What's so special about the LS? | TECHNICALLY SPEAKING

lumen8

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How many times have you heard the term “LS-swap”? What makes GM's LS series so popular with drag racers, hot rodders, drifters, modders and tuners alike? We dive deep to find out the reason why this particular engine is so many people's favourite.

 

Wound_Up

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There's nothing special about it. Same as a gen 1 sbc. Nothing special about those, either.
 

GLHS60

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Whats special about GM V8 Engines in general is the rear sump oil pan, very easy to swap.

Fox bodys were designed for a rear sump but Ford Engines didn't go back to rear sump until the Mod 4.6

Now all Ford V8's are rear sump, just the way Henry Ford intended!!

Even the Ford Y block was intended to be rear sump with its rear oil pump.

GO TRUMP!!!
 

WAG

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^^^ Seems that If all of those Fords were INTENDED to have rear sump pans, they would have had them. Sounds like you might believe some 'outside supplier' must have forced it on them. ;)
 

GLHS60

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Fords suspension Engineer forced it on them by placing the cross member in the way.

Ford Engines were traditionally rear sump right up to the final flathead V8.

As mentioned, the Y block was designed to be rear sump with its rear oil pump.

Only the Baby Bird got the rear sump oil pan, other cars were forced to compromise.

Ford Engine Engineers finally got a proper Engine compartment with the Fox body cars.

The final OHV V8's got the tortured oil pan until the Mod etc Engines were introduced.

After the goofy suspension edict was gone, all Ford V8 Engines now feature a proper rear sump oil pan !!

Holden suffered a similar fate with their goofy front oil pump on the domestic V8's
 

lumen8

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Yes the Holden commodores have the steering rack behind the crossmember, so the sump is in the front. The LS holdens have a front sump pan unique to them and the oil travels a looong way through extra piping in the pan... from the front sump pickup back to the filter area then back to the front to go into oil pump. EDIT: they did fix that with the last holdens.

The Australian fords are the same.... front sump. So they need a well designed pan with extra capacity. I'll be putting a canton trap door road race pan in the heap showing in my av to try keep the oil in check.
 
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WAG

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Fords suspension Engineer forced it on them by placing the cross member in the way.

Ford Engines were traditionally rear sump right up to the final flathead V8.

As mentioned, the Y block was designed to be rear sump with its rear oil pump.

Only the Baby Bird got the rear sump oil pan, other cars were forced to compromise.

Ford Engine Engineers finally got a proper Engine compartment with the Fox body cars.

The final OHV V8's got the tortured oil pan until the Mod etc Engines were introduced.

After the goofy suspension edict was gone, all Ford V8 Engines now feature a proper rear sump oil pan !!

Holden suffered a similar fate with their goofy front oil pump on the domestic V8's

Man, that kinda seems like a lot of excuses for piss-poor engineering. Face it, they did to themselves for decades!
 

Launch

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Not much "technical" in that vid at all.
 

Launch

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There's nothing special about it. Same as a gen 1 sbc.
I disagree.

All aluminum lightweight engine from factory (at not a great cost)
Factory 55mm hollow cam core (lightweight core & lobes that make HP)
Lightweight & stout valvetrain, can spin to 8k as is from factory
OEM heads that flow a lot of air, when cnc'd even more so
Factory cross bolted & skirted 6 bolt mains block, very rigid
Gaskets that are simple to install, and all aluminum covers/oil pan etc
Factory+aftermarket composite plastic intakes that don't heat soak and rob a heap of HP on the street, compared to a lot of old school engines, especially the ones with coolant running through the intake
The OEM intake design gives a heap of low/mid range torque which gets a car moving, makes the LS behave like a bigger CI engine

There are a lot of advantages of it that make it appealing to hot rodders. It's not a "fad", and people just blindly copied. In most cases they have given the user a very good experience. In the very early days of the LS release, 4th gens and vettes were deep in the 11's just with bolt-ons. My own heavy 3700lb Holden/HSV sedan was in the high 11's n/a with just a little 224/224 cam+ bolt ons, back in 2003. And the LS's popularity just grew massive from there.
 
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r1pilot

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The LS is a light engine, that is easy to put in most anything. It makes a lot of power/good torque to boot. I have a stroker LS3 416 cid in my car now. Steel crank. thick steel webbing is stock. Ever see how the webbing is assembled? Its solid. The computers are easy to tune. Easy to change cams and heads. I have changed my cam before without pulling lifters. I have solid lifters in mine but even without link bars you can do it.
Also, the tight piston/wall clearances ensure good compression and oil usage. The stock pistons are cheap. Keep the mixture good and they will hold up a long time. The rods are cracked, not my favorite, but you can add a set of callies rod.

Wheres the problem? in the cylinders. If you are careful you can bore them and rebuild, but you are better of just buying another block and build. I'm going to catch crap, but I call them throw away blocks for both the cylinder walls and the cost. The heads are excellent.

For your basic swap, an out of the box LS3 w/computer is a great setup and easy to do.
 

lumen8

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I'm going to catch crap, but I call them throw away blocks for both the cylinder walls and the cost. The heads are excellent.
One of the well known LS engine builders had said somewhere that not a lot of equipment out there can bore and hone them as well as GM did, it mightve been Kurt Urban that said that but dont quote me on that, I read it a while back and whoever said it was saying which equipment can and cant do as good as a job as the factory does and went on to specify which sunnen stuff is good.

So its not a bad idea to just get another block and save the messing around.

If one has access to a good machine shop with the right equipment then its not a bad thing. Can get a few more cubes out of the iron blocks too this way.
 
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lumen8

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Here's mine btw, so another LS owner here (yea I do actually have some cars unlike the YB leftys :facepalm: ) put one in the white car in my avatar. Its an aluminum 5.7 with ported cathedrals, .620 .623 lift 237/243 cam, 1 7/8 headers , FTI 9.5" 3600 verter, and a full manual T400. I do have to do something about the intake manifold, its a restriction at the moment being a stock LS6 intake. Will probably try a super vic single plane and get rid of the over radiator intake and seal all that area up.


 

Ummduh

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What's so special about it? Seems like it just hits on every want. Heads better than a lot of aftermarket for sbc/sbf from the factory. Compact. Factory roller. Oil pump spun off the crank so you can put the sump anywhere you want it. Installed on everything so there's millions of them out there. Cheap, easy. (Generally). GM didn't break a lot of backwards compatibility, ala Ford and their ever changing bell housing patterns.

As a ford guy, you can't say the LS is junk. You can however say that it's the safe and boring option these days.
 

Erik-427

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What's so special about it? Seems like it just hits on every want. Heads better than a lot of aftermarket for sbc/sbf from the factory. Compact. Factory roller. Oil pump spun off the crank so you can put the sump anywhere you want it. Installed on everything so there's millions of them out there. Cheap, easy. (Generally). GM didn't break a lot of backwards compatibility, ala Ford and their ever changing bell housing patterns.

As a ford guy, you can't say the LS is junk. You can however say that it's the safe and boring option these days.
Agreed.......except about the bell housing.
Chevy may have stayed the same, but gm as a whole was just as bad as Ford.
 

TheRevII

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Among all the other things mentioned, there's size...it'll fit where lots of other engines won't, such as the LS's natural competitor, the 5.0 Coyote. Simplicity....engine mechanics/builders who don't feel comfortable tearing into a 4-cam, 4-valve engine other than bolt-ons and tunes have no problem with an old-school cam-in-block 2 valve - and finally, a giant, easily accessible, relatively cheap aftermarket. The Coyote aftermarket is substantial but nothing like either the SBC or LS platforms.

You can make a 5.0 run like a raped ape and boy, do they look good in an engine bay. But it's gonna take a lot more skill and a lot more money to do it.
 

Ummduh

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Agreed.......except about the bell housing.
Chevy may have stayed the same, but gm as a whole was just as bad as Ford.
Well, we weren't really talking about them as a whole. Just what makes the LS so over used.. Ford's bullshit with with their bellhousings can really fuck a guy over good (as far as this argument is concerned), it has for me. Your typical chevy hotrod guy barely has to think about it.
 

007dragracer2.0

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There's nothing special about it. Same as a gen 1 sbc. Nothing special about those, either.
Well not so true. Better heads, 15° valve angles, super priority oiling systems, 6 bolt mains like the old ford 427's.When GM designed the LS platform it was on a whole new sheet of paper and it's a very reliable engine.
 
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