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Thread: Death Of An L67 Trans Sport

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    Senior Member occupant's Avatar
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    Now that's what I'm talking about. Drop a GXP/ImpalaSS 5.3L FWD drivetrain in a U-van and pull 11 second quarter miles on street tires. Ouch.

    I expect a serious performance change with this 351CJ going in my Torino. It would be like putting a 5.7L LS motor into an 80's Caprice that was sporting a wheezing 305 TBI before.
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    I seriously thought about the LS4 FWD 5.3( 325 ).... But the price of a drop out put it out of my reach and what I was willing to spend.. Also there is only one transmission for the LS4, and due to the block being shortened to be able to tuck it under the FWD hood the starter is attached to the trans and not the block... So there are a lot of items that are one off... I am quite sure it will fit, but the price does not make it worthwhile...

    The SC 3800 II is 240 Hp and 280 Ft Lbs from the factory, we have had guys dyno these stock at 320 Ft Lbs and 260 Hp... So Bone stock its not far from a 5.3's power levels...

    The Caddy 4.6 would be interesting, if it was done I would like to see it with 3.11 or 3.17 gears as opposed to 3.71...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke George V
    As for your original swap, I'd say only having to add three wires to the stock harness is pretty damn easy.
    Hahaha - that's what *I* thought!! There ended up being a bunch of other mods and adaptations to do. And ultimately what I was referring to was that it was obviously a lot more work than it would have been to just swap the tranny with a compatible unit when the transmission went, rather than installing a whole drivetrain and doing the mods necessary to run it. It was straightforward, granted, but definitely NOT the easiest option.

    Quote Originally Posted by CamoDeafie
    are you able to get the FWD LS3 v8s up there?
    Likely, ya. But I don't think I'm needing to go that route at this point. Whatever van I get will return to daily driver status - that previously occupied by the L67 van.
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    Senior Member SCREECH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by occupant
    Drop a GXP/ImpalaSS 5.3L FWD drivetrain in a U-van and pull 11 second quarter miles on street tires
    Quote Originally Posted by Jr's3800
    I seriously thought about the LS4 FWD 5.3( 325 ).... But the price of a drop out put it out of my reach and what I was willing to spend...I am quite sure it will fit, but the price does not make it worthwhile...The Caddy 4.6 would be interesting, if it was done I would like to see it with 3.11 or 3.17 gears as opposed to 3.71...
    I was just looking at the specs for the LS4 (Camo, was the FWD 5.3L LS4 what you were meaning when asking if we had them available up here? Cause we do indeed have 5.3L FWD cars up here). I see they make 300-303HP and 323lb/ft. The Northstar makes 300/300 out of the box, and doesn't have all the DOD tech and whatnot. I think I'd prefer the Northstar for now, but that 5.3 did raise my eyebrow when I first learned about it. I can't say I'd never do anything with it - I used to say that about FWD stuff years ago. I haven't heard an LS4 at idle, but with the DOD (displacement on demand) I'm guessing it wouldn't have the traditional V8 rumble that the Northstar would. I'd want that.
    http://www.screech.ws/
    01 Chev 2500HD (4x4), Vortec 8100, 496ci BBC, 3.73 gears, CCSB
    98 Chev K2500 (4x4), Vortec 350, 4.10 gearing, ECLB 155.5" WB
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    89 Olds Cutlass Ciera W45 Int'l Coupe
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    A guy I work with has the V8 in his '06 Monte. It certainly has the V8 sounds, even with stock exhaust. The DOD is only active while cruising down the road at a steady speed.

    It's my understanding that the LS4 is seriously detuned to help the tranny last for the long haul. I'm sure that if the tranny can be built stronger, the sky is the limit with power production.
    -Andy

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    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    DOD is only implemented at light throttle when cruising, usually on the highway or at higher speeds around town. Fourth gear only, basically. As for the sound, even with the stock exhaust, the SS/GXP sounds menacing.

    I would take an LS4 over a Northstar simply because of the sheer size difference. The Northstar is a DOHC engine, so the heads are enormous. If you haven't recently, take a look at the engine bay of a Deville with one, and remember that that car was designed with that engine in mind. There ain't a lot of room to work with. If done in a van, the first two steps for any sort of repair or maintenance procedure will be: 1. Perform all steps necessary to remove engine. 2. Remove engine. This includes the N* propensity to consume water pumps.

    The LS4 is much more compact, though it's still a rather large engine, being a V8 and all. It's all aluminum though, so it's a bit lighter than the all iron Buick V6. With DOD, I imagine there won't be much of a difference in fuel economy, since it was designed with the Impala and Grand Prix in mind, both of which come pretty close to the van's curb weight. You could argue the same for the N*, I know.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by 86euro View Post
    It's my understanding that the LS4 is seriously detuned to help the tranny last for the long haul. I'm sure that if the tranny can be built stronger, the sky is the limit with power production.
    I hadn't heard this, but it makes sense. LS4 uses the same 4T65E-HD put behind the Grand Prix's 3800 Series III supercharged, and in that less-powerful application it will short shift, along with some computer fuckery to reduce engine power, to keep the transmission together. I don't know why they didn't just use the 4T80.
    Last edited by Duke George V; 12-26-2010 at 03:57 AM.

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    Good point, having to maintain a N* in a van would make a man want to shoot someone.
    -Andy

    '86 Eurosport VR coupe
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    '88 Eurosport VR coupe
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  8. #23
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    Here's a thread on Pennock's where a guy puts an "LSX" displacing 427 cubic inches in front of a ZZP-built 4T65, which apparently dynoed at 621 hp: http://www.fiero.nl/forum/Forum3/HTML/000083.html

    Throw enough money at it, and sure, the transmission can take some power.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke George V
    I would take an LS4 over a Northstar simply because of the sheer size difference. The Northstar is a DOHC engine, so the heads are enormous...If done in a van, the first two steps for any sort of repair or maintenance procedure will be: 1. Perform all steps necessary to remove engine. 2. Remove engine.
    Quote Originally Posted by 86euro
    Good point, having to maintain a N* in a van would make a man want to shoot someone.
    Ya, I've read about the massive size of the Northstar. When I was first kicking the idea around I was thinking that I would have to pull the engine even to do the plugs, though I think with the platinum plugs you could probably get a healthy run out of 'em before having to go that route. Regardless, for what I need right now out of a van, a Northstar swap is not what I should be undertaking. Nope, I'd be much better off just dumping in the 4.9L that I've already got (the one I had intended on putting in my International coupe with the 5 speed), then get a Northstar for the Ciera. Yeah, that sounds better. The price that I can get a Northstar equipped Caddy for (not counting the ones with blown headgaskets, of course) makes the choice between a Northstar and an LS4 an easy one to make. I wouldn't be looking to do any computer mods anytime soon. With the output levels of the two engines being but a stone's throw away I can have some fun with the Northstar, and then when and if a reasonably priced LS4 becomes available, I can consider it.
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    The LS4 is a lot of fun to drive even for a FWD layout....

    The LS4 is detuned so that the trans can survive behind it, but even then they are not holding up that great... We think the LS4 would make 350 Hp or so with most of the torque management turned off and a little timing added... Its not a bad little motor, and it does that Chevrolet V8 Grumble at idle and while on the throttle... You will notice the sound change say on the interstate when it hits 4 Cylinder mode, not so much in the city, it changes suddenly and unless you are really looking for it you'll never notice it untill you look at the DIC and see " 4 Cyl Mode "...

    Keep in mind all GM FWD transmissions 96+ are Torque Managed... You'd be amazed at whats in the PCM... 97 was even worse... 98+ even more..

    I recently turned off the torque management on my van with the 97 PCM.... Turned off the Master Shift Torque Reduction and then Turned off the Master Torque Reduction... Went for a ride and did a WOT 1-2 and then 2-3.... Then slowed down and did a 3-1 WOT.... All I can say is the Trans would not live for long this way... I went back in and turned the Shift Torque Reduction on, Not so much worried about the Torque in general as I will not pass what the trans can handle, but I need it to reduce the torque for the shifts to avoid killing the trans...

    Just about every 4T60E made has a form of Torque Reduction... Starting in 91 with the 4.9 V8 and the 3800's.... The PCM's would reduce the timing before the shift and ramp the timing back up after the shift to protect the trans.. In the later years 96+ this became a lot more complicated and more highly controlled...

    This is the reason a 4T65E can last any time at all behind a 300 Hp V8.... The same goes for the trucks, its the reason a 4L60E can live a decently long life even towing 5000-7000 Lbs...


    Screech, I like the Idea of the 4.9( 300 ci ) caddy V8.... Gobs of Low end grunt, with that mean V8 Sound... Maybe find an Allante style intake for it... That would be Mean

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    The LS4 is a lot of fun to drive even for a FWD layout....

    The LS4 is detuned so that the trans can survive behind it, but even then they are not holding up that great... We think the LS4 would make 350 Hp or so with most of the torque management turned off and a little timing added... Its not a bad little motor, and it does that Chevrolet V8 Grumble at idle and while on the throttle... You will notice the sound change say on the interstate when it hits 4 Cylinder mode, not so much in the city, it changes suddenly and unless you are really looking for it you'll never notice it untill you look at the DIC and see " 4 Cyl Mode "...

    Keep in mind all GM FWD transmissions 96+ are Torque Managed... You'd be amazed at whats in the PCM... 97 was even worse... 98+ even more..

    I recently turned off the torque management on my van with the 97 PCM.... Turned off the Master Shift Torque Reduction and then Turned off the Master Torque Reduction... Went for a ride and did a WOT 1-2 and then 2-3.... Then slowed down and did a 3-1 WOT.... All I can say is the Trans would not live for long this way... I went back in and turned the Shift Torque Reduction on, Not so much worried about the Torque in general as I will not pass what the trans can handle, but I need it to reduce the torque for the shifts to avoid killing the trans...

    Just about every 4T60E made has a form of Torque Reduction... Starting in 91 with the 4.9 V8 and the 3800's.... The PCM's would reduce the timing before the shift and ramp the timing back up after the shift to protect the trans.. In the later years 96+ this became a lot more complicated and more highly controlled...

    This is the reason a 4T65E can last any time at all behind a 300 Hp V8.... The same goes for the trucks, its the reason a 4L60E can live a decently long life even towing 5000-7000 Lbs...


    Screech, I like the Idea of the 4.9( 300 ci ) caddy V8.... Gobs of Low end grunt, with that mean V8 Sound... Maybe find an Allante style intake for it... That would be Mean

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    Wouldn't the LS4 be longer lasting as well? The Northstars were notorious for leaking and burning oil and head gasket/head bolt problems.
    1996 Oldsmobile Ciera, 3100 (LG8), 4T60E w/ 130,000 miles

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oklahoma View Post
    Wouldn't the LS4 be longer lasting as well? The Northstars were notorious for leaking and burning oil and head gasket/head bolt problems.
    TSRH. Every sub-$2000 Caddy I see with a Northstar engine is overheating in some vague manner and written with the intention to deceive. "It probably just needs a thermostat or something" BS ALERT!
    Alan Moore - TOAD Roadside - Worthington, OH

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    After doing a head gasket job on a Northstar I strongly recommend against them. They're a great motor when it's running good buuuuuuut. The threads strip out of the block when you remove the head bolts and now the real fun begins. You have to drill/ream/ and tap all 20 bolt holes for GM"timesert" thread inserts. Or a company makes stud kits. Never buy a Caddy Northstar, if you ever work on one you'll agree with me. The head gaskets will crap out by design. The deck surface is open so the only thing regulating coolant flow between head/block is the gasket so eventually the gasket material erodes away and then it takes a crap. I swear engineers are some of the stupidest people when they design things. They think it looks good on paper but really don't know how it works in the real world.

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    Ya, I've been doing some research that way. I see several Caddy's around the $500-$1000 mark in my neck of the woods. Some of them are reported with coolant/gasket problems, but some of them are smashed or rusted out. I'd obviously be going for one of the later. HOWEVER, that being said, I have read about the potential for problems with these engines. So what I found was a company called Northstar Performance here in Canada. They may be the ones that S.O. was referring to that makes a stud kit. Their kit actually appears to be quite a good solution, one which they are apparently supplying to several GM dealerships. It includes all the studs, and the jig, drill and tap for prepping the block for the kit. Hit NorthstarPerformance.com for more info. I would plan on doing this at some point and go through the whole engine eventually. Going into it expecting NO PROBLEMS, definitely unrealistic. I'm doing what research I can beforehand so I know what I'm getting into before I start shelling out.
    http://www.screech.ws/
    01 Chev 2500HD (4x4), Vortec 8100, 496ci BBC, 3.73 gears, CCSB
    98 Chev K2500 (4x4), Vortec 350, 4.10 gearing, ECLB 155.5" WB
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    92 Pontiac Trans Sport SE, S1 3800SC L67 - R.I.P. 2010-09-09

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