$250 Junkyard Chevy LS Build - Parts & Products
Updated: May 30, 2022
I am Mark Herman from the Modified Crew and this is my LS Build, it started its life as a 6.0 LQ4 Engine from a 2500 GMC Yukon that we pulled from a salvage yard for $250. Yes it was built in the dirt but I do not have the luxury of having a garage at the current moment so with no options it was built outside. Yes it sucked and we did everything to keep the engine as clean as possible as it was built. All measurements were taken and done off camera. The engine does currently run and has good oil pressure with no leaks. Below is a full list of the parts we used in our build provided as per your request.
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Pistons (H857cp Sealed Power Engine Pistons)
Check it out on Ebay - https://ebay.us/LRJ5pj
One of the major components of a engine rebuild pistons should not be overlooked. Over time your bore will become out of round and will need to be bored out to make it round again. When you do a rebuild you can go with oversized pistons which in turn can increase displacement and compression. The use of cast pistons is the most common and forged for boosted or very high power applications. We went with cast pistons as they are light weight aluminum, meet our power goals and affordable. We also went with Hypereutectic Pistons as they reduce the amount of expansion in our pistons during the heating cycle so we can keep our clearances tight and in spec.
Piston Rings (Sealed Power Premium Piston Ring Set E-921K)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3N2P8Oe
Over time pistons rings are one of the items that tend to wear out with age. Almost always in a engine rebuild it is advised to replace the piston rings. I typically like to match the rings to the pistons as you would know they are compatible with no issues. Usually you will find piston rings in 3 different material options. Cast iron is your basic option as they are less expensive and have standard wear in normal operating conditions. Chrome is a little better for wear life but does not have the oil retention of Moly rings. Moly has a great resistance to wear and was our choice for this engine build.
Gasket Set (Fel-Pro 260-1955 Complete Engine Gasket Kit)
Check it out on Ebay - https://ebay.us/SIYhyw
I have been working on cars for many years and one of the things I've come to learn is you do not want to waste your time with a low quality gasket especially on a gasket set for an engine rebuild. Lower quality gaskets can fail quicker due to lower quality materials, and also nothing is worse than working on your vehicle and realizing you have fitment issues. I personally have had great luck with Fel-Pro as they provide a quality product and they are my go to brand when it comes to gaskets.
Camshaft (Summit SUM-8701 Camshaft)
When it comes to a naturally aspirated engine build the camshaft is one of the most important pieces to the puzzle. Usually when it comes to performance if you have more peak power you will have loss of lower end power and vise versa. A truly good camshaft for daily drivers provides a nice increase in power across the whole rpm band. After many hours of research and planning for max power and drivability I went with this camshaft because it provided power gains, drivability a decent price and good reviews. Also it matched many other camshaft grinds for this engine as a popular choice.
Camshaft Retainer Plate (MAHLE B31822 Gasket)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3NJJyjL
This plate holds the camshaft in place. It also has a built in gasket that cannot be replaced. With a low cost I think it is worth the investment to replace your camshaft retainer plate as you do not want to finish your build and down the road realize you have a leak that could have been prevented. Its better to spend a little more to do it right the first time.
Valve Springs (GM 12499224 Valve Spring)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3adLp1W
When picking valve springs you want to make sure to pick a spring that first of all will fit your application based upon size and then second will provide a spring rate that will be compatible with your camshaft. When you run a performance camshaft they typically have more lift and with more lift and high rpms your springs will want to float which can result in loss of performance. The higher spring rate will allow your springs to open and close at the right time with no issues however to high of a spring rate can result in the need for supporting high performance costly parts. I went with these valve springs as they are OEM quality and offer the specs we needed to match the performance camshaft without the need of unneeded valvetrain upgrades.
Lifters (LS7 LS2 OEM Performance Hydraulic Roller Lifters)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3m0uORL
Lifters are another part that can fail over time resulting in power loss and valvetrain noise. When doing a performance LS build LS7 lifters are the most suggested on many forums due to their performance, quality and price. We went with these LS7 lifters as they can handle the performance camshaft and many builders suggest them as an upgrade in their builds.
Timing Chain (12646386 GM Original Equipment Timing Chain)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3LZaM4z
The timing chain may not seam like a big deal however if it breaks you have the possibility of your piston hitting your valve which would result in engine damage. Also if the timing chain stretches' it can also result with loss in performance. We went with the largest single timing chain to provide the most insurance with minimal mods and cost. This timing chain was replaced as it has been reported to be an upgrade over the stock LQ4 and will work with the factory setup with out having to upgrade to a double chain setup.
Timing Chain Adapter Kit (Melling BD417-DBRKT Timing Chain Damper Adaptor bracket)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3lXKlla
A timing chain adapter kit wasnt installed from the factory on a lot of LS engines however it has been reported that the stock chains can have a little slack to allow ease of installation. The timing chain adapter reduces the slack in the timing chain to keep this valvetrain tight even at high rpms.
Trunion Upgrade (Brian Tooley LS1 Rocker Arm Trunion & Bolt Kit)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3N5v9yg
With the upgraded camshaft we wanted to make sure we didn't have failure on any related parts. The factory unit had needle bearings which have been known to fail and cause engine damage. When you have a performance camshaft and higher spring rates it will increase the stress on the trunions. It is a good idea to upgrade them to reduce the chance of engine damage due to a weak point. The upgrade we went with can handle the performance camshaft while keeping the geometry of the factory rockers at an affordable price.
Oil Pump (Melling M295 Oil Pump)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3N1D0wN
One of the largest causes to total engine failure is oil related issues. Oil is the life blood to your factory and built engines. When going with a oil pump you want to make sure you buy one that is going to last a long time and also going to meet the demands of your built engine. Melling is the go to brand when it comes to the LS platform. We went with the standard volume oil pump over the high volume oil pump as we were going with factory bearing clearances and new bearings. You would want to go with a higher volume oil pump for larger bearing clearances or specific high performance applications.
Oil Filter (GM PF48E Engine Oil Filter)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3M5CU66
While its a small part, usually failure starts with a small issue. On first start up we felt it would be a wise choice to go with an oem filter over a low quality filter as the engine will require the best filtration in the first 500 miles during break in and start-up. During this time the engine will have a mixture of debris from multiple parts as they break in a mate together which could in turn damage your engine bearing among other things. It would be a shame to ruin your fresh motor due to poor filtration.
Head Bolts (Fel-Pro ES72173 Cylinder Head Bolt Set)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3M6bxZv
Head bolts for the LS need to be replaced whenever doing a engine rebuild as they are torque to yield. Reusing old head bolts could result in bolt failure and could break off in your block which could result in a very bad day or they could be stretched to the point were they are not clamping the head down properly which could result in head gasket failure. Most people would go with ARP head studs as they are known for their quality and clamping force, however since we are not boosted I couldn't justify the cost with oem engine pressures.
Rod Bolts (GM 11610158 Connecting Rod Bolt)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3GxWfvE
Rod Bolts will see more stress than any other bolt in your engine and if the bolt fails it can result in major engine damage. Reusing your old bolts can result in the bolt breaking under high rpms or backing out due to improper torque. Your engine is only as good as its weakest link and we personally felt this is not the place where we wanted to risk cutting corners.
Crank Bolt (GM 12557840 Balancer Bolt)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3N23EWB
Typically the highest torqued bolt in the engine, usually removing them can be difficult and improper removal can result in a rounded head. Ours was damaged when removed so we just replaced it, you do not want to risk getting this bolt stuck in your crank.
Rod Bearing Set (King CR807HPN Rod Bearing Set)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3m3dYS1
With any engine rebuild one of the first parts on the list is going to be bearings. Over time they can wear out or get damaged. When buying bearings you want to make sure you buy the proper set of bearings to fit your engine and the proper clearances to match your rods and crank. We also suggest going with quality brand and model as bearing failure would require a total engine rebuild or damage. We went with King bearings as they are known for good quality and the better bearing will last longer than a budget option with less standards and lower quality materials.
Main Bearing Set (King MB5013HP Main Bearing Set)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3zbMX6P
With any engine rebuild one of the first parts on the list is going to be bearings. Over time they can wear out or get damaged. When buying bearings you want to make sure you buy the proper set of bearings to fit your engine and the proper clearances to match your crank and block. We also suggest going with quality brand and model as bearing failure would require a total engine rebuild or damage. We went with King bearings as they are known for good quality and the better bearing will last longer than a budget option with less standards and lower quality materials.
Water Pump (Gates 45006 Water Pump)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3LUZ4rP
With Gates being OEM equipment for many auto manufactures it was hard not to pick them for our water pump with the price to quality being a great option. This pump had the standard outlets for hose direction.
Spark Plugs (NGK Laser Iridium Spark Plug IZTR5B11)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3LUT3eA
NGK Spark plugs are OEM for many engines and my choice when it comes to spark plugs. I opt for Iridium plugs due to their long service life as they are commonly rated for 100K miles where as copper spark plugs are usually rated for usually 60K miles or so.
Spark Plug Wire Set (JDMSPEED High Heat Spark Plug Ignition Wires Set)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3lWFdOh
When it comes to performance all the small details add up, more spark means a more efficient combustion process which can result in more power. When I look for a wire set I look for a gauge size that can handle the power going through it. I also look for minimal resistance (OHM's) as you do not want to loose power or have a delay in spark or timing. Also with its low cost, cool red color, high temp rating and angled head for high performance headers this set was a win win.
Fuel Injectors (HPI FUEL INJECTORS LQ4 440CC)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/38WaKNr
With the added performance to the engine you are going to need more fuel. Usually when you start producing a good amount of power over stock early on you are going to need to up grade your injectors. We went with 40lb rated injectors as they would meet the power requirements for our build without the risk of starving for fuel.
Push Rods (COMP Cams 7809-16 Pushrod Set)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3adLP8w
There is a big debate on if you should go with standard rated pushrods or hardened pushrods. If you go with hardened pushrods they can handle more stress and have a much lower risk of failure however if you go with standard pushrods they are good for most applications and if you have a issue with your engine its better to replace a bent pushrod (as they are fairly easy to replace) over having to tear the bottom part of your engine apart for a much more involved issue. We decided to go with standard rated pushrods for this reason and because they are less expensive its an added bonus.
ECU - Engine Management System (Terminator X Max Early Truck Kit)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3NN1ARZ
Due to the swap we knew we were going to need a new engine harness and a way to manage the engine mods for maximum horsepower. Given the price of the harness alone it wasnt much more to invest in a whole engine management system. We went with Holley and we checked with our local tuners and this was one of the most accepted option when it comes to support. Also as a bonus you can also find many remote tuners as well.
Oil Pan (Holley 302-2 Engine Oil Pan)
Check it out on Amazon -https://amzn.to/38x7KHb
Due to the engine swap the factory oil pan wasn't going to fit. Holley offers many solutions to make your LS drop right in to your ride. Because we are using the Holley system we wanted to not run into an issue when it comes to fitment so it was a no brainer to use the oil pan that was designed to fit the first time.
Oil Dip Stick ( HOLLEY 302-15 LS DIPSTICK)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3LUT2Hy
This oil dip stick was the suggested option for the aftermarket oil pan.
A/C & Power Steering Swap Bracket (ICT Alternator/Power Steering Pump Bracket 551519X-3)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3GxXIC8
We had a problem with the power steering making contact with the steering column so we had to relocate it closer to the engine to correct this problem. The bracket we used while not being the cheapest option seemed to be the best option without creating other fitment issues.
Power Steering Fitting & Hose Swap Kit (ICT Power Steering Pump Kit to 551082)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3NEpDma
When it came to mating the new power steering pump to the classic steering box the power steering fitting & hose kit made easy work of making this possible.
Trans Cooler (Hayden 679 Rapid-Cool Transmission Cooler)
Check it out on Amazon - https://amzn.to/38A24MC
With the added power, performance transmission and aftermarket torque converter heat was going to be an issue with the transmission. We need to cool the transmission to protect our investment. A trans cooler is a small price to pay for piece of mind.