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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys, I've posted in a few different spots in this forum, but I figured I should start my own thread with my build progress & to document everything.

So, here we go.

I acquired a free 1988 S15 from my neighbor who had it stored on his property after it died on him driving on the freeway. Last time it ran according to him was 2015, at least that's when it was last licensed. He thought it was a head gasket issue, because when it died, it died in a puff of white smoke, but wasn't sure and never had time to look at it.

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Picture from when we towed it out.

I picked the truck up, and started the engine tear down, upon removing the cylinder heads, I came into the culprit of the problem.


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Big hole in one of the pistons.

Well, at this point I started weighing the costs of doing an engine swap or rebuilding this one. I knew I wanted a reliable truck, and someday I was going to swap the engine to something bigger.
After deliberating with the bank (wife).. The Engine swap came through!

Started scouring the interwebs, looking for a used pickup with an LS.
I came across a sweet deal on a 1997 Tahoe with a 5.7L vortec. Although not the engine I originally wanted, still plenty for this little truck and for me to have some fun with driving back roads in Washington. (no pics of Tahoe sadly)


My neighbor and I quickly started the tear down on the tahoe.
The Tahoe which was a strong runner when we were on our test drive, and gave no indication that something internal was wrong. Definitely looked like it had more than 89K on it once we opened it up.



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It was filthy, and the pistons had play in them (jiggled side to side)
We weighed the cost of rebuilding or getting a long block. Oreillys matched a new long block I found online for $1100 bucks, so we snagged that. Everything went pretty straight forward at that point.

We're keeping the engine fuel injected, reusing the wiring harness and the ECM (i've been told to search out a 0411? PCM)
Splicing the engine harness into the S15 harness has been fun, and is my current challenge on the build.
With the help of a few members here in a different thread we were able to get it to crank over. ( No fuel lines, hooked up and distributor isn't in yet so no first start yet.)

At this time we're trying to finish up wiring, and get it reliable.
We're trying to tie up the interior,
and finish the driveline.

Already done,
Engine mounted and transmission mounted, using mounts from summit.
New rotors, brakes, and wheel bearings.
Gutted the interior and we've started our cleaning process ( there was some rust on the floor boards )
notched the frame for the starter to fit,
replaced the springs and shocks,






First time posting something like this, hopefully its not to scattered. Trying to remember things from the begging of the year is hard when i can't even remember what i had for lunch yesterday 馃槄 Misc Pics on my phone.
Thanks for taking a peak,
Jake.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Question for people that have done this swap before.
What did you guys use for your headers? did you stick with the stock stuff? Go ebay specials? I'm trying to figure out the best bang for the buck and to make sure it clears my steering shaft.
thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Question for people that have done this swap before.
What did you guys use for your headers? did you stick with the stock stuff? Go ebay specials? I'm trying to figure out the best bang for the buck and to make sure it clears my steering shaft.
thanks!
I went with the Hedman shorty headers from summit.
Another question for you guys. What do you do for your fuel pumps? I know the stock one is only putting out 9-17PSI. Vortecs look like they use 50PSI. Is there a replacement that'll fit the stock tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I went with the Hedman shorty headers from summit.
Another question for you guys. What do you do for your fuel pumps? I know the stock one is only putting out 9-17PSI. Vortecs look like they use 50PSI. Is there a replacement that'll fit the stock tank?
I retrofitted the pump i originally bought but didn't fit the tank, into the old 1988 S15 pump housing. Works great!
I know I've been talking to myself this thread but, anybody have to pound the header a bit for the steering shaft to fit through correctly on hedman headers? I feel like i had to heat mine up and beat it quite a bit before it cleared it properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
On another note, got the driveshaft shortened and new ujoint put in for $180 from a local shop i deal with a lot for work. fits in perfect, i was 1" to long and had no play in the shaft at all. Wife is going to paint the driveline for me and the valve covers. I'll grab pictures when shes done

Also got the B & M shifter for the floor haven't had a chance to install it yet, but it looks pretty simple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Truck is slowly coming back together, I really haven't kept this thread updated..

-I redid the rear suspension with belltech street performance shocks, and belltech 3" drop springs.
I read that most guys go with blocks on stock springs to avoid any kind of axle wrap while under acceleration. I guess I'll find out if that's true or not when we get the truck running here shortly. I'm hoping this levels out the front and rear, with the added weight of the v8 Vs the 2.5 that was originally in there.
-Blackbear did the tune one the PCM and everything seems to be squared away there.
-finished insetting the radiator + getting the fan mounted.
-Bunch of odds and ends getting done, misc wiring projects, speakers, and carpet.
- Thursday I drop it off at the exhaust shop.

I got a question for someone whose versed in the 97 vortecs or someone whose got more knowledge on it than me.
I got the PCM put in, and when I fire off the truck it starts for a few seconds and then dies.
My first thought was that there was a security system on the pcm preventing it from running.
i contacted blackbear who assured me that there was no security system on this pcm.
so now i'm stuck trying to figure out why it dies.
I know its getting fuel, I hear the fuel pump kick on when you turn the key. I don't have an o2 sensor hooked on it because there's no exhaust currently. Would that cause the issue? I'm only trying to start it just to get it up and on the trailer for transportation to the exhaust shop. Any other sensors I should look at, or plugs I may have missed when I plugged stuff back in?
Thanks, and let me know if somethings not clear or you need more info.


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I drove the truck to work and back a handful of times now.
Runs good, sounds good, feels good.
I still have some stuff I have to tie up, interior being one of them.
While driving the other day I threw 2 codes.
One code was a P1345, which is probably just my timing being off a little.
the second one I'm unfamiliar with its a P0719, an abnormal voltage reading from the brake switch B circuit.
anyone whose done a similar swap come across this? any help would be much appreciated.

I also have a few questions if anyone can chime in that'd be awesome.
-What did you do for your mechanic speedo to electric trans?
-I have no power to any of my dash radio, dash lights etc.. Heater controls work and my headlight switch works.
-any help with the follow codes would be awesome too :)
Thanks!

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thought I would bump my own thread.

I decided to change the build around. I was never satisfied with the power output of the 350, and of course once you've had a taste of speed you always want more.
Instead of dumping some dough in the 350 and making it "fast". I went ahead and bought a 5.3L complete harness and computer off of a guy. came out of a running 03 Suburban got it for relatively cheap.

I'm horrible at documenting progress but here is the current plan and some progress that has been done already.

Current plan subject to change.
-GT45 Turbo,
-5.3L mated to a 4L80E OR Nv4500/t56 If i can find one for a reasonable price.

Progress completed.
-Engine stripped, and pressure washed
-Sloppy Mechanics Stage 2 Camshaft kit purchased and installed.
-Heads rebuilt.
-New Timing chain

To be installed.
-Everything
I have a bunch of other parts I still need to install. Just not enough time in the day to get stuff done. This is also my first time doing any big rebuilds like this.
First time doing a cam etc.. I've enjoyed it thus far and reading old forum posts about other swaps and how to's .

I'm hoping to have the engine at least sitting in the truck by February.

Some pictures and progress done.
Sorry for the word vomit,
Motor vehicle Gas Machine Engineering Auto part

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tread Wheel Rim

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Musical instrument Musical keyboard Gas

Automotive tire Tableware Gas Automotive design Auto part

Wood Gas Engineering Metal Machine

Automotive tire Dumbbell Gear Bicycle part Household hardware

Automotive tire Coil spring Wood Camera accessory Shock absorber
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
lots of cool stuff going on with this build.
i think i would've left the vortec and added the turbo to it.
It would have been easier for sure. I just couldn't find great aftermarket support or hit the power level i want without sacrificing a lot of daily drivability. From what I read online, people change the injection system or go carb. And I didn't want to have to deal with either. I already have someone who wants this engine and all the goodies that go with it . Should recoup some money anyway.

I also toyed with the idea of some import swap since WA has such a huge import community. But I have 0 knowledge when it comes to those. Some high revving high boost swap sounded fun.

The LS platform just has such a massive base behind it, its hard to not go that way when everything is available at your fingertips. LS1Tech has a ton of info and a healthy community which is always nice to see.
 
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