We took an LS3 block from Summit Racing, added a 3.267-inch stroke crankshaft from a 4.8L, spun it to 8,000, and made 607 hp. The secret to this small-block screamer is the short stroke and good head flow. As a general rule, the reduced piston speed provided by short-stroke motors allows for increased overall engine speed, and engine speed x torque/5252= horsepower. If you combine big rpm with big bores, you get a combo that makes plenty of power. Why? Small bores limit head flow by shrouding the valves, large bores unshroud the valves and allow more air to get into the engine. More air allows more fuel to be burned. More fuel makes more power.
We decided to apply this formula to the modern LS engine family. Given the availability of aftermarket blocks as well as custom cranks, rods, and pistons, it is possible to build any combination your heart desires, but we decided to do it with as many factory components as possible. Not that this motor was a low-buck, junkyard build by any means, but the effort produced a motor that was every bit as cool as an original L76 or DZ302, those high winding race motors from the muscle car era of V8 racing.
Looking over the myriad LS combinations offered by the factory, one motor stood out from the rest, the 4.8L LR4. One thing the majority of the LS engines shared from the factory was the stroke of the crankshaft. The 3.622-inch stroke was used in everything from the 5.3L up to the supercharged 6.2L. This list included every variant of the 5.3L, 5.7L, 6.0L and 6.2L, with the extra displacement coming from changes in bore size. Other than the limited production 7.0L LS7 (with an even larger 4.0-inch stroke), only the 4.8L differed from the rest of the family. Sporting a 3.267-inch stroke, the 4.8L nearly matched that offered by the original (high-winding) L76 327. If you are thinking the cheap-date combo would be to simply build the 4.8L with a head, cam, and intake package optimized for high rpm, you’d be wrong. Unfortunately, the 4.8L was also saddled with a small 3.78-inch bore restricting head flow and power potential. In this way, the 4.8L can be likened to the original 283, though at 3.87 x 3.00 inch, the 283 had a slightly larger bore and shorter stroke.
To cure the small-bore dilemma, we combined the 3.267-inch stroke of the 4.8L with a 6.2L, (LS3) 4.065-inch bore block. The new big-bore, short-stroke LS combo was sporting 339 cubic inches (5.56L). Dropping the 4.8L crank into the LS3 block required use of custom JE pistons and 6.30-inch, 4340 forged-steel connecting rods from Lunati. The JE forged pistons featured 5cc domes to increase the static compression ratio to 11.7:1 using 58cc heads. The short block was assembled using Fel Pro race bearings, timing chain and oil pump, along with a Moroso oil pan, pick up, and windage tray.
Finishing things off was a custom Comp cam from Brian Tooley Racing (BTR). The cam offered a 0.627/0.596 lift split, a 243/262-degree duration split, and a 110-degree LSA. The cam was teamed with a set of Crane hydraulic roller lifters that featured heat-treated and carburized 8620 steel with precision machined bodies and internal components that allowed them to run safely at, and beyond, 8,000 rpm!
With the big-bore, short-stroke short block cammed and ready to go, it was time for the remainder of the power producers, namely the heads and induction system. Topping the LS3 hybrid was a set of AFR LSX 230 V2 heads. As indicated by the name, the AFR heads have 230cc intake ports that flow 324 cfm, while the exhaust flow checked in at an equally impressive 252 cfm. Credit for the high flow numbers goes to CNC porting combined with a 2.08/1.60 valve package. The 58cc combustion chambers helped further improve power by increasing the static compression ratio.
The AFR heads were teamed with a Holley Hi-Ram intake manifold. Available with a variety of different tops, we configured the tunnel-ram style Hi-Ram with a dual-quad top designed to accept a pair of Holley 950 Ultra XP carburetors. Additional components used in this build included an ATI Super Damper (a critical upgrade at this engine speed), a set of 1 7/8-inch headers from American Racing Headers, and Holley Dominator EFI system to control the ignition timing.
Before running the motor, we subjected it to a couple of break-in cycles using Lucas break-in oil. After the break-in process, we changed to Lucas 5W-30 synthetic and were free to run it in anger. After dialing in the timing with the Dominator and a few jet changes to the XP carbs, the combo spun all the way to 8,000 rpm, posting some impressive power numbers along the way. Thanks to the big bore and short stroke, the 339-inch motor produced 607 hp at 7,900 rpm and 466 lb-ft of torque at 6,200 rpm. More than a few Westech customers walked over to the dyno room when they heard us zing this thing to 8,000 rpm. The ultimate compliment came from the owner of a 1969 Z/28 being testing on the chassis dyno. Said the small block owner, “Man, I thought my DZ sounded good, that thing is awesome!” You know you’ve done something right when your engine gets the thumbs up from a DZ owner! Now we just need a Camaro to put it in.