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I’m considering a LS swap for my 1993 S10. Which would be better the 5.3 or the 6.0? Are both blocks aluminum? I thought about going with aluminum to keep the weight as close to my 4.3 weight as possible.
 

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Big difference is obvious - displacement.

They both came as iron blocks, but the 6.0L aside from the LS2 were all iron block. The LS2 is also a Gen IV engine with slightly more complicated engine controls. LQ4 and the higher output LQ9 are the typical iron block 6.0L.

The 5.3 came in several varieties and a few of those were aluminum blocks. L33 is the high output aluminum 5.3.

As far as what's best - that depends on the project and the person. Everyone has different goals, abilities, and budgets.
 

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5.3 and 6.0 can be had either aluminum or cast iron.
I would not worry about the little added weight at all.
 

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I'm putting a 6.0 in my project truck based on this logic - Push the pedal down to determine how fast you go. If you have a 5.3 you can't push the pedal past the floor. If you have a 6.0 you don't always have to push it to the floor.
This is based on them both being stock. Yes you can boost a 5.3. But you can boost a 6.0, also.
Except for the early LQ4 they both have aluminum heads so the iron ones will weigh close to what your 4.3 does. An all aluminum one would be 50# lighter. The equivalent of 5 HP. The aluminum water pump and all plastic intake also lighten the LS engines.
 
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Not sure where you are at, but around my location, RUNNING 4.8/5.3s are $500, missing a few parts, you can grab them for $325 every day.
A running 6.0, youll be hard to find one for under $2500. Missing parts, still $1500.
The real question is, how fast do you want to go? A stock, tuned, with headers, 5.3 with 3:73s in the rear, with traction should get you very low 13s. …start adding a cam, looser converter, No2, you’ll be in the 10s. head work, turbo, 9s, 8s? there are guys going faster than 8s with SBE 5.3s.
I have done multiple LS swaps, I’ll never own a 6.0. But, plenty of people think they need one..
 

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Around here the 6.0 go for a few hundred more than the 5.3. I'd rather have LQ9 out of a soccer Mom's Escalade then the 5.3 out of a plumbers worn out truck.
 

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You can get both 5.3's and 6.0's in aluminum or iron block. The alum block 5.3's come in tw0 versions the Lm4 and the L33. The L33 is the H.O. 5.3 and is basically an LS6 minus 24 cubic inches. Even the "low performance 5.3's put out 350 hp at the flywheel. Any 5.3 can make 400 hp with cam change etc. So, you save weight with the alum. but you will pay more for the engine. You get more cubic inches and more hp with a 6.0 but will pay more for the engine. Decide what your end goal is: Daily driver, drag race, etc., and choose accordingly.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you aren't getting all that hp to the ground it's a waste.
 

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350 is a little generous...more like 310...according to GM.
 

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350 is a little generous...more like 310...according to GM.
I know there are several methods of determining hp that would account for differences. The 350 hp was with the engine on a test stand which is always higher than adv. or rear wheel hp.
 

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I know there are several methods of determining hp that would account for differences. The 350 hp was with the engine on a test stand which is always higher than adv. or rear wheel hp.
L33[edit]
The Vortec 5300 L33 (VIN code "B") is an aluminum block version of the LM7, known as the Vortec 5300 HO in marketing materials. The L33 uses flat top pistons from the 4.8L instead of standard dished pistons from the LM7. It also uses 799 cylinder heads, which are identical to 243 castings found on LS6s and LS2s, lacking only the Corvette spec valve springs and hollow stem exhaust valves on the 2002-2004 LS6. This combination increased the compression from 9.5:1 to 10.0:1. The L33 also had a specific camshaft not shared with any other engine, specs @ .050 duration are: 193 duration, .482 lift, 116 LSA. As a result, power increased by 15 hp (11 kW), to 310 hp (230 kW) and 335 lb·ft (441 N·m). It was only available on extended cab 4WD pickup trucks. Only 25% of trucks made in 2005 had the L33 engine.
L33 applications:
 

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Either engine will serve an s10 very well. If you are looking for max power 6.0 is the best route to go. If you get a sweet deal on a 5.3 then add a small cam, headers, exhaust and tune you will be closer to the 6.0..... My favorite 6.0 is the LY6 found in a lot of Vans😉
 

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Where are all these aluminum 6.0s? I'm only seeing the LS2 with an aluminum block and 6L of displacement. Now if we're talking 6.2 there are a good number of aluminum examples, but that's even newer, richer blood.
 

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LM4 is all aluminum 5.3, can be found in Envoy's 2004 & older, plus others. 2005 & up is aluminum too, but that year it is LH6 and has Displacement on Demand (DoD).
 
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