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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 I have noticed a gas smell in my exhaust lately (over the last few months), but ...

  1. #41
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    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?
    Might be getting onto something. That smell the last few months could have been gas, or oil, or both. Those catalytic converters make things smell funny sometimes, and sometimes it's hard to determine what the smell originates from. And like I said, they will stop nearly all the smoke an engine might produce if burning oil in all but the most extreme cases. So it might go unseen, coupled with odd smells that might not pinpoint one way or the other, I could see how this may happen and not raise for concern.

    However what still puzzles me is having a car that runs fine with no oil usage suddenly goes to using a quart every 1,000 miles. Worn guides are something I always see in engines that reach the 70-80,000 mile mark and they start to burn a little oil here and there, but it's a gradual thing over a long period of time, not something that suddenly starts in copious amounts.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 11-18-2014 at 04:47 AM.

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    Member RONS98TA's Avatar
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    The only thing that makes any sense to me that the poor guy has been sabatosh. If the car never had any oil burning problems before, he filled the oil himself less then 4000 miles ago, someone has let all the oil out while it was parked outside somewhere. Why? That's alot of effort for a bad joke. Did he REALLY piss someone off at some point? It would seem to me the oil pressure gauge should have been reading low WAY before getting 2-3 qts low. I think something has happened here to this car and it just hasn't come out into the open yet. Just my 2cents.

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    I want to believe that it was something mechanical as I have a hard time grasping that someone would jack it up drain 4 quarts and crawl back under in all that oil to replace the drain plug. Although there are some strange people out there...lol...anyhow op stated that he stopped checking it regularly as it was never low before! Also he stated the oil was VERY DIRTY and full of shavings. That don't sound like a motor with regular oil changes and synthetic oil with only 4,000 miles! I think FBJ is on the right track and simply oil was not checked the car has 140,000 miles it's going to use some oil and it also popped some codes recently. Sounds like it's at the right shop let him find the problem and then you can explore your options.
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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingls1 View Post
    I want to believe that it was something mechanical as I have a hard time grasping that someone would jack it up drain 4 quarts and crawl back under in all that oil to replace the drain plug..
    Those are my thoughts. You sure as hell can't just squeeze under a 4th gen and remove the drain plug It would have to be jacked up. And with a prank in mind, who would wait until 4 qts were drained and put the plug back in and then put the car back on the ground?? Someone pulling a prank would have pulled the plug and got the hell outta there. Besides, what are the chances someone is just walking around with a jack looking for a window of opportunity?
    Not to mention that would be a serious puddle under the car that would (or should have been) noticed as you walked up to the car.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingls1 View Post
    I want to believe that it was something mechanical as I have a hard time grasping that someone would jack it up drain 4 quarts and crawl back under in all that oil to replace the drain plug. Although there are some strange people out there...lol...anyhow op stated that he stopped checking it regularly as it was never low before! Also he stated the oil was VERY DIRTY and full of shavings. That don't sound like a motor with regular oil changes and synthetic oil with only 4,000 miles! I think FBJ is on the right track and simply oil was not checked the car has 140,000 miles it's going to use some oil and it also popped some codes recently. Sounds like it's at the right shop let him find the problem and then you can explore your options.
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    Moderator 98TransAmWs-6's Avatar
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    No one is saying you don't just that something is wrong here and it is very weird that it was that low all of a sudden when it has never been low before. I hope it gets figured out.
    kingls1 likes this.
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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Sean emailed me this afternoon, said he'd write up some options tonight. I'm really looking forward to what he comes up with, because if he can get the job done in a price range that won't force me into debt, then I may just be able to afford some extra go-fast parts while the engine is out. Silver lining, I suppose.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Sean says he suspects that the oil was sent through the tail pipes, as there is no trace of it anywhere else.

    He has also suggested the iron block 6.0 as a less expensive alternative to a GenIII LS. My plan for the meantime is to work a bunch of overtime and come up with as much cash as I can to get my car back in better shape than it was before the case of the disappearing oil.

    If I do go with the LQ, what are the mods it will need in order to make the car as fast (or faster) than it was with the LS with minor bolt-ons?

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    A stock 6.0 swap would likely make your 4th gen faster than it was before, if the LS1 it replaces was stock. There were a couple of 6.0 swaps running around Phoenix, dropped in straight out of the truck with no mods, and I know one in particular with an automatic that was running in the 12's easily. I dropped one, bone stock, in my 4x4 blazer that weighed 5,000 lbs. and it ran 14.30's.

    Even if you wound up with an LQ4 it's only 1/2 point less on compression than what you already have. The LQ4 camshaft is the identical camshaft used in all 2001-2002 LS1's. Simply bolt on your intake and you basically have a 4" bore LS engine with 18 more cubes. It would have no problem running as good as your old LS1 did.

    Stick a mild camshaft in it, and I'd leave the rest alone. A cam alone in a 6.0 can make an easy 400 rwhp and that's enough to make your car feel like a completely different animal then before, for very little money. That with a tune and you'll be glad Sean sent you down that path.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Interesting!

    I could have sworn that they were rated for less horsepower than an LS1. Plus given the added weight, I figured it would slow it down. A little research shows that they are rated anywhere between 300-325, which would be lower, if we believe that the LS1 in an F-body is the same as the one in the Corvette, should have at least 345 horsepower.

    Do the LQ4s have a wider power band? It would make sense, given it's a truck engine...

    Now, when you say a "cam alone," do you really mean ONLY a cam, or are you talking about a "cam only" set up, which seems to assume a bunch of supporting airflow mods?

    As much as I disdain the idea of adding weight (especially to the front of the car), you're really making me consider the LQ...

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    Moderator 98TransAmWs-6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    Interesting!

    I could have sworn that they were rated for less horsepower than an LS1. Plus given the added weight, I figured it would slow it down. A little research shows that they are rated anywhere between 300-325, which would be lower, if we believe that the LS1 in an F-body is the same as the one in the Corvette, should have at least 345 horsepower.

    Do the LQ4s have a wider power band? It would make sense, given it's a truck engine...

    Now, when you say a "cam alone," do you really mean ONLY a cam, or are you talking about a "cam only" set up, which seems to assume a bunch of supporting airflow mods?

    As much as I disdain the idea of adding weight (especially to the front of the car), you're really making me consider the LQ...
    The lq4s had 325 hp yes but 360 ft-lbs of tq and the lq9s had 345 hp and 380 ft-lbs of tq. Once you add 243s, ls6 intake, and a cam you will out perform any ls1 with the same mods. The reason I believe those numbers are low are first because nothing that came with the lq motors had ls6 intakes, 243 heads, etc. When he says cam only he is talking about that being essentially the only mod and no other mods done to the engine like heads. The extra weight is nothing really especially if you upgrade the front suspension you'll loose the weight and the 6.0 is capable of a lot more power so you'll be able to offset the weight by adding more power if desired. I have a lq9 going in my car granted it is a 421 ci stroker which is my next point with the lq motors if you decide you want more power in the future you can bore them out and put stroker cranks in for more displacement and power. You can also run ls3 heads and intakes with the lq motors since they have a 4" bore. GMPP sells a nice cnc'd version of the ls3 heads for only $200 more than brand new ls3 heads, total of $1197 shipped from Jegs I believe was the price when I got mine. They flow over 350 cfm at .600 lift. I would really look at the lq motors in your case as we said before you can get a whole lq motor for cheaper than the block only of a ls3.
    Last edited by 98TransAmWs-6; 11-19-2014 at 05:30 AM.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    Interesting!

    I could have sworn that they were rated for less horsepower than an LS1. Plus given the added weight, I figured it would slow it down. A little research shows that they are rated anywhere between 300-325, which would be lower, if we believe that the LS1 in an F-body is the same as the one in the Corvette, should have at least 345 horsepower.

    Do the LQ4s have a wider power band? It would make sense, given it's a truck engine...

    Now, when you say a "cam alone," do you really mean ONLY a cam, or are you talking about a "cam only" set up, which seems to assume a bunch of supporting airflow mods?

    As much as I disdain the idea of adding weight (especially to the front of the car), you're really making me consider the LQ...
    Don't let the HP numbers fool you. Those are just ratings from the factory. I've seen bone stock LQ4's on an engine dyno and they put down in the 360-370 HP range with a very broad torque curve, and that's with the truck intake installed. In a 4th gen it will put down nearly the same RWHP with a slightly better torque curve to boot.

    Put a smallish cam in there, something in the 230 @ .050 range, and it should put you close to 400 RWHP with no other mods. With that being said I meant of course you would have headers in place, and maybe an LS6 intake if you have one available to you. But cylinder heads would really be unnecessary at that power level, unless you're looking for more. Personally I'd leave the heads intact that the LQ4 or LQ9 came with, do a cam, and I guarantee you'll enjoy it

    Sean will set you up right. He's done a ton of these swaps.

    You won't even notice the weight difference, honestly it's of no consequence at all. With your budget concerns the LQ is your best option. Honestly even with an unlimited budget, I'd still use an LQ
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 11-19-2014 at 04:45 AM.

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    Senior Member kingls1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    Interesting!

    I could have sworn that they were rated for less horsepower than an LS1. Plus given the added weight, I figured it would slow it down. A little research shows that they are rated anywhere between 300-325, which would be lower, if we believe that the LS1 in an F-body is the same as the one in the Corvette, should have at least 345 horsepower.
    ..
    F-body's were not rated the same as the Vette. F-body Ls1's came with 305h.p. and Ram Air cars were 320-25. The Vette's had a different cam in them that boosted their numbers. I have a friend with a 2000 and had a argument with him on this topic but I was telling him his was the same as mine until I read up on the Vette then had to admit my mistake.
    I'm learning a lot on the iron block options from this thread and this would be or will be the option I would choose if my Ls gives up. Good luck keep us posted

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Main difference between the LQ4 vs LQ9's/LS1's is the pistons. LQ4's are dish and have a compression around 9.4 while the LQ9's and LS1's have flat top and have a compression around 10.4. That full point adds to the HP rating. The LQ4's are older but just as good. Around mid 2004 the LQ's started coming in 58x reluctor wheel. Also when looking for a LQ4 make sure you get 99-04 yrs. Pre 99's have a slightly smaller crank (Think same size as LT1). This only matters if you plan on reusing the stock internals.


    Now on my build I replaced the rods and pistons but kept the stock crank because it checked out ok and I was on a budget at the time. Since your going with a shop that FBJ seems to be ok with you should be in good hands.



    Now regarding the weight of the block, I have stock K member with stock shocks and Hotchkis 1" drop springs and I can tell you it only dropped the ride height a qtr of an inch in the front between the LS1 that was pulled and replaced with my 6.0L block. I measured because I wanted to see how much a difference it would have made.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    You can look at the different LS engines this way in the simplest of terms.

    Forget about cylinder heads and camshafts for a minute, because all that can be a moot point when swapping parts around anyway.

    The LQ engines are basically iron block versions of LS2's. They both have 4" bores and both are 364 cubic inches.

    All they did for the LS3 is increase the bore size to 4.065" to get 376 cubic inches.

    The LS1 is a small 3.9" bore and yields 346 cubic inches.

    All these engines have the same 3.62" stroke crank.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Scott, didn't you bore your LQ engine .030 over ??

    In which case you have an LS2 and 1/2 If using my description above, it put's you right in the middle of an LS2 and LS3 bore size

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post

    Now regarding the weight of the block, I have stock K member with stock shocks and Hotchkis 1" drop springs and I can tell you it only dropped the ride height a qtr of an inch in the front between the LS1 that was pulled and replaced with my 6.0L block. I measured because I wanted to see how much a difference it would have made.
    That's what I mean. No one will ever notice 1/4" with the naked eye ( I know I wouldn't), it would take a tape measure to find it. As far as handling, I don't think any of us claim to be Mario Andretti, so us average folk will never notice an extra....what....~65 lbs. over the nose?? Besides, these engines are set so damn far back in the chassis it has a very small affect on front/rear weight bias. It's just simply not a concern.

    Like already mentioned, if you are that weight concious, I'd look at removing weight from the front in other ways, such as an aftermarket K-member. That alone pretty much takes care of the difference. Put a glass hood on it, put headers on it, remove the cats with an off-road Y, There are alot of little things you can do to remove weight from the front of these cars, some of which are just bolt ons that most everyone does anyway.

    Some food for thought.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    Scott, didn't you bore your LQ engine .030 over ??

    In which case you have an LS2 and 1/2 If using my description above, it put's you right in the middle of an LS2 and LS3 bore size

    Not yet...went with 4.005" bore for life of the engine in mind. However if it turns out the wrist pin is the issue and their is damage to the bottom of the cylinder a 4.030" bore might just be happening. Tiring to carve out time to finish pulling the motor.

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    Senior Member kingls1's Avatar
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    My Super Hawk Hood that is Glass and Kevlar comes in at 25lbs. My stock hood that I never put on the scale was every bit twice the weight if not more. And when my box with my headers came I thought they forgot something and when removing my stock manifold thought my hands were getting smashed when the last bolt came out.
    Just like when I was told the S60 I'm looking at was 20lbs more than a 12bolt I figured if I care I'll just remove the spare. Point being just as FBJ stated lots of ways to drop the weight not that it matters unless your racing it every weekend for money. Just a simple spring rate change calls it even.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Well, here's the latest:

    Sean found me a LOCAL (Arizona) LS1 out of a 2001 Trans-Am for $2500 (with optional parts and labor warranty for up to 2 years). The engine has 68,000 miles on the clock. He says that after parts and labor are factored in, this is the simplest, most affordable and quickest option for getting my car back in service.

    I'm very tempted to pull the trigger on it...

    While the engine is out, I'll probably be swapping an LS7 clutch on there as well.

    The main thing to worry about will be the coils and the valve covers, since mine is a 98...

    I'm still thinking about the LQ4 as well...

    What is y'all's opinion on some poly motor mounts while the engine is out?
    Last edited by Naaman; 11-20-2014 at 01:59 AM.

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