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Old 04-15-2019, 06:08 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Texas
Posts: 2
Swapped my engine yesterday!

Hello everyone,

I’m going to introduce myself & my truck here, as well as using this post to show my build progress.

My name is Jon, I’m 27, I moved to Texas last year to take a job with the police department. I was injured & since then have been making the transition into the medical field. In the meantime I needed a project & I've always wanted a classic to wrench on.

I own an ‘03 Mach 1, and while that is fun to work on, there’s not a lot of room under the hood with that DOHC V8.

I talked to my wife & part of the reason we met in the first place was because of Jeeps, and we really share a fondness for classics. We looked at 50’s trucks, some 60’s cars (Falcons, Comets, etc - didn’t want another Mustang because we already have the Mach) and ultimately started looking for 1963-72 C10s.

We found one a few weeks later, it was a ‘64 C10 Stepside model, with a 350 engine & 350 transmission. The gentleman we bought it from actually delivered it right to our front door.

I started to tear into the block, thinking maybe we could get the 350 to run. I was wrong - after I pulled the heads off coolant came pouring out of the rear 2 cylinders. At that point I asked my wife what she thought, “do we buy a new 350 or modernize it with a 5.3?”

She asked me what I wanted to do with the truck, and both of us decided we wanted something with disc brakes, 3 point seat belts, and drivability, so we can take it on road trips & really enjoy it for as long as possible, not just park it in the garage.

So we started the teardown together, we ordered a bunch of new parts - new shocks, springs, new hardware, we built the wood bed ourselves from fence paneling we picked up at Lowe’s, we painted the truck ourselves, freehanded the logo on the door, and pulled seats out of a ‘06 Hyundai Tiburon. We pulled out the door panels, added a layer of foam & wrapped them with George Washington’s flag print.

To add to the interior, we were thinking one night - “who would’ve owned this truck?”

“Ideally a hardworker, a baby-boomer, or a WWII veteran” I had said. With that we printed WWII posters and news articles, and midge-podged them to the roof of the interior.

Next came the actual engine swap. We found a 5.3 at a local yard with about 98k on it, it was pulled from a running 2002 Silverado. I paid $500 for it & the guy delivered it with an extra wiring harness and computer.

“I’ve never done an engine swap before...” I told my wife.

I didn’t realize how easy it was. I wish this was something I could’ve shared with my dad, I really do. He never wanted to teach my how to work on cars, so everything I’ve done has been by myself. But, he would love this - I hope. His first truck was a 50’s Dodge, then a Jeep truck with a 289 Ford in it, then a 1970 F100 with a 351 that he later swapped to a 390. Now he lives 1400 miles from me and I hardly see him. My point is my wife gave me an opportunity that no one else could & I can’t thank her enough for that.

Anyway, I cleaned up the 5.3. It was greasy after 17 years of use. Originally I painted the valve covers gold (don’t ask me why), but then after talking to my wife we said, “why not go old school Chevrolet on this,” and we painted the block Chevrolet orange, polished the heads, and painted the valve covers flat black.

It took us 9 hours, but we yanked out the 350/350 combo & swapped in the 5.3, I’ve never been so happy. I keep going out to look at it.

Now I’m trying to figure out wiring...I have printouts from LT1Swap, but I’m lost as far as ignition, maybe someone can explain if you’ve read this far, I have the engine harness, but I’m guessing I have to purchase a dash harness & a key ignition switch/tumbler? I hope I’m explaining it right.

Thank you for reading, I know it’s a long post. Here’s some pictures.
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Old 04-15-2019, 06:40 PM   #2
Joe Pass
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Windsor, California
Posts: 894
Re: Swapped my engine yesterday!

Can't help you in the LS world,,,i'm still a carb and sbc old school guy.....but your in luck, many talented members on this forum will guide you.....just wanted to say welcome and I can't wait to see your progress
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Old 04-15-2019, 07:16 PM   #3
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Location: brandon, mb
Posts: 199
Re: Swapped my engine yesterday!

Here is a link to the LS swap specific forum.
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:01 PM   #4
1965 Chevy C10, 2005 4.8L/4l60
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: DFW Texas
Posts: 8,101
Re: Swapped my engine yesterday!

When done properly, the only wires you need to connect is, grounds(lots), constant power, power through ignition, fuel pump and speedo VSS

Rebuild of Clyde

69 Aristocrat Lo Liner build

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Old 04-15-2019, 09:25 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Texas
Posts: 2
Re: Swapped my engine yesterday!

Thank you everyone for the advice & welcoming responses, I’m really looking forward to learning more about these trucks as we build ours
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:17 PM   #6
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Location: San Carlos, Ca.
Posts: 2,376
Re: Swapped my engine yesterday!

Pretty sure that your PCM isn't a whole lot different than the black box that is in my '63. Originally I had bought a pre fab harness from Howell that was built for a 4L80E and mounted the PCM under the hood.

I ended up with a manual transmission and rearranging my harness so that the PCM mounted under my glove box. I thought it would be a piece of cake. It actually turned out to be quite tedious but not overly technical.

Clyde 65 is right though. Constant power, ignition power, fuel pump relay and VSS. You may need to get a VSS converter if you are still running the TH350 though.

The fuel system can get a little tricky but just take your time, read up on it and ask questions.

You'll likely need to get the PCM re flashed / programmed as well to remove stuff like the VATS and make adjustments to any emissions equipment that has been changed so that the engine will run.

I think its awesome that your Wife is involved, supportive and actually helping on the build!

Im not really known for being funny, but if I had asked my Wife to help me when I built / swapped my FI big block a few years ago, I can say with certainty that she would still be laughing hysterically. Even 3 years after I was finished

Keep us posted on the build and keep asking questions!


'63 k15 long step
Vortec 7.4 - L29 Blackbear tune, Five 0 Motorsports injectors, Chris Straub Cam, NV4500, divorced 205
52" front and 63" rear spring swap
D44 / 14bff - disc axles
Milemarker 9K and 10.5K hydraulic winches

63" & B52 Spring Install

NV4500 Reverse Build Thread

L29 - 7.4 Vortec Build
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