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LS Cam Swap and Dyno | 1968 C10 Build Episode 4

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When we dragged our rugged ’68 C10 carcass home, there was a big empty where the engine once lived. We had the opportunity to choose anything, so we considered our options carefully. Sure, we could have pulled a rip-snorting big block crate engine off the shelf. Or maybe a nasty, big-inch LS with a blower. But this is a budget build, so we chose the option that we thought would give us the biggest bang for our buck. These days, that means hitting the junkyard and looking for a Gen III or IV Chevy engine in a car or truck that hasn’t already been driven to the moon and back.

We came up with a 130,000 mile 5.3 out of an ’04 Sierra pickup. When it rolled out of the van, it looked pretty crusty, so we hosed off a decade and a half worth of dirt and oil before popping the pan off to see what we had. In fact, it turned out to be amazingly clean inside, with a good crosshatch still on the cylinder walls. These engines really are amazing.

Even with the "ugly" truck intake, these engines can be made to look good with some well chosen bolt-ons.

Like all car projects, we expect this one to evolve. Down the road, we would love to hang some turbos on it or hose it down with nitrous. But to get version 1.0 of our truck out on the road, we kept things simple. We knew that a cam swap would really wake up our little engine, so we pulled a BTR Truck Norris cam. Not only is the name hilarious, but these cams are specifically engineered to work with 5.3 and 6.0 truck engines.

We found some funky wear on a few of the rockers and pushrods, so our simple cam swap got slightly larger in scope. We pulled the heads and had Speedway Motors Racing Engines surface them and do a quick valve job. New springs and rocker trunnions are a must on these engines, and we also added a set of LS7 lifters with new trays and a new timing set.

This engine screamed right to the 6700 rpm rev chip and made 430 horsepower and 430 ft. lbs. of torque. Not bad for a junkyard 326 cubic inch engine!

What happened when it all came together? How about an amazing 430 horsepower and 430 ft lbs? These engines never cease to amaze us with ridiculous power potential right out of the box. Next up we stab the engine and transmission in our rolling chassis and get one step closer to hitting the road!

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