LS1 Engine Build - Dyno Magic!

Texas Speed's Magic Stick 4 Cam and PRC heads pump an LS1 up by 129 hp!

Randall D. Allen Jan 1, 2007 0 Comment(s)

Step By Step

Texas Speed offers a full-range of custom ground camshafts, including the Magic Stick 4 camshaft, custom designed for the LS1 to maximize power in a "Cam Only" LS1 application. Other "milder" grinds are available that will provide a more civilized appearance, but for these tests it was damn the torpedoes, let's fire a nasty grind up and spit bullets!

Steve Figueroa of Sunset Racecraft mans the control room and operates the DTS Model Number 4000G dyno. A control panel for the engine room is located above and to the right of Steve's head. After toggling the ignition and fuel switches, Steve remotely starts the engine and then carefully monitors engine vitals until operating temperature is achieved. Once he loads the dyno and puts the throttle to the gunwales, the little LS1 roars to life. Each and every pull was almost robotic in nature; I guess when you dyno 2,000 hp Pro Stock motors for a living, machine-like consistency is a requirement.

VP 101 in a Harwood Fuel cell adjacent to the dyno room is pulled in via an Aeromotive fuel pump and regulated to 58 psi before being burned in the combustion process. Look closely to the left--that large round gray object is an auxiliary coolant tank that adds additional capability to the DTS model S-1007M engines cooling system.

As a country and a society that lives for the latest and greatest technological advances, it's often helpful to reflect back on our progress. Before the latest GM offerings in the small-block lineup a clean-slate design small-block was introduced to the public in 1997 as the LS1. Initially put into the Corvette C5 and later transplanted into almost every GM performance vehicle, the Corvette spec LS1 put out 345 hp at 5,600 rpm and 350 ft-lbs of torque. Seeing that the latest mouse motor displaced 346 ci, the LS1 was right at the magical mark of 1 hp per cubic inch. Although phased out of production in 2004 and replaced by the evolutionary 364ci LS2, the LS1 continues to receive its fair share of attention, along with cutting edge research and development. Within the LS1 community, nothing is more tried and true than finding the "right" camshaft or bolting on a set of ported heads to transform the little 346ci engine into a truly beastlike, mega cube performer. The aftermarket has stepped up and supplied almost every imaginable grind of camshaft along with a far-reaching palate of factory and ground-up cylinder head designs. Although the trend in the industry is to "step-up" to larger cubic inches by either stroking the LS1 or LS2, the budget-conscious stock cube LS1 owner still wants a magic bullet to maximize the potential of the engine at the most reasonable cost.

Enter Texas Speed and Precision Race Components. As a full-service speed shop and manufacturer of race quality components, the Lubbock, Texas-based business has been at the forefront of the industry in developing late-model GM components and packages designed to maximize the power of the LS1. The 8,000 square-foot complex includes a showroom and shop along with a chassis dyno. Recent additions to the business include dedicated areas that house state-of-the-art CNC machines for cylinder head porting and performance valve jobs plus diagnostic and testing equipment.

According to Jason Mangum, co-owner of Texas Speed, "In 2004 we formed Precision Race Components to fill a void in the market for low-cost, high-quality factory-based ported heads and related valvetrain components. Although there are all manners of aftermarket heads available on the market to satisfy the hard-core racers, the average enthusiast is more focused on maximizing engine performance on a budget. With the stock displacement LS1, cam-only and heads/cam packages are extremely popular. By utilizing a set of our PRC Stage I heads, the enthusiast gets a set of brand-new, CNC-ported castings that will support significant horsepower gains. To that end, we are now introducing the fourth revision to our "Magic Stick" line of camshafts, designed to be the largest cam out there for 346ci applications without having to perform any modifications to provide adequate piston to valve clearance. Our '98 automatic Z28 previously went a best of 10.51 at 125 mph with a Magic Stick 3 and stock unported 241 casting cylinder heads."

With a max-effort affordable LS1 in mind, it was off to the flat-lands of West Texas to join up with Texas Speed and spend some quality time inside an engine dyno cell to find out just how much power could be coaxed out of an LS1 on a budget. In addition to a cam-only test, a set of Precision Race Components CNC-ported LS6 heads with stock valves will be put under the microscope. But why stop there--let's find out if additional horsepower lies in wait in the induction system, namely by swapping in a F.A.S.T. intake, Precision Tool & Machine 80mm throttle body and SLP 85mm MAF.

Co-owners Jason Mangum and Trevor Doelling, along with lead technician Joseph Potak, will be thrashing on the LS1. After wrenching and replacing the parts, we'll show you how much power was added to a bone stock 2000 LS1 engine. Just how much power can be elicited from the mighty mouse, and what will it cost the consumer? Let's find out.

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