The Guide to Chevrolet LS6 Intake Upgrades. In 2001, the Chevy LS6 engine debuted with its smaller brother, the LS1. From 2001 to 2005, it was used in C5 Z06 Corvettes and first-generation Cadillac CTS-Vs before being replaced by the LS2.
With 405hp and 400lb-ft. of torque from the factory, the LS6 was quite powerful for its time. Yet, if you’re seeking for additional power, you might consider a typical cold air intake system. While these LS6 engines are capable of producing a lot of power, they aren’t as easily modified as forced induction vehicles. Long-tube headers, improved cams, porting or performance heads, stroker kits, and forced induction will produce the most power gains on the LS6.
Having said that, typical bolt-on modifications such as a cold air inlet can be advantageous in some situations.
Advantages of LS6 Intake Upgrade
The most significant advantage of an enhanced intake is increased air flow. In general, more power necessitates more air. Most intake systems, including the LS6, are perfectly adequate at factory power levels and when modestly changed. When you start adding more substantial upgrades, the intake becomes restricted since it can no longer bring in enough air to deliver the horsepower being produced.
While these devices are sometimes referred to as “cold air intakes,” the underlying benefit is improved air flow. An aftermarket LS6 cold air intake will not reduce IATs (intake air temperatures) over the factory intake system. The stock system is incredibly well-built and offers
Performance Advantages of a Stock LS6
To be brief, an improved intake provides virtually few performance benefits on a completely stock LS6. If you’re looking for a little extra power from your LS6, I’d recommend starting with long-tube headers and disregarding the intake because it won’t be worth the money. The LS6 intake is actually well-built from the factory and provides plenty of air flow. It’s actually so good that many LS1 owners swap in LS6 intakes and intake manifolds.
- Gains of 2-5 horsepower
- Gains in torque ranging from 2 to 5 lb-ft
- 1-2mpg improvements
- Throttle response is slightly improved
- Increased engine intake noise
When you consider that a good intake costs $500 or more, it just doesn’t make sense to update for the 2-5hp improvements you’ll see, and the 5hp figure on the high end is probably overly optimistic.
Rather than installing a full intake system, you should install a K&N or SLP filter.
Performance Advantages of a Modded LS6
While a cold air intake may not make sense on standard LS6 engines, it surely makes sense on altered LS6 engines. If you’re going to install forced induction, such as a supercharger or turbocharger, you should definitely upgrade the intake system.
That is dependent on your changes if you are not going the forced induction approach. Dropping a massive filter into an LS6 with stock heads, intake manifold, and so on removes the intake as a constraint on air flow. Because the intake manifold and heads can only retain and circulate so much air, they quickly constitute a bottleneck.
If you’re updating your intake manifold, cams, and heads, we recommend upgrading your LS6 intake as well. You don’t need more air than the factory intake can provide until you apply these mods.
- Gains of 10-15 horsepower
- Gains in torque of 10-15%
- 1-2mpg improvements
- Improved throttle responsiveness
- Faster acceleration
- Engine intake sounds are awesome.
Putting an LS6 intake on an LS1
As previously stated, the LS6 intake was built so well from the factory that it is the most common option for an LS1 intake upgrade. Furthermore, the intake manifold is a popular choice for manifold replacements.
The LS6 intake and manifold mounts straight into the LS1 and adds about 25whp and 20wtq to the engine.
Unfortunately, GM has ceased production of these intakes, so the only way to obtain them today is to find them used. This is wonderful news for LS6 owners because you can sell the manifold and intake combo to an LS1 owner for around $1,000 and use the money to acquire an updated intake and manifold.
LS6 Intake Improvements That Work
Here are our top picks for individuals wishing to enhance their LS6 intake system:
- SLP Blackwing
- Venom/Killer Bee by Halltech
1) Intake Chevy Corvette C5 Z06 Blackwing SLP
The Blackwing intake system from SLP will be the best bang-for-buck intake system for the LS6. SLP claims up to 90% better airflow and up to 18whp more power. In our opinion, you won’t see similar advantages on a completely stock engine, but it is a fantastic system for modified LS6 engines.
The removal of the OEM intake box is mostly responsible for the Blackwing’s power increases. The SLP filter bolts directly to the stock intake tube but does not include a box, resulting in an open-air system with increased air flow.
Related : The Cost of Water Pump Replacement
2) Deadly Bee & Halltech Venom
The Halltech Venom and Killer Bee are two fantastic complete intake systems for the C5 Corvette. Both of these systems are more expensive because they include not just the filter but also the intake tube. More air flow to the throttle body is provided by upgrading the tubing and filter. Both Halltech intakes, like the Blackwing intake, remove the OEM air box.
The Venom and Killer Bee systems are nearly identical, although the Killer Bee system includes a new LS7-style MAF.
The Venom system promises a 13hp increase, while the Killer Bee system claims a 24hp increase. The Killer Bee system may also produce up to 800hp.
3) Intake Vararam LS6
The Vararam intake system is the most distinctive in that it uses two intake “scoops” that sit within the front bumper to pull in cooler air. This is the most true cold air intake system of the bunch. The air from the two scoops is directed via an enclosed air filter, which connects to the factory intake piping.
Vararam promises “up to 40hp” across the whole RPM range. We’ve seen dynos show 15whp improvements at the peak. We recommend the Vararam system for customers who are concerned about air intake temperatures. Because it is an enclosed system, it will flow less than the Halltech and SLP intakes, but it will deliver a few degrees cooler IATs due to its location at the bottom of the bumper.
Should I Replace the LS6 Intake System?
Generally, there is no need to change the intake system on standard LS6 engines. Unless you intend to use forced induction or make major modifications such as heads, cams, manifolds, etc., the factory intake will supply sufficient of air flow.
That isn’t to say you can’t improve the intake on a factory LS6. There is no damage in doing so, and you will still notice a slight increase in power, throttle response, and even gas mileage. The main disadvantage is that the expense isn’t really worth it for the performance improvements you obtain, at least in our opinion.
When you combine an intake with more significant upgrades, you will get the most performance gains.