El Camino Central Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I want to replace the tired 350 and TH350 in my 72 SS El Camino but undecided on whether to go with a salvage takeout later model 5.3 LS or buy a new 350 or 383 crate with EFI and OD transmission. It seems like the latter is much cheaper and mostly a bolt in swap. Either way I’ll replace the radiator and maybe swap the fuel tank for the EFI. Any suggestions and/or past experience with a similar situation would be much appreciated. I’m also looking at updating my suspension with Speedtech parts since I live in Southern Utah and they’re close by. My intent is to make the car my daily driver when I retire next March and I want something reliable and easy to drive and maintain.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
717 Posts
I want to replace the tired 350 and TH350 in my 72 SS El Camino but undecided on whether to go with a salvage takeout later model 5.3 LS or buy a new 350 or 383 crate with EFI and OD transmission. It seems like the latter is much cheaper and mostly a bolt in swap. Either way I’ll replace the radiator and maybe swap the fuel tank for the EFI. Any suggestions and/or past experience with a similar situation would be much appreciated. I’m also looking at updating my suspension with Speedtech parts since I live in Southern Utah and they’re close by. My intent is to make the car my daily driver when I retire next March and I want something reliable and easy to drive and maintain.
Welcome! I'll jump on this first by saying that the 5.3 conversion will be more than you wanted in every way possible! Cost, Headaches, Problems, and most important Happiness! After all the work I wouldn't hesitate to go LS again, Oh wait, I already bought another one (6.0) and looking for the right one to stuff it into! Best wishes my friend!

Joe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Welcome! I'll jump on this first by saying that the 5.3 conversion will be more than you wanted in every way possible! Cost, Headaches, Problems, and most important Happiness! After all the work I wouldn't hesitate to go LS again, Oh wait, I already bought another one (6.0) and looking for the right one to stuff it into! Best wishes my friend!

Joe
Thanks for the quick response Joe. My ideal has been the LS swap and I’ve even considered going all out with an LS3 connect and cruise setup but don’t know if I’m wussing out because of costs and time. I’ll try to do as much of the swap myself with help from friends but don’t have the pocketbook to pay someone else to do the work. It just seems like I can do the swap for a whole lot less than buying a new Camaro and still have a cool and reliable classic El Camino.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
717 Posts
Thanks for the quick response Joe. My ideal has been the LS swap and I’ve even considered going all out with an LS3 connect and cruise setup but don’t know if I’m wussing out because of costs and time. I’ll try to do as much of the swap myself with help from friends but don’t have the pocketbook to pay someone else to do the work. It just seems like I can do the swap for a whole lot less than buying a new Camaro and still have a cool and reliable classic El Camino.
I don't have a big wallet either but what I do have is time. I took 3 years doing my swap (could have done it in 3 months but.....) I bought everything with cash/credit and paid off everything as I went along. A new LS3 is pretty expensive but a take-out 5.3 is pretty reasonable. I will say that you need to do a lot of reading if you go the LS route. Of course we will always be here to help out. If I had been here on this site while doing my car's swap I would have saved about 2k! Let us know what you're thinking and hopefully we can help!

Joe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,043 Posts
Make an accurate assessment of your abilities and the help you can count on receiving. If it were me, and I was asking because I don’t know, I’d choose a 383 with a Rochester carb. Change as little as you have to to make it work. I’d hate to take it apart and have the project stall there. I’ve seen it too many times where someone blows a car or truck apart because they have grand visions and then, well, that’s all she wrote. Someone gets a deal on an unfinished pile of parts. Your mileage may vary!
Patrick
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,295 Posts
Joe is correct that it will cost you more to do an LS swap and take more time but I'd do it again if the opportunity came along. We can certainly assist you around here and I read two swap books cover to cover before beginning my swap. Get the best pull out motor you can find - good oil pressure and compression in all cylinders. I have found that the basic health of my 150,000 mile 5.3 liter LS is good but I'm slowly but surely replacing engine sensors and injectors. I guess my only regret here is not seeking a 6.0 or a 6.2 LS but my budget back then did not support making that choice.

So ask any question you want. Somebody around here will know the answer.

Rick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Joe is correct that it will cost you more to do an LS swap and take more time but I'd do it again if the opportunity came along. We can certainly assist you around here and I read two swap books cover to cover before beginning my swap. Get the best pull out motor you can find - good oil pressure and compression in all cylinders. I have found that the basic health of my 150,000 mile 5.3 liter LS is good but I'm slowly but surely replacing engine sensors and injectors. I guess my only regret here is not seeking a 6.0 or a 6.2 LS but my budget back then did not support making that choice.

So ask any question you want. Somebody around here will know the answer.

Rick
Thanks for the input Rick. I’m sold on the performance and longevity of the 5.3. I regret selling my 2005 Yukon that was still running strong with 150,000 miles on it. I bought it new, serviced it regularly and it was trouble free so I have personal experience with how good that motor is. What are the best late model 5.3 engines to look for? Are there certain engines I should stay away from and will I see a considerable savings buying a salvage motor as opposed to spending the big bucks for a new crate engine with a warranty. I’m looking at a budget of $15k to $20k max for the engine, trans and suspension upgrades and hoping to have it done within the next 9 to 12 months.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,295 Posts
This is purely my personal preference and others have a different opinion. I would avoid any LS engine with Active Fuel Management / Displacement On Demand due to the unreliability of the lifters in that style of engine. For me, the creme-de la creme would be a 6.2 liter LS3 of no newer than 2013 but people want a lot of money for those. This would leave you with picking an engine from about 1999 up to be not including 2014.

Rick
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
717 Posts
Thanks for the input Rick. I’m sold on the performance and longevity of the 5.3. I regret selling my 2005 Yukon that was still running strong with 150,000 miles on it. I bought it new, serviced it regularly and it was trouble free so I have personal experience with how good that motor is. What are the best late model 5.3 engines to look for? Are there certain engines I should stay away from and will I see a considerable savings buying a salvage motor as opposed to spending the big bucks for a new crate engine with a warranty. I’m looking at a budget of $15k to $20k max for the engine, trans and suspension upgrades and hoping to have it done within the next 9 to 12 months.
Any pull-out from 99-06/07 classic trucks are the best bet for a 5.3-6.0. They don't have the VVT/DOD (variable valve timing/displacement on demand). The HD 6.0's didn't have the VVT/DOD up to 2013 but are harder to find and will cost more. The 03's-up have drive by wire and the 05's got electric fans. You can still find a good swap package with 100k - 150k for under 2k with trans. Mine had 130k with everything but the trans for 1500. I paid a bit extra from the salvage yard but they gave me a 6 month warranty, made me feel better that it would actually run. Just be ready when what you want pops up and jump on it. They will pop up when you least expect it, I just grabbed a bare 05 6.0 with 58k miles for 1k about a month ago, still looking for something to put it in, just couldn't pass it up. Good luck!

Joe
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,125 Posts
Since we are checking the teeth on these used horses:
What type of cost delta should be expected for a 6.0 vs a 5.3?
Are there additional requirements (parts) needed for the 6.0 swap?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
717 Posts
Since we are checking the teeth on these used horses:
What type of cost delta should be expected for a 6.0 vs a 5.3?
Are there additional requirements (parts) needed for the 6.0 swap?
The prices seem to be dictated by availability. Cost delta? Probably somewhere between $1500 and $2500 depending on the condition and miles/with trans or not? The 6.0 will always bring the higher price.Like I posted I gave $1k for a bare 6.0 with under 60k miles. As far as differences between 5.3-6.0 they will swap all day with any trans you want. A 6.0 with a 4l60e is pretty much like running a 454 with a T350, if you want a bit more, go with the 4l80e which would be more like a T400. Best thing is they swap pretty easy after you get to know them. Other than that, you can drop a 6.0 where a 5.3 was without any mods whatsoever.

Joe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
The prices seem to be dictated by availability. Cost delta? Probably somewhere between $1500 and $2500 depending on the condition and miles/with trans or not? The 6.0 will always bring the higher price.Like I posted I gave $1k for a bare 6.0 with under 60k miles. As far as differences between 5.3-6.0 they will swap all day with any trans you want. A 6.0 with a 4l60e is pretty much like running a 454 with a T350, if you want a bit more, go with the 4l80e which would be more like a T400. Best thing is they swap pretty easy after you get to know them. Other than that, you can drop a 6.0 where a 5.3 was without any mods whatsoever.

Joe
Thanks to all for the input and verY helpful information. Another question I have is whether it would be worthwhile and cost effective to rebuild a 6.0 out of a 2002 GMC Yukon Denali XL? It’s got 220,000 miles and I currently use it as. Part time tow vehicle otherwise it just sits. What’s involved in rebuilding it? I imagine I’d need to use a different transmission.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,295 Posts
From a hardware standpoint, the 5.3 and 6.0 will interchange easily. The tune / operating system in the PCM might need some adjustment for the difference in cylinder volume or simply put an entirely new tune in that is built for a 6.0 and a 4L80E transmission. That would be the easiest and best course of action for me.

Rick
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
717 Posts
Thanks to all for the input and verY helpful information. Another question I have is whether it would be worthwhile and cost effective to rebuild a 6.0 out of a 2002 GMC Yukon Denali XL? It’s got 220,000 miles and I currently use it as. Part time tow vehicle otherwise it just sits. What’s involved in rebuilding it? I imagine I’d need to use a different transmission.
Probably won't need too much work. I have a 217k mile 5.3 and the oil use is still in line with a new one. My ElCo motor had 130k and I didn't even mess with the rotating assy! A broke in motor with a mild cam will surprise you! The biggest hurdle will be the various sensors that are getting to the point of replacement needed, but I have worked on some of these trucks with 400k and still don't smoke out the exhaust!

Joe
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
717 Posts
Thanks to all for the input and verY helpful information. Another question I have is whether it would be worthwhile and cost effective to rebuild a 6.0 out of a 2002 GMC Yukon Denali XL? It’s got 220,000 miles and I currently use it as. Part time tow vehicle otherwise it just sits. What’s involved in rebuilding it? I imagine I’d need to use a different transmission.
You can use the transmission too.......

Joe
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top