So many GM engines... how to choose? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 19th, 12, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Red face So many GM engines... how to choose?

I'm talking about current (and recent past) production engines in their vehicles.

I've been looking around half-seriously for a replacement for the Camaro. I'm in dire need of a new engine setup. At first I was discounting the 5.3L truck engines, but they're now a possibility as well since they have the same HP\TQ ratings as many other engines I see.

But there are SO MANY "Lxx" engine types to research!! Holy smokes... LQ4, LQ9, LM, L3, LY, LC...on and on endlessly. Most are very similar to each other, some are all aluminum, some iron\aluminum. Some of them seem very model specific and it looks like I should stay away from them.
I didn't know there were 2 types of 5.3L engines... one type is considered an 'LS'? LS3 or something depending on application.

I can buy an entire 2007 Silverado for $1000 with a 5.3L in it, but there's 10 different 5.3L engine designations! Other than going by the specific 'Lxx' designation, this hunt could take forever. And that's not including the 6.0L combos!

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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 19th, 12, 11:55 AM
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Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

For me I think it would be a matter of what is available that fits the build and fits my budget at the time. When I took apart the 350 and found issues I was looking into the costs of stroking it when a complete fresh stroker presented itself for less than it would cost to rebuild and stroke the 350.

Does the truck 5.3 get you where you want to be? An LS1 might be just a bit more money but it will give you a lot more in return. If the LS is already pulled from the vehicle you will be saving a lot of your own labor over the truck and what do you do with the truck after you have the engine?

I think once you decide how much power you want and how much you have to spend it will narrow your options greatly...

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 19th, 12, 12:20 PM
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Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

I have a C-5 Vette w/LS1 and 6spd. It's a wonderful engine/tranny combo. 31mpgs on hi-way and is stout from factory and can be modified to your hearts desire. That combo will run all day and night reliably and smooth as silk.

After spending nearly $6k on a crate eng. and another $3k on TKO 600 for my Camaro, I've often thought I should have just bought a C-5 Vette - whether wrecked or not - it would have paid for itself and I could have parted out all the leftovers and had a better setup than what I currently have. A Camaro would benefit from many of the parts: Seats, Brakes, Eng/EFI. Tranny, recently saw somoene use the wheels and looked nice, etc.

I just love the concept of buying a perfectly good newer Vette as a parts car to fix up an 'ol Camaro. I like Vettes for the car they are but just embarassed to be lumped into the Vette-owner category cause will admit a large segment f the newer Vette crowd are punk-*** hoity-toity types who turn their noses up at muscle cars.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 19th, 12, 12:23 PM
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Thumbs up Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HwyStarJoe View Post
... I was discounting the 5.3L truck engines, but they're now a possibility as well since they have the same HP\TQ ratings as many other engines I see.

But there are SO MANY "Lxx" engine types to research!! Holy smokes... LQ4, LQ9, LM, L3, LY, LC...
... Some of them seem very model specific and it looks like I should stay away from them.
I didn't know there were 2 types of 5.3L engines... one type is considered an 'LS'? LS3 or something depending on application.

I can buy an entire 2007 Silverado for $1000 with a 5.3L in it, but there's 10 different 5.3L engine designations! Other than going by the specific 'Lxx' designation, this hunt could take forever. And that's not including the 6.0L combos!
The 'LS3' isn't 5.3L, it is 6.2L
The L33 is an early 5.3L Gen.III block.
And the LS4 - while a 5.3L - is one you definitely want to stay away from unless you know what you're buying and need

The 5.3 is a great engine and has come in many forms - early LM4, LM7, L59 (all Gen III blocks) and the later LC9, LH6, LH8, LMG, LY5 (all Gen IV).
They came in both iron and aluminum depending on year and application.
The 2007 truck you found should have an LM7, which was an iron block with aluminum heads if it's a 2-wheel drive - while the 4X4's got the later L33 which is all aluminum (as was the short lived LM4).

One of the best things about these engines is their weight - or actually, lack-of-same, for the HP they produce!
Easy to knock 100~200 lbs off a vehicle with one of these swaps

The fuel consumption for the power produced is also nearly unmatched compared to any mods you would normally do to a older SBC to get these HP levels.

I'd do the 5.3L swap if that's the unit you can find now and it fits your budget needs.
You can always build and swap a LSX based monster in later

Getting a complete vehicle is often a great way to go, as you get pretty much every thing you may need to do a swap - less mounts, some fuel system things and other F-Body specific stuff ...

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Oh yeah, and 1 "Straight-Six" ...
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 19th, 12, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

Right... scrounging through the junkyard is not the way to go because they're already pulled and the harnesses are hacked to holy hell. Same cost as whole vehicle, but more hassle.
I want a wreck I can swap the entire drive train from. Like a C-5 Vette.

The 5.3 is an option. But the 6.0 is more in line with what I want... also truck engines.
I'll just need stickier tires.

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 19th, 12, 07:12 PM
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Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

you can get the VIN on that wrecked Silverado and go (or call) your local GM parts department with the last 8 or so of the VIN (i forget exactly) and they can tell you what engine the truck was built with. That'd be the most simple way to get the coding of the wreck you're looking at.

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 19th, 12, 07:22 PM
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Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

Joe, take a look at the Modern Mouse series on Super Chevy. It's a monthly build series on the 5.3L. I throw away all the magazines after I finish them or else I'd send them to you. The first installment was a stock one from a junked truck for baseline, then they added ported stock heads, mild cam, and intake to bump it up to 445hp and 443 ft lb and went from there......
http://www.superchevy.com/sch/02/modern-mouse/articles/

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TKO 600-Moser 3.42-Detroit Truetrac
500hp/538lbft

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 19th, 12, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

I've been following it Steiner. That's one of the reasons I'm not discounting them. If it can twist a truck, it'll rip a 3000+ pound Camaro.

Eric, I thought about that.... just getting the RPO code off of the sticker in the glovebox. I still might. The guy will even haul the hulk out of my driveway when I'm done tearing it apart.

Decisions, decisions.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 12, 12:54 AM
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Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

you aren't going to find a better deal than that $1000 truck.. you could yank the motor and part it out and wind up getting paid to use that 5.3..

you don't plan sincerity.
you have to make it up on the spot.

wanna hear about 20 years ago when i was too smart to know any better?
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 12, 01:59 AM
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Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

I'm going through the same process right now. One thing I'm hearing regarding the truck motors is that the front drive accessories sit about 2" further forward that the pieces from a Camaro or Vette motor, so your clearance at the radiator is reduced. You can get adjustable motor mounts that slide the motor back to help with that, but it's a balancing act between front clearance, firewall clearance, and header fit.

I believe the AC compressor also sits too high on the truck motors, causing hood clearance issues. There are relo brackets that fix that problem.
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 12, 04:52 AM Thread Starter
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Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

Yeah, I've read about the front drive clearance, but I'm not running a fan now so it shouldn't be an issue. Hopefully.
And A/C? What A/C?

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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 12, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

Just watched a video of a guys LM7 swap into a '67. He carbed it.
Tight up front with an electric fan setup but it worked.

The truck I'm talking about is the LM7. Working a deal now.

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 12, 04:56 PM
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Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

I don't think you can go wrong. having a donor vehicle and have the carcass hauled away when done, pretty good deal.

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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 12, 05:03 AM Thread Starter
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Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

I didn't realize what a common swap it is until I looked into it.
Now... if I get it, carb or EFI? That's a whole other round of research and another thread.

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 12, 08:28 AM
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Wink Re: So many GM engines... how to choose?

I'd have said 'carb' a few years ago, but now the support for the EFI systems and upgrades to get even more out of one are now readily available - so I'd go with EFI
The systems are now well understood and supported by both the OEM and aftermarket.
Making the EFI easy to diagnose and repair by most good shops - so if you needed support along the way on a trip it is available.

These same things can't be said about most 'carb' set-ups available.
There are several 'carb.' conversion systems and they use several methods of getting you the spark timing, cam timing, transmission control (auto), and other necessary engine support systems to get the thing to run.
Each one is unique and will not be as understood and/or parts available if you suffer a failure on a trip or cruise.
So make sure your towing contract is up to date if you go this way

I might still select the carb - if it was a match race set-up, I was trying for very high RPM HP power curves, and most my driving was limited to a closed track.
Oh, and I brought it on a trailer ...

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