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post #1 of 28 Old 08-23-2014, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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True cost of going LSx..??

I'm in the process of researching what to replace my SBF(302) with when it tires or just dies..and lets face it,all stock blocked 302's DIE when raced hard I'm about to be married,a new step dad,and hot-rodding money will be limited to what horse-trading or overtime I can make..nothing extravagant anymore. My plan is to run the 302 in the 85 LTD until this Winter..then do a rebuild/revamp. I really like this little car..it's a 4-door,with car seats in the back,10 holes,very unassuming,and runs low 12's as is I've been around Fords since birth & know what 351C's,FE's,and BBF's can do...but they are often hard to find,or weigh too damn much/have shi++y driveability.351W is another option..but budget goes out the window due to good heads costing so dang much! I want my cake & to eat it too..EFI,OD trans,ability to drive anywhere..without spending $5-10K on an all FORD drivetrain. My goal is low 7's 1/8th mile on motor,then maybelow 6's-high 5's on as much spray as a stock bottom-end(I would plan on freshening it,better rod bolts,and pistons). Research has lead me to the LS platform..so I'd like some REAL,TRUTHFUL numbers here. How much can I expect to spend on doing an LS swap,including all the little nickel & dime stuff? Remember..we are talking: junkyard motor(+rebuilding/freshening),porting/freshening the heads,trans+convertor+driveshaft,engine mounts/oil pan,exhaust,fuel system,cooling system. At this point,it appears cheaper to re-use the factory EFI intakes/ignition rather than converting to a carb. The 6.0 appears to offer more potential than the all aluminum 5.7,but the 5.7LS sounds like they can be taken pretty far with ported heads,cam,pistons,rod bolts,aaanndd a power adder. I realize there is NO FREE LUNCH when it come to hot-rodding. FWIW,I can weld/ do metal work,make motor mounts,weld header flanges,etc.Most mechanical stuff I get..but electrical/wiring is my Achilles heel..so I need to keep that simple. I've been on LS1tech,here,YB,etc...and have found NO hard numbers as to the TOTAL COST.So,with ALL that out of the way..how much do you have in your LS swap..? Sleepr71

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post #2 of 28 Old 08-24-2014, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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24 hours & nothing but crickets...other than one PM. Guess everybody is racing

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post #3 of 28 Old 08-24-2014, 07:44 PM
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I'd say around 6k or so... Just a guess

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post #4 of 28 Old 08-25-2014, 01:50 AM
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Because there is no "kit" available to do what your wanting to do, the true cost of the swap to YOU will not be realized until you turn the last wrench on the project. Not to be a smart a $$, but we all have different parts resources and skill sets that affect the actual monetary outlay. I know a guy who scored an ls3 for free just for doing some work, but myself, I paid 1500 for an lq4 pullout motor. Some guys run 8's on a reflashed factory LS ecu, while I paid more for an aftermarket one. If your knowledge of ls motors is limited, such as mine was, then a complete pullout 6.0 motor with ecu for 1500 is not a bad deal. If you want to learn as you go and save some cash, then you could piece a 5.3 together for less than 500 bucks. Do you want to scavenge the wrecking yards and craigslist for parts, or do you have a summit catalog and high limit credit card? If you want to go as fast as 5's and have EFI and OD trans, a 6.0 block with forged stroker kit would give a durable 400 plus Inches and high compression with the stock heads. A holley efi can control the engine, prgressive nitrous, and the chevy od transmission all in one box. (Very easy to hook up and get running and good support for those who have limited wiring/EFI experience.) You can have your cake and eat it too, but that starts to get a little more expensive than alot of these budget builds you read about. Plan on how the car will be used, and how often it will be used for street driving and racing. Be realistic on how often you plan on running 5 sec. eighth miles, and how good your tuning skills are. If you can fabricate, hou can get the engine and trans mounted int he car for practically nothing. An OD trans that will repeatedly tolerate 5-6sec passes is not cheap! A cost effective measure would be a junkyard 5.3 reusing everything except regap rings for boost. Get an ebay gt 45 turbo, and instead of OD trans, use a powerglide, TH350 or TH400 with a tall rear gear. The turbo will love the continuous engine load, and OD wont be necessary. Dont skimp on fuel system, wastegate, or BOV to avoid system malfunctions. Use a megasquirt for cost effectiveness or Holley for user friendliness, tune carefully and youll achieve both your performance and drivability goals. A turbo system is easier on parts, requires less rpm, and uses small cam profiles that further aid streetability. You could piece this system together for less than 5 grand. I just now encountered my first issue with my turbo combo. One broken piston due to repeated 24 psi. runs, non intercooled, 90 degree heat on 93 octane. If I woulda regapped my rings, it would still be gettin it. LS motors are tough.

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post #5 of 28 Old 08-25-2014, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Botlrokit..that is the kind of info I need. As far as performance..I'd like it to be capable of high-mid 6's with whatever power-adder I choose,and be driven to the track,on street tires(drag radials/ET Streets)..I think high 5's would be an all-out balls to the wall run..and would take 700 or so h.p. for a 3,150 lb car. I say Nitrous because it's much easier to hide visibly,and especially to the ear. No hiding a big turbo/supercharger...
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post #6 of 28 Old 08-26-2014, 12:26 AM
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Like botlrokit said the controls and trans are the expensive part.
Going carbed is going to cost about the same as carbing a sbf +$300 for the controller.
I picked up a 2008ish 5.3 with the ls6 style heads(same but crappy springs) and didn't research enough up front to realize it had the DOD and I would need all new lifters and some other parts to the tune of about $500.
I'm considering selling all my sbf stuff and picking up a 6 liter a friend is selling. Right out of the box it's worth 400 hp where I'm lucky to be making 330ish with a cam and aftermarket heads. Biggest cost downfall is the manual trans and I don't think my tremec 3550 would be up for the task even if I make it work.

'89 Coupe>GT40 topend, Holcomb Outlaw 10 cam, 3.73s, 20' paint job....
'67 Coupe>CPP mini kit, '13 GT 13.2" brakes, AJE 8.8 rear subframe and a big pile of parts next to it.
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post #7 of 28 Old 08-26-2014, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Do LS motors share the same bell housing as older SBC's? If so,then a built 200 4R or 700R4 would eliminate the trans needing electronics..while keeping OD. Also,on the subject of headers..it appears you can use 351w/Fox headers w/LS flanges welded on..which is my kinda mod
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post #8 of 28 Old 08-26-2014, 03:46 PM
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You can run either a modified flex plate or a crank spacer to run a 700r4. Bolt pattern is same for the most part. Price a built 700r4 that will hold a true 400rwhp. Now look at 500-600. Almost AOD price territory.

'89 Coupe>GT40 topend, Holcomb Outlaw 10 cam, 3.73s, 20' paint job....
'67 Coupe>CPP mini kit, '13 GT 13.2" brakes, AJE 8.8 rear subframe and a big pile of parts next to it.
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post #9 of 28 Old 08-26-2014, 11:19 PM
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The trans bellhousing bolt pattern is the same, but I needed to drill and tap one hole. (The place for the bolt was there, just no hole.. no big deal) needed a spacer for the crank. (45 bucks, but I made my own.on a lathe) then just drilled new holes in flex plate. I still believe a turbo setup is the most cost effective deal... you can score a 5.3 or 6.0 takeout and use 99.99% of it! Stock cam 6.0 sounds very tame when you futher muffle it with a turbo. Run a full exhaust and electronic cutout, and its silent until you open it up. There are ways to hide a turbo if you want stealth. You mentioned nitrous being easy to hide, but it wont take too many guys getting smoked by a nitrous huffing lsx powered LTD, to blow your cover anyway, lol....

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post #10 of 28 Old 08-29-2014, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback,and I'm open minded about all of this.Just learning LS compatibility/what parts are best,etc. Sounds like a drop-out 2004 up 6.0 LQ with better pistons,rod-bolts & ported heads is the best budget route. As far as transmissions..it sounds like sucking it up & going 4L80 is the is the Best route for OD,or going TH350-400 (if going turbo )& just run a 3.08-3.27 rear gear...dropping hwy rpm's+ making the turbo work better..and cheaper than a 4L80+ electronics. Speaking of 4L80's..how much beefing up do they need & what's an avg cost to build one up+ convertor/electronics? Use factory PCM to control those? Thanks,sorry about all of the rookie questions. RacinLSC...I am looking forward to your build..I hope to learn LOTS from it,just didn't want to clutter your thread w/all these questions!

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post #11 of 28 Old 08-29-2014, 01:08 AM
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Are you doing all the work or are you paying someone. That is the biggest difference in any build. I have a combination of new and used and highend and budget parts that all work together to the tune of [email protected] and can drive on the street and win any car show. I have under 30k in the project but could easily been 50 paying someone.

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post #12 of 28 Old 08-29-2014, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Other than building the trans. + final tune on a dyno..I will be doing 90% of it myself. I actually enjoy learning/building/fabricating..but turn the precision stuff over to those who do it everyday
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post #13 of 28 Old 09-14-2014, 04:57 PM
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Don't mean to barge in but I'm planning my next build and as for an LS swap, can't I use a t45 or t56 and get a LS bell housing and call it a day?


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post #14 of 28 Old 09-14-2014, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by 98cobra3 View Post
Don't mean to barge in but I'm planning my next build and as for an LS swap, can't I use a t45 or t56 and get a LS bell housing and call it a day?


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No. Sorta. There are a few threads on converting a trams over for this on ls1tech. Mostly input shaft and related items need to be changed.

'89 Coupe>GT40 topend, Holcomb Outlaw 10 cam, 3.73s, 20' paint job....
'67 Coupe>CPP mini kit, '13 GT 13.2" brakes, AJE 8.8 rear subframe and a big pile of parts next to it.
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post #15 of 28 Old 09-14-2014, 05:52 PM
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For $6000 (which I would be AMAZED to see that for a swap/build) I dont see whay you cant do a roller 351w with a mild turbo cam aa set of $800 used Dart Srs and build you a turbo kit with a 80 or 88mm turbo. This is an old proven set up I believe withan "F" cam and the car went high 8's in the 1/4.

I have a stock short block (factory forged pistons) arp fastners, Dart Srs and a Master Power 76mm turbo through the 5 speed it put down 575 rwhp/ 560 rwtq at 12 psi boost on 93 octane. In a Fox that should be deep in the low 10's or high 9's with full trim.

I am not an LS hater I just do not believe dollar for dollar it is cheaper to swap.

My son call's me "Old school" because I still have a Ford powered Fox body. I told him that this "old school" guy will still whip his LS WS6's ass
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post #16 of 28 Old 09-14-2014, 05:55 PM
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So you're saying that a boosted motor would be a better swap than an na car? Lol. I'd rather do a 5.3 with this years tax return and then boost it with next years and not be living on borrowed time.

'89 Coupe>GT40 topend, Holcomb Outlaw 10 cam, 3.73s, 20' paint job....
'67 Coupe>CPP mini kit, '13 GT 13.2" brakes, AJE 8.8 rear subframe and a big pile of parts next to it.
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post #17 of 28 Old 09-14-2014, 06:23 PM
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Either way a boosted engine you will be on borrowed time. A 302 stock block we all know will take 500-550 fly wheel hp,a 351w stock block will hold apx 800 fly hp, a 5.3 stock block will hold apx 1,000 fly hp. So by looking at those it would make more sense to build the 5.3 right? What are you trying to accoplish? Who has the best block strength? Or we trying to do a budget build as the Op was asking about? YES I KNOW the ALMIGHTY LS can make more HP per dollar vs the old technology of the SBF. But swapping one into a Fox chasis I do not believe its chaeper unless you build the swap k-member yourself, tranny swap crossmember yourself, ac lines, re-wire all the accessories yourself, make power steering lines yourself, radiator hoses yourself, etc. Even if you do how much do you value your time doing all this "customizing"?

And like one guy brought up a built 4L80 is the only GM tranny that I would trust (and I have dabbled in the LS world, I had a TBSS & my son has a 11 second WS6) you are talking a minimum of $2200 to swap a stock one and closer to $3000 if you go turbo, plus a convertor. If you go GM T-56 your looking at at least $2500 for a used one and a good GM clutch set up is $1,000.

It all depend on what the Op wants to do & how much he is willing to do himself & spend.

My son call's me "Old school" because I still have a Ford powered Fox body. I told him that this "old school" guy will still whip his LS WS6's ass
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post #18 of 28 Old 09-14-2014, 06:31 PM
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It is all in the eye of the beholder and I am about to push this ####ing coupe I'm doing a 5.0 swap into out to the street. I can't believe I have this much wrapped up in a stock wish setup. It would have been cheaper to buy a tbss at auction or boost my Saab 9-7x into coyote territory.

'89 Coupe>GT40 topend, Holcomb Outlaw 10 cam, 3.73s, 20' paint job....
'67 Coupe>CPP mini kit, '13 GT 13.2" brakes, AJE 8.8 rear subframe and a big pile of parts next to it.
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post #19 of 28 Old 09-14-2014, 06:41 PM
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It's crazy how much coupe's are selling for nowadays. The original 5.0 stuff is getting harder & harder to find without being all cut up.

I had been contemplating a Coyote swap or LS in my Fox but I have all my original build stuff plus an R-block that I will finish later. My 98 F150 my buddy & i are thinking about a Coyote swap to keep it reliable & still probably put 400 rwhp. But then again I have gt40ps and a S-trim so Idk. My tbss I loved it but I spent so much on the 4L60 and that POS Circle D convertor cost me $2,000,

My son call's me "Old school" because I still have a Ford powered Fox body. I told him that this "old school" guy will still whip his LS WS6's ass
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post #20 of 28 Old 09-15-2014, 05:47 PM
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What manual transmission are available to bolt up to the LS


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post #21 of 28 Old 09-15-2014, 05:50 PM
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Keisler sells some. Tremec has a few. I came across one that had a conversion kit and a service to change it over. Can't be that hard. Otherwise you get the fbody t56 which is expensive and probably worn out.

'89 Coupe>GT40 topend, Holcomb Outlaw 10 cam, 3.73s, 20' paint job....
'67 Coupe>CPP mini kit, '13 GT 13.2" brakes, AJE 8.8 rear subframe and a big pile of parts next to it.
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post #22 of 28 Old 09-15-2014, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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What I'm finding out is that auto GM O/D trans are as expensive as AOD/4R70's..and the 4L80 is THE only durable option(other than "maybe" the 200-4R..I'm still reading on that one). 4L80's are more expensive than a built AOD with all the goodies. If you don't need O/D..a Turbo 350-400 is the way to go.. and can be beefed up relatively cheap(like a C4). T-56 is the LS manual trans. of choice..but $$$! Also,the LS motors are only cheaper..IF you stay with factory GM parts...start looking at stroker kits,aftermarket heads/blocks get just as expensive as Windsor Ford parts. It seems as the key to making power with an LS(on a budget) is knowing which factory parts to combine together(i.e. which head casting numbers are better,which intakes,etc)..and to go ahead+replace the rod bolts/pistons/head gaskets in most any LS you want to last. Sounds like most guys are just slapping in Junkyard motors & hitting it with a big power-adder(turbo or N2O) & when it blows..go get another..and another. The best deal I've found on a complete wrecked LS1/T-56 vehicle is $6K...and that's about avg..so far. IF that's the going rate,then I WILL go back with an EFI 408/built AOD or R-blocked SBF..that can just as easily handle most anything I'd throw at it. If I gotta spend same amount of $$ I might as well keep it FORD. I'm keeping an open mind and doing my research,but there is definitely no free lunch!!
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post #23 of 28 Old 09-16-2014, 07:20 AM
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What I'm finding out is that auto GM O/D trans are as expensive as AOD/4R70's..and the 4L80 is THE only durable option(other than "maybe" the 200-4R..I'm still reading on that one). 4L80's are more expensive than a built AOD with all the goodies. If you don't need O/D..a Turbo 350-400 is the way to go.. and can be beefed up relatively cheap(like a C4). T-56 is the LS manual trans. of choice..but $$$! Also,the LS motors are only cheaper..IF you stay with factory GM parts...start looking at stroker kits,aftermarket heads/blocks get just as expensive as Windsor Ford parts. It seems as the key to making power with an LS(on a budget) is knowing which factory parts to combine together(i.e. which head casting numbers are better,which intakes,etc)..and to go ahead+replace the rod bolts/pistons/head gaskets in most any LS you want to last. Sounds like most guys are just slapping in Junkyard motors & hitting it with a big power-adder(turbo or N2O) & when it blows..go get another..and another. The best deal I've found on a complete wrecked LS1/T-56 vehicle is $6K...and that's about avg..so far. IF that's the going rate,then I WILL go back with an EFI 408/built AOD or R-blocked SBF..that can just as easily handle most anything I'd throw at it. If I gotta spend same amount of $$ I might as well keep it FORD. I'm keeping an open mind and doing my research,but there is definitely no free lunch!!
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post #24 of 28 Old 09-17-2014, 12:27 AM
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post #25 of 28 Old 09-17-2014, 01:17 PM
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How to Push a Junkyard 351 Windsor Past 1,000 HP! - Big-Bang 351W


I don't see where what or how a ls what ever is stronger than the mighty 351 Windsor, you guys must have junkyard's full of 351s , grab yourself a set of used biggest inline windsor heads you can a prochump victor sr knock of manifold or used 351 tfs r and give it a couple of kits of giggle gas or grab a used turbo kit and let her eat the boost, #### like cams and that for ls's are more $ , heads are a good bit more $ besides ported stock ####
in Australia ####s want 1000 for a ####ed out core 351w and junkyard LS's are only a thing we read about on the internet lol, so if your not going to take advantage of all the spare 351w send em down here. lol
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post #26 of 28 Old 10-27-2014, 12:54 PM
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1700 bucks in mine, 2200 if you count the turbo 350 I bought. thats not counting the 1500 I sold my 302 for and the 700 I sold my C4 for. If you count it like that, I am about even. My car has a stock 6.0 with new rings and bearings, stock rod bolts(re used), CTS v oil pan, the heads on my LY6 are the 823 castings which are the same as LS3 heads except for hollow stem valves. I milled the heads .020, installed a vic jr, and my carb. Car has been a best of [email protected] on alcohol and [email protected] on gas. I have ran it for 2 years problem free. My car weighed 2965 when it ran 6.30 with 4.10 gears. These motors are super impressive. As soon as I get my hands on a 6.2 hear at work the new goal will be 5.9s on a stock shortblock with cam only and some compression.

92 coupe. 2850lbs with driver. fti cam, stock 88 shortblock, stock pistons, quick fuel 750 carb, air gap intake,4200 stall, c4 trans with 4.10 gear. best 1/8 mile et to date is [email protected] ( on methanol) w/ 1.43 60ft. 1/4 mile et of [email protected] (on 87 pump gas)
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post #27 of 28 Old 10-28-2014, 06:37 PM
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1700 bucks in mine, 2200 if you count the turbo 350 I bought. thats not counting the 1500 I sold my 302 for and the 700 I sold my C4 for. If you count it like that, I am about even. My car has a stock 6.0 with new rings and bearings, stock rod bolts(re used), CTS v oil pan, the heads on my LY6 are the 823 castings which are the same as LS3 heads except for hollow stem valves. I milled the heads .020, installed a vic jr, and my carb. Car has been a best of [email protected] on alcohol and [email protected] on gas. I have ran it for 2 years problem free. My car weighed 2965 when it ran 6.30 with 4.10 gears. These motors are super impressive. As soon as I get my hands on a 6.2 hear at work the new goal will be 5.9s on a stock shortblock with cam only and some compression.
You got a smokin deal on that LY6. In my opinion, the LY6 is the absolute best way to go if doing an iron 6.0 junkyard motor and wanting to utilize all of the stock parts. It really is the best combination of block, heads, and price poiint. What compression ratio did you end up with on that combo? Care to share cam specs and timing details? BTW, yeah an all aluminum, big inch, N/A, 6.2 based compression motor would be nasty in a lightweight fox. And probably outlast the car, lol.....

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post #28 of 28 Old 11-03-2014, 01:29 PM
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Well, i work at the dealer. It was going to scrap pile so i got heads. Another guy got shortblock and i decided i wanted to go the LS route, and only way I could get it was pay him 400 bucks, still way cheap. I had a LS3 from a vette for free, but parts screwed me out of that.

92 coupe. 2850lbs with driver. fti cam, stock 88 shortblock, stock pistons, quick fuel 750 carb, air gap intake,4200 stall, c4 trans with 4.10 gear. best 1/8 mile et to date is [email protected] ( on methanol) w/ 1.43 60ft. 1/4 mile et of [email protected] (on 87 pump gas)
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has any one used true flat top pistons on 5.4 help!!! HONDURASMUSTANG SVT & DOHC 6 08-12-2012 12:56 PM
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