run cathedral port stuff from LS1/LS6.
I snipped out most of the quote but thank you for all of that. Helps a lot with knowing what combos I should research before making a decision.

Truck is a 2001 with a 4.3 and NV3500 5 speed.

If I do the L92, the plan is to buy it as complete as possible so I can drop straight in without opening it up and letting out the factory magic dust. I'm assuming I'll need the matching ECU but I plan to get in touch with CPW before hand to see what they recommend.

One of the reasons I was homing in on the L92 was that I thought the VVT could actually be a good thing. I had read a couple comments on LS1tech about good VVT cams being available so it seemed like a good idea for a street only truck. But as I read more it seems like just about everybody does away with the VVT right away. So I'm going to do more research but I'm not as excited about it as I was just a week ago.

I know I don't want to trade low RPM torque for high RPM HP though.

I also know I want an aluminum block though as I really don't want to add additional weight to the truck and especially not up front.

As I see the cost of this creeping higher and higher I've started thinking some about picking up a running Camaro or Trans Am with a complete LS1 and T56. I'm sure that would create a whole new set of issues to research and pay for though.
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post #12 of 33 Old 03-28-2017, 10:03 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

I too would find an LQ9, they're cheaper and you can pick up L92 heads, a cam, and corresponding intake for L92 heads. Dyno tune, boom there's 450hp or really close. The bonus to this setup is you can run the cheaper PCM, no signal converter, DBC throttle body, you don't have to deal with the DoD/AFM junk, and you're not pushing the engine very hard by adding a 100 shot. Also, when you get ready for more hp, you have a GREAT base platform to build on that can make an easy and reliable 650hp without having to worry about blowing your engine apart. Or you have a solid iron block 4 inch bore engine that's ready to make 1000hp if built. Also, you could buy a LQ4, and order LQ9 replacement pistons in hypertuetic or forged versions if you can't find an LQ9 or if going that route is cheaper.

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post #13 of 33 Old 03-29-2017, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

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I too would find an LQ9, they're cheaper and you can pick up L92 heads, a cam, and corresponding intake for L92 heads. Dyno tune, boom there's 450hp or really close. The bonus to this setup is you can run the cheaper PCM, no signal converter, DBC throttle body, you don't have to deal with the DoD/AFM junk, and you're not pushing the engine very hard by adding a 100 shot. Also, when you get ready for more hp, you have a GREAT base platform to build on that can make an easy and reliable 650hp without having to worry about blowing your engine apart. Or you have a solid iron block 4 inch bore engine that's ready to make 1000hp if built. Also, you could buy a LQ4, and order LQ9 replacement pistons in hypertuetic or forged versions if you can't find an LQ9 or if going that route is cheaper.
Thanks for the feedback. At the moment I'm thinking seriously about a change of direction though.

I really want to turbo something. A turbo on an LS motor would be awesome but also ridiculous overkill for the power level I'm targeting. So I'm looking at putting a turbo on my 4.3 instead. I know the overall cost be be higher than dropping in an LS, for the same power. And I know it will take a whole lot of tuning compared to just dropping in a V8 and driving it. But I think I'll actually enjoy learning to tune it and having so many variables to understand and adjust.

I may start with buying HP Tuners and learning the basics on my current 4.3 while I make up my mind for sure.

I know I'm all over the place with this project and it probably seems like I'm in too much of a hurry. I am to some degree I guess as the engine has 210K miles on it and I just don't know how long it's going to hold up. Just about everything else mechanical on the truck has been rebuilt or upgraded recently or will be as soon as I get my full big brake kit together.
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post #14 of 33 Old 03-29-2017, 10:12 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

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Thanks for the feedback. At the moment I'm thinking seriously about a change of direction though.

I really want to turbo something. A turbo on an LS motor would be awesome but also ridiculous overkill for the power level I'm targeting. So I'm looking at putting a turbo on my 4.3 instead. I know the overall cost be be higher than dropping in an LS, for the same power. And I know it will take a whole lot of tuning compared to just dropping in a V8 and driving it. But I think I'll actually enjoy learning to tune it and having so many variables to understand and adjust.

I may start with buying HP Tuners and learning the basics on my current 4.3 while I make up my mind for sure.

I know I'm all over the place with this project and it probably seems like I'm in too much of a hurry. I am to some degree I guess as the engine has 210K miles on it and I just don't know how long it's going to hold up. Just about everything else mechanical on the truck has been rebuilt or upgraded recently or will be as soon as I get my full big brake kit together.
I think you could do a 5.3 swap, and put a 76mm turbo on it for cheaper than turboing your 4.3 lol. A stock 5.3 on 5-8psi will make 450-500ish. You wouldn't need a high dollar ball bearing turbo for your application, a journal bearing would be PERFECTLY fine, you're not going to pushing it hard all the time and demanding constant high boost. Yes, the turbo is still going to be doing the same amount of work but it won't be worked to death.

1998 Dodge Dakota, 2wd ECSB, 318, M1 2bbl intake, 52mm TB, Taurus fan, Ford injectors, MP PCM, MPP mid-length headers and full exhaust, Hooker Aerochamber, DJM 3/5 drop. Put back to stock and sold
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post #15 of 33 Old 03-31-2017, 12:54 AM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

Well that was entertaining until you mentioned the 4.3 turbo lol.
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

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I think you could do a 5.3 swap, and put a 76mm turbo on it for cheaper than turboing your 4.3 lol. A stock 5.3 on 5-8psi will make 450-500ish. You wouldn't need a high dollar ball bearing turbo for your application, a journal bearing would be PERFECTLY fine, you're not going to pushing it hard all the time and demanding constant high boost. Yes, the turbo is still going to be doing the same amount of work but it won't be worked to death.
I have no doubt that you're right about a 5.3 turbo costing less. Especially if I wait until later this year and do everything at the same time.

I think I need to do some reading up on how to judge the condition of my engine without tearing it apart. It runs smooth and isn't throwing any codes as far as I know but it's wet underneath. Maybe I can replace some gaskets and or seals and it will be reliable for a few months.
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Well that was entertaining until you mentioned the 4.3 turbo lol.
And? Is there something wrong with a 4.3 turbo other than cost?
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

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And? Is there something wrong with a 4.3 turbo other than cost?
LSX discussion.
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post #19 of 33 Old 03-31-2017, 10:30 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

If I was to do it all over again I would go with a 6.0 .. I've spend so much more money trying just to increase 100hp that with a 6.0 would of been a breeze.. just my opinion
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post #20 of 33 Old 03-31-2017, 10:50 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

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I have no doubt that you're right about a 5.3 turbo costing less. Especially if I wait until later this year and do everything at the same time.

I think I need to do some reading up on how to judge the condition of my engine without tearing it apart. It runs smooth and isn't throwing any codes as far as I know but it's wet underneath. Maybe I can replace some gaskets and or seals and it will be reliable for a few months.
For your engine, if it's leaking a little oil, I wouldn't sweat that. Wait until you make a decision on what you're going to do before you spend any money on that. Oil leaks are a sign of a healthy old motor, unless it's lots of oil, if you have an oil cooler look at your oil cooler lines where they meet the hardlines. The only real issue I know of with 4.3's that are higher on miles are collapsed lifters and the rear two cylinders tend to oval due to the design of the engine. I know this is common on older non-balance shaft engines, newer ones may not do that, not sure. To really get an idea of how your motor is, you need to at least drop the oilpan, take some caps off, and pop a head off and have a look inside. Also, don't forget, when you got to upgrade your 4.3 if you go that route, a 4.3 has the same bore, stroke, lifters, and head design as a 350, so there are a lot of interchangeable parts there both factory and aftermarket.

1998 Dodge Dakota, 2wd ECSB, 318, M1 2bbl intake, 52mm TB, Taurus fan, Ford injectors, MP PCM, MPP mid-length headers and full exhaust, Hooker Aerochamber, DJM 3/5 drop. Put back to stock and sold
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post #21 of 33 Old 04-02-2017, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

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For your engine, if it's leaking a little oil, I wouldn't sweat that. Wait until you make a decision on what you're going to do before you spend any money on that. Oil leaks are a sign of a healthy old motor, unless it's lots of oil, if you have an oil cooler look at your oil cooler lines where they meet the hardlines. The only real issue I know of with 4.3's that are higher on miles are collapsed lifters and the rear two cylinders tend to oval due to the design of the engine. I know this is common on older non-balance shaft engines, newer ones may not do that, not sure. To really get an idea of how your motor is, you need to at least drop the oilpan, take some caps off, and pop a head off and have a look inside. Also, don't forget, when you got to upgrade your 4.3 if you go that route, a 4.3 has the same bore, stroke, lifters, and head design as a 350, so there are a lot of interchangeable parts there both factory and aftermarket.
Thanks.

It's not leaving any oil spots on the driveway even after sitting in the same spot for several days. Haven't driven it enough to really say how much it might be burning but I haven't noticed any smoke or anything so far. Maybe that means it will last a while longer so I can figure out what I really want to do. I finished up the last of my front suspension and steering rebuild this evening so I just need an alignment and some front tires then I'll be putting a few miles on it.

Hoping to do a couple road trips in it this spring hauling motorcycles east to the cool roads. So that probably means I won't take any action with the engine for a while.
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post #22 of 33 Old 04-02-2017, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

After just a bit fo searching the LQ9 you guys are suggesting does make a lot of sense. Once I start hanging a turbo and intercooler off the front of my 4.3 I would be creeping up on iron block LS weight anyway. And the weight would be on the nose of the truck.

Why doesn't the L76 seem to get any love around here? Looks like I could get one easy for about $2500 instead of the $3500 for an L92.
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post #23 of 33 Old 04-03-2017, 10:34 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

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After just a bit fo searching the LQ9 you guys are suggesting does make a lot of sense. Once I start hanging a turbo and intercooler off the front of my 4.3 I would be creeping up on iron block LS weight anyway. And the weight would be on the nose of the truck.

Why doesn't the L76 seem to get any love around here? Looks like I could get one easy for about $2500 instead of the $3500 for an L92.
Probably because it is a DoD/AFM engine. Again, there are kits to get rid of that stuff and the L76 does have the coveted L92 heads. Also, replace the cam, small, non-aggressive cam in them. People pick up a lot of HP from one with just a cam swap.

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post #24 of 33 Old 04-08-2017, 05:07 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

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Originally Posted by iScream View Post
I snipped out most of the quote but thank you for all of that. Helps a lot with knowing what combos I should research before making a decision.

Truck is a 2001 with a 4.3 and NV3500 5 speed.

If I do the L92, the plan is to buy it as complete as possible so I can drop straight in without opening it up and letting out the factory magic dust. I'm assuming I'll need the matching ECU but I plan to get in touch with CPW before hand to see what they recommend.

One of the reasons I was homing in on the L92 was that I thought the VVT could actually be a good thing. I had read a couple comments on LS1tech about good VVT cams being available so it seemed like a good idea for a street only truck. But as I read more it seems like just about everybody does away with the VVT right away. So I'm going to do more research but I'm not as excited about it as I was just a week ago.

I know I don't want to trade low RPM torque for high RPM HP though.

I also know I want an aluminum block though as I really don't want to add additional weight to the truck and especially not up front.

As I see the cost of this creeping higher and higher I've started thinking some about picking up a running Camaro or Trans Am with a complete LS1 and T56. I'm sure that would create a whole new set of issues to research and pay for though.

Camaro's and trans-am's are boring. Camaro's from the 98-02 vintage are especially boring. The new ones are a bit more interesting.


Anyway, about the VVT- what you need to understand is that GM's VVT in the LS engine works by adjusting the retard or advance of the camshaft. This has a disadvantage to other manufacturers that use dual overhead cams, or cam-in-cam designs. In total there is around 20 degrees of advance/retard, I forget the exact number, maybe 22? Anyway doesn't matter as much someone can look that info up.


What matters is GM essentially takes a very mild cam, and moves the intake & exhaust events forward or backward. In doing so they use up most of the non-PTV swept room available for the valve. If you think about the cylinder bore as a 3D volume, at any given time there is a finite amount of space not being occupied by the pistons. If you plot this on graph with time on x axis- it looks like sin wave, because duh, its a piston going back and forth, essentially oscillating. Valves do this too in that they occupy a 3d time & space in time with the movement of the piston.


If you were to fill in the area between 0 and the curves, you get basically "area under the curve", or time that the valve is open to flow air in, and conversely to flow exhaust out.


We want max area for both, generally, but we can't do it all the time... that's where VVT comes in. It allows the engine to run what would otherwise be a very rough cam, but do so with a lot of advance to make it run well at idle, or cold-start up, and then as the rpm climbs it can retard the cam back to benefit the higher rpm's.


Aftermarket VVT cams make a compromise- they generally require phaser limiters, to limit the range of retard/advance from say 22 degrees to say 12 degrees. Boom you lose half the benefit of VVT right there. Meanwhile they still can't provide the same lift and duration values because too much advance on the cam will result in valve to piston kissing.


This is in essence why standard cam's can't be used- they'd cause PTV issues like crazy. Finally tuning for VVT cam is more involved than tuning for a standard cam.


Hence, in performance application there really isn't a whole lot of benefit to VVT in GM's incarnation- its more GM being able to run a higher hp cam while still having a stock sound and good MPG at low rpm's.


Other manufacturers incarnations of VVT are inherently better due to the use of separated intake/exhaust cams, or cam-in-cam designs.


Frankly you probably want the sound of a nice cam anyway- so a non VVT cam will always be better. Which begs the question, why run a VVT cam, and why bother with DoD/AFM period?


Forgive me if I mixed up terms- trying to type it quick and get the general gist across, you're welcome to read more in depth into camshaft design. Anyway, with enough understanding of how the camshaft actually "works" and why it is designed the way it is, you begin to see that GM putting VVT in was looking for an every so slight improvement in stock, consumer driven vehicles, not a massive game changer in the performance world.


As for how to judge the condition of your engine- you can only do so much without tearing it completely apart. But first step is use a compression tester to test cylinder compression. Low comp = worn rings, worn rings = worn skirts and possibly worn bore. But if compression is solid and up near spec- then the rotating aspect of your engine is likely fine.


As for oil- the rear main seal tends to leak with age, it dries/hardens and isn't as flexible as it once was. Can also be the front cover or oil pan gasket. Slow leaks are not a sign of a worn engine- more of an old engine. Knocking, ticking, oil burning, rough idle, low cylinder compression these are more indicative of engine wear issues usually. I have a 4.3 that's got about 200k on it and still purrs like a kitten.


The L76 doesn't get as much love because 1. It is less common, originally used by Holden (as a variant of the LS2), domestically it had a pretty short run and was not a base RPO code engine, and 2. It's a 6.0 displacement, not the 6.2 of the L92, that's mostly why its cheaper.


As for Turboing something... boost and power are relative to number of cylinders... you can turbo your 4.3 and get up to 300hp maybe with the right cam, or you can get a 4.8 which at base level doesn't make a whole lot more than the 4.3, turbo the 4.8 and suddenly you're closing in on 400 pretty easy.


That is generally why more turbo a 5.3/4.8 than the stock 4.3. The L33 5.3 alum turbo'd is a pretty sweet little motor. Those who can generally go bigger displacement, ie 6.0 or 6.2, and those who really can go way big displacement and turbo it!
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post #25 of 33 Old 04-09-2017, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

Thanks man, that helps. I had done a quick searche on VVT cams over on LS1tech but only found a couple arguments with no real explanations about why they are good or bad.

I still may end up going with something that has VVT and AFM, just because I'm so set on an aluminum block. Unless I can get a deal on an LS2.

I'm also trying to keep myself grounded on my original intended purpose for the truck, which is hauling motorcycles around. I might possibly try an auto cross or two since I learned the other day that we have some SCCA closer than I realized. It may never see an actual timed quarter mile though and it will always have low profile street tires on the back. So I think traction is going to be a pretty big issue.

I'm not sure where the point is going to be that I'm spending money to add power I can't get to the ground. But having over 400 HP at the crank with a manual trans has to be getting close to that point.

On the Camaro/Trans Am thing I just meant that I would take the engine and trans for my truck then sell the body. I agree with those model years being pretty boring overall. Probably not something I'll end up doing anyway.
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post #26 of 33 Old 04-17-2017, 05:35 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

re: L92's and their variants............
A good gauge of the flywheel HP that the L92 is capable of, look only to the GM crate LS engines.
* 430 HP ...(LS3, base Corvette engine) LS376/430 is basically an L92 with AFM & DOD delete and slightly more cam.
But a true LS3 does have slightly lighter valves, and no notches on piston tops for variable valve clearance.
* 480 (495) HP LS376/480 is the same engine with a little more cam, still OK for granny to drive.
* 525 HP LS376/525 same motor again, with a little bigger, but not a crazy cam.
* 515 HP LS376/515 same motor as the 525, but with a carb intake.
I'm told that these HP numbers are for real.
..... And these aluminum block engines are becoming much more available. For instance, not long ago my son-in-law found a shop that wanted to ditch a "core" L92 variant pulled from a Suburban / GMC counterpart. Motor went bad and the shop swapped in a low mileage junkyard L92. Got the motor for just $300. But front main is shot, maybe crank can be ground & saved, maybe not. Damn, the heads have to be worth that much. And of course, we didn't get all the good stuff you might get with a junkyard pull-out.
..... So yes, keep an eye out for a 6.2!!
.
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post #27 of 33 Old 04-17-2017, 07:09 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

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post #28 of 33 Old 04-21-2017, 02:21 AM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

One thing you didn't mention in your shopping list is a gear ratio adequate for your "450 HP" goals.

I'm in the same boat with you. Riding the LS wave, almost giving up on it, telling myself I'd be happy with a 4.3 turbo, back on the LS wave.

Unless you're accustom to driving 450HP cars maybe lower your expectations?

4.3 power ~ 450HP Turbo LS are different worlds.

I don't believe you mentioned if you planned to track your S10?

You'd be able to achieve your goals with a simple 4.8 2002-2003.5 DBC motor for $500, run stock heads/stock compression/stock cam/stock everything, slap a eBay turbo or what not at 8-12psi and easily hit 400HP+. A 05-07 would be much better if you planned for big power down the road as the internals are stronger. I have recent threads on LS1tech and that's what those guys suggest. 500hp is nothing for Boosted LS motors.

LS motors aren't like the old school motors. "There's no replacement for displacements" doesn't apply to the boost world. It's "There's no replacements for cfm".

Unless you're fixed on building a rocket in a 01 S10 don't complicate things.

Like I said, I'm in the same boat with my 83'. I priced out lists for expensive builds, and priced out list for realistic builds. There's plenty of cars I'd like to work on the future and won't put all my eggs in one basket.

To each their own.
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post #29 of 33 Old 04-21-2017, 03:08 AM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

Also, spending $1000+ on an aluminum block to shave off 100lbs won't do you much unless you're gunning for 8/9 seconds passes. Get yourself an iron Block as they hold up to boost better (debatable).

Think twice about the $4000 Tremec vs $2500 98-02 T56. Yes the Tremec will hold up to anything you'd be able to throw at it, but $1500 is a huge difference in the initial swap. When it's time to leap past the 500HP/???TQ - then rebuild the T56 to your spec.

^ that saves you about $2500, surely you can use that money in better places like upgraded brakes, CPW harness, labor bill?, etc.

Tip, You'd be able to skip out on $400 headers and rework/fab a 6.2 truck exhaust manifold for a turbo exhaust manifold.

I'm learning as well, spent months reading everyday learning and absorbing and still am currently. One conclusion from all that.. "Rome wasn't built in a day". Filter out the bare needs, then start adding the icing.
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post #30 of 33 Old 04-21-2017, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

I've had a few cars that were pretty fast over the years. Not quite as fast a 450HP in my truck would be but enough to know what to expect.

And I've been riding bikes that are much faster than my truck will be for years. One of my two current bikes should be capable of high 9 second 1/4 mile times with a rider experienced at launching. Even with me on it trying not to fry the clutch I'm sure it would run low to mid 10's. Before this bike I rode a Suzuki Hayabusa for 7 years.

So I understand what fast feels like.

I'm pretty sure I'm going with an aluminum block. It's not about straight line performance as much as handling. I do think I might try an auto cross or just track days, especially if I could find a time where I could run my truck on the track one day then one of my bikes the next day. I have been thinking about dropping down to something like a 5.3 L33 motor though to save on initial costs.

Still not sure where I'll end up but I've been working out my budget and I should be able to do whatever I want if I plan on not starting until Labor Day weekend.

I've been thinking about the transmission and agree that the Magnum may be overkill for my application. The only real reasons I might still go that direction is the more flexible shifter positions and just general cry once. If it turns out that I'm not happy with this truck as a combination bike hauler and toy, I can pull the motor and tranny to drop in an old Camaro or something instead.

While I save some $ for the swap and do more research I'm working on preparing the truck for whatever engine upgrade I might do. It already has Blazer discs on the back and I have a C5 rotor and Camaro caliper setup to go on the front. I've already ordered cut down hubs and brackets from hi_im_sean to install those.

The next thing I do will probably be changing over to electric fans but I need to do a little more research on whether the stock radiator for my 4.3 will handle my HP goals.

Then I may work on upgrading my fuel system but I have to decide if I'm going to switch to a Blazer tank mounted behind the rear axle.
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post #31 of 33 Old 04-21-2017, 04:51 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

Depends what your weather is like- does TN get hot? If so you'll pooch an aluminum block with the stock rad. It will overheat. Iron blocks can handle heat better, they're just inherently way stronger. Especially in boost applications.


But, there is a company making aftermarket rads on ebay that a few have used and have had success with. Its fairly cheap.


There is also the 4.3 HD rad that JTR sells- some have used it with success also. Search the forums, there's about half a dozen rad options that are popular.


If your weather is hot when you want to drive it, and you have A/C and a tranny cooler- go with "No" as the answer to is your stock 4.3 rad good enough. (Unless it happened to be an HD rad).
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post #32 of 33 Old 04-21-2017, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

It gets pretty hot here and I want the truck to be reliable anywhere in the country I might drive it. And that might include pulling a trailer with 900 pounds of bikes and the AC blasting. If I can't do that reliably this truck will be a fail.

So that probably answers my stock radiator question. I might go ahead and convert to electric with what I have but plan on upgrading the rad when I actually put a new motor in.
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post #33 of 33 Old 04-22-2017, 03:25 PM
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Re: What motor should I be looking for?

Certainly go with electric fans, and an aluminum block will cool better, aluminum disperses heat much better, so the block itself is getting rid of heat better. However, the engine bay will get hotter so yes, you need a better radiator. Look at dual pass radiators, they cool much better, overbuild it for what you want, to an extent.

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2001 Grand Cherokee 4.0L, it's so SLOW!!!
1991 SonomaST, WAS SOLD, reacquired and rusting away.

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