408 LQ9 Budget Engine Build - Finance-Friendly 408, Part 2

Buttoning Up Our Garage-Built LS Stroker And Heading To The Dyno With Hopes Of Unleashing 600+ Horsepower

Chris Werner Sep 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)
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Tough times have forced many to pinch pennies, and enthusiasts have not been immune. But a new awareness of the value of a dollar doesn't dictate a death sentence for the hobby we know and love; it just means one must be all the more mindful of prices when shopping for go-fast goodies.

For example, when you're looking at shelling out a lot of dough for a hi-po engine, you want to be darn sure you'll get a good return on your investment. Fortunately, many respectable engine builders offer good deals on assembled LS mills, and this trend has clearly been helped by the falling prices of some of the parts that go into them. But with smart component shopping and some know-how, the motivated DIYer can put together his or her own motor and save even more-and, hopefully, have a fun and rewarding engine build experience in the process.

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Last issue, the School of Automotive Machinists (Houston, TX) machined our 6.0L LQ9 iron block, honing the bore out to 4.030-in. as well as line honing the main bores and resurfacing the decks. We then stuffed in our all-forged rotating assembly, which consists of 2618 aluminum Wiseco pistons pinned to 4340 steel connecting rods from K1 Technologies. The steel crankshaft, also K1, delivers a 4.000-inch throw to allow this mill to squeeze out 408 cubes of LS fury. With the short-block completed, the next area to address is the valvetrain.

In this issue, we continue our quest for all-out LS horsepower for minimum investment. We're not cheating the bottom line by incorporating any used components, either-everything down to the engine block is all-new. An N/A build has been chosen in order to forego additional monies spent for power adders, not to mention the unrealistic factor of simply turning up the juice or boost for a high horsepower number. And while factory bottom ends are sturdy enough to reliably supply plenty of tire-shredding torque, extra cubic inches over what a stock-stroke crank can supply opens up the potential for many more ponies, so a stroker it is.

Having put together our short-block in our August installment, it's time to finish off the assembly, so follow along in the photo captions to get the gist of how it's done.

Editor's Note: In the interest of saving space, some details were skipped over during this build. For a more step-by-step breakdown, see Werner's "My First Stroker" series in GMHTP August, September, and November '06. You may also consult his book, "How to Rebuild GM LS-Series Engines" available from www.cartechbooks.com as well as your local book retailer or GM dealer.

Dollars And Dyno Graphs
Stroker Parts And Price Breakdown
Short-Block Parts Subtotal:
$2,862

Long-Block Parts Total (Includes Short-Block Parts):
$6,904

Machine Work Total:
$925

Total Additional Parts To Complete "Crate Engine":
$2,524

Tools & Miscellaneous Total:
$371

Before getting to our results, an analysis of how much it took to put together our 408 is in order. Check out the accompanying table for a full breakdown, noting that when possible, all prices quoted here and elsewhere in this story are those of major retailers and have been rounded to the nearest dollar. Some prices of new-to-the-market components were quoted from the manufacturer so are a tad high, and a few-notably, rotating assembly components-have been adjusted to reflect prices you can find on the web (as opposed to MSRP) so may differ from what you saw in Part 1. Finally, prices not directly available are estimated, as is the case with machine shop labor. Since readers attempting to duplicate this build may already have a donor LS to reuse parts from, we've done our best to classify all parts into "long-block" (minimum for build) and "crate engine" (soup to nuts) distinctions. Even so, the category breakdowns are not exact-for example, you could not get away with reusing a stock F-body intake with rectangular-port heads, making the L76 mandatory for an F-car application-but we feel this breakdown best matches how engine builders market their assemblies.

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