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Need a direction to go

This is a discussion on Need a direction to go within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Hey I'm new to the forum, I've been searching every direction I can to get an idea of what I ...

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    Need a direction to go

    Hey I'm new to the forum, I've been searching every direction I can to get an idea of what I should do but could use a little more help. I have an lq9 motor that I'd really like to put my twin turbos on. My father passed away and I inherited his 67 el camino that he bought when he was 15. I am doing the ls swap and would like a fairly high hp street car. Are there any things I should do before anything else is started? Thanks in advance, David

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    Oops I just realized this is in the wrong spot. Can someone move this to the right spot for me?

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Your ok to have this thread here....if you want me to move it to the FI section let me know.


    Are you doing the turbo setup on the El Camino?


    This applies to any build:

    Research and make a plan. Be willing to modify said plan, problems will come up. Make a target budget and a time line. Chip off small projects, they add up to the end goal.

    Figure out exactly what you want; track only, street, show, etc... Each has different requirements, each can be mix, it comes down to how much you want to spend.

    High HP builds require more stuff than the others. Car frame may need to be beefed up or boxed in, suspension upgrades are a must (no traction = no go), transmission and rear = both will need upgrade to handle the engine output. Going into the 10's plan on roll cage and safety gear. Going fast is great but can you stop? Brakes = many ppl over look this until they realize they can't stop.


    Advice I was given when I start the long road of modding: Build the car Suspension, rear, transmission, then the engine. That way you will enjoy it more, because if you do the reverse you'll be down each time those break from the high HP engine.

    HP builds will always find the weak spots in the drive train.


    LQ9 is a great block. have a shop look it over to make sure there is no issues. What yr is it? >04 or 05<? It matters because there are different reluctor wheel. All >04's have 24x, while most 05< are 58x. There are a small few that are 24x. Also the head bolt's change in the middle of 04'. Some are setup like the GENIII's.

    For FI builds you'll want to have a target of 9.5 to 1 compression ratio. Heads & pistons matter here, as well as a cam designed for the FI build.

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    My father was wanting to do a 502 but 13k for the motor isn't what I want to do. I'm not sure what year lq9 but can find out today. I want a street car that has hp in the 500s. I don't have to have the best of the best stuff but decent reliable parts. I have roughly 7k to spend or would like to keep it in that area. Was just wondering what would be the best bang for the buck on building a high hp lq9. I have the el camino tore down to the frame now and am in the process of strengthening it. I was looking at either 4l80 or tremec 6 speed for the tranny. Just don't know what the important parts to building the motor are. Like what should be bought first and what I could leave stock that would handle the 500ish hp without sacrificing reliability.

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    And yes I'm wanting to do the twin turbo lq9 build for the 67 el camino

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    $7k for a twin turbo build will go quick and still not touch all needed to support it. A natural aspired build will get you to your goals and possibly keep it under the $7k.


    If I was in your shoes I'd do a NA build:

    I would bore it to 4.030", get a good stroker kit (about $2000) that comes with a Forged 4" crank, forged pistons, and forged 6.125" connecting rods (pick ARP2000 rod bolts). Add another $150 for piston rings. A good set of heads* will be around $2000 (Trickflow) and a custom grind cam $450. machine work for the block you are looking at $500-$1000 depends on how much needed and local shop rates. That should cover checking the block for cracks, tank, bore to 4.030", check the block for true flat surface for heads, clearance the block for stroker and balance the rotating assembly (Need to do this for new crank, rod & pistons).

    You can see it adds up quick.

    * - Here is a big decision point. With 6 liter blocks you have a choice to go with cathedral style heads (LS1) or rectangular (LS3). Making it a 408 build, the LS3 heads will flow much better. This choice will effect intake.

    Now for intake you have 2 routes. I truly think a carb setup would work best for you. The El Camino fuel tank/fuel system will need to be upgraded to a Fuel injection system (even if you go turbo). With a NA carb setup you do not. With fuel injection you need to run a return feed line and have a ecm controller, carb = not so. MSD and FAST do sell for both setups. But each has it's costs. Fuel injectors alone can cost $300-$600 for a set (depending on lb). Simply put you have many options.

    Just this alone you've spent already about $4k in parts.

    Here are a couple of engine build threads that can give you an idea of what we went through and how we addressed surprising issues that will pop up.

    Engine Builds




    Once some other members see this they will chime in too. I'm also not saying you can't build a good turbo system cheap, it's just how long it will last. I know someone that has built a turbo 5.3 putting down well over 700 with a stock bottom internals. Or at least he had one running till an oil return line failed while during a hard pull and killed the motor. He's almost got it back up. Just trying to show there are many routes to your goals.

    Hell you could always buy a 250 shot nitrous system on a stock block and you'll have your goal. May not run for long, but it get you there
    Last edited by SMWS6TA; 04-22-2015 at 09:29 AM.
    http://www.ls1.com/forums/f7/my-6-liter-build-174257/

    http://www.ls1.com/forums/f8/my-8-8-rear-build-165553/

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    im definitely open for other options. I just figured I would use the 2 turbos I bought a couple years back since they are collecting dust lol I really would go any direction that is pocket friendly for the numbers I'm looking for.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Well you didn't say you already had them.... Those are the most expensive cost.. What size?

    I've been reading about heavy boost guys are de-stroke the crank (using a smaller crank like a 4.8 size) with a custom grind and good heads with turbos and spinning up to 10k rpms and putting out serious HP numbers. I don't know enough about this process, just putting it out there for something for you to research in case you haven't heard of this. With the smaller stroke the rotating assembly is able to spin faster/higher.


    Regarding the transmission you'll want to go with a built 4L80E. I've also seen built 700R4's and Turbo 350's too. Autos are starting to serious make good ET's at the track.

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    Ok so I'm pretty sure the motor came out of a 2001 hd 2500. Does that mean it's an lq4? 😕

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Possible, LQ9's IIRC were introduced that yr. You'll know by looking at the pistons. If they are flat = LQ9, if dish = LQ4.

    For turbo you'll want dish, LQ4's had a 9.4:1 (avg) CR with 317 heads, LQ9's run a 10:1 cr and 317 heads have a 72cc chamber. I talked with the guy that has turbos last night and he said they like the 317's with some minor mill work for turbos. He also said that if 243 heads are used then you need to mill them some to get the CR back down. He also used the truck exhaust manifolds for and flip them towards the front on his f body.

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    Ok so I started tearing it down. It is an lq4 with 317 heads on it. Is there a trick to pulling the heads off? I have the 10 bolts pulled out and can't get it to loosen up at all.

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    There are 3 rows of 5. 10 big & 5 small. Those run along the top.

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    I'm an idiot lol thank you!

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    Need a direction to go

    Depending on what all you are going to replace and how much money you are going to go with internals and such $7000 won't go all the way with other expenses needed for this swap. Especially as far as strengthening everything else that will need it. I have around $15000 in my engine but I went high end on the heads and a few other things. You could probably build a stout lq9 for around $3000 with reasonable parts though. It all comes down to what you are putting in it. If you are going to use the stock internals then you could probably do this pretty cheaply but I wouldn't do that personally. You can get some good rotating assemblies complete for around $1600 to 2000 or so. Now heads what are you going to do for that, stock, reworked stock ones, or aftermarket? A set of aftermarket trickflow heads like mine are around $2500 complete. Btw with the 6.0 you can use LS3 heads which I would do if you can afford it. They flow a lot better than 243 or 317 casting heads. I would get a custom camshaft ground to your specifications based on your build as it is only a little bit more and the gains from it are more than worth it.

    My point here was to research parts and everything else and make a plan based on what you want and then do it when you can.
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    I was just looking at staying in the 7,000 range but if it needs to go into the 12k I can do it. I was thinking about porting my 317s that I have now to cut down on the cost a little bit. Would ported heads be as much or close to the same benefit as the ls3 heads? The 7k is just for the motor work and not including the trans or rear end also. I just want to know what will I benefit from the most for swapping out. Like is it work buying a forged crank and everything else to handle 500ish hp. If there's stuff that doesn't need to change or wouldn't benefit me enough to be worth buying then I'd like to do that to cut down on the costs a little more. But I'll spend 12k or whatever if that's needed to do it.

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    the 7k was strictly for the motor. I have the harness and a bunch of other stuff already that aren't included in that price range I wanted.

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    Ah okay 7k on motor work alone is definitely doable. Most rotating assemblies out there will handle 500hp just fine but you may want something that can handle more in case you get bored with 500 hp and want to up the boost for more power. For the heads let me put it this way stock ls3 heads flow more than most worked 317s but with FI that is a little less important than with NA since the turbo in your case will literally force the air in. However a set of stock ls3 heads may be cheaper than worked 317s. I want to say you can get a set of new ones for around $900 or so.

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    The main things you want to look at switching out with something like this is your Pistons and rods but your crank may also need to if it is damaged or won't support the power, I am not sure what the lq9 crank can support safely. Your goal of 500 hp is that rwhp or fwhp you are wanting?

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