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Old 03-09-2019, 09:23 AM   #1
cerial
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87 5.3 swap advise.

I have a 87 V10 with a tired 5.7,700r4,208, 10,10 3.42 that I want to swap the entire drive train on.

Had the thing almost a year just doing weekend projects on it while driving it. What I have done so far besides just refreshing the stock stuff to keep the engine reliable, wheels turning, and the thing stopping proper is to install a different fuel tank loosing the side tanks for a in cab eec 72 tank. Build a flatbed with a headache bar which acts to aid in protecting the tank in the event of a side hit or roll and installed a much larger new radiator I had laying around when I installed a block heater which the truck likes on those mornings when it is in the negatives.

The tank sits in the cab behind the rear bench and has 3 ports that gravity feed to a Walboro pump that goes up to the tbi regulator then back to the return(the old 3/8 carb feed line) pushing the excessive fuel back into the tank. I am using a combination of green stripe high pressure lines and steel brake line for fuel lines. I would like to re use this fuel system just adding some additional green stripe lines and LS barb (push to connect) fittings to feed the rails.


The axles and suspension is being saved for later at this point.


I have a 02 Silverado 5.3 which I will be mating to a 2wd sm465 then running that to a divorced 3 speed brownie (1.52, 1/1, .72/1)married to a 10 spline np205. The brownie will be mainly for splitting the sm465 gears and some overdrive.

Now I am not a "lifted" truck kind of guy. I like my rides low and easy to get into. My trucks are work trucks not toys. I want a flat belly with everything possible above the rails and simply trimming things a bit to run 33-35" tires.
The floor is far past gone on this. The driver supports(not just the floor panel)the actual supports that hold up the cab are to the point where they are rusted and cracked over the rails. I knew what I wanted to be do from the start which involved cutting into the back of the cab and would require building a floor so I was ok with the excessive rust. I am also building some light weight removable doors for this.
When I build the entire floor, partial firewall, and doors. I want to raise the engine transmission and such into the cab so the belly of this is flat. The 205 will be clocked flat of course.
It is not a sports car. I drive it and use it like a old street driven wood truck. I am ok with having a bit higher gravity if that keeps things easy to work on and worry free if I am going through the woods rubbing the belly against some logs.

Enough rambling back to the engine.


I am looking at flipping the truck manifolds forward and up then running the exhaust 180 going back to the firewall and down the outside of the side of rails. While I know the passenger side will work is there any issue with the drivers side hitting anything such as the alternator bracket or anything?

I am going to move the heat sink coils on top of the intake using the old engine cover mounts as a bracket mount and just run longer msd wires ontop the bell and under the manifolds.


This is what I am thinking for mounts;


The brownie and 205 will be married bolted to a skid plate that is set up against the bottom of the rails with 4, 1/2" rubber isolators to deaden vibration. I am using the same 1/2" isolators on the bed, cab and front clip. Keep things nice and simple.

The sm465 will use the factory mount hard mounted to a cross bar that bolts to the bottom of the rails with the same 1/2" rubber isolators.

For the engine mounts I am thinking front plate that sits atop the rails with 1/2" rubber isolators.
That should keep things easy as far as adjusting the engine height and location as well as pulling the engine easily for clutch changes or general maintenance such as a oil pan gasket.

That being said I have not seen any LS square bodies with a front plate so is there a horrible downside? I am using a steel bell and there will be 2 mounts at the front of the engine and another 2 at the rear of the transmission. I will get a Lakewood knock off steel bell later that works with the factory starter. I am keeping this engine basically in stock form around 280 ft/lbs and don't see a need for it to make anything more then 330ft/lbs. I don't want to build a ground up engine. I like the the idea of swapping a bad long block in for a used "better" long block in mind. Just bolting the stuff up making a weekend thing out of it. As far as mounts go will a front plate be alright with say 330 ft/lbs?
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Last edited by cerial; 03-09-2019 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 03-09-2019, 10:49 AM   #2
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Re: 87 5.3 swap advise.

Forgot to mention the brackets. And napa bolt for the balancer.

NAPA as P/N 2801-225

Just looking at having the timing cover and acessory brackets milled 1/4" and having a deeper water pump pulley made letting me retain the cheap truck stuff while keeping everything aligned.

Well unless a motorplate is going to do something like stress the front of that frame like nuts.

Looking at using these mounting supports;

https://www.amazon.com/Motor-Plate-S...0XQ4WCGWKC8Y1K

Then this 1/4" plate

https://www.amazon.com/Front-Engine-...JZJDF8BAGDEHKG
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Old 03-10-2019, 11:09 PM   #3
Zoomad75
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Re: 87 5.3 swap advise.

I get what the plan is but I have to think you are kind of reinventing the wheel with the engine mount plate. It will complicate everything you are trying to do. You can get adjustable engine conversion mounts for the same price or less on amazon than the plate and support parts.

I used Dirty Dingo slider mounts on mine and haven't had an issue with them in 3 years of use. I kept mine in the stock location, but you could slide it forward almost an inch to fit your trans/t-case combo.

As far as exhaust goes, again the way you are planning would be great if you were planning on running a turbo. Many a cheap turbo installs start with flipped and swapped side to side manifolds. However if a turbo isn't in the plan stick with the truck manifolds and put them on the right way. Mine cleared the frame without issue in the stock location. Move the engine forward and the stock manifolds might require a slight trim of the top lip of the frame to clear.

I like the idea of the brownie to split the gears. The 465 needs help in that dept.

Don't take this as a slam on your idea. It's just that the LS swap is so mainstream now why not take advantage of the ton of products to facilitate it? No fiddling with the front accessory drive to fit with the engine plate and no issues having to seal both sides of the motor plate to the water pump and block. Taking the engine out with the stock style mounts would probably no harder than pulling the small block that is in the truck now vs dealing with the engine plate on the way out hitting everything on the way.
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Old 03-11-2019, 12:47 PM   #4
cerial
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Re: 87 5.3 swap advise.

This truck is a collection of custom things i thought of doing but did not do on other rides.

Front plate is out. To much messing around with acessories. Thought of dingo from the start just seen a few threads saying the quality of 73-87 was junk. I would like the engine a bit higher so that intake is 2 or so under the hood.

I do want both manifolds forward. I want fender well exhaust. Side tanks were pulled and bed was designed with them in mind. Keeps the slave clear of exhaust, starter cool, and fuel lines on the otherside of the frame rail.
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Old 03-11-2019, 01:57 PM   #5
sweetk30
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Re: 87 5.3 swap advise.

i dealt with dirty dingo back in the day what a real A-HOLE he was . cold welds on his mounts and argued with me . shortly after i noticed he changed his design from the older setup to he didnt have to weld anymore . he even tried to buy my silence on his crap service / products but the 2nd set of mounts was still crap .

there is a lot of other good companys to use these days for ls stuff . look around .
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Old 03-11-2019, 04:18 PM   #6
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Re: 87 5.3 swap advise.

Think I have the mounts to raise the engine figured out.

https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Speed...saAgZLEALw_wcB



I should be able to make a 1/4 plate that bolts to the factory cross member welding the above mounts with gussets to that. Then just pull the 2 poly bolts and lift the engine and 2wd sm465 (with a slip yoke output) out the truck leaving the divorced brownie/205 in place. I will just need to align the splines when installing it.


Working on the 205 to brownie next few weeks then will just unbolt that drivers manifold to see what needs to move on that alternator. If I need to make a fixed bracket it is not a issue.
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:09 PM   #7
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Re: 87 5.3 swap advise.

I guess I got a good set of the later dingos... Even considering the wheeling I've done with it over the last 3 years with poly mounts the engine is exactly where we bolted it in at.

If you want fender-well exhaust go for it. I haven't seen anybody else go that way before so it's going to be unique for sure.
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