Video: Sloppy Mechanics Find The Limits Of Their SBE LQ4 At 993 WHP

Well, it finally happened. The guys over at Sloppy Mechanics have finally found the limits of their 250,000+ mile 6.0 liter engine. We knew this day was inevitable but Matt Happel, the brains behind Sloppy Mechanics, had us believing that this mill would live forever. But alas, stock components can only be pushed so far—even if that limit is a mind boggling 992 horsepower.

In case you haven’t been following along, we first met Matt after he had just made 798 rear wheel horsepower with the aforementioned LQ4 and a cheap Chinese turbo. To reiterate, that was on completely stock internals, including the head gaskets, rod bolts, head bolts, and 250,000-mile bearings. Now, any sane person would be happy that a stock engine (minus a Lil’ John’s Motorsports Turbo Stage II cam) is not only producing that kind of power but doing it for months on end without grenading—but those people aren’t Matt.

If you know Matt, or have seen any of his projects, you’ll know two things about him: 1. He loves making tons of horsepower on cobbled together concoctions that blow people’s minds, and 2. He is never happy with the status quo—especially when someone tells him it can’t be done. That’s why he has been pushing this mill harder and harder for well over a year to see what it really can handle.

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The past couple of months have seen the boost and fuel injector size on the truck slowly inching north as it snuck up on the 900 rwhp mark. In it’s penultimate incarnation, the truck was sporting Fuel Injector Clinc’s 1100 cc fuel injectors that Matt promptly maxed out, making 895 rwhp on E40. With the mythical 1,000 rwhp-mark in sight, no one can really fault Matt for wanting to take the truck there on stock internals.

And while we’ve seen a lot in our day, we’ve never seen anything quite as remarkable as a stock bottom end LQ4 handling this type of power—especially when you consider that the truck has been making this power for over a year and gets thrashed almost on the daily. But, as we mentioned before, all good things must come to an end.

In the latest chapter in the Sloppy Mechanics Colorado saga, Matt was left waiting for his 210 pound fuel injectors to come in so he could push this rig even further than its previous best of 895 rwhp. We anxiously stood by and checked YouTube frequently to see if the injectors had shown up. Finally, a fan of Sloppy Mechanics stepped up and offered to ship Matt their injectors to get the project moving forward again.

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With the injectors in hand, Matt quickly swapped them out, gave the truck a quick tune and headed over to the dyno to see what the Colorado could do with the massive 210 squirters. This time, however, Matt opted to go with E85 for the shot at the record.

After a few initially runs and fine tuning, Matt was ready to give the truck the beans. The first full-tilt pull resulted in 909 rwhp, but the truck lifted the front end and shifted as if it is going to make a move to come off the rollers. After some adjustment of the tie down straps, Matt was ready to hit it again. At this point, however, Matt tells us that the fuel pressure was dropping off pretty drastically over 900 rwhp. This is most likely due to the fact that the fuel flow is limited by the split 3/8-inch feed run for the truck.

“It still needs more fuel supply,” Matt said. “I should have stopped when I was running out of fuel pressure at 909 whp, but I couldn’t stop myself.”

We don’t blame him. With the 1,000-horsepower mark so close, Matt decided to add 20 percent fuel and go for it again—regardless of the current fueling issues. After the increase in fuel, Matt hit it again and was rewarded with 973 ponies at the rear wheels. However, at this point, Matt tells us that the air/fuel ratio was creeping up to levels he was less than comfortable with; pushing into the high 12 range.

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But, with only 27 horsepower to go, Matt soldiered on. To put things over the top, Matt added just 1 pound of boost to the mix and hit it again. Unfortunately, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Matt said he immediately heard a tapping noise after the pull and shut the truck off.

While the truck put down 992 rwhp on its final hit, it had also lifted a head, allowing coolant to enter one of the cylinders and bending a rod. He fired it back up one more time and when he heard the ticking still there he knew it was toast. Needless to say, he was bummed not to have hit the 1,000-horsepower mark, but he left the dyno that day undeterred.

“Luckily it didn’t vent the block,” Matt said. “I can take it apart and take a look at what running lean at 1000 whp looks like on SBE and possibly fix it.”

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As you can see here, the stock rod gave way when it tried to compress the coolant that entered the cylinder after lifting the head. We’re pretty shocked that this was the only damage done and Matt says he’ll be back soon for another shot at 1,000.

After disassembling the mill, Matt found that the engine had bent four connecting rods. Luckily though, nothing else seems to be damaged. Matt tells us that after he replaces the rod and upgrades the fuel system he’ll be back to take another shot a making 1,000 horsepower on a stock bottom end LQ4.

There is no doubt in our minds that Matt will eventually hit that 1,000-horsepower mark, no matter what he has to do to get there. And you can rest assured that when he does it, we’ll be there to bring you the details.

About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
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