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n/a lq9, $6500 parts budget

Old 04-17-2019, 09:29 AM
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Default n/a lq9, $6500 parts budget

Hey there... Figured I'd post vehicle details and then explain my motor/budget needs.

The motor is going to be in a relatively high end offroad prerunner type of truck. I don't want a forced induction setup... Well, that's not true, I'd like one but I'm keeping it n/a. The truck is a standard cab '90s F150 with a freshly built 4L80 full manual valve body and upgraded internal goodies. I'm running a big full floater chromoly rear housing, 9" center section, spool, 5.00'ish gears, 40 spline 300m shafts. 35" tires. The truck has 21" front travel, 29" rear with big shocks. It's a fun ride...

The motor is currently a stock LQ9. It has a knock and my motor builder thinks it's a cracked piston. I pulled it out, yanked the heads and did find scoring on the #7 cylinder wall. A .030 bore will clean it up just fine though, it's not too bad but the bore will need to happen no matter what on this build so that's a given in this recipe.

Motor wise... I've got a neighbor that builds drag engines. He's experienced with Ford, Mopar and Chevy but is old school and plays with carb'd motors that have distributors. He's always wanted to get into the LS platform but simply hasn't as his vehicles and customers vehicles just haven't afforded the opportunity. He's definitely got the reputation as one of the go to guys for your old school motor builds here in Vegas. His small builds are 700ish hp and he dabbles up into the low 2000hp'ish range on some of the builds he does.

He's handling the disassembly and assembly of the motor. I'm working a barter with him so that $$$ is handled. I've got $6500 for sure, possibly $7500 depending how the penny pinching goes over the next 2 months to play with. This needs to include all hard parts, any tuning needs/costs involved and any engine machine work needed as well.

My assembler being old school wants to go heads, cam, forged rotating assembly, head studs, arp hardware, oil pump, water pump... I've never dealt with him but he swears he can get me smoking prices on parts but for this conversation I'd like to keep the $6500-7500 worth of dreaming at average Joe retail cost cause I can always do more depending on deals but I'd rather plan as if deals are not in the mix.

So all of that said, what would you guys do if say an engine assembler handed you $6500-7500 and said make me a plan to build this thing for an offroad truck. I'd like something with a good amount of torque but something that can also spin some RPM's. BTW, I'll be buying a torque converter at the end based off the motor specs talking to my transmission guy so that will be considered. That purchase is outside of the this budget though..

My setup currently has the 317 heads on it and is 100% stock, down to exhaust manifolds even. I'm really tight on space on the pass side and only have 4" of clearance. I've found some block huggers though that I'm pretty confident will work.

Beyond that, I'm open to suggestions. Cam, heads, 408 stroker? throttle body? bigger injectors? Static tune or dyno tune? How would you spend my money?

Oh and street driving will happen but it will be fairly minimal. It typically will be trailered to and from the dirt.




Last edited by sirhk100; 04-17-2019 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:51 AM
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You said you want boost, but are going to keep it n/a.....with that budget.....go turbo. You have enough people around you to help with a custom hotside, and it'll be WAY more fun and make WAY more power than it otherwise would. It's what you really want anyways.
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:52 AM
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Everyone I've talked to with forced induction experience in the dirt with trucks similar to mine haven't been happy with it. I'd rather just stick to all engine for simplicity reasons. Only reason I actually would want the forced induction is simply because of cool factor. For these things though, the more simple the better. Especially when you're hundreds of miles south of the border where finding help for exotic part issues due to abuse in the dirt is not easy to deal with.

I'm sure throwing $6500 into this motor n/a or f/i will put a huge grin on my face either way. Other issue is packaging... Definitely no space for a turbo and while a super charger has a cool factor I'd rather stay n/a.

BTW, I'm on track to do this build in July most likely. I'm trying to keep only one big dollar project in motion at a time. I got the transmission buttoned up a few weeks back. I have the rear axle on order right which has about another 7 weeks lead time so once that's done I'll start making moves on the motor build. Hence this preliminary post...

And yes, I've done reading and research on my own. Just curious to see what the feedback is here without tossing out what I've gathered. Basically though it involves 408, different stock heads, cam, throttle body, injectors and a static tune session.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:29 PM
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If I had 6500 I'd call up Texas speed

All bearings, cam, headwork, rods bearing valves ect. Hopefully your crank is ok.
Tell then what you want. I have a feeling you spend most of your budget there. Atleast 4k of it but maybe more

I'd do a build that could accept boost in the future.
While I've seen twin turbo guys in the sand I always love superchargers
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Old 04-18-2019, 11:03 AM
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Agreed, seen lots of single and twin turbo setups in the sand but that's somewhat of a different animal then how this truck will be used. Granted, I do have paddles for it and it will occasionally see dune use but that's not it's primary by anymeans.

Thanks for the feedback! It's appreciated. I'm not planning on going high compression, I want the truck to be able to be used in Baja which means building a performance motor that can run on mexican pump gas.
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