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Vortec Head Swap, What do I need?

Discussion in 'The Injection Section' started by luskeyclassics402, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. luskeyclassics402

    luskeyclassics402 Registered Member

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    Hey guys, I'm planning to do vortec head swap on my 88 k5 with the tbi setup, this is what I've gathered I need for it, please add on to this list if I'm forgetting something:
    Vortec Heads
    tbi/vortec intake
    upgraded fuel pump
    adjustable fuel pressure regualtor(not sure what psi yet)
    bored out or bbc throttle body
    gasket set
    am I going to use original rockers or what should I do for that?
    Please let me know!
    Tucker
     
  2. eagle mark

    eagle mark 1/2 ton status

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    Not sure on the mechanical part of the swap cause I've never done one in person.

    But to reap the rewards you will need to tune the chip. Vortec heads have a completely different need for spark advance compared to TBI swirl port heads, or others for that matter... not to mention tune needs for bigger TB and fuel pressure.

    While your at it look for a decent liquid filled in line gauge to go with your adjustable regulator. They are fairly cheap with bolt in adapter compared to a good fuel pressure tool gauge.

    Pressure is a calculation based on engine HP output. As you change pressure you also need to change BPC/BPW in chip for proper tune. 13 PSI is accurate for these TBI motors. I don't care what GM said about 9 to 13, yes it will run, but not optimal unless 13 PSI.

    There's already a factory built in fueling mistake on these ECM in chip of VE1 and VE2 adder adding up to over 100%, so ECM truncates back to 100%. Should never go over 95% when tuning... 85% is optimal.
     
  3. luskeyclassics402

    luskeyclassics402 Registered Member

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    Thanks! so are you saying i should run 13 psi for vortec heads then? I did plan on having a new prom burned, thinking about using tbichips.com, is he a good guy? let me know!
     
  4. eagle mark

    eagle mark 1/2 ton status

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    Fuel pressure and BPW setting is a calculation of engines HP. So what should the engine put out is a detemining factor.

    Get a local tuner who will do it hands on. Second choice is a tuner that will take your data logs and retune the initail starter chip he sent. Run, don't walk from any tuner selling you a perfect chip without a data log.
     
  5. 76zimmer

    76zimmer Flyin Rat Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    you'll need to run a bypass hose from the top of the water pump to the front of the intake manifold too, without it you will get air pockets...also the vortec heads are set up for self aligning rocker arms, so a set of those should be aquired.
     
  6. eagle mark

    eagle mark 1/2 ton status

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  7. luskeyclassics402

    luskeyclassics402 Registered Member

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    alright, so ill get a gauge, and whats this about a water pump bypass? where would I run the hose on the water pump side? I'm a little confused on that... I just sold my stratus so ill be able to afford all of this now luckily!
     
  8. luskeyclassics402

    luskeyclassics402 Registered Member

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  9. 76zimmer

    76zimmer Flyin Rat Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Here is some good info I've found looking for Vortec swaps:



    From GM performance parts:
    Any small block engine, regardless of year, that uses Vortec heads, will require an external coolant bypass line from the intake manifold to the 5/8" hose nipple on the water pump (passenger’s side). Suggested routing is from the 3/8 NPSF boss on intake manifold to the water pump."

    Virtually all traditional small blocks have an internal bypass passage built in to the block and heads - except for the Vortec. This passage is the "3rd hole" on the passenger side of the water pump, below the lower water pump mounting bolt. The passage extends from the water pump diagonally through the block and through a hole in the head and head gasket. This passage gives you some coolant circulation while the thermostat is closed. The bypass hose on a traditional big block that runs from the top of the water pump to the intake manifold does the same thing for those.

    If you have a Vortec block, Vortec heads, or a Vortec water pump, this passage does not function. So you must do something else.

    Vortec engines originally installed in pickups from the factory have a BBC style bypass hose.

    The bypass hose between the pump and the intake should work, just like it does on a BBC. Trouble is, some water pumps don't have a port there, and some intakes don't either.

    So, another way to fix it is to drill holes in the periphery of the thermostat outer flange. This allows the same bypassing.

    Symptoms of not having a functioning bypass are wild temperature swings on the gauge as the coolant warms prior to the thermostat opening. With no circulation at all in the block, as the coolant temperture approaches the thermostat set point, there is actually boiling occurring at the combustion chambers in the head. As soon as the thermostat opens, it all settles down.

    Merely having heater hoses hooked up makes no difference. You need the circulation in the block and heads, not just circulation.

    It doesn't suprise me that GM finally figured out that a bypass was needed and put it in their instructions. About time.

    Here is a great article about putting Vortecs on an older block:
    http://www.camaroperformers.com/cam...-gen-camaro-vortec-heads-install/viewall.html

    Vortec engines don't have a coolant bypass built into them like the older small blocks.

    The old engines had a hole in the passenger side of the water pump (under the bottom bolt) that mated to the block and that hole routed water through the head to allow water to circulate when the thermostat is closed.

    Vortec blocks as well as Vortec heads don't have those holes and some sort of bypass is necessary. The heater core will act as a bypass but if a heater valve is used, then it will cut off the flow.

    Here are a couple pics showing the typical SBC cooling passage that allows the water pump to circulate through the block and head, which prevents the hot spots in the heads by continually circulating coolant, preventing the heads for getting hot before the block/manifold does.

    The manifold pic is where the bypass should be hooked up, from the top of the water pump.

    wp.jpg

    wp2.jpg
     
  10. luskeyclassics402

    luskeyclassics402 Registered Member

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    Alright, makes sense, ill have to accomodate that then, next problem is how to go abbout increasing fuel pressure and how big of a throttle body should i go with, I've seen people use 454 throttle body with 350 injectors, will this work?
     
  11. eagle mark

    eagle mark 1/2 ton status

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    That regulater will work but it has no spring. Stock springs will only go to 15 PSI IIRC in stock can, not sure in aftermarket can? Others come with springs to?

    There's a rebuilt BB TBI for sale cheap, but it has mis matched BB injectors, one 76 and one 80. Guy may sell cheaper without injector pod?
    http://www.gearhead-efi.com/Fuel-Injection/showthread.php?1043-7.4L-TBI-Rebuilt-new-shaft

    If your going to BB TBI then make sure the intake will except the bigger bores.
     
  12. luskeyclassics402

    luskeyclassics402 Registered Member

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    Ok I found that jegs has one with a spring so ill go that route as far as intakes I picked up the crusader marine intake will that work?
     
  13. eagle mark

    eagle mark 1/2 ton status

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    There's 2 springs, I doubt your going to build a fire breather needing the higher pressure one.

    Not sure on the marine intake, although 1project2many on GearHead site does a lot of conversions with them?
     
  14. luskeyclassics402

    luskeyclassics402 Registered Member

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    well it looks like it would be the same cost to have mine bored so ill probably just go that route
     
  15. luskeyclassics402

    luskeyclassics402 Registered Member

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    ok as far as the self aligning rockers go, do I need to do a full roller setup with this? or what do i need exactly? do i just need the rockers and new pushrods? also I'm replacing all of the lifters should I stick with hydraulics for these and then get a self aligning pushrod/rocker setup? What do I do for the valve train? lol this is getting to be alot, but im up for the challenge
     
  16. luskeyclassics402

    luskeyclassics402 Registered Member

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    Ok I'm starting to second guess myself on this, I've heard some horror stories on the tunes? I dont know if i should go ahead, does anyone know any good tuners in Minnesota? its a little sketchy but I really want to make this work! lol What are my options? lol
     
  17. luskeyclassics402

    luskeyclassics402 Registered Member

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    Ok I'm starting to second guess myself on this, I've heard some horror stories on the tunes? I dont know if i should go ahead, does anyone know any good tuners in Minnesota? its a little sketchy but I really want to make this work! lol What are my options? lol
     
  18. 76zimmer

    76zimmer Flyin Rat Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    the stock Vortec self aligning rockers are all I used..and I think my pushrods didn't need to be changed either. Scoggin Dickey had a vortec swap kit...included everything including 8060 heads, gaskets, performer vortec intake manifold, head bolts, and intake bolts, intake gaskets, head hardware, but no valve covers, or water pump bypass hose...I had to figure that out on my own.

    Here is the kit:

    SD8060KIT_full.jpg
     
  19. bronc3buster842001

    bronc3buster842001 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    So why can't the bypass hole be drilled in the heads like the older heads.
     
  20. eagle mark

    eagle mark 1/2 ton status

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    I don't know of anyone in Minnesota but I always encourage a hands on tune. Second is by mail if you can record data, do mechanics and follow tuner instructions.

    There's no horror stories to tuning this built engine. Just mechanical issues or no experianced tuner. Yes you could learn if you have desire and time.
     

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