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Old 12-12-2009, 10:07 AM   #1
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Default LS1 Essential Upgrades?

Hi guys, just signed up after reading threads here all day

I've ordered a 2002 camaro LS1 with 4l60e to swap into my -87 IROC.
Since i live on the other side of the atlantic the ETA for it is April.

The motor has 120k miles on it and seller claims it runs good.
I was just thinking if there´s anything i should upgrade on it before swapping it in, like if there's a possibility the stock timing chain might snap i could change it for a ls2 one before fitting it to save money in the long run maybe?

If there's anything that will be worn after 120k id much rather have it sorted before fitting the engine at all, the last thing i want is for it to blow up after what i have to spend on shipping and import taxes on it

Also would headers make a big diff compared to stock manifolds? since i´m gonna have to build a custom exhaust for it anyhow maybe i should get headers on it before i even begin. Ive heard old veterans saying headers are over-rated and a good designed high flowing manifold is almost as good, but are the stock LS1 camaro manifolds good or are they very restrictive?

Also i currently have a single 2.5" stainless exhaust on it, will the LS1 be able to breathe trough it or do i have to rebuild the entire exhaust to a 2x2.5" or single 3" ?

The later questions probably shouldn't be in engine internal, sorry about that ^^
but what i really wanted to ask is, If you bought and engine with 125k miles on it for a DD, what would you upgrade on it before fitting it?
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:49 PM   #2
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Oil pump, timing chain, and headers.

I'd replace the front seal and rear main seal, pan gasket, and valve cover gaskets.

Possibly upgrade the PCV system..

What part of Sweden? I was over there about 2 years ago visiting my cousins that live a little ways out of Malmo.
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Old 12-12-2009, 07:53 PM   #3
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Might as well upgrade the rod bolts, in addition to what danbo313 said.

If you slide a cam in there, you will need to replace the pushrods and springs.

If it's a 2002, you have the LS6 intake, which is really good. You're next step would be a very costly FAST intake. A cam and heads should go on before you move to the FAST.

They make headers for your swap, too. Forget who does, but I'm sure someone will chime in. Or, ask in the Hybrid section. They are a huge bump for theses cars.
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:22 PM   #4
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"Also i currently have a single 2.5" stainless exhaust on it, will the LS1 be able to breathe through it or do i have to rebuild the entire exhaust to a 2x2.5" or single 3" ?"

You will need at least a single 3" exhaust for proper breathing and back pressure. You can go with a dual 2.5"exhaust, but it's not really worth the extra expense.
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Old 12-13-2009, 01:06 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by danbo313 View Post
Oil pump, timing chain, and headers.

I'd replace the front seal and rear main seal, pan gasket, and valve cover gaskets.

Possibly upgrade the PCV system..

What part of Sweden? I was over there about 2 years ago visiting my cousins that live a little ways out of Malmo.
Thanks for the reply , these things seem the clever way to go, if there's even the slightest chance of the timing chain or oil pump failing id much rather just swap them to be safe. Ill remember to change the front and rear seals also to avoid future oil leaks, the valve cover gaskets and PCV upgrade i can do with ease with the engine in the car later so that can wait.

To buy list:
LS2 timing chain + gears

Oil pump. (Theres 3 melling pumps on summit, one rated standard flow standard pressure, one high flow standard pressure and one standard flow high pressure. Which one would work the best for a pretty much stock engine with possibly a future cam swap?)

Front seal, rear main seal, pan gasket.

I'm located in Gothenburg. Hope you enjoyed your stay here ^.^, even i cant understand the people that far south (malmö) even thou they claim to be speaking swedish , so hope you got by ok.

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Might as well upgrade the rod bolts, in addition to what danbo313 said.

If you slide a cam in there, you will need to replace the pushrods and springs.

If it's a 2002, you have the LS6 intake, which is really good. You're next step would be a very costly FAST intake. A cam and heads should go on before you move to the FAST.

They make headers for your swap, too. Forget who does, but I'm sure someone will chime in. Or, ask in the Hybrid section. They are a huge bump for theses cars.
Yes, im well aware it has the LS6 intake, aswell as no EGR and higher flowing exhaust manifolds, these are all part of the reason i went with a higher mileage 02 instead of a lower mile 98 which can be had at about the same price

Hawks third gen makes full length headers for this swap, i already have a shopping cart with 800$ worth of parts to make the swap easier waiting for my next paycheck

The headers alone are 800$ thou, and shipping's not gonna be cheap on something that bulky either, and from what I've read the upgraded 01-02 manifolds flow better then most shorty headers, so I've decided to go with the stock manifolds.

I'm very tempted to do a cam swap also, since cams are relatively cheap and also does a lot for the sound. Would it be worth it getting a mild cam, maybe an LS6 cam for example? without touching the heads? or is that just throwing money away?

I really wanna keep the mpg and reliability high for this, the main reason I've decided on a swap is the stock TPI has given me a lot of headache for the 2 years I've owned it, After the 700R4 tranny was totaled i just thought thats it, this old **** is going in the dumpster The 50% power increase im getting with the swap is also a huge bonus ^.^

The z28 has been sitting in my garage with a busted tranny since, engine runs thou, for once....

If i replace the rod bolts should i also replace the bearings? they seem to be a dime a dozen anyhow

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Originally Posted by SOMSS View Post
"Also i currently have a single 2.5" stainless exhaust on it, will the LS1 be able to breathe through it or do i have to rebuild the entire exhaust to a 2x2.5" or single 3" ?"

You will need at least a single 3" exhaust for proper breathing and back pressure. You can go with a dual 2.5"exhaust, but it's not really worth the extra expense.
I kinda expected that :/ I'll deal with it when the engines in the car ^.^, some 2.5 or 3" pipes and bends i can easily get cheap here locally, so its nothing i need to think about before hand.
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Old 12-13-2009, 10:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by SOMSS View Post
You will need at least a single 3" exhaust for proper breathing and back pressure. You can go with a dual 2.5"exhaust, but it's not really worth the extra expense.
It's worth it for the sound alone. True duals almost always sound better than a single exhaust system. Performance-wise it's not a big gain though.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:14 PM   #7
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Check out the hotcam or ASA cam, Both are gm parts and lower lift and are easy on springs. They work with the LS6 valve springs. But if you do a cam with those miles, i'd replace the lifters too, then you'd have to pull the heads, do new headgaskets/bolts/etc..

I just had a lifter go in my 99 z28. I was going to do heads/cam/etc, but now I have an LS6 sitting in the garage waiting to go in it (after I send the heads out).
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Klubba View Post
I'm very tempted to do a cam swap also, since cams are relatively cheap and also does a lot for the sound. Would it be worth it getting a mild cam, maybe an LS6 cam for example? without touching the heads? or is that just throwing money away?
LS6 cam? Heck no it isn't worth it! Heck no.

Aftermarket is the only place to go for cams. Go with something in the 224-228 duration range, 112-114 LSA, and .59x" lift range or so. Around 0* of overlap. Remember, overlap loves exhaust, and you're not going to have that.

Don't bother with porting the LS1 heads as you don't live in the states -- or otherwise, really, IMO, though TEA and others can do a super good job porting them I hear.

Stock LS6/LS2 243 heads (you have 241 LS1 heads) are a great upgrade though. I have stock LS6 heads with my 225/229 cam and LOVE the power and streetability of the combo especially for the price (thanks, EPP!).

Since you're not dropping the cash on headers, I say stick with your heads and talk to a sponsor about your cam. You'll need springs, retainers and pushrods with it. If you take off the heads, might as well get LS7 lifters and lifter trays too.

AS for the oil pump, ask whatever sponsor you're dealing with. Some say high flow, others say high pressure. Forget which I went with. Doesn't really matter anyway. It's mainly about the increase in reliability, IMO. Stock's honestly good enough, but yours is high miles, so time for an upgrade.
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Old 12-13-2009, 07:48 PM   #9
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so the general consensus is ls7 lifters and ls2 timing chain and gears good vale springs and good pushrods and maybee some new gaskets and seals.....


what about rod bolts?
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:12 AM   #10
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Oil pressure sender
Fuel injectors, I found 8 new take offs on (rhymes with Great day) for $140
Water pump
Crane rocker trunion upgrade or aftermarket rollers
pushrods
lifters
Maps sensor
= about $500
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:44 AM   #11
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if you want some sound and a little extra power, i know of a cam that'll do the job. Hop on ebay, buy the regrind 218/228 .550 .550 112 or 114 cam (I think its $115 now), LS6 valvesprings($65 NEW from GMPP or lingenfelter) and find a set of new or slightly used ls2 pushrods ($20-$50).

I've done more than a few builds with this cheap cam and gained nice power. I've gotten 378rwhp out of this cam on a 98 w/ ls6 intake and headers only with a tune, and ran 11.0s at 123 on a 150 shot on the same car before the intake swap. 330rwhp on a 5.3 with stock manifolds. It souns great and is super easy on parts. my 2 cents
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:08 PM   #12
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was this thru a 4l60e? or a manual trans? link to cam?
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klubba View Post
Oil pump. (Theres 3 melling pumps on summit, one rated standard flow standard pressure, one high flow standard pressure and one standard flow high pressure. Which one would work the best for a pretty much stock engine with possibly a future cam swap?)
High Volume and High Pressure pumps require more power turn than a stock pump. The question is do you really need that....lets see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klubba View Post
The headers alone are 800$ thou, and shipping's not gonna be cheap on something that bulky either, and from what I've read the upgraded 01-02 manifolds flow better then most shorty headers, so I've decided to go with the stock manifolds.
Shorty headers usually give modest gains over manifolds, but most say they aren't worth the expense. Stock manifolds will limit you to cams of a certain size, but so will some of your other requirements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klubba View Post
I really wanna keep the mpg and reliability high for this, the main reason I've decided on a swap is the stock TPI has given me a lot of headache for the 2 years I've owned it, After the 700R4 tranny was totaled i just thought thats it, this old **** is going in the dumpster The 50% power increase im getting with the swap is also a huge bonus ^.^

The z28 has been sitting in my garage with a busted tranny since, engine runs thou, for once....
With an automatic, you'll want to stay conservative with your cam selection. Once you exceed a certain point, your fuel economy will begin to suffer. As you go bigger, the need for a stall converter becomes greater, which can seriously degrade economy in city driving.

You can run cams of all sizes with an automatic, but with a completely stock tranny, and one that has 120,000 miles on it, you don't want to turn too many RPMS more than stock. Ideally, you'll want to shift at no more than 6100 - 6200 rpms. Much more can dramatically shorten the life of your tranny. You can definitely upgrade it, but your locale may make it difficult to find a shop willing or qualified to perform the necessary modifications.

All things considered, your goals aren't really to build a wildly loping street beast. There are lots of cams out there that will work well for you, but nearly everyone here (in the land of huge cams) will tell you that they are too small, don't bother, don't waste your money, etc. If you are willing to choose based on what you want, and not what everyone else wants, you can make some significant gains and enjoy them.

For stock manifolds, you will want a cam that has 0 overlap at .050 lift, or slightly less. Luckily, cams of this size will usually not lose much fuel economy, and still work well with a stock converter. One cam that always comes up in this kind of discussion is the CheaTR, which was designed to max maximum power with a stock restrictive exhaust. It's a great cam for stick shift cars, and modified 4L60e trans that can take the RPM, but it peaks much higher than what you'll want. A better choice is something that peaks 200-300 rpm before you shift and makes the most power under the curve.

The best place for you to start is the Intake Valve Closing point or IVC. You want a cam that closes the valve 40-41 degrees after TDC. From there we can work backwards to see how much duration we can get by with, while keeping the overlap where it needs to be, and leaving room for the extra exhaust duration needed to make power without headers.

That is literally the tip of the iceberg for cam selection. There is a lot of good reading here, if you dig for it. I'll try to add a few links in a follow up post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klubba View Post
If i replace the rod bolts should i also replace the bearings? they seem to be a dime a dozen anyhow
If you want, you can replace the rod bolts, but I would say it is not anywhere near necessary at the power and rpm levels you will be reaching.
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For a street or street/strip car which most of are driving, I'll take a more efficient, high flowing "smaller runner" cylinder head any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Links to head porting info
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:08 PM   #14
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was this thru a 4l60e? or a manual trans? link to cam?
he don't have the 218/228 cam listed right now, but theres a few more, even ls6 cam copys, hotcam copys, etc. heres a 224 copy
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/LS1-P...item27add8fce8

through a 4l60e with a 2800 stall (locked)

i really don't know why budget guys arent jumping on these cams. I like them for the money on street cars
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:28 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ZTwentyAteU View Post
he don't have the 218/228 cam listed right now, but theres a few more, even ls6 cam copys, hotcam copys, etc. heres a 224 copy
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/LS1-P...item27add8fce8

through a 4l60e with a 2800 stall (locked)

i really don't know why budget guys arent jumping on these cams. I like them for the money on street cars
Links to reground cams. If you do some reading, reground cams have a bad rep around here. Another link
Quote:
Originally Posted by PREDATOR-Z View Post
A couple of issues I have with reground cams:

1- Most important in my book, SPECs. Put a reground cam on a camdoctor and watch (keep your mouth closed please). The specs can be soo far off from generic blueprint that it actualy comes out with all kind of messed up valve events. (So poor valve event accuracy.)
2- The hardening process on LS camshafts is induction hardened. That is only done once the cam has been ground and is a surface hardening process. Problem is that you cannot double harden (meaning re hardening an already hardened surface) or you'll have surface distortions. Also very few companies have the necessary equipment to induction harden cams. (issue is therefore unreliable durability of reground cams)

Therefore IMO unless you are on a chassis dyno and wish to R&D different grinds for short periods of operation, I would stay away from reground cams in Daily operations.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Mamo @ AFR View Post
For a street or street/strip car which most of are driving, I'll take a more efficient, high flowing "smaller runner" cylinder head any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Links to head porting info
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:22 PM   #16
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Links to reground cams. If you do some reading, reground cams have a bad rep around here. Another link
Not saying everyone has the best luck, but i've had a flawless run with them so far, and I only buy from the same guy. Yes they are copys, big deal, we all know theres no way these cams are as good as the original. its like buying the cheap TV instead of the Sony.
I took one to the machine shop and it spec'd out. I do know they grind most of it off the back of the lobe on the cam, just like normal.
Heres a clip of one of my camaros..one idle, one 11.01 pass. real worl testing owns forum chat.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Du6aJDOVlcg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OC-2sO2hHx4

and a 62 bel air 5.3 (crappy vid)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvnTnzeSYgA
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:34 AM   #17
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hey nice videos of your car on youtube what would a stock ls1 run in 1/4 mile
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:00 AM   #18
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hey nice videos of your car on youtube what would a stock ls1 run in 1/4 mile
theres a bunch of factors involved. Mid 13s all the way down to low 13.s is normal. Some have been 12.90s or faster stock but those are freaks (ive had one that got down to 12.70s with a lid and catback only.
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:05 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by ZTwentyAteU View Post
he don't have the 218/228 cam listed right now, but theres a few more, even ls6 cam copys, hotcam copys, etc. heres a 224 copy
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/LS1-P...item27add8fce8

through a 4l60e with a 2800 stall (locked)

i really don't know why budget guys arent jumping on these cams. I like them for the money on street cars
The same guy has a 218/228 cam with .525 lift listed: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/LS1-P...Q5fAccessories
should be even nicer to the valve train then the .55 lift one and work well with the cheap LS6 springs right?
also would this cam work well with stock converter? whats the stock stall anyhow?

And thank you for (what i think is) this great tips on a cheap good running setup

BTW, i read the guide on cam swap and said i need the tool to hold the lifters in place as i swap cam, just thinking, cant i just spin the motor upside down in the motor stand? seems a lot easier, thanks
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:10 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by hammertime View Post
High Volume and High Pressure pumps require more power turn than a stock pump. The question is do you really need that....lets see.


Shorty headers usually give modest gains over manifolds, but most say they aren't worth the expense. Stock manifolds will limit you to cams of a certain size, but so will some of your other requirements.


With an automatic, you'll want to stay conservative with your cam selection. Once you exceed a certain point, your fuel economy will begin to suffer. As you go bigger, the need for a stall converter becomes greater, which can seriously degrade economy in city driving.

You can run cams of all sizes with an automatic, but with a completely stock tranny, and one that has 120,000 miles on it, you don't want to turn too many RPMS more than stock. Ideally, you'll want to shift at no more than 6100 - 6200 rpms. Much more can dramatically shorten the life of your tranny. You can definitely upgrade it, but your locale may make it difficult to find a shop willing or qualified to perform the necessary modifications.

All things considered, your goals aren't really to build a wildly loping street beast. There are lots of cams out there that will work well for you, but nearly everyone here (in the land of huge cams) will tell you that they are too small, don't bother, don't waste your money, etc. If you are willing to choose based on what you want, and not what everyone else wants, you can make some significant gains and enjoy them.

For stock manifolds, you will want a cam that has 0 overlap at .050 lift, or slightly less. Luckily, cams of this size will usually not lose much fuel economy, and still work well with a stock converter. One cam that always comes up in this kind of discussion is the CheaTR, which was designed to max maximum power with a stock restrictive exhaust. It's a great cam for stick shift cars, and modified 4L60e trans that can take the RPM, but it peaks much higher than what you'll want. A better choice is something that peaks 200-300 rpm before you shift and makes the most power under the curve.

The best place for you to start is the Intake Valve Closing point or IVC. You want a cam that closes the valve 40-41 degrees after TDC. From there we can work backwards to see how much duration we can get by with, while keeping the overlap where it needs to be, and leaving room for the extra exhaust duration needed to make power without headers.

That is literally the tip of the iceberg for cam selection. There is a lot of good reading here, if you dig for it. I'll try to add a few links in a follow up post.


If you want, you can replace the rod bolts, but I would say it is not anywhere near necessary at the power and rpm levels you will be reaching.
Thank you for a very good post, after doing some reading on rod bolts and spinning bearings, I've decided its safest not to touch them at all.

You mean i should keep the stock pump? (from what I've read the ones 2001- shouldn't fail) or swap it for a melling with stock pressure/volume?

i think id sleep better with a high press melling pump thou ^.^
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