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Old 05-12-2019, 01:07 PM   #1
jimbuick
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Hey folks,

Haven't been active in a while, but I'm back and have been researching some options for my goat.

Had some bad luck last year. My engine blew on the DD '05 and then my '06 BOM got totalled while parked. School has been crazy, but I'm hoping to get some real work done on the '05 I have left this summer.

I'm a little conflicted over whether or not to build and upgrade another LS2, or if I should spend the extra to put an LS3 in it. Any opinions and experience?

I was thinking I would get a new short block either way, and build it from there. My LS2 in the '05 had about 115k when it went, and it is an M6. I'm not sure what went, because I haven't pulled it yet. I think it was the bottom end. The engine started screaming at me on the way to work, it sounded like the grinding from a lifter, but when it came off the tow it had dumped all of the oil, which makes me think something failed in the bottom end. The block may be salvageable, and I may just pull it and have it gone over by a local builder if so, but I'm not quite sure if that is worth doing at this time.

It was largely stock, so I'm not sure I'll be using much from it either way, but I've read the LS3s don't like to take a tune in our cars (and cost over 2x as much).

So, what do y'all think; is it worth trying to fight with an LS3 or should I just build a new LS2 with a more aggressive cam and better heads and call it good?

Thanks,
Jim

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Old 05-12-2019, 02:02 PM   #2
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If all of the oil's gone out of it I rather doubt your existing block can be saved. If going with a new shortblock though I'd say go with the LS3, especially if building it yourself. One point of concern though is the reluctor wheel on the LS3 being a 58x while the stock LS2s in our cars are 24x. At the end of the day its your decision and your $$ though.
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Old 05-12-2019, 03:34 PM   #3
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How does an LS3 not "take a tune?"
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Old 05-12-2019, 03:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Squag27...View Post
If all of the oil's gone out of it I rather doubt your existing block can be saved. If going with a new shortblock though I'd say go with the LS3, especially if building it yourself. One point of concern though is the reluctor wheel on the LS3 being a 58x while the stock LS2s in our cars are 24x. At the end of the day its your decision and your $$ though.

That was my initial thought too, RE: the block. I won't know for sure until I pull it, but I am not expecting much.

smurf, I forgot about that reluctor wheel. I'm not sure I feel comfortable trying to change that myself in a garage. Is that something I could have a reliable builder do shortly after I get the block? If so, it's an extra expense I'll have to factor in, but if I can just put the 24x on the LS3 without issue then it may not be a huge deal.

ETA: actually, that may not matter that much for labor cost. I think I may have a builder do the bottom end work anyway, just to be sure about it.

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Originally Posted by Nothubertjfarnsworth...View Post
How does an LS3 not "take a tune?"

I'm not a tuner, so I'm not sure what the problem is exactly. I was reading some threads on here that had a handful of professional tuners that were trying to figure out why they wouldn't idle right in the GTO. Something to do with the existing computers and the airflow values needed.

I think it was finally resolved, and it involved replacing the intake(?) and associated sensors to the LS2 versions before it would run right.

I'm not sure 100%, and I don't know if there is a reliable tuner that can figure all that out near me.

Last edited by jimbuick; 05-12-2019 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:56 PM   #5
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You will still need to keep all the GTO computers/parts in place so it doesn't matter what block you use. Another little known fact regarding GTO's, is that a 800 RPM idle is hardwired into the ECM and you can't change it no-matter what HPTuners tells you; it's an Australian thing only and why Holden choose to do it is unknown. Many people/tuners will dispute what I just said, but any other idle speed is going to cause other problems within the tune. I would build a LS3 with a billet 24 tooth reluctor, and bolt all the GTO LS2 sensors onto it. Good luck.
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:43 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jontall...View Post
You will still need to keep all the GTO computers/parts in place so it doesn't matter what block you use. Another little known fact regarding GTO's, is that a 800 RPM idle is hardwired into the ECM and you can't change it no-matter what HPTuners tells you; it's an Australian thing only and why Holden choose to do it is unknown. Many people/tuners will dispute what I just said, but any other idle speed is going to cause other problems within the tune. I would build a LS3 with a billet 24 tooth reluctor, and bolt all the GTO LS2 sensors onto it. Good luck.

What specifically are these other tuning problems you create by changing the 800 rpm idle?

How do you explain cars that idle right at commanded idle speeds other than 800 rpm and what about cold idle at 1100?

eta: If I command a 900 rpm idle what keeps the over/under speed spark and idle proportional airflow from trying to drive the rpm to 800 if that is the hard coded speed? I know there are some hard coded limits on the ls1 like the maf for example, but never had any issues changing idle speed.
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Old 05-13-2019, 06:55 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jontall...View Post
Another little known fact regarding GTO's, is that a 800 RPM idle is hardwired into the ECM and you can't change it no-matter what HPTuners tells you; it's an Australian thing only and why Holden choose to do it is unknown.

i've never had issues?

maybe you're thinking of the idle air effective area table.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jontall...View Post
I would build a LS3 with a billet 24 tooth reluctor, and bolt all the GTO LS2 sensors onto it. Good luck.

that's really the best way. if you want to use a crate engine, there are folks that have had success with the ligenfelter 24x-58x converter.
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:46 PM   #8
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So I'm looking right now at getting a new bare block, and then going from there.

Is there any reason I can't get an LS2 and have it bored out to match the displacement for the LS3?

I guess I'm just not 100% clear on what other differences there are between the blocks.

If it helps, I'm strongly considering having it stroked out either way. The bare block is $1500 cheaper, so if there isn't a difference in buying the LS2 and having it machined, then I may consider that, if it proves cheaper to do.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:19 PM   #9
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You'd have to get the LS2 resleeved, and you might as well build a 427 at that point.

The great thing about the LS3 is the heads, the bore size just helps with flow around the larger intake valve.
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:38 PM   #10
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The great thing about the LS3 is the heads, the bore size just helps with flow around the larger intake valve.

LS2 + LS3 heads = hurray!
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:56 PM   #11
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LS2 + LS3 heads = hurray!

Meh. LS7 with LS7 heads. MEATMEHOUTSIEHOBOUDADT
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:58 PM   #12
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BS on you can’t change the idle speed. I can, at will, on my 04 and 05 with HP Tuners. Can verify it via the hidden menu, a handheld actron scanner, and data logging with HP Tuners. No issue whatsoever with my tune either.
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Old 05-13-2019, 05:15 PM   #13
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Mebbe he talkin bout dis?

https://www.ls1gto.com/forums/showthread.php?t=244217
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Old 05-14-2019, 12:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiPopeye36...View Post
BS on you can’t change the idle speed. I can, at will, on my 04 and 05 with HP Tuners. Can verify it via the hidden menu, a handheld actron scanner, and data logging with HP Tuners. No issue whatsoever with my tune either.

I never said that you can't change the idle with HP Tuners... I said that changing it from the hardwired factory settings in engine idle "base setpoints" and "minimum setpoints" will cause anomalies within the tune elsewhere. Holden hardwired those settings into the ECM on 2005-06 GTO; believe it or not.
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:12 AM   #15
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The Ls2 has thicker sleeves than the ls3. Smaller bores leave more sealing area for head gaskets. Since I’m boosted I’ll be going with an ls2 block when the time comes for a forged motor. Naturally aspirated those minor things will not matter so go with the most cubic inches and best heads you can afford.
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Old 05-14-2019, 07:10 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jontall...View Post
You will still need to keep all the GTO computers/parts in place so it doesn't matter what block you use. Another little known fact regarding GTO's, is that a 800 RPM idle is hardwired into the ECM and you can't change it no-matter what HPTuners tells you; it's an Australian thing only and why Holden choose to do it is unknown. Many people/tuners will dispute what I just said, but any other idle speed is going to cause other problems within the tune. I would build a LS3 with a billet 24 tooth reluctor, and bolt all the GTO LS2 sensors onto it. Good luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jontall...View Post
I never said that you can't change the idle with HP Tuners... I said that changing it from the hardwired factory settings in engine idle "base setpoints" and "minimum setpoints" will cause anomalies within the tune elsewhere. Holden hardwired those settings into the ECM on 2005-06 GTO; believe it or not.

Sure seems like you said you can't change it via HP tuners in your first post.

That said, I do not have my idle set below 800rpm. My 04 is set at 800 and my 05 (cammed) at 850.

Oh and this is a fun tidbit of info in that other thread that I experimented with last summer:

Quote:
Just change the idle timing to get the sound you like. I can make a 224 lope like a big cam and my 240ish cam idle like a stocker just changing the idle timing.
I don't know if your Predator will let you adjust idle timing, but HPt will, and if you use the scanner/realtime editor you can run the timing up and down until it sounds the way you like, then go over to the editor and change it to the value you found.

My 04 with a stock cam has a much rougher idle now by playing around with the idle timing cells.
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Old 05-14-2019, 07:36 AM   #17
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04 with a stock cam sounds great at idle, like 600 or so.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:11 AM   #18
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L96 from junkyard $1200
Freshin it up with new bearings and cam $1500
Forged rod and piston $1500
Flow heads $1200
Turbo kit or LSA blower $3000

Forged and boosted 6.0L iron block that will make 700+ to the tires for less than a LS3...

PRICELESS
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:43 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Hook937...View Post
L96 from junkyard $1200
Freshin it up with new bearings and cam $1500
Forged rod and piston $1500
Flow heads $1200
Turbo kit or LSA blower $3000

Forged and boosted 6.0L iron block that will make 700+ to the tires for less than a LS3...

PRICELESS

I looked at that too, but I don't think I'm going to boost the goat, so I'm not sure I want the extra weight.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:51 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Nothubertjfarnsworth...View Post
You'd have to get the LS2 resleeved, and you might as well build a 427 at that point.

The great thing about the LS3 is the heads, the bore size just helps with flow around the larger intake valve.

I'm actually considering that. I may reach out to a local engine builder this week and get an estimate on what the machine work and bottom end labor cost would be, and then I guess I'll go from there.

I suppose I'll make the decision on what is best once I get a better handle on the cost of everything.

Last edited by jimbuick; 05-14-2019 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:59 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbuick...View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nothubertjfarnsworth...View Post
You'd have to get the LS2 resleeved, and you might as well build a 427 at that point.

The great thing about the LS3 is the heads, the bore size just helps with flow around the larger intake valve.

I'm actually considering that. I may reach out to a local engine builder this week and get an estimate on what the machine work and bottom end labor cost would be, and then I guess I'll go from there.

I suppose I'll make the decision on what is best once I get a better handle on the cost of everything.

Be careful with local builders if they don’t have experience with LS based engines. There really are benefits to using someone like TSP that builds LS stuff every day. They will know exactly what you need to make everything play nice together in your car.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:06 PM   #22
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I got a L92 shortblock off Craigslist for $500 that needed rebuilt. I only used the block and crank. I put JE/SRP 4.070" pistons in it with stock LS2 rods and the stock crank, new cam, crank and rod bearings. I also bought a new GM 24x reluctor wheel and replaced in myself in the garage. It's not that hard. The big difference is I put LSX-LS7 heads on it with the LSX454 cam and a LS7 intake.

I also tuned it myself with HP Tuners, no issues.

The only thing I would change is the cam. I've gotten used to it, but it has 21 degrees of overlap and under 1800 RPM it has some bucking (stick car).
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:11 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hadagto...View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbuick...View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nothubertjfarnsworth...View Post
You'd have to get the LS2 resleeved, and you might as well build a 427 at that point.

The great thing about the LS3 is the heads, the bore size just helps with flow around the larger intake valve.

I'm actually considering that. I may reach out to a local engine builder this week and get an estimate on what the machine work and bottom end labor cost would be, and then I guess I'll go from there.

I suppose I'll make the decision on what is best once I get a better handle on the cost of everything.

Be careful with local builders if they don’t have experience with LS based engines. There really are benefits to using someone like TSP that builds LS stuff every day. They will know exactly what you need to make everything play nice together in your car.

Good advice. The shop I reached out to is a performance builder and fabricator, but they've been doing a ton of work on Mustangs recently, so I don't know their track record with LS platforms.

I have also been pricing out TSP and other shortblocks. Right now, I'm just trying to put together a couple of possible build sheets, and then I guess I will go from there.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:13 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by GTO-Cole...View Post
I got a L92 shortblock off Craigslist for $500 that needed rebuilt. I only used the block and crank. I put JE/SRP 4.070" pistons in it with stock LS2 rods and the stock crank, new cam, crank and rod bearings. I also bought a new GM 24x reluctor wheel and replaced in myself in the garage. It's not that hard. The big difference is I put LSX-LS7 heads on it with the LSX454 cam and a LS7 intake.

I also tuned it myself with HP Tuners, no issues.

The only thing I would change is the cam. I've gotten used to it, but it has 21 degrees of overlap and under 1800 RPM it has some bucking (stick car).

The L92 was in good mechanical shape at that price? I worry about used blocks since they're aluminum...
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:31 PM   #25
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Used iron blocks are nice and seasoned.
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Old 05-16-2019, 01:08 AM   #26
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Good advice. The shop I reached out to is a performance builder and fabricator, but they've been doing a ton of work on Mustangs recently, so I don't know their track record with LS platforms.

I have also been pricing out TSP and other shortblocks. Right now, I'm just trying to put together a couple of possible build sheets, and then I guess I will go from there.

It's unlikely you can build a forged short block cheaper than you can buy one from someone like TSP or Thompson. Even then you are going to have to put your trust into a local machine shop that may not do a lot of LS stuff and also may take way longer.

I saw a guy on facebook had the best engine builder and best tuner in the country or so he thought. The engine builder wasn't an LS guy. He gets the engine in the car and now it will not run. Engine builder can't even remember what reluctor he put in it...LOL. Go with someone that builds LS stuff every day and make sure you ask plenty of questions being specific about your vehicle, ecu, and goals.
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:46 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by jimbuick...View Post



I'm not a tuner, so I'm not sure what the problem is exactly. I was reading some threads on here that had a handful of professional tuners that were trying to figure out why they wouldn't idle right in the GTO. Something to do with the existing computers and the airflow values needed.

I think it was finally resolved, and it involved replacing the intake(?) and associated sensors to the LS2 versions before it would run right.

I'm not sure 100%, and I don't know if there is a reliable tuner that can figure all that out near me.


its not the intake thats the issue. Its the LS# Maf that reads different frequencies than the ls2 maf. Thats the issue. You use the reluctor wheel off your Ls2, (you pull it off the ls2 crank and press on the ls3 crank, requires special tool) Use your Ls2 MAF and all of your ls2 sensors. The computer does not know what engine you have, It reads the sensors and responds with your programmed data. Getting it to idle is no problem and I've never heard of a hard wired 800 rpm idle in 05-06 cars. My buddy Has an 06 and it idles at whatever is comaanded. I think its set at 1000 rpm right now. If you dont set idle airflow correctly, it wont idle at your commanded rpm.
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Old 05-16-2019, 06:07 AM   #28
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Ok, just talked to my buddy. His idle is set at 910rpm right now. He said no issues. And he said that stock it was 550rpm (mine was too) and when he put a small cam in he had it at 600-650 and it idles perfect.
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Old 05-16-2019, 03:23 PM   #29
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Original poster I am in the middle of a engine build also. I would look at Texas speed for a short block. I got a re sleeved 5.3 gen 4 block and run a 4.125 bore with a 4.00 stroke for 427 cubic inches. I got a little crazy and put billet crank and rods. But you could just go with forged rotating assembly and save some money. The darton sleeves are way stronger and longer then factory sleeves.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:33 PM   #30
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Original poster I am in the middle of a engine build also. I would look at Texas speed for a short block. I got a re sleeved 5.3 gen 4 block and run a 4.125 bore with a 4.00 stroke for 427 cubic inches. I got a little crazy and put billet crank and rods. But you could just go with forged rotating assembly and save some money. The darton sleeves are way stronger and longer then factory sleeves.

That's what I'm leaning towards spec-wise. I sent TSP an e-mail today, but I suspect I won't hear anything until Monday. Any ideas on how much of my stock LS2 stuff can be used on a 427? I'm thinking things like alt., water pump, sensors, etc.

This will be my first time putting a non-stock replacement engine in a car, so I'm trying to do as much learning as I can about what all parts will need to be replaced before I pull the trigger.

Last edited by jimbuick; 05-18-2019 at 12:00 PM.
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