6.0 LS Engine Build With Parts From Summit Racing

New Age Power

6.0 LS Engine Build With Parts From Summit Racing

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the Chevrolet LS engine. If not, I’m glad you’ve finally found a way to get out from under that rock. The LS-based engine platform has definitely taken over as the go-to engine swap in the last 5-10 years, and its popularity is still on the rise. Different variations of the engine can be found in everything from a bare-bones work truck all the way up to a factory-supercharged Corvette. Due to the different vehicle applications in which GM put these engines from the factory, obtaining an LS engine for your swap is easy. Just skim your local classifieds, or make a trip to the salvage yard, and you’ll probably have a dozen or so to choose from on any given day. But what if you’re skeptical about buying a used engine?

Purchasing a used, or “pull out” engine, does come with some risks, and you should definitely consider them before purchasing. Since most of the odometers in newer vehicles are digital, you can’t simply glance into a vehicle to see how many miles are on it. Even if the seller knows the mileage, you still just have to trust his word. Compression tests can be done, and salvage yards will usually give you some kind of guarantee, but what if you want more piece of mind? Good news, there are options for brand-new LS-based engines.

When the opportunity to build a new LS engine presented itself to us, we knew right where to look for all of the parts we’d need. Summit Racing was our first and only phone call. Summit has been around since 1968 and is continuing to grow every year. In fact, it just completed the construction of its fourth distribution site located in Arlington, Texas. It also carries products from more than 1,500 manufacturers, so we were positive the company would be able to get us everything we needed to complete our engine build.

We discussed our options with a Summit rep and came up with a plan to build a strong and reliable engine that would also make great horsepower. We decided to go with a short-block from BluePrint Engines. We also opted for a complete top-end engine kit from Trick Flow to complete most of the build. However, there are a lot of smaller parts we still needed to complete the engine assembly and get it ready to drop into our project. Follow along and we’ll tell you all about it.


• Summit Racing
• Trick Flow Specialties
• Royal Purple

Here’s how the new BluePrint Engines 6.0L, 364-ci short-block engine (P/N MLL-BPLS3640) showed up after we ordered it from Summit Racing

Our first order of business was to get the engine unpacked and on an engine stand so we could inspect it and make sure all was well.

Once we received the Trick Flow top-end kit (P/N TFS-K306-550-470), we laid it out on a table and took a quick inventory. The kit comes complete with new, assembled heads. The heads boast a ton of changes from the stock versions to provide extra strength and power. The kit also comes with a new camshaft featuring an advertised 291/295 duration, .595/.595 lift and 112 degrees of lobe separation. The camshaft is designed for use with the pushrods and roller rockers, which are also included with the kit. New head gaskets and head bolts round out the list of included parts.

There are a lot of parts necessary to complete the engine build, and Summit helped us put together a list of everything we needed. Once everything arrived, we laid it out and took inventory. We picked up everything from new ignition coils to front and rear covers, matching valve covers and an intake manifold.

Once everything was accounted for, we began the assembly process with help from our friend, Jason. Starting with the new lifters from Trick Flow (P/N TFS-21400002-16), we forced some Royal Purple HPS oil into the lifters and let them soak for a while.

While the lifters were taking a bath, we installed the camshaft. We applied some Royal Purple Max Tuff assembly lube to the camshaft and carefully slid it into place. It became more difficult to hang on to the camshaft once it got further into the engine, so we threaded a bolt into the end of it to help with the installation.

With the camshaft fully inserted into the engine, the retaining plate (P/N NAL-12589016) and new bolts (P/N NAL-11561455) were installed and torqued to spec.

Installing the timing set is a very critical procedure that must be done with precision. After setting the engine at Top Dead Center (TDC) with compression stroke at cylinder 1, we installed the crank sprocket and hub sprocket.

Next, we installed the cam sprocket and chain. Notice the “0” on the crank sprocket is straight up, and the dot on the cam sprocket is straight down. These indicators need to be aimed directly at each other, just like in the photo, for the timing to be correct.

Next, we installed the oil pump. Jason prefilled the pump with some more Royal Purple oil so that it wouldn’t be dry on initial start up.

The oil pump (P/N NAL-12612289) was installed over the crank/hub sprocket.

With everything on the front of the engine torqued to spec, the front cover/timing cover (P/N NAL-12561243) was installed to finish the front part of the engine assembly.

Once the lifters had soaked up all of the oil they could, it was their turn to be installed. The lifters are installed four at a time into the four lifter guides (P/N NAL-12595365), and then they’re dropped into the engine.

New hardware from Summit was used to secure the lifter trays to the engine. The lifter guide retaining bolts (P/N NAL-12551163) were installed and the lifters were put in place.

Next, the new Trick Flow heads were added, but first Jason gave the mating surface a good cleaning in order to ensure a perfect seal with the new head gaskets.

Since the engine assembly from BluePrint didn’t come with dowel pins, we made sure to order some. The new cylinder head pins (P/N NAL-12570326) were tapped into place with a brass hammer and will position the heads correctly.

Then Jason installed the new head gaskets provided with the top-end kit.

With the short-block fully cleaned and prepped, the new Trick Flow cylinder heads were set in place. The cylinder heads were located on the engine block with the previously installed positioning pins.

Tightening the cylinder heads is a five-step process, using the supplied torque-to-yield bolts. The first step is to install all of the M11 bolts and torque to 22 ft-lbs. Second, those 10 bolts all need to be turned 90 degrees. Third, all of the same bolts, with the exception of the two outer bolts within the cylinder head, are turned an additional 90 degrees. Fourth, the two unaddressed M11 bolts are turned an additional 50 degrees. Lastly, the M8 bolts supplied are tightened to 22 ft-lbs.

A simple way to determine how much the bolts have been turned is by marking the bolt heads with a Sharpie. Trick Flow provides a very detailed set of instructions that also lay out the order in which the head bolts should be tightened.

After installing the heads, the new valley cover (P/N NAL-12568002) was installed. The new cover comes just like you see it, with the gasket and hardware already in place.

The new cover is set in place and the hardware is torqued down.

Several sensors are needed throughout the engine for it to run correctly. We installed the new knock sensors (P/N ADO-213-3521) first. These threaded into the top of the engine block, after the valley cover was installed.

We also picked up a knock sensor harness (P/N NAL-12601822) to plug into the new sensors. The harness has rubber seals built into it that prevent water from gathering around the sensors.

We turned our attention back to completing the installation of the heads. A new set of pushrods was included in the kit from Trick Flow. Obviously, Trick Flow did all of the work to ensure the pushrods were the correct length for the kit.

The heat-treated and hardened chrome-moly pushrods were installed in the cylinder heads in preparation for the new roller rockers.

Speaking of rockers, those were next on the list to install. The Trick Flow rockers are made from billet aluminum, which is stronger and lighter than a factory steel rocker. Plus, the roller creates less friction with the pushrod connection.

Jason made sure to torque down the pedestal mounting bolt. We will revisit the bolt after a break-in period.

A couple more sensors needed to be installed before we went any further. The new camshaft position sensor (P/N ADO-213-363) is located at the rear of the engine valley. This sensor simply drops in and is secured using a single bolt. The sensor reads the position of the camshaft while the engine is running via a machined groove on the camshaft.

Another necessary sensor is a crankshaft position sensor. This particular part (P/N ADO-213-354) is meant for the 24X electronics system. The color of the sensor will indicate whether you have a 24X or 58X. That’s a whole other topic though; this is the one we needed for our application.

Since the engine was on a stand, we were able to spin the entire thing upside down. This makes it much easier to clean the oil pan mating surface in preparation for installation.

Summit sells these Chevrolet Performance muscle car oil pan kits (P/N NAL-19212593), which should work perfectly in most applications. The kit comes complete with the oil pickup tube and gasket. We installed the oil pump pickup tube first, followed by the oil pan. We also added
a Royal Purple oil filter to keep our oil nice
and clean.

Summit recently released its own intake manifold (P/N SUM-226122B), so we ordered one for our engine. This manifold is fabricated from aluminum and features a 92mm throttle bore. We ordered ours with a black powder-coated finish.

Before securing it in place, we realized that there were some ports in the bottom of the manifold that needed our attention. Since there wasn’t a provision for the MAP sensor, we used one of the ports. Then we plugged two of the other ports and threaded a hose barb fitting into the last remaining hole, but you’ll have to wait until later to see what that’s for.

With the intake manifold prepped with the provided O-ring seals, we bolted it in place using the provided hardware

A Holley throttle body controls the air entering the intake manifold. Holley’s Sniper throttle body (P/N SNE-860004) works perfectly with the intake manifold because it has a matching 92mm bore, four-bolt pattern, and it’s available with black anodizing.

We also ordered a set of Holley aluminum valve covers (P/N HLY-241-112). These valve covers are the tall version. Although the Trick Flow rockers should fit under the stock height valve covers, we had nothing to lose by ordering the taller versions. The black powder coat on these is nearly identical to the Summit intake manifold, so they match perfectly.

The intake manifold comes with mounting locations for the fuel rails as well. We ordered the Summit fuel rail kit (P/N SUM-227150), which came with everything we needed to get the fuel rails in place, including these mounts. After the mounting tabs were loosely in place, we inserted a set of fuel injectors into the fuel rails and aligned them with the machined ports in the intake manifold.

Using a bit of lube on the O-ring seals of the injectors, we put the assembly in place and used the provided hardware to secure the rail.

These Hedman Hustler headers (P/N HED-45666) are a mid-length design, featuring 1 ¾-inch primaries and a 3-inch collector. We opted for the silver ceramic coating, which should help keep engine compartment temperatures lower.

Installing the headers while the engine was on the stand was about as easy as it gets. We used the supplied gaskets and hardware and installed them loosely. Most likely we will have to install the engine into our project with the headers removed.

Once the headers were installed, we added the new coil packs (P/N SUM-850504-8) and spark plug wires (P/N SUM-867828). We did have to pick up our own hardware for the coils, but some stainless Allen-head bolts and washers were readily available at our local hardware store.

There are a few things going on in this photo. First, remember the barbed fittings we installed under the intake manifold? One was for the MAP sensor and we simply slid a short piece of vacuum hose onto that and the MAP sensor (P/N NAL-12592525). The second pertinent item is the steam vent line kit from Trick Flow (P/N TFS-306SB601). This kit comes with the fittings and lines needed to plumb the steam vent lines. The last thing you’ll notice is that we still need to put some hardware in the cam position sensor.

To finish this portion of the build we installed the final two sensors, which go on the side of the Holley throttle body. The first is for the top; it’s the IAC or Idle Air Control Motor (P/N HLY-543-105). The bottom one is the TPS or Throttle Position Sensor (P/N SNE-870001). Both are Holley parts, so they fit perfectly into the throttle body. Again, we had to provide our own hardware, but it was easy to get from our local hardware store.

This is the completed engine. You are seeing some extra parts on the front, and that was intentional. Stay tuned for our next tech article where we’ll explain all about that supercharger setup.