Rebuilt 5.3 or swap in used

Discussion in '1936-Present Suburban' started by bp71k5, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. bp71k5

    bp71k5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    My suburban has 250k miles on it and I'm finding about a quart of coolant vanishing every couple months. Oil change didn't reveal anything in there and I don't see any leaks on the driveway.

    I'd like to avoid waiting until it dies so considering a proactive rebuild. Any opinions on having this motor lightly rebuilt (head gaskets, bearings, and rings) vs getting a used 5.3 and swapping that in instead? Good rebuilders in California? Maybe just keep driving till it dies?
     
  2. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I'd consider a lower mile pull-out long block. Has to be half the cost of a rebuild and will likely last beyond the rest of the Suburban. Then take your time rebuilding the original...you know you'll find a good use for a rebuilt 5.3 at some future time.
     
  3. bp71k5

    bp71k5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    My son has been asking about go-karts...:thinking:
     
  4. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Two words "vette cart". Google that...
     
  5. onetonbb74

    onetonbb74 On the rocks... Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I'd swap in a good low mile used 5.3 and sell the old one...
     
  6. Smokinthehippies

    Smokinthehippies 3/4 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I’m pretty sure pacfab has a bunch of takeout 5.3s ready to go.
     
  7. bp71k5

    bp71k5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    Figured I’d update this thread rather than making a new one. Turns out the coolant issue was just a leaking radiator. Been running fine and now at 275k but I’m hearing what sounds like “marbles in a coffee can” when the throttle is applied. Anything easy I can check to see what that is or whether it’s detonation? Not overheating and has good oil pressure.
     
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  8. Bent77

    Bent77 lil meanie Staff Member Moderator GMOTM Winner

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    Check the timing and make sure you don’t have bad gas, probably look at the plugs
     
  9. 6872xtc

    6872xtc make mine modified Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I will suggest that you make sure that the noise is coming from the engine. I say this because I just acquired an '01 6.0 truck that the muffler is breaking apart and it sounds like the lifters are rattling from no oil pressure. The truck has 280K on it. It sounds pretty bad. The guy thought that the whole problem was in the engine. This may not be a problem, but I wanted to toss the idea at you.
     
  10. bp71k5

    bp71k5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    Yep, that’s the kind of info I’m looking for. Don’t want to assume the worst. It makes the noise in drive and park. But not when coasting (ie no throttle)
     
  11. bp71k5

    bp71k5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    Changed the wires and plugs, they looked pretty old and worn, but nothing jumps out at me on how the engine is running by looking at them.

    but I notice when I slap one of the cats with my hand, it rattles and sounds like what I’m hearing.

    Looks like the auto parts stores have just the cat and then a whole front system with pipes and dual cat. I can cut the old one out and weld in a new one (assuming they aren’t stainless), but I wonder if the other cat is at the end of its life as well and just getting the $800 stainless set is worthwhile? Looks like the cats are $230/each. Maybe a muffler shop would be worthwhile if it’s stainless?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
  12. skunked

    skunked phat block slush machine Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Check out walker for the cats, I bought mine through them and welded them in. I paid less than 230 each and mine were CA compliant.
     
  13. bp71k5

    bp71k5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    looks like summit has an entire walker system for $450 with cats that are not CA compliant. Since this vehicle was originally a CA car but I’m no longer in CA, any reason to spend extra for CA compliant cats?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
  14. skunked

    skunked phat block slush machine Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    nope, enjoy the freedom outside of CA.
     
  15. 6872xtc

    6872xtc make mine modified Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Good find on your noise!
    Hey @skunked , would the ECM be able to tell the difference in the cats with the rear O2 sensors? Or am I over-thinking it. I would hope that it will be fine as you say. New non-California ones are probably just as good or better than the old ones, right?
     
  16. bp71k5

    bp71k5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    that’s something I was reading about. Evidently the CA cats have a bunch more precious metal in them to help clean a bit better. I ordered the “light” non CA setup from rock auto. We’ll see how they work.
     
  17. skunked

    skunked phat block slush machine Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Yes, failing cats will throw a code.

    The CA cats have a carb# on them which is checked by the smog tech. I can’t say if they’re better however they’ve gone through the approval process and they charge more because of it.
     
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  18. imiceman44

    imiceman44 Hoarder extraordinaire Premium Member

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    Actually the difference between the two is testing.
    CA requires every company to pay a $40k fee for testing for every model.
    That's why Walker is the only company as far as I know that offers a California car and only 2 generic ones, 2" and 2.25" I think.
    Or is 2.25" and 2.5"
    Anyway if you want a direct replacement in California, good luck.
    I have used non California certified in vehicles when there was no diagnosis registered in the system so ne reason to do a visual.
    They rarely do visual now, just plug in.
    And I buy mine from rock auto
     

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