Powerhouse Legend: The LS2 V8 Overview

November 4th, 2022 by

If you own a high-performance General Motors vehicle manufactured from 2005 to 2009, you probably have an LS2 engine under your hood. As one of the legendary small-block engines from the American automaker, this motor was designed to achieve a better balance between performance, refinement, and fuel economy. It was among the most technologically advanced engines of its time. Let’s take a look at the history and features of the LS2 engine.

Overview of the LS2 Engine

a close up of the LS2 engine block in louisville ky

Image by Derral Chen is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0

The LS2 is one of the members of the small-block LS engine family, which General Motors produced for use in its sports cars and performance vehicles. It replaced the LS1 and preceded the LS3. Some examples of vehicles equipped with this power mill include the Chevrolet Corvette C6, Chevrolet Trailblazer SS, Chevrolet SSR, Pontiac GTO, Cadillac CTS-V, and Saab 9-7X Aero.

The naturally aspirated 6.0L LS2 V-8 engine generates an impressive 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque in the Corvette C6, GTO, and CTS-V. However, its horsepower rating drops slightly to 390 in the SSR, Trailblazer SS, and 9-7X Aero. Depending on the vehicle model, this engine works with a four-speed automatic, six-speed automatic, or six-speed manual transmission. It’s more fuel-efficient when paired with the manual transmission, returning 19/28 mpg (city/highway). In an automatic car, it’s rated at 18/25 mpg.

You probably won’t find a definite answer if you’re wondering what the “LS” in the LS2 stands for. Many people will tell you that LS means “Luxury Sport” because it has been used as a trim level name on some Chevrolet models. Others may say it’s an acronym for “long stroke” or somebody’s name. However, in the context of a Chevrolet engine, the LS tag is most likely just a designation code, like Z28. This makes sense because the first LS engine was built to replace the second-generation LT1 engine.

History of the LS2 Engine

blue corvette showing off the LS2 engine in louisville ky

Image by Greg Gjerdingen is licensed with CC BY 2.0

The LS2 was first released in the 2005 model year as the Chevrolet Corvette C6’s standard engine. But soon after its debut, the Chevrolet V-8 engine was placed under the hood of several other General Motors vehicles. It’s based on the LS1 but intended to be the starting point for the fourth-generation small-block engine series. The third- and fourth-generation engines are similar in many ways, and many of their parts are interchangeable. The LS2 uses the same 4.400-inch bore centers and cam-in-block architecture as the first small-block engine, launched in 1955.

However, despite its many similarities with the LS1, the LS2 showcased several new technologies and design cues. One of the most notable improvements was the inclusion of General Motors’ Active Fuel Management system. Also referred to as “Displacement on Demand,” this feature considerably increased the Chevrolet small-block engine’s fuel efficiency. With a slight bump in displacement and other modifications, the LS2 delivered 50 more horsepower and 40 more lb-ft of torque than the LS1.

General Motors ceased production of the LS2 after the 2009 model year and replaced it with the fourth-generation LS3. But thanks to proper maintenance, many LS2-equipped vehicles are still running well today. Due to its small size and versatility, the Chevrolet engine has been one of the most popular options among car owners who want to swap their engines. And if you need to replace specific components of your LS2 engine, you can easily find original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts that perfectly match your vehicle.

Main Highlights of the LS2 Engine

The LS2 was the most powerful base engine ever in the Chevrolet Corvette’s history when it was still in production. Besides being more potent than the LS1, it’s also smoother and more refined. The following are the main highlights of this revolutionary engine:

Cylinder Block

The LS2 has a 4-inch bore and 3.62-inch stroke, making its displacement 0.3 liters larger than the LS1. Although it comes with an all-new aluminum cylinder-block casting, it’s based on the same basic principle, so many components can be used interchangeably.

Rotating Assembly

Within the LS2 block lies a durable rotating assembly that consists of a steel crankshaft, hypereutectic cast aluminum-alloy pistons, and powder-metal connecting rods. The crankshaft has gray iron main caps similar to those found in the LS1, while the pistons feature a flat-top design and redesigned rings that produce less friction.

Camshaft Design

There’s also a hydraulic roller-lifter camshaft rotating inside the engine block. While it draws many design cues from the third-generation LS6, the LS2 has a less aggressive cam profile with less duration and lift. However, its camshaft’s lobe separation angle is comparable to its predecessor’s.

Cylinder Head Design

The cylinder heads of the LS2 are nearly identical to those used on the LS6. Both engines have 65cc combustion chambers, cathedral intake ports, and a “243” stamp in the castings. One notable difference is that the LS2 has a higher combustion ratio of 10.9:1.

Exhaust Manifolds

The LS2’s exhaust manifolds weigh about 30% less than the third-generation engine’s manifolds. This is because the wall’s thickness has been reduced from 4 mm to 3 mm. According to General Motors, the new manifolds offer a 4% improvement in exhaust flow.

Intake Manifold

The LS2’s intake manifold is made of composite plastics and is a general revision of the manifold found in the LS6. It has a throttle body that measures 3.55 inches and features electronic throttle control that eliminates the need for an idle-air control motor.

Fuel Injection System

Similar to other fourth-generation engines, the LS2 uses sequential port-fuel injection. Its injectors have a flow rate of 34 lb/hr, meaning they provide more performance headroom than the injectors used in the third-generation engines.

See Its Replacement At Our Dealership

The LS2 was truly a knockout engine for Chevrolet, but like all good things, it came to an end. Come on by our dealership and we’ll be more than happy to show you the engine that took the crown from the LS2!

If you have an LS2-equipped Chevrolet vehicle in or near Louisville, Kentucky, come by Bachman Chevrolet whenever you need to repair your engine. Our dealership has one of the largest inventories of OEM Chevrolet engine parts in the Louisville area and a dedicated team of factory-certified technicians who can perform any engine repair or part replacement you need. We also offer attractive prices and discounts to help you save money. So, if you have any inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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