Tech: Livernois 419ci LSx Short Blocks – The New Mighty Mouse?
Can we all agree that the LS series of motors is just plain bad-ass? The era of big, chromed-out big blocks with giant 6-71 style blowers jutting out of the hood is all but officially dead. The age of the sleek and highly efficient fuel injected super small blocks is in. An engine builder friend of mine once told me that LS motors make big power “by accident”, well by accident or design the LS motor makes incredible power naturally aspirated or even with a power adder. Now you’d almost have to be living under a rock to have not seen a 1,000-plus horsepower street driven vehicle with an LS power plant. It borders on insanity.
The LS series of motors have seen an explosion of usages across the board, and even folks in the import world are starting to introduce the LS power plant in their swaps. The old way of doing things meant going to a junkyard and scrounging up an oiled up old mess of a motor with a hacked up wiring harness. Since no one wants to do an engine swap twice, and you can’t really trust the reliability of a scrap engine, this meant having to have it torn down and rebuilt. Which also meant even more time between you, and enjoying all the benefits of LS power. But thankfully the aftermarket responded, and now we enjoy a host of LS crate engines and short blocks that come ready to rumble.
Livernois Knows LSX…
When you think about it, the bottom-end of your motor is likely the most important piece you will buy, yet is not always the most glamorous purchase. The strength of your short block will essentially keep your engine together, or not. It can make the difference between years of reliable LS horsepower, and quickly scattering a bunch of oily metal bits all over the street or race track. Usher in Livernois Motorsports (pronounced ‘liver-noi’) of Dearborn Heights, Michigan.
The strength of your short block will essentially… make the difference between years of reliable LS horsepower and scattering a bunch of metal bits all over the place.
Livernois started business in 1949 primarily as an engineering company. They made aluminum radiators for the automotive industry and made the tooling and machines for autos in the Detroit scene. The high performance division of Livernois opened up in 1999 to cater to the higher demands of their customers. Livernois has a wide range of motor options and the LS short block is just one of their products. Recently, Livernois own custom built 2012 ZL1 Camaro became the first ZL1 to run into the 9’sand make a very healthy 707 rear wheel horse power. All of that power propels the full fighting weight Camaro and goes through the stock transmission with a Livernois custom tune. That said and if that doesn’t denote a sense of confidence in their ability to build stout LS motors, we aren’t really sure what would.
“Create-Your-Own” LS3 Stroker Short Block Option
One thing we truly appreciate is the amount of flexibility and options allowed by the buyer of their 419 cubic-inch series of short blocks. Livernois offers the option to choose your components through their “Create your own Livernois 419 Short Block” option. Most places sell you a set package with pieces that they’ve chosen and send you a predetermined and often times, pre-built motor. Livernois will allow you to pick almost everything that goes into your short block. For example, have a bad experience with one manufacturer and prefer to try another? You get that chance. Feeling a bit manly and want to throw in some Manley rods [Bad pun; we get it, don’t write us. But honestly this is about as funny as connecting rods can get] with a Callies Dragonslayer crankshaft? You can order that up too. They give you every option imaginable and we can really appreciate that, especially since we’re the kind of guys who need to know every minute detail of our cars.
We talked with Rick LeBlanc from Livernois about the options they offer in their 419 short blocks. “The prices for for the 419 LS short blocks start at about $4,600 and depending on how crazy your horse power needs are, you could spend upwards of $7,235. The drop down menus on our site make the choices pretty seamless and straight forward.” LeBlanc says. “We can and will accommodate just about any need anyone may have for their short block. We encourage people to call us with specific requests and questions if it’s not in the drop down menus on our site.” he continues.
Livernois “Build Your Own 419ci Short Block Options”
- Pick your own Crank, Connecting Rods, Pistons, Rod Bearings, and Rings
- Choose from your favorite performance brands, including Manley, Callies, Eagle, and Livernois own parts.
Why the LS3?
Facts are facts and the original LS1, while a great motor, was fairly limited in terms of making stupid amounts of horsepower without spending a great deal of money. It’s biggest issue is that it can’t be bored for more cubic inches.
Since that first iteration of the LS1, GM has introduced the LS3 which has turned out to be the savior of the new generation of motor gurus and gear heads alike. The LS3 block has proven to be versatile and rugged, and even the boosted LS9 uses a version of the LS3 block. Now, rumor has it that soon the LS9 will even use the same casting number block as the LS3.
Best of all, the LS3 can easily be bored and stroked to make big cubes reliably – around 419ci like Livernois makes. Throw in the light weight of the aluminum block, and its easy to see why the LS3 is a winner.
Assembled LS3 419 Performance Aluminum Short Block
Of course, if you’re not the nuts and bolts kind of guy and just want a stout stroked LS short block, you can choose that option as well. These Livernois Assembled 419ci Short Blocks start out as LS3 aluminum blocks and are stuffed with a Livernois proprietary forged steel crankshaft, topped with Callies Compstar H-beams and Livernois’ own forged pistons. Now, if 419 cubic-inches isn’t quite enough for you, Livernois does offer an option to bump the displacement to an even 427 for those who really need the extra cubes and want to brag to their buddies about a small block 427 residing between the frame rails. Still, that being said; 427 badges and logos are a hell of a lot easier to find than a 419 variant.
The predetermined short block that Livernois builds comes in right around $5,500 and its an extra $1,000 if you opt for the extra cubes. The thousand dollars isn’t just a bore and stroke job either, they have to sleeve the block to safely achieve that amount of cubic-inches. See, the problem with the original LS1 motor, despite it being a mack daddy of the LS revolution, it had a cylinder wall deficiency. At the time, it was a great way to make good power but if you wanted more displacement, it really wasn’t the best option. The cylinder walls were good for a few thousands on a rebuild but that was about it. While the LS3 has some more room for boring, there is still only so far you can take it.
The builds start with a typical production aluminum block and then Livernois adds their own proprietary forged steel stroker crank rated up to 1,200 horsies. These cranks are machined in-house with Livernois own CNC machines, and they are designed for superior strength under heavy loads. Livernois also uses their exclusive forged pistons for big boost and big power applications. Even more Livernois pieces are added such as rings, locks and wrist pins. The Assembled 419ci Short Blocks come with Callies Compstar H-beam rods with ARP 2000 bolts, and ARP studs. Livernois also uses Clevite Tri-armor coated bearings that reduce friction and increases durability.
Assembled 419ci LS Performance Short Block Features
- Production LS3 Aluminum Block
- Livernois Forged Steel Stroker Crankshaft
- Livernois Exclusive Forged Pistons
- Livernois Exclusive Rings, Locks, and Wrist Pins
- Callies Compstar H-Beam Rods w/ ARP 2000 Bolts
- Clevite Tri-Armor Coated Bearings
- Durabond Coated Cam Bearings
- ARP Main Studs
- Limited One Year Warranty
Assembled With Surgical Precision
All the assembly of our short blocks is done in environmentally controlled clean rooms to ensure the utmost in quality and the elimination of all contaminants.
Every motor, whether you chose to have it custom built or have Livernoischoose the parts for you, is assembled by hand with maximum attention to detail. The short blocks are balanced and blueprinted with strict tolerances that are made for any style of use. Whether it be for a strictly racing application or a mixture of street and strip use, Livernois uses their experience building winning race engines and then uses that experience to put into their line of motors that is available to the public (that’s you). They told us that every block is race prepped by hand and fully deburred. They boast an extensively detailed verification and reliability checks that remove any opportunity for errors.
LeBlanc also told us,”All the assembly of our short blocks is done in environmentally controlled clean rooms to ensure the utmost in quality and the elimination of all contaminants.” How cool is that? We haven’t been given a full tour yet (*hint*hint) but we imagine that smart looking men with well chiseled jaws who power walk and perform their builds with German like precision all while dressed like they are the emergency response team to a biohazard spill and/or zombie outbreak in hermetically sealed chemical suits. But then again, we do have a wild fantastical imagination and tend to wander a bit.
All blocks have a modified oiling system for better oil flow and more regularity during severe usage (also called “abuse”). They hold a tolerance of +/- 0.00015 on all their builds which probably requires some superlatives to talk about how tight that is, but suffice to say, that’s a very, very tight tolerance. With tolerances that tight it may be why Livernois can offer a limited one year warranty on their workmanship. Naturally there a few stipulations to keep the warranty intact, as there always are, but it might be worth checking out to make sure you can be a good boy and follow procedures before pulling the trigger on your purchase.
So, we did say after all that LS motors were badass, right? Livernois 419 short block options are great for the serious LSX customer who demands mega-tight tolerances, and can appreciate the process behind their ultra hygienic engine builds. For more info, give them a looky-loo over at the Livernois Motorsports website.