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Old 05-29-2003, 12:30 AM   #1
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Vortec heads?

Hi, I'm new to this site and read a lot about people saying that you could put vortec heads on a TBI 4.3. I have a 91 4.3 TBI and was wondering what would have to be done to Vortec heads to get them on my engine, as a lot of you said they flow much better than TBI heads.

Thanks!
Old 05-29-2003, 08:12 AM   #2
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OK.Vortec is more a marketing term then an engineering one.There are pre '96 Vortec heads (like on my '95 S10) and post '96 Vortec heads.Chevy can apply the word "Vortec" to any thing they want,but it won't make yo truck mo faster.

The post '96 heads do flow much better then the earlier ones.They have bigger chambers.The machining to fit the later heads on the earlier engines is VERY extensive.From what I've been able to gather (could be wrong) You'd have to fill in the old bolt holes,re-drill and tap them.fill in part of the intake and exhaust ports and move them over as well.I have not heard of anyone on this forum doing it.I think someone on the Sy-Ty forum might have.

Welcome to the S10 forum!

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Old 05-29-2003, 09:25 PM   #3
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I was under the impression (from spending time on the various boards) that the pre '96 Vortec heads were superior to the TBI heads and require know mods to bolt on.
Old 05-29-2003, 11:59 PM   #4
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That was what I thought also, but I am not too sure thats why I asked...
Old 05-30-2003, 12:23 AM   #5
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Im pretty sure the pre 96 heads were damn good but not as good as the post 96, ive also heard that all Id have to do (with my CPI intake) is get the intake machined to match up to the new heads.
Old 05-30-2003, 08:46 PM   #6
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If you are running a set of '91 tbi heads, just swap in a set of cpi heads. They bolt right up and flow better than the tbi heads do. Around '93 gm starting putting the same heads on the cpi and tbi motors (I'm not sure of the exact year) so this only works on the older tbi motors.
Old 05-30-2003, 08:48 PM   #7
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I think its basicly the year the cpi went away all together and the tbi vortec was born.
Old 09-17-2003, 06:47 PM   #8
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cpi went away some time in 1994 it would be tuff to determine which is which since both and a vin with a "Z"
Old 09-17-2003, 07:22 PM   #9
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no it didnt! cpi left in 1995 - mines an early model ZR2 with cpi. the cpi had the "w" vin, and the tbi had the "z" vin
Old 09-18-2003, 11:21 AM   #10
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i have vortec heads and it helps a lot
Old 09-19-2003, 12:54 PM   #11
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The Sy/Ty guys swear by the Vortecs. And there IS an engineering differance. The SBC Vortecs, basically the same design(?), flow up to 400HP! That spanks almost all previous GM SBC heads. Why do you think the aftermarket is so big on them? Hot Rod guys are buying the crap out of them and a head that is capable of 400HP for $259 a piece, complete, is awesome. Edelbrock even copied the design and tried to improve it.
Old 09-28-2003, 05:33 PM   #12
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Im new here ! what does CPI stand for?
I got a 91 s10 with a 4.3 , its starting to get a small knock in it. Today I went to a swap meet and a guy had a 1993 4.3 Vortec engine complete, I got it for 50.00. I dont think I can just drop it in and go,wireing harness looks diferent and of corse the intake. I was hoping I could swap my existing TBI intake to the new engine I got, using my existing wiring harness. Can anyone tell me if I can do this, or point me in the right direction!

Greg
Old 09-28-2003, 05:42 PM   #13
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Im new here ! what does CPI stand for?
I got a 91 s10 with a 4.3 , its starting to get a small knock in it. Today I went to a swap meet and a guy had a 1993 4.3 Vortec engine complete, I got it for 50.00. I dont think I can just drop it in and go,wireing harness looks diferent and of corse the intake. I was hoping I could swap my existing TBI intake to the new engine I got, using my existing wiring harness. Can anyone tell me if I can do this, or point me in the right direction!

Greg
Old 09-30-2003, 06:38 PM   #14
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have a look here
this should give you an idea of what you can do w/your engine.
Old 09-30-2003, 06:47 PM   #15
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cpi is central port injection. tbi is throttle-body injection, mpi is multi-port injection, and sfi is sequential injection. also, youi need to find out the VIN of the engine (is it cpi, tbi?)
Old 09-30-2003, 11:08 PM   #16
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The engine in my truck is a TBI, but the one i just picked up is a CPI Vortec. I have also been told that the TBI manifold will not clear the balance shaft that runs down the center of the vally. Is this true?
Old 09-30-2003, 11:31 PM   #17
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CPI, TBI, Blah blah blah......its all about the casting numbers. Once you figure what heads they are, then you go from there.

basically there are 3 kinds of 4.3L heads.

LB4, L35 and 96+ Vortec style.

LB4 can be found on TBI motors and SyTys for the most part. They suck, so dont even bother.

L35 heads are a "CPI" head on alot of motors, but not all, thats where the casting numbers come in. Either way, I feel a good set of ported L35's is the best bang for the buck.

'96+ Vortecs do flow great #'s in stock form, but like mentioned above, head and manifold machining is needed to mate them up. Will they help? sure. Do you need them to run 10's...........nope. L35 heads have run 10's and were alot cheaper.

You decide, hope that helps.
Old 09-30-2003, 11:54 PM   #18
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Thanks for the input. I got some numbers I found between the rockers they are:
Driverside= B185 (under that) 10238181
Passside = J154 (under that) 10238181,
Do you have some way of telling witch heads these are?

Thanks,
Greg
Attached Thumbnails
Vortec heads?-block5.jpg  

Last edited by cruzin 91; 09-30-2003 at 11:55 PM.
Old 10-01-2003, 12:00 AM   #19
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The '92 & '93 CPI head (L35 type) have four possible casting nos. available #10238181, 10077626, 14099064, & 10240209 that all have an 8 degree top angle cut in the ports and screw-in rocker studs, with the top of the ports having a small circular cutout for the injector holes in the intake manifold.
Old 10-01-2003, 12:10 AM   #20
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Ok so I have the L35 heads with my CPI engine... How much would it cost for me to port my heads out and how much would i gain from this?
Old 10-01-2003, 12:19 AM   #21
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Going by what you said I have the L35, Can you tell me if my 4.3 TBI intake will bolt up to the L35 heads of the doner Vortec engine.
Thanks,
Greg
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Vortec heads?-block6.jpg  
Old 10-01-2003, 12:12 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by cruzin 91
Going by what you said I have the L35, Can you tell me if my 4.3 TBI intake will bolt up to the L35 heads of the doner Vortec engine.
Thanks,
Greg
the only things that wont bolt up are Pre-96 to Post-96. Otherwise everything will bolt up. Someone mentioned the balance shaft thing earlier, but I dont have any idea on that.
Old 10-01-2003, 12:33 PM   #23
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how the hell would a TBI intake mount to cpi heads? its a totally different intake system, isnt it? i know my 1994 TBI and 1995 CPI are just about two totally different engines. not trying to be an ass or anything, but i dont see why anyone would want a TBI intake (its a damn carb!) on a CPI. a cpi stock is good enough, just port and polish, do exhaust, cpu, CAI, that good stuff.
Old 10-01-2003, 02:10 PM   #24
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Ok, let me explain this again. I have a 91 s10 4.3 w/TBI intake(NOT Vortec), I'm starting to get a knock in the engine so it was time to start engine shopping for a used engine!

Last Sunday while at a swap meet a 1993 4.3 w/CPI intake(Vortec) was up for grabs for $50.00 bucks, I thought this was a good deal if it was in decent shape and if not the price was right just for the parts. After removing the Valve cover and intake the engine appears to be taken care off oil change wise. We drained the oil from the engine and there was no anti-freeze in it.So far this engine appears to be a good donor engine for the stock 91 4.3. We plan to get the engine up on a engine stand and check the bearings before we go any farther.

Earlier in this thread there is a post saying that this swap is possible. Searching the Archives I found other members asking the same thing as me, and also getting yes you can and no you cant. The purpose of keeping the original TBI intake (if it fits) is to use the original 91 wiring harness and computer,and there are other issues an questions. making this a easy swap and very inexpressive.

If anyone could provide a picture of the bottem side of a TBI intake , I would like to see it, there is only 1" clearence between the top of the balance shaft and the block where the lower part of the intake rest when bolted up.

If anyone has done this swap I would like to know how it worked out.

To answer your question about them being 2 totally different engines! I think about everything is them same. The intakes are different ways to deliver the fuel. The Vortec heads may have my idea of using TBI intake "Shot Down", I dont know thats why i'm asking. TIA

Greg

Last edited by cruzin 91; 10-01-2003 at 02:30 PM.
Old 10-01-2003, 03:20 PM   #25
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the CPI has a different intake system - it is the same one (type) used on camaro's. the actual throttle body is located in the front of the CPI intake, as opposed to the TBI, which is located like a carb would be. the block itself is the same, but what makes an engine unique is the intake and heads - and it seems chevy wanted to make as many different ocnfigurations as possible on an s-10.
Old 10-01-2003, 05:23 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by MuddyS10
the CPI has a different intake system - it is the same one (type) used on camaro's. the actual throttle body is located in the front of the CPI intake, as opposed to the TBI, which is located like a carb would be. the block itself is the same, but what makes an engine unique is the intake and heads - and it seems chevy wanted to make as many different ocnfigurations as possible on an s-10.
let me try to sum it up this way. I dont know the first year of the 4.3L, i think it was 1988, but basically, any head, engine, manifold, whatever will bolt together from 1988 - 1995. Its not untill 1996 when the GOOD heads came out did the bolt pattern for the head/intake change.
Old 10-01-2003, 05:38 PM   #27
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but how would the injection system work? i know the TBI and CPI are totally different, and the intakes are set up that way, but if you pulled the intakes, the engine is totally the same? also, everyone says the 96+ heads are better, but it feels like ym 1995 CPI has a HELL of a lot more power than the newer trucks
Old 10-01-2003, 06:06 PM   #28
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I agree... its like night and day, the new trucks don't even compare.
Old 10-01-2003, 06:38 PM   #29
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So it goes back to my question that hasnt been answered yet.... A good set of L35 Polished and ported heads is suppose to be real good... How much would that run me and how much would i get out of that
Old 10-01-2003, 06:46 PM   #30
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you;d have to call local machine shops for the price, i want to get my L35 ported and polished too, but someone told me a bigger cam would help a P&P a lot, plus P&P is almost worthless if the exhaust system isnt free flowing (more gas moves, but it has to have somewhere to move)
Old 10-01-2003, 07:22 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally posted by MuddyS10
but how would the injection system work? i know the TBI and CPI are totally different, and the intakes are set up that way, but if you pulled the intakes, the engine is totally the same? also, everyone says the 96+ heads are better, but it feels like ym 1995 CPI has a HELL of a lot more power than the newer trucks
Im not talking about fuel injection, I couldnt give two shits about fuel injection. Im talking about interchangablity between Cylinder Heads, thats all. I never said you could swap a CPI fuel injection system in place of a TBI system, all I said is that it would BOLT UP!
Old 10-01-2003, 07:37 PM   #32
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goddamnit...thats what he's asking, about swapping a TBI intake for a CPI intake. not the heads
Old 10-01-2003, 07:46 PM   #33
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I have a complete W code block/heads in my truck to replace the Z code that done blowed up good. The TBI (Z code) intake bolted right up to the W code block/heads. However, my Z code in 1993 came w/ a balance shaft anyways. Dunno if this helps any. Either way I haven't had any problems w/ it.
Old 10-01-2003, 07:59 PM   #34
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is this balance shaft removable like on mits eclipse and gain a little power
Old 10-01-2003, 08:12 PM   #35
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I'm not really well educated on what these codes mean but if W= 4.3 Vortec and you bolted up a Z intake (z meaning TBI intake, earlier engine) thats the answer I been looking for. For your swap I take it you did not have to change the wiring harness or computer because of using that intake. I was worried about weather the balance shaft in the W block would clear the Z block TBI intake manifold. Hows yours run? Thanks

Greg

Last edited by cruzin 91; 10-01-2003 at 08:14 PM.
Old 10-01-2003, 08:23 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by MuddyS10
goddamnit...thats what he's asking, about swapping a TBI intake for a CPI intake. not the heads
YEAH? and the topic also came up about 96+ heads being used and I explained the differences in heads, thats all.
Old 10-01-2003, 09:38 PM   #37
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arg...im done. maybe if we all had LS1 engines, stock, it would clear this mess up...
Old 10-01-2003, 09:38 PM   #38
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i'm not sure about non-balance shaft motor intakes, but if there's no diference between the 93 TBI intakes and the earlier ones then you're all set.
Old 10-02-2003, 01:02 AM   #39
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I really dont expect just because I've changed to the Vortec heads with TBI intake there will be much performance improvement, if there is thats fine with me. Keeping the same computer that came truck would not account the extra HP they were rated therefore the advance curve might be off. Maybe a different chip could help!

Thanks everyone for the input Ill let ya know how it works out!

Greg
Old 10-02-2003, 08:22 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by NJTy180
let me try to sum it up this way. I dont know the first year of the 4.3L, i think it was 1988, but basically, any head, engine, manifold, whatever will bolt together from 1988 - 1995. Its not untill 1996 when the GOOD heads came out did the bolt pattern for the head/intake change.
I am not sure of the first year of the 4.3 litre either, but I do know there was a 1985 model with 145hp and had a 4bbl carburetor.
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