Blown 398-cube LS Next Dart block

We take a closer look at the blown 398ci LS-based mill from BG Engines in NSW

Photographers: Peter Bateman

WHEN one of Sydney’s most prominent engine builders puts together a donk of their very own, you imagine it being a pretty formidable piece of hardware, and that’s certainly the case with this blown 398ci LS-based powerplant owned and built by BG Engines. It’s been in the works for quite some time, and it’s destined for BG’s shop ute – an HQ Holden drag car, which formerly ran an aspirated combo.

LS next dart block

“This new engine uses an LS Next Dart block,” explained Damian Baker from BG. “It’s got a Callies crankshaft, aluminium rods and custom CP pistons. We’re using a set of cylinder heads through Nathan Higgins in Victoria, trying to stick to as many Aussie bits and pieces as we can. It’s a solid-roller-type engine with one of our own camshafts.”

The blower manifold was built in-house by BG Engines’ Pro Billet division, as was the unique engine plate with integrated front drive system (read more, below). The blower itself is an 8/71 Littlefield, though the team also has an SSI item to test out.

“ICE Ignitions have been really good. We’re going to campaign their 20amp, twin-coil set-up and we’re pretty excited about that; we thank them greatly for all their support,” said Damian. “The engine also has a Jesel belt drive, and it’s a dry-sump engine with one of our own fuel systems, which we’ll put on the fuel flowbench and do all our homework with. Then it’ll all go onto the dyno for a couple of pulls. We’re looking for upwards of 1400hp with this engine, and we want to run in the low sevens and possibly even into the sixes one day.”

There’s no denying the popularity of LS engines these days, but Damian ran up against a lack of availability of certain high-end components to suit this blown alcohol combo. “Plenty of people do one-off parts here and there, but we’d like to be able to supply products that are a repeatable thing. If someone wants a fuel pump drive or an oil pump drive, we’ve got it.”

One thing’s for sure: We can’t wait to hear this thing zing to 10,000rpm!

A full plate

We asked Damian to talk us through the unique engine plate/front-drive system they developed in-house for this donk.

“We wanted to integrate the engine mounting plates, a dry-sump pump, a snout support, a fuel pump and ignition system all in one product,” he said. “Obviously, you’ve got the water to contend with as well. We sat down and drew up a rough picture of what we wanted and tried to integrate everything into one package so it’s really easy to service.

“An engine like this is going to be reasonably high-maintenance, so the system is designed to be easy to take on and off. It’s something we can do for any car; it’s not just a one-off deal. We’ve had a couple of people interested in doing different systems and each one can be customised to suit a given application.”