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Need help choosing engine

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 77crewcab, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. 77crewcab

    77crewcab 1/2 ton status

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    Hey guys I need some help deciding on an engine. I am looking about a year or two down the line before I can do a swap and trying to make a decision so maybe I can start to pick up some parts or do some of the upgrades in advance. I use my truck for a daily driver with occaisional towing about 4-8 times per year towing a small boat (3500lbs) and a camper trailer (7000) I am looking for the best power and mileage combo I can get for these conditions. I am not looking to win any races by any means so torque/mileage are important to me but also ease of maintenence and being able to work on it myself is key.

    Here is what I am considering all with a 4L80E and gear vendors and 4.10 rear 235/85/16 tires:

    1. Stay with the 454 and build it for towing and add one of the mpfi systems like accel or edelbrock.
    2. Same but using a 502ho or 454ho crate engine
    3. 502 with ramjet mpfi intake system
    4. 6.2 with banks turbo system
    5 6.5 with banks turbo system
    6. Cummins 12/24v turbo with possible later power-adders

    I don't know whick will be best. I would love a diesel of any sort but want the parts availibility of the BBC so please help me decide. Or give me some selling points on what you think is best and approx. cost of swaps if you know them.

    Monty
     
  2. unick

    unick 1/2 ton status

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    Id go cummings. THose engines are awsome!
     
  3. bajaviking

    bajaviking 1/2 ton status

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    I think a stock strong running 454 is hard to beat if you want something reliable, not to expensive and easy to work on. Exept for headers and flowmasters mine is stock and it pulls nice and strong, I guess MPFI would really wake it up and help the mileage to. I say fofittyfo /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  4. 79Stomper

    79Stomper 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Just seeing the Ramjet 502 gives me a chub.
     
  5. 55Willy

    55Willy 3/4 ton status

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    cummins
    /forums/images/graemlins/woot.gif
     
  6. nvrenuf

    nvrenuf NONE shall pass! Premium Member

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    You know, I'm all about a nice bbc any day but I'll have to say the Cummins is the smart choice for strength AND mpg.
     
  7. 77crewcab

    77crewcab 1/2 ton status

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    I have to say I am leaning towards the Cummins myself just wanted to hear some other opinions. BTW I know with the 4WD you have to upgrade the front axle but do you have to do anything for the 2WD to put the Cummins in? And if I were to convert to 4WD with the cummins would my towing capacity be lower than 2wd drive as it was in stock form?
    Thanks,
    Monty
     
  8. realsquash

    realsquash 1/2 ton status

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    A Cummins would be nice, but which one? If you want to swap in a good old mechanical 12 valve it's going to be a dog if you don't bomb it a little If you do swap to a Cummins (capital "C") you're going to want to lose those tiny tires and 4.10 gears! That Cummins would sing nicely with some 3.73's and 31" tires on your 2x4.

    I think the best bang for the buck would be to find a 1996+ 454 with factory MPFI and swap it in, maybe even with the 4L80E that you want from the same vehicle.

    Andy
     
  9. 77crewcab

    77crewcab 1/2 ton status

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    Well I already have the 3.73 gears, what size would be a 31 inch tire? What kind of mileage does the 96+ 454 get?
     
  10. 77crewcab

    77crewcab 1/2 ton status

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  11. 77crewcab

    77crewcab 1/2 ton status

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    Anyone else have a suggestion?
     
  12. ben427

    ben427 1/2 ton status

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    I used to get about 14 mpg with a 95 K3500 chevy with a TBI454, but thats unloaded. Id go with the cummins myself. As long as you have a 14 bolt full floater rear you should be fine. 3.73s would work good, and the tires you mentioned would be ideal. I wouldnt bother with the gear vendors and the 4l80E, id just use the 4L80E alone. You should be turning about 2000 rpm or less on the highway which I find is about perfect for fuel milage.
     
  13. 77crewcab

    77crewcab 1/2 ton status

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    So would I need to upgrade the front end (3/4 2wd) for the Cummins? Would the $wd conversion lower toeing capacity? If you got 14mpg with 454 TBI could I maybe expect 20 with one of the mpfi kits like I mentioned (edelbrock or accel) Thanks for the reply.
     
  14. 77crewcab

    77crewcab 1/2 ton status

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    Any one have some more info on this 4bt Cummins I keep reading about here? Would the 4bt be a better choice for my needs over a 6bt? And what about building up the front end?
     
  15. u2slow

    u2slow 1/2 ton status

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    The 4BT is lighter than the 6BT. It probably weighs in similar to the BB you have now. The 4BT is also shorter, making it an easier fit.

    3/4-ton 2wd front suspensions are easily upgraded. 1-ton coils are higher rate (the ones I swapped in were 0.020 thicker). If you change the lower balljoint to 1-ton, the 1-ton spindles/rotors/calipers will bolt right on. Some also have a tubular air bag that sits inside the coil spring (more for dampening that load carrying.) The final beef is some 1-ton suspenions (only some DRW's AFAIK) are forged bolt-on lower control arms (instead of the shaft/u-bolt arrangement) but you need the matching suspension crossmember to go with it.

    I remember hearing about some place in the northeast US that was selling the 4BT with SM465 as a frame cut, including the front suspension, from a P30 bread van. This P30 suspension was the IFS type, so it would swap right into the trucks.

    EDIT: If you do stay with the BBC, I would not bother with any kind of EFI. The economy difference vs. a decent carb marginal. My '91 crewcab (TBI350/SM465/4.10/33s) eaked out a miserable 10mpg. The better figures you see on some newer trucks is attributed to OD/lockup transmissions and taller axle ratios.

    Are you sure you have a TH350? I've had couple of late 70's BBC trucks - both had a TH400.

    I like the Gear Vendors idea. IMO, more durable than any 4L80E. My preference would be for manual control, so you engage it only when you want/need it.
     
  16. 77crewcab

    77crewcab 1/2 ton status

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    I do have a 350 trans the BBC is not origional it origioally had a 350/350 combo. I would love a Cummins but for now am looking 6.2 with Banks turbo. On the4bt I have read some about it being rougher and louder than the 6bt is this so? My main concern for now is the mileage aspect so the 6.2 would be fine as far as power. Currently getting about 5mpg vs. the 20 or so with diesel. Plus the veggie oil thing really appeals to me. My parents live 7 hrs away and I would love to see them more if it weren't so much in fuel cost for the trip. So a 2WD 1 ton uprgrade would be needed for the ^bt but not really for the 4bt is that right? Also have a question about the 700R, this is the only auto trans I have seen behind the 6.2 which is used for towing and yet I hear that the 700R is not good for towing? Whats the deal? The 82 3/4 reg cab long bed my grandfather had was a 6.2/700R and was used for towing well over 10K lbs on a weekly basis (farm use) for over 300k miles with no problems. Am I missing something here?
     
  17. 77crewcab

    77crewcab 1/2 ton status

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    Any more input?
     
  18. unclematty

    unclematty 1/2 ton status

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    Like i've told othes for the money spent, you cannot beat a midly built 500 caddy motor, lasts longer at high hp and torque ratings than bbc and better mileage too, whats not to like?? /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/hack.gif /forums/images/graemlins/weld.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grind.gifi've driven lots of big 4wd trucks with lots of other engines, my caddy makes more power with better mileage than any bbc could. the 500caddy gets about 13 mpg around town and about 14.5 on the highway, if I keep my foot out of it. (we all know that aint happenin')big ole blazer beats stangs and camaros allday long. towed a cammper trailer once, with enough power to pull parleys canyon in high gear doing 70.
     
  19. Bhintz

    Bhintz 1/2 ton status

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    cummins or ramjet
     

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