New V8 troubleshoot

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Apr 13, 2011
Northern Arizona
Help!!! I just got my cruiser home and there are issues. Here is the list of issues I'm having:

1) on the drive back from the exhaust shop on the highway going up a small hill (150 feet in the vertical) while in four gear the I started to put my foot in it and it just bought this normal ???

2) I'm running the Ford conter daul fan set up. the GM computer tirns on the fans via a ground to two 40 amp relays. I can only get one fan to kick on. Is this normal ??? Included is a picture of the water temp gauge. The needle settle down a high then this picture. It's about a needle width from going into the red zone.

3) I can hear a noise/clicking from the VSS area of the transfer case. I'm running the JTR VSS unit that mounts to the stock Toyota transfer case.

4) I can't get the tach to work. I'm using the auto meter 2892. How should the wires be hooked up????

Thanks Jason. Going out for another test drive.

you need to spell out which specific GM V8 you have and transmission.

Good idea as noted many need an aftermarket temp gauge (how do you know the temp of the engine without it?)

on the fan question....all depends on how your wired the fans. When I had dual contour fan setup I controlled the fans either on or off with a SPAL temp switch, after the SPAL controller went up in smoke, then went to GM fan clutch setup. I think GM setup turns the fans on a 50% then 100%. You need to provide details on the fan wiring and your intent on the wiring as to how you wanted it to work. Both fans should work....but again how its wired is the key.

Don't follow you first staement...truck runs different that before, after exhaust work? Not enough details to know whats normal. Need to know more about what your full setup is. Where you in too high of a gear for the speed your were running? Are you saying something changed from the way it ran before?

Clicking noise is new? or long has truck been running. DId you check for interference when you setup VSS...did the sensor move?
Test drive #2

Tonight I did another test drive to see if the engine would blow up or go like a bat out of hell. Prior to the drive I pulled out all of the spark pugs and re-gap the spark pug to .004 of an inch. All of the spark pug are NKG. I found all of the spark pugs to be gray in color at the electrode. Top off all of the fluids .......added a gallon of coolant and water to the radiator. Pushed on all of the electric connectors to the spark pugs, fuel injectors, and coil packs. Found three of the fuel injectors on the passenger side with put the eletrical clips to hold them on the fuel injector to be broken. (I said in my last post that the engine supplier is on the shady side. Uninfortunely for me I'm finding this out of the fact.)

The results of the test drive was impressive!!!!! The Vortec engine put out all of the power I hoped for and then some. I got the cruiser on the highway where it bog down yesterday and hit 75 MPH in 5th gear. Very fast and scary!!! I have not been that fast in the cruiser in decades.

As far the finer details of the test drive the temp seemed to stay in the first 1/3 of the white arc of the stock Toyota temp gauge.

1) The tack on the dash is still out of commission so I don't know the exact RPMs. But at the higher RPMs I had a vibration that shook the cruiser. Please give me help here for the hooking up the wires correctly.

2) I had no dash lights for the instrument gauges. Check the fuse in the Toyota fuse box (7.5 amp) and its good. What else should I check????

3) There was a lot of wine out on the transmission/transfer case. Tomorrow after work I will check the level for oil. Any thing else I should check to quiet down the wine ?????? I have read in other posts that the NV4500 is quiet as a tomb. I'm running the 92-95 NV4500 with one gallon of W75-90 gear oil. The tranny is a rebuild with as of tonight with 47 miles on it.

4) The transfer case is the stock Toyota. That has been rebuilt for this project. Does it just need time for it to break in and get quiet??????

Thanks jason
added a gallon of coolant....? Any reason why you had to add so much coolant? Did you cycle the thermostat and let the engine run a good bit to make sure of your cooling operation? Have to add a gallon of coolant is something to be concerned about as to why you had to add so much. Maybe you are good now but having to add a gallon of coolant is something to understand.

For me I only run AC / Delco spark plugs on GM engines and they are gaped according to the GM OEM specs.

What year Vortec engine are you running? And what size engine? People can't answer your question about the tach unless you give specifics about the engine? Vortec is a generic reference.

Should not have whine in the TC or Transmission.... those things are stop and figure out deals....don't drive the truck until you figure out why...

Dash lights....check fuses...make sure fuseable link is good and you have wiring at alt good and everything connected.

Part of swapping have to check all the wiring and connections etc...seems like you would have a trouble code set whith various electrical items loose?

What happened to the cooling fan issue?

There is no comparison between the power output of a 2f vs modern GM V8, clearly night and day difference. Like I've said many makes the truck fun to drive and yes you can go too fast now...beyond the trucks abilities in regard to brakes and handling rather fast.
assuming a gen 3 vortec as that's what makes sense with your questions.

you cant hook the tach directly to the ecu without programing the ecu to put out a signal that an auto meter tach can read. you need an adapter.

with the fans hooked directly to the ecu you need to have the ecu programed to turn them on at a specific temp. if it had a mechanical fan that function wont even be turned on so if the programmer turned it on did they turn on both or just one output and at what temp.

it sounds like you didn't properly burp the radiator the first time you filled it up.

the trans and t-case need to be filled up until fluid comes all the way up to the fill hole on the side not just a gallon.

your vss may need to be adjusted properly it sounds like you have clearance issues.

try adjusting the dimmer switch for the dash lights and see if they come on they can get dead spots in them.
More information


Yes my bad on, the engine. I order a stand along 5.3 Vortec engine. The engine supplier said it was a 2004 block ( but remember this guys is shady) I will run the serial number on the block when I can found then. The tranny is a chevy 4x4 1992-1995 NV4500.

As for the coolant .......... Yes that has me worried. I found a lot of drops of coolant on the underside of the cruise. I think I two leaks. One one the rear heater hose to rear heater and the temp sending unit on the passenger side head.

As for the electric fans I did hear one come on and the temperature stayed in the first third of the white arc of the stock Toyota temp gauge. I did not check to see for the second fans to come on.


I will check the fluid levels again tomorrow. All fluid levels.

As for the dimmer switch I was hoping it was going to be that easy. I just check before I post this. Even thou it have made me looked like an idiot for not checking the most simple thing to check I would have cared.........I just want the instrument gauges to work.

Thanks guys
Getting the tach to work on a vortec isn't simple. I run an aftermarket OBDII gauge plugged into the OBD II port to get at all the information the PCM has. It will tell you what the engine things the temp and rpm's are.

I also get a fair bit of gear noise off my transmission. I have always assumed it is because the shift boot wasn't sealed correctly and lets all the noise from the transmission and transfer case right in.

V8 up date

Here is an update........I have done test drive #3 and #4. The cruiser does have so get up and go and then some. I was able to take the wife for a quick drive up and down the highway. Got the Cuiser up to 80 MPH woth no problem. But, I still have a couple issues to iron out.

1) I still do not have dash lights for the gauges. I currently drive at night with a head lamp. Red light setting works the best. I can see the gauges and see outside. Anybody have any ideas to the solution ???? I have check the fuse. I have no fuse links. They were removed a couple of years ago. The light went out when I started to troubleshoot my aftermarket tack.

2) On the whine of the tranny/transfer case. I topped off the tranny (Chevy 1992-1995 NV4500) and the transfer case (stock Toyota). This seem to drop the sound of the whine. The other thing I did was to fine tune the transmission tunnel cover. There was a 1/2 inch gap between the Cruiser floor and the cover. I wil have to back to my fabicactor and have some more welding done for the transfer case boot and cover area. There is about a1/4 of a inch gap that allows a lot of noise to come into the cab.

3) As for the the electric fans........I think only one of my fans comes on. I believe this because I, (my engine supplier was a shady guy and probly did not program a temputure for the second fan to come on) currently run my fan via the PCM. The PCM controls two 40 amp relays via the grounds. I only had one fan come on. I have run a jumper wire to the other fans just to make sure the fan does come on. So at some point I will have to a stand alone fan controler for the fans. The summer here in Arizona will require two fans. Any good sudjestions?????

4) The second whine I have to take care of is the power steering. The power steering pump is the loudest thing on the Cruiser. My so called engine supplier though he was doing me a flavor by choosing a pump that requires a smaller pulley for clearance issues. He said it come for a 2010 camero. The GM techs say it puts out 1400-1600 psi. The Toyota sterring gear box requires 1022 psi. I will have to do more resrearch into this about Useing a truck GM power steering pump. So to the Guys that are running a GM Vortec 5.3 engine what type of pumps are you Useing? Got pictures???
1) if you gauge lights went out after messing around behind the dash than that's where your problem is look through the wiring and make sure you didn't pull anything out.

2) once they are full of fluid im not the guy to ask about this. bearings or syncros maybe?

3) so I would verify with a multi meter that your fans are hooked up to the proper pins on the pcm. one should be the blue connecter c1 pin 42 the other is the green connector c2 pin 33. I would not use a stand alone controller even the expensive ones don't last long (at least for me). if its hooked up like its suppose to be than the best option is to have the pcm reprogramed. or you could put the other fan on a switch in the cab and just turn it on when you need it.

4) my motor came out of a 04' Tahoe that's the pump im using. again make sure its full of fluid and I would put a filter on it to make sure there is no dirt in there. with it running take off the cap and check to see if its bubbly/frothy someone had problems with that don't remember who or the fix.
you can search "pull up resistor" for a solution to the tach problem also.
Today's progress

Before work I was able to work on the cruiser for a coupe hours. Today I was able to get the Toyota round eyes with the after market wiring harness hooked up. Plus also mount the ABR bar with winch. Tonight after work I see if there is a big improvement in the lighting.

1) as for the power steering the fiuld does looks like it is foaming. I have two theorys on this. One: on the high pressure line I have a small leck on the fitting that correct the hose to the pump. Thus cause air to drawn in. Or theory two is : there was a big air bubble in the system in the first place. Any ideas on this one ???

2) I have also discovered an oil leak of some sort. The little droplets are appearing on the bottom of the bell housing. I do know if this is engine oil or the oil from the tranny. The tranny is also where I thing my clicking sounds seems to be coming from. The tranny is a rebuilt is this normal after a tranny is rebuilt???. Is this the tranny just breaking itself in or breaking it self apart???
you can't have leaks in the PS system....fix first. Nothing wrong with GM p/s pumps...but is is hell at times to find a good rebuilt gm ps pump.

Those better find someone local to help you..hard to deal with via the internet.

Did you bleed the ps when you first started the engine and got things running.....cycling the steering back and forth from left to right in full turns with the tires off the ground. FIx the leak and then do this, without letting the ps pump get low on fluid.
A small little victory for the home team.

I got a couple of things scratched of the to list ........... With success !!!!! I was able to get the dash lights to work!! Makes driving at night a lot easier !!!! I no longer have to wear a head lamp to see the gauges. I won't miss the worried looks from poeple around me in the parking lot when getting ready to drive.

The Toyota rounds eye head light rock. !!! I can see both side of the road and see 200 feet in front of me. With the brights I see about 120 degrees and maybe 500 feet in front of me. 10X better then the sealed beams.

On the foaming of the power steering I will have to look up the procedure and see if its a one man job or a two man. As far as getting the correct fitting for the pump I will have to found out what I really have. My so called engine guy said it from a 2010 Camero. Hopefully tomorrow I can crawl under the cruiser and get the part number off of the pump.

Also any one know where to look on the block to get the serial number???

Here are a couple of pictures of the power steering pump and the dash light.

Pictures of the power steering pumps

Picture of the power steering pump. Here a view of the front side of the pump and bracket.


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