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350 Engine Replacement Project

Looking at replacing a recently blown motor in my '87 4WD 1/2 ton, have found a few dealers online however I've also left some voicemails with parts departments at car dealers locally (yea I'm starting tonight and impatient) to see if they can get the same engine for a comparable price and not shank me on the deal.

If purchasing online it appears that they'll be approx. $1700 plus $300-400 for shipping to my area. If bought in my home state there will also need to be sales tax thrown into the deal so we're looking at $2150 conservatively.

This thread is two fold:
1. Get input on best places for parts and motors as this process goes along
2. Document the entire process of the conversion since this is the first motor replacement I've ever done. Have done a bunch of externals (plugs, tune ups, engine accessories, clutches, etc.) but never something that involved this type of replacement. Look forward to feedback from some of the pros here and I'll be posting pictures and I go along.

Just a few places selling the crate motor for my Burb:
www.gmpartsclub.com
Can't seem to find a reference to this 'kit' anywhere else so I'm guessing that it is something that put together for the suggestive sell but looks like a decent range of stuff to replace while putting the new motor in.
http://paceperformance.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=8297

Also a quick thanks to DeputyDave for this post (see#22), although it was short it was informative.
 

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If I get the time I will look today for a rebuild place right in Texas that one of my Fiero forum guys got a great deal on a 3.4 with shipping for under a grand.

They have everything as far as motors go so you might be able to pick up a rebuilt one for 7 or 800.

Let me look threw my PM’s on my fiero forum to see if I still have it.

PS

Melanie has gotten to be a pro at dropping motors in Burbs. We put 3 in our 86 before we got the right one from Autozone.
 

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Here you go.

http://www.citymotorsupply.com/

They are located in Dallas and Huston.

They have many more motors than what is on their website so you may have to call.

Here is a partial list of some of their motors.

http://www.citymotorsupply.com/kits.pdf

Good luck. Pulling and putting a motor in isn’t that bad, helped my dad do my first one when I was 14 and to be honest have lost count of how many since. Sometimes it is better than trying to fix a bad motor.

I’m going to be a little busy in the future helping a friend out so I will try to get back with any help early mornings. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a local member as dropping a motor in can be a 2 man/person job. You need someone to help line up things.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
http://www.citymotorsupply.com/
They are located in Dallas and Huston.
Thanks for the information, this may make me rethink the Goodwrench option as that would save me enough money to buy some additional tools and parts since I'm on a fixed budget. It appears even with the premium option which includes new new rocker arms and new push rods for only another $55 so I'm probably going to do that.

Also the other location is not Houston by San Antonio so it would only be about a 2 hour drive to pick it up but I'm going to call today and see what shipping would be. If it is too much I may pull the motor first and then drive down and drop off my core with the purchase to save the up front core charge. Since I have a digital camera I'd be taking a lot of pictures of the process to make sure I've got detailed documentation of the whole process.

The thing I need to read up on is setting up things like the distributor, etc. and pre-lubing correctly since I've never done this before. If someone can recommend a site that outlines the process good, a book is fine as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just got off the phone with City Motor Supply and they roll through Austin twice a week and only charge $20 if I meet their delivery truck. Since I'm too far outside of town for their truck to come to my house that is cheap delivery. Turns out I can deliver the core to their truck first to get looked at and they can tell me what can be applied against the core and what can't so I'll know my total cost include any core charges for damaged parts which sounds good. Will be pulling the motor this weekend and will have my first batch of photos.
 

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Check out the Advance Auto Parts website. It has a general overview of the engine swap process, with some tips and tricks. If you don't have a hoist, consider renting one from you local equipment renter, or for $200 you can buy one from Harbor Freight.
 

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I (and some friends) installed a GM crate motor in my 87 Blazer a couple of years ago. I paid around $1750 (including sales tax) from my local Chevrolet dealer and paid another $200-300 for new motor mounts, tune-up parts, Felpro intake manifold gasket set, Oil, ATF, and coolant, a few nuts and bolts, and pizza and pop for my helpers. We used a friends shop with a nice chain hoist from the cieling, every tool needed (air and otherwise) a floor jack, and a furnace for heat so it went very smoothly. It was a great feeling when we got it running, timed, and purring like a kitten and was able to light up the 35" BFG's due to all the new found torque. I put the core back into the crate from which the new long block was in and returned it to the dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)

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you will want to sit down and make a plan first thing and stick to it.
you need to ask yourself (and be honest)
what do i want to do with this vehicle?
did it have enough power for what i need it to do?
get a list of parts cost and suppliers.
a locak engine rebuilder might be able to get a better performaing rebuild for you than a motor swap. once you build your plan (headers/cam or what ever) do not change the plan this derails projects faster than anything.

this can be a simple an low cost repair or it can be the end of your vehicle......mike
 

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I'm about to do the swap too. I've done one before.

It really isn't as bad as it sounds. Take the time to ask people questions before you start, have it all planned out.

Basics
1) Drain coolant, remove radiator (you will hit it, and ruin it, if you leave it in car!). Remove all the accessories. You can leave the A/C compressor and steering pump hooked to Condensor/Evaporator and steering box respectively, just detach them from the engine and hang them out of the way if there is room.

2) start to unhook everything else hooked to your engine (wires, vacuum lines) and label them with tape, can also take a lot of digital pics of how things were hooked up, this can be a life saver later!

3) Once everything is unhooked, you need to bring in the engine hoist attach it to the engine and put some tension in it so it is supporting the engine. If you engine doesn't have lift points bolted to intake, you can use bolts holes in heads if you have castiron heads.

4) it is time to unbolt the tranny from the block, but first....YOU MUST HAVE TRANNY SUPPORTED! the front half of your trans is only supported by its attachment to the engine so if detach from the engine without support it will fall! So the trans needs to have its own floor jack or other support underneath it, this is critical for safety!

5) once everything is supported, removed inpsection pan from front bottom of trans, and take out the flexplate to torque conveter bolts. You'll need to rotate the flexplate to get each of the bolts into view for removal.

6) Lastly, remove the bellhousing to block bolts. You will likely need a long extention on your ratchet (20+ inches) and a swivel head to reach them, but they should come out pretty easy if you can get a socket square on them.

7) remove bolts hooking engine mounts to engine brackets.

8) lift out engine. Hopefully you've attach the crane as tight as possible to the engine..otherwise you may find your hoist can't lift the engine high enough to get over the front clip!! (might have to try letting air out front tires etc to get it low enough but remember the support under the trans before you lower your truck!)

Good luck..and always think twice before each step..go slowly and work in a place where you can stop and pick up the next day. You don't want to be in a rush. If you rush, it is dangerous!! And something will go wrong! Don't work alone, have somebody with you for safety.
 

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Great stuff-6'6"

6'6"-I just copied your list-great stuff.When we get a few $$ ahead I 'm going to pull my 200,000 miles motor,and put in a Goodwrench($ delivered)or maybe the GM 383E stroker($4500 DELIVERED). I would love to get the 383E-not many manufacturers(zero) build a hotrod engine you can drop in -with a warranty!Unfortunately,the trans isn't rated for the 383E's torque(340 hp 400+LB-FT);even more unfortunate,I'm flat broke and in debt,so... it might be awhile.
I'll keep that list at hand when I start.
Thanks,
Charlie
 

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I can’t remember how many motors I have changed under a tree with a come-a-long. Just put plywood or heavy cardboard under the entire front end.

I know I like with the right tools better but, I usually don’t have them available. So I have improvised.

Melanie has helped pull and install so many 350 Chevy motors in our old Burb I think she could do it by herself.

Good luck

Keep the pictures for a good build thread we can save for others to follow.

Steve
 

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6'6"-I just copied your list-great stuff.When we get a few $$ ahead I 'm going to pull my 200,000 miles motor,and put in a Goodwrench($ delivered)or maybe the GM 383E stroker($4500 DELIVERED). I would love to get the 383E-not many manufacturers(zero) build a hotrod engine you can drop in -with a warranty!Unfortunately,the trans isn't rated for the 383E's torque(340 hp 400+LB-FT);even more unfortunate,I'm flat broke and in debt,so... it might be awhile.
I'll keep that list at hand when I start.
Thanks,
Charlie
Those engines are a dream for mee too! I don't know if it is true, but on the edelbrock website they have a graph for the increase in torque for their TBI 350 build up kit (heads, cam, intake) and on that same graph they have the torque curve for a stock TBI 350. According to that curve the stock TBI 350 has 300+lb-ft of torque!! Is that true?? If so, that is hard to beat for the money. I just picked up a relatively clean used one for $200 to replace the one in my truck...might not be much in the HP (190) departmnet, but can't beat the bang for the buck. Super reliable engines.
 

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I drool over that HT383E which is for the 96-99 non throttle body motors.Supposed to produce 340 hp and 435 lb-ft vs 250 and maybe 300+lb ft. Imagine 90 more hp,and maybe 100 more lbft; it would take a turbocharger to get that from the stock motor,and it would ping itself into dust, or just wouldn't produce much because the ping sensor would back the timing waaay off.
My motor-197000 miles-runs just fine,and hasn't used any 5w30 Mobil I oil(kinda thin for a high mile motor) in 1500 miles.I kinda hate to change it, but we drive all the way across TX( either I-10 all the way to AZ or I-20, HY287,I-40)and there is lots of middle of nowhere in TX,NM,AZ 4 times a year.I just don't feel confident in such a high mile motor.
I would love that 383, but the dead stock Goodwrench is $1900 less,and probably the smarter idea.
Thanks,
Charlie
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
:happy:
Well the engine is out, made a few mistakes but went pretty well. The wife came out and helped a little so that helped as well. Will be figuring out the engine plan next week but won't have a chance to get it installed for a couple of weeks based on current schedule.

One of the mistakes made was not realizing that a few of the cables I disconnected had hung on a bracket when pulling the motor and I stretched one beyond repair so I'll be replacing that but all-in-all I'd do it again. Just wish they'd make the engineers remove and replace the motors a couple of times and they'd see the lunacy of some of their decisions.

Also, if you buy the Sam's Club Goodyear Engine Hoist and use the load leveler you might seriously consider removing the factory hook and bolting the leveler directly up to the arm. With my 33" tires (no additional lift kits) and the factory hook removed the motor barely cleared the front.

Here goes a couple of questions:
- How do you refill the torque converter (or do you)? Dropped a bunch of tranny fluid when I pulled the motor?
- When getting the new motor how is the distributor installed (correct position)?

There will probably be more questions to come so stay tuned.

Also, great input...thanks.
 

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- How do you refill the torque converter (or do you)? Dropped a bunch of tranny fluid when I pulled the motor?

Did you pull the engine out with the torque converter still on the engine?:shocked:
Normally you remove the three bolds that attach the torque converter to the flex plate.

The torque converter stays on the tranny.:neutral:
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Did you pull the engine out with the torque converter still on the engine?:shocked:
Yep I did, well add that to the list of mistakes :)

Since I'm not going to sit here and beat myself up too bad lets talk about the problems. Is the transmission toast or can I refill the torque converter and place it back on the tranny? Any things to watch for when putting it back on? Would explain why it was such a booger to get separated from the motor :he:

Thanks again for the points and I went back and reread Big6ft6's post and I completely missed the second part of step #5...guess you could say I pulled a Homer, doh.
 

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I know it's from a F*rd forum, but it looks like it answeres your question... http://www.f150online.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-192815.html . It appears that you just "overfill" the transmission on the first run, and the torque converter will suck it up. You may have to do it a couple more times, but those times, just fill to the normal fill line, so that when the torque converter does get full, the tranny itself won't be overfull. Hope this helps
 
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