If you recall from our last issue, Chevrolet asked us to go behind closed doors to participate in a dry-sump-LS3 engine build and document the process. The location of our assignment was GM's Performance Build Center (PBC), in Wixom, Michigan, a 100,000-square-foot facility capable of assembling up to 15,000 engines per year. PBC personnel currently hand-build the dry-sump LS3 used in manual Corvette Grand Sport coupes, as well as the Z06's LS7 and the ZR1's LS9.
Last month, we showed you how a highly trained team of technicians assembles these halo engines-one at a time, one builder per engine-and documented the first steps in the build process. Come along now as we help install the heads, lifters, and rockers, and then watch the intake and ignition go on. After that, we'll see how the hand-built LS3 is leak-tested, watch as the exhaust manifolds, flywheel, and clutch assembly are installed, then follow the brand-new engine through weighing, quality control, cold testing, balancing, and final approval.
Along the way, you'll witness some of GM's proprietary engine-build techniques, many of which have never before been disclosed to the public. You won't have to take a vow of secrecy-just appreciate the craftsmanship that Chevy's master engine builders put into every one of these hand-built Corvette engines.
Due to the length of the build and the many steps involved, we'll be limiting our coverage to the highlights of the process. Rest assured, however, that the PBC engine techs put their formidable skills into every detail of every build, down to the most minor components.