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DBW stock is lazy as described up above. But we live in 2021 now. You can fully tune the computer to do what you want. Your foot is not faster than the speed of electricity, meaning, you want to move the throttle pedal 10 degress and have 100% full throttle, done. You want topush a button (tow mode) and have a different lazy throttle for the wife/kids, done.
Also a 5.3 with exhaust and cam is darn near 450 hp, and still getting over 22+ MPGs. The you pull it yards around me has them for sale $325 complete minus ac compressor.. leave the 6.0s for the guys that think they have to have them. You want more power down the road? Add a turbo. You can have a reliable 600 hp at the wheels all day long, and practically still cheaper than a 6.0. --for what its worth, i drive my LS swapped toy more than my 383, 454, or 496 toys just do to the MPGs and smoothness.
 

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I haven't priced them out recently, but I can buy 5.3 LM7s all day for $250-400. The last 6.0L I bought was north of $1000. I do agree, and I prefer the 6.0L for the bigger bore, but if he's just looking for a cruiser and wants a cheap buy-in, I don't see an issue with a vanilla 5.3L
Agreed. Just sayin' if a fella knows deep down that he likes power, well, keep it in mind is all.
 

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1hp for every 10lbs of vehicle weight is my rule. Most LS can meet that minimum without to much tuning. Being able to run a factory longblock that I can grab and throw in over a weekend is a big win in my book.

I have done the heavily modified thing. Both building and buying them built. Everytime the things were nightmares. From the thing costing a crazy amount (cash and time) to playing detective on how the thing was built to something heavily modified(stroked) when a junkyard swap would have made more sense.
Give me that junkyard 5.3 longblock anyday vs a stroked 6 or 4 running a bit of boost.

5.3's are swaped into everything for a reason.

The only issue with a LS is that it is not a ohc engine. This would make changing cams and (multible cam profiles(sliding/pressure)) so much easier then the single cam setup. I was hoping the C8 (with more room) would change that. But nope. The cam bearings on a LS can be "fun" when they need to be done. Another reason to keep your tune within the factory 5.3 longblocks limits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Thanks again guys. I take it then, that the '99-'07 LS 5.3 (LM7) is what I will start looking for. One last thing: I have been told that , at some point these engines made a big change (I think it is when they started with cylinders being dropped once up to cruising speed?). I hear that there is a fix for this but I would rather not have to deal with that, if I don't have to. I also have a question about using a Camaro clip, but I guess I need to go over to a different forum for that. Once again, any advice is welcomed.
 

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Active fuel management and displacment on demand started around 2005. The cam(etc) needs to be replaced and some things plugged off for it to be deleted.
I have stayed with dbc engines at this point and have no first hand experence deleting or servicing them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Thanks guys. I might end up changing the cam in whatever LS I end up with but I'd rather have any changes as simple as possible so will try to find an engine earlier than the '05. So, if I am reading this correctly, the DBC ended when the change was made to the fuel management and displacement on demand started? Sorry to keep asking so many questions but, like I have said, I have been out of the rodding scene so long I am completely clueless on the newer stuff. Thanks for bearing with me. Steve
 

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I have an '03 LM4 (5.3) in my '39 and it has drive by wire. I've seen the VVT delete kits for under $120. No need to change the cam BUT if you are there why not. New oil pump while there too. I have not seen the "lazy" throttle on my car and I like the idea of no holes in the firewall. Most likely your family car is DBW, just about everything is now. If you do have another vehicle that is DBW could you live with a street rod with it? Your call.
 

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You can shut off the DOD electronically but that won't help with the main issue of the system which is stuck lifters. To properly delete the system you need to change the cam to a LS7 or other non DOD cam.

Usually when the lifter sticks it causes wear on the cam, the pushrods, and the rockers. The DOD engines tend to burn a bit more oil in the DOD cylinders then the earlier non DOD engines.

Good news is that $500 200k blocks non DOD/DBW engines are not hard to find. If you ask or put a wanted post out they will come to you. I have one extra 2001 5.3 now and hope to have another 2 within 2 years as backups.

If your happy with 300-350hp(like I am) then just keep the thing as stock as possible looking for a DBC engine and be happy. $500 will get you a engine good for another 100,000 miles before something goes bad. As long as you don't mess with the longblock and have a spare in the back of the shop somewhere when something happens you will be able to pull one and bolt up the other in a weekend.
 

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I may be able to give you some broad strokes! First, glad you are paying attention to the frame/suspension. Can't build a house on shifting sands.
As you know the LS family comes in various sizes 4.8, 5.3, 5.7, 6.0 and 6.2 to name the ones you may find in a junkyard. I would opt for the 5.3 because it's very cheap compared to the bigger brothers. I would also look for a complete combo, engines and trans. Starting somewhere around 2002 they went to drive by wire and about 2006-7 went to Variable Valve Timing (VVT). The VVT has caused some problems but there is a delete kit to do away with it. I like the drive by wire and if you get one of those make sure to get the gas pedal (app) and TAC which runs the throttle body. Of course get the ECU and as much wiring as you can. Above all, get the VIN from the donor if you can. A donor engine that has 150K on it and treated decent will outlast the truck itself. To overhaul an LS is a bit pricey. If things look good just a simple cam change (do the oil pump too) will kick the HP up lots with no driveability issues. I would go with an aftermarket harness and get the ECU reprogrammed to do away with VATs, EGR and match your gear/tire size. A real pain is the fuel system. I always go with an in-tank pump, Corvette filter/regulator and run the newer style nylon lines. Do not be afraid of fuel injection, it get simple after a while. I like jumping into my '39, hit the key and drive off in any weather. No problem with altitude changes too. You'll like it.
Fossil rider and 39 Master these are the questions I have interest also! I am starting on a 55.1 series GMC 1/2 ton custom cab short bed rod with a C4 corvette suspension.
Currently I have an old school 350/TH400 in place but would like the comfort/ease of a modern powerplant/ODtranny!
I'm just getting my suspension parts together for that part of the build, but I know the HP/ratio data is soon to follow.
 

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Fossil rider and 39 Master these are the questions I have interest also! I am starting on a 55.1 series GMC 1/2 ton custom cab short bed rod with a C4 corvette suspension.
Currently I have an old school 350/TH400 in place but would like the comfort/ease of a modern powerplant/ODtranny!
I'm just getting my suspension parts together for that part of the build, but I know the HP/ratio data is soon to follow.
I should also add my C4 IRS is a dana 44 which I have in hand and am stoked about!
 

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Changing to an LS engine is a major step up in complexity from carbureted smallblock Chevy engines. At this point in time the LS engines are so popular that anything 6.0 or larger usually commands a premium price even if it has 150/200,000 miles. By the time you delete and change and recondition, you have a sizeable investment. It doesn't do much good to put a high mileage engine in place if you want to drive it a lot. You are much better off if you can rebuild an engine yourself, to buy one with the idea you are going to rebuild and upgrade first. Stay away from aluminum versions because most have minimal wall thickness and can only be honed out slightly........not bored. You most likely can find a 5.3 easily and reasonably cheaply ($300) as a good rebuild candidate. My recommendation if you can afford it is to upgrade with an aftermarket 4" crank and better rods. Upgrade the cam and replace or rebuild the roller rocker arms. They spit the bearings out on stock ones. I'd look for some replacement aftermarket heads and sell the stock ones. If you price what new valves and guides and springs and machine work cost......you are better off with aftermarket heads. Get a 4L60E with the engine and have it gone thru. Then buy one of the aftermarket plug n play fuel injection setups.

If you can't rebuild your own engine, look to some of the already rebuilt shortblocks that are available. It may be as cheap as building your own from a core.
 

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If money isn’t a limiting factor I go with a Motown II block with LS head’s. This allows for no computer if desired, a conventional distributor with LS heads and LS cam and valve train. Intake can be carb, aftermarket TBI or Port Injection. Gets around computers, throttle by wire and other such complications, accepts conventional pre LS transmissions without adapters.

See link for detail build


Bogie
 

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Ls block can bolt up to several old transmissions with little to modification.

It is seriously 6 or so wires to run a LS once the vats(and emmisions) have been removed from the pcm.

You can run a DBC throttlebody easily enough.

Vvt can be removed its well covered.

A 200k 5.3 left stock can get to 300k in most instances.
A new oil pump and few gaskets are recommended. But thats it.
 

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First question has to be.....................How much money can you afford to spend to get an LS and install it in your truck ?

Second question...............................Do you want a manual or automatic transmission?

Third question...................................Have you the knowledge/experience to rebuild an engine?

Fourth question.................................Do you want a daily driver or an occasional driver?
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Well guys, the plot thickens! I started this conversation to get info on the LS and it uses and boy, have I got the info! Which I really appreciate. However, some things have happened since then that might alter the course of my journey. I had picked up a low mile '02 LS and set it in my shop to use in the '59 Apache and thought that part was a done deal. Then, a few weeks ago on a trip to Ohio I locked up the engine in my '02 Silverado. LONG ( STUPID) STORY! So I had the motors swapped and now have a motor with a bad bottom end sitting in my shop. Anyway, as I was considering rebuilding it I got a call from a friend about a '60 El Camino..... with a Tri-Power 348! So, as I write this, I have bought the motor and another guy wanted the Camino. It's about 8 hours away so I won't get it for a while but it is supposed to be mine. Now, what to do? I am really an Old School kinda guy and have had a thing for the W engines ever since my uncle bought a new '61 Impala with a 348,tri-power,4 speed car. I know these aren't nearly as desirable , of course, as a 409 but I still like them and am very tempted to use this in the Apache. And it would be "period correct", if that means anything. What do you guys think? Thanks, Foss
 

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Use the junk LS as a mockup. Then drop another $500 5.3 in when your ready to run. Once your done with the mockup take everything off the mockup shortblock for spares. Then sell the shortblock for $200.

On the 348 thats cool. But it is a oddball meaning your only running lets call it 250 real world horsepower. If you want to make 330 to 400hp then your talking about some "specialty" stuff and a few tricks if you want to run over 4500.

On the other end is the LS where with a cam and a tune you can run 350hp and rev to 5500.

The tri power will look cool. But as far as driveablity and power potential(per dollar) the LS wins in my book.

Now if you want period correct then a 250 inline can be built easily enough into a reliable engine you can drive cross country. You can forget about power lets say 180hp with a monojet. But the things have a flat torque curve and the truck came with a inline so it should not require much fabrication to fit a 250 in.
A 250 can also be had for cheap. Last one I sold went for $150 complete. I think I ran it for the guy before selling it. They are stupid simple engines. The 250 also bolts up to several modern transmissions.

I am a fan of the monojet. Cheap, simple, and they do what you ask of them. But guys have also fitted side draft motorcycle carbs and such. Not really for performance(the stock heads suck). But it gives you fuel injection for potentially cheap to let you go through mountains. Once again that monojet is a simple setup and could probally run from the sea to the peak of a mountain without adjustment.
 

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Go with the 5.3. You'll have a cool truck that runs smooth as silk and OD to boot.
If you get drive by wire, you get virtually free cruise control also, for the price of a few switches.
Stay away from 6's no matter how cheap.
 

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The 348s are somewhat rare engines. Put it in a corner and one day someone building a period correct car will give you a lot of money for it. Look what old Hemi engines go for.

For all around driving enjoyment go with an LS.
 
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