Turbocharged 396 cid LSX Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

Turbocharged 396 cid LSX Engine

With 396 cubic inches of LSX block, a 102mm turbo and tons of aftermarket and custom components helping make 1,600 rwhp, Brent Sinclair's Camaro SS means serious business on both the street and the track. See what went into this TKM Performance engine build!

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During the Midwest Drags, we noticed several competitors were traveling in pairs or groups of three from track to track, and one of those pairings that stood out to us was Ryan Hargett and Brent Sinclair. We just recently highlighted Ryan’s Ford Mustang and its twin-turbo 5.0L Coyote engine, so it’s only natural that we also got the details of Brent’s 1999 Camaro SS, which houses a turbocharged 396 cid LSX engine.

We ran into Brent on day three of the drag-and-drive event when competitors had made it to Dragway 42 in West Salem, OH, following a rainy drive from Indiana. Competing in the Modified Power Adder class, Brent was eager to lay down a solid run with the weather starting to shift for the better.

Helping his Camaro make strong passes is a turbocharged 396 cubic inch LSX engine built by TKM Performance and tuned by Hargett Automotive Performance.

“The Camaro is a ‘99 SS – it’s a real SLP car,” Sinclair says. “It is a 25.3 chassis certified for 6.50s. It was a car built for Ultra Street and we converted it back to a streetcar, so it’s still pretty heavy.

“The engine was built by TKM. It’s an LSX block with a set of Trick Flow heads. It’s got a stock stroke and a 4.160” bore. I’m using a Callies Magnum crankshaft, Callies Ultra Enforcer rods with a set of custom-built, full-skirted Wiseco pistons. I also have titanium intake valves and Inconel exhaust valves.”

One of the standout pieces of the LSX engine is the Holley Hi-Ram and a billet top done by Visner Engine Development.

“Probably five years ago, me and Dave started talking and I told him I’d like to have a billet lid that went on top of the Holley Hi-Ram to take a larger 105mm throttle body,” he says. “This was before Holley ever did it, so Dave drew one out. He found out through modeling, the stock lid did not have enough airflow capacity, so we enlarged the plenum area to help with some of the air and fuel distribution.”

Brent’s engine bay also features a pretty sizable turbocharger in front of the LSX engine, which he told us is a Forced Inductions GTR 102mm turbo. Due to some of the weather and track conditions during the Midwest Drags, it was a tuners game rather than brute horsepower that week.

“We’ve really had to back it down a lot, Sinclair told us. “A lot of times, we try and leave with 12-14 lbs., and yesterday, I was lucky to leave on 5 lbs. and it spun multiple times down the track. We just couldn’t stick it. I was fortunate to get two runs in before they called the day and we packed it up and drove through the afternoon in the rain all day long.”

Brent’s Camaro doesn’t have windshield wipers, so he coated the windshield to help keep the water from sitting, but he says the rain made for a very long day of driving. As for Brent’s goals at Midwest Drags, he was of course looking to win his class, and he figured running bottom 7s would do the trick.

“We would like to run bottom 7s, but it’s one of those things that we’ve been lucky to run mid-8s right now,” he says. “We have more than enough power to run bottom 7s, but we just haven’t been able to apply it yet.”

Brent’s LSX engine is capable of cranking out 1,600 rwhp on 29-lbs. of boost, which helps explain why he had to tame the tune to get the car to make a smooth run. Aside from his LSX engine set up, Brent’s Camaro also has a transmission done by Rodney at RPM Transmissions in Anderson, IN, a Gear Vendors overdrive, which Rick Johnson supplied, and a PST carbon fiber shaft. “We’ve got a lot of good parts,” Sinclair admits.

When the dust settled back at Edgewater Motorsports Park, and despite traction issues throughout the week, Brent still managed to win the Modified Power Adder class with an average ET of 9.067 at 151.32 mph. His best ET for the week was on the last day where he ran a 7.736 at 160 mph.

Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor OilElring – Das Original and Engine & Performance Warehouse Inc./NPW Companies. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected].

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