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Used LS6 Upper End + Cam, what do I need to consider?

This is a discussion on Used LS6 Upper End + Cam, what do I need to consider? within the External Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; I went to a shop today to have my diff serviced (leaking). There is a Z06 there that is having ...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Used LS6 Upper End + Cam, what do I need to consider?

    I went to a shop today to have my diff serviced (leaking). There is a Z06 there that is having the whole upper end upgraded as well as his cam. The owner is looking to sell the parts (either as a set or individually). They have 68,000 miles on them. I believe that it is the 2001 (385 hp) version of the motor. The parts for sale are the intake manifold, the cylinder heads and the cam.

    I know a new LS6 intake manifold can be found for $500-600, so what would be a reasonable offer for all those parts?

    Are there better upgrades that are generally less expensive than those factory parts?

    How close would I be to LS6 horsepower with those upgrades?
    Last edited by Naaman; 02-01-2011 at 03:34 PM.

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    the mani goes for about 300$ used......i dont think i would buy a used cam.......not sure on the heads....but they are a good upgrade.....might have em refreshed if you get em tho

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    I'd offer $300 for the intake and $250-300 for the heads. I'd pass on the cam. You'll need to get a bigger cam which means those heads will need new springs plus you're doing the seller a favor and making it convenient for him to sell as he don't have to put them on the boards or ship them.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Why not the cam? I understand that there is more power to be had than from a Z06 cam, but my power goals, as well as daily drivability goals are right around 400 crank horsepower and close to (or, better than, if possible) stock fuel economy.

    I still have not researched cams in depth, so there is a lot I don't know. Is there a cam that can give me more power than the Z06 without reducing my fuel economy or daily usability?

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    I wouldn't do that cam because it's too small. That's a lot of time and effort to end up with a handful more HP than you have now. At a minimum I'd do a 224 cam. It'll drive very close to stock and put you ~400 to the wheels.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    A cam alone can bring the power that high? That's awesome. I still haven't even scratched the surface of cams... I don't even know what 224 refers to, nor would I fully understand if you explained it (yet).

    Edit:
    Let me correct that statement: I know what a camshaft does and I know that lift is how far the valves are opened and that duration is for how long, and that altering these characteristics has a significant effect on the characteristics of the motor (mainly, the torque curve).
    Last edited by Naaman; 02-02-2011 at 01:59 PM.

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    i will give him 400$ for the heads

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjsingle1 View Post
    i will give him 400$ for the heads
    you can buy used stock 243 heads all day long for that.

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    Senior Member redbird555's Avatar
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    I agree with the above he might get a little mad if you offered 250-300 for the heads. The 01 cars did have a slightly smaller cam so Orion is right forget that its not worth it but the heads are the same 243 models for all years which usually sell for around 400 used. However coming off of an ls6 motor these 243s have lightweight sodium filled valves while the hp gain is up for debate they seem to make the heads worth a tad more in the eyes of buyers.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Based on what I've been able to read up on, the 2001 Z06 cylinder heads did NOT actually have the sodium filled valves... So they should be no more valuable than the LS2 heads, correct?

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redbird555 View Post
    I agree with the above he might get a little mad if you offered 250-300 for the heads.
    I don't know,,,I bought mine a few years ago for $250, and that is when they were more of a hot item than they are now.
    Mine came off an 02 Z06 with 30,000 miles (so he said). He was only asking $300.

    I personally don't think used heads are worth much more than that unless you are dealing with high dollar rare classic muscle car heads and the date codes and castings actually mean something.

    But when it comes to LS heads now, there are so many good aftermarket castings out there, fresh and ready to go,,with cnc porting to boot,,many of them cheaper than it would cost to refab a used set.

    Unless you really know who you are dealing with that is selling the heads, and you have friends in high places that work for cheap, rebuilding used heads can be costly, especially if they don't turn out to be as nice as advertised at the sale.
    At the very least, I would send them off to be checked for cracks, check for straightness, check for valve guide wear and valve stem wear. Then I'd have a valve job done and a new set of springs done,,,and that's MINIMUM,,before I would even bother bolting them on.

    From there things get more pricey. If they need milled...even a nick on the surface would require milling. So pay carefull attention how they have been packed and handled.
    If you have accessive guide wear, it's going to be an oil sucker. May as well replace the guides, this requires valve job afterwards anyway, so why not. Generally valve stem wear isn't a problem, but I never take that for granted. New springs and seals are a given so figure that anyway.

    You can start to see why I wouldn't pay more $$$ for used heads.

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    Senior Member TLS_Addict's Avatar
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    You can get 243 heads pretty regularly for UNDER $400, even on ebay.

    The intakes are between $300-400 and that is pretty much standard. The cam is a .525 lift vs your 98s cam of .497ish. Before I would use that "used" cam I would use the LS6 intake, heads, and some new rockers and get a tune. I think that our GM rockers even for 1.7s dont work as well as the aftermarket 1.7s. Hell, go for some 1.8s or 1.85s.

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    Agreed with the above quotes on parts. If 400hp is truly your goal than there is nothing wrong with a good used roller cam. Sure, another cam will yield a lot more power but if you are on a budget you can get an LS6 cam for very little $ and still make more power per $ spent.

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