Impending Vortec Swap

Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
804
Location
Golden, CO
Update.

I sent my truck to Micah at Titan Specialty Metals in Denver. Cool dude, didn't crap all over me and my project and just did what I wanted him to do. Nothing more. He fixed/finished my exhaust, my power steering leak (removed heidts regulator - not recommended) and replaced a bunch of my fancy woven line that is literally permeating fuel and oil all over the place (also not recommended, basically they got replaced or are going to be replaced with gates hose from napa or rock auto). To address the 2.25" outlet vs the 2.5" on stock exhaust, I'm taking the big win in additional horsepower. Also, it is a function of length and the rest of my exhaust is 2.5".

I've only been around town until recently. I drove it on the interstate this week and it was awesome. I thought I had a head gasket issue since coolant is disappearing, but I think it is a "priming" of the coolant system GM is known so well for. I'll keep filling her up and keeping it topped off during the drive cycles. I checked compression on 8 cylinders and they are all within 10 psi.

The drive shaft is still an issue, I definitely need a DC or to go part time (I'm not a fan of part time because of the snow here and I don't want to be on the side of the road locking/unlocking hubs). Micah cleared the cat for me, so I am probably going to hammer the transmission pan a bit. I was looking online and there shouldn't be any issues with the 1/4" or so I need. worse case I will pull the pan (no drain by the way) and do it "right" by taking out a corner. I'll also weld in a bung for a drain and then change the hoses that somehow are the only ones not leaking. And the final thing on the punchlist regarding the tranny is to get the temp probe inserted. I bought a "tee", but the probe is too long (problem of my life, giggity). I may look at a extension bushing in the 1/8 npt size. I need to check my hardware store still....

I talked to the state inspector last week for emissions. I'm about 50/50 I can get through emissions with the 4l80e (I'll explain the issue below). The process is:

  1. Inspector checks for MIL
  2. Start truck to ensure no MIL is on
  3. Scan through OBDII to ensure
    1. All emissions systems read "ready"
    2. No CEL
    3. Pull VIN
    4. Pull CVN codes
  4. Visual inspection of all emissions control equipment is present
  5. Cross check CVN from scan with what is on the GM TIS webpage. There are 8 of them, and he is going to check all 8 of them.
  6. From there it is a negotiation to see if the changed components actually affect emissions.
The issue with the 4l80e is it is a heavy duty application. Moving a heavy duty engine to light duty truck is certainly a no-no and a non starter with the emissions guy. The EPA is clear on this and the state inspector has been clear on this. Since my motor is from a Yukon Denali and I've paired it with a transmission that didn't come with the Yukon, he may give me some grief. I plan to go in with as clean of an install as reasonable at this point (need to address a oil pressure sensor "hidden" code), every thing else checking out and then plead my case. Does the transmission really affect emissions? I already had the transmission and just purchased a motor....The camaro now comes with the 6l80e....blah, blah blah.

Obviously changing out the trans at this point isn't something that is going to happen (new tranny and adapter and moving motor mounts). My father may end up "purchasing" my truck. I'd rather do it correctly though, if within reason.

Currently, my evap system isn't showing "Ready" as I have to still do the fuel level gauge and then tie that to the gm ECU. the ecu only triggers the evap system when the tank is at a certain level...I've got that on the list for this weekend.
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
804
Location
Golden, CO
I wiggled my double cardan drive shaft in. It actually clears, but I should probably dent the transmission oil pan in a bit. I highlighted in sharpie. Can you just take a piece of wood or something and dent in? I have about 3" of up before it hits and with how stiff the suspension is and how not rough I road this thing, it's not a problem right now. I think 1/4" about 2" circle would take care of it. Pic below is between DC joint and tranny pan.

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Next pic is between shaft and cat. More clearance here and I don't think there is a situation where it would rub.

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If anyone around golden has a forklift I could use for a few seconds to check I would forever be indebted to you. It's good enough for now to get going. I'm moving off the punch list. Also going onto the punch list is heat shielding. It is HOT in the cab with that exhaust and no heat shielding. If I pull up the carpet, can I rivet some heat shields onto the floor??

Took a little drive this morning. You can't really tell, but it is an uphill jaunt. my stock cruiser can't really make it to 60 before the first exit. I have high oil P which is sort of troubling?? I'm going to change the oil and see if that helps. Waiting for my oil hose to come in so I can drain and do it all in one shot. I also forgot that the DakotaDigital gear indicator (Which has a light out and I'm not really happy about) has 'D' as 3rd gear and 'O' (or overdrive) is 4th. I had a brief freakout wondering why my transmission wouldn't go into overdrive.

 

thatcabledude

GOLD Star
Joined
Oct 20, 2011
Messages
5,816
Location
Walton Co, FL
What about having a smaller diameter shaft made and putting the D/C at the axle end? There was no way I could wheel my truck with stock the diameter shaft.
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
804
Location
Golden, CO
What about having a smaller diameter shaft made and putting the D/C at the axle end? There was no way I could wheel my truck with stock the diameter shaft.
It's already a tatton drive shaft (2") and it growled like a mofo with the dc at the axle end. I have a part time tcase already with flanges, but no hubs. I would like to avoid going part time though...i honestly think it will be fine. I'm probsbly going to rent a bobcat in a couple of weeks and I'll grab a set of forks to test it out. A new tranny pan with a plug is like $60 or I'll drain and drop the current one, cut and move the pan a bit and weld in a bung.

I also had a slight growl from the rear too. I may just grab another tatton shaft and then the rig will be standardized on the spicer p051 u joints.
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
804
Location
Golden, CO
Update:

Rear Drive Shaft - got a Tom Woods.

I've had a misfire and a lean condition on bank 2 (passenger side), so I swapped the injectors over. Bank 2 was fixed and bank 1 ended up with the same issue bank 2 had, so I was lucky narrowing it down to the injectors so quickly. 10 min injector swaps help. Having 8 injectors I got with the valley I had to purchased helped lead me in that direction. I swapped all 4 on bank 1 to 4 of the spares I had. Actually made the problem worse. So, I grabbed 2 of the originals and decided I would start with narrowing down the issue. Ran so much smoother. I'm still a bit higher on my LTFT on bank 1, about 12%, but I'm not throwing any codes and the engine is running smooth so I am going to move onto other issues I am having.

I'm throwing a bunch of codes that I need to work through....it's been very annoying.
 
Joined
May 5, 2014
Messages
5,905
Location
Italy
Injectors in these motors seems to be a weak point. When I reflowed/rebuilt mine two were beyond fixable and had to be replaced. This was with a 130k-ish motor. I've heard numerous stories about GM/Delphi/ACDelco injectors s***ting the bed. Might be a good idea for anyone to keep a few in your spares box for swapping or snag a set of Bosch injectors. Luckily it's an easy job to swap out.
 
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
143
Location
Seattle-ish, WA
Any updates on your build?!
This thread was an awesome read and very didactic.
Ive just started doing research and hope to do a swap in the next couple years.
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
804
Location
Golden, CO
My swap rig is now property of my LLC in montana. Discretion is the better part of valor.

I'm trying to figure out a license plate lighting solution that is more permanent than the bolt license plate lights. I can only get them to last 6 months to 1 year. I ordered another set since they're like $6...but I may do some sort of permanent light since it gets annoying changing them all the time. I bought a set from autozone tonight and they stripped out as soon as I tried to "flatten" the lock washer.
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
804
Location
Golden, CO
Been driving the rig around. Super fun. Branching out further and further. It's nice barely touching the gas and keeping up with everyone else.

I had a problem, my gauges would just die. At first I thought it was an issue with the alternator because the gauge would sometimes read 6.7V, sometimes nothing. I also thought it correlated with the fans kicking on. Then I noticed it was correlated with every time I went over a bump. I had jammed a few too many wires into the Dakota Digital black box thingy. I pulled out the wires, soldered them all together and put a single wire to the black box. Problem solved.

I then took the afternoon to tape up the wiring, making it as tidy as can be near the feet. I'm happy with how the gauge cluster turned out. I put the dash back together and it looks great. I saw someone now sells a cut plate, probably would have sprung for that if it existed when I was in the thick of it. But, I'm happy with how my MDF, spray paint, modded stock plastic turned out.

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Next up...I'm going to move the gas pedal. It works, but it is uncomfortable...

then...I'm going to work on making a center console and shifter console. I wouldn't normally waste my time, but the pinnacle of luxury this thing was 24 years ago, they omitted cup holders. I also want to get power and what not into the system as well. I have heat pouring through the shifter, so I'll block that up. I wish I could afford the delta system, but I was laid off last year and make about 1/5 of what I used to. I make less now than when I took my first job out of college 16 years ago. :frown:

then...I am also going to get my emu gull wings tinted. And a new windshield.

There is also a whole host of things to do under the hood....brackets to be made, wires secured, etc.
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
804
Location
Golden, CO
got work on the "LS" swapped 80 today. I wanted a rear panhard bracket, but the cost has been hard to justify. I almost pulled the trigger on the eimkeith, but I decided to make my own bracket.

I pulled some rem 1/4" steel from the local metals supermart. $14, enough steel to make 2 brackets if I really wanted to. I templated everything using foam core board from the dollar store ($1). I always have a hard time cutting anything on the plasma cutter bigger than about 16ga. So, I just cut everything with an angle grinder.

With my new found passion for tig welding 🤣, I decided to try and tig these plates on. It didn't go real well. The grinder is my best friend. I finally decided to try my hand at arc welding, so I bought some rods from harbor freight ($7). That went much better. I also bought a nut and washer (both "grade 8") from a local metric supply ($1.40). Then I hit it with a quick coat of rattle can I have around the garage.

So, all in, $23.40 for a rear panhard bracket. took it for a little drive, I do think there is less wobbly butt (the vehicle, not driver) going on.


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Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
804
Location
Golden, CO
Where are you from, I’d like to check this ride out. Could prob help you with that TIG passion as well
Golden, CO. You can also check out slee in the same trip....I've always offered for people to check the rig out, none have ever taken me up on the offer. Feel free to stop by if you're ever around.
 
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
412
Location
Alabama
Golden, CO. You can also check out slee in the same trip....I've always offered for people to check the rig out, none have ever taken me up on the offer. Feel free to stop by if you're ever around.
I’m in Alabama, have a fishing trip in Steamboat planned for sometime in January, might be able to make something happen
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2020
Messages
144
Location
San Antonio, TX
Moving that rear phb up some does help with planting the rear some.. glad to see you driving it around and enjoying the new found power.. definitely a lot more enjoyable to drive.

I finally got my Tatton DC front drive shaft and so far no issues.. I also had to "clearance" the trans pan a little.. not much.. just a little... I did order a shallow trans pan so I might put that one on when I have time.
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
804
Location
Golden, CO
I’m in Alabama, have a fishing trip in Steamboat planned for sometime in January, might be able to make something happen
Just let me know. I'm on the west side of town and a 10-15 min detour (+whatever time you spend shooting the breeze) from i-70.
Moving that rear phb up some does help with planting the rear some.. glad to see you driving it around and enjoying the new found power.. definitely a lot more enjoyable to drive.

I finally got my Tatton DC front drive shaft and so far no issues.. I also had to "clearance" the trans pan a little.. not much.. just a little... I did order a shallow trans pan so I might put that one on when I have time.
moving the phb up has been nice. definitely less butt wobble. I can see how the expensive option is "worth it." If money is tight, you can also live with it like many do.

Another, and separate, issue I had was disappearing coolant. In fact, I was driving to work the other day after topping off and I noticed some smoke and the sweet smell of coolant while stopped at a light. I "rented" the pressure tester from autozone and it took about 30 seconds to find the leak.

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easy peasy fix. I need to figure out my dcc controller. at highway speeds, I cruise at about 70 mph, 2800 rpm, 184* ECT. That is taken from a head on the engine. My fans are supposed to turn on at 190*, taken on the "cool" side of the radiator. My issue is I start to see 208* in the cabin (taken from the head), before my fans even turn on, always while stopped or moving slowly. at speed, the system works (and the fans aren't on). I can only attribute this to the different places the temp is being read. It makes sense, that while stopped, it may take some time for the radiator to "catch up" with warm fluid at the "cool side" (bottom) of the radiator. meanwhile, it can take 15-20 seconds to increase engine temps and the fans aren't even running (they're loud) and I roll down my window to listen for them. I'm going to lower the set point of the fans to see if it helps. My system works outside of when the fans kick on. It's cool out here in Colorado, so I would like to get it controlled now rather than later...
 

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