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Another $$$$ to performance.

This is a discussion on Another $$$$ to performance. within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Alright guys. I'm old school. I have some parts, and I'm a penny pincher. I am not asking for an ...

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    Member Jay37's Avatar
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    Another $$$$ to performance.

    Alright guys. I'm old school.

    I have some parts, and I'm a penny pincher.

    I am not asking for an exact biuld, I just want opinions.

    Also this would end up in non ls chassis

    I was going to biuld an LQ4, because I've decided to biuld a street machine. not for looks, or anything. Just that glue you in the seat type feeling. It has been a while since I've messed around with a street legal, all out performance car. When I started looking up parts. the cheapest heads I found that would suit my needs was 2g, the damn intake and throttle body around 1k.... Do you see where I'm going?
    I already decided on biulding another 406 sbc it will sit at about 420hp/450tq for fairly cheap. So I'm a guy out for performance thats it.

    I'm not going to throw final or overall prices out there, never liked seeing how much I've spent.
    I guess my question is do you guys think that an ls could be cheaper? How long till you can get a set of heads that are assembled and make good power for less than 1g.

    I know I probably will have about 3g in the sbc, I don't see any ls matching that performance for the price? I am hoping I'm wrong. They are animals in damn near stock form. I should also say I have a garage filled with 350s and 400s... starting to collect lq4's but I haven't even got one ls block yet. (I won't pay more than 100 for a block).

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    Member youngrigo's Avatar
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    Find a used lq4 or lq9 ($800-1000).... Throw a set of 5.3 heads ($700-1200) a MS3 cam or simular ($250-400), LS6 intake ($300).... 450 rwhp 400tq

    You can probably find most these parts used. Also switch the LS6 intake for a Fast intake and TB ($700-1000) and be right around 460-470rwhp and 415-420tq

    Thats the set up im planning on running in the 67 Camaro
    Last edited by youngrigo; 01-02-2011 at 10:38 PM.
    1967 Camaro - LS1 T56 project
    2003 Z06 - Procharged and LTs
    2001 Honda Civic EX - DD
    2005 Kawaski KFX400
    2000 Camaro SS m6 - 523rwhp 468rwtq - (Sold)

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    cutting and welding mark21742's Avatar
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    If its going in a vehical that has more room between the top of the motor and hood, you could get performance and save a bunch of money by running an Edelbrock proflow XT...10"s tall so its a lot of work (cutting) to get it into a newer F-body, but in a truck or older car would fit just right.
    I bought mine new through Summit racing for $369 and a used 90mm tb for $100

  4. #4
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Like alot have found, building an LS motor isn't cheap.

    Sure you could start with a "take out" with who knows how many miles and abuse, and start throwing parts at it.
    If you are like me, that's not how I like to build a solid platform. Not to mention, I've been on the hunt for a low mile LQ4/LQ9 for a retro swap for quite a while now, hard to find anything under 50,000 miles, and I don't want to waste my time with something higher.

    At any event, since a total rebuild is what you are looking for, the LQ4 block would be your best bet. Since it's cast iron and you are able to bore it, you won't have to worry about mileage or condition so much as you would with an aluminum block that can barely take a hone.
    With that said,,,finding one for $100 since you mention you hate to spend more,,,,isn't going to happen. Even used engines I've looked at were about $1,000 and had 80,000 or more miles on them.
    You can however buy the LQ4 block new from GM,,,,at $750,,,but it's bare. $2,000 for a rotating assembly. You'll also need all the (what we used to call,,,sheetmetal) but in this case aluminum parts like the front and rear covers, oil pan and parts, all of which will nickle and dime you to death.
    Heads as you have found out are about $1,200 for the cheapest and they go up from there, fresh and ready to go. If you stick with cathedral port heads the cheapest route for an intake would be a used LS6 intake. More power or a better intake required I'd go with FAST, but like you have found, that's another cool $1,000. If it's a retro swap, I would go with a carb hands down to make life easier. So that's an intake/carb setup (about $800) and then figure another $3-400 for a timing controller from MSD.

    You begin to see what I've been saying for years about these LS motors. They are not cheap to build by any means. The electronics just add to the cost and complexity. They haven't had the luxury of being around for 50+ years so finding used blocks laying around for $100 isn't happening. They will make great power however, but it's going to cost.

    This is where the old GEN1 motors have an advantage. They can still be had for dirt cheap. Parts are also dirt cheap. There are decent cylinder heads out there,,,new and ready to go for $800 or less, and they can make decent power. Sheetmetal is cheap to buy. They swap into any platform out there with little effort. For the money spent they are hard to beat.

    So it's easy (for me anyway) to understand why you decided to build a 400 you have instead.
    I've built a few of them over the years. Most were higher HP builds over 600. The current one I have falls along the lines of what you might be looking for. Your HP goals would be easy to reach with nothing more than factory GM parts. My current 406 I built a few years ago with daily driving in mind, so pump gas was a must.
    .030 over with relatively inexpensive KB Hyperutectic pistons, resized stock rods with ARP hardware, stock crank turned. Just your basic shortblock, nothing fancy.
    I used a new set of World cast iron heads, I ported the heads by hand and upgraded to a 2.05 intake valve, and used the stock size 1.60's on the exhaust. Only about $850 invested in the heads. I could have went with a better set, even aluminum for not much more money and made more power.
    Used a little Comp cam 230/240 duration at .050 hydraulic flat tappet. 10:1 compression and topped it with an RPM air gap and 750 HP holley.
    It dyno'd at 442 hp and about 460 ft lbs. if I remember right, it's been a few years. Had a flat torque curve and peaked around 5600 rpm. Made a nice street engine, drove it daily for a couple years, put about 30,000 miles on it before the car was sold and I kept the motor. I recently brought it out of retirement and stuck it in another car. The only change being I pulled the camshaft and stuck in one of the new Comp Mutha Thumpers to make a little noise in this car. Not sure how it affected the HP output is was making before, however that wasn't my goal.

    Your 420 hp goal for a 406 is an easy one to reach.

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    Member youngrigo's Avatar
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    Nothing like getting 20 + mpg and making over 450rwhp tho!

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngrigo View Post
    Nothing like getting 20 + mpg and making over 450rwhp tho!
    I can do that with Gen1 stuff too. There really isn't any magic to it, just takes an overdrive. In some cases I get pretty damn close without the overdrive.

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    Member Jay37's Avatar
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    I'm from Wisconsin, where alot of heavy duty trucks are sold and still have family there so I always keep my out for engines and purchase them long before I need them, that is how I get a good deal on things. I would say about once every few months I come across a 3/4 or 1 ton truck that is crashed for less than 1,000 dollars. So the last one I paid 500 for the whole truck stripped it down and got 350 back in scrap weight plus a 6.0 and 4l80e.

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    Member youngrigo's Avatar
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    There you go.... Take one of those 6.0 and look on craigslist or TECH at the classifieds for used parts and add the parts i listed and you will have one strong motor for cheap! Reliable as well

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    Member Jay37's Avatar
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    For sure, It still adds up REAL fast though.

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    Member youngrigo's Avatar
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    lol Ive come to the conclusion that this hobby and being fast is not cheap

    I should have picked a different hobby lol

  11. #11
    Member Jay37's Avatar
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    I'm kickin' it old school with the 406 and running 291 fuelies, factory 2.02 mild port and polist... so there going to kind of hold me back a little. but I got a really good deal on the castings.

    the thing with ordering used parts, I am not comfortable just bolting a set of heads on a block, they will go the machinist and get worked.... so for me to run 5.3 heads
    100 boil crack check
    100 flat deck
    300 springs
    100 set height, shim springs
    100 valve grind


    .... those numbers are just a gestimate, but there close, so no need to critique them. My point is even factory heads get expensive. because if gm didn't design them for the cam or power I am going to modify them for insurance purposes, any one ever break a valve spring? now that will wreck your day

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    Member Jay37's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngrigo View Post
    lol Ive come to the conclusion that this hobby and being fast is not cheap

    I should have picked a different hobby lol
    HAHA agree, but I want this thread to steer towards good, reliable budget combos. Alot of things you can do... for me I am a little stubborn to run the factory short block and stuff...

    My biggest issue is I won't rock a camaro, out of spite. I am a 4 door grocery getter kinda car guy. but that being said, what 4-door grocery getter has an ls in it I can pick up for under 5g... not going to happen. If I could I would yeah bolt the 6.0 and 5.3 heads and run her. but if your starting from scratch like I guess you could say hot rod type biuld things are different.

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    Member youngrigo's Avatar
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    FYI - Brand new 5.3 stg 2.5 heads can be had for $1200 and ofcourse you wont want to run stock valve springs with any cam bigger than stock unless you want valve float!

    FWIW my buddy picked up a set of 5.3 stg 2.5 heads used with about 4k miles on them because the person was putting his car back to stock to sell.. I guess my point is that if your patient you can find some really good deals on bearly used parts

    Also FWIW im making over 500rwhp on a stock block!

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    Member Jay37's Avatar
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    Thats sweet man, Can you link me on those heads.... no idea what the hell they are sounds like the way to go though. thanks.

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    Senior Member REVNORR82's Avatar
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    What happened to the days of throwing on a set of 327 double bumps on a 350 with a cam and $150 intake and a thrown together double pumper from hell and going out on the street and woopin some ass. I have been on the look out for a old street beater just too much fun!!! Good luck with the build tho this is what i thought i would do if my ls1 ever goes bad!!

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    cutting and welding mark21742's Avatar
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    I picked up my fully forged 408 shortblock with under 10,000 miles and all the good parts in it for $2,400...plus the only charged me $50 to deliver it to my house.

    There are great deals out there if you have the time to find them

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    Member youngrigo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay37 View Post
    Thats sweet man, Can you link me on those heads.... no idea what the hell they are sounds like the way to go though. thanks.
    They went up alittle in price.... $1300

    http://www.texas-speed.com/shop/item...id=84&catid=40

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    Senior Member redbird555's Avatar
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    Why not use the stock lq4 block and rotating assembly, but instead of going the cathedral port route why not use the l92 head setup? They are around $800 for a set new from various sites and stock they flow better than most ported stock gm casting cathedral port heads, the only downside is you will need an ls3 intake and ls3 style tb to run them. However the power they make is a much better bang for the buck than regular cathedral heads plus they respond very well to small and decent sized cams overall it would be a good budget build and still offer great power. Heres a set of ported ones that are almost new for a decent price. http://www.ls1tech.com/forums/parts-...-manifold.html

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by REVNORR82 View Post
    What happened to the days of throwing on a set of 327 double bumps on a 350 with a cam and $150 intake and a thrown together double pumper from hell and going out on the street and woopin some ass.
    Well,,,,the double hump heads became collectable with age, so they aren't necessarily cheap anymore. You can still find 350's for a dime a dozen though. A cam is still cheap at about $150 new including lifters.
    Intakes can still be had for $150 new depending on style. Or swap meet deals on intakes can be as low as $50. Just have to get out there and hit the swap meets.

  20. #20
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redbird555 View Post
    Why not use the stock lq4 block and rotating assembly, but instead of going the cathedral port route why not use the l92 head setup? They are around $800 for a set new from various sites and stock they flow better than most ported stock gm casting cathedral port heads, the only downside is you will need an ls3 intake and ls3 style tb to run them. However the power they make is a much better bang for the buck than regular cathedral heads plus they respond very well to small and decent sized cams overall it would be a good budget build and still offer great power. Heres a set of ported ones that are almost new for a decent price. http://www.ls1tech.com/forums/parts-...-manifold.html
    Well the LQ4 is only 364 cubes. Not big enough to support using the cheaper L92 heads. With a 270cc intake runner you would have a very soggy engine down low that probably wouldn't come into it's own until well above 4,000 rpms. Many shops have done dyno tests on this very combo already that have shown you really need 400+ cubes to take better advantage of the huge intake port.

    Another disadvantage to the L92 heads, are the horrible I/E ratio they have. The intake runners are huge and flow over 300 cfm out of the box, but they didn't improve the exhaust runners that basically don't flow any better than a cathedral port exhaust runner. So you wind up with a lopsided head as far as flow that requires a camshaft spread as much as 15 degrees on duration (I/E) to make it work.

    Ya they are cheap at $800 a set new, but even at that price I wouldn't use them on anything less than a 408 build.

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