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89 Burb, Engine rebuild or crate motor????

Discussion in 'Chevy Truck Talk & GM News' started by Ape, Apr 18, 2012.

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  1. Ape

    Ape New Member 100 Posts

    So a quick back story on my '89 Burb..... Got it from a friend for "free" about a year ago. As we all know, nothings free! lol
    He bought it a long time ago from a company that used it as a work vehicle who bought it from a private owner back east. Needless to say, it was rode hard and put away wet while being used as a work truck.
    I've done alot to it in the year I've had it, and it's been running great for me. But it started getting a small knock on the bottom end a few months back, so I knew the inevidible was coming.

    Cut to last week when I tool a trip down to Colorado Springs to help the very guy I got the Burb from tow a riding mower from his house he just sold. We used his truck for the towing since it's newer, so that's not what killed my motor.
    Anyhow, on the way back home I noticed my oil pressure was lower than normal. Now I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it since the gauge went from showing close to 60 pounds all the time to about 30 pounds about 2 months ago. I just figured the oil sending unit was going bad since the engine wasn't showing any other signs of poor oil pressure. Well......I was WRONG! I checked the oil level when I got home and it was barely shoing on the dip stick! And when I checked it the morning before it was fine. So I changed the oil and prayed for the best. No luck! It now smokes at higher rpm's and it rattles and clunks at weird times and at the same time throws more smoke out the pipes. :-(

    Normally I'd look to the heads for the way it's smoking, but the heads were recently re-done before I got the truck. And the heads might have some issues now that it was run out of oil, but the main culprit in my opinion is the bottom end of the engine.

    So now I get to the point of this thread...... I was considering pulling the motor and rebuilding the bottom end in my garage. Of course I'd have to get some machine work done first, but it would be the least expensive route. However, I'd have to take the heads apart and check them out and possibly replace parts on those as well since they were possibly hurt from lack of oil too.
    So now I'm thinking that maybe I'll just opt for a crate motor that comes with some degree of a warranty, which my own build in the garage wont. lol
    Problem is, I need to find the best option for my truck without spending too much money and at the same time getting someting with a bit more horse power. I think I read somewhere that the 5.7 stock motor is rated something like just over 200 horses? So a 300 to 350 horse crate would be ideal for power without pushing the 700r4 tranny too hard I think.

    So does anyone know a dealer that sells crate motors in the Littleon Colorado area for a reasonable price that can also make sure I get the correct engine for the year and make of my Suburban? I know I can order them on line, but then you have the shipping cost thing to deal with. Not to mention having to worry about it showing up damaged and having to deal with getting it replaced because of shipping damages.
  2. 07XCSB

    07XCSB New Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts

  3. Ape

    Ape New Member 100 Posts

    Ya I've looked on line at the usual haunts such as Summit and Jeggs. But what I'm hoping to do is find something locally to avoid the shipping hassles. Plus I need to find something that's designed for my year vehicle with it's TBI and other stock hook ups such as wiring harness's.
    I just want to avoid any extra headaches for the swap.
  4. moogvo

    moogvo Moderator 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    GM Crate motor... available at a Chevy store near you. 3 year warranty... and the BEST part... If anything goes wrong with it, you take the entire vehicle to the Chevy service department to get it fixed. YOU don't have to pull the engine back out. Doesn't matter WHO installed it.
  5. 07XCSB

    07XCSB New Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts


    The problem with a GM crate engine is he wants more power. The 290hp crate engine is for 85 and older vehicles. His intake, flexplate,and FI are not going to work with it. GM does offer a 220 hp TBI crate engine, but he wants more power. None of the GMPP crate engines besides the TBI crate are going to work for him. That's why I posted the Blueprint engine. It's TBI, accsessory, and wallet friendly, it also makes about 295 hp. WHich is as close he is going to get to his 300-350 hp wants with a plug and play crate engine.

    If it was my truck, I would get a low mileage 5.3 from the wrecking yard, drop the 400.00 dollars for the harness mods and the 38.00 dollar GMPP flexplate spacer for the 700R4 to LS engine and be done. 340 hp for less than 1500.00 and dependablity to boot.


    But again, The crate I posted is the closest thing that fits all his requirements


    Edit: The Blueprint crate makes 310 hp/360 tq.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  6. Strino78

    Strino78 New Member

    This guy is known for his TBI modifications. I've dealt with him, and I'd buy a motor from him with no worries.
    He's using 2-bolt main blocks, but that really won't matter to you unless you decide that you need more than ~400HP where the 2-bolt main block starts to lose reliability, and the 4-bolt becomes more desired.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/GM-SBC-350-...Parts_Accessories&vxp=mtr&hash=item3cc1d91c66
    330HP/402TQ, with PROM, intake, and 46mm TBI. Drop-in install. (in my opinion.. very ideal for a truck).

    In any case, along with your engine swap, you will have to replace your fuel pump with a 255 lph version to meet the increased fuel needs for making more power.
  7. Ape

    Ape New Member 100 Posts



    This looks like something that would fit my initial desires nicely even though the warranty is a third of the GM crate stock replacements. My biggest worry for this set up would be needing to drop my gas tank to install a new fuel pump. Then there's the problem of paying hundreds in shipping along with the hassles of having to pull the motor and ship it back if something was wrong and needed warranty work. :-/

    ---------- Post added at 12:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:40 PM ----------

    The more I look into this, the more I think I'll wind up doing this very thing. I spoke with a local Chevy dealer parts department guy and he told me just what you posted. He also told me that they had no other higher horse power applications for my truck that would come with a warranty. And I really like the idea of having a 3 year warranty that can be handled by driving my truck to them. I just wish they could offer a horse power rating higher than the 220 or 230 advertised. :-/
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  8. moogvo

    moogvo Moderator 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    You could always go with the newly available LS7 GM Crate motor - and even build it yourself at the GM assembly plant if you want to! You would get your picture on the wall at GM and your name would be on the build sheet. That would SURELY earn you "Ride Of The Month"!
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  9. Ape

    Ape New Member 100 Posts

    I saw that on Gearz the other day! Problem is, the cost would be way over what I have to spend on this. That and something tells me it wouldn't be a drop in and go application for me. ;-)
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  10. moogvo

    moogvo Moderator 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Hey... Ya know, I just felt like I needed to point your your options. LOL! Yeah, Stacey built one. It was pretty cool. Glad you watch the show!

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