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dumb question..

This is a discussion on dumb question.. within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Can I use any 5.3 heads in my ls1? I have a 99 camaro and am wanting to start collecting ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member lownloud99's Avatar
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    dumb question..

    Can I use any 5.3 heads in my ls1? I have a 99 camaro and am wanting to start collecting parts. Looking to get to 400hp
    99' WS6- Victory Red with T-Tops, BMR LCA's, Sub-frame Connectors, UMI STB, BMR Torque Arm, and Shift Kit

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    Moderator 98TransAmWs-6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lownloud99 View Post
    Can I use any 5.3 heads in my ls1? I have a 99 camaro and am wanting to start collecting parts. Looking to get to 400hp
    Yes you can but you aren't going to get 400hp with them without other mods as well. I would get a pair of ls6 heads, 243 casting which will net you much more hp in the end.
    1998 Trans Am WS6 - Phantom
    421 CI LQ9, Tick Performance Custom Cam, TFS 255cc LS3 heads, Kooks 2" LT headers, Kooks 3" True Duals w/ high flow cats, FTP 104 lid, Speed Density Tune, 4" silicon tube, LS6 VCT, FAST 102 Intake, NW 102 TB, Oil Catch Can, SLP Bilstein Shocks w/ Vogtland Springs, CTS-V 4-piston Calipers w/C6 Z06 rotors, Stainless Steel Brake Lines, R1 concepts premium rotors, Hawk HP+ brake pads, VFN WSQ Hood, C5-R timing chain, SLP oil pump, E85 tune, Walbro 450 fuel pump, Deatschwerkz 95# injectors, Breathless performance headlights, Frost Tune, !HVAC.
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  3. #3
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    98 T/A w/a little mods...

    Not sure the heads will get you there without some work on them. Headers, LS6 intake and decent heads and cam will easily get you in mi 400's


    Other mods you need to consider:

    A4 - stall convertor
    M6 - better clutch

    Most importantly a 12 bolt or 9" rear and suspension upgrades.

  4. #4
    Junior Member lownloud99's Avatar
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    99 Z28

    dumb question..

    I figured on an ls6 cam and intake as well. I've got the m6 with a monster clutch. What vehicles carry a 12 bolt and is it a direct swap? This will be my first real build so I am trying to research as much as possible.
    Last edited by lownloud99; 12-22-2013 at 01:06 PM.

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    Moderator 98TransAmWs-6's Avatar
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    The ls6 cam is a waste. I would go bigger but it depends on your goals for your car. I have a 230/238 custom grind cam from AI. For a DD a 228 cam would be good but you can go bigger for a DD with a good tune. Moser and Strange engineering sell rear ends that are a direct swap in and are robust as well.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    OP, what mods do you already have?

    As Scott has said: suspension/chassis and drivetrain will need to be ready for the extra power. If you have the cash for a rear end upgrade, I would say do it first. It's the one thing that always plagues me in the back of my mind everytime I spend money on my car... its just an expensive part that I haven't been able to afford yet, but know that I will need it if I want to add 100+ horsepower to my performance.

    Other than that, the most noticable mods I have put on would be the subframe connectors and Strano sway bars (currently trying to figure out if I can afford a set of his springs in the next couple of weeks, too). My car came with a Koni/Bilstien combo from the previous owner, so I can't comment on the difference that shocks make. But everyone who runs a set of Konis and Strano springs loves the set up.

  7. #7
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    My car came with a Koni/Bilstien combo from the previous owner, so I can't comment on the difference that shocks make. But everyone who runs a set of Konis and Strano springs loves the set up.
    Those are on my list of future upgrades. I already have Hotchkis springs and can say they really helped along with the other upgrades.
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    6.0L Block - Forged 403 built, breaking it in , Polluter Stg3 Cam, FAST 102mm Intake, NW102 TB, MSD wires, NGK TR6 plugs, Truck Coil Packs, LS3 Fuel Injectors, CC Pacesetter LT Headers, TS&P ORY, QTP e-Cutout, Magnaflow Muffler, 104mm Air Lid & Line Lock, Catch Can, Stage 2 T56 w/Viper shaft, PRO 5.0 Shifter, Tick MC, Monster Stg 4 Clutch, QT SFI BH, MWC DSL, UMI: SFC, PHB, LCA's, LCA Relocation Brackets & TA, Hotchkis Springs (1" Drop), YR1 Snowflake Wheels wrapped in NT555 tires & Custom Fab Ford 8.8 rear w/4.10 Yukon Gears, WSQ Hood, 3"CM Strange Eng Drive Shaft.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Yes. I go back and forth between wanting to get rid of the Bilstiens out back for some Konis, but I fear that the difference would be negligible and possibly not worth the expense....

    In the meantime, I'm about an inch away from pulling the trigger on a set of Strano springs... But it will wind up costing me over $600 installed, plus the maintenence that is due, so I'm a little iffy on it when I consider that I'm also shoping for a house right now :P

    But it would sure be nice.
    Last edited by Naaman; 12-26-2013 at 02:22 AM.

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    Springs are a simple swap with a set of compressors for the fronts:


  10. #10
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    I know how to do it in theory, but I have never put my hands on a suspension in practice. Also, I'm not set up to perform that kind of operation at my convenience (I don't currently have my own garage or an appropriate lift, the tools, etc). After I buy my house, I will start building my collection of tools (which will take a while, because I'm also building my collection of "tools" in .308 and .40S&W). As my resources increase, so, too, will my ability to do my own work.

  11. #11
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    start with the tool box stuff first. Like a good build it takes time and lots of money......
    pajeff02 likes this.

  12. #12
    Member Decadence75's Avatar
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    OP, if your goal is 400rwhp in a manual you can get those 5.3 heads ported n polish along with a nice cam from someone like Tick and you should be close. An LS6 intake should push you over once you have a good dyno tune done. Other supporting mods should be a better flowing exhaust such as some 1-7/8" LT headers and a nice x-pipe. On the other side of support but non-power adding I would suggest the trunion upgrade to your stock rocker arms, hardened pushrods and upgraded springs will be a requirement. You could also go a new ported oil pump while in there and a 25% UD pulley while in there. All of those things should get 420rwhp on your average dyno in an M6 car. Probably around 380 I am guessing in a nicely stalled auto.

    2000 Trans Am T56 Swapped - GMPP "HOT" Cam | LS6 Intake | PnP TB | 25% UD Pulley | Founders adjustable LCA/PHB/TA | Norris Catch Can | TSP 1-7/8 SS LT | TSP True Duals with bullets | SLP Lid | UMI Shock tower brace | Torq Thrust M 17x9 275/40 front 17x10.5 315/35 rear - YouTube Videos - My Car Site

  13. #13
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    start with the tool box stuff first. Like a good build it takes time and lots of money......


    I've got a half decent wrench set with sockets and a few different sized rachets, some racheting wrenches (LOVE these... they're even great around the house), a bit driver, some allen keys and a torque wrench good for 140 lb ft (I think... maybe it goes up to 200). The next "tool" on my list is a DA polisher to tackle the detail work on the paint.

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    you'll need larger valves in those 5.3's also......

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