In January 2017, I introduced you guys to the power plant of the 240Z in my post Part 1. POWER!!!!. If you’re new here, your guess is probably correct, I have jumped on the LSX band wagon. Before you get started on how cool a fully built L series (factory motor) would be, the pros of a LSX motor beat it in every way. That is, unless your a purist. As you can see, I’m no purest.
I’ve brought on my long time friend Richard Sydney to help me with the motor build. My good buddy Ash Heller stopped by to lend a hand as well, but I’ll give him a proper introduction when we tackle the electrical. Rich and I have been building cars and racing motorcycles for quite some time. I was confident I could handle the job, but I thought it would be fun to let Rich take the wheel on this one, and lend him a hand for once. He has a lot of experience building engines, and he keeps that knowledge tucked away in his award winning stash.
To re-cap, the motor is a 2013 GM 5.3HO V8, destined for the scrap yard. The “HO” stands for High Output. On select 5.3 motors, GM decided to make an all aluminum block, flat top pistons, and gave it the bigger valve LS1 heads. This was completely by chance, but I’m pretty happy that fate would have it this way.
So what’s the goal? With a 2,400lb car with zero drivers aids, I will need manageable horsepower to start with. The goal is 400-450 naturally aspirated horsepower to the wheels. Let’s get on with the engine build.
The first thing Rich and I did was pull the heads off and rotate the motor upside down. We wanted to check the bearings and rotating assembly.
We then removed the harmonic balancer, timing chain cover, timing chain, oil pump, cam shaft, valley cover, push rods, and lifters. Once removed from the engine, everything was inspected.
We did find something strange upon removal of the lifters, there was a spring missing. Oopsy….
Once we pulled out the camshaft, we noticed a very small amount of blueing on the cam bearings. It was a little too worn for our liking, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s not worth chancing it. The good: $21 for cam bearings. The bad: A machine shop has to install them. So it’s back to Muscle Machine. We pulled a rod cap off for kicks, and all looked good there.
Muscle Machine did a great job. These guys are a little mom and pop shop, but they are serious engine builders with NHRA hardware to prove it.
New cam bearings were installed and all of the rod and main caps were checked. I’m glad we made the call to replace the cam bearings. They were pretty worn.
I’v been collecting “go fast” parts for a while now. It feels good to pull them off the shelf and finally put them to use.
Although it’s a race car, I wanted the engine to look spotless. So before assembly, I gave the engine a sold clean up and painted the block “Chevy orange”. The effort was well worth it.
Then we installed the Lethal Performance “Night Fury” stage 3 camshaft. This cam should help me reach my 400HP goal as I’ve seen 25-30HP numbers. Don’t forget the lube…
Once we had the cam in, we installed the GM Performance oil pump and cam chain (found on newer Corvettes). I also upgraded the cam chain guild. The OEM unit is prone to failure.
Sence this is a truck motor, it came with a very deep oil pan. The car is going to be very low. It was too close to the ground for comfort, so I went with the “F-body” Camaro oil pan, pick up, and windage tray.
We then installed the timing chain cover with some fresh 12 point ARP bolts. Next we aligned the cover with a special tool from Sac City Corvette’s. Once the cover aligned we drove in a new seal.
The next step was to install a DOD (Displacement On Demand) delete. The DOD drops cylinders for fuel economy. It’s great for fuel economy, but it can be very harmful to a race engine. GM makes a kit to remove it, and provides you with upgraded hydraulic GM performance lifters, LS2 lifter trays, and a valley cover which are found on newer Corvettes.
Then it was time to reinstall the heads. Earlier in 2017, I dropped the heads off at Muscle Machine to have the heads decked, a valve job, new seals, a mild port and polish, and install Brian Tooley .660 titanium valve springs. The heads are well know for stripping out the exhaust manifold bolts, so I installed stainless exhaust studs. Speaking of hardware, the factory Torque to Yield (fancy for “one time use”) are just that, one time use. I upgraded to APR head bolts that are reusable.
The push rods and rocker arms were next.
And there it is… My first snag. The motor was going together way to easy. The drivers side head had two heli-coils in the intake and exhaust rocker arm mounts. When we went to torque them down, the bolts would just spin. If installed properly they can be a permanent fix. Below are the hello-coils. Guess which one was old one.
The process is easy, but is also a lot like brain surgery, you have to be very clean. I used grease on the drill bit to keep the aluminum shards from getting all over the engine.
The next step is to tap the enlarge hole and thread in the helix-coil.
The Corvette LS6 harmonic balancer, LS6 water pump, and CTS-V accessory drive (Alternator, power steering pump, and pulleys) were installed. The original truck accessories are placed further off the engine, adding a lot of unnecessary bulk to the engine. This set up will compact the engine package, and keep the center of gravity low.
Well that’s it for this portion of the motor build. I need to order some sensors, hardware, and odds and ends. Most importantly, I need to order an intake manifold. I’m still not 100% sure what I want, but I’m leaning towards the Holley Snyper low profile manifold.
I want to know what kind of engine you’re building or would like to build. There is something that is very therapeutic about it. Things are going to start moving fast!