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Discussion Starter #1
First, let me say that I'm not out to start an argument. A lively discussion will do well enough. :D

Second, I've already purchased an LS2 and plan to install it in my Nova. So, I'm not coming at this from the opposite side of the fence.

That said, I got to thinking about LS output versus "regular" engines that are on the market. For simplicity sake, I considered just the 2.4 liter 4-banger in my '08 Malibu, and the '06 LS2 (6.0 liter) I have for the Nova.

The Malibu is rated at 169 horsepower. That's a little over 70 horsepower per liter, or about 1.16 HP per cubic inch. The LS2 has 400 horsepower, for just under 67 HP per liter, or about 1.09 HP per cubic inch.

Now before you jump all over this and say the LS2 has such-n-such potential, etc. etc., consider that these are both production stock engines. Also consider that the 2.4 definitely falls into the milder consumer category while the LS2 was one of the hottest engines from just two years earlier. I think it really is a fair comparison.

If you look at the '013 versions of the 4-banger and the 6.0 (LS3), you'll get a similar comparison as both engines have been bumped up in HP.

It seems the LS engines are not all that hot, and--here comes the fire stick--a 6 liter 4-banger should actually turn out more HP than the V8. You would think GM would do better to scale back the size of their V8's, and bring their performance up to (or, preferably, better than) what their smaller engines are pumping out per liter. Instead, it seems they are not applying the latest technology to the V8's.

Let's go back in time to 1984--the last year I owned a 4-banger. I had a Cavalier with a 2.0 liter engine that popped out a whopping 90 HP. That same year the Z28 Camaro had a 5.0 liter with 190 HP. That's 45 HP per liter for the 2.0 and 38 per liter for the V8. The LS engines are better than the V8's of old, maybe, but they still don't seem to have kept up with the times.

What's your perspective on this?
 

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Clearly there are several reasons for this and I'll choose to offer one or two and let others chime in. When designing a multicylinder engine it is understood the more cylinders the lower the usable RPM range. Now why is that? The easy answer is power is available without having to wind it so why waste the fuel and stress the engine with increased revs. HP is a relationship to RPM. It has always been the smaller the engine the greater the HP per litre due in part to this relationship. What's really strange is the smaller the person the stronger they are per pound.:eek: At this years Olympics a weight lifter lifted over three times his weight over his head.:eek: He was also the smallest lifter in the lowest class. Only two other lifters have ever done this in Olympic history. To properly compare this engine it needs to be with other V8s
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Clearly there are several reasons for this and I'll choose to offer one or two and let others chime in. When designing a multicylinder engine it is understood the more cylinders the lower the usable RPM range. Now why is that? The easy answer is power is available without having to wind it so why waste the fuel and stress the engine with increased revs. HP is a relationship to RPM. It has always been the smaller the engine the greater the HP per litre due in part to this relationship. What's really strange is the smaller the person the stronger they are per pound.:eek: At this years Olympics a weight lifter lifted over three times his weight over his head.:eek: He was also the smallest lifter in the lowest class. Only two other lifters have ever done this in Olympic history. To properly compare this engine it needs to be with other V8s
Point well taken. I'll counter it, however, with this: For a more fair comparison, we should see at what RPM that 2.4 liter and 6.0 liter made the posted peak HP numbers. I could find it for the LS2 easy enough, but I'm not so sure about the 2.4. I'll do some poking around--it could shed some interesting light on the subject.
 

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Ls engines

General motors as of 2013 will have to scale back the v-8 engine litre size
to meet EPA fuel consumption standards. General motors will reduce litre's
and use direct injection to meet EPA standards. they have been using
direct injection in the caddilac's and the camaro for sometime now. and it
actually works!!
 

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Peak power sells cars and looks nice but its average hp over the entire rpm range that gets it done. :yes:
 

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You're looking at it wrong.

First off, there are TONS of reasons why the smaller engines make more HP/Liter.

1. Less reciprocating weight.
2. Overhead cams/4 valves per cylinder.
3. Head flow. Smaller displacement means that the heads are hardly ever a restriction, and 4 valves REALLY helps.
4. Easier to cool/lubricate.
5. Generally better intake manifold designs due to less fitment issues.
6. The list goes on.

But you need to look at this side of it:
That 2.4L will NEVER make the same 400 HP that the LS2 does N/A. No matter how wild of a setup it is, most N/A sport compact builds top out around 400hp, whereas the LS2 makes it stock.

Bike engines make more HP/liter on average than any N/A car engine, are we to assume that bike engines are magic technology and we should start stuffing them in cars? No. All of the above reasons are why smaller engines make more HP/Liter, but it doesn't change the fact that in the long run, they just can't make the same amount of overall power naturally aspirated. Even the high 6-second NHRA Pro-stock bikes make less overall HP than a stock LS2.

This is a reason why manufacturers are happy with the lower HP/liter ratings. Because its STILL 400 hp. They don't have to push the engine as hard, get better emissions that than 2.4 liter would if it was upscaled to 6.0 liters, and better fuel economy than that 2.4 if it was scaled up as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You're looking at it wrong.

First off, there are TONS of reasons why the smaller engines make more HP/Liter.

1. Less reciprocating weight.
2. Overhead cams/4 valves per cylinder.
3. Head flow. Smaller displacement means that the heads are hardly ever a restriction, and 4 valves REALLY helps.
4. Easier to cool/lubricate.
5. Generally better intake manifold designs due to less fitment issues.
6. The list goes on.

But you need to look at this side of it:
That 2.4L will NEVER make the same 400 HP that the LS2 does N/A. No matter how wild of a setup it is, most N/A sport compact builds top out around 400hp, whereas the LS2 makes it stock.

Bike engines make more HP/liter on average than any N/A car engine, are we to assume that bike engines are magic technology and we should start stuffing them in cars? No. All of the above reasons are why smaller engines make more HP/Liter, but it doesn't change the fact that in the long run, they just can't make the same amount of overall power naturally aspirated. Even the high 6-second NHRA Pro-stock bikes make less overall HP than a stock LS2.

This is a reason why manufacturers are happy with the lower HP/liter ratings. Because its STILL 400 hp. They don't have to push the engine as hard, get better emissions that than 2.4 liter would if it was upscaled to 6.0 liters, and better fuel economy than that 2.4 if it was scaled up as well.
Sorry, but I think some of the points you make actually support my position. The others, well, seem to miss the argument.

If you believe multi-valve technology benefits the 4-banger, then why don't the LS engines have it? That would say the LS engines are not all that great (not saying I buy into multi-valve, but if that's what's better about the 4-banger then why is the LS missing it?).

Same thing with head flow. If you think the 4-banger has better head technology, then why not the LS? Why not a better intake for the LS? Why not better cooling and lubrication technology for the LS? Again, I'm not saying you are right or wrong on any of these, my point is that the LS engines don't seem to live up to all the hype when compared to other engines.

I never said the 2.4 engine could approach the same total HP as the LS. I would never expect it to make 400HP N/A. My argument is based entirely around HP per liter, in which the LS fails to make the grade.

Your bike engine argument also misses the mark. This is not about what engine should be used in a car. It is about HP per liter. If bike engines make more HP per liter than an LS, then that supports my position. It seems the LS engines are actually behind the times rather than cutting edge. That doesn't mean they aren't great engines or that we shouldn't use them. All it means is that apparently there is a lot of room to either improve them or to lower their displacement and still get the desired HP.
 

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rquad, I really dont understand your point? the little 4 banger has alot more going for it to make HP OHC and 4 valves pery cyl but its for a little car not a sports car. the LS motors have lots of improvements over the SBC and theyre plentiful and cheap they will take lots of boost and survive why are there sooo many 5.3 turbos around? if you hurt one you can get another for $500 they can make over 1,000 hp and survive although thats streching it. They are tuned down for emissions and mileage so throw a cam and good exhaust on the LS2 you should easily be at 400rwhp - do that with a sbc. IMO the LS series has been evolving quickly with factory supercharged ones 638 hp on a ZR1 and only 6.2l and this is still a pushrod engine and 2 valves yeag GM could of done like F%#$ did and gone 3 or 4 valve but their stuff aint cheap go price new cyl head from them - almost 2k GM had to look at the big picture - production costs- warranty repairs economy and on and on. the reason that they are cheap is because there are lot around out of wrecked trucks ect i have 175K on my LS1 and shouild be good to 250K or so. the LS engines arent perfect but they are great all around engines- enjoy!
 

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If you believe multi-valve technology benefits the 4-banger, then why don't the LS engines have it? That would say the LS engines are not all that great (not saying I buy into multi-valve, but if that's what's better about the 4-banger then why is the LS missing it?).

Same thing with head flow. If you think the 4-banger has better head technology, then why not the LS? Why not a better intake for the LS? Why not better cooling and lubrication technology for the LS? Again, I'm not saying you are right or wrong on any of these, my point is that the LS engines don't seem to live up to all the hype when compared to other engines.
rquad,

A big thing is fitment. If you look at cars like the LS 4th gen f body, you'll see how it's pretty crammed in there and under the cowl. You can't get too crazy with large 4 valve heads or tall intakes, etc without running into space issues. Fitting a 4 cyl into an engine bay usually leaves a lot of room.

Another thing is cost. If they put money into making all LS engines meet their full potential they'd be very expensive. And they don't sell enough of them as it is in some cases.

Edit- oh, and they would have to upgrade the car's drivetrain as well. Even more $$$$ on the sticker.
 

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I don't see a lot of these threads addressing his point. Think of it this way. With a single piston engine, the size of the piston would have to be enormous. The vibrations would rattle your teeth and the power band would be narrow. Now add cylinders. With each addition, vibration is reduced, the powerband smooths out, and the need for a multispeed transmission is reduced. It's not impossible to get the same RPM, Torque curve and H.P. from a V12 or V16 but the fuel usage and noise would be impractical. A formula one engine idles at 4000RPM. Climbs to over 20,000RPM but I wouldn't want it on the street.
 

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That said, I got to thinking about LS output versus "regular" engines that are on the market.
Those "regular engines" are over forty years old in design. Also if you study the V8s overseas you'll find HP and torque numbers equal to smaller displacement options. There is an engineering firm producing a Hayabusa V8 and it produces almost the exact double of it's four cylinder counterpart. 350HP in 2 litres and street manners.:eek: You may also want to check out the new boxer engine in the Toyota/ Subaru collaboration. It's a two litre producing 200HP. I've driven the car and while it is quick it is very docile.
 

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It seems the LS engines are not all that hot, and--here comes the fire stick--a 6 liter 4-banger should actually turn out more HP than the V8.
What's your perspective on this?
Whenever a manufacturer builds a four cylinder engine of greater than two litres the need for a balance shaft is required. If a 6 litre four were designed the balance shaft would take up half the engine space. So why not V6?? The V6 is not inherently balanced. Consumers equate vibration with poor quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Is it because you have nothing to do and your bored???:D I have a four banger I'll trade you for that low HP per cylinder ls2...:devil:
hmmm, could be :D

I thought it might be an interesting discussion, but only Pragmatist seems to understand where I'm coming from. Too many rabbit trails to have much fun.
 

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yup

There are great for the money.Its nothing to spin these up to 6800 with cam and spring change and still be as streetable as a stock.
 

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There are great for the money.Its nothing to spin these up to 6800 with cam and spring change and still be as streetable as a stock.
In real world terms I think this is it. You can build these engines to run about 75 to 200HP over an equivalent small block and still be very streetable. Can a V8 be designed to be better? Of course. But at what cost? these are a dime a dozen for the benefits offered and I for one am grateful.
 

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My Two Cents

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with an LS. I have a 68 Camaro w a crate 383 from Smeding Performance, 451HP 476TQ, and a TKO600 5spd w a nine inch Ford rear w 3:50 gears...AND I have just finished a 63 Chevy II wagon w a 98 LS-1 and 4L60E. Took a friend for a ride in them both last weekend, and he thought the little wagon will kick ***** on my poor Camaro!!!
 

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i think you have to realize that you can take a stock ls motor, plug it into a computer and tune it to have more or less power. the 400 hp it puts out is because thats where gm wants it to be. for emissions, drivability, and dependability. ive seen 200k miles on a stock original motor ls. have you ever seen a malibu with 200k miles on it? i havent.

the point is that both motors are tuned to be as efficient and powerful as possible. remember anyone can go out and buy a v8 camaro. would you want everyone you know to have a 600 horse camaro to drive everyday? people would die everyday. fuel prices also keep this down.

so take both motors stock and tune them to get the best performance out of them without any modifications to them other than tuning. a stock 4 banger will gain maybe 10 or 20 hp out of it. you tune a ls camaro or vett and you will come out with 50 or 60 more horse. now put a few bolt ons. exhaust, intake, filter....etc. 4 banger you will gain maybe another 10 hp out of it. the ls you will gain around 100 horse out of it. so now do your calculations... 2.4=200 horse 6.0=650. more horse power per cu in to the ls. it will also last much longer because as said before 8 cylinder are not working as hard to make more power. more dependability.

on a last note... try towing a 5000lb trailer with your malibu.... nuf said.
 
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