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5.3L in a tow rig?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by sled_dog, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    I just purchased a 5.3L. Was a great deal locally so I couldn't pass it up. Well I almost did, and wish I had, but whatever, I didn't. Anyway, I have 2 options for it. Either put it in the 1969 Firebird sitting in the driveway, or my 1997 C2500 pickup. The engine in my C2500 is a 5.7L Vortec engine, with a cold rod knock. Would be a good base for an engine build for the Firebird as well. The wonder is, would the 5.3L be a decent base for my 97 which is intended to be a tow rig? Or should I hop it up and throw it in the Firebird and have some fun and show off at car shows?
     
  2. OffRoad

    OffRoad 1/2 ton status

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    which will be more useful? which vehicle do you want to put it in more? deep down, you know the answer to this.

    i'd put it in the firebird and go have fun with it. find some twisty roads and let it sing it's sweet song.

    find a 6.0L for the truck, or just keep driving it like it is. face facts... a 97 3/4 ton is not a rare truck. (but it's newer than mine)

    have fun, whatever you do.
     
  3. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Ok, I know that the Gen 3's are supposed to rev to make power and have the mains to handle it, but when we had a 5.3, it would regulary wind up to 5500 with a small to medium load on the highway...might be alright, but something about hearing that motor scream like that made me back off and let every grandma in her buick pass me on hills.

    I'd put it in the firebird, I think the 5.3 is a motor much better suited for that sort of application.
     
  4. dhcomp

    dhcomp 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    I second that.....stupid torque management made the trans shift all the time.
     
  5. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    You might want to PM SierraClassic or RyanB. They could probably get you enough tips and tricks for cheap or free to get more power out of that motor.

    I know SierraClassic said that they're completely different motors with the torque management disabled somehow.
     
  6. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Stock those engines make 295 some horse, and 335 some ftlbs of torque, which is similar to your Vortec 5.7L. The big difference between a 6.0L, 5.7L and a 5.3L is where they make their peak torque, 5.3L likes to rev, just like the old 327s, and the 6.0Ls make their torque down low, like a 400, or a big block, while the 5.7L is a nice mix of both.

    Here are some power specs:

    Vortec 6.0L: 300 HP, 360 ft.lbs torque @ 4000 rpm
    Vortec 5.3L: 295 HP, 335 ft.lbs. torque @ 4000 rpm
    Vortec 5.7L: 255 HP, 330 ft.lbs. torque @ 2800 rpm



    And yes, torque management makes a huge difference in how the truck drives. Whenever you stomp on it, it majorly retards the timing so you don't put as much strain on the transmission, or wreck your engine. Removing the torque management makes those transmissions shift a lot like the older ones, more of a quick firm shift, instead of letting off for a second, making the shift, then kicking back in.

    Adding a performance tune will net you more power at the cost of running higher octane fuel, without changing anything mechanical...

    You can change the cam, and put a 5.7L LS1 intake on to move the powerband even further up, and make more power, but unlike the mid 80s smoggers, there are not nearly as many cheap / easy bolt on mods to increase power on these things, they are really well built right from the factory...
     
  7. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    I think its going in the Firebird. Just need to convince Dad(it is his car). GM Perfmance Parts Hot LS1 cam, LS1 heads, and a LS1 intake along with a custom tune ought to wake it up nicely :)

    Worst thing is Intake Manifolds. The damn things are so expensive. I want to get a BBK manifold because they are aluminum and much prettier than the stock truck intake, haha. But they are somewhere around 400-500! Even stock LS1 intakes are going for $300. And LS6 intakes are damn near the price of the BBK intake. You can buy a set of 6.0L heads or LS1 heads for less! Oh well. Cam kit is $495 from Scoggin-Dickey. Bet it would make that engine RIP though...
     
  8. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Only way to make more power after that is forced induction ;)
     
  9. kp texan

    kp texan 1/2 ton status

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    Haha, thats pretty funny considering that the LS1 or LS6 manifold is a piece of plastic. I do realize that it's an advanced design and has more thermal advantages as well but the price does seem a bit steep for what it is.

    -Wes
     
  10. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    you read my mind. First stage will be simple stuff, mostly bolt ons and a tune. Second stage, build a bottom end. Third stage, Turbo :D


    The stock plastic intakes flow great and there is the big thermal advantage, but once you start getting serious and throwing boost into the mixture, it doesn't end well. Thus why I am just going to buy the damn Aluminum intake early on.
     
  11. Confedneck79K30

    Confedneck79K30 3/4 ton status

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    ya know, 6.0 liter heads are supposed to work wonders for those...
     
  12. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    used to hear the samething, and realized its way not true.... 10cc difference(6.0L are 72cc, 5.3L are 62cc). I think the drop in compression would hurt way more than the increased flow would help.

    I've spent the last 5 hours looking at different LSx stuff. Interesting stuff out there.

    To get the car going, I think its going to just get headers and the custom tune off the bat. Upgrades later down the road.

    Dad got excited about the swap when he was looking at the 5.3L.
     
  13. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    6.0L heads on a 5.3L? You get the bigger flow possiblities, and a lower compression ratio, which creates awesome potential for high boost levels ;)
     
  14. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    great for that situation(actually think it would be too little compression without stepping up to flat top pistons), but until then, it makes no sense. Compression on a 5.3L is already lower than its LQ4 and LS1 brothers.
     
  15. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Isn't it still like 12:1?

    I think I remember seeing that under the engine specs on my mother's 00 tahoe's spec book :d
     
  16. bowtiepower00

    bowtiepower00 1/2 ton status

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    The 5.3 in my 07 runs way harder than any Vortec 5.7 I've driven. With a cam swap, and maybe a little headwork, I think it would really fly.

    In the truck, it'll run hard and get 15+ MPG, probably around 20 on the hwy. In the Firebird, it'll get better than that.

    I would put it in the truck. The mileage and power gains would be nice to have everyday. Take the 350 out of the truck, make it a 383, and put it in the Bird. Or put it in the Bird.

    I'm taking a serious look at a (carb'd) 408 LS1 for my 68 Nova, using the new L92 heads from the 6.2. 322 CFM out of the box, for under a grand. I will also get an aluminum block this way- for about a grand. I want no less than 500HP in that thing, and I'd like to see more like 600+. I was almost sold on a 420 CI Gen I, but for the same money I can get better heads and an aluminum block- and it's going to take a lot of money to get 23 degree heads to flow anywhere near gen III's.

    Not all of the 5.3's were 295HP. Some were less (early Silverado), some were more (early SSR, I believe). The Diablosport and some other programmers allow you to get increased HP and MPG with 87 octane. The Diablo also reprograms the Torque Management (you can turn it off if you really want to, also.)

    A mildly built 5.3 (mild headwork, and cam, with Tuning) and some 4.10's should have no problems towing your buggy or Bird, or anything else.
     
  17. SUBFAN

    SUBFAN 1/2 ton status

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    Oh crap!!!! Another Poncho getting desecrated with a Chevy motor....

    Had to say it....
     
  18. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    technically the Gen III engines are Poncho and Chevy power, haha. I knew it would be coming sooner or later, and it will be said many more times.

    There just isn't enough going on with the Poncho engines for me. Need to spend a small mint to do anything really cool with them.
     
  19. Confedneck79K30

    Confedneck79K30 3/4 ton status

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    6.0 heads, cam swap, headers, procharger, new pistons and 100 shot... let that batch ride in the fbomb
     
  20. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    eh turbo, but thats a long way off.

    For now I think its just going to get a BBK intake, FAST fuel rails, and some S&P headers. Intake is more about the fact that the stock truck intakes are ugly. And to prepare for boost at a later time.

    Later on will be a forged rotated assembly with flat top pistons, 6.0L heads, injectors, and boost.
     

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