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  1. #1
    Jr. Mechanic b-radical's Avatar
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    Default Chevy 4.8L vs 5.3L

    I would like to hears others thoughts on the comparison between the 4.8L engine and the 5.3L. Obviously the 5.3 has more power but what does the 4.8L have that the 5.3L doesn't. I could be wrong but most of the silverados I've seen with superchargers or turbos are 4.8L. Is there a reason the 5.3 hasn't been built with a supercharger/ turbo? With all the bells and whistles which engine is more suitable for speed?

    Is the 4.8L a better fit in terms of transmission life?
    Why do they both get nearly the same MPG?
    I understand the 4.8 has a shorter stroke, is this an advantage?
    How do they compare in weight?

    Thanks for your input

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  2. #2


    4.8 vs. 5.3 is fairly simple. the 4.8 is cheaper to build and chaper to sell, hence why you often see them in lower optioned trucks or in base reg cab work trucks. they can get slightly better mileage, but usually dont just form the simple fact its a 5000lb truck, and it has to work harder to do the same job the 5.3 does. if memory serves lots of the 4.8s are iron blocks and can handle turbo/super chargers better then the aluminum 5.3. i may be wrong here, going off memory of half remembered articles. the 4.8 is alos more suited for turbos and super chargers due to the fact they build more of their power at higher rpms then the 5.3.
    5.3s can be turboed and supered up, just the same as the 4.8, i dont know if its any more or less common tho.

    transmission wise they are the same.


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  3. #3
    Master Mechanic SupplySgt's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    Middle TN, displaced Okie


    Most common superchargers build their power at lower RPMs actually, so from that logic the S/C would be better suited for a 5.3. However, I figure that more 4.8 owners have more of a desire to mod the motor due to the lower power output. I almost bought a newer GMC when I was on Active Duty (my idiot self settled on a V6 Dakota because I wanted a stick shift) and after I test drove a pretty nice one with a 4.8, I knew that I would be modding that motor if I had gone it. I would have been more satisfied with the 5.3 if I left everything stock.
    93 Suburban (Southern Slayer): TBI 350, 4L60E
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  4. #4
    Sr. Apprentice BoneHead's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
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    Dumb question about the 4.8. Is it possible to rebuild it as a 5.3? Only reason I ask is because a friend of mine might be getting a 5.3 for his 03 GMC to replace his 4.8. I was thinking about trying to get the 4.8 from him (tranny included) to put in a project car I've got. I'm planning on a rebuild anyhow, it's got 170,000 on it right now. No telling how much by the time I'm able to get it. Just kind of wondering if it was possible. I would appreciate the increase in power and mileage I would get in that car.
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  5. #5


    If the bore is the same for both engines (and I believe it is), then the iron block is the same block used for both engines (an aluminum 5.3 is also available).

    The stroke is shorter because the crack and the piston rod are different than the ones used in the 5.3.

    So essentially, they are the same engine. For years, hot-roders have been playing with stroke (rods and crank) to change the power curves on an engine.

    When the bore and stroke are the same (1:1), the engine is said to be square.

    A shorter stroke usually designates a higher revving engine (over-square), also an engine that is more likely to be used in racing and, an engine that is designed to produce it's power at higher rpms.

    A longer stroked engine (usually under-square) will be used when power off the line is required, as in drag racing (or towing big loads).

    So, although not much difference in displacement, there can be significant difference in when the power kicks in, hence the 2 choices.

    GM mates the 4 speed tranny to the 4.8 and the 6 speed tranny to the 5.3.

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  6. #6
    Jr. Mechanic b-radical's Avatar
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    Sweet reply, thanks Ray.

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