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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It has been a while since I've seen conversations on used LS3s. I am struggling to find information on here about used vs new that isn't 8+ years old, and I have searched on here, through google, scrolling through the engine forums A few questions, but if they have been answered please direct me to that forum and I am happy to delete. Yes I am pretty set on an LS3 and trying to keep on track with that engine and not the pros and cons of other engine money and such.
  1. At what price point would you consider a used ls3 (direct pullout from a car, from a manual transmission but only the engine, all accessories, wiring harness), from a camaro, vs new?
  2. If used, I think since it is out of the car and easy to work on, why not add some upgrades or get ahead of any worn parts.
  3. What all replacement upgrades and replacements would you do to refresh the engine used?
    1. My thoughts, put the hot cam in, replace the valves springs and potentially the injectors. What else? I am not an engine builder just mechanically inclined.
  4. Same question but with engine with 40k, 80k, 120k.
  5. Any other thoughts?

This will be more of a daily driver, maybe some fun stuff but 99.9% street driving.
 

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Why "only" a LS3 ?
You could make the same power and save a lot of $$$ with other options as well as opening up your search.

What is the planed use of the car when done ? OR is it a thing just to say LS3 ?
 

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LS3 crates around $8k, closer to $10k for the 525 hp version. LS427/570 about $12.5k. None of these include electronics, front end dress or retro oil pan.

No idea about used prices but these days everything seems higher than a year ago. You can likely get a BBC in for a lot less money.
 

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The used pull from salvage LS3 is a fairly dated motor with typically high mileage. If that is what you want than "I" would pull heads and pan to check bearings and X hatch on cyl walls.

Seems like most of the build TV shows they wind up doing a re-hone, new rings, bearings if needed and a cam with valve springs when they get a "Bamma Special" junkyard LS3

The ? becomes with the cost of the LS3 salvage motor and the cost to "freshen" it....and time, are you at or behind the $ curve of buying a crate LSx from someplace like BPE

While bigger $...BPE now offers "matched" LSx drivetrains with full accessories, ECU, trans that as a package has been dynoed so it is truly a "drop in" swap redy to run package
 

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You won’t use all the stuff from the junk yard engine. Harness, ECU, oil pan, accessories will need to be 1st gen specific for a clean setup. Also, I was just looking for a junk yard aluminum LS and they’re crazy expensive around here. I’m buying ‘no warranty’ junk for nearly the same price of a GMPP LS3 with a warranty. I did a 68 Camaro back in 2015-16 and I chose new with the GM ECU. Didn’t need a tune afterwards either.
 

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The used pull from salvage LS3 is a fairly dated motor with typically high mileage. If that is what you want than "I" would pull heads and pan to check bearings and X hatch on cyl walls.

Seems like most of the build TV shows they wind up doing a re-hone, new rings, bearings if needed and a cam with valve springs when they get a "Bamma Special" junkyard LS3

The ? becomes with the cost of the LS3 salvage motor and the cost to "freshen" it....and time, are you at or behind the $ curve of buying a crate LSx from someplace like BPE

While bigger $...BPE now offers "matched" LSx drivetrains with full accessories, ECU, trans that as a package has been dynoed so it is truly a "drop in" swap redy to run package
Those BP pckages look nice except the oil pan is pretty much useless. So count on a new pan. The accessories in the photo are different than the ones in the dimensional drawings. So buyer beware there….

Don
 

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Junk yard motors are typically 100K plus miles and you're buying a pig in a poke. I would not use one without going through it.

IMHO if you have to pay for machine work and a shop to do the work you'll most likely be into it more than a crate motor and not have a warranty.

If you go with an iron block LQ4 or LQ9 you might be better as the prices for LS3 drop outs is crazy.

The accessories don't work in a first gen. The harness has to be reworked and a fuse box and relays added and the ECU reflashed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I appreciate the answers on everyone. With all engines on back order and not really ready for an engine within a year, but I like reviewing cost and such so when I am ready I know real cost and fake sales and be ready to move on it when I can. I've seen used engines pop up here and there and was just curious on the opinions of everyone and the effort and cost it would take to freshen it up. I do believe the crate is the best. I have to do small block being that is what my suspension is already set up for. Just need a little more body work, get the wiring in, and brakes then I can think of the drive line.
 

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Unless you're just on a super tight car/hobby budget, which I understand, , or thinking short term, I wouldn't even mess with the unknown worn engine.

New, LS

even cheaper
Just Pony up and be worry free.

I like the ones with no intake, you can add your own with a little style, those stock intakes are way too bland for me to bother looking at. it's about as exciting as milquetoast,
 

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I appreciate the answers on everyone. With all engines on back order and not really ready for an engine within a year, but I like reviewing cost and such so when I am ready I know real cost and fake sales and be ready to move on it when I can. I've seen used engines pop up here and there and was just curious on the opinions of everyone and the effort and cost it would take to freshen it up. I do believe the crate is the best. I have to do small block being that is what my suspension is already set up for. Just need a little more body work, get the wiring in, and brakes then I can think of the drive line.
It's good you're thinking ahead especially with the parts you're using now but with costs being the way they are - who knows where things will go in the next year. For example, 1.5 years ago a used LS1 in Australia was $500-1000 AUD. Now they're $3-4K. They may continue to rise or there might be a crash of these inflated values back to times past but doing cost comparisons now for a purchase over a year away is a waste of time.

To answer your question - for me, the effort of sourcing and installing a used engine is only worth it if I plan to freshen it up (hone, new rings, bearings, gaskets, etc). The peace of mind from this is a big plus. Regarding upgrades whilst easy to do so - good idea if that's the path you want to go down. What to upgrade... well... how far do you want to go? What are your goals? Ultimately, the cost of a used engine, freshen up parts, upgrade parts, and labour (you said you're not mechanically inclined so I assume you're not doing this yourself) might outweigh a crate engine from the likes of Blueprint or others.
 

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This can work.
buy the whole car. Pull the motor and at her parts you need and part out or sell the car as a roller.

that way you know you have a running engine if you drive it before you buy. And possible will get more than you paid for the car in the 1st place.

little extra work but often parting out make you more $ than the car cost.
 

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This can work.
buy the whole car. Pull the motor and at her parts you need and part out or sell the car as a roller.

that way you know you have a running engine if you drive it before you buy. And possible will get more than you paid for the car in the 1st place.

little extra work but often parting out make you more $ than the car cost.
This is definitely the better way to go with a used engine and will be something I consider the next time I go through the process.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It's good you're thinking ahead especially with the parts you're using now but with costs being the way they are - who knows where things will go in the next year. For example, 1.5 years ago a used LS1 in Australia was $500-1000 AUD. Now they're $3-4K. They may continue to rise or there might be a crash of these inflated values back to times past but doing cost comparisons now for a purchase over a year away is a waste of time.

To answer your question - for me, the effort of sourcing and installing a used engine is only worth it if I plan to freshen it up (hone, new rings, bearings, gaskets, etc). The peace of mind from this is a big plus. Regarding upgrades whilst easy to do so - good idea if that's the path you want to go down. What to upgrade... well... how far do you want to go? What are your goals? Ultimately, the cost of a used engine, freshen up parts, upgrade parts, and labour (you said you're not mechanically inclined so I assume you're not doing this yourself) might outweigh a crate engine from the likes of Blueprint or others.
Hi Yenko, thanks for the update. I am mechanically inclined, but not an engine builder. I would not be able to hone/bore and such so I would have to send it out for that, which is possible and not that expensive, but at that point you need new hardware and then the cost does go up, which leads me back to the crate motor. Yes who knows where costs are going in the future. I am in the US and a major city so getting one shouldn't be that hard or too expensive in the future depending of course on inflation and material availability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This can work.
buy the whole car. Pull the motor and at her parts you need and part out or sell the car as a roller.

that way you know you have a running engine if you drive it before you buy. And possible will get more than you paid for the car in the 1st place.

little extra work but often parting out make you more $ than the car cost.
This is a solid idea, and is something that I may have to look at in the future if I am able to expand my working area. I do not have a lot of time to spend on doing all that and do not have the garage space to keep a second car like that as I try to part it out or hope someone buys the roller. I would probably get sucked into driving that one for a while and delaying that pull. However, used care prices are way more than they should be right now, even the 2015 and later Camaros. I think that way with limited space that is out of the question, good idea and I always like out of the box thinking.
 

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Hi Yenko, thanks for the update. I am mechanically inclined, but not an engine builder. I would not be able to hone/bore and such so I would have to send it out for that, which is possible and not that expensive, but at that point you need new hardware and then the cost does go up, which leads me back to the crate motor. Yes who knows where costs are going in the future. I am in the US and a major city so getting one shouldn't be that hard or too expensive in the future depending of course on inflation and material availability.
It seems like you basically know the answer to your question in this case... the crate engine route will be a much better idea for you. It may be a bigger monetary hit upfront but you avoid a lot of the issues with other methods. Keep Blueprint engines in mind for when you're ready - they seem to offer decent value for money and a warranty is always nice.
 

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Look up P/N 19420382. GM crate motor for $5k. Really hard to justify a used motor at this price. No point in spending more for the 480 or 530 HP version since they are only changing the camshafts. Get this motor, Holley Mounts/pan/headers, Terminator X Max, loaded LS3 intake, your choice of engine accessories and you will be on the right track.

 

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Look up P/N 19420382. GM crate motor for $5k. Really hard to justify a used motor at this price. No point in spending more for the 480 or 530 HP version since they are only changing the camshafts. Get this motor, Holley Mounts/pan/headers, Terminator X Max, loaded LS3 intake, your choice of engine accessories and you will be on the right track.

Throw a real cam at that and 😁
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Look up P/N 19420382. GM crate motor for $5k. Really hard to justify a used motor at this price. No point in spending more for the 480 or 530 HP version since they are only changing the camshafts. Get this motor, Holley Mounts/pan/headers, Terminator X Max, loaded LS3 intake, your choice of engine accessories and you will be on the right track.

Thank you, I was considering that route lately. Was just looking into the terminator instead of the gm wiring, which can open up different possibilities in the future and around the same cost. As mentioned below, put the hot cam in there, figure out which intake and accessories and hard to beat anything used for that.
 

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Yeah, I got a great deal on my used L92 6.2 from a buddy, but still had a bunch of money and time into rebuilding it. When I added it all up I was surprised that I was into the motor almost $4k. Granted, that included the cam and a ton of ARP hardware. But still, another $1k and I would have gotten a warranty, just installed it in my car and I could always change out the cam later.
 
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