|LT1 SPECS |
|Casting number: ||10125327 (look for "327" cast on side near freeze plugs) |
|Block: ||Cast-iron two-bolt main bearing caps (middle three caps are four-bolt in Y-body) |
|Bore: ||4.0 inches |
|Stroke: ||3.48 inches |
|Crankshaft: ||Nodular iron |
|Connecting rods: ||Powdered-metal 5.7-inch |
|Pistons: ||Hypereutectic flat-top with valve reliefs |
|Cylinder heads: ||Aluminum |
| ||Cast-iron '94-'96 B/D-body |
| ||54cc combustion chambers |
| ||170cc intake port |
| ||212-cfm airflow |
|Valves: ||1.94-inch intake, 1.50-inch exhaust |
|Rocker arms: ||Stamped steel 1.5:1 |
|Camshaft: ||Roller lifter: |
| ||202/207 degrees of duration @ 0.050 inch |
| ||0.447/0.459-inch lift (varies slightly by year and application) |
|Horsepower: ||300 @ 5,000 rpm |
|Torque: ||340 @ 4,000 rpm |
A Little History
Designing a new engine is a tough balancing act. Stringent fuel economy and emissions standards are always being imposed on the auto manufacturers, so any new engine being developed has to run cleaner and be more fuel-efficient. But at the same time, cars get heavier each model-year with the addition of new safety features, infotainment devices, creature comforts, and power everything. The new engine has to make enough power to handle the excess weight, plus not feel slow to the driver and burn less gas. In an attempt to improve upon the outgoing L98's 250 hp, GM's designers set a goal of 300 net horsepower for the LT1. To meet these goals they employed fairly standard techniques of increasing the compression ratio and improving the cylinder-head design. But they supported these changes with some interesting technology.
Though the LT1 and its offspring, the LT4 and L99 4.3L V-8 (the standard engine in '94-'96 Caprices), are called Gen II, they have more parts in common with the original SBC than not: The reciprocating assembly and valvetrain are interchangeable with the Gen I engine, for example. But the differences, though few, are substantial enough to warrant the new-generation designation. The engine block and cylinder heads are unique and cannot interchange with the previous design. Also specific to the Gen II are the ignition and cooling systems.
Diagram of the LT1 cooling system. Courtesy SAE International
Nucleate boiling in the cylinder-head coolant jackets. Courtesy Evans Cooling Systems
Here is the water-pump mating surface on the engine block. Coolant enters at the round por
Think LT1, and you likely think "reverse-flow cooling." This is understandable because the terms are used almost synonymously whenever mentioned in the magazines. But how well has the system ever been explained?
To be fair, reverse-flow cooling is not a new thing. Smokey Yunick developed a reverse-flow system for some of his Trans-Am race cars, and a few independent engineers and engine builders have developed systems of their own. But the LT1 was the first mass-produced engine with reverse-flow cooling. So how does it work?