Which Vortec: 4.8 w/ 60k mi or 5.3 w/ 115k mi

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Location
Park City, UT
1990 FJ62, recently blew the 3fe while front and rear bumpers were on order. Instead of fixing the 3fe that averaged 40 mph over my local mountain pass while semis blow by at 75-80, My mech and I decided to go with a gen iii 5.3 mated to a 4L65e tran.
I missed out on a great looking 5.3 with 115k mi by 1 day, and my mech mentioned he found a 4.8 with only 60k mi on it for the same price. He mentioned a cam shaft upgrade will get my the HP back, and I've read about the 4.8 needing more revs to get the low end torque.
I've scoured ih8mud and have found dozens of mini arguments and discussions regarding this choice, but they're scattered and conflicting (opinions, amiright?) Most posts area few years old as well.
I'll have front winch and rear tire carrier bumps, sliders, some protection underneath, and a more minimal expedition gear payload (for now) No RTT (yet), no large trailers, no ARB fridge... Flying solo here. Also I'm on 34" BFG ATs.
WHAT DO YOU DO
I don't want a 1 sentence definitive "go 5.3" or "4.8 you idiot".
I'd love to hear some more insight as to pros and cons of the engines, based on personal experience.
Thanks ih8mud for all that you do!
now bring it
edit: NOT MY HOUSE in the photo: had to show my Gus WAY out of his element lol
IMG_2003.JPG
 
I think that if you go with the 4.8, you will always wonder if the 5.3 wouldn't have been a better choice. A cam upgrade from a specialty cam grinder like Comp Cams could cost an additional $400, plus gaskets and labor, if you have someone install it. The ECU may need to be re-tuned too. My dad used to say that there ain't no substitute for cubic inches! JMHO.
 
If I was in your shoes, I'd wait till I could do the 5.3. Such an immense amount of work and expense is entailed in swapping an engine. With all the extra weight you're carrying, along with those big ass tires, do you think you will be happy on launch day when you drive the car the first time.... Only to discover that the 4.8 is just a little peppier?

Personally I wouldn't do a 4.8. I'd want to be rewarded with a powerful engine that always would put a smile on my face.

There are guys in the 200 section with brand new 3UR-FE 5.7 V8 engines that want to install turbos.... because they want MORE power.
 
Besides the availability, why have you narrowed it down to the 5.3 or the 4.8? What about the 6.0??

:)

My goal is to drive this throughout north and south america, and I know this engine is so easy to get parts for anywhere and for cheap... The 6.0 would be insane though
 
My goal is to drive this throughout north and south america, and I know this engine is so easy to get parts for anywhere and for cheap... The 6.0 would be insane though

6.0 parts are not anymore rare or
hard to find then 5.3 parts. Besides, any issue you might have the parts are probably interchangeable anyways.
 
"There is no replacement for displacement."


I agree with daytonadogie you're going to have to install the cam, tune it, etc. Just put in the stock 5.3 with the brain it is meant for. Troubleshooting down the road will be much easier.
 
I went with a 5.3 in my 55 and here's who I got the motor from. A little added insurance that you're getting a good motor with the right tune. -HOME
 
Besides the availability, why have you narrowed it down to the 5.3 or the 4.8? What about the 6.0??

Interesting article from a buddy of mine is good food for thought:

How To Score A 500HP LS Engine For FREE | Hoonable

Follow that up with reading this article....

Build A Turbocharged 600HP LS Motor For Under $2500 | Hoonable

Hope that adds some complexity to your already complex thought process. :)

There is a big difference in price between a 5.3 and a comparable 6.0. Not so much with a 5.3 and 4.8. Believe me, I checked it out.
 
The amount of work to do the swap is the same, the cost outside the price of the motor is the same, for a small percentage of the overall cost you have the 5.3L . Bang for the buck, the 5.3L Vortec is the best gas V8 out there. Well maintained they run forever and 325ish HP is plenty for 99% of us.

Installing performance parts and a custom tune just to get a 4.8L to equal a 5.3L makes no sense to me. One man's opinion..............
 
Unless the 4.8 is super cheap there's no reason to get it. GM made more 5.3's than any other LS engine so you shouldn't have to pay a premium for the 5.3. Not the same for the jump from 5.3 to 6.0. Compared to the cost of having someone do the swap, even an extra thousand bucks to have a good low mile LQ4 or LQ9 would sound attractive to me.

By the way, my completely stock 220k mile 6.0 Chevy just went coast to coast and made a hair over 8 MPG doing it....grossing 23,040 lbs. So yes, I have my reasons for liking the 6.0's...
 
Through all of my research it basically comes down to two things...
1. if you find the 4.8 at a MUCH lower price, or
2. if you really REALLY want to tinker with the engine to do what you want...

Otherwise.....
"There's no replacement for displacement" just like the others have said. And BDTurnkey is local to me (from @scrapdaddy) and is awesome. Does not really keep stock of engines, rather he purchases a particular engine for you based on the specifications you give him. Great guy to talk with and keeps you informed the entire way.
 
To the OP.
Go with a 6.+.....
I doubt you will ever complaint of too much power under the hood...
Specially on those mnt passes.
 
To the OP.
Go with a 6.+.....
I doubt you will ever complaint of too much power under the hood...
Specially on those mnt passes.
MPGs are important to me as well however. I'll get decent mPGs with a 5.3 or 4.8... And the guy above is claiming cross country with a 6.0 at 8mpgs... That pretty much crosses that off my list
 
I used to get 19 mpg with a 5.3 on 31'$ in stock form....

Same engine pushing 5" lift on 35'$ RR,RTT,R&F bumpers LRT 14/12mpg on hwy/city.

the swap was done for the power and fun of it, not for the mpg
 
MPGs are important to me as well however. I'll get decent mPGs with a 5.3 or 4.8... And the guy above is claiming cross country with a 6.0 at 8mpgs... That pretty much crosses that off my list

The MPGs are gonna depend more heavily on gearing, tire size/weight and driving habits than wether you have a 5.3 or a 6.0.

You must have stopped reading my earlier statement at "8 mpg.." I was quite pleased with that performance, given the circumstances.
 
I used to get 19 mpg with a 5.3 on 31'$ in stock form....

Same engine pushing 5" lift on 35'$ RR,RTT,R&F bumpers LRT 14/12mpg on hwy/city.

the swap was done for the power and fun of it, not for the mpg
Right but even 12 mph is 50% better than 8mpg... So a combo of power/fun/and mpgs is better for me than a 6.0
 
The MPGs are gonna depend more heavily on gearing, tire size/weight and driving habits than wether you have a 5.3 or a 6.0.

You must have stopped reading my earlier statement at "8 mpg.." I was quite pleased with that performance, given the circumstances.
I read your entire statement. Though you're pleased with 8mpg, I would not be
 
MPGs are important to me as well however. I'll get decent mPGs with a 5.3 or 4.8... And the guy above is claiming cross country with a 6.0 at 8mpgs... That pretty much crosses that off my list

Read harder pal, he got 8MPG while towing 17,000 LBS.
 

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