SoCal GenIII Vortec Project

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My project is officially kicked-off! The engine and tranny was delivered yesterday. Here it is:

IMG_14061_zpssckgrqh0.jpg


It's a Gen III 4.8L from a 2004 Tahoe with 85,000 miles. I'd like to get it done before summer. I haded to jump in because of the time commitment, but I decided to take the plunge because I'm sick of the snail's pace going up grades on road trips, and the old drive train is oozing oil and ATF beyond what's acceptable in civilized society. I'm looking forward to improved fuel economy also. I feel bad getting 11-12 mpg even with relatively cheap gas these days. And I'm not getting any younger, so there's no time like now...

The 4.8 is fine for my needs. I gave it a lot of thought and this is the way I want to go.

I'll be using Cameron's thread as a model, he did an OUTSTANDING job of documenting! Of course, mine's a Gen III and an FJ62, so there's some differences.

I appreciate all the advice I've received so far. Wish me luck!

John
 

gregnash

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Very nice dude! I had been debating on the usage of the 4.8L vs. the 5.3L. When I get to a computer that will read dropbox I will PM you a message with a link to my notes that I have gathered. Look for a thread called Theorycraft V8 on here and you will see lots of information.

Are you planning on doing the wiring harness yourself or paying someone to do it? And where did you get the engine/tranny combo?
 
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I think Cameron's thread is a great guide / reference.
 

FJ60Cam

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Awesome! I'm tickled that mine is used as a reference.

You are going to love it when you are done. That s***-eating grin on the first drive is priceless!
 

FJ60Cam

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TLC 4x4 has an install kit that is made for the E-rod motors to go into 62. Even though yours is a Gen III, most of the parts will work (probably everything but the computer mount). This will greatly speed up the process. The less stuff you have to try and figure out, the better. Now is not the time to be too proud to bolt something on vs. fabbing it yourself! They have motor mounts that index off of bolt holes in the frame, fan shroud, rear crossmember, and maybe some more stuff.

Check out @bdyer12 's thread, he has some of their parts shown... 88 RESTO MOD BUILD FOR DD
 
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Very nice dude! I had been debating on the usage of the 4.8L vs. the 5.3L. When I get to a computer that will read dropbox I will PM you a message with a link to my notes that I have gathered. Look for a thread called Theorycraft V8 on here and you will see lots of information.

Are you planning on doing the wiring harness yourself or paying someone to do it? And where did you get the engine/tranny combo?

Greg, Yes I've read the "theorycraft" thread. I agree, lots of good info. What it came down to for me was evaluating my needs and choosing what fulfills that. I only need a modest power improvement. The 4.8 will give me what I need.

I'm going to buy a harness. Sounds like the one Cameron used is a good one. I got the engine and tranny from HK salvage in Montebello. Someone gave me a tip and sure enough he had exactly what I want.
 
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TLC 4x4 has an install kit that is made for the E-rod motors to go into 62. Even though yours is a Gen III, most of the parts will work (probably everything but the computer mount). This will greatly speed up the process. The less stuff you have to try and figure out, the better. Now is not the time to be too proud to bolt something on vs. fabbing it yourself! They have motor mounts that index off of bolt holes in the frame, fan shroud, rear crossmember, and maybe some more stuff.

Check out @bdyer12 's thread, he has some of their parts shown... 88 RESTO MOD BUILD FOR DD

Cool! I'll check it out. Sounds good, I do not want to invent or reinvent the wheel. I'll spend a little extra for stuff that has been proven. I really want to do it right the first time and reliability is paramount for me.
 
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Awesome! I'm tickled that mine is used as a reference.

You are going to love it when you are done. That s***-eating grin on the first drive is priceless!

Dude, you're awesome. I was so impressed with the quality of your thread. I wish I had your patience and thoughtfulness. I'm sure your thread will be used for many future conversions.
 
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TLC 4x4 has an install kit that is made for the E-rod motors to go into 62. Even though yours is a Gen III, most of the parts will work (probably everything but the computer mount). This will greatly speed up the process. The less stuff you have to try and figure out, the better. Now is not the time to be too proud to bolt something on vs. fabbing it yourself! They have motor mounts that index off of bolt holes in the frame, fan shroud, rear crossmember, and maybe some more stuff.

Check out @bdyer12 's thread, he has some of their parts shown... 88 RESTO MOD BUILD FOR DD

I called TLC, they said they're not selling it anymore because GM may discontinue the EROD offering. Oh well...

I never heard of EROD before. I looked it up, pretty awesome, but pricey! $8000 but you get 425 lb-ft of torque and it's designed to be california smog compliant. I see that quite a few conversions have been done in Land Cruisers. Very tempting, but way out of my price range...
 

NCFJ

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Keep in mind, most crate motor prices, including E-rod does NOT include front drive, AC or starter to begin

E-ROD LS3 Big Block Crate Engine | Chevrolet

Scroll down and take a look at all you will have to add to the price of the motor.
 
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Good luck with the project, it will be a learning experience for sure. Looks like we've got similar tastes in vehicles, 88' fj62 and an 85' 635 in the garage here. :beer:
 
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Update: Avoided a disaster. I started dismantling stuff, removing the manifolds, stripping the harness etc. and discovered some problems. The worst was brown emulsion in the oil pan. There were some other tell-tale signs of overheating problems that were not apparent on the surface. To make a long story short, the dismantled came through immediately and said they'd make it right. They purchased a running pickup from the insurance auction and invited me to come down and run it. It was very nice, a few more miles than the first one (108k) but very clean, it looked like it was well-maintained, sounded like new. They delivered it today. It's nice that they made good without a hassle. This could have been a nightmare! Lesson learned: Don't buy an engine if you can't reasonably verify its integrity.
 
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I'm off to a predictably slow start. It seems like the only thing I've done is spend money...

I cleaned up the engine a bit, it's looking nice:
IMG_1414_zpsxqdfjpbq.jpg


It had a broken manifold bolt, I was fortunate to be able to extract it without a problem

IMG_1415_zps04dixjgn.jpg


Tomorrow, I'm going to take the cruiser to have it steam cleaned before I yank the engine and tranny. It's got years of built up gunk. I hope to start dismantling next weekend.

Meantime, I've been buying parts. I've ordered my harness from Pacific Fabrication, Adapter and engine mounts from Advance Adapters, Camaro oil pan and accessories from SuperChevyPerformance, and corvette manifolds off ebay.

So far, I'm up to $4800 for the engine and tranny and the above-mentioned parts. I'm keeping track of my time and have 20 hours futzing around with a bad engine and getting a replacement, stripping, cleaning and ordering parts.

I've got a bit of maintenance to do on my M6 this weekend, so hopefully things will really get moving next week.
 

FJ60Cam

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If you do manage to keep track of your time, I'll be curious to see how it adds up. I quit keeping track at the point where it seemed to never end. (But it does).

Did you make sure and let Pac. Fab. know to keep the smog stuff in the harness? I know most of their harnesses are for "off-road"/non-CA use.

Even though you've already ordered the Camaro pan, take a look at the Muscle Car pan. It is about $100 cheaper ($148 iirc for the pan, dipstick, tube, etc) and there is a lot more clearance for the diff. It has the corner cut out of the pan on that side. IMO, I would go straight to that.

I tried the Camaro pan first and had contact with the pinion flange/diff webbing and would need to have had it modified by an aluminum welder. (I sold the Camaro stuff on eBay for what I paid for it)

With the Muscle car pan, the point of contact will move from the flange area to the front of the pan & diff housing.

Make sure you do a lot of measuring with the hood clearance and get the motor as high as possible to minimize this, maybe shifted to the DS as far as the manifolds & steering box/PS pump let you go. You won't truly see how far down it settles until everything is back together.

Time spent here will pay back later (trust me on that one!).
 
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If you do manage to keep track of your time, I'll be curious to see how it adds up. I quit keeping track at the point where it seemed to never end. (But it does).

Did you make sure and let Pac. Fab. know to keep the smog stuff in the harness? I know most of their harnesses are for "off-road"/non-CA use.

Even though you've already ordered the Camaro pan, take a look at the Muscle Car pan. It is about $100 cheaper ($148 iirc for the pan, dipstick, tube, etc) and there is a lot more clearance for the diff. It has the corner cut out of the pan on that side. IMO, I would go straight to that.

I tried the Camaro pan first and had contact with the pinion flange/diff webbing and would need to have had it modified by an aluminum welder. (I sold the Camaro stuff on eBay for what I paid for it)

With the Muscle car pan, the point of contact will move from the flange area to the front of the pan & diff housing.

Make sure you do a lot of measuring with the hood clearance and get the motor as high as possible to minimize this, maybe shifted to the DS as far as the manifolds & steering box/PS pump let you go. You won't truly see how far down it settles until everything is back together.

Time spent here will pay back later (trust me on that one!).


Darn! I should have read your thread more carefully. I missed that. It's already been shipped, so I'll just send it back and order the muscle car pan.

Thanks for pointing that out before I installed it. I'll go back and review your thread again.

So you say it settles after it's installed. Should I compensate for that and mount it a little higher that what seems right?
 

FJ60Cam

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You just need to mount it as high as you can and still close the hood. If you are running the engine cover, you can trim it and
bolt it down vs. using the snap in grommets. I've noticed Torfab seems to do this on most of theirs.

I did have to raise my motor up with washers under the motor mounts, and switch to the super heavy OME springs. I haven't heard anyone else have to do this though. My old springs must have been tired.
 

FJ60Cam

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Here's a shot of how close my Camaro pan was and where it will contact...

image.jpeg


Here's a pic from @daytonadogie , who tipped me off to the muscle car pan...

image.jpeg


I also cut this big nub off the front, to get a little extra room from the top of the axle housing...

image.jpeg
 

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