LS1 Head-And-Cam Upgrade - Getting Pumped Up

We Discuss The Next Level Of Engine Upgrades For Project C5X

Alan Colvin Jul 12, 2009 0 Comment(s)
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Intake side of LS1X World Warhawk heads

As most of you know, over the last two years or so we have been on a journey to upgrade our Project C5X. That journey so far has included a Mid America Motorworks interior upgrade, basic engine add-ons including Dynatech headers, Mid America Motorworks exhaust and air intake, Pfadt sway bars and coil-overs, a Baer brake upgrade, an Elite Engineering tunnel plate, an American Car Craft stainless steel accessories package and an MTI shifter install. Almost all of our installs and 100 percent of our dyno work has been done by Next Level Performance in Altamonte Springs, Florida, and Geoff Skorupa and crew have done a superb job! So far we have covered a lot of editorial ground, but what we really want to do now is produce some real horsepower.

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Intake side of LS1X World Warhawk heads

Most C5 owners realize that the LS1 is the perfect candidate for making power. The LS engine has been one of the most easily modified engines ever built and with every new LS generation, Chevrolet just keeps improving the breathing ability, thus making it that much easier to make easy gains with very little effort. The original LS1 engine is still residing in Project C5X, so we decided instead of swapping in a brand new LS stroker, we would work to improve what hand we had been dealt with a stock bore/stroke engine. With that in mind, we decided to do a head and cam upgrade. A head and cam upgrade is one of the simplest and most productive upgrades for any car but especially so for the LS1.

There are lots of choices out there for this type of swap. We wanted to try to find the cheapest horsepower for the money so we looked very hard at all the aftermarket components available for the LS engine. After some consideration, we decided to try a set of the LS1X World Warhawk heads and a custom grind C4orce Comp Cams hydraulic roller camshaft and valvetrain. We know we will have to modify the heads, but at this time we don't know quite how much yet, so we will just let the cards fall where they may and report on what we find once we get into the rebuild.

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On the intake side, the port receives minor work on the short side radius and floor with enough material removed to eliminate the casting lines.

We decided to do a custom C4orce-grind camshaft to take full advantage of all of our parameters. This camshaft is one of several C4orce camshafts that we have designed over the last year that Comp Cams has built for us, but we will talk about the specifics of each of those cams in a future issue. What we can say at this point is that this particular camshaft uses a larger lobe separation number than most for better idle quality. One thing to always remember when choosing a cam profile is not to go overboard if the car is to be driven (especially daily like Project C5X is) on the street. The LS1 engine is so responsive to small changes in cam profiles that you really don't have to get radical with your upgrades. Let's discuss the components we are going to use.

The LS1X Warhawk heads we used had the 72cc combustion chambers and feature 235cc intake runners similar in design to the cathedral port of the LS1 and LS6. We would have liked to have used the 64cc version with a smaller intake runner, but it was not currently available at the time of this build. Pete Incaudo, owner of VMax Motorsports, has been working with World Products for quite some time and knows their product line well. Pete has worked on the development side for this head, and we asked him to help us on this install. Pete is one of the best cylinder head guys in the country, and when it comes to getting the most flow from any set of cylinder heads, Pete is the guy to have on your team. Pete angle milled these stock castings to arrive at an optimum 62cc combustion chamber that will yield a 10.5:1- 11:1 compression ratio, which is fine for the street.




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