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Old 11-06-2018, 01:32 PM   #1
Big Daddy Bear
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Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

Howdy,

Current project is temporarily sidelined while I deal with the results of someone's stupidity.

On Friday, my 2002 Tahoe was backed into while in line at the gas pumps. My insurance is processing the claim and I am thinking they will total it most likely.

Either way, I am planning on keeping it and probably getting a parts rig or the specific parts from craigslist or the local wrecking yards and replacing the damaged sheet metal myself as there was no mechanical damage.

So, if I can find a decent condition parts truck, Tahoe or Suburban, what would be the best year/engine combo to try and find? Or more importantly avoid?

I am finding several affordable 1988-98 rigs, in various running and or driving condition. If there is a particular engine in this group, I wouldn't mind picking up another rig that I can use for a future project, as I can always find the sheet metal pieces I need here and there.

My thoughts are to salvage the additional engine and anything else that I can later use in a project, then part out and scrap the left overs.

I honestly do not have any real knowledge about the LS/LT/Vortec engines, which to seek out or avoid and reading various pages and forums, get and ranges of answers...so I figured I would post the question directly here, and see what folks have to say.

Thanks!!
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Old 11-06-2018, 04:44 PM   #2
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

if it was me, I would stick with 1996-1999 year group. This had the L31 Vortec 5.7l, essentially the last go around for the first generation small block 350. 1996 was also the first year of the Vortec motor. They still had the 454, diesel, and V6s in this year group too.

Prior to 1996, you had non-Vortec 350s, 305s, V-6s, 454s and diesels. The fuel delivery was different for these 350s and can be tricky to work with. I stay away from the 1995s and below because of the engine choices, as well as the interior dash design.

However, the L31 is rated at 255hp and is a good motor. You can pick up brand new long blocks from dealerships ranging from $1700-2600, with 3yr/36,000 mile warranties for the 2 bolt main; and I believe 90 day warranties for the 4 bolt main. Keep in mind though that GM is no longer making the L31, so dealerships are clearing inventory. L31s deliver fuel via what they call spider injectors. People complain all the time about them, but they are reliable for the most part.

700r4 is a non computer controlled transmission that was very popular with these trucks. But 4L80s did come out in 1992 and can be found on the 3/4 ton trucks and up. You will need a computer for the 4L80.

LS swaps can be done to these trucks, but someone with no knowledge of the swap would be overwhelmed and frustrated.
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Old 11-06-2018, 06:10 PM   #3
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

Thank you, appreciate the well infomative reply!
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:22 AM   #4
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EVRLET View Post
if it was me, I would stick with 1996-1999 year group. This had the L31 Vortec 5.7l, essentially the last go around for the first generation small block 350. 1996 was also the first year of the Vortec motor. They still had the 454, diesel, and V6s in this year group too.

Prior to 1996, you had non-Vortec 350s, 305s, V-6s, 454s and diesels. The fuel delivery was different for these 350s and can be tricky to work with. I stay away from the 1995s and below because of the engine choices, as well as the interior dash design.

However, the L31 is rated at 255hp and is a good motor. You can pick up brand new long blocks from dealerships ranging from $1700-2600, with 3yr/36,000 mile warranties for the 2 bolt main; and I believe 90 day warranties for the 4 bolt main. Keep in mind though that GM is no longer making the L31, so dealerships are clearing inventory. L31s deliver fuel via what they call spider injectors. People complain all the time about them, but they are reliable for the most part.

700r4 is a non computer controlled transmission that was very popular with these trucks. But 4L80s did come out in 1992 and can be found on the 3/4 ton trucks and up. You will need a computer for the 4L80.

LS swaps can be done to these trucks, but someone with no knowledge of the swap would be overwhelmed and frustrated.
If professionally installed into a correct application, the warranty for the GM crate engine in 3 years, 100,000 miles. If not, it's just 12 month, 12,000 miles.

The 4L80E was introduced for the 1991 model year.

The 4L60E was introduced for the 1993 model year.



I like the vortec engines. I've had 2 vortec 350s and 2 vortec 454s. I also like the 95+ interiors.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:41 PM   #5
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

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Keep in mind though that GM is no longer making the L31, so dealerships are clearing inventory.
Are you sure? It is still listed on their web site.
https://www.gmperformancemotor.com/parts/12681432.html

Last edited by Kudzupatch; 11-08-2018 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:01 AM   #6
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

When I bought two L31s, the dealership said GM stopped producing this crate engine and will sell off remaining inventory. That doesnít say how much inventory they have.

Are you sure about the warranty. Iíll have to dig up the paperwork because it did say 3/36000 regardless of who put it in. The only difference in the warranty was the 2 bolt vs 4 bolt.
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Old 11-08-2018, 07:48 AM   #7
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

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Originally Posted by EVRLET View Post
When I bought two L31s, the dealership said GM stopped producing this crate engine and will sell off remaining inventory. That doesnít say how much inventory they have.

Are you sure about the warranty. Iíll have to dig up the paperwork because it did say 3/36000 regardless of who put it in. The only difference in the warranty was the 2 bolt vs 4 bolt.
Here is the warranty info. Its been this way for the last 2 years. It may have been different before then.

The first chart on the second page shows the info.

https://www.mycertifiedservice.com/c...Parts-2018.pdf
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Old 11-08-2018, 02:45 PM   #8
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

Thanks for the warranty info. Since it was a direct replacement 3/100k. Good to know
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Old 11-12-2018, 12:32 AM   #9
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

The high speed switch for the heater, and the stepper motor in the dash, are fire hazards in a lot of trucks after they changed the heater console to center mounted in the dash. The stepper motor melted while I was driving and started smoking out of my dash in a 95 burb I had. Fixed that and later the heater switch actually started a small elec fire on the back of the console. No replacements so I went through about 50 trucks at wrecking yards, and I literally found 2 switches that didn't show signs of melted housings. Never owned a 97+ so I can't speak for those trucks.
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Old 11-12-2018, 12:51 AM   #10
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

Thanks for all the replies, I have a couple parts rigs located, now just waiting the insurance co.

Appreciate all the info!!
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:01 PM   #11
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

Help me help you. By your first couple sentances, it sounds like your NBS tahoe is hurt, and you want to find a part truck to rebuild it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Daddy Bear View Post
Howdy,

Current project is temporarily sidelined while I deal with the results of someone's stupidity.

On Friday, my 2002 Tahoe was backed into while in line at the gas pumps. My insurance is processing the claim and I am thinking they will total it most likely.

Either way, I am planning on keeping it and probably getting a parts rig or the specific parts from craigslist or the local wrecking yards and replacing the damaged sheet metal myself as there was no mechanical damage.
But then you ask this,
Quote:
So, if I can find a decent condition parts truck, Tahoe or Suburban, what would be the best year/engine combo to try and find? Or more importantly avoid?
and post in the OBS forum where all the trucks will have a completely different style of engine compared to the LS in your current NBS truck.

So, are you trying to rebuild your current truck, buy a new project of a different body style and put your current trucks engine into, or something else? Because the trucks in this forum sub group will not help you fix your current truck at all.
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:10 PM   #12
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

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if it was me, I would stick with 1996-1999 year group. This had the L31 Vortec 5.7l, essentially the last go around for the first generation small block 350.
Huh? The 2002 Tahoe had a Vortec 5300 L59 engine, commonly referred to as an LS series engine. Why take a step backwards to the L31 and its crack-prone Vortec heads?
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:31 PM   #13
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

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Help me help you. By your first couple sentances, it sounds like your NBS tahoe is hurt, and you want to find a part truck to rebuild it.

But then you ask this,

and post in the OBS forum where all the trucks will have a completely different style of engine compared to the LS in your current NBS truck.

So, are you trying to rebuild your current truck, buy a new project of a different body style and put your current trucks engine into, or something else? Because the trucks in this forum sub group will not help you fix your current truck at all.

Correct, the Tahoe was hit and sustained body damage only.

I will be getting enough cash that I can simply buy the sheetmetal it needs with plenty left to maybe pick-up another rig.

I posted because I was not necessarily looking for any particular year or style, hence my question about which "engine" would be good to look for or to avoid.

I appologize for causing all the confusion with what I though was a simple question...
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:40 PM   #14
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

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I appologize for causing all the confusion with what I though was a simple question...
No apology needed, I was just confused.
I would go with a 96+ with the vortec 5.7L. Actually make that 97+, then you get the 2pc 4L60e that comes in all the later year trucks although thats not huge deal really.
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:44 PM   #15
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

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Huh? The 2002 Tahoe had a Vortec 5300 L59 engine, commonly referred to as an LS series engine. Why take a step backwards to the L31 and its crack-prone Vortec heads?
No mechanical damage to the Tahoe, so am not changing anything. Never said I was changing anything, I was just asking about information on enigines in the different generations...hence the title of this thread.

With the insurance payout, I can get all the necessary sheetmetal parts and have some left that I was thinking about putting into a parts rig and simply wanted to know if there were certain years/engines thst were worth looking for or or best avoided.

Again, I appologize for causing all the apparent confusion with what I thought was a simple engine question.
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:47 PM   #16
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

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No apology needed, I was just confused.
I would go with a 96+ with the vortec 5.7L. Actually make that 97+, then you get the 2pc 4L60e that comes in all the later year trucks although thats not huge deal really.
Thanks!
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:44 PM   #17
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Re: Engine question, which to look for & which to avoid?

Sorry, I didn't realize you are considering different generation engines. But if you're starting with a 2002 chassis, it would have the wiring harness, motor mounts, exhaust, fuel system, etc. for a Vortec 5300 L59. Conversely, If it's a late 90s Tahoe chassis, those components would be for a L31. And they are night and day different.
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