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How much trouble is it to swap a 97 vortec 350 in a 90 Blazer?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by lehtola, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. lehtola

    lehtola 1/2 ton status

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    I'm just curious at this point and wanted some feed back as to the difficulties in exchanging my 350 TBI. I've got about 130K on the clock and will need to do something soon. I thought about just getting a junk yard engine and placing it in the Jimmy but am not sure about issues. Assuming of course the engine comes with the ECM also. Should it just hook right up? /forums/images/graemlins/usaflag.gif
     
  2. Hardcore

    Hardcore 1/2 ton status

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    Check with advanced adapters. THey sell the kits as well as the engines so they know how it's done. Shouldn't be too hard as long as you get the computer all all from the donor truck.

    Good Luck /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  3. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    It's a tough, complex swap to do it right. Wiring harness is very different, so it's a very steep learning curve.

    Probably well worth it, just not a quick, easy, nor cheap swap.
     
  4. lehtola

    lehtola 1/2 ton status

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    Crap. Nothing is ever as easy as your first think now is it?
     
  5. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Nope, nor as cheap. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

    The swap was attempted and completed by someone on this board, but I'm bad with names. It took some time, not sure how it all turned out.

    Problem with the Vortec stuff is that it's OBD2. It's not a HUGE issue, but just try researching "vortec retrofit" online and see what you come up with. VERY little.

    I had considered using the Vortec system on my truck, because take-offs are so cheap and plentiful) but for the Vortec motor I couldn't find anywhere or anyone that had the "support" (meaning tech info, swaps completed, parts available) that you find for the TBI/TPI/LS1/LT1 motors.
     
  6. GQ 350

    GQ 350 Registered Member

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    To swap a 1996-1999 OBD2 vortec engine into your 90 Blazer it isnt actuall that hard, but it isnt easy either. To do it on your own you must have some knowledge of the later model GM wiring harness and the 2 GM overhaul manuals for the year of engine. Due to GM's anti-theft system put in place in 1998 you will want to go with a pre-98 ECM and harness, other wise you run into ignition trouble the. Vortec engines (4.3,5.7,5.0,7.4) are the same through all the years 1996-1999 just the wiring and ECM change. If you dont have much knowledge of GM wiring (so you can add in the power, ignition leads and so on) you can get a complete wirring harness from Painless Wiring (www.painlesswiring.com) made for your exact aplicaton . If you do the swap you should get the tranny (4l60E) with the engine, because with those ECM's the tranny is also controlled and it will have check engine codes without it. When you get your engine you will need everything, every sensor on the engine also the 4 o2 sensors (2 for each bank) and you will have to run 2 catyletic converters due to the OBD2 the engine will not run right without them (allthough I suggest running high flow cats like off the new 6.0L engines) The engine itself will bolt right in for the 96-99 engines, if you have a 700R4 the 4L60E will also bolt right in. If you dont have a 700R4 you may need to move the crossmember a bit. You will also need a new fuel pump because Vortecs run at much higher PSI than earlier models.

    I hpoe I helped you out a bit, if you have any more qustions just ask /forums/images/graemlins/truck.gif /forums/images/graemlins/pimp1.gif
     
  7. jarheadk5

    jarheadk5 1/2 ton status

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    Good info there!
    So what's that harness from Painless cost?


    I bet the figure isn't painless... (haha, jarhead made a funny)
     
  8. 89BlazerK5

    89BlazerK5 1/2 ton status

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    i wouldn't swap in a whole new motor, then you gotta change computer, wiring harness, etc. i reserched putting the Vortec heads on my 91 while doing my rebuild.

    i would swap out your heads for the L31 Vortecs, and keep the TBI. get a 454 TBI or, if you got extra cash, get the Edelbrock MPFI system. these are GM part numbers for what you'll need to keep the TBI and swap to vortec heads.

    L31 Vortec heads GM p/n= 12558060
    GM performance parts Vortec Intake manifold for TBI GM p/n= 12496821
    Self Aligning rocker arms GM p/n= 12495490
    Intake manifold gaskets GM p/n= 12497760

    here is a good place to get everything you need: www.sdpc2000.com
    heads= 490
    intake= 310
    rockers= 50
    intake gasket= 19
    intake bolts= 19
    totals to just under $900.
     
  9. 87GMCJimmy

    87GMCJimmy 1/2 ton status

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    I'm running a 99 vortec in my 87 Jimmy with all the electronics. Let me tell you that everything here is true. Expect your truck to be down for a while and spending some cash in order to do it right.

    Mike
     
  10. 88K5Jimmy

    88K5Jimmy 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    i wouldn't swap in a whole new motor, then you gotta change computer, wiring harness, etc. i reserched putting the Vortec heads on my 91 while doing my rebuild.

    i would swap out your heads for the L31 Vortecs, and keep the TBI. get a 454 TBI or, if you got extra cash, get the Edelbrock MPFI system. these are GM part numbers for what you'll need to keep the TBI and swap to vortec heads.

    L31 Vortec heads GM p/n= 12558060
    GM performance parts Vortec Intake manifold for TBI GM p/n= 12496821
    Self Aligning rocker arms GM p/n= 12495490
    Intake manifold gaskets GM p/n= 12497760

    here is a good place to get everything you need: www.sdpc2000.com
    heads= 490
    intake= 310
    rockers= 50
    intake gasket= 19
    intake bolts= 19
    totals to just under $900.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Do you need to do anything for fuel delivery, like a fuel pump that puts out more psi? Also, are any computer mods necessary with this swap?
     
  11. fad2blk99

    fad2blk99 1/2 ton status

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    Have you (or any of y'all) know anyone who has gone to the vortec heads/intake & 454 TBI???? Any problems with the computer or is there a chip recomended? I haven't herd anything good about the custom burned chips. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
     
  12. 89BlazerK5

    89BlazerK5 1/2 ton status

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    i seriously doubt you have to do anything to your computer if you swap in the vortec heads, as long as you keep the stock throttle body. i don't think you need a fuel pump either. you've got the same throttle body, and same injectors, so you probably don't need a new one. but, you do have to modify your passenger side header, or get a stock vortec exhaust manifold, to hook up the EGR to the intake manifold. it won't run right if you don't. if you swap in 454 throttlebody, you may need computer & fuel pump? not sure. also, you can't run a very big cam with the stock TBI computer. it has to stay close to stock, or you won't be getting it to run right.
     
  13. afroman006

    afroman006 1/2 ton status

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    Not to hijack the post but this seems relevant, what about swapping a big block (454 or 502) vortec in place of a TBI 350. Custom harness from painless, higher pressure fuel pump and what else? My burb already has a 4L80E so would the vortec puter hook right up to it? This would be one badass swap and I think I have a good platform to start with. Thx
     
  14. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Any problems with the computer or is there a chip recomended?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Any time you swap engine components, to pull the most out of an engine, you NEED to have a custom chip burned for it, at least thats my feeling.

    It may run ok on the stock chip, but timing and fuel deliever (for two things) are likely going to be very different, so if you don't OPTIMIZE them, you may be losing MPG/Power that is right there, but not useable.

    I think the custom chips are not all that great...if someone actually has you monitor the ECM with software that shows how the engine is performing, then burns you PROM after PROM until it is right, that would be a good choice. As you can guess, that can't be cheap nor easy.

    In all honesty, when burning PROM's for a particular engine combo, it can take upwards of 100 attempts to get it dead on. A lot of trial and error. You can buy the tools to do it for about $150 or so, but you've got to be willing to spend the time on it, which is considerable.

    So I'd *guess* you could run that setup without PROM mod's, I just think you'd be wasting a lot of potential. Those heads and injectors are very different from what the stock programming was designed to handle.
     
  15. 89BlazerK5

    89BlazerK5 1/2 ton status

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    what are these tools? and where do you get them?
     
  16. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Check out thirdgen

    There is an article there by Traxion regarding PROM burning as I recall. Very basic, but to the point. Pretty easy to understand. OK, so I did the work for you: PROM intro

    There is also this forum DIY PROM but as you see on many "technical" boards, if you jump in asking questions, without reading up a bunch first, you won't get much help. IIRC, there are tons of "sticky" posts in that forum, and it may help to at least glance at them.

    Traxions article is one of your best bets though, for a beginner trying to figure out what tools it takes, and what kind of commitment.
     
  17. fad2blk99

    fad2blk99 1/2 ton status

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    Yea, that's pretty much what I've herd (and seen in one case) about burning chips for TBI's...
    Thanks for the info!
     

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