Everyone who enjoys or has participated in the Ford vs. Chevrolet rivalry for the past 108 years can appreciate the implications of the Horsepower Wars folks revisiting an engine-building contest pitting a General Motor’s LS engine against Ford’s Coyote engine.
It’s Season 2 of Horsepower Wars’ LS vs. Coyote Shootout, and today, with Episode 2, you’re going to be able to learn everything you’d ever want to know about what is going into the LS engine competitor which is being built by Bryan Neelen and his team at Houston, TX-based Late Model Engines (LME).
NOTE: Need to catch up? Learn about Episode 1 of the LS vs. Coyote Shootout here.
In the next episode, Episode 3, you will learn everything you want to know about the Coyote engine build.
“In a competition like this, the strategy is everything,” according to this must-read article from Horsepower Wars which is an incredibly detailed behind-the-scenes look at the engine build, along with all of the philosophy and power-building theories that LS experts use to build powerful, efficient, on-budget engines. “You have to know where to cut cost to stay inside the budget, but you also need to know what factory components will do the job and which ones will not. With so many accolades under their collective belt, we were curious to see what Neelen and his crew had in store for the build. Where would they play it safe and where would they push the limits in order to compete with the Coyote engine.”
Neelen explains every decision the team made in order to build the best possible LS engine, within the restrictions of the rules and budget.
According to Neelen, “Cubic inches equal torque and the longer the stroke on the crankshaft, the more mechanical advantage you will have. We did briefly consider going with a larger bore size, like a 4.185 bore, but then we were concerned with head gasket sealing issues. We decided that the larger bore size was a diminishing return of investment.”
With that said, Bryan decided to stick to the standard 4.125-inch bore and not deal with the cost or problems that might be associated with the larger bore.
“We know from experience that we can make 1,600 horsepower at the flywheel with E85 fuel on one of our 427 combinations,” Neelen continued. “If the horsepower per cubic inch had more weight in the point system, we would have looked at building a smaller cubic-inch engine.” However, this is not the case in our shoot out, and the category for winning most horsepower per cubic inch will only net the teams 2 points, the lowest of the three categories. “The 427 is the most economical big inch combination that we can build.” By going with this combination, the guys are able to cut the cost by using a factory crank versus an aftermarket unit which will save them as much as $1,400 on just one part.
We asked Neelen what he thought about the shootout, “I’m pretty confident that we have an excellent combination that we have built many times over with slightly different components. Durability might be a problem because we are not able to use some of the parts that we normally would make this kind of power.” When asked if LME had an advantage, Neelen quickly fired back, “I think in a sense it is an unfair advantage because we are able to build a much bigger engine than MPR… Our 4-inch stroke compared to their 3.750 stroke is going to make more torque. There is no way that it can’t.” If the competition would have been based more heavily on horsepower vs. cubic inch, Bryan states that LME’s game plan would have been entirely different.
Then, get ready for more.