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Old 02-25-2021, 05:53 PM   #1
amberkalvin
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1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

Okay as exciting as that title is, its finally happening. I'm getting some LS/LT swap going on in my life. Always wanted to swap something but never had the time or money.

In doing all of the research I have finally decided on an L83 out of a 2015 Silverado. A little more money up front and cost involved in the swap, but it's the latest and greatest unless we're talking that E-Rod thing that GM came out with and I am not doing that.

This is where we'll start. I picked up this suburban making a terrible knocking noise only when you start it or shut it off. It also had a terrible drivability issue that turned out to be a simple fuel pump problem. It's a TBI 454 TH400 truck. Knowing exactly what that sound was upon checking the truck out I made the dude an offer and I was off. You know what that sound is, I'm sure most of you on there are much smarter than I am but if you guessed the torque converter bolts you'd be right. So get it running and driving great and ac all fixed now I'm driving it for 6 months and boom, I sell my K5 which is going to fund this whole ordeal.

Now, on to the pics of the truck:










My daughter approves


So does the wife


Various other photos of the truck the day I bought it






























Don't mind my messy garage. It's a whole ordeal to keep it clean enough to use. And that 5.3 In the back you see here is for a buddy's Regal we're doing a Turbo set up on.


Now tossing around the idea of a LS, I was truly thinking 6.2 was the way I wanted to go, but just got so excited about the LT engines and their performance for price and couldn't resist. I also watched a couple YouTube videos on the differences between the LS and the LT and there's pretty much nothing the same on the two motors. But if I'm going to be doing a swap and seeking performance and fuel economy I might as well shoot for the stars.

Richard holdener has a great LT 5.3 dyno video up and it kinda sold me. So engine should be here in the next couple weeks. gotta order some brackets and what not to make it work, anyone have any tips or recommendations? I'm leaning toward PSI conversion for the harness and PCM TCM tuning and dirty dingo for motor mounts and all the bracket stuff. Holley oil pan, aeromotive fuel pump, blah blah blah.

I promise this build won't be as extravagant as the beautiful trucks I see on here so please don't get your hopes up but it will be successful and I do want it to look better than an average swap.
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Old 03-03-2021, 05:50 AM   #2
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

That's a neat truck and quite clean. It appears that it came with some children, I hope you're prepared for that. It would be cool if you did a build thread, it would be fun to follow along. Don't worry that it's not as extravagant as some of the other builds. Down to earth is good too.
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Old 03-04-2021, 01:10 AM   #3
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

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That's a neat truck and quite clean. It appears that it came with some children, I hope you're prepared for that. It would be cool if you did a build thread, it would be fun to follow along. Don't worry that it's not as extravagant as some of the other builds. Down to earth is good too.
Yeah. Thanks. I'll be documenting this for sure. Made some progress today actually. Get it posted soon.
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Old 03-04-2021, 01:20 AM   #4
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

Decided to go ahead and tear a perfectly running truck apart today. No turning back now.




















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Old 03-05-2021, 11:49 PM   #5
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

Got to work cleaning the engine bay some. Really just got the driver's side so far.



Here you can see the difference before and after just getting the dirt by the cowl area.



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Old 03-06-2021, 11:23 AM   #6
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

Couple pics from cleaning up the passenger side










On to the wiring. Should be ez enough. Get rid of all the computer stuff and just keep what I need. Really all I need to keep is the fuel pump relay, alternator stuff, starter wires, and ect sensor and oil sending unit.

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Old 03-08-2021, 05:36 PM   #7
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

Well some parts showed up. No motor or tranny yet. It's held over in Ohio. Stupid snow. I don't think I'll be happy with all the bright aluminum stuff so I plan on painting everything before it goes on.

Here's the water pump







It matches the dirty dingo mounts pretty well.

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Old 03-11-2021, 02:17 AM   #8
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build







yaaaay it came





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Old 03-13-2021, 10:42 PM   #9
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

Started cleaning the trans some. Gotta take the pan apart so I can send it the tcm. Just a couple pics.

Little before and after of the side of the case






Inside the pan.


Let me point out real quick that the video on youtube showing how to remove your tcm from psi conversions listed the wrong bolt to remove. Small oversight but I've never done it before and it threw me through a loop. Just in case someone else watches the same video doing the same thing I did, here is their video and diagram and a corrected one I threw together.

https://youtu.be/rlH7EQ9pdok

Their diagram


Corrected
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Old 03-31-2021, 09:29 PM   #10
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build













Carolina squat anybody?










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Old 04-01-2021, 03:01 AM   #11
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

That's nice work. A lot of good progress.
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Old 04-19-2021, 12:31 AM   #12
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

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Originally Posted by LT7A View Post
That's nice work. A lot of good progress.
Thanks. Slowly but surely.
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Old 04-19-2021, 12:45 AM   #13
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

Sorry I'm doing all this from my phone and now the photos are huge....



















Bought the factory 16x1.5mm to an adapter and the 14x1.5mm an adapter to make it all an stuff.





Tucked out of the way for now.



How it's currently sitting. Waiting for psi to get it together. They told me it would be a two week turn around for a wiring harness and ecm tcm flash. It's been a month. I also had to send one of the dirty dingo brackets back as they missed a counter sink on one hole. They did send me a return label and got it back to me quite fast.

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Old 04-29-2021, 11:30 AM   #14
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

I'm going to redo this last post now that I'm at a PC, if an admin could delete that last post, it hurts my mind.











I wasn't happy with the way the Mount was working out for the transmission so I ordered one. For like $80 you can't beat it. It's from trans adapt.











Coils and Coil Covers Installed


Trans Cooler Installed


Quickly tried to see if I liked the OEM air cleaner, and NO I DO NOT.


How it looks right now, buttoning up a few more things. We're down to tightening bolts and lines and making sure everything is good. Fluids all added, TCM installed, Serpentine belt is on.


Air cleaner looks great


The fans I decided to go with fit absolutely perfect. It's a GM part number but here is the link on Amazon. Even if I was just doing an electric fan upgrade I would go this route.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1









Feel free to give some criticism or feed back.
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Old 05-02-2021, 05:30 PM   #15
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

Looking pretty dialed in. You're using some dark braided stainless lines and black connectors. Looks like they are working pretty well, do you like them? Who is the manufacturer?
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Old 05-03-2021, 10:06 AM   #16
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

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Looking pretty dialed in. You're using some dark braided stainless lines and black connectors. Looks like they are working pretty well, do you like them? Who is the manufacturer?
Hey Thanks! Yeah I just got it running the other day and have a couple odds and ends but will more than likely be driving it this weekend.

This is the link to the hose and AN kit I bought.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I am very impressed really. Surprisingly, all of the fittings are just finger tight but none of them have leaked yet. I still gotta go back and tighten them all up.
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Old 05-03-2021, 04:50 PM   #17
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

Thanks for the info, and tell us about the first drive!
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:55 AM   #18
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

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Thanks for the info, and tell us about the first drive!
I will for sure. Got a couple things to button up. In all the excitement of trying to get it put back together I messed up one of my U-joints so I moved on to doing some wiring. Gotta pick up another U-Joint tonight then driveshaft will be in. Surprisingly the 1350 32 spline yoke I ordered is going to work perfectly and I didn't even need a conversion joint.

Here's a couple vids:

Just the engine running
https://youtu.be/1InSVnPupOk

Quick little overview of where I was the other night. I've gotten a little more done since then.
https://youtu.be/nPSQa8HvGTk
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Old 05-06-2021, 11:06 AM   #19
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

Well, I have a bit of upsetting news. Fully ready to drive the vehicle yesterday I took my time to make sure trans fluid was topped off (which I think it was slightly overfilled as it never actually went down after initial 5 or 6 quarts) and trans shifter linkage was working perfectly before giving it a go and what do you know, no dice.

No movement, no noise, no clunk, no engagement, nothing. Now I know when you remove and install the TCM you have to carefully align the PRNDL switch and valve rod with the shift linkage. Fully confused I took it apart double checking everything to ensure I didn't mess anything up. I have had it correct every time I've removed the TCM which is 3 times now to ensure it wasn't something I was doing wrong, I know it had nothing to do with the Torque converter install as I never removed the torque converter and it was fully seated before I bolted trans back to engine and spun freely.

Long story short, the pump isn't working for whatever reason. Fill up fluid, run through gears and nothing. Fluid doesn't go down, nothing happens.

Talked to the place that sold me the engine and trans and they are going to work with me once I have a proper diagnosis from a transmission shop to get a replacement and or reimbursement.

Just sucks because I was totally driving this thing yesterday in my mind. Looks like we're going to be another few weeks away. Cars and Coffee was this Saturday too, better luck next time I guess.
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Old 05-06-2021, 12:48 PM   #20
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

What happened to the old engine and trans?
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Old 05-06-2021, 01:07 PM   #21
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

Am I seeing heater hose going between the valve covers as breathers?
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Old 05-06-2021, 04:19 PM   #22
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

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What happened to the old engine and trans?
The old engine and trans is sitting in my garage waiting to be transplanted in to an unsuspecting project. Not sure what that is yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwmech View Post
Am I seeing heater hose going between the valve covers as breathers?
And they run to the air intake, not to each other, just had them out of the way while I was doing something else.
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Old 05-07-2021, 03:41 AM   #23
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Re: 1989 Suburban 2500 Full L83 6L80 build

Oh man, that's a huge let down. I would have been champing at the bit, just like you were. Good diagnosis work though. And smart of you to prep the sellers that there is an issue that will need to be addressed. I hope you can make it all work out to the good.
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