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Thread: 5.7L TBI to 5.7L Vortec Swap

  1. #1
    Racer half-ass astronaut's Avatar
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    Default 5.7L TBI to 5.7L Vortec Swap

    So I probably have a connection to get a used 5.7 Vortec out of a 96 Van, and have been thinking about putting it in my 91 GMC 1500 to help get some better milage and newer technology under the hood. I know a good deal about automotives, but never really have gotten down and dirty with GMs. I also cant seem to find a direct answer on the web, since every forum online asking this same question gets answered with "CARB it!"

    What im trying to find out is:
    are GM blocks all the same between the older 5.7 and the newer vortec 5.7s
    if they are the same, then the trans and motor mounts will be the same right?
    my truck has a 4L60E trans, so im confident it will work with this newer motor, am i right?

    Obviously the wiring is different, and the vortec has a much better ECU controlling the thing, will the trans still work with this motor or not?
    Wiring the thing up is not a problem, im fairly familiar with wiring, but is there anything in the cab that needs to be addressed when doing this?

    for fuel.... my fuel pump is technically for fuel injection, and puts out about 65psi, so the fuel pump will work right?

    If anyone knows a good amount of GM info, can you fill me in. I really dont want to buy this motor and come to find it wont work.

    sum it up. will the swap be somewhat easy? or is there any mind fucks that are going to get in the way if i try to do this?
    Im not going to CARB anything, i hate carbs and find them about as outdated as bell bottom pants.
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    Senior Member 94cobra69ss396's Avatar
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    All the mounts are the same but I believe the '96 came with a roller cam and one piece rear main seal. The '96 is also OBDII where your '91 is OBDI. Are you planning to run the entire engine or just use the long block with your intake and TBI? If you plan to run the '96 intake and fuel injection just know that there was an upgrade to the injection system on the R motor ('95-'99). The original system used poppet valves with central injectors and the upgrade replaced the poppet valves with injectors for each cylinder. This was done because the poppet valves had a tendency to stick. My brother used to be a Chevy tech and I'll see him tonight. I'll see if I can get him on here to answer some of your other questions.
    Last edited by 94cobra69ss396; 12-24-2011 at 03:31 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member 94cobra69ss396's Avatar
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    Talked to my brother. You won't be able to use your current fuel pump because the R motor runs a 100 psi pump. The idle fuel pressure on it is 54 psi where your current K motor is only 13 psi at idle.

    As for your trans, it's a non computered controlled 700R4. If you run your trans it will get a check engine light. However, Howel can reprogram the computer to correct that.

    In order to be smog legal you'll need the exhaust because OBDII has 2 cats and 4 O2 sensors. You will also need the fuel tank pressure sensor and a vent solenoid as well as the EVAP canister.

    It's a lot to do for 25 more horsepower. You're better off bolting the Vortec heads onto your engine, add headers and have some work done to the TBI.
    f-150dreamz likes this.

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    Mega Member toyotabuilder's Avatar
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    if i were you i wouldnt waste time with the swap but rather freshen up the bottom end and put new heads, cam, headers, and inake/tb into it you'll be better of with out the computer headache and wiring of swapping
    "opportunity is missed by most people because people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work"
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    Racer half-ass astronaut's Avatar
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    So the consensus is, it's not worth it?

    I'm gonna get a charger on it, since it's sitting on the side of our shop for about 3 years and is dead, I'll see what the milage is. My 91 only has 118k on it right now

    My trans is a 4l60e, I thought that was computer controlled....
    The van is a 3500HD, what trans does that thing have?

    I'm not looking to get any more power by building my engine, I just want some newer technology under the hood...

    The VIN on the cab says:
    1gbjg31rxx1080141

    If I remember correctly, it was a 96, could be a different year though


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    Senior Member 94cobra69ss396's Avatar
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    The 4L60E didn't come out until '95 so unless you changed your transmission and added a PCM to control it you have a 700R4. The van most likely has a 4L60E in it. If you have the complete van, it would be an easy change. It's not any different than what I'm doing to my '95 Explorer right now. I'm switching out the 4.0 with a '97 5.0. You can see what I've had to do so far.

    Explorer 4.0 V6 to 5.0 V8 Swap
    Last edited by 94cobra69ss396; 12-26-2011 at 09:30 PM.

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    Mega Member Dalton92's Avatar
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    the 700r4 is somewhat computer controlled, the torque converter lockup is controlled by computer, you can unplug all the plugs from a 700r4 and it will still work just won't have tc lockup, the main advantage on the vortech vs the tbi is the vortechs heads and roller cam, vortech also might have forged pistons but I'm not sure

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    Mega Member Dalton92's Avatar
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    think in 88 went from 700r to 700r4 with electronically controlled torque converter lockup

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    Senior Member 94cobra69ss396's Avatar
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    There's no such thing as a 700R trans. GM used the TH350 from around '69 to the mid '80's. They replaced it with the 700R4 which became the 4L60 and later the 4L60E.

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    Mega Member Dalton92's Avatar
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    Ah my bad
    2001 tundra
    2003 yz250f

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    F.B.R's beer drinker itwassweet's Avatar
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    its not worth it in the end, your going from OBDI to OBDII so in the end.. it will bolt up. but not really work. thats where the eletrical comes in. if you can donor swp everything then, its just your time. i would take the vortec heads and swap those and end it there. the 5.7 is still a strong motor, the problem was the injection. i would actually stay away from the spider injection which is on the CPI motors and keep the TBI. there is a HP difference. but whats the $ per HP going to cost you now.
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    Racer half-ass astronaut's Avatar
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    I had my trans replaced a few years ago and the shop told me I had a 4L60e, maybe a 4L60....

    I guess I'll just ditch this idea than. Not worth fucking with my DD...

    Guess I'll have a 5.7 vortec for sale if anyone wants one


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    Fastest way to a million dollars in desert racing is to start with 2 million.

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    Whats wrong with the van Kevin? New tow vehicle for you!
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    Just like everything offroad, it's going to break/fail, it's just a matter how and when.

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    Racer 85yota's Avatar
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    Just put the Vortec in the truck with your TBI intake and stuff. It will still have more power than your straight TBI motor, and only a slight bit less than the Vortec OBD2 motor.

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    Racer half-ass astronaut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WannaB-Class5 View Post
    Whats wrong with the van Kevin? New tow vehicle for you!
    Nothing is wrong with it, it's just sitting on the side of the shop and the owner wants it gone.
    I actually thought about flat bedding it and making it a tow truck for my race truck


    Sent from your moms rancid vagina using Tapatalk
    "Someone who thinks logically provides nice contrast to the real world"
    "Takes more than a 40 of King Cobra and a little hippy cabbage to make a car that bad." <-- on the topic of Dodge/Chrysler
    Quote Originally Posted by sparkypyro View Post
    Fastest way to a million dollars in desert racing is to start with 2 million.

  16. #16
    Junior Member zerbed21's Avatar
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    Swap your intake to a tpi set up from an early 90's firebird or camaro. Takes a little fab work but made it work well on my truck. more power and more fuel economy.
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    Racer DiRt YoTa's Avatar
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    all crap... get whatever you can out of everything and go buy a 5.3 vortec. its has multiport injection, use ls1 intake for clearance, ls6 parts are cheap and bolt on for a good power upgrade. aluminum heads. 6 bolt mains. they can handle 15psi of boost withouth touching anything so you know it wont ever blow up. your reflash ecu and you're done. did i mention they're under 1k complete. bolts to many difference transmissions. pretty much 4l80e or th400 is what you want.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member 94cobra69ss396's Avatar
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    They also have no low end torque compared to either the K or R 5.7. I have a 1999 Suburban with the R motor and it tows so much better than my dad's 2001 5.3.

  19. #19
    Senior Member shane1617's Avatar
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    if it is a 3500hd van it will have a 4L80E in it not a 60.

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