The LQ4 / The 55 2.0

If you’ve been following along you know I put a lot of miles on The 55.
And if you’re keeping track, we’ve been thru 10 states and 17 National Parks since last May.
From the top of Pike’s Peak, 14,115 above sea level to the bottom of Badwater -282 below sea level.
From the Bonneville Salt Flats to The Corkscrew at Laguna Seca, and even the Texas Motor Speedway – The 55 has been there.
It’s had a trusty little 350 in it ever since I got it.
And it’s taken good care of me.
The only upgrades I’ve made to the engine are the Blue Print aluminum heads, the Holley Sniper Electronic Fuel Injection system, an Edelbrock double roller timing chain and a Miloden oil pan.
I don’t know the cam specs or anything else about the engine except that it runs great and has been the definition of reliable for me.
Since I’ve owned the car I’ve put around 70,000 miles on it.
Who knows how many miles it had on it before I got it.
And in all honesty…
I think it may be time for a rebuild.
Rebuilds aren’t exactly cheap.
Over the past few years I’ve been reading about the magic of LS swaps.
So instead of rebuilding the small block with old technology, I’ve decided to go to the Dark Side and build an LS for The 55.
The 55 2.0.
Or The 55 6.0 – depending on how you look at it.
Yeah, you’re right – a small block fits the car.
But from what I’ve read on the internet – and if it’s on the internet, it must be true – right?
Those LS devices supposedly make good power aaaand get good mileage.
And stock LS bottom-ends are supposed to be good for something like 600hp.
So I got to thinking…
If I could get 20mpg and 500hp I’d be thrilled.
So I started looking around on the internet and I found a 2002 LQ4/4L65E out of a Silverado.
There it is in all its glory.
IMG_8820 2
It’s 6.0 liters, which equates to 364 cubic inches.
It’s an iron block with aluminum cathedral-port heads, and a 4-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmission.
It looks like a mess right now, but the plan is to make it look kinda like an old small block Chevy.
My first call was to my buddy Trent at Comp Cams.
I told him my goal was 500hp and 20mpg.
His response:  “That’ll be easy.”
The LQ4 will rock a Comp Cams custom ground camshaft along with Comp’s lifters 850-16, springs 7228TS-KIT, push rods 7955-16, and timing set 3172KT.
For the front accessory drive, I could piece together brackets & pulleys from a Corvette, Camaro or a truck but I made it easy and called up Holley.
They’re the 1-Stop LS Swap Shop!
They recommend the Holley – 20-137 which includes the alternator, ac compressor, power steering pump and Holley’s water pump 22-100.
And to complete the front accessory drive, a lovely little ATI damper.
The LQ4 intake manifold makes great torque but it doesn’t fit the build so it’s coming off.
A Holley 300-136 will go on in its place.
Flanking the intake will be a set of Holley fuel rails 534-218 with Holley fuel injectors 522-668, Holley throttle body 122-587, and a Holley Terminator LS MPFI system 550-623 to control it all.
Giddy up!
I’ll reuse the K&N air filter off of the old small block, and I’ll toss on a set of Holly’s Vintage Series valve covers – 241-138 to give it that retro look.
I called up ARP and ordered a complete set of LS fasteners.
They ain’t cheap, but they’re the best.
I was planning on using the stock crank & rods, but a friend of mine: @Torydiblasi heard I was building an LS and he send me a forged crank & a set of forged connecting rods he said he had “just laying around.”
It’s always good to have car-guy friends with spare parts laying around.
So I gotta forged crank and forged connecting rods…
You see where this is going…
I called up Joe Malish at Mahle Pistons and he suggested a set of their forged pistons.
So I got a set of Mahle’s MLE-930223205’s
Now it’ll have an all-forged bottom-end.
And combined with the ARP fasteners – this thing should be pretty stout.
I’m gonna re-use the stock coils, and now I’ve got to make remote coil location brackets since I’m using those sweet Holley valve-covers.
And I swear by Accel ceramic tipped spark plug wires.
I think they’re the best.
I called up Cathy at CPP and ordered their LS-Installation kit.
I want to make sure the installation goes as smoothly as possible.
Instead of just throwing the LQ4 into The 55, I had Martin and the guys at CPR Engines work their magic on it.
They did all the machine work, balanced and blueprinted the rotating assembly and freshened up the heads.
The heads got ported and polished, and they’re now rectangular-ported LS3 pieces.
Jimmy at Hiro’s Transmissions freshened up the 4L60E.
And Nelson Gill from to Boss Hog Torque Converters supplied the torque converter.
I had no idea what was involved in making a one of those things.
If you’re interested in learning more about ’em head over to Boss Hog and talk to Nelson – he’s the torque converter whisperer.
Here it is strapped to CPR’s Dyno.
It put down 525hp @ 5600 and 524 ft. lbs. @ 4900
And it idles like stock.
Not too bad huh?
That’s about it for the build.
Now I’ve gotta keep everything nicely lubricated.
Every fluid will be drained out of The 55 and refilled with Red Line synthetic goodness.
Red Line 5W-30 motor oil, D4-ATF, 75W-90 Gear Oil, Power Steering Fluid, Brake Fluid, Fuel System Cleaner,  and WaterWetter.
Here’s what it looks like with the Holley Front Accessory Drive, Single Plane Intake Manifold, Fuel Rails and Throttle Body.
Looks almost like the old small block Chevy right?
The 350 is out.
The CPP Motor Mounts are in.
(They’re just not in in this picture)
But in order to get ’em in we had to move the brake lines.
So now I’m waiting on the brake lines to get bent.
Once the brake lines are done the engine can go in.
But until then, we’re waiting patiently.
Let me know if you’ve got any questions.
And if you’ve got any comments you can leave ’em below.
Looking forward to seeing you out on the road.

2 thoughts on “The LQ4 / The 55 2.0

  1. 500hp and 20mpg sounds great! I’ve been resisting the LS temptation, but the more I drive my car, the more I think about it. I will be following close to see how it turns out for your.


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