I love my van. But it doesn't like going over 70 on the highway. It also doesn't like to start easily in the winter. It also doesn't like to start for my wife when she needs to drive it. So...I thought about selling it and getting a newer van. Then I thought about just throwing one of those EFI kits on it. Then I thought about swapping in a bigger motor. Then I thought about swapping in a bigger, newer motor. Then things got out of hand quick.
Picked up a 5.3L "LM7" from a 2001 GMC Yukon. Also a 4L60E trans from a 2003 Silverado.
Started tearing down the engine and stripping the wiring
What a mess
Time to remove the things we won't need, add the things we do need, and simplify things.
Ahh, that's better
At this point, nothing "van specific" was done. I thought about not going through with it, selling it all on Craigslist for a few extra bucks, and being content with my 305. But then I snapped out of it. Time to go to work.
A few hours later.
It won't look like this again
The next day I removed her old heart
Now that that's out of the way...
Let's see if this fits... (note that the engine mount towers are attached to the engine and not the crossmember. This makes life so much easier on reinstall)
Told ya it wouldn't be the same..
Now my least favorite part, and entirely new fuel system.
Here's where you can tell I could have spent more time cleaning. But you can see the Speed Engineering shorty headers, Dirty Dingo Engine mounts, and the stock shift linkage connected to the 4L60E.
Fabbed up an intake for it. It's kinda silly looking but it's away from engine heat
Then waxed her up
Then drove her to the exhaust shop, where they agreed my idea was silly but awesome and did this.
Now she's ready for the open road again
Tech details/shopping list/helpful info:
1) I followed the same instructions as you would for a square body truck. Same parts, same wiring, etc. There's a hell of a lot more of those swaps out there than van swaps.
2) LT1swap.com for the PCM programming and wiring instructions.It's not that hard to DIY. This saves about $350 and took me 3-4 hours.
3) Facebook LS swap groups and youtube were big helps.
4) If doing a 4L80E, you'd have to modify your trans crossmember quite a bit.
5) I started this on Memorial Day, and finished it on July 4th. I took my time. I only had an extra hand for the last part of the 305 removal, and for the last part of the LS block install. With some planning and extra people, this could be done in a weekend.
6) Ebay, Amazon, Rock Auto, Autozone. Shop deals, use coupons, etc. I saved a ton by taking the extra time to find deals on the parts I needed. These savings allowed a little more room in the budget for things I didn't really need, but wanted.
Van LS Swap Shopping List
Dirty Dingo Motor Mounts (73-87 Chevy Truck 2WD) $89.24
Speed Engineering Shorty Headers $144.49
BP Auto Fuse Harness $71.75
Air Filter $19.99
Cold Air Intake $33.4
33 gallon Gas Tank $122.79
Gas Tank Straps $17.68
Fuel Sender $71.79
Spectra SP1115 Fuel Pump $33.36
Russell Fuel Lines and fittings $209.26
5.3 LM7 Engine & 4L60E Trans $1503 (already pulled, with warranty, and they helped me load)
PCM Tuning and shipping $88.7
Oil, Coolant, Wire loom, terminals $64.42
heater hose $5
Oil Pressure Gauge Adapter $9
EGR/evap Block off $20
Spark Plugs $19.81
Water Pump $62.08
Camaro Coolant temp sensor $22.07
hose clamps $8.49
Steam Line Tee $5.08
Intake Gaskets $33.88
temp sensor harness $14
Motor Mounts $3.44 (for both!)
Trans Filter Kit $31.78
Trans Fluid $82.54
Oil Filter $3.95
Fuel Filter $9
MAF Sensor $89.97
Transmission Cooler $42.61
Electric fans/relays $53.46
Exhaust System $845 (2.5" mandrel bent tubing from headers to 2.5x3 Y-pipe, to 3" high flow cat to 3" stainless dynomax muffler to 3" exit under running board)
Intake coupler $11.95
Sold 700r4 -$350
Sold 305 -$250
Grand Total $3,343
Was it worth it? HELL YES. It starts easier, has DOUBLE the power, and should get better mpg. Videos coming another time.