When it comes to making tire squealing, asphalt shredding power, it is hard to beat a big cube LS engine. When it came time to select a monster LS engine to cram under the hood of our 2000 Camaro, nicknamed "All Air" because of our desire to run naturally aspirated low 9's, we did a lot research. World Products
is known for making big power with their big LS engines. They were a natural choice for this build and we went with a big LS from their Warhawk Engine line.
Enjoy the full tech article, and the video below:
Using their experience in building hardcore racing engines, Bill Mitchell and the boys were able to put together a 454 cubic inch LS-7X Warhawk engine that spanked the engine dyno with a jaw dropping 802 horsepower. Impressive when you remember that this engine is naturally aspirated - no turbo, no blower, no nitrous or magic horsepower dance here - just raw, pants wetting power.
World offers a variety of different components and assemblies for someone looking to make BIG power in their LS engine, including heads, short blocks, and complete long blocks. Whether you are looking to just add heads to your Z06, or build a 480+ cubic inch LS War-monster, they can do it.
Wanna build your own 800+ horsepower LS engine? Here’s the quick recap on what we used:
World Products Warhawk LS-7X Block: 4.125" Bore, 9.80 Deck
Eagle 4340: Stroke: 4.250"
Flat Top Diamond Racing Pistons: Compression: 13.5+
Eagle H-Beam: Length: 6.125"
COMP Cams - LS1 Grind: Part Number: 54-000-11 Lift: .746 Intake, .714 Exhaust Duration:
280 Intake, 288 Exhaust Lobe Separation: 109.0
Crane Cams Double Row
ATI Super Damper
Moroso 7 Quart Capacity: Part Number: 20140
World Products Warhawk 12°: Part Number: 025350C-3
Manley 2.200 Intake/1.600 Exhaust with 5/16 Diameter
Manley 1.550 Double Spring: Part Number: 221436-16
GM Performance Parts: Part Number: 25534394
Jesel Rocker Set
AED 1050: HO-Modified Model Number: 1050HOM
The Short Block
The short block is where it all starts. Choosing the right components at this stage will pay off big time when the engine is screaming down the track. Our engine started out as a bare block, just like every other engine that World Products produces. The Warhawk LS-7X block is a 357-T6 aluminum block that is offered in either a 9.24” or a 9.80” deck height, depending on what you want for your application. The same goes for bore.
World set our block up with a 9.80” deck height and a 4.125” bore that, along with our four inch stroke, gives us 454 cubic inches. Like many World blocks, this one features priority main oiling, accommodates dry sump systems, and even has both LS and early SBC motor mounts. It even came with billet steel C5R style cross bolted main caps, held down by 200,000 psi ARP
hardware to ensure that things would stay put.
World did all of the finial machining in house to make sure it was done right.
According to World Products' Bill Mitchell Jr., one of the reasons this block is so strong is because, “The water jacket design used surrounds the cylinders and the head studs allowing the head studs to go deep into the block.” Another design feature that makes this block so strong is the addition of two extra head stud bolts per cylinder, which really ups the clamping power between the heads and the block.
While we will get to the valvetrain in a little bit, the soul of the system is the camshaft. COMP Cams
built a cam for us based on the engine we had chosen as well as how we wanted the car to perform on the track. They came up with an LS1 grind with .439 intake lobe lift and .420 lobe lift on the exhaust side. The duration, measured at .050, was 280 degrees intake and 288 exhaust. This should give us a nice upper to mid-range power band and just a nasty choppy idle. We installed this before moving to the bottom end of the engine.
Next was the crankshaft. The Eagle
4340 crankshaft is made from forged steel and is internally balanced. Eagle’s ESP series crankshafts are forged from a non-twisting forging and have to undergo an extensive multi-stage heat treatment process, as well as shot peening and a nitriding process before they are shipped.
Eagle magnafluxes and sonic tests every crank they make, so we knew that it could handle the power of this ‘big’ small block. The 4.250” stroke would no problem clearing our Moroso
Bolting down the main cap to finish the crankshaft install.
We went with a double row timing chain set from Crane Cams
to link our camshaft with our crankshaft and time them. These all steel timing sets come complete with an adjustable cam gear, cranks sprocket, two oil pump spacers, oil pump bolts, and last but not least, the timing chain itself. The sprockets are heat treated and matched to the timing chain for secure fit and function. The kit also features a vernier adjustment for degreeing-in cam timing.
We then assembled the pistons and rods. A set of Flat Top Diamond Racing Pistons
was chosen for the build. Made from a 2618 alloy, these pistons are light weight, weighing 458 g, and use the standard 1.5, 1.5, 3.0 mm ring setup. They are also set up to use the more popular 6.125” rod length and .927 pin diameter, compared to the factory LS7 6.077” rod length with .9252 pin diameter. The wrist pin is offset, ensuring quiet operation. On the top, the valve relief depths are .206 on the intake and .148 for the exhaust.
According to Diamond, these pistons will work nicely with a small amount of nitrous. We took this fact into account when choosing our pistons. Even though project All Air is naturally aspirated, that doesn’t mean that we don't want to see what a little N2O would do to this already beastly engine at some point in the future.
Connecting our Diamond pistons to the crankshaft are eight Eagle H-Beam connecting rods. We like these rods because they are forged from a 4340 steel, just like our Eagle crankshaft, and are made to accept the ARP 7/16” capscrew style bolts with alignment sleeves. A 6.125 rod length was chosen for this engine. Because these rods only weigh 620 g each, the total combined weight of one piston and rod is just slightly over 1000 g.
Before moving on to the long block, we needed to take care of the oil system and damper.
The Moroso oil pan was chosen for a number of reasons. The seven quart capacity will ensure that our engine has plenty of oil to pump through itself, as well as leave enough room to clear the 4.250” stroke with Manley
common steel rods installed.
The trap door baffling gives us control of the oil flying around in the pan, making sure that the sump remains covered. The pan also features -10AN fitting for a remote filter that we will install later on down the line.
We used Fel-Pro gaskets throughout the build. The first one that we used was the oil pan gasket. Fel-Pro makes kits for many popular engines, including our 454 LS-7X engine that used the LS7 kit.
The finishing touch for our short block was the damper. ATI
's Super Damper was chosen for several reasons. It was chosen not only because it would eliminate torsional crankshaft vibrations, but also because according to ATI, it exceeds SFI 18.1 specs for harmonic dampers. We also liked its clean black zinc chromate finished look. Finally, it comes with laser engraved 360° timing marks that make setting timing a breeze, both in the well-lighted powerTV garage and the dark pits of the dragstrip.
We feel that by choosing to install high quality parts, our short block will provide a nice foundation for the rest of the components. All too many times we have seen poorly thought out short block builds that have resulted in parts such as pistons or rods ending up where they shouldn't be - like out the side of the block. We feel very strongly that we will be able to keep things were they belong and make tons of power with the components we used.
Here is our completed short block eagerly awaiting a top end to come to life.
The Long Block
I asked Bill Mitchell Jr. what it is about these LS engines that allows them to make so much power. His answer? “Its all in the heads. Bore is bore, stroke is stroke, but the ability to get the air and fuel in and out quickly is where the power is to be made.” Keeping that in mind, we started our Long Block assembly with the heads.
World Products’ Warhawk 12° heads come cast with a 285cc intake and 106cc exhaust runners that provide more than enough flow for many engines. However, we wanted something a bit more. We opted for the Kuntz & Co
CNC porting work that took the ports out to a 296cc intake and 110cc exhaust, as well as a 72cc combustion chamber, to really let our monster breathe in and out with ease.
To fill our CNC heads we went with some Manley valves, springs, and rocker arms. World recommended a 2.200 intake valve along with a 1.600 exhaust valve. We stayed with the 5/16 inch valve stem diameter - stock sizing for the LS7 engine.
We chose 1.630 diameter double springs rated at 800 lb at 1.095 installed height and 250 lb at 2.050. That gives us plenty of room to work in our HUGE COMP Cam and be able to avoid binding the springs.
We stuck with the LS7 stock 1.7:1 rocker arm ratio and began installing the intake.
When it came time to pick an intake for our big cube LS engine, we knew that we wanted a carburetor so we went with a GM Performance Parts
LSX spider style intake. The boys over at GMPP know these LSX engines well and know what they need. They make four different versions of this intake, including LS7 and L92/L76 versions that are available in a carbureted state like ours. You can also order them machined to accept injectors for EFI applications.
It wasn't long until our intake was strapped down to our Warhawk heads. It only took 8 bolts to hold the spider intake down. After a quick spin of the torque wrench we were ready to move on to feeding our intake with the right amount of air and fuel.
As previously mentioned, we chose to have our 454 Warhawk breathe through a carburetor. Advanced Engine Design
provided the perfect solution with a Dominator that had enough flow to keep all 454 cubic inches full of the proper ratio of air and fuel.
Their 1050 HO-Modified Carburetor is a fully CNC ported and polished version of their popular HO Series Carburetor. Like its HO siblings, this carburetor features a milled choke housing, fully machined and deburred main body surfaces, all new hi-torque boosters and metering blocks, and full porting and polishing of the main body for additional airflow.
AED wet-flow benches and dyno tests each and every carburetor before it is shipped to a customer, so we knew that we were using a product that we could trust to deliver our C-114 fuel with plenty of air time after time.
World Products tuned our carburetor and ended up with a jet sizing of 87/87, making the most reliable power for our application.
Here is our complete World Products 454 LS-7X engine ready for the dyno.
Before our engine was hooked up to the dyno, World Products' Bill Mitchell Sr. told us that our engine would make about 750 horsepower. Our Editor-In-Chief and I planned to get our NHRA licenses using the World 454 in project All-Air. However, having never driven a 700 hp car, there was some apprehension.
That's probably too much power for learning to control a car of this caliber. Yet somehow, someway, our engine ended up making 802 hp. Yup - our big cube LS put down 802 horsepower at 7000 RPM with a peak torque of 651 lb-ft coming in at 5900 RPM.
While it was more than what we were expecting, we were by no means upset. All Air should have no problem breaking into the mid 9s now with this much power, regardless of who is driving.
You can check out the dyno sheet of our 454 Warhawk below. We are really impressed by the numbers World Products was able to put out with this motor, naturally aspirated, without crazy serious compression.
All in all, the World Products Warhawk 454 engine is a mean nasty LS engine that is the definition of an all out hardcore drag engine. We can’t wait to stick it between the frame rails of our now empty Camaro. All Air will be quite the force to be reckoned with once this engine is installed.
Perhaps the most important thing to take from our experience to the drawing board of your own high horsepower engine build is this: The use of high quality parts will allow the engine builder to make monster horsepower numbers without running the engine into the ground after just one pass.
World Products prides itself on building repeatable, dependable horsepower. While it might not be able to compete with the stock V6’s gas mileage numbers, with four times the horsepower, we won't be able to see the gas stations as we blow by them anyway.
If you want to see more of our 454 Warhawk build, check out some additional photos in the photo gallery!
***CLICK HERE FOR THE PHOTO GALLERY***
Diamond Racing Pistons
Kuntz & Co
GM Performance Parts
Advance Engine Design