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'97 Tahoe Reformation -Official Build Thread 8.1L/4L80E Swap
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Agree with all...I have the 383 and wish i went ls...

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Post LS/LQ 
Thanks for all pushing into getting the right motor from the start. That is exactly why I'm here and I'm open to what you have to say.

One compelling factor here is, since I'm probably looking to spend $8k-$12K on this project, when I'm done I need a vehicle that will go many miles without deep (drivetrain) intervention.

For that reason, I was leaning toward the GM Performance crate motor - great warranty and BRAND NEW.

If I go the LS/LQ route (which I'm convinced by you all that I should do), my options are limited to a relatively high mileage engine, unless I buy a donor truck THEN a crate. I don't think I have room for donor truck, even though that's the route I'd LIKE to take. I'm not afraid of the work, I just have to work within my constraints. On the other hand If I can buy a 2008 (for example) motor/tranny/ECM/wiring harness, then maybe I can find one relatively LOW mileage.

So many options...

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Somewhere on here, don't remember who did it, there is a thread detailing the buildout for an LS engine into a GMT400 truck. And, you can find information on converting the wiring harness over at GMT400.com.. You can pick up a used wiring harness off Fleabay.

After building a junkyard engine myself for my 2000 Silverado, I can strongly recommend going crate over rebuild for the LS engines. Pick one up that's complete with sensors and everything, it'll look expensive up front but cheaper in the long run.

You can get a 4L80E for the year truck you have, you just need a 6.0 flexplate for it. And, we can talk you through making a 4L60E harness talk to a 4L80E transmission if your harness winds up being for a 4L60E.

You can run manifolds to begin with to save a few bucks.

=================================================================
If you decide to go ahead with the Gen 1 engine, I can suggest staying away from the LT1 engines. Check out the sticky thread at the top of the performance thread concerning the marine intake. Also consider going ahead with the 411 conversion. Based on what you want, I would also look at doing a new Dart 400 small block over a 383. The 400 makes tons of torque which is what you need to get your rig moving. Going with the Gen 1 will also make it easier to get headers and other parts for the truck. You can still do the 4L80E as well. It'll probably save about 2000 going Gen 1 over Gen 3, but the Gen 3 will make the same power on less fuel which ultimately would make up the difference AND will give you more range.

Ultimately it's your truck, so while we will continue to try and sway you to our side when you make your final decision you can count on full support from everyone here to make it happen.

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Speeder wrote:
Somewhere on here, don't remember who did it, there is a thread detailing the buildout for an LS engine into a GMT400 truck. And, you can find information on converting the wiring harness over at GMT400.com.. You can pick up a used wiring harness off Fleabay.

After building a junkyard engine myself for my 2000 Silverado, I can strongly recommend going crate over rebuild for the LS engines. Pick one up that's complete with sensors and everything, it'll look expensive up front but cheaper in the long run.

You can get a 4L80E for the year truck you have, you just need a 6.0 flexplate for it. And, we can talk you through making a 4L60E harness talk to a 4L80E transmission if your harness winds up being for a 4L60E.

You can run manifolds to begin with to save a few bucks.

=================================================================
If you decide to go ahead with the Gen 1 engine, I can suggest staying away from the LT1 engines. Check out the sticky thread at the top of the performance thread concerning the marine intake. Also consider going ahead with the 411 conversion. Based on what you want, I would also look at doing a new Dart 400 small block over a 383. The 400 makes tons of torque which is what you need to get your rig moving. Going with the Gen 1 will also make it easier to get headers and other parts for the truck. You can still do the 4L80E as well. It'll probably save about 2000 going Gen 1 over Gen 3, but the Gen 3 will make the same power on less fuel which ultimately would make up the difference AND will give you more range.

Ultimately it's your truck, so while we will continue to try and sway you to our side when you make your final decision you can count on full support from everyone here to make it happen.


Agreed 100%, support will come your way no mater which directon you choose. A nice torquey 400cide GEN-1 or GEN 1-E(Vortec/L31/210cc Fastburn Alum./Bowtie LargePort 219cc or Smallport 185cc Vortec iron would all work excellently and be fun to drive with great off idle manners right on up to 6000rpm.
OR
A 6.0 block with some L92 heads for some 3000- 6500+ rpm elevated torque/power bands, that with the correct torque converter toss you back into your seat properly during a stoplight/1/4mile launch or cause your penis to invert during a WOT 2-1 downshift, provcided stickies are installed with teh appropriate gearset. Repeat such manuoevers in a 4wd truck and expect to receive a call from NASA and the Secret Service for altering the Earth's natural rotation.
If you like 400's, a GEn 3/4 408 might tickle your fancy as would a nicely done 406 GEn 1/1-E-Vortec.

Goodluck

peace
Hog

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Post Re: LS/LQ 
jakenatour wrote:
Thanks for all pushing into getting the right motor from the start. That is exactly why I'm here and I'm open to what you have to say.

One compelling factor here is, since I'm probably looking to spend $8k-$12K on this project, when I'm done I need a vehicle that will go many miles without deep (drivetrain) intervention.

For that reason, I was leaning toward the GM Performance crate motor - great warranty and BRAND NEW.

If I go the LS/LQ route (which I'm convinced by you all that I should do), my options are limited to a relatively high mileage engine, unless I buy a donor truck THEN a crate. I don't think I have room for donor truck, even though that's the route I'd LIKE to take. I'm not afraid of the work, I just have to work within my constraints. On the other hand If I can buy a 2008 (for example) motor/tranny/ECM/wiring harness, then maybe I can find one relatively LOW mileage.

So many options...


I gave you a link on the other page for a crate lq9.
Then you can get a bad ls for the accessory drive etc..

300.00


http://car-part.com/



Last edited by CrazyHoe on Sat Sep 01, 2012 4:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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Hog wrote:
Repeat such manuoevers in a 4wd truck and expect to receive a call from NASA and the Secret Service for altering the Earth's natural rotation.
If you like 400's, a GEn 3/4 408 might tickle your fancy as would a nicely done 406 GEn 1/1-E-Vortec.


Hey now, nobody mentioned TBI™ here! He only said he wanted massive reliable power for a weekender, not total intergalactic domination!!!

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Speeder wrote:
Hog wrote:
Repeat such manuoevers in a 4wd truck and expect to receive a call from NASA and the Secret Service for altering the Earth's natural rotation.
If you like 400's, a GEn 3/4 408 might tickle your fancy as would a nicely done 406 GEn 1/1-E-Vortec.


Hey now, nobody mentioned TBI™™ here! He only said he wanted massive reliable power for a weekender, not total intergalactic domination!!!


LMAO I was going to make the same comment

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Post This is tempting 
Only 30k miles on this Vortec 8.1 drive train.

Anyone know is this will bolt into my mounts?

I'm not afraid of a little customization, just wondering if this will even shoehorn in.

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/pts/3245818542.html

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I gots an 8.1 hope you got deep pockets for gas

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Post Re: This is tempting 
jakenatour wrote:
Only 30k miles on this Vortec 8.1 drive train.

Anyone know is this will bolt into my mounts?

I'm not afraid of a little customization, just wondering if this will even shoehorn in.

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/pts/3245818542.html


I know a guy that dropped one in a 95 pickup. I don't think there were that many modifications that had to be done to it.
Also i am almost 99% sure the 8.1 engines have both bolt patterns on the block for the engine mounts, meaning that it will bolt up to your existing mounts.

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getting 9mpg on my 383...but all city driving lol Smile

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Post 8.1 Details 
So, I have confirmed with this guy the following:

- it is a 4WD tranny
- it is Drive by wire
- Cats included
- ECM included

Still waiting for him to confirm the year of the burb it came from.

This is getting even more tempting. $3k is not bad. I suspect I can talk him down a few hundred. He wants to clear out his shop.

Considering @irisservice's comments on his 383 mpg, I shouldn't be too scared off by MPG alone. My vehicle will never be a daily driver so mileage was never a strong consideration. I just might have to add a second gas tank Surprised

Regarding the drive by wire conversion: major or minor? Again, not afraid - just want to make part of the calculus.

Also, a tranny question: Are all these transmissions controlled with the engine control module or do they have a dedicated CM?

Cheers

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Minor. You remove the old gas pedal and cable, install the harness and new gas pedal. If you can handle an engine install you can handle a DBW conversion. Just make sure it all comes with it.

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An 8.1 from a 2500 Yukon XL, Suburban, Avalanche, Savannah, or Express will have a 4L85-E and be easier to work with and more tunable than an Allison 1000 that would have come with a Silverado or Sierra.

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James B. wrote:
An 8.1 from a 2500 Yukon XL, Suburban, Avalanche, Savannah, or Express will have a 4L85-E and be easier to work with and more tunable than an Allison 1000 that would have come with a Silverado or Sierra.


I assume the trained eye can tell from this photo that this is indeed a 4L85-E vs the Allison...



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VERY NICE! That is so ideal.

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Post Update on work 
While I see if I can procure the aforementioned drivetrain in the background, it's time for a quick update on how the removal process is going on the Beast.

I'm pretty sure that I attacked the wiring harness removal completely wrong, but I got about 1/2 way through before realizing it. I began by removing every electrical connection from the engine, front to back. Once I got to the tranny is when I realized that I could probably remove the whole drivetrain with the wiring harness intact. What a pain to get to the tranny connections!

Anyhow, I got it done.


Here's a pic with all the wires removed. Nothing special...




Next post will be about the fun tranny stuff I found while taking things apart.

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Post Transmission Monkeys 
In the process of drivetrain extraction, I came across this lovely "repair" job by the transmission shop that did the rebuild just before the engine died on this Tahoe.




Notice the cracked receptacles. The connectors were actually epoxied into place. The boneheads presumably cracked the unit by mishandling the transmission and, instead of owning up to it and getting a new position sending unit, just completely monkeyed it back together.


Later, I discovered the engine support strut bolts completely loose, the transmission wiring harness heat shield completely broken and some of the bell housing bolts stripped - all indicating that whoever worked on the tranny R&R had absolutely no pride in their work and were just trying to pull a fast buck off of a susceptible customer. That kind of stuff chaps me...

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Post Engine is out! 
So, to get completely up to speed on where I am right now, this last post will do.

One Harbor Freight 1000lb engine stand, a little help from Scooter and the cherry picker and...


VOILA!


Bad Motor is out.





Where I'm at right now:

The tranny needs to come out. I will hopefully get a few bucks for it (I'll probably replace the position sending unit first). If I am able to get the 8.1, I'l start prepping for that and have to put off the lift for a while, since that will drain most of my funds till Dec or so.

All future work updates will be in real time (which means SLOW)...

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