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  1. #1

    Default 1985 short bed/ 96 suburban engine conversion

    Hi everyone, and excuse me for the redundant post, I am sure this has been covered before but I did not see my questions answered on the search function. I have a 85 GMC 4x4 short bed that has a tired 350 in front of a 4 speed auto tranny. I also have a 96 suburban that has a good 350 TBI. Suburban is nearly worthless after my wife really, REALLY whacked a deer.

    This gets me to thinking...if I can put the 96 engine in the 85 truck, I would have a sweet setup. For those of you who know the process, is it worth the hassle? Is it very straightforward to swap the engine and computer? Any wiring snafu's that will cause grief? I am fairly handy, and can certainly swap same engine for same engine with my skill level. I am unsure about this swap though, as it involves computers and wiring etc.....

    Is there a tech writeup on the process?

    Thanks for any guidance!

  2. #2


    I am sure that it could be done. It will be pretty involved, but you should be able to take all the harnesses and computer from the 96 and install it in the 85. It should be rather straight forward. My concerns would be the fuel pump, drive shaft, and if wheel speed sensors are needed to control the trans shift points. You may have to use an updated pump. You could probably use the trans from the 96 also. You may have to have some new mounts or brackets made. You would probably need a different length drive shaft also. I am sure that some others will come along with more details soon

    1995 Silverado 4x4
    6" BDS Suspension Lift-3" Body Lift-Add A Leaf in rear -Trailmaster SSV Shocks-Duel Steering Stabilizer Kit -AirAid Cold air intake-
    4.56 Gears with Detroit Auburn Locker-Pro-Comp Traction Bars with duel shocks-Aluminum Skid Plate Kit-38.5" x 16.5" Mickey Thompson Baja Claws-Constant Dropping fuel gauge

    2005 Yukon XL Jet Power Programmer, Bilstein Shocks, Bilstein rear springs, Helwig Anti-sway bars, EGR Window Visors, EGR Hood Shield, Denali Headlights, Headlight harness upgrade, GE NightHawk Bulbs, White Night Rear lighting system, Russell Braided SS brake lines, PowerStop Brake pads, PowerStop cross drilled and Slotted Rotors,
    2002 Silverado ext cab 2wd (Sold)
    2003 Yukon XL (Totaled)

  3. #3


    Dang it, the wheel sensors may be the deal killer. I was planning on using the tranny already in there as it was rebuilt a couple years ago.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by GunnerJ View Post
    Dang it, the wheel sensors may be the deal killer. I was planning on using the tranny already in there as it was rebuilt a couple years ago.
    if you are going to use the old trans you may be fine. Again, I am not sure if the speed sensors are even needed for the trans from the 96, I just thought that I would mention it as possibly being a complication. Someone that knows more will chime in soon!

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