LS Engine, Building More Power in a 383 motor!
If you’re interested in racing, performance upgrades are inevitable, especially with a truck that has a Ls engine. Trucks need all of the help they can get when it comes to being on the track. From poor design to increased body mass, trucks are generally at a huge disadvantage over more traditional race vehicles. Unfortunately, in the pro-touring/autocross community, there will come a time when you have to compete against cars that are half the size of your truck and weigh in at a mere 1,000 pounds.
But there’s no reason to let those lightweight racers intimidate you. For anyone who isn’t in the know, autocross is an organized competition that tests your control of your vehicle as you navigate through a closed race course marked by bright orange cones.
The events are typically held in parking lots where there is little to no risk of damage to vehicles.
Autocross is not a head-to-head style of racing; instead, individual drivers take to the course and are timed to the thousandth of a second. Vehicles compete one at a time in designated classes against similar vehicles. Though there are only a handful of organizations that recognize trucks as an individual class. The number of truck participants is growing each year and has lead other racing organizations to consider offering a designated truck class.
Running With the Old LS Engine Setup
In the past few issues, we’ve been documenting the metamorphosis of the PCH-Rods-built ’72 C10R Chevy
It’s been through a lot of changes and is a great example of how to slowly and deliberately modify a truck for autocross racing. Initially, PCH Rods emphasized dialing in the new suspension and upgrading the brakes and tires. Though the motor was fully customized, it wasn’t elaborate. PCH Rods started with a 5.3L LS engine truck block. The crew compromised by using a cast motor to keep the price low and durability strong, though it did add weight.
Recently, power upgrades became necessary to stay in step with the competition at big course events.
Racing series like Optima’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car Series left the C10R struggling to keep up in the straightaways on the track portion of races. PCH Rods did a motor swap and we’ve documented it all right here so that you can see how and why the upgrades were made in on this Ls engine.
As the autocross tracks like NMCA West Hotchkis Autocross and the Optima Series got larger.
It was harder for the C10R to keep up with its competition. Because the truck is a 1972, it typically runs in a vintage class alongside several Camaros, Novas, Corvettes and other smaller vehicles. Many of these smaller, lighter vehicles have equal or greater horsepower than the C10R, making it extremely difficult to gain a competitive edge.
Building the New
Dialing Everything In