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Old 09-15-2018, 02:53 AM   #1
kthelen
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TBI 350 to TBI 454 swap... worth it?

I've got a '92 K2500 that's in great shape - straight body, no rust, relatively low miles, just nice in general.

What's not nice about it? The 350. Especially when towing a 6000-7000lb trailer, it can hardly get out of its own way.

Off the top of my head, I can't say what gears it has. But I doubt changing them would be sufficient to make the sort of difference I'm looking for. I need torque!

A complete 454 with 90K miles, pulled from a '95 C/K pickup, recently came up for sale near me. I can have it (with all the accessories, flexplate, manifolds, etc) for $700. Not exactly the deal of the year, but it sounded like a reasonable enough price to me. Add a radiator and new exhaust, and that should be all the big-ticket items.

As I understand it, installing a TBI 454 in place of a TBI 350 is pretty trivial... no major wiring surgery (aside from perhaps extending some of the sensor wires to reach their new locations) and should bolt up without issue. Seems easy. For this job, easy would be good. I'd rather focus my time and effort on the things this truck tows, than have the truck become my main project for an extended period of time.

What's my hesitation, then? The fact that everybody seems to whine about how strangled this generation of 454 is. 230 horsepower, low compression, crappy top end... everything - yadda yadda.

But I'm not looking to win races. I just want something that can keep a few tons of trailer moving uphill/into the wind, without making a fool of itself, or me!

For those who've owned/driven/hauled with trucks so equipped: Given my intentions (towing), would you consider this swap to be worth the trouble?


--Keith

Last edited by kthelen; 09-15-2018 at 03:05 AM.
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Old 09-15-2018, 04:16 AM   #2
Mr_Rich
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Re: TBI 350 to TBI 454 swap... worth it?

7.4L parts are much rarer and more expensive that 5.7L parts. Keep that in mind if you want to go that route. You'll find a lot of parts aren't available if you have a need for them.
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Old 09-15-2018, 08:40 AM   #3
61_FL_Apache
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Re: TBI 350 to TBI 454 swap... worth it?

The 7.4 has been around forever and parts are readily available. I have an 91 RV with the 7.4 TBI and it has plenty of power. Its rated stock at 230HP. I pull a 4000# car behind it with no issues.
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Old 09-16-2018, 12:19 AM   #4
Mr_Rich
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Re: TBI 350 to TBI 454 swap... worth it?

I'll be more specific. On the mid to late '90's 7.4L trucks I've found the parts to be rare or unavailable and especially for the MPFI 7.4L engines and the peripherals.
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1989 K1500 Chev. EC
Original owner; some of the aftermarket parts I've installed are Borla headers, Hypertech chip, Edelbrock water pump, and a Stillen rear disc brake conversion kit.
2009 Hummer H3T 3.7L 5M.
1997 K2500 Chev. EC 7.4L/ 4L80E
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Old 09-21-2018, 07:53 PM   #5
Tom
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Re: TBI 350 to TBI 454 swap... worth it?

The choked top end doesn't matter when your doing 4000rpm or lower towing. Go for it.
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