What Is The LS3 Head Bolt Torque Sequence? Is It Important?

LS3 head bolt torque sequence is a crucial process in engine assembly that ensures a proper seal between the engine block and cylinder head.

It’s essential to know the importance of this head bolt torque sequence and step-by-step instructions on properly executing it. Let’s dive in for more useful information.

About Bolt Torque Sequence 

ls3 head bolt torque sequence

What Is A Bolt Torque Sequence?

A torque sequence refers to the specific order and steps used to tighten bolts or fasteners to a specified torque value, typically in a specific pattern or sequence.

The torque sequence ensures the bolts are tightened evenly and gradually, preventing uneven pressure or stress on fastened parts.

Torque sequences are commonly used in engine assembly, where head bolts. A template for torque sequence is designed to facilitate the installation of head gaskets in engines.

Cylinder head bolts are designed to fasten the engine head to the block. The backing is also equipped with sequence indicators positioned next to the punch-outs.

It helps identify the order in which the bolts are tightened.

Why Is A Head Bolt Tightening Sequence Important?

An LS cylinder head torque sequence is important because it ensures that the head bolts are tightening and fighting.

It creates a consistent and stable clamping force across the cylinder head, reducing pre-load losses in the bolt.

When an engine is running, many forces are acting on the cylinder head, including the effect of heat.

By following a specific head bolt tightening sequence, the mechanic makes sure that the clamping force is applied evenly across the cylinder head, which minimizes the risk of leaks or failure.

What Is The LS3 Head Bolt Torque Sequence?

5.3 ls head bolt torque specs

The LS3 head bolt torque sequence starts by torquing the M11 bolt with 22 lb-ft force, then rotating it to 90°, and torquing the M8 bolt with 22 lb-ft force.

LS3, or Gen 4 LS head bolt torque, refers to a specific type of V8 engine in the General Motors (GM) LS engine family.

Like with LS1 head torque specs, you should follow this flow when tightening the bolts that secure the cylinder head to the engine block.

Torque Sequence Of LS3 Head Bolt 

Needed Tools

  • A torque wrench with 2 ft-lbs / 264 in-lbs of force: Using a wrench that is either too large or too small can lead to difficulties.
  • A torque angle gauge: This tool is necessary for this installation, and you can find it in many auto shops. It helps you turn the bolts at the required number of degrees. You shouldn’t make any assumptions about the degrees.
  • Socket set and extensions for measuring: It will help tighten or loosen bolts and nuts and take measurements of fasteners.
  • Breaker bar: While not strictly necessary, this tool can turn sockets without the ratcheting feature.


  • Ensure the engine block is fastened to the stand or any other surface on which it may be placed, as you’ll need a great force.
  • An extension handle can result in an incorrect reading, so avoiding using an impact wrench to tighten the axle nut is crucial. This is because impact wrenches can generate more torque than an axle nut requires.

Installation Sequence

To complete this LS head torque sequence, I always take the below steps:

  • Step 1: To ensure proper alignment of the gasket and head to the block, locate and press two dowel pins on all sides of the block. Take one of the old M8 bolts for later use.
  • Step 2: Thoroughly clean the deck surfaces of both the block and head bolt using a clean cloth and a suitable cleaner solution (acetone). You may need to flush a torque converter to avoid overheating.
  • Step 3: Place the head gasket on the engine block. If you notice a sign indicating “front/this side up,” ensure it is correctly oriented. The gasket should be put at the front for easy reading.
  • Step 4: Align the cylinder head with the dowel pins on the block and place it on the top head gasket level. It should rest securely in place.
  • Step 5: Grab all of the new bolts and tighten them by hand until they are snug:
    • In the first pass of torquing (of the M11 bolts), torque to 22 lb-ft for all types of car or truck engines and all sizes of bolts.
    • In the second tightening pass (of the M11 bolts), use the torque angle gauge and rotate all bolts to 90 degrees.
    • In the third pass (of the M8 inner bolts in sequence), turn the balancer bolt to 22 lb-ft.

Useful Tips While Installing

Below are some of my tips to make your head bolt tightening smoother:

  • Consider using new fasteners for high mileage or high-performance engines
  • Check the pulley bolt in a set against one another to avoid using stretched or deformed ones
  • Refer to your service manual for torque specs when using stock fasteners
  • Consult the manufacturer for aftermarket fasteners’ torque specs
  • Choose quality lubricant to lubricate threads and underside of the transmission bolt head before installation
  • Check cylinder head fasteners to avoid bottoming out in blind holes
  • Use steel washers when installing aluminum cylinder heads and aluminum perimeter bolt
  • Verify and recalibrate the accuracy of your torque wrench before installation.


gen 4 ls head bolt torque

Why Do Exact 6.2 LS Head Bolt Torque Specs Matter?

Over-tightening TTY bolts or lug nuts can stretch wheel studs, leading to stud breakage during tire installation or driving.

This stretching can also damage wheels, strip bolt kits, and warp brake rotors, compromising vehicle control and requiring expensive repairs.

On the other hand, too little torque can result in loose wheels that wobble and may fall off the vehicle.

Proper torque specifications should be followed when mounting wheels, especially after removal and reinstallation.

Using a calibrated torque wrench to achieve the recommended torque value is crucial for ensuring safety and avoiding costly repairs.

What Are Some Cautions In The LS3 Head Bolt Tightening Sequence?

Knowing LS3 head bolt torque specs exactly is also important. Besides, you should be careful when using plain washers.

They can cause problems during tightening if there is a clearance between the transmission bolt shank and the washer hole, leading to lateral motion and changes in friction surfaces.

Plain washers are sometimes used to cover slots or reduce surface pressure, but it’s important to use washers of sufficient thickness and hardness that fit snugly on the bolt shank.


What is the LS3 head bolt torque sequence? This LS torque sequence ensures that the bracket bolts that hold the cylinder head to the engine block are tightened properly.

It helps to distribute the torque evenly across the bolt holes and prevent any damage to the engine.

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