To spin the camshaft, we veered from the antiquated "wet" timing-chain setup in favor of a much more advanced design, the beltdrive. Jesel has long set the standard in dry beltdrives, with kits that eliminate the timing chain and instead drive the cam with a belt located outside the crankcase. Here, it can be easily accessed for maintenance and to facilitate cam-timing changes. We also chose Jesel 1.6-ratio aluminum roller rocker arms for this engine, knowing that their shaft-mounted design, which places each pair of rockers on an individual shaft, is far superior to stud-mounted rockers and provides additional valvetrain stability.
Internally, this engine will have to be able to survive the abuse we intend to hand it, on both the street and track, so only quality components would do. A quick check of Summit Racing's catalog and website was all it took to find the components we'd need for a tough bottom end. Starting with a Scat lightweight forged crankshaft, Scat I-beam connecting rods, and Clevite engine bearings, we added a set of Mahle forged pistons that will bring our compression ratio to 11:1, just like the LS7. To oil this small-block, we ordered a Stef's aluminum oil-pan kit that includes the pickup and pump, also from Summit Racing.
We've already taken the new parts to our local machine shop, Auto Performance Engines, to have the necessary operations performed. Once the machine work is done, we'll assemble this 427-inch combo and use the shop's Superflow dyno to test and tune the mill. How much power will we make? We hate to speculate before the engine is even running, but we'll be disappointed if we don't handily top the LS7's numbers with our "old school," first-generation SBC. Let us know if you think we have what it takes, and how much power you think we'll make, at www.vetteweb.com, and be sure to follow the rest of this series as we build, dyno, install, and test our LS7-killer small-block.