2006 Corvette Z06 Press Release: Race Design Is Production Design For LS7 Piston And Rod

GM Press Release: Race Design Is Production Design For LS7 Piston And Rod

For Release: 2006-06-23

Race Design Is Production Design For LS7 Piston And Rod

Corvette Z06 Piston Assembly Highlights Race-To-Production Engineering

PONTIAC, Mich. – The piston assembly for the 2006 Corvette Z06 LS7 7.0-liter V-8 engine is one of the latest examples of race designs carrying over to production GM engines. Almost every aspect of the short skirt, high strength pistons and titanium connecting rods used in the 505 horsepower power plant is developed through race design know-how.

Thanks to racing experience GM engineers have brought one of the most advanced design piston and rod assemblies to a production engine. “Besides light-weight, the LS7 piston assembly has an abundance of features built-in through race experience,” said Roger Duguay, chief engineer for GM small block engines. “Full floating pistons with valve reliefs and lightening pockets, plasma moly rings, tapered wall pins, high strength chromium nitrided titanium rods just begin to highlight the racing DNA of this assembly.”

The full-floating piston is made of eutectic aluminum alloy and is CNC machined for balance and tolerance consistency. For durability the top land is anodized. Between the first and second ring lands is a pressure balance groove, another racing carry-over, to control blow-by and oil consumption at high speed. Piston tops are flat with symmetrical valve reliefs providing opportunities for a stroker crank or higher lift. A polymer coating on the skirts to reduce scuffing creates an almost negative interference fit in the bore.

The ring pack uses thin rings for high speed sealing control. A 1.2 mm top compression ring is used with a plasma moly face for superior sealing and durability. The second compression ring is also 1.2 mm thick and is made of ductile or high strength iron. The three-piece oil control ring is 2.0 mm thick and is made of nitrided steel for superior wear control and spring force longevity. Nitriding also enables lower ring tension resulting in more power due to reduced friction.

Little was spared when it came to developing the connecting rods. The rod is made of a titanium aerospace alloy and uses twelve-point doweled cap screws. The rods are heat treated and have a chromium nitride coating for surface durability. The coating is applied to the thrust facing areas via plasma vapor deposition (PVD) – a process taking 12 hours to apply. Each rod has three weight pads for precise balance. Blind holes are used, to eliminate stress areas, in conjunction with a heat treated style cap screw with a neck down shank for consistent clamp and controlled stretch. The LS7 rod weighs just 464 grams which is almost 30 percent lighter than the similar forged powder metal rod in the base engine Corvette.

Racing has always been on the forefront of reducing component weight. “Racing knowledge transfer gave us the basic design elements for the LS7 piston assembly,” said Tom Halka, development engineer for GM small block engines. “Thanks to GM’s vast technical resources and racing background we now have a light, high speed assembly that balances reliability and durability with performance. What we learned with this assembly we will apply to other GM engine programs.”

LS7 Specifications




7.0-liter (427.7 cu . In.) OHV V8 LS7 for the 2006 Corvette Z06


505 (377 kW) @ 6300 rpm (SAE certified )


470 lb.-ft. (637 Nm) @ 4800 rpm (SAE certified)

Bore x stroke:

4.125 in. x 4.00 in. ( 104.8 mm x 101.6 mm)

Compression ratio:

11.0 :1

Fuel shutoff:

7100 rpm




Flat top, short skirt, with valve reliefs and lightening pockets, anodized top land, second land with pressure balance groove


High strength aluminum alloy, T-7 heat treat, polymer coated skirts

Compression height:

30 mm


482 grams

Piston-to-valve clearance:

Intake: 8 mm Exhaust: 7 mm

Piston pin


Full floating, taper wall


High strength steel alloy, nitrided

Length / diameter

58 mm / 23.5 mm


132 grams


Round wire ring, chrome silicon steel

Piston rings

Top compression:

1.2 mm (.0472 in.) symmetrical barrel face and twisted, plasma moly coated

Second compression:

1.2 mm (.0472 in.) high strength ductile iron, taper face napier style

Oil control:

2.0 (.0787 in.) mm stainless nitrided steel, three piece, low tension

Connecting Rod


Forged I beam, stepped down pin end, blind cap hole, alignment sleeve


Titanium aerospace alloy

Center to center length:

154.1 mm


12 point cap screw, heat treated, high strength steel alloy, necked down shank


464 grams

Rod Length-to-Stroke: