Project V8 RX-7: Part 2 – Inside the GM LS3 E-ROD Crate Engine


Dai Yoshihara's LS powered S13
Dai Yoshihara’s Team Falken Formula D dominating Nissan 240SX with a 520 HP Chevy LS motor was one of the first cars to make a domestic swap seem palatable to hard core import fans.

Jeff convinced me to look further into the relatively new generation of GM LS V8 powerplants and I reluctantly agreed.  On another professional front, when Team Falken’s ace driver Dai Yoshihara wrecked his Discount Tire Lexus Formula D drift car and his crew chief Scott Dodgion, installed a Chevy LS-2 engine that was sitting in Falken Motorsport’s warehouse into an old Nissan S13 chassis, we realized just how potent the new GM motor was.  We were amazed to find that the LS motor was only 40 lbs heavier than the 4 cylinder Nissan SR20DET engine that came in the car.  With a little cleverness in mounting the engine and moving around some of the other parts of the car a little like coolers and batteries, the car’s corner weights were unchanged with the big V8!

Dai yoshihara LS S13
Dai’s engine is a bored and stroked 417 cubic inch LS2 block with later model better flowing square port L92 heads.  These heads are pretty close to our LS3 heads and are the second generation of LS heads.

Dai’s Nissan-Chevy hybrid went on to kick ass in Formula D competition and legitimize the idea of a domestic engine in a Japanese chassis to legions of hard core import fans.  Jeff’s idea further piqued my curiosity when we met the folks at GM’s Performance Parts Division at the 2009 PRI show.  The GM folks told us about their upcoming idea called an E-ROD kit.  The E-ROD was designed by GM as a drop in 50 state emissions legal solution for hotrodders approved by the draconian Nazis of the CARB, ARB and EPA as a fully legal and legitimate high power density solution to power hotrods, classic cars and the like.  It even was going to have a 2 year 50,000 mile warranty!

We get a nice big crate from our friends at GM Performance parts.  What is inside?

The E-ROD swap kit was based around the new LS-3 engine, the base engine for the 2008 C6 Corvette. Although it is a Chevy V-8, the LS-3 is not your father’s (or grandfather or even great grandfather’s) small block Chevy!  The base E-ROD engine pumps out an impressive 430 hp with 428 lb/ft of torque.  Sure your B series, SR or KA 4 cylinders with a turbo kit can put out something like this but can it do it all day with OEM reliability as sure as the sun rising?  How about registering your car in states with smog checks?  What about when you get pulled over and a smug police officer demands that you pop your hood.  The E-ROD will not only do it legally but with a powerband as wide as the Grand Canyon with no turbo lag.  The modern and efficient LS will also deliver fuel economy deep into the 20’s with a light foot, easily surpassing what an aftermarket turbocharged 4-cylinder can do, even with a well engineered kit.

GM Performance LS3 E-ROD kit
The crate contains our E-ROD kit, everything we need to swap a Kalifornia legal LS3 into anything.


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