Tag: Engines

The definitive Hemmings guide to the GM/Chevy LS-series V-8s -Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

The definitive Hemmings guide to the GM/Chevy LS-series V-8s -Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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1997 LS1 for Chevrolet Corvette.

Just as the original Ed Cole-design Chevrolet small-block V-8 launched an era of American performance upon its introduction in the mid-Fifties, so did the LS-series third-generation small-block Chevrolet V-8 when it launched a quarter-century ago. And just as the original SBC spawned dozens of variants over its decades-long lifespan, so did the LS – enough to bewilder all but the most dedicated of enginespotters without a comprehensive reference guide to the engine family’s various displacements, codes, and ratings. So let’s dive into it

What Sets The LS V-8 Apart

Every history of the LS calls it a clean-sheet design – that is, a design that carries nothing over from its predecessor, the Generation II LT-1. Indeed, engineers Tom Stephens and Ed Koerner retained only two parts from the LT-1 when designing the LS series: the rod bearings and the lifters. It’s a thoroughly modernized small-block, with deep side skirts, cross-bolted six-bolt main bearing caps, no provision for a distributor, no coolant passages in the composite intake manifold, cathedral-port heads, and perhaps most important, all-aluminum construction.

Yet, it’s no cutting-edge engine. Even at its introduction, critics derided its overhead-valve design – complete with the single camshaft located in the block, just two valves per cylinder, and pushrods and rocker arms in between – as antiquated. Overhead-camshaft and dual-overhead-camshaft designs had long become the standard for performance engines, after all.

As Will Handzel related in his book, How to Build High-Performance Chevy LS1/LS6 V-8s, GM engineers did have the option to continue development of the Lotus-derived LT5 dual overhead-camshaft derivative of the Generation II small-block. However, consensus at the time – and Koerner’s long and successful background in NHRA drag racing – led them to choose the pushrod design for its simplicity, its dependability, its inexpensive construction, and its compactness. Those attributes not only set the new LS engine apart from its competition, they also (in conjunction with the standard SBC bell housing pattern) led to its widespread adoption by hot-rodders in the ensuing years.

Despite those criticisms of the LS engine’s design, it has proven adaptable to use in high-performance cars (developing as much as 638 hp from the factory), front-wheel-drive cars, police cars, trucks, and SUVs. With a mid-2000s refresh – which GM dubbed Generation IV – the LS was also able to incorporate more advanced technologies such as cylinder shutdown (in GM’s nomenclature, either Displacement on Demand or Active Fuel Management) and variable valve timing and operate as a flex-fuel engine or even in mild hybrid applications.

Car Engines

The LS story starts with the 1997 model year C5 Corvette, in which the LS1 debuted. Like the outgoing small-block (which remained in production through 2003 in full-size vans and which GM still builds for aftermarket sales), the LS1 displaced 5.7 liters, though a smaller bore and longer stroke meant the engine now displaced 345.7 cubic inches. In the one-horsepower-per-cubic-inch tradition, it surpassed both the previous generation’s LT1 and LT4 with 345 horsepower.

As the standard-bearer for the Generation III small-block family, the LS1 provided power for the entire C5 Corvette run, made its way under the hood of the Camaro and Pontiac Firebird from 1998 through 2002, and came back for a curtain call in the 2004 Pontiac GTO. It also provided the basis for the hairier LS6.

Another 5.7-liter V-8, the LS6 came along in the 2001 Corvette Z06, boasting 385 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. A year later, GM cranked that up to 405 horsepower and 400 pound-feet. The added power in the LS6 largely came from old-fashioned hot-rodding know-how – a higher compression ratio, more camshaft duration and lift, freer-flowing D-shaped exhaust port heads (stamped 243 next to the rocker cover, replacing the 241 oval-shaped exhaust port heads on the LS1) and a higher-flow mass-airflow sensor – though the LS6 also benefited from sodium-filled valves and engine block and oil system improvements. After wrapping up the C5 run, the LS6 went on to power the 2004-2005 Cadillac CTS-V.

Just as the C5 Corvette ushered in a new engine, so did the C6 with the LS2 – the first of the Generation IV small-blocks – in 2005. For the LS2, GM enlarged the engine to the 6.0-liter displacement previously used by the Generation III LS truck engines (see below), bumped the compression ratio to 10.9:1, and added the LS6’s 243 heads (albeit without the sodium-filled valves) to crank output to 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet. Compared to the LS1 and LS6, the LS2 powered a much wider variety of vehicles: It remained in the Corvette through 2007, it finished out the Pontiac GTO’s run in 2005 and 2006, it went under the hood of the 2006-2007 CTS-V, and it served in the 2005-2006 SSR, the 2006-2009 TrailBlazer SS, and the 2008-2009 Saab 9-7x Aero.

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10 Worst Engines Ever Used In American Cars – Luke Zietsman @HotCars

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Over the years, American automakers have made some of the most innovative engines. These include the famous flathead Ford V8, which changed the way people think about engines in the early part of the 20th century, and the small block Chevy, which you can still buy as a crate engine today.

It certainly isn’t all about the V8, either, with some of the most reliable inline-6 engines and some of the most advanced turbocharged engines also in the mix. Unfortunately, between all of these engineering marvels are a fair few duds too. Each of the big three have been guilty of this, forcing some underpowered, unreliable scrap onto the buying public from time to time.

10 Buick 3800 V6

Renowned for making large, lazy cars, this is a large lazy engine. It doesn’t match some others for displacement, but this is a transverse mounted engine.

So it adds a heap of weight to the front of whatever land yacht it gets planted in, then proceeds to underwhelm everyone. With just shy of 200 horsepower, this 3.8 liter engine is making around 50 horsepower per liter, not bad if this was from the 70s, but Buick were using this engine right up until the late 00s.

Ford 2.5-Liter HSC

Initially, this was developed during the 80s to be a more economical option as a 2.3-liter, but naturally Ford repurposed it and continued to shove it into the Taurus way into the 90s

It was already outdated technology in the 80s, having a cast iron head in a time where other manufacturers were already experimenting with aluminum alloy blocks. It is therefore exceptionally heavy for a transverse mounted engine (doing nothing for handling) and runs out of puff at around 5000 rpm, thanks to the fact that they designed the thing to be as durable as possible.

PRV V6

This did duty in a host of European cars and in all fairness to it, it did a respectable job for the most part, but the one and only American (ish) car it was put in, got ruined by it.

The DeLorean DMC-12 was supposed to be the most futuristic sports car back in the 80s, it was supposed to be what the Tesla Model S became today. Unfortunately, the rotary engine that was supposed to be mounted mid-ship never made it into production, so they scrambled to find a replacement, and this was it. Making only 130 horsepower, and mounted in the rear, it ruined both the performance and handling of the DMC-12 in one fell swoop.

Iron Duke

With an iron head and block, this was a durable engine, it was also incredibly underpowered, hopelessly inefficient and did we mention it was all made of iron, so yes, extremely heavy for an inline-4.

Then, GM had the cheek to put it into a Camaro, one of the most ridiculous things any manufacturer has done in decades. Today, it makes for a useful boat anchor.

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V-8 pairs that share displacements but not manufacturers – Diego Rosenberg @Hagerty

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If you’re an AMC owner and get tired of questions like “Why did they install a Chevy engine in an AMC?”, this story is for you. Ditto Studebaker folks who must deal with people asking about the Ford 289 in their Lark.

It wasn’t only Independents who used engines that shared displacements with a mill from another manufacturer, of course. General Motors had several 350- and 455-cubic-inch blocks over the years, though they didn’t always measure exactly as advertised, as we recently laid out in this article. Here are sixengines that shared similar dimensions yet hailed from different manufacturers. We even tossed in a special Mopar example that has long confused enthusiasts.

327

Chevrolet’s 327, which powered the most pedestrian and the most sporting of Bow Ties, is legendary. However, the Chevy was preceded by Rambler’s 327, which debuted in 1957 in the celebrated Rebel. In the Rebel, the 327 put out 255 hp with mechanical lifters, a Carter four-barrel carburetor, and 9.5:1 compression. (A Bendix-developed electronic fuel-injected unit upped the rating to 288 horses but never reached production.)

The Rambler 327 also was available in swan-song Nash and Hudson models but, though it still made 255 hp, featured hydraulic lifters and slightly lower (a half-point less) compression. Alas, the limited-edition Rebel lasted but one year, though the 327 would continue to play the role of AMC’s big gun, powering American Motors’ senior Ambassador models through 1966; for 1965–66, the 327 was also available in mid-size Classic and Marlin models. Kaiser-Jeep also adopted it for several years. Peak horsepower during this era was 270 thanks to a Holley four-barrel and 9.7:1 compression.

In contrast to its Rambler counterpart, Chevrolet’s 327 was a solid middle-of-the-road offering for most of the decade. Debuting for the 1962 model year in full-size and Corvette models, the 327 evolved from the 283 and, in Chevy’s engine hierarchy, sat just below the big-blocks. It came in 250- and 300-horse variants, both of which used four-barrel carbs. In its final appearance in 1969, the 327 was only available in 235-horse, two-barrel guise.

The 327 truly shone in the Corvette. In addition to the 250- and 300-horse pair, Chevrolet also offered 340- or 360-hp versions, the latter sporting fuel injection. Horsepower peaked in 1965 with the 375-horse Fuelie, but the 1965–68 L79 with 350 horses was a popular compromise between horsepower and drivability.

The L79 was also available in the 1965–68 Chevelle (strangely skipping the ’66 model year) and the 1966–68 Chevy II, though the lesser, four-barrel versions were available too

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Here’s Why People Are Putting Chevy Engines Into Their Ford Hot Rods – David Schmidt @HotCars

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There are several reasons people put Chevy engines into their Ford hot rods even though it raises the blood pressure of many a car enthusiast.

The idea of putting a Chevy engine into a Ford hotrod rubs some people the wrong way. For many purists, a Ford should have a Ford engine, a Chevy should have a Chevy engine, a Mopar should have a – well, you get the point. These enthusiasts are loyal to their brands and have strong opinions about engine swaps.

And then there’s the hot rod community. Being largely rooted in car modifying, hot rodders take off fenders, chop tops, and stick different engines in different cars without thinking twice. It’s what they do. Though that’s not to say there aren’t purists among the hot rodding community as well who think Fords should have Ford engines only – yet it’s commonplace to find Chevy engines in Fords among hot rodders.

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Mighty Mills Propel Classic Hot Rods: TROG 2019 – Scotty Lachenauer @HotRod

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Mighty Mills Propel Classic Hot Rods

One of the great features of The Race of Gentlemen (TROG) is the variety of engines that you can spy in the hot rods on the beach. Though Ford ’banger and flathead V8s are the most popular, over the years more of the less-common traditional powertrains have shown up on race weekend, giving the field the variety that helps make the experience well-rounded.

The traditional Ford mills often come with some of the rare speed parts that make hot rodders turn sea-foam green with envy. You’ll see Blue Oval four-cylinder machines built with high compression heads, and some even with prized OHV conversions from makers such as Riley and Cragar. Flathead V8s built with rare heads and hard-to-find intakes also get the senses going.

Mighty Mills Propel Classic Hot Rods

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Related – Beach Invasion TROG — A Giant 2018 Race of Gentlemen Photo Gallery