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Is It worth Building LSX???

This is a discussion on Is It worth Building LSX??? within the External Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Greetings everyone, New to the forum but not new to the field. Have been reading and learning from this forum ...

  1. #1
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    1987 Monte Carlo SS

    Is It worth Building LSX???

    Greetings everyone, New to the forum but not new to the field. Have been reading and learning from this forum for years yet never became an active member. As my first post i wanted to ask is it worth building a motor for a street ls swap anymore??? especially with crate engines almost in turn key configuration such as BluePrint Engines Pro Series Chevy LS 376 CID 530hp going for little as $6800? Im building a Street car from the ground up and im at this cross road. The way i see it if i get an used engine from a salvage yard such as LQK, a decent LQ9 or LQ4 would cost $1500 Plus the core which i don't have. That would require machine work and at the minimum in my area just to look it over, hone the cylinders, piston rings and bearing that's gonna cost around $2000. Cam, valve springs and lifters $1000. Ls6 intake with Injectors and throttle body $1000. Just those items there would put me at $5500..... and that wouldn't make anywhere close to 530hp. with no warranty or guarantee. Then there's always the option of just camming a salvage yard motor and shoving it in the car..... what are you guys recommendations???? what would you do if you had to start fresh. This build is for a 87 Monte Carlo SS street car. Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Navy Blue Metallic
    98 T/A w/ mods, 00 FBVert

    Umm those prices are awful high....


    That $1500 must be for long block with ecm and wire harness. If you need all that then do so, cause trying to source one after is a PITA and at premium. In reality you just need a short block if doing an all out rebuilt and going to swap out pretty much everything.


    I'll show you what I paid for my 403ci. But I did all of the assembly and installing it in my car.

    99' LQ4 Short Block $250 - It was hydrolock and didn't pay a core charge either.
    FAST 102 Intake $950
    Polluter Stg3 cam - $375
    243 Heads (Used) - $400
    Melling 10296 Oil Pump $120
    LS2 Timing Chain - $75
    LS3 Injectors (Used) $350 + $50 to have them bench tested and serviced.
    K1 Forged 4" Crank - $950 - This was a requirement for me because my crank was wiped out. If you get a good block with internals you may not need to get a new crank unless you go stroker route.
    SCAT Forged I Beam Rods - $395
    DSS Pistons - $425
    Gaskets $250
    King Bearings Main $200, Rod $130 These are top end bearings so there are lower price bearings.
    Rings - $150

    Optional
    ARP Main Bolts - $325
    ARP Head Studs $275
    Trunion Rocker Arm upgrade - $120
    Aftermarket Heads - $2500 (in the future) - I'm looking at some TrickFlow heads and a new cam that will be a better fit for my 403. When I originally was parts sourcing I had intended for a stock rebuild but after my crank was wiped I changed direction and went with a stroker. Glad I did so, now I have a solid foundation that I can build on.


    Machine Work
    Block bored 0.005", check cam line, and surface the head area for flatness - $230
    Heads - (Head Job) Install new guides, lap the valves, install my new springs - $100 for both heads, not each.

    Tuning $550, but it actually cost more because I had to pay for 2 sessions that ended up not being tuned because of mechanical issues discovered. My intake wasn't fully sealed and we couldn't figure out why we had a vacuum leak until I had to relocate the map sensor because I broke it. Turned out the back bolts on the intake needed to be locktite and ended up falling of and causing the vacuum leak.

    Now if I would have had them put it all together it would have been $500 for labor.



    Now having a turnkey built crate motor with I hope a warranty even limited could be very worth the money. Especially if you haven't built one before, or have the tools and skill set to do so. I took my time and have the tools and even had most of the skill set to try it. I took it on as a learning project and enjoyed getting my hands on it.





    Another member here had Tick Performance build his engine and he can give you the specs and costs on his. I'll tag him to see if he'll post on here so you have a perspective on that side of a build.
    http://www.ls1.com/forums/f7/my-6-liter-build-174257/

    http://www.ls1.com/forums/f8/my-8-8-rear-build-165553/

    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, SPEC Stg3+ 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.

    00 FB Vert

    Horsepower never lies, but is often lied about!

  3. #3
    Moderator 98TransAmWs-6's Avatar
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    98 TA WS6/ 01 C5 Corvette

    Mine was a bit more expensive but mine was a larger stroker motor but honestly not that pricey for what it is, a max effort NA motor but it has much higher quality parts than one of those turn key motors from gm you are talking about. When I get home tonight I'll post prices so you can get an idea of the cost.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    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.
    (Coming Soon) BMR DSL, UMI TQ Arm
    421 LQ9 14.8:1 on E85 Build/

  4. #4
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    1987 Monte Carlo SS

    Thanks for the input. Does make sense that the GM crate motors wouldn't use the highest quality parts. anyone know how they hold out??? you guys have hp/ torque numbers on your build??? I am starting to lean toward building my own just out of the satisfaction of doing it my self. Guess thats the whole point of building a car vs purchasing one thats complete. Did some more searching today and found a 190K mile "smoker" from LQK salvage for $600.......

  5. #5
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    1987 Monte Carlo SS

    By the way the motor is an lQ9 out of a 02 Escalade...... that year would be pressed in wrist pins wouldnt it???

  6. #6
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Navy Blue Metallic
    98 T/A w/ mods, 00 FBVert

    Bottom stock end holds up to about 700hp in boosted applications.

    Oh and my LQ4 was from an 02 yr. I did not have to press in the wrist pins.

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