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Since all Gen III engines come with hydraulic roller cams, we even reused the stock hydraulic roller tappets, making a cam swap even more affordable.LPE decided to also add a Cloyes adjustable timing set to the engine in case we wanted to move the cam around, but for this test, we left it dialed in straight up.According to the guys at LPE, their testing has shown that despite the truck manifold’s pedestrian image, it’s a great manifold, so we instead decided to bolt in a camshaft.The first cam is what LPE calls its GT2-3 cam, which is mild enough to generate a stock idle (20.7 inches of vacuum at 800 rpm) yet pumps the lift and duration up substantially (see the Cam Specs chart) by adding 0.115 inch of lift on the intake side alone!We’re planning to do our own 5.7L LS1 dyno engine buildup, but because this is Car Craft, we thought we’d start off a little differently. Of these four, the 5.3L (325ci) truck powerplant is by far the most prolific, used predominantly in midsized pickups since 1999.Last month, we ran a story on how all the 4.8, 5.3, 5.7, and 6.0L engines offer tremendous interchangeability (“The New Generation,” pg. That means it won’t be long before this iron block, aluminum-headed small-block is filling the wrecking yards.
LPE’s Rob “Dyno Bob” Vanderhart bolted the bone-stock 5.3L SSR engine to the dyno along with a complete accessory drive on the front of the engine as well as the equivalent of a muffled exhaust system connected to the stock iron exhaust manifolds.
We decided that this little engine deserved a little attention-along with a couple of camshafts, some ported cylinder heads, and an intake or two all under the careful attention of the guys at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE).
It should be common knowledge that our friend John Lingenfelter passed away in December of 2003.
Exhaust work and headers are always a good place to start, so Dyno Bob bolted on a set of Hooker 131/44-inch dyno headers.
Since the motor is only 325 ci, these are a little bigger than would probably be best on the street, but they were the best headers available at the time of the test because most of LPE’s work is with larger and more muscular LS1s.