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2002 express
#761331 May 24th 2020 10:32 am
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Mr87 Offline OP
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So I just bought a 2002 Chevy express 2500 conversion van it has a 350 with 247,000 on it. we plan to put a lot of miles on it. My goal would be to put a 383 in it and convert to 4x4 doing all the work myself. Just wanted some opinions as to what mpg might be looking at and what the cost might be.

Re: 2002 express
Mr87 #761332 May 24th 2020 11:47 am
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Your van should have a 5.3 or 6.0 LS engine in it. You can swap it for a rebuilt one, you can get a ton of power out of those motors.


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Re: 2002 express
Mr87 #761334 May 24th 2020 12:31 pm
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I'm not really sure where to even begin with this one, so please don't take my response as rude, I'm just confused.

They did actually offer a 5.7L (350) Vortec engine in the 1996-2002 Express vans, but what I'm confused on is why you would want a 383 stroker motor and 4x4 if you're concerned with MPG.

383 is a good strong option for a street/strip motor, but not a great option for MPG. More displacement, horsepower, and torque are going to bring your MPG below what you're getting with a stock 350. Also the 4x4 drivetrain is going to add weight and rolling resistance (assuming you want bigger tires to take full advantage of the off road capabilities of having a 4x4) which is also going to drop your MPG.

All that said, it may only drop MPG by a small amount, but it's definitely not going to increase MPG by any means.

If MPG and lots of miles of reliability are what you're after, I would personally suggest a nice modern fuel injected LS motor like the 5.3 mentioned above. Plenty of torque and power to have lots of fun, but still a super reliable platform and a low maintenance economical option. Drop the 4x4 as well if it's long trips and MPG you're after.

If you just want to rip and have fun with it, go for the 383 and 4x4, it would be a blast.

My guess, and it's totally a guess as I'm no mileage expert, would be that your 5.7 / 350 is getting somewhere around 14 MPG city and 17 MPG highway. Again, a guess, but the 383 and 4x4 are probably going to get around 10 MPG city and 13 MPG highway. Last guess the modern-ish 5.3 LS engine probably gets around 16 MPG city and 19 MPG highway.


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Re: 2002 express
Mr87 #761335 May 24th 2020 2:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Mr87
So I just bought a 2002 Chevy express 2500 conversion van it has a 350 with 247,000 on it. we plan to put a lot of miles on it. My goal would be to put a 383 in it and convert to 4x4 doing all the work myself. Just wanted some opinions as to what mpg might be looking at and what the cost might be.


Hello Mr87, Welcome Aboard, and Grats on the Van too! I'd say go with what you want motorwise, the 5.3 will require a computer, potentially, another $1000?

If you want to convert a Van into 4x4, assuming it's a Leaf Sprung Straight axle set up you're after, the GMT platform may not be quite as straightforward or as bolt on as a G series would be to convert. I'm not sure if major changes were made to the frame from the G series? Not saying it could not be done, but the later model factory 4x versions of the Vans are an all wheel drive, no locking hub independent type system.

So. There are a few 4x Builds on here you can search. You'll need a 4x front end, suspension, steering. Transfer case, maybe a transmission, linkages driveshaft, Wheels tires shocks etc, etc. I am not a car builder, but I'd say Parts, 5k+ Easy. Good Wrenching, and again, welcome P.S. The Holy Grail of 4x4. 454 G30 EXT Factory ordered conversion

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Last edited by Wedgy; May 24th 2020 2:09 pm.

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