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Dart Machinery’s New LS Next Block is Changing the Future of Marine Engines

Powerboats For Sale Blog September 3, 2017

dart1The Master behind the incarnation of Dart Machines New LS Next Block. Richard Maskin explains why and how they are building the next generation of LS engines:

  • 9.240″ deck height
  • Cylinders extended by .375″ (effective deck height 9.615″)
  • Stock & aftermarket LS components utilized
  • Available in standard 4.000″ & 4.125″ bore sizes (4.200″ maximum)
  • Manufactured in the USA using premium cast iron

In Dart’s dyno room over the last couple of weeks, their new LS Next block has been undergoing its final stages of testing before making its production debut. “It produced 740hp @ 7,000rpm,” reports Richard Maskin “and it sustained 700hp for a long way.” Configured with 4.155in bore and 4in stroke the 434cu in test engine made 600ft lbs of torque.

dart2General Motors introduced the first LS family of engines back in 1997 since then the engine has gone through many transformations and the likes of engine building legacy’s such as Dart’s founder Richard Maskin have been perplexed because they didn’t solve so many of the short comings of the factory engine block. Being the world’s leading aftermarket engine block and head builder they took the task upon themselves. The purpose of Dart’s LS replacement block is to achieve greater potential from this family of engines, particularly by reducing windage in the crankcase and improving internal lubrication.

For the sake of testing purposes Dart chose to keep the “Test Mule” simple and fitted it with a standard conventional distributor and a carburetor. This allows them to isolate and eliminate any effects from the ignition, fuel injection, and electronics from the equation. Richard exclaimed “We chose a mechanical roller camshaft for testing, because I wanted to be able to rev it to 8,000rpm with the existing valve springs. It makes over 690hp @ 8,000rpm. It has a real flat power curve emphasizing its suitability for street use. It’s got a small cam in it, 255/265. It’s got our Cathedral-port heads, GM intake manifold, and a conventional-looking oil pan. It has, however, 12:1 compression ratio.” To monitor the oil level during testing, a sight gauge was fabricated on the side of the engine. Because the lubrication system was altered significantly, an external pump was used for ease of adjustability. “When we started out we had too much pressure, so we had to constantly change the bypass spring till we got it functioning within the appropriate range. Now we have the final specification for a stock-style pump.”

Predictably, Maskin felt there was little to be gained by putting an efficient oil pan on the stock block because of its inherent reputation for excessive windage and oil leaks in the crankcase. “A builder can minimize some of the leaks with lifter bushings in the stock block, but there is still excessive leakage around the main bearings.”

Lastly, Dart’s LS Next block employs conventional 350-style upper main bearing shells, and bearing manufacturer Clevite is currently producing the initial 1,000 sets. Importantly the new bearings accommodate the stock crank. However Dart’s new LS Next block accepts all the stock components including, pistons, front cover, rear cover, cylinder heads, top plate, and so on. The new engine is designed to accommodate everything stock LS parts wise,except the oil pan.

For more information contact:
CP Performance Telephone 707-585-9871 or www.cpperformance.com
Boost Power USA Telephone 805-376-6077 or www.boostpower.com
KE Performance Telephone 386-446-0660 or www.keitheickert.com
Dart Machinery Telephone 248-362-1188 or www.DartHeads.com

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