LS3 Engine Engineers - Inside Information

In a VETTE exclusive, we introduce you to the engineers in charge of the Corvette's LS3 engine components. Part 1: Cylinder block, rotating assembly, and oiling system

Christopher R. Phillip Apr 1, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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Cylinder Block
Name: Jason Murphy
Title: Design Responsible Engineer
Years with GM: 11

Vemp 1105 02 LS3 Engine 2/9

Other experience: Designer: block design; Designing Engineer: Gen III block casting and machining; Designing Engineer: dyno validation testing; Component Test Engineer: component testing, Wixom Test Lab

What LS3 part(s) are you responsible for? Cylinder block, bearing caps, cam bearings

What LS7 and LS9 parts are you responsible for? Same

What other Corvette parts have you been involved with in the past? LS1, LS6 cylinder blocks

Why do you think your LS3 part is the most important part on the engine? The power output of the LS3 requires that the block can hold up to severe operating conditions. A superior design is required in order to package the big bores for max displacement and crankcase bay-to-bay breathing features inside to reduce pumping losses. The LS3 block interfaces with basically everything—cooling, lubrication, power development, and cylinder-head joints. If you have an LS3 block, you have the same strength in virtually all areas as in the LS9. As a matter of fact, LS9 block-strengthening features have gone into all 6.2L small-block blocks since the release of the ZR1.

What is a focus area you watch when designing the LS3 part, especially knowing it is for a Corvette engine? Lower-end construction to reduce mean and alternating stresses—in other words, stresses that could potentially create a fracture-initiation site. We really watch cylinder bore features that have a maximum effect on minimizing bore distortion. These areas are critical in any block, but especially the LS3 because of its high output.

Vemp 1105 03 LS3 Engine 3/9

What are the current trends with your LS3 part? Where is it going? Lighter weight, bore stability, increased lower-end strength, and tighter tolerances. All of these features have been hallmarks of our small-block engines from the beginning. Our design and manufacturing systems make the LS3 one of the best in the industry in these areas. Our quest in these areas will continue as we forge ahead to be even better.

Compare your part with aftermarket parts of the same item. What makes yours better? Our blocks go through a much more thorough and stringent development and validation schedule than typical aftermarket blocks. Thankfully, many of the aftermarket blocks follow very closely some of the key changes we make based on the global resources and technical expertise we have at our disposal. Our designs are pretty strong—aluminum Gen III and Gen IV blocks in the boneyards are becoming premium commodities for street rods and various other projects.

Do you own a Corvette, a classic car, or have a related hobby? One of my favorite cars of my past was my Impala SS with an LT1, to which I added a performance engine calibration and "hot" cam. I enjoy designing systems that meet end-of-test requirements at time of teardown; it's direct feedback that we did a good job. I enjoy following various types of racing, mainly to follow technology improvements for internal-combustion engines. Although it isn't in production yet, I have a patent for a cylinder-block casting bulkhead-window formation.

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