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head/cam upgrade ls1

This is a discussion on head/cam upgrade ls1 within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; ive got a 2001 WS6 and i want to go fast. ive been researching head and cam installs and i ...

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    sunset orange metallic
    2001 Pontiac Trans Am WS6

    head/cam upgrade ls1

    ive got a 2001 WS6 and i want to go fast. ive been researching head and cam installs and i am going to attempt to do it in my garage. I want the best bang for my buck. price isnt really a factor as long as i can feel like i got what i paid for. intake manifold an TB will be replaced when i do h/c so what h/c combo would be the best to be over 400 rwhp
    thanks in advance

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    currently we have 3-4 members in different stages of rebuilds & c/h/i upgrades.

    Check this section most of the threads that can help you are located here.

    Internal Engine



    getting to or over 400hp isn't hard. Some LT headers, set of stock 243 heads & LS6 intake will get you very close to 400.


    You need to ask yourself a few questions:

    Is this a DD, weekend warrior or am I going to make it a hardcore track car? How you decided will help in giving recommendations.

    DD cars don't need much cam to make them fun and still keep the street manners DD have. Street cars vs track only comes down to what you accept as "streetable" High lift cams tend to lose their street manners and gas mileage as well.


    Other issues to consider:

    M6? needs to be equal to the torque output of the motor, otherwise you'll burn it up and slip
    A4? You will need a stall to match the cam/head changes.
    Tuning - You will need tuning.
    Suspension upgrades - power is great as long as it can be put on the road.
    Rear end - still have stock, start saving for a new rear. Going up in the power mods greatly increases the chances of the rear going out. It's a POS, not worth investing in.
    Fuel pump & injectors - most upgrades you can still use the stock pump but the injectors will need to match the cam & heads otherwise you'll run too lean or not be able to tune.
    Last edited by SMWS6TA; 01-20-2014 at 07:10 AM.

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    What do you do the most of with the car? Torque band is more important to me than a big hp number.

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    sunset orange metallic
    2001 Pontiac Trans Am WS6

    its kinda a weekend warrior with the definite possibility of a couple nice long road trips a year. M6
    the fast92/92 combo is what im leaning towards on intake but the heads and cam is whats really got me stuck. If i can stay around 20 mpg range and be able to burn the tires of the rims ill be completely satisfied lol. I will definitely check out the "Internal Engine" link and see if i can learns something. With the little bit of pricing ive done on H/C/I/TB/exhaust im getting real close to 5 grand. would this investment to the LS1 be worth it opposed to just dropping a 383 long block in? found em for 3300 that are supposed to be good to 420hp as is

    .

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    sunset orange metallic
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenm357 View Post
    What do you do the most of with the car? Torque band is more important to me than a big hp number.
    Wanna go fast and sound like theres a TRex living under the hood. Top speed is unnecessary just wanna get up to 3 digits faster than most and still be able to hit the highway if i want

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    5K for a H/C/I combo seems a little high to me. Tack on a few more grand to that and you can have a nice Procharger system which will eat alive any H/C/I car on the road for the most part.

    Unless you are looking at heads like AFR or TrickFlow that run a lot of coin.

    Since you have a M6, you could live with a little more aggressive camshaft selection like a MS3. There really is no need to invest at this time to a FAST intake until you install the new heads and cam. You might be happy with the power you make with the LS6 intake and save yourself $1K plus.

    The FAST 92/92 combo is no longer available from what I understand...they only sell the 102/102 now...unless they started making it again or you're looking at used?

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    sunset orange metallic
    2001 Pontiac Trans Am WS6

    5k with exhaust also. Ive got kooks LTs already so i didnt include that in the price and kooks true duals on order which are outrageously 2grand. from what ive read the ls6 intake might get you 10hp as a stand alone mod if youre lucky. It seems like with a good exhaust that the ls6 intake would realistically achieve the 10 hp gain.
    The fast 92/92 is at a ws6 specific website. (i dont want to mention them and get this deleted because of the sponsorship rules, im new lol) They have it advertised as "back in black". I want to do the H/I/C all together. i want to install it myself but my buddy tells me i might be biting off more than i can chew since i have very little knowledge on the subject, i just know what i want in the end. ive found the step by step instructions on head/cam change and it seems relatively basic.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    As long as you have the tools and basic mechanic knowledge and can follow instructions, shouldn't have any issues with the install. Plenty of people on here to help you along the way with any questions you might have also.

    Are you factoring in: oil pump upgrade, hardened push rods, timing chain, and a higher capacity fuel pump/larger injectors? What about the rear end? Those puny 10-bolts don't like much power

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    sunset orange metallic
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    No, i didnt realize an upgraded oil pump, push rods and fuel pump/injectors were needed. Ive seen injectors that will easily run over 3 grand. with all that considered i will be pushing ten grand with H/I/C/TB/exhaust and the most previous parts mentioned and thats with me installing myself. That is much steeper than i expected. I was thinking i could do all for around 4 or 5 grand without exhaust.

    Ive seen people mention a 243 cam that is well rounded and will deliver a significant gain in hp. Would the 243 and 92/92 intake still need to be applied with pumps, pushrods etc?



    Good part is i can put my new exhaust and harmonic balancer on to keep me satisfied while i figure out what i need to do with the car as a whole.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    A set of larger injectors should run you around $500 I believe. Your stock injectors are 28 lbs/hr and will likely be at or above 80% duty cycle when all said and done. Just guessing on that. Personally, I have 62 lb/hr injectors for my setup lol. The last thing you want to do is starve a motor of fuel. Maybe you can get away with stock fuel pump, but I would think your injectors would need to be upgraded for sure.

    An oil pump, timing chain, and hardened push rods are highly recommended with a camshaft upgrade since you are right there. Cost of these items isn't too bad in the overall scope of things. Be sure to shop around.

    I still say you should be nowhere near where you are quoting. Not sure where you are pricing things out at.

    A good budget set of heads are 243 port and polished. Good gains, but still not exactly relatively cheap if done correctly by a reputable shop.

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    sunset orange metallic
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    i might have thought the injector price was for each instead of all 8 which would definitely be different (more familiar with pricing injectors on diesels). The oil/fuel pumps are pretty reasonable through texas speed as well as push rods. The push rod sizing has me concerned, i assume the stock length will work.

    What heads would be good to pair with the ms3? would i need to do anything with the springs too?

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by logankyng View Post
    i might have thought the injector price was for each instead of all 8 which would definitely be different (more familiar with pricing injectors on diesels). The oil/fuel pumps are pretty reasonable through texas speed as well as push rods. The push rod sizing has me concerned, i assume the stock length will work.

    What heads would be good to pair with the ms3? would i need to do anything with the springs too?
    I have a stock cam/heads so I may not be the best person to go to for advice on this...but I've been on the boards since 08 and have read a lot in that time-frame I will defer to Scott, the guy who initially responded first above for his input also. I went the Procharger route on a stock motor over N/A.

    If you have the budget, Trickflow and AFR make awesome heads. Texas Speed sells complete H/C packages.

    Really depends on what you want out of the car as far as cam selection. I just threw the MS3 out there because it's a little larger camshaft and typically you have less issues with idle and RPM sensitivity (read driveability) with a M6 as opposed to an A4. Many people here also like the 228R on a 112LSA, Torquer V2, or even something like a 233/239.

    You can even go with a custom grind cam.

    Yes - you will need new springs based on your selection.
    It's on jackstands.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Push rods you should always measure for length after heads have been worked on. Cam lob, lifter pre-load, head gasket thickness, head height, and rocker size/ratio all effect the length of the push rods. It can get complicated.

    Any good speed shop should be able to tell you what goes well with what cam. TS&P are not the only guys.

    Vengeance Racing, Tick Performance, Advance Induction plus many more.

    I got my cam, valve springs & lifters from Tick Performace (talk with Martin if you call).


    I recommend reading some of those threads because like I said there are several of us in the process. You can see what we have done, problems and solutions. What works well for one may not be for another.


    Jon's right 5k is high. Honestly that's a built 408 with tuning or a Procharger...



    One more thing Jon sorta touched on. Cams & heads for exact purpose. Some cams/heads are designed for NA motors while others are built for superchargers or turbos. Same goes for pistons. Flat top pistons are more suited for NA while dish are suited for FI. Higher compression = NA, lower compression = FI.

    I haven't messed with N20 so I won't even try to tip toe around that subject.
    Last edited by SMWS6TA; 01-20-2014 at 10:01 PM.

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    sunset orange metallic
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    Thank you for the info. It looks like i will be able to do ls6 heads with a ms3 cam and supporting mods to get where i want to be. Fast 92/92 IM/TB, underdrive balancer, ms3 cam, stage 1 ls6 ported heads with .650'' double springs, oil/fuel pumps, pushrods, fast 39lb injectors and ls2 timing chain is right about 4K from TS. I will check out the other company's prices that you suggested and find out the least i would have to spend. Thank y'all again for all the help. i will update with parts received and finished product

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    Yeah 5k is high for a hci build. I don't even have 5k in my 396 as of yet. I know some like the 92/92 setup but I would get the 102/102 set up personally, which is what I have. In addition something you need to think about is you can't just grab a big cam and some nice flowing heads and expect them to work well together necessarily, not sure if you have talked to any shop yet. What needs to happen is both components need to be matched together to ensure they will work well together. Custom cams are the only option imho. I got my cam matched with the heads I am getting with Advanced Induction, who are the only company I would consider imho. They based the specs off of my goals and my current mods as well as future mods to give me the cam I have.
    Last edited by 98TransAmWs-6; 01-21-2014 at 07:00 AM.
    1998 Trans Am WS6 - Phantom
    421 CI LQ9, Tick Performance Custom Cam, TFS 255cc LS3 heads, Kooks 2" LT headers, Kooks 3" True Duals w/ high flow cats, FTP 104 lid, Speed Density Tune, 4" silicon tube, LS6 VCT, FAST 102 Intake, NW 102 TB, Oil Catch Can, SLP Bilstein Shocks w/ Vogtland Springs, CTS-V 4-piston Calipers w/C6 Z06 rotors, Stainless Steel Brake Lines, R1 concepts premium rotors, Hawk HP+ brake pads, VFN WSQ Hood, C5-R timing chain, SLP oil pump, E85 tune, Walbro 450 fuel pump, Deatschwerkz 95# injectors, Breathless performance headlights, Frost Tune, !HVAC.
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    I went with texas speed 5.3L stage 2.5 heads and did a 228R cam kit with gaskets, oil pump, pushrods, lifters, under drive pulley ect ect for ~$2500 I think it was. You already have the LS6 intake....I would see where you end up with that before dropping another $1200+ on intake TB. You can have a fairly strong running car for <$3k....enough to get you in the 11's. If I had it to do over again I would opt for the 233/239 cam minimum. The 228R is great on the street though and still easily driveable so I won't complain about it much. I've never done gas mileage checks after the cam because I never drive it far enough really to check it on the highway and I didn't do a heads/cam swap for the gas mileage.
    Like people have mentioned......there's a lot of little things that start to add up so your best bet is to get a plan together and follow it. The heads/cam was the last mods I did to the car. I already had the 12 bolt, fuel pump, stall, and all supporting mods prior. I tuned it myself so I saved some money there too ( I split the price of the cable with a buddy).

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    Quote Originally Posted by 98TransAmWs-6 View Post
    Yeah 5k is high for a hci build. I don't even have 5k in my 396 as of yet. I know some like the 92/92 setup but I would get the 102/102 set up personally, which is what I have. In addition something you need to think about is you can't just grab a big cam and some nice flowing heads and expect them to work well together necessarily, not sure if you have talked to any shop yet. What needs to happen is both components need to be matched together to ensure they will work well together. Custom cams are the only option imho. I got my cam matched with the heads I am getting with Advanced Induction, who are the only company I would consider imho. They based the specs off of my goals and my current mods as well as future mods to give me the cam I have.

    What benefit is there with going with the 102/102 opposed to the 92/92?

    Advanced induction is added to my list of potential shops Ty

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    sunset orange metallic
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    I agree with you completely on waiting on the intake and tb. It is a nice chunk of change and if I can be happy without it it frees up money to be spent elsewhere

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    Quote Originally Posted by logankyng View Post
    I agree with you completely on waiting on the intake and tb. It is a nice chunk of change and if I can be happy without it it frees up money to be spent elsewhere
    that's the name of the game when you're dealing with a budget. You want the best bang for your buck and you don't want to do work twice.
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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by logankyng View Post
    What benefit is there with going with the 102/102 opposed to the 92/92?

    Advanced induction is added to my list of potential shops Ty


    IMHO The FAST 102 is for serious track/street use. For someone that DD's or takes to cruises it is way overkill. The 102 is just about the maximum type of intake you can use on LSx blocks without Force Induction.

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