It’s hard to think of any car that’s just two years old already needing a “new lease on life” – but when an engine lets go that’s just what it needs regardless of the age. Our friends at LaFontaine Performance Center, up in Highland, Michigan, recently told us about a longtime customer of theirs who had this very problem. The stock L99 in his 2011 Camaro Convertible was out of commission thanks to a broken piston, which an aftermarket supercharger may, or may not, have contributed to.
The idea of 620 horsepower that comes with a warranty really started to sound appealing…
After some discussion, the guys at LaFontaine told the owner about the LSX454 crate engine that they use in their GT454 GMC Sierra. The idea of tough, reliable, 620 naturally aspirated horsepower that comes with a warranty really started to sound appealing, and it was decided that the LSX454 would replace the hurt L99. “Since we keep the LSX454 crates on the shelf, we just took one down, unboxed it, installed the LS7 intake set-up and made the swap.” says Kelley Longwish from LaFontaine. “There are a couple little things to watch out for when doing this swap, but all in all, it was pretty straight forward.”
A TCI 3400 stall torque converter was added to the 6L80E to help maximize the power, and the engine was topped off with a set of ProForm’s newest valve covers for LS engines along with their coil pack relocation brackets. “These brackets are the nicest I’ve seen and give you flexibility on the look – plus the GM 8.1L MSD wires work perfect with them.” Longwish tells us.
The tuning was handled by Motor City Speed in Walled Lake, Michigan. “Rich at Motor City is very good at getting the power out and getting the drivability part handled.” says Longwish. When the tuning was finally done, the LSX454 pumped out a best of 473 horsepower and 431 pound feet of torque at the rear tires, for an acceptable 23% drivetrain loss through the automatic trans. “It’s a tire killer for sure. Next up, install the new hood and get the drag radials on it!” Longwish tells us.
If you’re considering tackling a similar swap in your 5th Gen, give the guys at LaFontaine a call at 248-714-1126, or check out their website here to browse their crate engine selection.