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How do I build an engine?

This is a discussion on How do I build an engine? within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Hello everyone, I picked up an ls1 block, heads, oil pan, crank, valves, and springs for free. Problem is, I ...

  1. #1
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    Pearl White
    1997 Mitsu 3000GT VR-4

    How do I build an engine?

    Hello everyone, I picked up an ls1 block, heads, oil pan, crank, valves, and springs for free. Problem is, I have no clue how to build an engine or what parts I'm missing/need. But I want to learn.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Slow'er'Ass Mr. Luos's Avatar
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    Red Tint Jewelcoat
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    Are the pistons, crank, rods, etc. all assembled in the block?
    2008 Trailblazer SS
    Yank PTB3600, Kooks 1 7/8" LT's, 4" intake, E-fans, Magnaflow, Sonnax kit, tranny cooler, tune.
    Lowered, HID's, tinted.

    1999 Pontiac Trans Am WS.6 #1747 SOLD
    531.1 RWHP 481.3 FT/Pounds all motor.

  3. #3
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    Pearl White
    1997 Mitsu 3000GT VR-4

    Nope I only have the parts i mentioned. No bolts, nothing.

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    Slow'er'Ass Mr. Luos's Avatar
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    Machine shop.
    Find a good one.

    Not something a rookie wants to attempt. I didn't.

  5. #5
    quicky06
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    trust us get somone who knows what there doing to do this. and if you want to learn ask them if theyll teach you a little while thier doing your engine if they have time

  6. #6
    Member keliente's Avatar
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    99 Firebird Formula

    While your intentions of wanting to learn are admirable, it's probably not the best thing to attempt this by yourself if you plan to actually use the engine.

    Your best bet is to find a shop who is willing to let you watch them build it. Or take some classes at a local community college. Otherwise you will just kind of be wandering in the dark wondering how things go back together correctly, using plastigauge, etc.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Redphoenix1998's Avatar
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    1998 Pontiac Trans Am

    I helped build my motor and trust me, it ain't that easy. PLus you need a shop manual, $10000's in tooling and equipment, and definately machining knowledge and the knowhow to attempt something like this. I've built motors before, but an LS motor being aluminum based, there are certain tolerances that you have to consider. I'd say, collect parts for the motor, and have a professional assemble it.

  8. #8
    MrMiracle
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    I suggest getting an LS1 specific buildup book and a copy of step-by-step engine blueprinting. The first you'll need from a bookstore, but if you have a decently sized library in your town you can get the blueprinting one for free.

    Yes, some of it should be done by pros like balancing the crank and honing the block. A surpring amount of it can be done by yourself, so do what you're able and don't get gouged on the rest.

    Really, do you need a pro to deburr material in the block that might slow the passage of oil or check for cracks? No. Doesn't take many tools either.

  9. #9
    Tech Junkie hammertime's Avatar
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    If you want to learn, try starting with an assembled engine of some sort and take it apart with someone who knows what they are doing. Starting with some of the pieces in a box and trying to learn from there is about the toughest way.

    As stated above, you would be best off to have this one built if you want to use it. There is always the temptation to try and save a few bucks by doing it yourself, but without the firsthand knowledge to put it all together, you taking a big gamble with a lot of expensive parts and labor to make it all right the second time.
    Hammer - hammertime.us
    2001 Light Pewter Metallic Camaro SS, 6 speed
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    Veteran Hi-Po's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keliente
    Your best bet is to find a shop who is willing to let you watch them build it. Or take some classes at a local community college. Otherwise you will just kind of be wandering in the dark wondering how things go back together correctly, using plastigauge, etc.
    Booooo on plastigage. dial bore indicators all the way.

  11. #11
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    Pearl White
    1997 Mitsu 3000GT VR-4

    Thanks guys for all the friendly advice, I really appreciate it. I will try and find some books and maybe take a course over this summer (hope i get time, lol).

    I don't plan on using this engine since I have nothing to put it in.
    Are there any specific books that you guys can suggest?
    Again thanks for the help.

  12. #12
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    Artic White
    99 SS

    Quote Originally Posted by twinturbo
    Thanks guys for all the friendly advice, I really appreciate it. I will try and find some books and maybe take a course over this summer (hope i get time, lol).

    I don't plan on using this engine since I have nothing to put it in.
    Are there any specific books that you guys can suggest?
    Again thanks for the help.
    If you don't plan on using it why bother rebuilding it? So you can look at it sitting in the corner of your garage? I dunno if anyone would care to buy it from you if it is just an experiment. my .02

  13. #13
    MrMiracle
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    Quote Originally Posted by twinturbo
    Thanks guys for all the friendly advice, I really appreciate it. I will try and find some books and maybe take a course over this summer (hope i get time, lol).

    I don't plan on using this engine since I have nothing to put it in.
    Are there any specific books that you guys can suggest?
    Again thanks for the help.
    "Step by Step guide to Engine Blueprinting."
    Its old but not much has changed on the blueprinting scene. Easy to find, even in a library. Freebie!

    "How to Build Performance: Chevy LS1/LS6."
    This one has specific buildup and performance for the LSx series of engines. Once chapter is even dedicated to building a 500 engine horses.

    Chilton's Camaro/Firebird
    This one will have specific removal/installation instructions for individual automobiles. They're ok, but I'd prefer one with more illustrations.

  14. #14
    TheTurboForum
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    I'd start with a gen I SBC to learn. The gen III's are a bit touchier and pricey if you mess up. The LS1 is not a good motor for beginners IMHO.

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