Questions About the GM Vortec 4200? There´s a Wiki for That

Colin
By Colin Wood
Feb 6, 2021 | GM, Your Projects, vortec, 4200

The General Motors Vortec 4200 (also known as the LL8) is part of the manufacture’s Atlas line of engines that include inline-four-, five- and six-cylinder applications. Specifically, the 4200 is a straight-six, 4.2-liter powerplant that, depending on the vehicle it was placed in, produced anywhere from 270-290 horsepower.

Of course, the 4200 is capable of much more: Check out the 1963 Studebaker Lark $2000 Challenge car built by longtime forum member TheV8Kid. After noticing that “a lot of people on here have been following our escapades with the Vortec 4200,” TheV8Kid assembled an entire wiki that discusses how to modify the engine, as well as its history and general information like dimensions and composition.

Check out the Vortec 4200 Wiki, and check out TheV8Kid’s handiwork over on the Builds and Project Cars Forum.

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Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
2/5/21 3:51 p.m.

I've heard that they aren't the greatest engines, but I've always thought the 3500 and 3700 were interesting solely for being American inline-fives.

ChrisTropea
ChrisTropea Associate Editor
2/5/21 4:01 p.m.

Its really upsetting that Ford never brought the Barra into the US in any platforms. A turbo inline 6 Mustang could have been really cool. 

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
2/5/21 4:02 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

The engine is capable of making 500+ horsepower and pretty darn durable. ( a lot stronger than the transmission it's hooked up to).     All aluminum 4 valve per cylinder. 
      Plus hooking  up a manual transmission isn't rocket science.  

TheV8Kid
TheV8Kid Dork
2/7/21 6:25 p.m.

In reply to ChrisTropea :

Vortec 4200s fit great in mustangs. Just saying. Lol

TheV8Kid
TheV8Kid Dork
2/7/21 6:33 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

They get a bad rap because GM put them in kind of a garbage chassis. It is an absolute nightmare to service in the original chassis so auto mechanics everywhere make it there life goal to tell you how much they suck. Once you remove it from the trailblazer, they're awesome. Great capability with stock parts. Still haven't found the limit for a stock engine.

wheels777
wheels777 UltraDork
2/7/21 6:33 p.m.

Calvin ran 10.92 with a SBE 4.2 in the Stude and we have the first SBE 9 second pass known for these engines with a junk yard fresh 175K mileage engine in our Fairmont.  

TheV8Kid
TheV8Kid Dork
2/7/21 6:34 p.m.

Wasn't just me that made the wiki. Most of it was, but all of the Manual transmission stuff was provided by a friend on the Vortec 4200 facebook page. Appreciate the share guys.

350z247
350z247 Reader
2/11/21 1:46 p.m.

Is there a big community behind these that I'm not aware of? What do people usually swap them into?

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
2/11/21 3:02 p.m.

In reply to 350z247 :

No there's not, but it's a pretty cool motor that never got its due. As it happens, DIY autotune -  the Megasquirt people, have been a proponent of the motor, helping out big time. As for swaps - mainly what I've seen is them going into is vintage cars with engine bays big enough to swallow a long, tall motor.

350z247
350z247 Reader
2/11/21 3:27 p.m.

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

Gotcha. Thanks

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/11/21 4:15 p.m.

Wait till yall find out about the m104,  another unsung i6 engine.

wheels777
wheels777 UltraDork
4/6/21 12:22 a.m.

Last week, Richard Holdener contacted Calvin to discuss the 4200.  RH is going to do a series of videos on the engine.  RH and Calvin talked for over an hour and Calvin provided a ton of info and incite on the engine.  RH called out Calvin multiple times on his live stream.  Super cool that Calvin is being recognized for his hard work.  

That was followed by the Sloppy Mechanic live stream with the owner of Snake Eater Injectors talking about the work on the 4200 and our other family projects for over 8 minutes... very cool...

If you care to see some of the wackiness on the engine, check out YouTube channel nivlac57.  

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