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Thinking about an LS3

This is a discussion on Thinking about an LS3 within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Originally Posted by Naaman Hmmmm.... I suppose it depends on whether I buy a used engine that comes with the ...

  1. #21
    Moderator 98TransAmWs-6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    Hmmmm.... I suppose it depends on whether I buy a used engine that comes with the ECU... of course, the wiring harness is another question altogether. Mine is an M6, though.

    I'm still waiting on Sean to come back with some options. I think that an 02-04 LS6 would be my first choice. But as for a brand new engine, the LS3 is about the least expensive one that "makes sense" for what I want to do.
    New long block iron 6.0 is going to be cheaper by around $700 or more if new. In all honesty if you are considering the ls6 route having your engine rebuilt is probably going to be cheaper if there is no damage to the block and it will still probably be cheaper. It would only have cost me around $1800 for machine work and long block assembly from Tick Performance (not sure what Sean charges), a crate ls3 is definitely going to cost way more than that. My point here is I would at least have the block torn down to assess the damage before you decide since you could have it all fixed for much less than a new ls3 unless you really just want to go that route. For the most bang for the buck I would really consider a lq9 or lq4 instead of a ls3 since you can get the entire short block or entire engine for less than what the ls3 block costs.
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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    It's going to depend on what you want to get into.

    For me, I have a problem buying a perfectly good running engine only to tear it down to swap a reluctor wheel. That's not convenient by any means. Nor do I care to run a conversion box.

    Even if the used engine came with it's own computer, you'd have a hell of a time (and alot of money) trying to adapt a newer generation computer to a 4th gen and making all the gauges and gadgets work properly. That just sounds like even more headache to me.

    Just my opinion, based off the LS swaps I've done, is to stick with the reluctor wheel setup the car came with originally to simplify the entire electronic aspect of the engine swap. If it were me I wouldn't even be looking at new LS3 crate engines, they are way too expensive. And you won't have much luck finding any new LS6's out on the market anymore, those were discontinued a few years ago. The handful that are floating around still in a crate fetch $6k or more now, about the price of a brand new crate LS3 from what I've seen.
    If you want new, then what I'd do is grab a new 6.0 LQ crate engine from your favorite vendor, could even do a stroker rotating assembly. Texas Speed comes to mind and prices are reasonable (about $4k for a forged stroker shortblock). Could even do just a short block, have your heads checked and reused, stick a cam in of your choice and run with it. They even offer stock stroke short block combos for less money.

    In the end Sean has alot of connections, and I'd bet he can find a low mile used 6.0 LQ4 that would run perfectly. That's what I would concentrate on most at this point with funds being a big issue.

    Edit: I agree with Will, he was quicker on the tree. I think the LQ option is the best way to go hands down. That's what I do when I'm doing a swap. More options, easier to swap than an LS3, and a hell of alot cheaper than an LS3.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 11-17-2014 at 03:20 PM.

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    FBJ - how the hell does a motor which only has 104,XXX miles on it that has been running well all of a sudden lose 4 quarts of oil in 4,000 miles?????

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    It's going to depend on what you want to get into.

    For me, I have a problem buying a perfectly good running engine only to tear it down to swap a reluctor wheel. That's not convenient by any means. Nor do I care to run a conversion box.

    Even if the used engine came with it's own computer, you'd have a hell of a time (and alot of money) trying to adapt a newer generation computer to a 4th gen and making all the gauges and gadgets work properly. That just sounds like even more headache to me.

    Just my opinion, based off the LS swaps I've done, is to stick with the reluctor wheel setup the car came with originally to simplify the entire electronic aspect of the engine swap. If it were me I wouldn't even be looking at new LS3 crate engines, they are way too expensive. And you won't have much luck finding any new LS6's out on the market anymore, those were discontinued a few years ago. The handful that are floating around still in a crate fetch $6k or more now, about the price of a brand new crate LS3 from what I've seen.
    If you want new, then what I'd do is grab a new 6.0 LQ crate engine from your favorite vendor, could even do a stroker rotating assembly. Texas Speed comes to mind and prices are reasonable (about $4k for a forged stroker shortblock). Could even do just a short block, have your heads checked and reused, stick a cam in of your choice and run with it. They even offer stock stroke short block combos for less money.

    In the end Sean has alot of connections, and I'd bet he can find a low mile used 6.0 LQ4 that would run perfectly. That's what I would concentrate on most at this point with funds being a big issue.

    Edit: I agree with Will, he was quicker on the tree. I think the LQ option is the best way to go hands down. That's what I do when I'm doing a swap. More options, easier to swap than an LS3, and a hell of alot cheaper than an LS3.
    I was hoping he'd get back to me today with some options. I'll call him tomorrow and see what he's thinking. I don't particularly care whether the engine is new. It's just that if I have to pay $4000+ for a used engine (some floating around ebay at that price), might as well kick over a little extra for a better built, factory quality piece... at least... that WAS my thinking. The LQ4/9 may be the best route overall, though I would like to keep weight down, and depending on the cost difference, I might consider the extra cost for an aluminum block worthwhile.

    If Sean gets in an engine that checks out good, I don't mind a used one going into the car. Although, according to him, 98/99 blocks are "weak" and should not be used for builds that require any internal work. He says LS6 blocks from 01 and up LS1s are the best way to go for an LS1/6 build. So if I get the right model year, a cam swap and maybe some 243s before the engine goes in will put me right where I want to be. If a full rebuild can be done for less than the cost of a turnkey engine, then I'm not terribly worried about the cost, as I've been mentally preparing to shell out $6K for an engine, plus the labor to swap it... so buying a used LS1 and beefing it up a little bit before the install is starting to sound pretty good.

    During my search, I've seen some engine/tranny drop-outs that look like a decent price. The nice thing about that route is that it would give me a "spare" to send in as a core for a transmission build, and eliminate vehicle downtime... but that's putting the cart before the horse at this point.
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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    FBJ - how the hell does a motor which only has 104,XXX miles on it that has been running well all of a sudden lose 4 quarts of oil in 4,000 miles?????
    That sir, is a good question. Losing that much in a short amount of time should have left a trace or symptoms.

    We could come up with a few scenarios, and I've had a couple of situations myself where oil disappeared quickly, but it was pretty quick to realize with obvious symptoms.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 11-17-2014 at 05:57 PM.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    I was hoping he'd get back to me today with some options. I'll call him tomorrow and see what he's thinking. I don't particularly care whether the engine is new. It's just that if I have to pay $4000+ for a used engine (some floating around ebay at that price), might as well kick over a little extra for a better built, factory quality piece... at least... that WAS my thinking. The LQ4/9 may be the best route overall, though I would like to keep weight down, and depending on the cost difference, I might consider the extra cost for an aluminum block worthwhile.

    If Sean gets in an engine that checks out good, I don't mind a used one going into the car. Although, according to him, 98/99 blocks are "weak" and should not be used for builds that require any internal work. He says LS6 blocks from 01 and up LS1s are the best way to go for an LS1/6 build. So if I get the right model year, a cam swap and maybe some 243s before the engine goes in will put me right where I want to be. If a full rebuild can be done for less than the cost of a turnkey engine, then I'm not terribly worried about the cost, as I've been mentally preparing to shell out $6K for an engine, plus the labor to swap it... so buying a used LS1 and beefing it up a little bit before the install is starting to sound pretty good.

    During my search, I've seen some engine/tranny drop-outs that look like a decent price. The nice thing about that route is that it would give me a "spare" to send in as a core for a transmission build, and eliminate vehicle downtime... but that's putting the cart before the horse at this point.
    The weight difference between the aluminum and iron blocks has been tossed around alot over the years. The difference is anywhere from 65 to 80 lbs. so it's really unnoticable and won't have any consequence. The iron blocks have so many other advantages it makes the LQ option hard to ignore.
    Sean is familiar with LKQ down in Phoenix. I've bought an LQ4 from them in the past, complete with the 4L80E, the entire wire harness, computer, fan shroud, complete accessories including the air intake, exhaust manifolds, intake manifold, the entire kitchen sink, for $1500 and it only had 80,000 miles on it.
    Just the engine (which is all you need) should be cheaper. I wouldn't hesitate to stick an iron LQ4 in my wifes SS. I'm just waiting for hers to show signs of needing replaced and you can bet I'll have an iron stroker in that puppy

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    I know you guys are getting technical with motors and everything but am I the only one who thinks his car didn't get the right amount of oil the last time it was changed...? That's a lot of oil to just disappear with no leaking or smoke coming out of the exhaust...
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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theorangeguy View Post
    I know you guys are getting technical with motors and everything but am I the only one who thinks his car didn't get the right amount of oil the last time it was changed...? That's a lot of oil to just disappear with no leaking or smoke coming out of the exhaust...
    At the risk of sounding paranoid, I wonder if it could have been sabotage... ?

    And, is there ANY amount of mileage that a loss of the majority of oil would make sense? For example, if I had driven 10K or 15K on the same oil, would it still be a mystery? I would think it should, since it should just be dirty and not gone, right?

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    Senior Member theorangeguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by theorangeguy View Post
    I know you guys are getting technical with motors and everything but am I the only one who thinks his car didn't get the right amount of oil the last time it was changed...? That's a lot of oil to just disappear with no leaking or smoke coming out of the exhaust...
    At the risk of sounding paranoid, I wonder if it could have been sabotage... ?

    And, is there ANY amount of mileage that a loss of the majority of oil would make sense? For example, if I had driven 10K or 15K on the same oil, would it still be a mystery? I would think it should, since it should just be dirty and not gone, right?
    At that amount of mileage you should burn maybe a quart in my opinion and if you've got an issue somewhere you could burn off 2, but no way you burn 80-90% of your capacity without noticing...you'd smell it or see it.

  10. #30
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    I have seen instances on more than one occasion where an engine can burn a pretty significant amount of oil and you never see the smoke out the tailpipes because the catalytic converters burn most of it up before it gets there. And I'm betting those are still intact on this car. It may still have a smell however, if the wind is blowing right and direct it back to the passenger comparment, with a window down or something.

    With a pretty hot ignition system and a hot set of plugs it might not necessarily foul the plugs to the point of misfires either.

    So theoretically the engine could have started burning oil at a pretty good rate and not be detected or go unnoticed. But why an engine that never burned a drop before suddenly start burning at the rate of 1 quart per 1,000 miles is a bit odd to me.

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    Thinking about an LS3

    OP - the weight of the iron blocks is really not that much, about 80 lbs. Go with a tubular k member and you just droped that extra weight. Also with an iron 6.0L block it opens many more options over aluminum. Handles more boost for FI, can bore 30 over and stroke it for a 408ci. You can have the option of running ls1 or ls3 style heads & intakes. Bonus. it's a cheap block to get. Got my short block for $325.
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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    And,,,,,you can buy one from Summit brand new and completely machined, bored, align honed etc...with cam bearings installed and ready to rock for $700. That's a deal. Machine work alone on a used block will run that much.

    Stick your favorite rotating assembly in there and you have a short block that's ready for anything.
    SMWS6TA likes this.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    I personally am having a very hard time believing he lost 4 quarts of oil in 4,000 miles. He doesn't even drive his car hard and the motor is practically at half its life at just over 100,000 miles. I'm a bit flabbergasted honestly.

    Something would have to be terribly wrong to lose that much oil, especially if you say it was driving perfectly fine up to the point of the oil change or just before.

    You would have heard something or smelt something with practically no oil in the motor.
    It's on jackstands.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    I personally am having a very hard time believing he lost 4 quarts of oil in 4,000 miles. He doesn't even drive his car hard and the motor is practically at half its life at just over 100,000 miles. I'm a bit flabbergasted honestly.

    Something would have to be terribly wrong to lose that much oil, especially if you say it was driving perfectly fine up to the point of the oil change or just before.

    You would have heard something or smelt something with practically no oil in the motor.
    Yup

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    If he went to one of those oil change places I can see them not filling or even bother tightening the drain plug or filter.

    My son went to one recently for an oil change and they had the filter loosely on, left a damn mess in my driveway. At first I thought he had a cracked block. Damn 4.3 is hard to kill, took a full size van to kill the body, but the drive train was pulled out and is sitting on the salvage yard shelf by now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    That sir, is a good question. Losing that much in a short amount of time should have left a trace or symptoms.

    We could come up with a few scenarios, and I've had a couple of situations myself where oil disappeared quickly, but it was pretty quick to realize with obvious symptoms.
    Every time I back out of the garage I realize the obvious symptom as to why I need to keep tabs on my oil level.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingls1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    That sir, is a good question. Losing that much in a short amount of time should have left a trace or symptoms.

    We could come up with a few scenarios, and I've had a couple of situations myself where oil disappeared quickly, but it was pretty quick to realize with obvious symptoms.
    Every time I back out of the garage I realize the obvious symptom as to why I need to keep tabs on my oil level.
    Sounds like my rear end...it's got a super slow leak.

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    He said he changed it himself last. OP - did you make sure you put the oil in the motor and not the transmission fill tube

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    Okay, just to clear things up:

    I noticed a strange rattling noise on my way to work last week. I looked at my oil pressure gauge and noticed it swinging between near 0 to about 50 psi during acceleration. I turned the car around and parked it in front of my house. Called AAA and had them tow it to the shop. Sean checked the oil and said it was low and very dirty. When he drained it, he emailed me and said that only about a quart and a half came out, and with metal flakes in it. This, to me, meant that I had suffered some real engine damage.

    On the other hand, when he first got the car he test drove it and detected nothing wrong (he called me afterwards to ask exactly what he was looking for). The noise was only noticeable above 2500 (and really consistent above 3000), so I'm guessing he only drove it very gingerly on the test drive. It still runs smooth. Only a strange noise gives any clue that anything was wrong.

    I have no clue why the noise all of a sudden and the low oil. Jon said something earlier that I've been thinking about: the PCV. I have noticed a gas smell in my exhaust lately (over the last few months), but thought that it was just from a full or overfull gas tank expanding into the charcoal canister(I had gotten the DTC code for the evap system a few months back; I deleted it and it never came back).

    This, combined with what FBJ says about hot plugs and catalytic converters (mine are still on) maybe is a clue to what happened?

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    He said he changed it himself last. OP - did you make sure you put the oil in the motor and not the transmission fill tube
    I actually did that once on my wife's Honda, as ashamed as I am to admit it. Even though its a "4WD," it's got a transaxle and I mistook the trans fluid bolt for the engine oil bolt. Wound up draining the tranny, and then filling the oil. Luckily, a lot of the old oil came out through the spot where the filter comes off, otherwise I'd have way overfilled the engine. Had to have it towed to the dealer and have them refill the trans and change the oil again... all said and done, it wound up being a $400 oil change....

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