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LT1 & LS1 Short Block Engine Buyers Guide - Stroker Ace

LT1 & LS1 Short-Block Buyer's Guide: Extend Your Stroke Without Going Broke

Nov 1, 2008
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Adding displacement is one of the simplest and most effective means of adding horsepower to any engine, let alone an LT1 or LS1 that are both highly responsive to modification. Thankfully GM has provided us with a great selection of engine blocks to which we can add a significant amount of cubic inches by simply changing the rotating assembly. Gen II owners have their choice of either the two- or four-bolt-main LT1 block, which can achieve upwards of 396 cubes. Given the similar architecture for both Gen III and IV, these two generations of blocks can be used pretty much interchangeably. As a result, LS1 F-bodies and Corvettes are not limited to the stock LS1/LS6 block, or even the 6.0L LQ9 iron-block. As much as 427 or 440 cubes can be squeezed into your late model GM with a new factory Gen IV block (without re-sleeving). For your reading pleasure, GMHTP contacted the leading Gen II, III and IV engine builders in the country for a list of its most economical short-block packages under $6,000. Feast your eyes on a boatload of affordable bottom ends.

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Briggs Performance
Billy Briggs has been responsible for building some of the fastest LS1s in the country while at his former employer, Wheel to Wheel Powertrain. The talented engine builder has now struck out on his own, and is putting his precise machining and meticulous assembly skills to good use with many LS combinations for various budgets and power levels. While more often associated with high-horsepower, custom motor builds, the Briggs Performance 418 short-block is designed for the more common man looking for up to 600 hp naturally aspirated or 750 hp with forced induction.

Golen Engine Service
Golen Engine Service is no stranger to top-performing, reliable GM EFI motor combinations-first building its stellar reputation with the LT1 crowd. Golen has several 383 and 396 LT1 packages to fit various needs and budgets, all of which are built with the same level of quality that has earned the company its good name. The LS1 short-blocks are every bit as impressive, receiving the same thorough machine work and assembly. Golen is famous for its customer service, and is happy to work with its customers to build a motor around their budget and application-be it moderate to high horsepower, naturally aspirated or forced induction, street car or race only.

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Katech Performance
Katech's years of experience in the C5 and C6 Corvette race programs (as well as other LS-based platforms), make them one of the forerunners for building the ultimate reliable engine combo. The LS2 402 is the most economical of Katech's packages, however, you truly get what you pay for and the warranty speaks volumes about the company's confidence in its product. Each motor is blueprinted and documented to standard Katech specifications. Attention to detail and exhaustive testing are the cornerstones of Katech's success.

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Late Model Engines
LME takes great pride in the fact that every short-block is balanced, blueprinted, and fully assembled-including the oil galley plugs and dowel pins. They tend to offer more high-end, high-horsepower, forced-induction motor combos for the street and track, but both the LQ9- and LS3-based strokers will keep you from having to take out a third mortgage on your house. Many other combos, including LSX-based builds, are available and are designed specifically for each customer and application. The piston, ring package, and piston-to-wall clearance is tailored specifically for the application.

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Lingenfelter Performance Engineering
With over 28 years of experience, Lingenfelter is one of the oldest and most respected names among the GM EFI crowd, and is still building some of the fastest L98, LT1, LT5, and LS1s in the industry. The company, which set the industry standards for LS1s, puts together a great package of materials at a reasonable price with available upgrades and accessories. Each block is fully blueprinted from the lifter bore diameter to the crankshaft endplay before being carefully assembled in a clean room and shipped to your door (or installed in LPE's impressive facilities).

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Livernois Motorsports
Livernois Motorsports' extensive testing and development of this rock-solid combination, rated to 1,000 hp, entailed a Mitutoyo Profilometer to invent the exclusive honing system and finish that seals better, as well as controls oil and extends ring life compared to conventional methods. Each block has a modified oiling system for greater flow and more consistent pressure under extreme stress. Livernois also boasts the tightest tolerances in the industry (at +/- 0.00015). Each short-block consists of Livernois' exclusive rotating assembly that includes the thickest custom-length tool steel wristpin in the industry, pistons with extra thick ring lands and cross section for big boost and big power, and the forged steel crank rated to 1,200+hp, modified in-house for enhanced oiling under extreme loads and rpm.

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Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center
Scoggin-Dickey was quick to jump on the LT1 and LS1 mail-order business when the iron was hot. In addition to selling a number of GM Performance Parts crate engines, SDPC puts together its own lineup of LS-based strokers-starting with a basic 383 LS1, all the way up to the 440 LS7-based El Toro. Whether you prefer the higher-grade components of the "Big Bull" line, or the price tag of the thriftier Econo Flat-top line (below)-SDPC has you covered. Best of all, each short-block comes with an N-Motion billet timing set, LS2 front and valley covers, lifter guides and bolts, timing chain damper, one bottle of GM Engine Oil Supplement, 6 quarts of Valvoline VR-1 30W oil for break-in, dowel pins and plugs, instructions for break-in, and a shipping container.

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Speed Inc
While Speed Inc is most famous for its custom LT1 and LS1 turbo combinations, taking off-the-shelf components over 1,000 hp, they also specialize in proven naturally aspirated combos. Compstar on-center rods are used exclusively to maintain proper (factory) geometry along with Compstar forged cranks, 2618 aluminum alloy pistons from Wiseco or Diamond, and plasma-moly rings ensuring longevity even on high-powered street driven vehicles. Speed Inc also has LSX-based 434 and 454 short-blocks for less than $6,000 using most of the same quality components. Call for information on LT1 strokers.

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SLP Performance Parts
SLP Performance Parts has made its focus creating aftermarket performance with OEM quality, in the vein of its Firehawk and SS progeny. SLP combines a mix of factory and aftermarket components with the ZL402 short-block packages, helping to establish a great price. The ZL402 has strength where it counts in the exclusive SLP-designed Manley H-beam rods and pistons, and Callies forged crank. It's capable of supporting over 700 hp, and has made over 575 hp naturally aspirated with the right top end and cam.

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Vengeance Racing
With former GMMG Lead Technician Mike Carnahan at the helm, Vengeance Racing is quickly becoming a force in the LS market and one of the best shops in the Southeast. The crew boasts a number of combos that make great power reliably. Vengeance uses only new blocks that undergo thorough blueprinting (including the oil passages) and machining, receiving new Dura-Bond cam bearings as well as top quality Clevite rod and main bearings. In addition to the more economical factory block combos, an LSX 440-cid short-block is available for just under $6,000 that is capable of handling 1,000 rwhp.

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Texas Speed & Performance
Texas Speed has become famous for its budget LS1 packages that make big power. The Wolfforth, Texas-based shop is dead set on giving you the best bang for the buck, and its short-blocks are no exception. Right out of the box, its LS short-blocks have made 1,000 hp or more. Texas Speed is happy to accommodate those who require heavier-duty components, especially for power adder applications. A 4.100-inch stroke crank is also available for the short-blocks listed below to further increase the displacement, however, it is not recommended for use with power adders. Each block is fully blueprinted and machined to Texas Speed's specs.

Briggs Performance

Golen Engine Service
17 Dracut Rd
Hudson, NH 03051

Late Model Engines
6040 Brittmore Rd, Suite J
Houston, TX 77041

Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, Inc
1557 Winchester Rd
Decatur, IN 46733
Livernois Motorsports
2500 South Gulley Rd
Dearborn Heights, MI 45125

Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center
5901 Spur 327
Lubbock, TX 79424

SLP Performance Parts
1501 Industrial Way North
Toms River, NJ 08755

Speed Inc
803C Albion Ave
Schaumburg, IL 60193

Texas Speed & Performance
329 E HWY 62/82
Wolfforth, TX 79382

Vengeance Racing
241 Castleberry Industrial Dr, Suite B
Cumming, GA 30040



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