The Top 4 Most Cost Effective GM LS Engine Bolt-ons
Since its debut in the 1997 Chevrolet Corvette, the LS family of V8 engines from General Motors has become the go-to powerplant for gearheads in search of a lightweight, space-efficient and powerful engine for their project car, tow rig, hot rod, track toy, sand rail, drift missile…pretty much anything bigger than a UTV with at least four wheels!
And since there’s so much love for the LS, there’s a lot of aftermarket support for it…and a lot of that support can be found at JEGS. The Columbus, Ohio headquartered racing and speed parts peddler – which has been around since 1960 – offers a mind-melting kaleidoscope of upgrade components for the LS (and its direct-injected successor, the LT-series), and we rounded up four that are likely than to provide the most added underhood bang for your buck…and you don’t even have to remove the cylinder heads or drop the oil pan to install them!
LS engines are, like all internal combustion engines, essentially air pumps. The more air (and fuel) that’s able to get into the cylinders, the more forceful the explosion that takes place inside and the more force there is to push down the pistons and turn the crankshaft. So if you have an LS1, LS2 or LS6 engine (or any LS engine that’s been fitted with “cathedral port” style cylinder heads) and a lot of space between the top of the engine and the hood (or no hood), the Edelbrock Pro-Flo XT EFI might be worth a look.
This American-made aluminum beauty features a sizable plenum and long, tapered runners for big power production throughout the rev range, and it will accommodate a 90mm throttlebody. Not bad for $527.95…
Of course, if you’re letting more air into the cylinders, you’re going to need more fuel to go with it. And fuel injectors capable of feeding more gasoline into the engine are just the thing for quenching an engine’s newfound thirst. These 36 lb.-per-hour injectors from Holley aren’t as potent as what you’d need if you were adding a turbocharger or a supercharger, but they represent a noticeable improvement over stock, especially if the engine in question came out of a full-size truck or van. And at $370.95 for a complete set of eight, they’re a solid value.
Once your engine is done with all that air and fuel, what’s left of it has to leave the cylinder heads and make its way to the tailpipe. And a good set of headers makes sure the spent gases’ journey starts out smoothly. The Super Competition Block Hugger Headers from Hooker Headers, as the name implies, stay close to the sides of the block, which should allow them to fit a variety of applications. At just $270.95 for a set (which includes gaskets and hardware), how can you go wrong?
Not the wrench-spinning/hand-dirtying type? Not a problem. An ECU reprogrammer is a quick and simple way for anyone capable of reading and pushing buttons to add power, raise rev- and speed-limiters, adjust automatic transmission shift points and firmness and loads more. JEGS offers a variety of programmer modules from Hypertech, including the Model 32501, which comes pre-loaded with tunes for a wide array of GM cars and trucks (many of which have LS V8s, though there are programs for other engines, including the Duramax diesel V8 found in trucks) made between 2006 and 2016. And in case that wasn’t impressive enough, it can be updated via the internet, and it’s emissions legal in all 50 states! We can’t think of anything priced above or below the Hypertech 32501’s $329 price tag that adds so much performance for so little effort.