Junkyard Colorado Makes Almost 900 HP on 250,000-mile SBE 6.0-Liter


Last time we caught up with Matt Happel of Sloppy Mechanics, his junkyard built Colorado had just thrown down just shy of 800 rwhp. A feat for sure considering that the LQ4 he pulled from an Express van had over 250,000 miles on it. If you remember, Matt didn’t even freshen the engine back up. He just cleaned out all of the sludge sitting in the crankcase and threw it in the truck.

That means that the LQ4 is still on stock head bolts, rod bolts, and bearings. He even went as far as reusing the stock head gaskets. To refresh your memory, the only thing in the LQ4 that has actually been changed to aftermarket equipment is the camshaft—which is a Turbo Stage II cam from Lil John’s Motorsports Solutions.

Obviously the power is created by a lot-a-bit of boost via a VS Racing VSR 80 mm Billet T6 turbo — which just so happens to be a clone of the S480 Borg-Warner turbo. In the video, you can see that Matt has taken a Sharpie and wrote S480 on the compressor housing, just in case you were confused on what it might be.


While the turbo is a healthy size, it is by no means on the high end of turbos when it comes to cost. In fact, it is one of the most affordable turbos you can get your hands on. That was Matt’s goal with the truck; to make as much power as he possibly could for as cheap as he could and he keeps on surprising us.

That’s why were were both shocked and yet somehow not at the same time when we saw the video of Matt making nearly 900 horsepower at the rear wheels with the same combo—albeit with the addition of E40! To reiterate, that is a 250,000-mile LQ4 that literally has stock everything other than a cam, a S480 knock off turbo, E40, and a buttload of boost. All of which amount to almost 900 to the ground.

When we published our first article on the truck, we got a lot of comments from people doubting the reliability of such a build. Most of the comments were of the opinion that this setup would blow up “any day now.” Well, we published that article back in June, and even at that point Matt had been whaling on this thing for several months. Fast forward six months and the truck is still going strong.


Happel has gone through several fuel injector swaps in his efforts to keep up with the mill and his latest tuning session, in which he set his new personal best, he maxed out the Fuel Injector Clinic 1100 cc injectors. The plan is to move to something larger and make even more power.

“I will probably just go right to 200 pound injectors,” Matt said. “I don’t want to have to worry about fuel injector upgrades anymore.”

He also plans to make the switch over to E85 which he tells us is typically around “71 percent max” ethanol content out in Allentown, Pennsylvania. When we asked Matt what his ultimate goal with the truck was, he told us “I wold be pretty happy if it can make 1,000 tire with this combo.”

At this point, we don’t doubt that the truck will eventually crest the mythical 1,000-horsepower mark in the next few months, all on stock internals. Stay tuned to LSXmag.com and check out Sloppy Mechanics site for more details on the combo and future runs.

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.
Read My Articles

Late Model LS Power in your inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from LSX Magazine, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes