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.................-- GM Atlas 4 Cylinder 4 Valve DOHC 2.9 Liter --..
During the time period of being sidetracked into Sailboats and working on them I kept thinking if I wanted to continue going forward using motorcycle engines for the lakester. I'd been heavy into bikes in the 60's and into the 70's even to the point of being a co-owner in Honda-Suzuki dealership. The problem was that was then and this was now and now I felt more comfortable with modifying car engines as the bike engines had come so far.
For some reason before the detour into bike motors I wanted to build a F (3 liter) based lakester. At the time I wanted to use one of the Toyota 6 cylinder 3 liter engines that was produce with twin sequential turbos. They were very strong in turbo mode but not readily available. Now they are coming over from Japan as used crate motors. Still I was hoping to find something easier to adapt to a more common drivetrain that was an American engine as I wanted to use a G-Force 101A transmission like what was in Hooley's Stude. Research and talking to Bill "Sparky" Smith led to checking out the GM Atlas line of motors.
The first of this line was the ....
.... 4.2 liter motor shown above that went into the 2002-2009 Chevy TrailBlazer along with other vehicles listed in the link above. The Atlas was on the Ward's 10 Best Engines list for 2002 through 2005. The engine did have some drawbacks, mainly due to its size it didn't fit into many of GM's vehicles and second the gas mileage wasn't great but still it is an outstanding motor and a variation of it won the Baja 2000, its first race in a class that also included V8 engines and also won the truck class at the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. 2 others have set records at Bonneville.
One of the leaders in developing the motor for drag racing...
... have been the Self's. A father-son (Glen & Kevin) business, Self Racing, that besides developing the ....
.... 4200 into the current (2013) record holder in the NHRA F/EA class also builds other high HP engines for customers They are noted for designing their own cylinder head ports and intake manifolds and doing their own cylinder head porting and sheet metal fabrication in-house.
If you are looking for a racing engine or Cylinder heads and intake manifold or engine they have the knowledge and experience to build you a WINNER.
Above is one of the 4200's they built and ....
.... another view. Besides the one that runs about 7.7 sec in the 1/4 in their car they have built other 6's, one that makes about 1400-1500 HP on 15 lbs. of boost. If you are interested in one of these engines and don't have the time or whatever to put one together contact Kevin and his father Glen at Self Racing. They also ported Sparky's BBC heads and those heads helped to get him into the 200 mph and 300 mph clubs.
OK, so you are wondering why I'm going on about an E motor ( 3.015 to 4.276 L ) when I want to run a F motor ( 2.016 to 3.014 L ). Well besides the 4.2 Liter Gm also made a 5 cylinder (3.5 & 3.7 L) and a 4 cylinder (2.8 & 2.9 L) version of the same motor with the same head, rods, pistons, valves, etc. just minus 1 and 2 cylinders. The other difference is the 4 and 5 cylinders also have 2 balance shafts whereas the 6 cylinder doesn't need balance shafts.
All of these motors stock put out over 1 HP per Cu. In.. The 4.2 is 291 HP from 254 cu. in. and the 4 cylinder puts out 185 HP from 178 cu. in. and they all have a very wide torque curve so we aren't talking 'peaky' HP and torque. They were designed for work vehicles and HP wise left a lot on the table.
One reason for the high stock HP and the HP potential of these motor is the great flowing heads via the DOHC's and the 4 valves per cylinder. Stock they flow about 270 on the intakes and 150 on the exhaust. It is fairly easy with a mild port job to get up into the 330's on the intakes. The exhaust needs more work, but as the Self's have show the heads can produce some real HP. They have the heads flowing as much as good BBC heads!
Above is a 2900 (2.9 L) that I bought from a wrecking yard in Farmington, NM. The arrow points to the balance shaft area on the driver's side of the motor. It came out of a 2007 Isuzu i-Series. The 2900 replaced the 2800 in 2007 after the pre-2007's had some head issues with I think the valve seats. No reported problems with the 2007's on up and they are large cu. in. wise. You can find the 2900 in the following vehicles:
2007-2012 Chevrolet Colorado -- 2007-2012 GMC Canyon -- 2007-2009 Hummer H3 and the 2007-2008 Isuzu i-Series.
Some of those vehicles also have the 5 cylinders and some also have the 5.3 LS type motor. GM stopped production of the Colorado/Canyon after 2012 and were suppose to start again in 2014 with the next generation with a totally different motor lineup.
Above we are looking at the passenger side and the arrow points to the balance shaft on this side of the motor. The 2900's came with both standard and automatics. I'll be running a G-Force 101A so wanted the manual version of the motor with the flywheel shown above. More on that on a later page. I'll also be building custom intake and exhaust manifolds for the engine.
As I write this the plan is to convert the motor from the stock EFI to a MegaSquirt MS3-Pro from DIYAutoTune.com that will handle the fuel and spark and also has a lot of data logging options along with traction control and boost control options for less than $1200 with a wiring harness.
I'll start with a Borg Warner SX400 Turbo ( #171702) like what we used on Hooley's Stude. This turbo is large for this motor at low boost levels such as I'll run at first with the pretty much stock motor, but should be a good match once the motor has good parts and is capable of possibly over 30 lbs. of boost.
If you are interested in a number of helpful links to information on modifiying the Atlas line of engines then continue on below. If not and are interested in the rest of the new drive-line components then ( CLICK HERE )
The following is a copy of an e-mail sent to a friend and fellow landspeed racer with a number of helpful links in it.....

Good forum board for the Atlas line of motors...


...look at these builds on that site..




This build is with a 4200 into an older GMC and he has the bellhousing adapter plates and other items....


Here is the other board with blown motors in Colorado's/Canyons that are the 4 and 5 cylinders. Go down to the 'forced induction' forum.....


These guys ....


...make really big na HP and 1400 hp on 14 lbs. boost and spin the motors over 10,000. They have the heads flowing over 400 cfm now. The stock heads flow about 270 on the intake but will do about 330 without much work. The exhaust is the side that needs work for big power as it flows about 150 stock but with 7 lbs. you should be in the low 400 HP range with a 4200. From all I've read with a 4200 you want one of the late motors (2006
and up) to start with (2007 up with the 4 or 5 cylinder) ...


...and Limequat on the 4200 board can reflash the stock computer for not much to work with the turbo at the HP levels you want.....


Their major downfall seems to be oiling but it looks like there is a pretty easy fix. The block is tapped and plugged at each main on the side of the block and it looks to be pretty easy to run extra lines to those locations off of the boss near the front oil pump.

You can find a picture of the Atlas oiling here....


...... They put a 'tee' in above the filter where the oil pressure sender is and then create a manifold to oil the mains in however many places they want where the plugs are shown. I think Marc from Canada (see link further up page) sells parts to do this, mainly the fitting by the sender but you probably can find these. More info on this here...


Download this tech file for a good overview of the engine...


The starter is up high on the driver side so if you use something like an older 700R4 or a bellhousing for a manual with the adapter you will have to clearance it but if you want an auto the trailblazer came with a 4L60 stock (never a manual). With it you don't need to clearance or need the adapter.

You might be able to make your own adapter plate. The dowels on the engine are in the same location as SBC dowels so you can reference off of those....


One problem if you go manual is finding a flywheel. A guy made them but might be out of them. I e-mailed him a while back and never got a response. Then found I could use the flywheel on the 4 cylinder on the 4 I have. The flywheels for the 4 and 5 won't fit the back of the 6 crank. Here is the flywheel guy...


60 to 80 injectors info and source (same guy that reflashes the computer)...


Some more misc. links I found useful to keep you busy...




That should keep you busy,


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