Cheapest LS engine at price and power?

Discussion in 'High Tech Retrofits' started by 76z28, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. 76z28

    76z28 Veteran Member

    Jun 29, 2009
    So people keep saying how much cheaper the LS series engine is and how much power they make.
    I am a firm believer in how good of an engine they are and how much power they make BUT they seem to be VERY expensive. People always tell me to find a used 6.2 but where will i find that at a decent price? Heads are pretty pricey too as the intake and other stuff are too.
    I think it will be my future engine so i want to get a rough estimate for something in the 450 horse range(at the wheels) with an lsx block that is pretty street friendly. It is a weekend cruiser so im not worried a whole lot if it isnt super easy to drive, but what i have been seeing you can do it EASY with these engines
    I love these new engines, but im just skeptical on how much they cost
    another question is, will they bolt up to a turbo 400 or 350 without a problem?
  2. Damon

    Damon Veteran Member

    Nov 16, 2000
    Philly area
    Gotta start with a salvage yard engine. Like the 6.0L truck engine. The newer 6.2s might still be a little pricey, but there are more of them hitting the salvage yards every day. They stock heads are fine for making 450HP or even more, apparently. If you want a carbureted setup then you need a different intake and a system for firing the coil-per-cylinder ignition system (I think MSD makes one). That and a well chosen cam should be all you need to hit your HP goal.

    Fitting one to an older car isn't dirt-cheap, though. Factor in the cost of the mounts, possibly a new oil pan, headers, the various gyrations you need to do to hook up all the accessories, etc. and it's not the cheapest route to 450HP under the hood of a 2nd gen Camaro.

    I believe earlier transmissions will bolt up (certainly the 700R4 and the electronic version of it called the 4L60E were bolted to the back of the LS1 starting in 1997/1998) although I'm sure there are probably some minor gotchas to look out for.

    But it's still a heluva cool project. My next project will likely be a carbureted LS engine into an older car.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2010
  3. MyBoTy

    MyBoTy Veteran Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Lubbock, Texas USA
    ^ good advice!
    I'd probably look for a 6.0L with an iron block, they're hell for stout and will take more abuse than an aluminum block. They can be stroked to 40X cubes and run either cathedral or L92 rectangular ports. Brackets and accessories can be sourced from junkyards or ebay sellers. There's a complete swap forum over at, give it a look. Those guys tend to be a lot younger than folks with older cars and it'll sometimes remind you of an elementary school playground fight, but there's still plenty of good, sound advice.
  4. badazz81z28

    badazz81z28 Veteran Member

    May 4, 2001
    Las Vegas, NV
    You have to shop around, craigslist may be your best bet. People know these are popular...Expect to pay the price on Ebay and the junk yard. I have not seen a decent LS1 on Ebay for less than a couple grand.
  5. Aceshigh

    Aceshigh Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    GEN III Vortec
    5.3L complete with harness and trans IIRC was ~$1000

    Gen III 6.0L Vortec
    LQ4 is the cheapest (just add L92 heads)
    LQ9 fairly close (just add L92 heads) 408 budget stroker build 600+hp

    Gen IV Vortec
    LY6 is a 6.0L that comes with the L92 heads, so it's going to be higher.
    Roughly $2000 for a complete LY6 / 4L80e over 50K
    Roughly $2500 for a complete LY6 / 4L80e under 50K
    These are prices I was told by RetroLSX awhile it could be cheaper now.

    L92 engine is the 6.2L and is 2007 + and they are alot more money.
    I've been pricing them and most are over $4,000.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2010
  6. JAMMINJ007

    JAMMINJ007 Veteran Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    Houston, Tx

    450 rwhp is going to require some extra money. I just bought a crate motor 6.0 LY6 and did a cam/intake (LS3) intake along with headers and no cats and 3in exhaust. Only made 360 to tires. Of course you have to factor stall convertor and 4l80E for low #s. Who really cares what the dyno says that same dyno will read different day to day. Due to ambient temps, humidity and what not. What really matters is how it behaves on the street and what it does on the track. I have no doubt it will see mid 11's at the track and get 18-20 mpg.

    As far as cost go my was at the higher end of the spectrum. I bought everything new. Probably should have went the wrecking yard pullout method. I would say upwards of 14-15k. Mind you when you buy a crate motor you have to buy everything else separate. :mad: When I changed intakes I had to change all of the accessories i.e waterpump alternator, starter, idler and power steering along with brackets.

    With alot of research and patienceI think you could do it for about $7-8,000. Which is really no more than buying a warmed over small block chevy 383 with good internals, carburator and electronics, but can safely drive it everyday with good gas mileage. Well I'm sure this is going to be debated so......
  7. Aceshigh

    Aceshigh Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Crap.......wasn't aware of that. :screwup:

    Well that blows. What intake did you change FROM and TO ??
    Are you talking going from the truck intake to the LS3 intake ??
  8. 2ndgenhunter

    2ndgenhunter Veteran Member

    Mar 19, 2010
    Give these guys a call. All they do is LS retrofits and LS engines. Hotrod revolutions 678 446 0653
  9. JAMMINJ007

    JAMMINJ007 Veteran Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    Houston, Tx
    Truck to corvette ls3
  10. sbca96

    sbca96 Veteran Member

    Oct 25, 2004
    Santa Barbara, Ca
    You are going to have trouble .. "Bakersfield" for one, "76" for the other. So it
    has to pass smog when you are done. The bellhousing bolt pattern it not the
    same as the iron blocks, so using a 350 or 400 will be limited if even possible.

    If you are on a budget .. I would suggest an LT1, it will bolt to a 350 or 400
    trans, and will give you 300 hp. You can use a supercharger on it and still be
    smog legal. Used systems pop up on craigslist from time to time.


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