Chevy Performance Q & A - Performance Q & A

Kevin McClelland Dec 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)

Q: My '97 F-body has an LT1-series engine with a number of miles on it, and I was thinking about a new engine. I've read many articles about engine swaps and upgrades but have not seen any about people upgrading from an LT1 to the LS series. Can this upgrade be accomplished for a reasonable price? What types of complications, if any, are involved with such an upgrade? Thanks in advance for your thoughts. Marcus Jones Via email

A: The main reason you haven't seen many engine swaps on the fourth-gen Camaro is the relative low cost of those cars. Also, the LT engine is a decent-performing engine from the start. It's not like you have a third-gen Camaro with a TBI 305. It's a very straightforward swap, and the General has done all the work for you.

First, find a buddy in the used car business. Next, find the closest CoPart insurance auction in your area. Get your buddy with his dealer's license to go to the insurance auction and find a '98-and-up Camaro with an LS engine and the trans package of your liking. You'll find many cars that have rearend damage that totals the vehicle. This will give you all the components necessary to do the swap. Spec'ing out all the component parts to covert the engine would be a lot of money. Between harness, controller, and transmission differences, it could really run up in price. Picking up a totaled Camaro for around $3,000-$4,000 and getting everything you need in one stop is the way to go.

Several years ago, a good friend was doing just this, picking up totaled Camaros and pulling the LS1s and T56s out to sell. He could sell the engine and trans for more than the purchase price of the Camaro, and the rest of the parts off the car were gravy. Check out the CoPart website for an auction in your area. Happy hunting. Source:

Throttle Lag
Q: have an '01 Chevy Silverado with a 5.3L engine and an aftermarket MagnaCharger supercharger. I ordered a set of Zex spark plugs to replace my TR6 NGK V Power plugs because Zex claims its plugs are a better application for my supercharged engine. How do you feel about the 160-degree thermostat I used to replace the factory thermostat?

Also, I noticed-even from the beginning of the supercharger install-that when I mash the throttle, the truck seems to hesitate before it takes off. What can I do to resolve the hesitation I'm getting when I mash the gas peddle real quick at the beginning of idle or quick takeoff? The hesitation seems to get a little better as the truck warms up. It runs great medium to top end, with no hesitation once it gets going. Thanks. Larry Boatman Via email

A: When you supercharge or increase the cylinder pressure by other means than the atmosphere we have to breathe, you create more heat in the cylinder. With this increased heat, you change the heat range requirements of your spark plugs. The Zex spark plugs are a cooler heat range to accommodate the differences in the increased cylinder pressure. As with any spark plug, they are offered in many heat ranges. The Zex plugs were developed around nitrous use, and with nitrous you have immediate and extremely violent heat changes in the combustion space. Living through these events and giving you a good service life is where they shine.

As for your hesitation, the MagnaCharger system is a very well-engineered retrofit supercharger. The inlet manifold below the blower is a very short runner design. One of the conditions you may be experiencing is that the factory LS truck intake manifold is a very long runner design, which boosts slow-speed torque. Also, the throttle valve has been moved farther away from the inlet valve, which creates more volume in the inlet system. All these factors can give you the feeling of a delay in engine response.


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