- Written by webmin
Last year at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, GM Performance Parts made big news with the debut of its E-Rod program of smog-legal crate engine packages. The concept involves using production-based performance engines coupled with their own engine management controllers and wiring harnesses, along with exhaust manifolds and catalytic converters, evaporative emissions canister and drive-by-wire throttle pedal unit, to create adaptable power systems that can be used by enthusiasts building new vehicles or re-powering old ones.
The first package was based on the 2010 Camaro LS3, displacing 6.2 liters and rated at 430hp. To showcase the E-Rod, GMPP prepared a ’55 Chevy two-door sedan, which was a prominent part of the General Motors SEMA display in ’09. Although the ’55 wasn’t one of the vehicles facing conflicts with smog regulations, it illustrated how well the system could be adapted to classic cars, and subsequent on-road testing showed that, in addition to providing impressive power, the LS3 E-Rod would start and run as smoothly and reliably as brand-new Camaro.
Recently, another piece of the “smog-legal” puzzle fell into place when the California Air Resources Board (CARB) granted the LS3 E-Rod package an executive order (EO) number, making it legal for use in pre-OBD-II vehicles (model year 1995 and earlier). The next step for GM is working with CARB to develop a process that would yield approval for the E-Rod packages to be used in specially constructed vehicles in California, something that is in the works currently.
The significance of this achievement stems from the fact that this engine program was essentially spawned out of concerns over the proper titling process for specially constructed vehicles, primarily in California. As concerns over emissions grew and government officials became more aware that street rods, kit cars and other specially constructed vehicles were being improperly titled, legislators in California began pushing for current model-year emissions standards for any vehicle produced during that year – not just those from major manufacturers. As a more realistic compromise, SEMA began working with other organizations to develop a smog-friendly solution that would satisfy lawmakers while also enabling enthusiasts to continue their automotive pursuits.
One approach to this challenge has involved developing an approved engine “recipe” that uses a specific combination of off-the-shelf components to create an engine package that satisfies the mandated requirements. At the same time, SEMA involved General Motors in seeking alternative solutions, ultimately leading to the E-Rod concept of complete engine packages based on contemporary production engine systems.
Since debuting the LS3, GM has also rolled out a 5.3-liter version based on the current Silverado engine. It’s positioned as the entry-level E-Rod package, with the lowest cost, though still offering excellent performance with 315hp and 335-lbs.ft. of torque; it even utilizes cam phasing, like the OE applications, to broaden the engine’s efficiency across the RPM range.
On the other end of the E-Rod spectrum is the LSA – the supercharged 6.2-liter engine currently featured in the Cadillac CTS-V, rated at the 556hp and largely responsible for that model attaining its position as the fastest production sedan in the world. Rounding out the current E-Rod offerings is the LS7, the 7.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 taken from the Corvette Z06 and rated at 505hp.
Currently, the LS3, the 5.3 and the LSA are available through GM Performance Parts retailers, while the LS7 is expected to be available after the first quarter of 2011; each engine is offered in two versions: one for automatic applications and one for manual, with separate part numbers for each. As of this moment, only the LS3 has been granted an EO number, but the other engines are expected to receive their own EO authorizations in early 2011, also for use in pre-1996 vehicles.
All the details on these engines can be found at www.gmperformanceparts.com; you can also keep an eye on updates regarding availability and emissions status on the GMPP site as well.