Anytime a void appears in the automotive industry, it doesn’t take long for someone to step in and allow the industry to continue moving forward. One such area that we’ve seen struggle is engine block supply. Engine builders have scrambled over the last year or two to procure various parts, with blocks being one of the hardest-to-get components. While GM is shrinking its LS offerings and aftermarket manufacturers are increasing long back order lists, BluePrint Engines decided to solve the supply issue for themselves.
Speaking with BluePrint’s Director of Marketing, John Chrise, we learned the company felt there was enough demand for LS engine blocks outside of its own needs to warrant designing and manufacturing an LS-style block. The BluePrint Engines LS cast-iron block is a 100-percent new design that blends high-performance upgrades and improvements over an OEM engine block. According to Chrise, the BluePrint team looked to improve in all areas of the OEM block while still allowing its new LS block to accept OEM parts like oil pans, starter motors, valley covers, timing covers, etc.
The new LS block will be available in standard and tall deck versions with or without additional cylinder head bolt holes to accept either four- or six-bolt heads. To increase strength, the block has splayed bolts on the main bearing caps, increased deck thickness (.630-inch), and a minimum cylinder wall thickness of .210-inch at the maximum recommended bore of 4.250 inches.
Speaking of the cylinder bore, the BluePrint LS block is capable of reaching 482 cubic inches in the standard deck version when the maximum recommended bore diameter of 4.250 inches is paired with the maximum recommended stroke length of 4.250 inches. Opt for the tall deck version, and the stroke length can safely be increased to 4.500 inches giving you a hulking 510 cubic inches.
Other features of the BluePrint LS iron block include a camshaft bearing diameter that can be left as it comes in the OEM LS size of 55mm, or it can be bored to accept 63mm roller bearings. The block has piston oiler previsions, comes clearanced for stroker crankshafts, and it has the water jackets scalloped to increase flow around cylinders for better cooling.
Currently, the block is still in the final stages of development. As you can see from the images, the block on display is a 3D printed model that BluePrint has been using to test fit other parts such as crankshafts, pistons, rods, camshafts, and cylinder heads. Look for the production iron version to be available in 2023. According to Chrise, initially, BluePrint will be using its LS iron blocks for the production of its LS engine packages. Rest assured, though, the block will eventually be available to purchase as a stand-alone part.