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If you are just getting started in the ‘Vette’ market, you may have heard of crate engine builds. They could be a great asset for car owners, as long as they don’t have any major issues. The problem with Chevrolet crate engines is that they are usually remanufactured
due to some kind of fault.
What is a Chevrolet LS3 Crate Engine?
A Chevrolet crate engine is one that is sent back to the official Chevrolet dealers for remanufacturing. After re-servicing the engine,
the company reintroduces it in the market either as a bare product or in combination with the entire chassis build.
Most of the time, these engines are sold at an online retailer website after everything has been replaced and rebuilt for full performance. In that sense, crate engines can deliver outstanding results as compared to stock engines because of the added modification that official retailers usually don’t do.
An LS3 Chevrolet crate engine not only comes in different varieties, but it is designed to function better than the original engine. There are three main categories of the Chevrolet LS3 crate engine. Take a look below:
Rebuilt Crate Engine:
As the name implies, this one’s basically a gutted worn-out engine in need of major repairs. Most of the time, new users are scared, especially when they want to buy a Chevrolet Zo6 with an LS3 crate engine installation. ZO6 series is very popular due to the modification options and its tenacity to over-deliver.
You don’t have to worry about any red flags, for as long as the seller has good reviews – i.e. if you are buying the engine from an online retailer. Given that you have some knowledge about Chevrolet crate engines will go a long way in helping you to skim out a quality engine build for personal or professional use.
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Used Crate Engine:
These engines hold a solid reputation because they are usually in running condition, and come from reputed sellers. If you know your stuff, you are in good hands. Considering that you are not buying a completely rebuilt crate engine, but investing in a used LS3 Chevrolet crate engine, you should be in good hands.
Ask the seller as many questions as you want, and feel free to take the Chevy for a test drive. Don’t worry about pushing the pedal too hard. Usually, when the car engine is pushed hard, it chokes up hidden issues. So, feel confident and let that engine rev the way it’s supposed to.
Brand New Chevrolet Crate Engine:
These engines come as stock engines from either new Chevrolet cars or ‘Like New’ condition cars. These engines have very low mileage and are good to go as long as any modifications are concerned. Before buying a new crate engine, make sure that the specs are exactly what you are looking for.
The only setback to these engines is the huge price. They don’t come cheap; given their new condition and the government taxes imposed on small block crate engines. However, if money is not an issue, there shouldn’t be any problem with your ultimate Chevy build.
Ideal Engine Oil for Chevrolet Performance LS3 Crate Engines?
This is where things get serious. A substandard engine oil use can either result in two ways. There is a possibility that your car will not
deliver the expected performance. In this case, fuel consumption will be high and the mileage will be low.
In an alternate case, the mileage will remain the same but your overall fuel and oil consumption will increase. Of course, you wouldn’t
know about it because the results will seem “acceptable” to you. However, if you do a bit by bit comparison of LS3 engines with others, you will realize that there’s a lot that depends on the engine oil selection.
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Mobil 1 Full Synthetic Oil:
Chevy crate engines use a GM LS3 engine. Especially if you are looking to buy a ZR1 crate engine, anywhere between 2006 – 2011 build, chances are that it will have the same classic engine in it. These engines deliver solid performance on Mobil 1 15W-50 and Mobil 1 5W, 0W – 50 engine oils.
In addition, Mobil1’s race engine oil product lineup is also a decent substitute for conventional engine oil. We checked the results in
Camaro SS 2010 by using different engine oils within the 15W-50 lineup, and the results were more or less the same. The performance
was good, mileage was above average and the car’s engine sound was very smooth. It didn’t seem to be struggling or anything when the
accelerator was pushed too hard; the response was amazing.
What about LS7 Z06 Crate Engine Builds?
Compared to the LS3, the LS7 series is obviously superior. The performance is simply intoxicating if you prefer HP over anything else. But LS7 engines have the engine valve problem. It is minor in the majority of cases.
If you want to buy an LS7 engine, make sure that the valves are working fine. LS3 and LS7 have a good general consensus. Of course, there is a performance difference, but the quality of both engines is immaculate.
We recommend LS3 because it is not only a good engine; very reliable and stout, but also comes cheap these days. It responds well to any degree of mods and you don’t see the usual water pump related issues. A lot of that depends on the selection of engine oil.
If you are using a fully synthetic engine oil that has a high resistance to heat fluctuations, there won’t be any major issues. Just to be on
the safe side, you need to use that engine oil which GM has recommended. They have outlined some basic standards pertaining to
engine oil rating. Therefore, any engine oil that fulfills those GM standards is a good choice as compared to pouring in something based
on impulsive marketing hype.
My LS3 Engine Manual Is Old, What Should I Do About It?
If you bought a used crate engine or something that was rebuilt, there are chances that the manual won’t be included in the “package.” For earlier crate engines, GM recommended the DEXOS engine oil. DEXOS meets the older GM series standard. Although it is not full
synthetic, its results are identified as those of synthetic engine oil.
Rumor has it that for new Cadillacs and Corvettes, DEXOS may have changed their engine oil formula in an effort to deliver better results. If you happen to be a proud owner of a dated LS3 GM crate engine with no sign of any user manual or whatsoever, then consult with GM representatives. They will ask you about your engine make and build, and someone will recommend an engine oil that’s going to go a long way.
Mobil 1 Is The Official Motor Oil Engine Dealer:
Yes, this comes as good news for all those crate engine users who are looking for an official Chevrolet Performance engine oil dealer. Chevrolet basically endorsed Mobil 1 for releasing a couple of variations of engine oil that not only meet the demands of latest
builds but also work as an excellent resource for older crate engine owners.
The company has released a variety of synthetic engine oil products. Some of them are full synthetic, while other products are a hybrid version of conventional oil, mixed with Zinc and other additives to deliver high performance. According to ExxonMobil and GM, Mobil 1 engine oil is a safe product to use for LS3 and LS7 crate engines because of the official recognition factor going on.
What to Do If You Are a First Time Owner of a Chevrolet Crate Engine?
With nearly 50 different types of Chevrolet crate engines available in the market these days, it is hard to follow a preset standard. A lot of users make the decision on the basis of selecting parts and engine oil after going through online forums.
If you are confused about priming the engine with a base oil and then switching to full synthetic engine oil, perhaps a good resource is
the Chevrolet Performance helpline. The CP dealers are equipped with a standard guide that was specially made for users who have no prior experience or don’t want to rely on ‘word of mouth’ these days.
Apart from recommending engine oil, the Chevrolet Performance platform is great for seeking advice on powertrains, -E-Rod compliance modules, Connect and Cruise systems and general body parts.
We are recommending Chevrolet Performance because they treat each LS3 or any other crate engine as a project. They have been known to treat each customer inquiry with a lot of attention to detail. Therefore, consult with a specialist if you are a new user or a convert from any other engine build.
With the new refined oil pan and an improved throttle body technology, LS3 crate engine can deliver promising results. Top it all off with a supercharger kit, and you are looking at a unique car with its own personality whenever you’ll take it out for a spin.
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