Corvette Ethanol E85 Pace Car

GM Inside Look – Performance Build Center

When I first launched this site, I wrote a couple of articles about my tour of the Flint Engine Operations plant and the GM Powertrain Global. After a long delay, I’ve decided it’s time to continue the tour articles with the Performance Build Center. The GM Performance Build Center is where a small team of engine builders hand-assembles each of the Corvette engines. Commence drooling.

The GM Performance Build Center

This is where the engines that are later fitted into Corvettes are hand-assembled, from the Grand Sport to the ZR1, including the LS7 (fitted into the Z06) and LS9. Instead of boring you with text, I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking in this article.

Corvette Ethanol E85 Pace Car

Corvette Ethanol E85 Pace Car

First engine built at the GM Performance Build Center

First engine built at the GM Performance Build Center

First engine built at the GM Performance Build Center

Proud to be American!

GM Performance Build Center

LS9 piston with titanium Pankl connecting rods:

LS9 ZR1 Pistons and Connecting Rods

LS9 ZR1 Connecting Rod Titanium Pankl

Station where they install connecting rod bearings:

Corvette V8 LSX Connecting rod bearing install station

Bearing kit:

Corvette LSX V8 Bearings

Corvette LSX V8 Engine Blocks

Crankshaft installation:

Corvette LSX V8 Main Bearing Installation

Corvette LSX V8 Crankshafts

Corvette V8 LSX Crankshaft Installation

Crankshaft Installation on Corvette LSX Engine
Oil cooler adapter:

Corvette LSX Oil Cooler Adapter

Fitting the timing cover with a specially made jig:

Corvette LSX Engine Cam Cover Assembly

Corvette LSX Engine Cam Cover Assembly

See that torque wrench? The builder scans a barcode for each bolt that is installed, which then automatically sets the torque on the torque wrench. Once the desired torque has been achieved, a green light lights up on the torque wrench and the next bolt is scanned.

Corvette LSX Engine Cam Cover Assembly

Corvette LSX Cylinder Heads

This machine tightens down the cylinder head bolts simultaneously. This is something one person cannot possibly do as effectively as this machine can.

LSX V8 Engine Cylinder Head Machine

Rockers and pushrods:

Corvette V8 Engine Cylinder Heads

Corvette V8 Engine Assembly

LS9 Supercharger:

Corvette ZR1 LS9 Supercharger

Corvette ZR1 LS9 Supercharger Rotors

LS9 intercooler:

Corvette ZR1 LS9 Engine Intercooler

Corvette ZR1 LS9 Engine

Here’s a neat bit. Each engine builder has his own plaque with his name on it, which he affixes to each engine he builds. If you pay $5,800 upon purchase of your Z06 or ZR1, you can build your own engine, and you get your own plaque made to fit on your engine. Taking the American dream car to a whole new level!

LSX Engine Assembly Tags

Corvette LS9 ZR1 Engine Assembly

Clutch installation:

LS9 ZR1 Engine Clutch Install

LS9 ZR1 Engine Clutch Install

LS9 ZR1 Engine Clutch Install

LS9 ZR1 Engine Clutch Install

Complete LS3 Engines

Complete LS9 Engine

Cold dyno, just like we saw at the flint plant:

LSX V8 engine cold dyno

LSX V8 engine cold dyno

Rotating and reciprocating cranktrain balancer. Here’s where they balance everything attached to the crankshaft by adding weights to the flywheel and damper.

LSX engine crankshaft balancer

LSX engine crankshaft balancer

Weights pressed into the crankshaft for balancing:

Corvette LS3 balancer weights

Corvette LS3 Engines

Corvette LS3 engines showing drive pulleys.

Corvette LS V8 engines

Empty weight holes for balancing the flywheel (to the left of the bolt):

Corvette Small Block Clutch and Flywheel

Corvette Small Block Flywheel

Hope you enjoyed the pictures! Feel free to like and share this article!

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