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GMPP LS7-Powered 2004 Pontiac GTO - Dept X: GM Performance Parts' LS7 GTO

This is a discussion on GMPP LS7-Powered 2004 Pontiac GTO - Dept X: GM Performance Parts' LS7 GTO within the GTO forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; GMPP LS7-Powered 2004 Pontiac GTO - Dept X: GM Performance Parts' LS7 GTO No matter what your opinion is of ...

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    Exclamation GMPP LS7-Powered 2004 Pontiac GTO - Dept X: GM Performance Parts' LS7 GTO

    GMPP LS7-Powered 2004 Pontiac GTO - Dept X: GM Performance Parts' LS7 GTO
    No matter what your opinion is of the styling or its ability to live up to the GTO mystique, it's really hard to argue with the '04-'06 GTO as a performance platform. It features a spectacular chassis, great brakes, slippery aerodynamics and a luxurious interior-and the driveline is first-class. If you're looking for a basis for a modern, high-performance automobile, one that will do everything well, it really is one-stop shopping.
    Though dealers in various parts of the country reportedly still have new units in their inventory, we have heard from more than one retailer that demand for used GTOs is on the upswing, especially the '04s. It seems that they are being seen as a relatively low-cost starting point for high-performance buildups. So what if the '04s don't have the scooped hood-that upgrade can be added later.
    Dr. Jamie Meyer, GM Performance Parts' product integration manager, recently invited HPP to the company's facility in Grand Blanc, Michigan, to demonstrate just what a sweet package their LS7-powered '04 GTO is. More than just a pie-in-the-sky concept car, this Goat is a machine that any enthusiast can replicate using a combination of over-the-counter and aftermarket parts.
    Even though the bright yellow GTO has been pressed into duty for the LS7 conversion, it has spent its entire life as a developmental mule. It was never even assigned a factory VIN-a hand-painted "CUS201" is located at the base of the windshield where a factory VIN tag would normally go. This time around, the GTO was used as a testbed to science out the swap from the stock 5.7-liter LS1 to the Z06 Corvette-spec LS7.
    The process of the conversion was twofold, first integrating the engine to the chassis and second, beefing up the driveline and rear suspension to handle the extra 155 horsepower.
    One might think that since both engines come from the same family, the swap would be as simple as replacing a 326 with a 455. Not quite. There's more wiring and electronics and a different oiling system, but GMPP has used this car as an engineering/development mule to take the mystery out of installing an LS7 crate engine.
    The Engine Swap
    In order to facilitate the upgrade process, GMPP enlisted the help of BMR Fabrication, who helped simplify the swap and also provided components that beefed up the rear suspension and differential.
    First off, the fitting of the dry-sumped LS7 in the GTO required a custom engine cradle. BMR has developed, with GMPP, an engine cradle that provides sufficient clearance for the dry-sump pan. Originally, the stock front cradle was used, and the oil pan was modified to fit. With the new cradle, the oil pan remains stock. The swap necessitated the use of a custom oil reservoir, which is located in the engine compartment where the stock battery went.
    Integrating the LS7 with the GTO's stock wiring harness has now been greatly simplified with a kit to install and plug in, which also allows the stock E67 controller to accept custom calibrations for the LS7 engine.
    According to Dr. Meyer, the ultimate goal is to offer, through GMPP, the LS7 engine with an E67 controller and the necessary wiring harness that will make it possible to install any LS series engine into any application, even an older carbureted vehicle. The controller will require an accelerator pedal with a position sensor.
    Offering the controller will help ensure that the swap will be as hassle-free as possible and will eliminate the need to go to a third-party vendor for a fuel and ignition management system. "By working all of the details out on this GTO, we now have solutions to any issue that a customer might have with an LS7 engine conversion," Dr. Meyer says. "That experience will help us serve them better."
    This swap also necessitated a custom exhaust system. The stock LS7 exhaust manifolds were retained and mated with custom intermediate pipes and a Stainless Works 3-inch dual exhaust system.
    Upgraded Drivetrain
    With the engine successfully installed and calibrated, attention could now be focused on the driveline. Due to the substantial increase in output, the GTO needed some beefing up to get the power to the ground reliably. This particular car was built with a Tremec T56 six-speed transmission, and it was retained, though upgraded with a Z06 Corvette clutch and pressure plate.
    Moving downstream, the weak points of the GTO drivetrain were addressed with a variety of components developed in conjunction with BMR. As BMR has considerable experience with putting massive amounts of power through the GTO's IRS system, the company was uniquely qualified for the task.
    In order to beef up the GTO's unibody structure, a set of BMR subframe connectors were added. Additionally, the stock strut tower brace was replaced with a much more powerful BMR unit.
    Moving to the rear, considerable attention was paid to the differential and suspension. Knowing that GTOs are susceptible to wheelhop, which can destroy differentials, a set of Harrop polyurethane cradle bushings was added, as were BMR Drag Bags. A BMR aluminum driveshaft was enlisted to replace the stock 2-piece unit, and is safely retained with a BMR driveshaft loop. The differential itself was also upgraded with a Harrop differential cover and KAAZ limited-slip unit.
    From there, the stock axles were replaced with BMR billet CV shafts, stub axles and wheel studs. The added strength in these critical areas really helped with the success of the project, as the GTO has spent very little time in the shop for repairs.
    On The Road
    When Dr. Meyer flipped me the keys to the GTO, it was obvious that this was going to be a ride to remember. Having spent a considerable amount of time in the new GTOs, including track time at the Bob Bondurant School in Phoenix, I can say that I'm pretty familiar with how they feel and react.
    Dr. Meyer cautioned me that the stock GTO gauge cluster was not operational, so a cluster of analog gauges was pressed into service. Aside from that and the Chevy steering wheel, I felt as though I was in familiar territory.
    Once underway and off to a test track to get an idea of its performance, I was very surprised to see how docile the car was. In fact, driving around town, it felt just like a stock GTO, civilized and refined, yet firmer than Grandma's Buick. Happily, there was no additional harshness from the beefed up rear suspension. Likewise, the cornering and braking were essentially unchanged. Aside from a throatier exhaust note, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
    During my drive through some residential areas, the GTO really turned heads, mostly because of the GMPP decals, the Roush Racing hood scoop and, of course, that nasty exhaust note. We received several thumbs-up from a Corvette owner and others "in the know."
    Once at the track, I really found out what it was all about. All I could say was, "Yikes, this thing's a beast!" Not wanting to hurt the car, I eased out the clutch and then nailed it. The LS7 reacted violently, emitting a roar seldom heard outside a dragstrip. No wheelhop, no drama, just extremely rapid forward motion in the blink of an eye. With the redline coming near, I slammed the shifter into second, the GTO squatted down and continued the surge toward the century mark. I repeated this ritual several times and thought I would need to have the smile surgically removed from my face. I commented to Dr. Meyer that if I owned this car, it would have to come with bail bonds!
    Since no clocks were available that day, an estimated 0-60 time comes in under 4 seconds, and the quarter-mile e.t. is said to be in the low 12s. Mind you, this is with street tires and through the mufflers. Realistically, I don't think that the GTO is quite as quick as a stock Z06, which is blessed with more rubber, better front-to-rear balance and a several-hundred-pound weight advantage. Still, it's not that far off. Plus, the GTO has a backseat and is a much more practical daily driver.
    The best thing about the street manners of the LS7 conversion package is that, with the modifications made to the driveline and chassis, this particular GTO puts 505 hp to the ground better than a stock '04 GTO could put down 350 and did so without any of the handling ills that can plague a vehicle tuned for strip use. It still cornered as well as a stocker and didn't nosedive during braking. This chassis was beautifully scienced out.
    Once back at GMPP headquarters, I reluctantly handed the keys back to Dr. Meyer. I was really impressed with the GTO project, not only from a performance standpoint, but also from a systems integration perspective. This car acted exactly like a stock GTO in terms of responsiveness, handling and ease of operation; it just had 155 horsepower more. Unlike many one-off project cars I have driven over the last 20 years, the calibrations on this LS7 GTO were spot-on-no stalling hesitation or other unrefined behavior was observed. It felt just like a GTO-only more so.
    All of the components to build your own LS7 GTO will be available from GMPP and BMR in the very near future, perhaps even by the time you read this. We were very impressed with GMPP's LS7 GTO and hope that more good packages like it will be coming up very soon.
    7.0 Liter LS7 Specs(Courtesy GM Performance Parts)Horsepower505 at 6,300 rpmTorque470 at 4,800 rpm(Rating of GMPP crate engine slightly different than Z06 Corvette application)Engine TypeCam-in-block 90-degree V-8Displacement (cu in)427 (7.0L)Bore x Stroke (in)4.125 x 4.00 (104.8 mm x 101.6 mm)Maximum rpm7,000Block Part Number17802854Block TypeCast aluminum with 6-bolt steel main bearing capsCrankshaft Part Number12568819Crankshaft TypeForged steelReluctor wheel58XConnecting Rod Part Number12586258Connecting Rods TypeForged titaniumPiston Part Number89017774Pistons TypeHypereutectic aluminumCamshaft Part Number12571251Camshaft TypeHydraulic rollerCamshaft Duration211/230 degrees at 0.050Camshaft Lift (in)0.591/0.591-inCompression Ratio11.0:1Recommended fuel91-octaneCylinder Head Part Number12578450Cylinder Head TypeCNC-ported LS7 specific pattern, 70 cc CNC combustion chambersRocker Arm Ratio1.8:1 (offset intake only)Rocker Arm TypeInvestment cast, roller trunnionValve size (in)2.20-inch titanium intake, 1.61-inch sodium filled exhaustIntake ManifoldComposite upper, aluminum baseMAF/Throttlebody Size90mmInjectorsBosch 40 lb/hrHeadersHydroform tube steel, oval quad outlet collectorsIgnitionIndividual coil packOiling SystemDry sump, dual rotor pump (0.95ci pressure, 1.41ci scavenging)

    Photo Gallery: GMPP LS7-Powered 2004 Pontiac GTO - High Performance Parts Magazine



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  2. #2
    Grand Imperial Wizard Sarge's Avatar
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    I would blow his doors off.

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    Senior Member slims00ls1z28's Avatar
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    For probably less coin drivetrain wise

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    Yup....

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    Story of My Life!! BIG D's SS's Avatar
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    It is nice that they are doing all the leg work for the conversion but that would cost a small fortune. Even more than the small fortune Sarge has in Oprah.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarge View Post
    I would blow his doors off.
    def hear that...i dont even know why they went through the trouble with building that thing. guess just to say they did it...

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    Senior Member slims00ls1z28's Avatar
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    I want an LS9 in mine. LS7 is so 06. Thats what they should swap in now it uses the same dry sump system so it should be an easy swap over. Problem is the LS9 is probably going to be 15K+ in crate form. I'd volunteer my Car for it though!!!

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    I agree this kind of defeats the purpose. You can get a stroked motor and make more power cheaper without all the other headaches that would come with this swap but if I were doing this swap that motor would be worked before it went in and then you're talking some serious power. The main question I have is if they fixed the strut rub on this test mule?

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    isnt the 350 to the ground a typo??? mine with a cai and cat back only dynoed 326 at the wheels????wtf???

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    I don't think that was meant as a base line number....it was a comparison to how the bmr treated gto put down 500.

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    HUNTER S. THOMPSON FAN Raoul-Duke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTO_Kroh View Post
    isnt the 350 to the ground a typo??? mine with a cai and cat back only dynoed 326 at the wheels????wtf???
    yeah 350 to the ground was gm marketing bs. like how they rated the ls1 f-bods at 305hp and the ws6's and ss' at 325 or sumtin...same engine but why spend 34k on a gto or 50k on a ls1 vette sporting 350hp when its really the same, when once new, you can buy a ls1 f-bod with same performance if not better sometimes for mid 20's new...as you all know ls1's generally average 300 to the ground...same for the vette, gto, and f-bods. (given some may differ due to a4/m6 and gto having irs) shit gm can say the put out 500hp if they want. but the truth comes out when throw it on a dyno.

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    Senior Member snaggeltooth's Avatar
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    I think this story is more of an add for the LS7 Crate Engine ... and I bet at Barrett Jackson Auction this year you will see a lot of street rod/ custome cruisers with them in it ..

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    It looks like they're more trying to make it "one stop shopping" than anything else. The guys doing the LS7 crate ( and there will always be a few of them) won't have to go hunting all over gods creation for the harness set up and all that stuff to do the swap and bmr will already have the suspension stuff needed for the swap. That's what it looks like to me.


    HP ratings are done by an outside group of ASE guys if I remember correctly. This was changed some years ago do to car companies inflating the numbers. It was a pretty stringent testing process too if I remember correctly.

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    Senior Member snaggeltooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0rion View Post
    It looks like they're more trying to make it "one stop shopping" than anything else. The guys doing the LS7 crate ( and there will always be a few of them) won't have to go hunting all over gods creation for the harness set up and all that stuff to do the swap and bmr will already have the suspension stuff needed for the swap. That's what it looks like to me.


    HP ratings are done by an outside group of ASE guys if I remember correctly. This was changed some years ago do to car companies inflating the numbers. It was a pretty stringent testing process too if I remember correctly.
    According to Dr. Meyer, the ultimate goal is to offer, through GMPP, the LS7 engine with an E67 controller and the necessary wiring harness that will make it possible to install any LS series engine into any application, even an older carbureted vehicle

  15. #15
    Grand Imperial Wizard Sarge's Avatar
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    Well tell old Dr. Meyer to discover a stroker crank and painless wiring...we have

  16. #16
    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    yeah, but I bet 99% of the people that order a gm crate motor are ordering it because it's directly from gm and comes with a nice warranty and all that good shit. Most of them also are putting it into a show car that might see 25 mph on the trip to and from the hotel. Gear heads know better than this shit and order aftermarket so they can get the ground pounder they're looking for. I like the harness and controller idea. I see these guys all over the web looking for info on installing an LSx motor in another vehicle. It at least takes care of the controller and harness side of it for them.

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