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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey Guys!

As most of you know I had done a 2003 IS300 1JZGTE VVTi with a Tomei turbo about 3 years ago you can find the build thread here. This was a lot of fun and had more plans for it but in Oct of 2019 I was rear ended at the race track. I sold the car to a buddy down the street that plans to fix it and has always wanted the car from me.

Fast forward to Sep of 2021 and I picked up a 2003 IS300 with 147k miles. This car is rough on outside with paint but the body is straight. Motor they tried to fix an oil leak. I started it had a rod knock and smoothed out so not even messing with it time to pull it.


After I had done the 1jzgte swap I decided I would like to do an LQ4 / LS swap this time.

* Plans *
Wrap or Paint 3M Matte Blue
LQ4 Built with Forged Internals
4L60E Transmission fully built
700-800whp
Turbo Setup
and many more to list.

* Current Mods *
Magnaflow Exhaust
Motegi Rims

* 9/12/2021 *

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
* 9/13/2021 *
Acquired the LQ4 from a 2500HD in the JunkYard. Cleaned it up little bit more cleaning and checking to come.

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Neat-o

Not sure what your budget is, or how tempted you'll be to turn it up after you've made your ~750whp goal... But in my opinion, there isn't a whole lot of need to use all forged internals.

Were it me, I'd give that engine a fresh hone and fresh rings (with a healthy amount of ring gap) and put it back together. Put the funds you would have spent on an engine build into the turbo components and good engine control. Maybe send the heads off for CNC porting (PRC and TEA are both affordable and quite good) while the engine is apart. And of course, everything LS needs some cam! Don't overdo it though! Something in the mid 220º zone on the intake side and no more than ~.590-.600 lift.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Neat-o

Not sure what your budget is, or how tempted you'll be to turn it up after you've made your ~750whp goal... But in my opinion, there isn't a whole lot of need to use all forged internals.

Were it me, I'd give that engine a fresh hone and fresh rings (with a healthy amount of ring gap) and put it back together. Put the funds you would have spent on an engine build into the turbo components and good engine control. Maybe sent the heads off for CNC porting while the engine is apart. And of course, everything LS needs some cam! Don't overdo it though! Something in the low/mid 220º zone on the intake side and no more than ~.590-.600 lift.
I am definitely all ears for anyone on LS suggestions. I am zero knowledge on them and one of the reasons I am doing this build. I know the 2jzgte, 1jzgte like back of my hand at this point and ready for something different.

Definitely a budget build so where I can save money definitely. I was gonna reach out to local place on there thoughts and once I tear it down have them inspect. The motor is from a work truck probably had little higher mileage but hoping it was part of fleet and taken care of.

I paid $672 for motor with all accessories and paid a guy $200 to pull and deliver.

My plan is to get the pan off today and visually check it. Engine has a 30 day warranty if doesn't run take it back for refund or replace.
 

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Check out the Richard Holdener videos on youtube. He's an engine dyno junky and has tested dozens and dozens of various setups, many of them turbocharged. Here is one where he kept upping the boost on a junkyard LQ4 gen3 until it finally popped - and compared the results against a gen4 that he didn't pop.

Keep in mind these are engine dyno numbers, tested without accessories or full exhaust. RWHP numbers will obviously be lower. Still, I think stock components in a gen3 6.0L will be rather comfortable in the 750whp region.

If you wanna play with LS engines, you'll want to do some reading on the YellowBullet and LS1tech forums. In typical forum fashion, there are plenty of dumbasses and nutswingers, but there's a LOT of good tech there too; and a lot of guys with some real serious machines.

I don't discriminate between imports and domestics. Having spent time with both, I find it really interesting how the hotrodders working on them often have very different approaches to what is, effectively, the same problem. You'll find the domestic guys have some really good ideas. And some bad ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The biggest issue right now is I can't see shelling out the money to for the mounts I wish I could find the dimensions to build the mounts. Not having much luck atm.

As far as the headers need to figure out flipping to see how it will fit.
 

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When I was researching/pricing out my LS swap scheme, I remember I looked what isolators were included in the Dedicated kit:


Can't remember exactly where they came from, but they weren't cheap; as in ~$150 a pop... Kit also comes with trans crossmember and trans mount, so the way I figure it, they're really only charging about $250-300 for fabricated brackets. That's not crazy, in my opinion. I'm a qualified fabricator and could certainly do them from scratch, but I'm not sure it'd be worth my time/effort to "save" $300.

Also, the $1k they ask for their custom headers for this swap is totally reasonable. I realize they don't apply to your turbo swap, but anyone that's built custom headers for a bespoke swap would agree it's way easier to fork out $1k than to build a good set of headers from scratch.

Here is another concept that is mostly done for you, but still requires cutting down the ears to suitable length, and welding to a plate. Also, the "isolation" these are gonna provide will be nowhere near as good as the Dedicated kit.


There's lots of universal swap mounts for LSx on the market, but all will require some engineering on your part.
 

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just a parrot here:

Definitely don’t spend the money on the bottom end. Sure it will give you peace of mind that you can turn it up later on and it will survive. These motors can survive 600-650HP ALL DAY LONGwould say more, but if you beat on things with boost over and over it will just cause extra stress as it would with any engine.

If I were you, I would re-ring the pistons, new head gaskets, ARP head studs and call it a day. That will most definitely survive 700HP for a while. It’s been done to death!

The LS motor is fantastic, that’s why it’s swapped into nearly everything with wheels on it. Cheap power, gobs of low end and midrange. Spend your money on a proper turbo, wastegate, Blow off valve and something to control it on. With the money you’re gonna throw into the bottom end, you can buy a very nice Standalone.

Also, if the 4L80e is able to fit into that chassis, please go that route. The 4L60e has just never been a favorite of mine built or not. It WILL NOT survive 600+ at all without being torn apart and built. It will barely hold 450hp for some time. A shift kit alone on a 80E will hold 600-650 HP without a hiccup.
 

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I love head studs as much as (or more) than any other gearhead - but consider how likely you are to wanna pull the heads in the future. You won't be able to remove the heads with the engine in the car without removing the studs first - which is impossible if the studs don't have a little hex drive for an allen key, and a rather tedious job if they do. Sometimes head bolts make more sense...

This was a much bigger deal in my old small block Ford days, when blown head gaskets were more common than they are today, but it's still a consideration...don't forget removing lifters in an LS (or Gen2+ Hemi) is a heads-off affair.

And speaking of lifters: Be sure to replace the "lifter trays" with new, OEM ones while the heads are off. These plastic "trays" are responsible for keeping the roller running true on the cam. If the lifter itself rotates, the roller turns sideways and wipes out the cam in very short order. Also, the trays have enough friction on the lifter (when new) to hold the lifter up. This allows you to perform a cam swap without pulling the lifters. You remove the pushrods, spin the cam a couple revs, which pushes the lifters up and out of the way.... But only on fairly new trays. Else, the lifters have to come out - which means pulling heads. The trays are inexpensive and should be replaced basically any time the heads are off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
* 9/15/2021 *
Pulled the heads, exhaust manifolds, intake and cleaned the engine.

Heads look really good had some issues with the knock sensors rusted and some broken exhaust studs from whoever owned it before.

Pulling the bottom end a part tomorrow.
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2001 Lexus IS300. Turbo LS - 830 whp
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What year is that engine? If it has Gen 4 pistons and rods (like 2003ish and up) you don't need to build the bottom end.

Personally I'd take the rods and pistons and gap the stock rings, make sure the bearings look good and slap the bottom end back together with all oem everything, including the oil pump. Replace the lifters and lifter trays, put a cam in it, something simple like an off the shelf Brian Tooley stage 2 turbo cam is fine. Hardened pushrods, dual valve springs (I like the Brian Tooley stuff). You don't need to port the heads if they are something decent like the 243's or similar (I can't see in the pics). I did spend the money on the expensive ARP studs though.. they are like $350-400... You may or may not decide to go this route... some people are making 1000whp with stock, reused TTY bolts...

The truck manifold won't fit unless you're going to cut the hood up quite a bit, but they are ugly so you probably won't want to do that. I bought the Brian Tooley one and like it.

That's all I did and I've been making 830whp for a few years now beating the crap out of it. 7200 redline. Stock rod bolts and all of that.


I put a 4l80e in my car and wouldn't consider using a 4l60e. All I did to it was put in a Trans2go shift kit and it's also really been abused and it's been taking it for years. You have to cut the car up quite a bit but it's worth it, and once it's done you can't tell the trans tunnel has been modded while you're driving it.

It's more difficult to fit everything if you want to run full exhaust, and pretty gosh darn difficult if you're trying to run full exhaust and AC.

I have pics on my IG: Turbo_LS_is300 - message me on there if you want to ask me anything.

You can check out mad_mikes_garage on IG too for another turbo kit to look at.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
What year is that engine? If it has Gen 4 pistons and rods (like 2003ish and up) you don't need to build the bottom end.

Personally I'd take the rods and pistons and gap the stock rings, make sure the bearings look good and slap the bottom end back together with all oem everything, including the oil pump. Replace the lifters and lifter trays, put a cam in it, something simple like an off the shelf Brian Tooley stage 2 turbo cam is fine. Hardened pushrods, dual valve springs (I like the Brian Tooley stuff). You don't need to port the heads if they are something decent like the 243's or similar (I can't see in the pics). I did spend the money on the expensive ARP studs though.. they are like $350-400... You may or may not decide to go this route... some people are making 1000whp with stock, reused TTY bolts...

The truck manifold won't fit unless you're going to cut the hood up quite a bit, but they are ugly so you probably won't want to do that. I bought the Brian Tooley one and like it.

That's all I did and I've been making 830whp for a few years now beating the crap out of it. 7200 redline. Stock rod bolts and all of that.


I put a 4l80e in my car and wouldn't consider using a 4l60e. All I did to it was put in a Trans2go shift kit and it's also really been abused and it's been taking it for years. You have to cut the car up quite a bit but it's worth it, and once it's done you can't tell the trans tunnel has been modded while you're driving it.

It's more difficult to fit everything if you want to run full exhaust, and pretty gosh darn difficult if you're trying to run full exhaust and AC.

I have pics on my IG: Turbo_LS_is300 - message me on there if you want to ask me anything.

You can check out mad_mikes_garage on IG too for another turbo kit to look at.

View attachment 138773
Beautiful setup:) Yes it is a 2004 Silverado 2500HD is what the motor came out of. I am new to these motors so definitely bare with me. I was gonna tear it down have it cleaned, honed, crank polished and a refresh as another user suggested. Not sure if someone sells a refresh kit for the bottom end or if someone can point me to the parts lol.
 

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Thanks! It's a lot of fun. Personally I wouldn't do any of that stuff, because a lot of time when you mess with it you let the magic out lol. 04' will have the good pistons and rods in it. You got a good deal on that engine. If you're going to make big power the only thing you need to do to the bottom end is open up the ring gap and make sure the bearings still look okay (and install new lifters).

I buy gaskets and stuff mostly from Rockauto.com, and then aftermarket stuff I often use Brian Tooley parts.

800whp is a lot for these cars though. If you're building a street car I'd say that's plenty haha. What is your budget for the drivetrain?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks! It's a lot of fun. Personally I wouldn't do any of that stuff, because a lot of time when you mess with it you let the magic out lol. 04' will have the good pistons and rods in it. You got a good deal on that engine. If you're going to make big power the only thing you need to do to the bottom end is open up the ring gap and make sure the bearings still look okay (and install new lifters).

I buy gaskets and stuff mostly from Rockauto.com, and then aftermarket stuff I often use Brian Tooley parts.

800whp is a lot for these cars though. If you're building a street car I'd say that's plenty haha. What is your budget for the drivetrain?
The car is gonna be primarily drag strip but weekend cruises and car shows. Reasons I am spending time on the motor to make it clean:) I am talking with Brian Tooley about cam suggestions for 7675.

As far as the rings and bare with me on this. You guys are just using stock rings but giving a bigger gap? Recommendations on gap?
 

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I know there's a million outfits selling LS cams special for XYZ application, but really - there's no reason to overthink it. ANY cam (including stock) you stick into a 6.0L LS is going to make 800hp with a 7675. Pick a cam profile with proven valvetrain stability that will create the torque curve SHAPE you want - and let the turbo increase the torque from there. Speaking of turbos - with a goal of ~800hp, I see no reason to choose a turbo capable of ~1200. It'll be harder to fit into the engine compartment and you'll give up response you would have had with a smaller turbo that still would've met your power goals.

Regarding rings:
If there is still a nice looking crosshatch on the cylinder walls - you could totally get away with simply increasing the gap of the original rings and re-using them. Personally, if I'm gonna have an (old, high mileage) engine apart far enough to re-gap rings - I'm gonna give it a fresh hone and a new set of rings. But that's just me; there's plenty of folks that would just re-gap the originals and move on with their life.

You should be shooting for a minimum gap of ~.028" for the top ring and ~.029" for the bottom. Don't get too wrapped around the axle being too exact about this. The only person that'll know if you have "too much" gap is YOU. If you have too little - everyone will know it because it'll blow the engine by breaking the piston crown.

Last thoughts: Take lots of care deburring the edges of the rings when you file them. I always use a popsicle stick with ~220 grit sandpaper superglued onto it. With the rods/pistons out, but crank still in - give it a feel to see if it spins nice and free with no sticky spots. If you can't easily spin it by hand, or feel sticky spots - strongly consider getting the block align-honed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I know there's a million outfits selling LS cams special for XYZ application, but really - there's no reason to overthink it. ANY cam (including stock) you stick into a 6.0L LS is going to make 800hp with a 7675. Pick a cam profile with proven valvetrain stability that will create the torque curve SHAPE you want - and let the turbo increase the torque from there. Speaking of turbos - with a goal of ~800hp, I see no reason to choose a turbo capable of ~1200. It'll be harder to fit into the engine compartment and you'll give up response you would have had with a smaller turbo that still would've met your power goals.

Regarding rings:
If there is still a nice looking crosshatch on the cylinder walls - you could totally get away with simply increasing the gap of the original rings and re-using them. Personally, if I'm gonna have an (old, high mileage) engine apart far enough to re-gap rings - I'm gonna give it a fresh hone and a new set of rings. But that's just me; there's plenty of folks that would just re-gap the originals and move on with their life.

You should be shooting for a minimum gap of ~.028" for the top ring and ~.029" for the bottom. Don't get too wrapped around the axle being too exact about this. The only person that'll know if you have "too much" gap is YOU. If you have too little - everyone will know it because it'll blow the engine by breaking the piston crown.

Last thoughts: Take lots of care deburring the edges of the rings when you file them. I always use a popsicle stick with ~220 grit sandpaper superglued onto it. With the rods/pistons out, but crank still in - give it a feel to see if it spins nice and free with no sticky spots. If you can't easily spin it by hand, or feel sticky spots - strongly consider getting the block align-honed.
Power goal for now is 800. I know I'm gonna want more and plan for more. I was considering a twin setup to use minimal space.

The idea is the 7675 however I am still in planning stages of the whole thing.

Picked up car on Saturday and engine Sunday and hit the ground running haha.

What I don't want to do is buy parts change mind then buy other parts done that too many times on the previous builds and want to go one route and stick to it unless meet limitation.

Thank you on the rings that is info looking for and the realistic information not oh go spend 10k into the motor lol.

Already had a fun time with the dumb knock sensor and removal of broken studs on the exhaust about 4 of em.
 

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Like anything. Pick a very realistic power goal and stick to that. Fortunately enough for you, you are starting with a fantastic engine that doesn’t require much to make 800hp. All that is stated above. As I said in my very first response, and I am glad someone here can back me on that, is to use a 4L80E. I know it will be more work, but like I said conservatively above, they can hold power easy stock or even just a shift kit.

if you are looking for anything over 500HP a 4L80 will be the way to go for overall reliability and simplicity when it comes to modifying it to handle a little more power. The 4L60 simply won’t cut it without some major work $$$
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Like anything. Pick a very realistic power goal and stick to that. Fortunately enough for you, you are starting with a fantastic engine that doesn’t require much to make 800hp. All that is stated above. As I said in my very first response, and I am glad someone here can back me on that, is to use a 4L80E. I know it will be more work, but like I said conservatively above, they can hold power easy stock or even just a shift kit.

if you are looking for anything over 500HP a 4L80 will be the way to go for overall reliability and simplicity when it comes to modifying it to handle a little more power. The 4L60 simply won’t cut it without some major work $$$
Thank you for reminding me on the 4L80e how much work did you take making it fit in the tunnel? Did you fab up a bracket for trans definitely would like to do this.
 

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Thank you for reminding me on the 4L80e how much work did you take making it fit in the tunnel? Did you fab up a bracket for trans definitely would like to do this.
I personally haven’t swapped an LS into an IS300 but @isthreehun has above. I have dabbled in the LS world on a few occasions though. He would be the guy to ask on exactly how much massaging was needed to fit the 4L80 in. I can guarantee you will need to fab up a transmission cross member unless there is a company that makes a kit already.
 
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