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LT1 vs. LS1 & a few other questions

This is a discussion on LT1 vs. LS1 & a few other questions within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Since selling my 2000 WS6 in January due to financial reasons (a terrible reason to have to sell, btw), I ...

  1. #1
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    Question LT1 vs. LS1 & a few other questions

    Since selling my 2000 WS6 in January due to financial reasons (a terrible reason to have to sell, btw), I have been quietly watching for a red Formula or TA to show up on radar in the $6k - $7k ballpark. I know this will probably mean higher miles in the case of an LS1 car, but I am OK with that as long as the car isn't a basket case.

    I have seen a few LT1 TAs lately and I owned a red '93 Formula with that motor. My impressions of the LT1 vs. the LS1 when I first got my WS6 was that the LS1 revs up faster and 'felt' like a substantial upgrade from the LT1 off the line. However, my Formula was still a very fast car for daily driving.

    Can anyone speak to real differences in the LT1 and LS1? While being a lifelong Firebird fan I admit to being not enough of a gearhead to know the nuts & bolts of them enough to appreciate why I should look for one more than the other, if you know what I mean.

    Also, the next bird I get will get mods as funds permit -- I'd like to be around 400 hp to keep in step with the new Camaros & Mustangs. The LS1 was rated more hp from new, but when modding is an LT1 that much further away?

    So many questions.

    One last one -- My '93 Formula had different brakes from later model Firebirds - I recall something about them being made in New Zealand or something - and they were spendy to fix. Does anyone know about this and when Pontiac changed the brakes? Or was my mechanic feeding me a line of BS? I am leery of '93, '94, etc. cars because of the brake expense.

  2. #2
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    Honestly, for a street car, or a DD, I think the LT1 is a better motor. It doesn't make the peak HP of the LS1 on paper, but it feels better to drive.

    Especially in an auto. I have a 2.73/A4 LS1, and that damn thing feels slow as shit to drive on a daily basis. It runs 13.6 @ 104 at the track, so it aint' that bad, but unless you're foot to the floor getting on it, it just feels really pokey around town.

    I tremember the first time I drove an LS1..... I had a L98 GTA at the time, a '88 which was rated at 230 horse/ 345 ft lbs, and I drove the LS1 (2.73 A4) and was like "really? what's all the hype about? My turd gen feels way faster".

    Not to mention the LT1's sound 100x better than the LS1's.

    But personally I think the LT1 T/A's are fugly, if you go LTI DEF get a Formula or a Z.

    I think other than the Opti-spark, the LT1 is a great motor with lots of potential. I know a guy running 12.0x with one in my club, and the thing sounds like pure sex compared to my LS1.

  3. #3
    Senior Member big hammer's Avatar
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    lt1's are a doink to work on

  4. #4
    Firebird Encyclopedia 9T8W66's Avatar
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    I agree with Mike, for DD purposes an LT1 is a nice pkg. It's main deterent IMO is the Optispark setup. I've owned both and as much as I liked the low end grunt of the LT1, the reality is an LS1 makes similar torque and power till 2500 rpm and then climbs from there. The difference is approx 40-50 HP at the wheels on average (that to me is a deal breaker in itself). JMO
    Craig
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    What I do? SHines-IT's Avatar
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    For 6-7k you can get a Corvette LT1 ;-). Just to open up options for you. I also preferr the LT1 to the LS1. Opti-Spark is not a big issue as many think, we have own LT1 and not a single proble in a combined 280,000 miles. LTx can be made into a nice motor when gone into bigger cubes and nice top end.

    Edit: As far as brakes, can't tell you about 93-94 FBody. We replace the 97 WS6 with aftermarket and they was not bad in price. On the 93 Corvette, I replace the front rottors and pads... I felt that was a bit pricey but it was taxed.
    Last edited by SHines-IT; 07-18-2010 at 10:02 AM.

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    BANGIN GEARS>STAB N STEER BLK2KSS's Avatar
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    Um yeah, not to rain on all of you guys’ parade but the LS1 is way better than the LT1 in almost every way. I have owned both and worked on both countless times putting in countless hours of work on both. Ill make a chart for comparison:

    LT1 car vs LS1car
    2 bolt main vs 6 bolt main
    Optispark vs coil per plug
    Iron block vs aluminum block
    Less power vs more power
    Absolute pita to work on vs pita to work on
    Single piston front brakes vs dual piston front breaks
    Smaller rotors vs bigger rotors
    Cam driven water pump vs belt driven water pump
    Decent styling vs great styling
    BS cooling system vs efficient cooling system

    These are just a few of them; there are many more reasons to get an ls1 over the lt1. Like I said I have owned both and loved my 95 formula m6 but seriously my 00 SS m6 is really better in every single way than the formy was.
    Last edited by BLK2KSS; 07-18-2010 at 10:40 AM.

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    Firebird Encyclopedia 9T8W66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLK2KSS View Post
    Um yeah, not to rain on all of you guys’ parade but the LS1 is way better than the LT1 in almost every way. I have owned both and worked on both countless times putting in countless hours of work on both. Ill make a chart for comparison:

    LT1 car vs LS1car
    2 bolt main vs 6 bolt main
    Optispark vs coil per plug
    Iron block vs aluminum block
    Less power vs more power
    Absolute pita to work on vs pita to work on
    Single piston front brakes vs dual piston front breaks
    Smaller rotors vs bigger rotors
    Cam driven water pump vs belt driven water pump
    Decent styling vs great styling
    BS cooling system vs efficient cooling system

    These are just a few of them; there are many more reasons to get an ls1 over the lt1. Like I said I have owned both and loved my 95 formula m6 but seriously my 00 SS m6 is really better in every single way than the formy was.
    I agree on all counts I just didn't want to start another LT1 bashing thread.

  8. #8
    Senior Member big hammer's Avatar
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    all that withstanding i would still buy a nice 96-97 ws6 ifone ever came my way cheap.

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    Member dragonchick's Avatar
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    I've driven T/A's with both the LS1 and LT1. I liked how they both drove. But my experience with the LT1 was only brief, but fun, a friend of mine let me drive his on a nice back country road

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    Just me Y2KPewterSS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLK2KSS View Post
    Um yeah, not to rain on all of you guys’ parade but the LS1 is way better than the LT1 in almost every way. I have owned both and worked on both countless times putting in countless hours of work on both. Ill make a chart for comparison:

    LT1 car vs LS1car
    2 bolt main vs 6 bolt main
    Optispark vs coil per plug
    Iron block vs aluminum block
    Less power vs more power
    Absolute pita to work on vs pita to work on
    Single piston front brakes vs dual piston front breaks
    Smaller rotors vs bigger rotors
    Cam driven water pump vs belt driven water pump
    Decent styling vs great styling
    BS cooling system vs efficient cooling system

    These are just a few of them; there are many more reasons to get an ls1 over the lt1. Like I said I have owned both and loved my 95 formula m6 but seriously my 00 SS m6 is really better in every single way than the formy was.
    Just about sums it up right there and essentially end of thread

  11. #11
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    Great replies and good food for thought -- anyone else care to toss in their $.02 worth?

    Thanks again!

  12. #12
    Senior Member INMY01TA's Avatar
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    You will always be behind with the LT1. Most the guys I know with LT1 cars end up swapping LS1s in them. Seriously, I know 5 guys doing or done the swap. Personally I like the sound of an aggresively cammed LS1 better than the LT1 anyway.

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    Veteran Blackbird WS6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLK2KSS View Post
    Um yeah, not to rain on all of you guys’ parade but the LS1 is way better than the LT1 in almost every way. I have owned both and worked on both countless times putting in countless hours of work on both. Ill make a chart for comparison:

    LT1 car vs LS1car
    2 bolt main vs 6 bolt main
    Optispark vs coil per plug
    Iron block vs aluminum block
    Less power vs more power
    Absolute pita to work on vs pita to work on
    Single piston front brakes vs dual piston front breaks
    Smaller rotors vs bigger rotors
    Cam driven water pump vs belt driven water pump
    Decent styling vs great styling
    BS cooling system vs efficient cooling system

    These are just a few of them; there are many more reasons to get an ls1 over the lt1. Like I said I have owned both and loved my 95 formula m6 but seriously my 00 SS m6 is really better in every single way than the formy was.
    Quote Originally Posted by INMY01TA View Post
    You will always be behind with the LT1. Most the guys I know with LT1 cars end up swapping LS1s in them. Seriously, I know 5 guys doing or done the swap. Personally I like the sound of an aggresively cammed LS1 better than the LT1 anyway.


  14. #14
    Auto Painter RyanJM's Avatar
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    I would have to say if a LT1 shows up in nice shape for a great price then get it. I was test driving a few LTI Formula andZ28 6spds for a Daily beater and there slot of fun. Parts are a little harder to come by from what I have seen compared to my LS1 and my mechanic hates them and rather work on LS motors but they were all fun and cheap if one would have been nice and had the options I was looking for I would have bought it. LS cars are easier to get parts for and my mechanic likes working on them more so I have been looking for a good deal on a used Z28 or preferably a SS 6spd but in my opinion when a nice car and good deal pop up I'm open to either. Would prefer a LS1 SS but hey price and condition make my decisions.
    1998 Trans Am 85k miles.
    Bolt ons, MS3 113LSA cam, Circle D Stall, Tune, Modified WS6 style hood, Full Suspension, 6000k HID's, Clear Side Markers w/ Leds, Led 3rd Brake Light and 18" AR Staggered Killer Wheels w/ BFG KDW NT's.- Weekend Toy/DD
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