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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I just bought a super cheap beater 89 suburban with 209k miles on it. I just want to use it for haulin' and huntin' etc a few times a year.

anyway, it burns a lot of oil..hard to breathe with the windows down:eek:

so I've been cruisin' craigslist for another 350 I can drop in. Do I need to find another late 80's engine or can I used any 350? Are the mount holes in the engine block the same for all 350 blocks from any year?

What should I be looking for?
 

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Welcome to the club, and congrats on the burb!

hmmm...as far as I know you should be able to use any 350. Perhaps someone else can confirm this.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Welcome to the club, and congrats on the burb!

hmmm...as far as I know you should be able to use any 350. Perhaps someone else can confirm this.
Thanks trail-leader. That was my assumption too, but I'm always "measuring twice and cutting once" before running with my assumptions. If I can get a couple of confident answers from the experienced guys on here I'll feel good!:happy:
 

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The Chevy 350 from that era is the most common engine ever produced. The small block bolt pattern is a common size and was used on almost every chevy engine built 283, 327, 400 SB, 350, 4.3, and all factory replacement small blocks.
The difference is in the heads, induction system, intake manifold, and firing system. Luckily Chevy didnt waste money reengineering things, they retrofitted items. And almost all the previous items mentioned are interchangeable from engine to engine. You may need use some of your original parts to make a different year engine fit, but with a little work it will fit.
 

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maybe not

I should butt out since I'm a very new Suburban owner-4 weeks-and have generally been a Toyota,Honda,once GM, owner over the years.
However-
I'm pretty sure your truck has a Throttle body type fuel injection system,so it has a fair amount of electronic control and feedback.
If you try to drop a carb motor in it, it will fit, but the wiring harnesses will give you more grief than it is worth.There are plenty of 87-95 350s-or 5.7s out there,I would stick with them if at all possible.
There are also 305's out there-and they might overlap with the 350's-year wise.Some folks selling their motors assume all the V-8s in trucks are 350.
I sure can't tell a 305 from a 350, but someone here sure can.
You certainly could just buy an older motor with the carb =whatever passes for a black box,and bolt it in.You should be able to get it to work-just bypass all your BLACK BOX STUFF,but it would run like-well,you know.
There are many,many online dealers that sell rebuilt 350's online.
You won't want to spend this much $$, but chevy engine
sells a new-no CS rebuilt- genuine GM crate 350 for 1/2 ton trucks 87-95 for $1770-This is a NEW GM motor made by GM-can't beat that.
Just keep that in mind before spending over about $600 for a motor pulled out of a 150,000 mile vehicle.
Plan B might be to get your buddies together-pull your motor-and do a half assed rebuild-my favorite.Install new valve guide seals-then sorta hone the cylinders up to the ridge-replace all but the top ring-and bolt it back together. This might cost $400 with all the gaskets,rings, valve guide seals, oil,coolant etc.If you aren'ty actually leaking oil-it will fix it(kinda).
The above is waaaay too much work for me.
I would look for a decent take out motor-87-95- for $500 or so,or save my pennies,and go for the new GM motor.
I've been debating this myself since my new 1998 has 196,000 miles on it.We do a lot of night driving across TX(TX is filled with "middle of nowhere") so I don't really feel comfortable with a 196,000 mile motor(but the sucker runs great,hate to fix something that isn't obviously broken).
Plan C is "oil is cheap"-kinda nasty having to inhale it of course.

Luck,
Charlie
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I'm pretty sure your truck has a Throttle body type fuel injection system,so it has a fair amount of electronic control and feedback.
Thanks for the info Charlie. I only paid $500 for the burb, it does have a ***TBI*** (edit, I was an idiot I should've looked when the sller told me it was a carb) engine, according to the seller that was factory in 89 for 3/4 ton (I was surprised)? Anyway, based on my cheapo purchase price, I'm a little squeamish about the GM-crate motors, even the $1300 ones. That is too nice of a motor (but it would be cool) for this beast.

Also...can anyone suggest how in the heck you get an engine hoist to lift an engine up over the front end up a huge truck like this?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Tim-

thank for the reply..you sound pretty sure of yourself....and that was my understanding too..so I'm feelin' pretty good!:)
 

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Also...can anyone suggest how in the heck you get an engine hoist to lift an engine up over the front end up a huge truck like this?
I'm using a standard engine hoist, and my burb is on jack stands to boot. I'm not having any trouble with the engine hoist and engine clearing the side or front of the engine compartment.



What kind of hoist are you using?

The only thing I can suggest is to shorten the length of chain to the hook, and use a lift plate on the engine.


Does this burb have a lift kit on it?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm not having any trouble with the engine hoist and engine clearing the side or front of the engine compartment.

Does this burb have a lift kit on it?
Hey TrailLeader, that is the exact same hoist I have. Maybe it won't be an issue. The reason I was concerned is that I barely made it over the front end of 71 nova with that 350..and the burb is at least a foot or two taller over the fender! But I believe you, I'll just need to be sure I keep the chain short. That will be great if that hoist works. One more hurdle down!
 

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I also would suggest extending the bar out are far as you can, this way it will increase the highest point (where hook is) at it's max lift.
 

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Carb-makes life much easier.

Wow,I stand corrected.The carb sure will make finding a motor easier-there are probably more than a million carbed 350's still running out there.
HEY,$500-THAT IS MY KIND OF PRICE!!The carbed drop in NEW GM motors are cheaper, but still 3x the cost of your vehicle.
You should be able to source a decent used motor, but usually motors for sale aren't in the vehicle anymore,and you have to take the sellers word for how good they ran,and how many miles they had on them.I'm guessing you could get new rings+ valve guide seals +gaskets +fluids for under $250.My $400 guess is too high. Auto zone probably will loan or rent out a hone,and if you are ambitious a ridge reamer so you can replace the top ring also.If you buy some parts from autozone they will loan the tools free(knew that would appeal to you!!). I hear the 350's have a chronic intake gasket leak problem,so I would pass on Autozones gaskets-better get a GMs gasket(or maybe someone hear knows a better one?).Autozone usually has some cheapo BS parts-made in China/India- as their cheapest offering, but they usually have some big name brands also-Pass on the cheapo rings/seals-too much work to redo.
When you pay that little for something, a set of tires isn't cost effective.The new motor would still be my 1st choice, if the vehicle is otherwise kinda' ,decent-straight, not a POS,most accessories work.You can keep your old motor on the side,slowly do a half hearted rebuild,and when you sell the Suburban reinstall the old motor,and use your "good motor" for something else.Lotta work, but....
A new motor would mean you have $2000 in it- a new motor-documented-will make your vehicle worth >$2000 to many folks.I bought my 200,000 vehicle($2950) because he had the transmission rebuilt at 186,000 miles,and the AC done at 160,000.I might not have bought it if the trans was original.
You can get your $$ out of a new GM 350 when you sell the vehicle,and you won't have to sniff burnt oil for the next 5 years!A running truck(pickup or Suburban-kinda interchangeable as work trucks here in NO with all the demo+construction going on) with a new motor or trans is always worth $2000-$3000 here-New Orleans.Some folks prefer the Suburban to a pickup as a work vehicle-it can"flat" carry 4X8 material-most SB pickups can't.Some have been"cut" gutted and converted into half assed open pickups with long beds.Suburbans are cheaper than pickups here.
Luck,
Charlie
 

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Good to see another New Orleanian here... I was thinking that I may have to rebuild the motor in my Sub. Getting a new crate would probably be cheaper in the end for me. My uncle's already rebuilt a 454 out of a 1-ton dually that was flooded in New Orleans east during Katrina. We just need to put it back in the truck. In the end, he probably should have gotten a crate, with the amount of money in parts we put into it. Virtually every sensor had to be replaced, rods, piston tops, cam had to be replaced. Just miserable taking that motor apart...sludge in the whole motor :(
 

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Hey TrailLeader, that is the exact same hoist I have. Maybe it won't be an issue. The reason I was concerned is that I barely made it over the front end of 71 nova with that 350..and the burb is at least a foot or two taller over the fender! But I believe you, I'll just need to be sure I keep the chain short. That will be great if that hoist works. One more hurdle down!
If all else fails after you get all the under the truck bolts undone separate the engine and trans, pull the front wheels off and drop her on the front suspension.
 

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Good to see another New Orleanian here... I was thinking that I may have to rebuild the motor in my Sub. Getting a new crate would probably be cheaper in the end for me. My uncle's already rebuilt a 454 out of a 1-ton dually that was flooded in New Orleans east during Katrina. We just need to put it back in the truck. In the end, he probably should have gotten a crate, with the amount of money in parts we put into it. Virtually every sensor had to be replaced, rods, piston tops, cam had to be replaced. Just miserable taking that motor apart...sludge in the whole motor :(
Crawdaddy,
I was lucky- the water stopped on the other side of Airline Highway-so no nasty muck to clean out of everything.I always do the math wrong when I think about rebuilds.I would have figured $500 to rebuild the 454, but it was probably more like $1000 and 100 hours.Heck all the surfaces of the crank must have been pitted-lotta machine work and such,and then you aren't sure just how long the rebuild will last or how good it is. Of course,since no one had any $$ post Katrina,there wasn't much choice.
Luck,
Charlie
 

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Why not overhaul, rebuild the engine you have?
in certain cases (like the Katrina 454 motor I was talking about), you have to replace so much of the internals that it's cheaper in the long run to buy a crate and drop it in. Another thing that could warrant this is if the cylinder walls were pitted beyond the point of boreing them out. Sure, you could sleeve the cylinder, but I personally would rather just buy a new block, or if the motor was that bad, just buy a crate. Unfortunatley, my uncle and I didn't think about this long enough before he started buying parts to rebuild...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Why not overhaul, rebuild the engine you have?
Deputy,

That is a good idea, and I might just do that, but it will be my first time opening an engine up, and I want to be able to take my time. So if I can find another running (non-oil burning) engine to drop in there in the mean time (for hunting season!) I would splurge.

But I am interested in trying my hand at the rebuild thing over the winter!
 

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Overhauling an engine is a rather simple thing to do, having said that I have overhauled more then I care to think about, I can do a small block in a week blind folded :) the number one most important thing in my book is a clean area to assemble and wash the engine several times after you get it back from the machine shop, little tiny pieces of metal will kill a new engine the fastest, tide works best (no kidding) take every plug cap everything off and get in the cracks nooks and crannies then wash the engine again, I use a mixture of lucas or STP and tranny fluid to coat and assemble everything, if you can do the heads do them if not disassemble the heads get your dremal tool out and clean off the flashing on the intake and exhaust (don't go crazy here you can junk a set of heads in no time) then send the heads out with your own new parts, oh and don't wash the heads when you get them back, get a good overhaul kit, new freeze plugs and put'er together. the last engine I rebuilt is a daily driver in a 4x4 with well over 250,000 miles and still running strong. good luck.
 

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When pulling engine-how easily does it separate from Transmission?

Deputy Dave,
I've fooled with many motorcycle engines, but never pulled a car\truck engine(suburban)? Just how hard is it when pulling an engine out of the engine bay,to separate it from the transmission? I'll be replacing my Suburban motor(200,000 miles 1998) in my driveway.I don't have the cash to pay someone to do it.
Is it tough to actually get them apart?I don't want to do any prying\wedging on gasket surfaces-like trying to separate the half cases of a motorcycle.I trashed those cases doing that(was supposed to use a special tool).Do the motor and trans just come apart as you raise the motor out of the engine bay(removing all bolts/nuts first of course)?
Are there any tricks to getting it out of the engine bay(assuming it is in a driveway with no special tools other than a motor lift)?
Thanks,
Charlie
PS-Where abouts in Miss. are you?I'm 4 miles W of NO.Lotta displaced NO area folks ended up near or in Miss(Popularville etc) because land and houses are cheaper than Houston,Shreveport,Baton Rouge.A fair number of our less stellar citizens ended up in Houston,and regularly make the news there-too bad for Houston-no good deed goes unpunished!
 

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phoebeisis, he's in prentiss county, north mississippi (do I smell a southern get together in the works??? ;) ).... To separate a motor from a tranny can vary dpending on how long it's been attached to the tranny, extenuating circumstances (I know I keep bringning up the Katrina 454, but that was a b*tch to work on) such as the tranny alignment pins rusting to the motor, etc. For the dually that went through katrina, my uncle and I just yanked on the engine lift and shook the block as violently as we could in the bay to get it separated. About 5 mins of shaking, yanking, tapping got it separated. Just be careful, when it happens, it'll happen fast...
 
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