I got a Lingenfelter 383 LT1 engine! I'd been thinking about this for a while now, and finally did it. I ordered the engine on August 1, 1997, and it arrived October 20. This is a fairly bulletproof  LT1, all forged bottom end, with good power, and is fully legal in California with a CARB EO#. Here's some of what comes with it:

CNC ported cylinder heads & hand ported intake manifold
Stainless steel one piece valves - 2.00" intake /1.56" exhaust
Comp Cams Stainless steel full roller rocker arms - 1.6 : 1 ratio
Heavy duty double valve springs
Titanium valve spring retainers
LPE 74211 camshaft, 211/219 duration, 530/560 lift with 1.6 rockers, 112 lobe separation
Custom forged aluminum pistons - 11.0:1 compression ratio
File fit plasma moly piston rings
Custom forged 4340 steel crankshaft - 3.750" stroke
Billet steel connecting rods - 5.850" length
4 bolt main
Computer balanced rotating assembly

Advanced Auto Care, in Rancho Cordova, CA, is installing the engine. They've been a joy to work with so far, and have been very interested in doing exactly what I want, including letting me hang around and take these pictures. I haven't been climbing under the car to help with the install...yet, though I wouldn't be surprised if I did.

October 10, 1997

Ron from LPE calls, they have the engine built, and faxed me the dyno information. Below is the graph, the peaks are 456 ft-lbs torque at 4500 rpm, and 448 hp at 5500 rpm. I've added the chassis dyno information (from June 9, 2000), which shows peak torque of 408 ft-lbs, and 390 peak hp. That's a 13% drivetrain loss, actually measured on a dyno (you don't see these numbers validated often). Also graphed is the stock LT1 curve, with peaks of 331 ft-lbs and 295 hp at the engine.

Driveline Loss

Here is a graph of the only four data points I've ever seen that were measured between engine and chassis dynamometers. They're all LT1 f-body 6-speed T56 transmission dynos, and show a loss between 12% and 13.5%.

Monday, October 20

Dave at Advanced Auto Care calls, "The eagle has landed!" I zoomed down there, and snapped these photos while the engine was still in the crate. They'll start the install tomorrow, and estimate that I'll have the car back by the weekend.

Tuesday, October 21

The engine was pulled, out the bottom, today - it was very exciting. Not for the faint of heart, though, as I saw every mod I'd ever put on the car removed in a matter of hours. Not only do they drain all fluids, remove all the engine accessories and stuff, they pull the exhaust, wheels, front suspension, tranny and engine mounts and braces, driveshaft, shifter, and a bunch more stuff I don't remember.





The engine was pulled, out the bottom, today - it was very exciting. Not for the faint of heart, though, as I saw every mod I'd ever put on the car removed in a matter of hours. Not only do they drain all fluids, remove all the engine accessories and stuff, they pull the exhaust, wheels, front suspension, tranny and engine mounts and braces, driveshaft, shifter, and a bunch more stuff I don't remember.

After that, they put jacks under the engine and tranny, then just lifted the car up. The engine, front suspension, cross-member, transmission and driveshaft were left sitting on the jacks. It looked like something right out of Alien, as this strange creature was left on the floor, as my car was pulled away.

On the right is a nice shot of the Accel/LPE 58mm throttle body, compared to the stock 48mm. That ought to get some air in there! That's Kent's magic hands, the master mechanic. :-)

The remaining shell looks somewhat like a funny car.

That's it for the day. Tomorrow, they'll pull all the remaining stock parts off the engine, and the transmission and clutch, and transfer them over to the LPE engine, which is still sitting in a crate. The computer's back at LPE being programmed, so we expect it back by the end of the week, which is the scheduled completion.

Wednesday, October 22

Today, the stock engine was pulled from the alien, and replaced with the 383. So begins the re-assembly, and I can only hope it goes as well as the first half of the job. I called LPE today, and it looks like getting the computer re-programmed and mailed back and forth might be the longest part of this process. I hadn't anticipated that, and I sure hope there isn't a big delay.

Before the engine is moved onto the suspension, the blue headers were installed. They fit okay, though there is a slight mis-match with the exhaust ports on the heads. Hopefully, this isn't enough to cause any problems. The copper gaskets are pretty cool on there, too. Then swing down the new engine, onto the cross-member. It dropped right onto the engine mounts - perfect fit! I left a bit early today, so the car may be a bit further along by now, basically all the accessories need to be transferred over.

Thursday, October 23

Today, the clutch, transmission, and most of the accessories were transferred back onto the new engine, and the whole assembly has been installed back into the car. A couple issues surfaced, fortunately both were minor:

  • The new 58mm throttle body does not have a cruise control connection. Ron at LPE suggests we just grind off the rivet from the stock TB, and use that one. Easy enough, I guess, but if I was planning on selling my stock TB, I wouldn't have liked this solution

While the car was being dropped back onto the new engine, it became obvious that the driver's side header wouldn't clear the steering column. Kent had to remove the header, and drop it in from the top. No huge deal, but a waste of time.

A few hoses remain to be hooked up, and the exhaust and driveshaft are still out. After that, we're done except for getting the computer back from LPE.

Friday, October 24 ...Monday ... Tuesday

No news. The computer isn't back from LPE, so the remaining parts are back on the car, and it's going to wait until next week... Patience...

Wednesday, October 29

The computer finally arrived - that was a long wait! A quick install, and the car fired up on the first try. After some cheering, and lots of diagnostics, it was deemed drivable, so we went out for a test drive. Holy Cow! (hee hee, my Mom reads this). I have to learn to drive all over again. This thing will leave me in the back seat, if I don't watch out! Other than the HP, I really noticed the engine balance. It feels more like my wife Gwen's BMW, like it could rev up to 9000 without a worry (I didn't try that).

Funny, the one thing during this entire install that got all the mechanics in the garage really excited was seeing this thing smog just like it was stock. They couldn't even believe it.

There was an exhaust rattle, and the car still needed to be aligned, so I had to leave it at the shop. I picked it up around 5:00, detailed and ready to go. I cruised around a bunch, and discovered that the exhaust was still rattling, and also got an SES code :-( I got home and fixed the rattle (upper Panhard rod/Borla collision), and reset the computer. I need to stop back at Advanced Auto after a while anyway, to tighten up the headers, so I'll have them check the computer if it keeps throwing the code.



In early 2001, I installed one of the first SFI-rated Fluidampr harmonic balancers that came out for the LT1. This product is intended to reduce higher rpm vibrations, and is especially important in a stroker motor, where the crank deflection can be exaggerated due to the longer stroke. At left is the stock damper, and the Fluidamper (with reluctor ring used on '93-5 f-bodies only)

Installation: See the Install Page.

ATI makes the other SFI damper for the LT1, the "SuperDamper". Here's their ad, showing that below 7000rpm, the Fluidampr works better, and above 7000, the ATI unit is better.


Conclusions

Well, so far I'm very happy with this project. Lingenfelter has produced a wonderful engine, and Advanced Auto Care did a fantastic job, both technically, and from a customer service perspective. I really need to learn how to drive this car again, though. It has lots of power, and revs very smooth, which is quite different from the stock engine. Three years later, in 2001, I'm still just as happy with this engine. I haven't had any problems with the engine itself, while I've watched plenty of other engine build-ups have continual problems. I still recommend LPE for their crate motors. Folks do seem to have quite a bit of trouble with custom work from LPE, though, with very long delays.

I have only seen the SES light come on twice, within a week of the install. I'm not sure if it just stopped happening, or if there's some trend. There is a possibility that it's coming on after a long drive, though, as I haven't taken many. 12/18/97 update on the SES codes... I took the car down to have the header bolts tightened, and the mechanic read out codes P0300 (random misfire) and P1416 (Air System Fault). These were diagnosed as a cracked spark plug (#1), which was replaced.

So, do you want to hear what it sounds like?? This sound file is recorded from up front, with the hood open. To hear the exhaust end, walk around back...

I've had the car at the dyno many  times since the engine was put in. Here's a graph of two fourth gear pulls which were made right after the install. They show a corrected peaks of 369.4hp @ 5600rpm, and 383.2 lbs-ft @ 4200rpm. There's another of a run of 1st through 4th for fun.

Copyright 1997-2004 David Mills, no part of this site (http://www.go-fast.org/) may be reproduced without permission of the author. The author makes no claims or guarantees as to the quality of the information on this site. I'm an enthusiast just like you, and while everything here is correct as I know it, I'm not responsible if your car breaks.