Ashley P

Express Success

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Our growing family makes our minivan feel like a Corolla.  Made an offer an a 2001 Chevy Express 3500, 15 passenger...$500 offer was accepted.  It's got almost 350k on the odometer and I have about zero knowledge of the vehicle's problems (I didn't even test drive it lol).  I know it has no salt/rust damage, no major body damage, good interior, has descent tires, engine runs, and the A/C attempted to blow cool in about 30 seconds in a HOT parking lot. The oil pressure gauge was slow to climb on startup, and the engine had some noise (piston slap?  mild rod knock?).  I probably won't trust the engine until I "go through" or replace it with something.

The engine is a SMALL BLOCK 350 (Adam!).  Trans is 4L80E.

So, with the goal of getting the most reliability at the lowest cost, what would you armchair mechanics do with that engine?  Rebuild?  LSwap?  Cummins 6BT swap?

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10 hours ago, Ashley P said:

........2001 Chevy Express 3500, 15 passenger...$500 offer was accepted.  It's got almost 350k on the odometer

So, with the goal of getting the most reliability at the lowest cost, what would you armchair mechanics do with that engine?  Rebuild?  LSwap?  Cummins 6BT swap?

Lowest cost is tricky. I got my most recent 5.3 for free. So factoring in the cost of the swap and parts, i'm under $500 into it. That's cheap and reliable and the route I would go. If you don't have access to a good used 5.3, then I'd go after the 350 and do a stock build or find a low mileage pull out.

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Posted (edited)

My most sane argument against a "stock rebuild" is that 350k mile thing.  If true, that engine probably needs a LOT of work that a junkyard LS most likely won't need.  Then machine work money alone rivals cheap junkyard LS price.

LS option:  5.3 with throttle cable best?  Easy to mate to a 6 converter bolt flexplate?  Bellhousing pattern same?

Edited by Ashley P

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2 hours ago, Ashley P said:

My most sane argument against a "stock rebuild" is that 350k mile thing.  If true, that engine probably needs a LOT of work that a junkyard LS most likely won't need.  Then machine work money alone rivals cheap junkyard LS price.

LS option:  5.3 with throttle cable best?  Easy to mate to a 6 converter bolt flexplate?  Bellhousing pattern same?

Yes, easy to mate to flexplate. Bellhousing pattern the same except one bolt gets left out. Gen III 5.3 is best, Cable or DBW doesn't matter too much. You can put a cable TB on it, or install a pedal for DBW for about the same effort. 

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You should have a 0411 ecm that you can reuse also. Wiring harness and a segment swap for the 4l80e and you're in business.

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16 minutes ago, gammey4 said:

You should have a 0411 ecm that you can reuse also. Wiring harness and a segment swap for the 4l80e and you're in business.

I have so much to learn. :smirk:    Swapping some wires in to convert a 4l60e connector to 80e is cake (I think).   If I get a salvage 5.3 with harness and ECM, will it need any programming?  It should all be good, right?   But if I keep mine, it probably won't even fire until reprogramming??

Is this true:

The 411 PCM uses dual 80 pin connectors and has 512hb of memory, while the blackbox PCm's use 4 32(roughly) pin conectors with roughly 145kb of RAM.
The 411 PCM is used on the 2000-2003 Corvettes, 00-02 Camaro/Firebird, 01-03 Express vans with 305/350 as well as 4.8/5.3/6.0. Found in almost all early 00 cars trucks, it is a very versatile PCM and is supported by all major PCM editing software like EFILive, HPTuners, Tunercats CATS OBD2, Westers GMT, JET DST.

 

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I have so much to learn. :smirk:    Swapping some wires in to convert a 4l60e connector to 80e is cake (I think).   If I get a salvage 5.3 with harness and ECM, will it need any programming?  It should all be good, right?   But if I keep mine, it probably won't even fire until reprogramming??

Is this true:

The 411 PCM uses dual 80 pin connectors and has 512hb of memory, while the blackbox PCm's use 4 32(roughly) pin conectors with roughly 145kb of RAM.

The 411 PCM is used on the 2000-2003 Corvettes, 00-02 Camaro/Firebird, 01-03 Express vans with 305/350 as well as 4.8/5.3/6.0. Found in almost all early 00 cars trucks, it is a very versatile PCM and is supported by all major PCM editing software like EFILive, HPTuners, Tunercats CATS OBD2, Westers GMT, JET DST.

 

You can convert a harness for the 4l80e easy enough. And your ecm you can just write in a express van operating system with a 6.0/4l80e and be good to go.

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So I want to price a salvage 5.3 complete with MAF, ECM, and harness.  I need to avoid DoD/AFM, those heads that crack...what year engine is best?

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So I want to price a salvage 5.3 complete with MAF, ECM, and harness.  I need to avoid DoD/AFM, those heads that crack...what year engine is best?

Any gen 3 5.3 add gen 4 rods and pistons and 243 heads.

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, gammey4 said:

Any gen 3 5.3 add gen 4 rods and pistons and 243 heads.

Hey now!  The potential budget isn't gonna buy TWO engines and start swapping guts! lol   I just need to get a non turd edition of the Gen III.  

I want to avoid the Castech head issue, I'm trying to figure out what exact VIN  or RPO code engine to ask the salvage yard for.  Probably VIN Z / L59 , or T / LM7.

Edited by Ashley P

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Well, I asked my brother (who runs his own shop) where he thought I could get an LS and stuff or a donor truck.  He said "I've got a truck.  A 2007 Avalanche.  $500."  It's got 250k miles, AFM, cam down. 

I'm scheduled to put a Jasper engine in a 2008 Suburban in two weeks.  It's got 120k.  Needs cam.   Methinks Jasper can get the 250k engine as core, I'll keep the 120k engine to freshen up.  

What parts am I missing: Cam, lifters, front seal, oil pan gasket, rear seal, oil pump O ring, 6.0L flexplate

Any glaring flaws in that plan?

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@Ashley P do y'all have good luck with those jasper/grooms engines?

We've installed a few of those on our service trucks and company trucks and they don't seem to last. So we started buying the engines from GM

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17 hours ago, Ashley P said:

Well, I asked my brother (who runs his own shop) where he thought I could get an LS and stuff or a donor truck.  He said "I've got a truck.  A 2007 Avalanche.  $500."  It's got 250k miles, AFM, cam down. 

I'm scheduled to put a Jasper engine in a 2008 Suburban in two weeks.  It's got 120k.  Needs cam.   Methinks Jasper can get the 250k engine as core, I'll keep the 120k engine to freshen up.  

What parts am I missing: Cam, lifters, front seal, oil pan gasket, rear seal, oil pump O ring, 6.0L flexplate

Any glaring flaws in that plan?

Does the suburban have DOD also?  Are you going to delete it?  

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Well, I asked my brother (who runs his own shop) where he thought I could get an LS and stuff or a donor truck.  He said "I've got a truck.  A 2007 Avalanche.  $500."  It's got 250k miles, AFM, cam down. 

I'm scheduled to put a Jasper engine in a 2008 Suburban in two weeks.  It's got 120k.  Needs cam.   Methinks Jasper can get the 250k engine as core, I'll keep the 120k engine to freshen up.  

What parts am I missing: Cam, lifters, front seal, oil pan gasket, rear seal, oil pump O ring, 6.0L flexplate

Any glaring flaws in that plan?

Valley cover, pushrods.

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11 hours ago, Tino said:

@Ashley P do y'all have good luck with those jasper/grooms engines?

We've installed a few of those on our service trucks and company trucks and they don't seem to last. So we started buying the engines from GM

Short answer:  Our salesman said we're his biggest customer this year.  Every once in a while we have a warranty claim, they make that smooth usually.  (We had one turd 5.4 Triton, we won't go Jasper for that again.  Got a Ford one coming in a week and a half.)

5 hours ago, Mike said:

Does the suburban have DOD also?  Are you going to delete it?  

Yes it has DoD.   I want to delete that junk.

2 hours ago, gammey4 said:

Valley cover, pushrods.

I didn't realize that.  Can I use both from an older non-DoD engine?  I've got one out back, price is right...

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Sweet.

What cam (stock I suppose) would you recommend?   Will that need a different cam sprocket or timing chain?

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Sweet.

What cam (stock I suppose) would you recommend?   Will that need a different cam sprocket or timing chain?

No to both and any stock cam that's not dod will work.

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10 hours ago, Ashley P said:

Sweet.

What cam (stock I suppose) would you recommend?   Will that need a different cam sprocket or timing chain?

Mildly lumpy cam for effect is needed.

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Thanks for the help guys.  I've gotta get title in hand before I move on this, but I think I've got the pieces lined up to make it work.

 

John C, keep it quite, but I'm going turbo grind and twin 76mm.   Nobody will expect the 1 ton van full of kids will smoke their ______.   I plan to streetrace for 6 months then retire.

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