Video: Torque-laden 493ci LS Engine Pulls 800 Horsepower

“You could set your beer on this torque curve!”

That’s a fairly accurate assessment of the power output from this 493 LS engine built by KPE Racing for an off-road Trophy Truck. Given that the 5,200-pound vehicle has to operate with snappy throttle response from 10 to 110 mph over harsh terrains, a strong torque curve is critical. For the record, the engine pulled 794 horsepower at 6,200 rpm on one dyno test provided to EngineLabs, but it’s recorded as high as 801 on other pulls. Talking torque, however, the engine makes more than 700 lb-ft available from 4,000 up to 5,900 rpm, peaking at 754 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm. The engine twists out at least 600 lb-ft just about everywhere else on the dyno sheet.

Working with builder/driver Adam Lunn, KPE started with a basic LS package that included Trick Flow 235 heads on a factory block. The engine made 700 horsepower but didn’t last very long in the extremely dirty environment of off-roading.

“We could have made mud pies inside that engine after the first teardown,” says KPE’s Brandon Graham.

KPE then had two priorities: find a new air filter and step up the engine package. R2C Performance Products promised to solve the first problem as KPE started work on a new RHS tall-deck LS block. It was matched with a Winberg crank, Dyer rods and JE pistons. On the bottom side is an ARE dry-sump system, while the Trick Flow cathedral-port heads returned to the top side along with an Edelbrock Super Victor intake and Quick Fuel 850 carb. Other engine goodies include T&D rockers and Weldon fuel system, and the team uses a Racepak to monitor engine functions for both protection and tuning.

“And everything was either Loctite’d, safety wired or welded in place,” quips Graham. “Nothing comes close to the way an engine gets torn up in a Trophy Truck.”

All through testing, R2C made changes to the filter design following oil-sample analysis. The final setup actually made a little more horsepower with a free-flowing element and unique carbon-fiber baseplate. Check out the two videos to hear the engine in action.

About the author

Mike Magda

Mike Magda is a veteran automotive writer with credits in publications such as Racecar Engineering, Hot Rod, Engine Technology International, Motor Trend, Automobile, Automotive Testing Technology and Professional Motorsport World. He was the editor of four national automotive magazines, including Chevy High Performance, and has authored hundreds of automotive technical briefings. In covering nearly every type of motorsport, Mike has collaborated with many of racing's top engine builders and factory engineers.
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