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  1. #1
    not what you think...
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    144

    Iron Block LS (LQ) install - 2nd Gen Camaro

    Righto, projects... change of plan from the twin turbo small block idea as an LQ motor turned up at the swap meet a couple of months back.

    I can't leave anything alone, so even though my Camaro has only been on the road for a year it's currently in bits waiting for a transmission transplant. I've built a really strong 4L80E for it ready to put some serious horsepower through the chassis. When I rebuilt the car I did it with a similar thing in mind. Substantial subframe connectors, solid body bushings, extra bracing on the front subframe as well. I also fitted a very strong 12 bolt in the back, with Moroso Brute strength posi and forged half shafts. I have a lot more to do yet, but I'm stopping short of fitting any sort of roll cage, for now. As it's predominantly a road car.

    Here it is. Been to a few shows in 2014. Currently powered by a strong 360 SBC putting out around 425hp. I've made a few underhood changes since the photo was taken, including fitting hydroboost and a different air filter to get rid of that horrible chrome one!

    It's got multi-point EFI and wasted spark ignition (crank triggered) with Megasquirt II ECU.





    So in the quest for more horsepower I'm building an LQ (iron block LS) motor for this now with the intention of making around 600hp NA. With scope for some forced induction in the future.

    I can't ever recall seeing an LQ motor for sale in the UK until I saw this one at a swap meet for a 300 ($450). It's all brand new but the block has some minor damage on the lower left corner. The heads are the stock truck ones, but I can get those skimmed and do all of the port work myself. I have a spare head that I can experiment with before I start on the real thing.





    Pulled all of the pistons out of the bores - all new but missing pins and locks. Not a major problem as I might need to get another set that has valve reliefs cut as I am pretty sure I am going to run into valve to piston clearance with the sort of cam I am planning to run.

    Set about checking the rest of the block over for cracks and it all seems to be OK. Checked the bores and water jacket all over and found nothing - messy job with the dye pen fluids. So that just leaves the 2 on the bottom left corner of the block where some idiot has dropped it.

    Drilled the ends of the cracks as deep as I can and ground them out. Haven't gone too mad with them as they aren't really in critical load areas of the block. But one of them is right on the back of the oil passage down the side of the block so it needs sealing up otherwise it'll leak oil. The areas of the block aren't too thick, so it should be possible to get enough heat into it.

    This one is pretty simple.



    The other is the one on the oil passage. The corner of the block was broken away where the sump bolt hole is. So I drilled it all the way through and then cut off the damaged part - not that it was held on by much anyway. The intention being to make a new threaded boss and dowel it to the hole I drilled through. I'll probably braze it up without the boss fitted and then just fit the boss later as it's not structural, it just needs to hold the back of the sump to the block. This gives the best chance of sealing up the crack... I think...







    You can buy an LS swap sump kit, but I'm not paying $200 plus $100 shipping for the privilege of that... So I've made a start on modifying the oil pan for the LQ motor. The original truck pan is 8" deep, way too much for the Camaro. So I've cut nearly 2" out of it. Trouble is it's lost a bit of capacity as a result. Just need some thicker alloy plate to arrive so I can get on with modifying it some more to add a bit of that capacity back. Should be able to get it done this weekend.






  2. #2
    Settling in
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    85
    Interesting project,keep the updates coming.

  3. #3
    not what you think...
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    144
    A package from DIY Autotune arrived earlier in the week, all the parts for the Megashift controller for the 4L80.



    Finished the controller off, got comms with the laptop sorted, just need to build the harness for it and connect it up to the ECU to see if I have CAN communication between the ECU and TCU. If so, I just need to finish putting everything back together so I can start using the car again.


  4. #4
    not what you think...
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    144
    Made a proper mount for the ECU and TCU today - I was never really happy with the ECU stuffed under the centre console, and it was always a pain to get to.

    Need to finish it off properly, and actually move the ECU, but for now the Megashift should be happy up there. Yes it's where the glovebox should be, but I don't have any need for one, and this is a much better use of the space.

    I'll be building another ECU for the LQ install, so I'll leave the old ECU under the centre console for the time being.



    Spent the rest of the day making the wiring harness for the transmission and also making a new bracket for the crank sensor. I've got the harness partially installed, got to finish connecting power and also sort the CAN out between the ECU and TCU. And then tidy it all up properly.



    Still got to sort the transmission cross member, and shift cable as well. Hope it all works after this....

    Other than that;
    Transmission filler/dipstick needs mounting properly
    Alternator cables need extending
    Electric water pump wiring
    Refit the exhaust
    Plumb the trans cooler
    Make a removable panel for the hole I cut in the floor to clear the cooler lines
    Swap injectors
    Fill with new fluids

    Then it'll be ready for the road again.... Other than needing another MOT

    When I do the LQ engine install I'll be refreshing a lot of the wiring again - I've changed so much since I put the car on the road it's getting a bit messy again.

  5. #5
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    feltham
    Posts
    3,582
    Quote Originally Posted by gothic_sera View Post
    A package from DIY Autotune arrived earlier in the week, all the parts for the Megashift controller for the 4L80.




    Pure wizardry going on right there

    Do like your stuff Gothic
    Last edited by cptpugwash; 18-04-15 at 09:01 PM.

  6. #6
    not what you think...
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    144
    Thanks

    Got the crossmember made. Modified the original one by moving the mounts forward and relocating the transmission mount. Only took about 3 hours in the end...


  7. #7
    not what you think...
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    144
    Been out of the car and bike stuff for a while, had a lot going on in my life and had to put a few things on hold. But I'm back at it and trying to get things moving again.

    Modified the oil pan. Got some 4mm sheet and made an extension for the bottom section, this will regain the capacity lost by cutting down the depth. It gives the pan more or less the same dimensions as the Cadillac CTS-V pan.

    I bolted the pan to the block before fully welding it to minimise distortion.





    We're a bit stuck for head options in the UK, and splashing out on some very expensive CNC heads would just about bankrupt me I think! So as I had these stock heads here I thought I would make use of them. Not my first porting job by a long stretch, but it is the first set of LS heads I've done.

    5 hours in and I got one head roughed out with the carbide cutter. Just need to finish it off with cartridge rolls and give the exhaust ports a polish.

    I've since had them skimmed so I just need to polish the chambers and unshroud the valves as well.

    I had a scrap head here as well, so decided to drill the ports in a few places to find out how thick the walls were as I wanted to remove quite a bit of material, especially around the exhaust ports.

    Started off by marking out the inlet ports on the face so they were all the same size.



    And here's a stock inlet port/valve throat, there's a big step where the cast runner meets the seat insert which you might not be able to see in the photos.





    First thing I did was dive in with a big carbide cutter and blend the seat into the throat



    Then in with a smaller ball cutter and worked on the area around the guide. I did think about cutting the guide back, but I can't see any huge benefits from doing so?



    I didn't really touch the rest of the port apart from cleaning up a few casting marks. I just need to run a cartridge roll all the way through the port to finish it off



    Inlet ports all squared up and equally sized




    Next the exhaust ports - these were even worse where the seat meets the cast runner - but the port was a long way behind the seat insert, so all I could really do was clean it up a bit and blend it as best possible.



    The main work on the exhaust side was at the port exit. They seem very small at the manifold, so I marked them out and then cut quite a lot of material out of the ports including on the top and bottom of the runners so as to make the port the same size all the way through.

    Here's a side by side comparison


    And all done






    Not sure if what I've done will actually result in any gains... but it passes the time!

  8. #8
    not what you think...
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    144
    Fitted the trunion upgrade to the rockers, takes ages but worth it.



    I took drastic measures and turned my long truck crank into a short one... but left the center boss long so I can use a normal (old style) 4L80 converter with a dished flex plate to save me having to then fit an extension.

    As I've already got a dished SFI flex plate, and I'll need to drill that for the 11.5" converter bolts as well. Why did Chevy decide to change all of this after the best part of 60 years?








    Quite pleased with this purchase. A nice fabricated inlet manifold complete with fuel rails and all the fittings. I'll be able to fit my 72lb injectors to this one as well. It's 3" taller than the stock LS1/6 plastic inlet, but should still fit under my hood with the large scoop on it.

    It takes a 105mm throttle body too.

    The only thing I need to consider is where to put the nitrous ports. Either spraying directly down behind the injectors in the runners, or I am considering whether it would work if I put them in the sides of the plenum (arrowed), squirting directly above the bellmouths inside. I can't decide at the moment. The plenum is made of 3mm sheet, so I could just drill and tap it for the nozzles. Otherwise it means making and welding some bosses to the runners at the right angle to fit them to.

    I'd like to decide before I get to the point of fitting it, just so I don't have to take it off again at a later date...







    Got the cam bearings pulled into their bores and checked the alignment. All OK there.

    Then I cleaned and installed the crank, checked the bearing clearances and final fitted it. Rotates nice and smoothly.

    Picking up the rods and heads from the machine shop tomorrow afternoon so should get the short block built this weekend.



    Overall the engine build is going pretty slow. Had to do some disassembly to drill and tap the block to fit an LS2 cam chain damper as my block didn't have the necessary holes as it originally had the LS3 style tensioner which are notoriously unreliable.

    Then I fitted the oil pump only to find something was binding up. Stripped the brand new pump to find a chunk of swarf inside... Not great for a new part from a respectable manufacturer.

    Then on to fitting DSS forged pistons to the LS2 rods with ARP bolts. Had the big ends honed 0.002" oversize to round them up for the new special OD bearings.




  9. #9
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Outside the M25
    Posts
    969
    Some nice work going on there

  10. #10
    not what you think...
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    144
    Thanks

    Found time to get the rest of the rotating assembly in today.


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