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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
First post here. I joined because I just bought my wife a 2001 suburban so now I get to ditch the mini-van and take the 1995 suburban my wife has been driving for several years.

For some background, I have owned a number of chevy trucks in my time and I have done a couple of engine replacements along with the repairs. I know my way around 1970-80's full sized trucks and I can replace stuff on the new ones too.

The place where I have the most trouble is "Check Engine" light stuff. I have a shop manual and I use a bypass wire to make the engine light flash and then replace whatever it complains about. I have been burned on it saying that the idle air controller was bad when it was actually the gasket between the throttle body and the manifold. I had to take it to a shop to figure that one out.

The 2001 has a lot more power than the 1995 and gets better mileage too. Is there a way to close the power/mileage gap while spending less than $1,000.00 on chips and other mods and without replacing the engine? I have settled on $1,000.00 as my budget.

As of now all it has is magna flow cat and muffler and a K&N filter. If a chip will give me decent gains which one should I use? I have seen Jet six pack, Superchip, and Hypertech. Which one is best?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Come on people. 14 of you have read this post and no one has an opinion? :shocked:

I had one person who owns a diesel suggest bully dog. Any other opinions?
Thanks!:great:
 

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Hi. You probably shouldn't lend much to the idea of how many people viewed the posts. As you know guests cannot post, but their views show on the ticker.

$1000.00 spent wisely can definitely help you hit your goal, but don't expect too much, or you'll be disappointed.
The first thing I would keep in mind in regard to chips is that your rig is OBDI, which really keeps your option list short there. The plus side, is that those chips typically cost less than the "hypertech programmer" for instance. The down side, is that you can't really expect too much from it, as the ODBI system can't offer much in customization so power gains, and mpgs will be slight. OBDII didn't come out until 1996, and many of the programmers you suggested only work on OBDII, however those companies do make alternatives for OBDI.

There are a couple reputable guys on the web that I know of who do custom ECM programing, if you explain that you are looking for more hp while preserving or increasing mpg, they should be able to tell you what you can expect. This guy is pretty good.

It would be helpful to know where you stand with this 95 burb.
What engine is in it? How many miles? If you have the 454, then you'll likely spend more than $1000.00 and you won't see much improvement (IMO) It's just not a fuel sipping engine no matter how you do it.

A rear end gear change will help boost your mpg, but may cost you some oomph. You'll still have the same hp, but you won't feel it as much. So if you currently have a 4.10 rear, you could pickup a 3.73 or 3.42 rear. Check out Randy's Ring and pinion. He may not have the best prices but his site will help you figure out what options will work with your setup.

tuneups, and maintenance, are always great ways to pickup some lost hp, and mpg.

You can lose some of the parasitic devices on your engine. For instance you can get underdriven pullies, or replace your existing water pump, with an electric pump, or electric drive.

Roller rockers are an extremely easy way to free up some hp.

A cam that's more suited to your needs will also wake up a sleepy factory engine, but depending on the mileage, a cam swap could turn into a pulled, and rebuilt engine. Too high mileage, and you might find the cam bearings may need to be replaced. In which case you need to pull the engine.

Since you didn't specify what engine you have, the links above are just suggestions, I wasn't able to pull up "accurate for your vehicle parts"

Hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks for your reply. I should have metioned the engine, which is a 5.7L. It is a K1500 with a 3.73 axle ratio.

What is OBDI?

I understand that making this motor put out the kind of power that a 2001 5.3L puts out is not possible and that doing it while increasing the mileage is not realistic. I should have written "Narrow the Gap" instead of "Close the Gap".

I am just trying to get what I can from it without doing an engine replacement. I ordered a Superchip, a cold air intake, and an Accel Performance Module. I have spent about $400.00 so far and I am not sure there is anything else I can do as it does have a lot of miles on it. I also like that I will be able to plug my laptop in to read trouble codes and whatnot.

I think I will bank the other $600.00 for the time when I am either replacing the engine or buying a 2001 or newer Suburban. The 2001 that I bought for my wife has many improvements over the 1995 (like braking, handling, power, and fuel economy). In the next 2-3 years at the most I will be upgrading. I don't like car payments so I have to save the cash to buy one outright.
 

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Read, but wouldn't dump $ into bolt ons-they don't work

Chevy to the core, I read it,and was tempted to post, but I really couldn't add anything you would want to hear.

OBD I II I think it means On Board Diagnostics -it was finally forced on the automakers,so that "readers' could be standardized.Before this every manufacturer used some different type plug to read and download repair info-fuel use info-RPM-DISTANCE-WATER TEMP-VOLTAGE ETC. This allowed them to force you to use a factory authorized dealership(read $$$) to get repairs.
With the OBD I II anyone with a $69 code reader can begin to diagnose problems.It is a HUGE step forward for DIR guys. The plugs are usually under the dash on the driver's side.It has about 12-18 tiny male prongs(never actually counted them). Plug them in and you can GET INSTANTANEOUS mpg-gallons per hour, voltage,water temp,RPMS,TIMING ADVANCE,SPEED,YOU NAME IT.
I'm old-56-and in the past used lots of bolt ons.On older vehicles-60's-early 70's-bolt ons-carbs,CAI,HEADERS etc would actually work because the factories really didn't spend as much time getting peak power,and the stock items(cast iron manifolds-exhaust and intake) were sooo heavy that you would be faster even if you didn't make any more power. Now-since the late 80's-90s with the EFI,and even the TBIwhich were/are computer controlled-the factory stuff is very good.
You might-might-get a tiny bit more peak power with a CAI-but the factories aren't stupid-they know where the coolest air is,and they know that it isn't always where you think it is-you have to actually measure to find it-they have-aftermarket companies haven't done it as extensively.My guess-is that they usually don't make you faster even if you read a bit more peak power on a dyno. The exhaust systems-might be a bit-tiny bit-of honest power and weight loss there, if you don't mind a lot more noise.
I just haven't ever been convinced-with numbers-that the cheap,simple bolt ons work.
Now there is one bolt on that does-N20-and it is in your price range.Unfortunately it works so well, you have to be careful that it doesn't do in your motor,trans,driveshaft etc.

Your best bet is to save up,and get a factory warrantied GM crate motor that is emission compliant!! For about $2500 to $3000 you can get a drop in GM motor with 290-300 or so HP.I'm guessing your motor was rated about 235 hp or so.
Now getting a 2000 or later 5.3 is an even better move-you can get a drop in GM performance one with about 335 hp(stock about 285 I think) that will run on 87 octane-for maybe $4000.If you buy a high mile 5.3 you might want to get a new motor anyway. This is a real bargain for a new(not rebuilt-new-and not so BS aftermarket motor that is too much motor for components).
The GM motors are bolt in-same ECM etc.
Inexpensive parts is a huge GM plus.I have had loads of Japanese cas,trucks.Good vehicles, but parts are expensive,and aftermarket parts don't work.If one of them trashes a motor out of warranty-forget about it-not worth rebuilding-waaaay to expensive to buy a factory motor(cost maybe $12000 for a Titan, or Tundra OEM motor).
Luck,
Charlie
 

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Dual exhaust?

Does your burb have dual exhaust? If not, an upgrade to a dual cat system would offer a noticeable boost. Of course it depends on local emission regs.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Does your burb have dual exhaust? If not, an upgrade to a dual cat system would offer a noticeable boost. Of course it depends on local emission regs.
I have a single what looks like about 3 inch pipe with a Magnaflow Cat and Muffler. I noticed a small difference but nothing major. If I use two cats and two mufflers how much of a difference would that make?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You might-might-get a tiny bit more peak power with a CAI-but the factories aren't stupid-they know where the coolest air is,and they know that it isn't always where you think it is-you have to actually measure to find it-they have-aftermarket companies haven't done it as extensively.My guess-is that they usually don't make you faster even if you read a bit more peak power on a dyno. The exhaust systems-might be a bit-tiny bit-of honest power and weight loss there, if you don't mind a lot more noise.
I just haven't ever been convinced-with numbers-that the cheap,simple bolt ons work.
Thanks for your detailed reply Charlie,
I wasn't able to find anything from any maker of chips or performance modules saying "X more horsepower". I might have wasted my money on those but I wanted to try it anyway. The K&N CAI tells me I will get "10 more horsepower at 4307 RPM" or something close to that. If I can gain 20-30 HP with roughly the same mileage for 400 bucks I won't feel like I got ripped off. Since I don't have a dyno I will only have my own perceptions to go by.
It will always pale to the 2001 I am sure. I still like it though. Now all it has to do is get me to work and rescue my wife and kids if they ever get stranded. In a couple of years I will get a newer one.

Thanks to everyone for your input.
 

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Suburban Performance

You might be a little too far down the road, but I have heard the smartest investment on the 350 TBI motor is the 96 and later vortec heads. I think the sell for less than $700 brand new. You will need a new special intake as well, but you should be done for less than $1k.

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Chip not working

I put the SuperChip in today. The instructions were practically useless and it comes with three chips without any mention of which one I was supposed to use.

I tried each one and they all made it run much worse. Wouldn't idle properly and the exhaust smells like gas. Check engine light stays on.

I unplugged it and put the stock stuff back on and it runs just like before.

There may be something I am not doing but the instructions just tell me how to put it in without any other steps.

The only thing I can find is that they gave me a 2900 chip but on some web sites it says that my burb should use a 2905 chip. I hope I can exchange it or get a refund. I am very disappointed that this didn't work. I have been looking forward to getting it.

EDIT:
I went onto "Live Chat" with the Auto Parts Warehouse and I am pretty sure I chatted with either a really terse person or a computer program. Anyway, they are sending an RMA#. The chip was $175.00. I will be glad to get that back. Should I try the HyperTech chip or just forget about replacing the chip in this thing? I might use some of that money for a throttle body spacer.
 

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Their own site clearly shows you should have gotten a 2905.

I would be concerned about the fact that it "requires programming"
That gives me the impression that they'll sell you the chip, but you need to pay them to program it as well. It's not included??


From your description, you got this installation manual: http://www.superchips.com/force_download.php?file=installation_subsection-pdf-68.pdf

After reading about your experience with super chips, and seeing that they can't even make an installation manual. I'm kind of turned off by the idea of ever buying from them.

I did find this very detailed installation manual:http://www.superchips.com/force_download.php?file=installation_subsection-pdf-67.PDF

I would see about getting the exchanged chip.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I got the second set of instructions. They don't speak about which of the three chips I should use and the chips will fit into the Memcal adapter either way. It also doesn't mention that the chip needs to be programmed.

The parts site I bought it from supposedly only selects parts that are drop-in for the model and year I specified. The purchase page showed "K1500 Suburban, 5.7L, with overdrive" so in my mind the site purchase page implied that the chip is ready to go. The packing list tells me that the chip is blank. I expected to get a chip that was programmed for a 1995 Suburban with a 5.7L engine.

I hope it won't be too hard to get my money back.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The place is called Auto Parts Warehouse

Thier site is www.autopartswarehouse.com.

I ordered all my stuff from them for my bolt-on build up. The K&N CAI had the parts bags torn open and once I got about halfway through installing it I found RMA paper work from some other customer in the box. Luckily the person put ALMOST everything back in the box and didn't break anything. I had to come up with a nylock nut that was missing. All the main parts were not installed. The RAM stuff just said "didn't fit". It fit my Suburban and All of the plastic parts seemed to be unused so I just installed it the rest of the way. I have to say that I am suprised that it only gained 11HP as it feels like more than that to me.

I still plan to call them and tell them that I think it is pretty uncool that they sold me returned stuff as though it were new. Probably some poor guy will end up with my blank chip again.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have the RMA number now I just need to mail it back.

Here is the line item in the RMA paperwork and my original invoice:
1993 - 1995 Chevy Suburban Superchips Performance Chip Performance Chip Price: $175.59 Qty: 1 Part #: S542900

Wouldn't this make you think that this chip is ready to drop in and go?

I am annoyed by this whole process and I am still annoyed that my CAI was obviously a return.

I think I will go back to using Summit racing and JCWhitney exclusively even though they aren't always the cheapest.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I guess I am done...

Well, so much for the "easy" mods.

I bought a chip from www.TBIChips.com, who was recommended by someone here earlier in this thread. He answered my questions via email and I called him up to talk about what I could expect. He sent me an honest to goodness programed power chip for $152.00 shipped (Almost $25.00 less than I paid for that worthless StuporChip). He put it in the mail the day after I called him and it arrived in three days securely packaged and in perfect condition.

I popped it in with no hassles whatsoever. The superchip had this silly adapter and three blank chips and useless instructions. This one came with clear instructions with photgraphs and looks just like the stock memcal. Pop the old one out and snap the new one in. No problem. I can tell that it has more power but the thing I notice the most is that the shift points are a little different and full torque converter lock up happens at different times than it did before. That improved driveability too. That guy really knows his stuff.

I also ordered a TBI Spacer (Helix Power Tower). That was a pain. The hardest part is getting the fuel lines unbolted from the back of the block so I could lift up the throttle body. That took quite a while to figure out since the instructions only tell you that you need to do it, not HOW you do it. I needed a u-joint rachet adapter and about 20 inches of extentions to get to it.

The Thottle body spacer made a reasonable difference too. Now, it isn't a Vortec, but it has more power and is much more pleasant to drive than it ever was. half-throttle it moves around really well and I rarely need to give it more gas than that in normal driving. I can't talk about MPG because I am flooring it too much to get an accurate number :happy:. I guess it will get old after a while and I will drive normal again.

Several of my co-workers have remarked that the 'burb sounds mean with all that I have done and after a couple of them rode in it. One said he wished he had a V-8 again and one (who has a 2006 ext cab K1500) said he loves the way mine sounds and he is going to get a CAI and a Magnaflow cat back for his truck..
 

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I know you said that you had a magna flow and cai but I didnt read if you had headers. If not Id put that on the list with high flow cats.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I know you said that you had a magna flow and cai but I didnt read if you had headers. If not Id put that on the list with high flow cats.
It doesn't have headers or dual exhaust. It has one high flow Magnaflow Cat and a huge Magnaflow muffler. I think it is a 3 inch pipe. Considering that the 5.7L only has a usable power range of 1000-4500RPM I am not sure how much headers will help.

If you have some numbers that look promising I will add that to my list as I still have about $350.00 of my $1000.00 budget left.

My wife drove it today for the first time since she got her 2001 and she said "Wow! It is much faster than it was. How come you didn't do that when it was mine?"
uhh...:redface:
 
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