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Bolt-On Horsepower for LS Engines with JBA, Pertronix, K&N and Hypertech

Project Over/Under, 2003 Chevy Silverado: Part 2

Aug 28, 2020
Typically, when you read magazine stories about installing aftermarket performance parts on LS engines, the main goal is to extract every available horsepower number out of the engine. If the owner of the truck isn't happy with the results, you may read about a whole other set of go-fast parts being installed the next month. Don't get us wrong, we like horsepower as much as the next guy, but sometimes on these tried-and-true platforms—like the 100,000-mile 4.8L engine in our case—all the experiments have already been done. The guesswork has been taken out of the equation, and unless you want to spend thousands of dollars and unlimited time swapping different brands of parts for just a few more elusive ponies, you can trust the experts and find a bolt-on combination of parts that makes all the power you're going to find without forced induction or a complete engine rebuild.
Our bolt-on bonanza started with a call to Jim Hairston, longtime drag racer and owner of both JBA Performance Exhaust and Pertronix. Between the two companies, we sourced the Shorty headers, cat-back exhaust, Flame Thrower coils, and 8mm plug wires. With the spark and exiting air covered, we moved to the incoming air and contacted K&N for an FIPK air intake and JET Performance for its Powr-Flo throttle body and mass airflow sensor. Finally, we wanted a reliable off-the-shelf tune for the truck, so we contacted Hypertech for a Max Energy power programmer.
Our old friend Thomas Stevens recently opened Powerhouse Performance in Simi Valley, California, and has already made a name for himself doing everything from diesel performance upgrades to full chassis-up classic truck builds, so we knew our engine upgrades would be a no-brainer for Thomas and his talented crew. They also helped us out by going the extra mile and replacing our thermostat, oil pressure sensor, and oil and fuel filters while we were there.
After a hard day's work, we were back on the road in what seemed like a totally different truck. The increase in power and throttle response was truly impressive. We really think we found the sweet spot between the money spent and the added power and driveability. We will no doubt log many miles in our Silverado with this setup.
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Bartlett, TN
JBA Performance Exhaust
JET Performance
K&N Engineering
Riverside, CA
PerTronix Performance Products
San Dimas, CA
Powerhouse Performance