Modern Rodding NEW PRODUCTS
steering wheels, louver panel, cone air filter, sway bar kit

By Brian Brennan

1. Slim-Fitting Under Dash Louver Kit

Vintage Air now offers its all-new Under Dash Slimline Universal Louver Panel with Brushed Aluminum Trim Kit. The kit includes a two-piece louver panel, all four louvers, and 2.5-inch hose adaptors.

The louver panel comes with brushed aluminum trim and can be painted to match the dash and interior. The underdash panel was designed to minimize intrusion into the occupancy space, with the louver bezel only protruding 3-1/2 inches below the dash.

Engineered for installation on any vehicle with a flat underdash area, the Under Dash Slimline Universal Louver Panel Kit includes four louvers with 2-1/2-inch hose adaptors to easily pair with Gen IV or Gen II evaporator systems. The passenger-side panel is 34 inches wide and incorporates two 3.8×1-1/2-inch louvers and a 2-1/2-inch passenger-side ball louver, while the driver-side panel houses a single 2-1/2-inch ball louver.

For more info, check out Vintage Air by calling (800) 862-6658 or visit

2. Steering in the Right Direction
Lecarra’s Trans Am steering wheels are modeled after the Pontiac Trans Am steering wheels of the ’70s and early ’80s and are available in brushed, gold, or black anodized finishes. A fully polished version is also available. Additionally, there are 12 hand-stitched leather colors to choose from, so you’re sure to find a combination that works perfectly. The steering wheels bolt right onto original ’70-81 Trans Am hubs but can also be used with one of Lecarra’s hub adapters (sold separately), which fit ’67-94 GM steering columns. Two horn button options are also available and are offered in either black or polished aluminum.

For more info, check out Lokar Performance Products by calling (877) 469-7440 or visit

3. Take a Deep Breath
FiTech Fuel Injection now offers an all-new line of inverted cone air filters. Their dryflow filters are made from a black synthetic filter media, which results in excellent filtration. These air filters are washable and reusable with oil-free maintenance. Capped on both ends with a show-quality chrome housing and a heavy-duty clamp to secure your filter. FiTEch now offers conical air filters in 6-9 inches in height with a 4-inch inlet (92mm throttle body) or 4-1/2-inch inlet (102mm throttle body).

For more info, check out FiTech Fuel Injection by calling (951) 340-2624 or visit

4. Tighter Fit
Classic Performance Products (CPP) now offers a line of Pro-Touring Performance High-Clearance Adjustable Front and Rear Sway Bar kits. Contoured to hug the frame, the bars allow for a tighter fit to the chassis while providing significantly more clearance around rear shock mounts and wider front tires. Utilizing 1-1/4-inch-diameter hollow steel bar, the lightweight sway bars feature a precision laser-cut windowed 3/8-inch leg.

CPP uses rod ends that eliminate the fixed position endlink bushings that limit tire size. The fully adjustable Heim joint endlink setup allows for multiple mounting positions and pre-load adjustments. The working portion of the bar is shorter to increase roll resistance. Rear sway bars will fit both stock and aftermarket rearends with a 3-inch axle tube.

Designed for most popular Chevrolet classic cars and trucks, the kits come standard with billet PolyPlus bushings and PolyPlus fully adjustable Heim joint endlinks.

For more info, check out Classic Performance Products by calling (833) 710-8791 or visit

5. Building an LS Engine
When Modern Rodding magazine wanted to build a potent 5.3L GM LS engine we turned to Summit Racing for everything from the rotating assembly to the valve covers. Modern Rodding gave the parts and a bare 5.3L block to American Heritage Performance (AHP), which then assembled them into an engine that made 471 hp and 422 lb-ft of torque. 

You can get an in-depth look at the Bare Block Performance Package LS in the Aug. Sep., and Oct. ’22 issues of Modern Rodding or in the build videos below. Either way, take a look at our Modern Rodding Bare Block Performance Package 5.3L GM LS parts combo and see what it took to build this engine.

Rotating Assembly Parts Combo
A 5.3L iron block was decked and had the cylinders bored and hone bored to 3.810 inches. Back at AHP the block was fitted with Dura-Bond cam bearings, ARP main studs, and a Summit Racing Coolant and Oil Plug Kit. 

The rotating assembly features a Summit Racing Pro LS crankshaft, Pro LS connecting rods, and Pro LS forged pistons. The crank is forged from 4340 steel and features profiled counterweights to reduce windage plus gun-drilled main journals and drilled rod journals to reduce weight and improve acceleration. The H-beam connecting rods are also forged from 4340 steel and feature ARP 2000 rod bolts.

The Pro LS pistons are forged from 2618 aluminum alloy and have a dished crown with two valve reliefs and piston skirts that are profiled to run tight piston-to-wall clearances for maximum ring seal and minimal friction. The pistons are fitted with Summit Racing Pro LS piston rings that have a 1.5mm plasma-moly coated top ring, 1.5mm ductile iron second ring, and a 3mm stainless steel oil control ring.

Camshaft Parts Combo
Modern Rodding chose a Summit Racing Pro LS Stage 1 camshaft. Rated at 222/223 degrees duration at 0.050 and 0.600/0.575 inch of lift with 115 degrees of lobe separation, the hydraulic roller cam makes excellent power from 2,600 to 6,800 rpm and works well with nitrous oxide or a supercharger. A 2,400 rpm or higher stall torque converter is recommended for use with the Stage 1 cam but not required. The camshaft is mated to a set of Summit Racing Performance LS7-style lifters installed with new ACDelco stock replacement lifter trays.
Oiling System Parts Combo
The Summit Racing Pro LS cast aluminum oil pan is designed to fit an LS engine in a variety of GM cars, including ’64-72 A-bodies, ’67-92 Camaro/Firebirds, and ’69-74 Novas. The baffled pan has a 6.2-quart capacity (including filter) and comes with an oil pump pickup tube, fill plug, an oil pump stud, and an oil passage cover. AHP added a Chevrolet Performance windage tray to better control oil aeration and secure the pan to the block with a Fel-Pro one-piece pan gasket and ARP oil pan bolts.

The factory oil pump was replaced with a Melling high-pressure/high-volume pump. It has a CNC-machined body and cover and longer hardened steel gears for additional oil flow. The pump’s drive and idler shafts extend into the cover to provide additional support and eliminate pump shaft deflection.

Cylinder Head Parts Combo
The cylinder heads of choice are TrickFlow GenX 205 aluminum heads. The cathedral port heads have a shallower 13.5-degree valve to decrease valve shrouding, increase midlift airflow, and improve rocker arm-to-valve cover clearance. The 205cc intake and 80cc exhaust runners get TrickFlow’s CNC Competition Ported treatment that creates a premium high-resolution surface finish for maximum flow and performance. 

The GenX 205 cylinder heads also feature CNC-machined 58cc combustion chambers with 2-inch intake and 1.575-inch exhaust valves plus 1.300-inch beehive valvesprings rated to handle up to 0.600 inch of valve lift. The heads were secured to the long block with ARP High Performance Series head bolts and Chevrolet Performance MLS head gaskets.

The cylinder heads were fitted with Summit Racing Pro LS upgraded rocker arms. The 1.7 ratio rockers have heavy-duty cast steel bodies, a captive bearing design, and bearing steel trunnions for smoother action and longer life, and improved oil flow to the bearings. Completing the combo is a set of 7.4-inch-long TrickFlow chromoly pushrods. The one-piece pushrods are 5/16 inch in diameter and have 0.080-inch-thick walls to prevent deflection.

Complete Parts Combo
This collection of parts includes a set of Summit Racing Pro LS valve covers. The tall-height covers clear roller rocker arms, accept LS2-, LS3-, or LS7-style coils with 72mm bolt spacing, and come with mounting hardware, gaskets, and a nifty billet aluminum oil fill cap. The 5.3L also got a Chevrolet Performance valley cover, a Fel-Pro front cover gasket set and rear main seal, and a quintet of sensors (including, Delphi camshaft and crankshaft position sensors, two required Chevrolet Performance knock sensors, and ACDelco coolant and oil pressure sensors).
Tools Parts Combo
Modern Rodding assembled a collection of tools from Summit Racing to build the 5.3L. The Summit Racing LS Main Cap Puller allows you to remove the caps in one simple motion without damaging the caps or the bearings. The Summit Racing Cam Bearing Installation Tool is designed just for LS engines, and the Summit Racing Flywheel Holding Tool keeps the crankshaft from rotating so you can easily install or remove harmonic dampers, flexplates, and flywheels. 

A Summit Racing Dial Bore Gauge was used to check the inside diameter of the main bearing caps to ensure they were within spec. Piston ring gap was set with a Summit Racing Piston Ring Squaring Tool and USA-1 Piston Ring Filer. The billet aluminum squaring tool is machined to be flat and parallel within 0.001 inch, so ring gaps are accurate and consistent.
Rounding out our toolbox is a Summit Racing adjustable ring compressor, a Powerbuilt harmonic damper installation tool, and a Comp Cams pushrod length checker. 

For more info, check out Summit Racing Equipment by calling (800) 230-3030 or visit

car engine
Modern Rodding

VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 28 • 2023