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Old 05-29-2014, 09:43 PM   #1
Nitis
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Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

Ok how can I get the best bang for my buck!

The crate engine from jegs looks like a great deal but I think I can do a little better for not a whole lot more money. Everyone says that just adding vortec heads adds like 50 hp. Now I'm not a gear head by any means but with a little direction I can follow through.

So aside from finding a low mileage one which probably is hard to do why or why not get a 96-2000 vortec 5.7 and swap the intake?

If I do a non vortec engine and some how come up with vortec heads do the bolt right on? Or need a special intake?



No disrespect to those $1300 crate motors I know it's a step up from my old tired motor but if I can do just a little but better for not too much more cash I want to.

This is for my 72 k10 with th350.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:55 PM   #2
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

You really cant beat the crate motors, basically you get a complete rebuild or new engine with a solid warranty. If you rebuid yours, you can do it cheaper but, you will be running this here and that there and putting this on it and painting this....if you have that kind of time and available resources, I say go for it that way. Youll have less money in it but more time in the build.

A crate will get you back on the road quicker and with potentially less "WTH?" kind of stuff.

If your real adventurous, go with an LS swap, you cant beat the availalbe power and reliability. yes, I am biased but who wouldnt be?

Good luck however you do it!
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:56 PM   #3
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

5.3 Ls engine. Will make an honest 350hp with nothing but a computer tune. Not a terribly difficult swap and if you shop around carefully the engine ,accessories ,wiring and computer can be had at a good price. The Ls engines will outlast any of the original small blocks up to and including the vortec.
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Old 05-29-2014, 10:49 PM   #4
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

I kinda want an LS but but don't want to put out the effort. And for the prices they want around my area it's not really worth it. Plus being 4x4 I have to swap out the cross member and lift all at once

Before I got the truck it got a brand new turbo350 so it's kind of hard to go back on that and go to the LS with the 4l60e

Love the idea of the 260 hp crate but think I can do a little better. Could I just throw vortec heads on it or would that be counter productive?
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Old 05-29-2014, 10:59 PM   #5
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

It costs 35 bucks to bolt the ls engine to the th350. You don't have to use an electronic trans with an ls engine.

You would be much farther ahead if you were to just get a complete engine with vortec heads in the first place. It will have a roller cam. and be a lot more reliable. I would completely skip the idea of the 1st generation flat tappet cam crate engine.
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:06 PM   #6
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

So $35 adapter plus a new crossmember?

Guess I never thought about running the LS with the th350
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:22 AM   #7
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

You don't have to install a new crossmember. You should be able to get away with just a set of engine mount adapter plates.

While I am a fan of the L31 Vortec 350's, the LSx engines are hard to beat.

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So $35 adapter plus a new crossmember?

Guess I never thought about running the LS with the th350
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:32 AM   #8
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

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You don't have to install a new crossmember. You should be able to get away with just a set of engine mount adapter plates.

While I am a fan of the L31 Vortec 350's, the LSx engines are hard to beat.
Hmm ok

I was under the impression it wouldn't fit. Any links to parts? Maybe it will fit but it could require special exhaust manifolds like the ss trailblazers? And isn't the front pumpkin pretty close?
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Old 05-30-2014, 08:04 AM   #9
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

TBSS exhaust manifolds are cheap, you can use some that Hooker puts out, just like them and flow the same.

Call a wrecking yard around you, ask for the price for a complete pull out, harness, accessories and computer ( need to get the pedal if it is drive by wire). Do not be scared of one with 100K miles, as long as you look at it and it doesnt look abused you will be fine. The LS motors will go past 300k miles easy.

In my neck of the woods, you can get a 5.3 like I said above for under $1K.

Oh and here is a supporting vendor with LSx engines for sale.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=614503

"Our Ready-To-Run engine line all ship with the following:

-Brand new harness, not a reworked used harness.
-Full set of engine accessories.
-Pre-Flashed computer.
-Mass airflow sensor
-Drive-by-wire pedal and tac, if equipped.
-Our 1 YEAR warranty!"





you cant beat this price for everything you would need, except the motor mount plates and the advanced adapters trans adapter.

Good luck!
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Old 05-30-2014, 02:15 PM   #10
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

I've been going through the engine jail since January. Many unanticipated issues and a lot of money spent.

If I had to do it over again, I'd buy the 290 HP crate engine and call it done.
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Old 05-30-2014, 03:15 PM   #11
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

Vortec heads aren't gonna net 50 more HP. They are just stock heads that flow very well for mild builds.

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Old 05-31-2014, 01:08 PM   #12
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

If you do the junkyard Vortec be careful around 1/2 in pick ups are 305's, but 100% are 350's in Suburbans. At least from the factory. While you at the junkyard look for any of the LT1 or L99 series engines, and pull its cam. While not a power house cam it is a good shot bigger then the stock Vortec cam, and works with the factory springs.

If you wanna go bigger or use ratio roller rockers you'll need to step up to beehive springs from comp cams, and that will get you over .500 valve lift or .520. Depending on who you want to believe. Either way it is drop in, and no machine work required.

Also grab the whole serpentine assembly it supposedly is good for a few free horse power over V belts, and gives you a higher amp alternator.

Not to bag on a $1300 dollar crate motor, but with today's lack of zinc in the oil I personally would avoid one if I had extra money or time on my side. The lack of zinc can kill flat tappet cams quite readily. I am not sure it is that prevalent, but I do know a few people affected by it. Also when I was pulling parts off my C20's engine before I sold it the cam had severe wear going on. The engine was whipped its whole life so I am not sure it was all lack of zinc. Also a retro fit roller cam is around $750.

Good luck with your build.
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Old 10-06-2017, 09:58 AM   #13
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

Which direction did you end up going with?
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Old 10-06-2017, 02:23 PM   #14
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

Hope after 3 years would have it figured out
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Old 10-07-2017, 01:02 PM   #15
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

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Hope after 3 years would have it figured out
Yeah, I wish people would post back with what they did and the results.
He may have posted what he did somewhere else in the forums.
I'm thinking of what would be the balance between simplicity, cost, and reliability.
Looking at these two posts I've quoted below, I'm wondering if a L31 Vortec 350 would be the better option.
Which would be the more 'Bang for the Buck' to upgrade a 60-72 C10.
Sure, a Gen 1 would be the cheapest, but does the advantages of the L31 weigh against the cost. I'm pretty sure an LS would be a lot more involved in time and cost.


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While I am a fan of the L31 Vortec 350's, the LSx engines are hard to beat.
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Originally Posted by cableguy0 View Post
You would be much farther ahead if you were to just get a complete engine with vortec heads in the first place. It will have a roller cam. and be a lot more reliable. I would completely skip the idea of the 1st generation flat tappet cam crate engine.
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Old 10-15-2017, 07:22 PM   #16
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

I haven't done anything yet actually parked the truck a little over a year ago as I need to rebuild the front suspension as its not safe to drive right now plus I bought a brand new truck and just remodeled our kitchen so cash is sparse now mama wants a pool keep pushing the old girl to the back burner
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Old 10-16-2017, 09:19 AM   #17
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

Thanks for the update.
I'm mainly after mpg.
From my research, the biggest gains are from proper gearing.
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:41 PM   #18
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

We have found GM crate engines direct from GM to be the best deal. The prices have gone up over the past year for some reason. I just replaced my 99 Tahoe engine with one.
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Old 10-16-2017, 11:43 PM   #19
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Re: Crate engine? Junkyard vortec? Or something else

Also important is an engine that is not working hard to move a heavy truck and providing gearing such that the engine is operating in it's efficient rpm range.

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Thanks for the update.
I'm mainly after mpg.
From my research, the biggest gains are from proper gearing.
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