Hot Rod Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Car Audio Junky
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have the chance to pick up a

92 GMC Suburban
15,000mi
SBC 350

or a

97 Chevy Suburban
144,000mi
SBC 350

both trucks are the same price, but I need to know if one cost more to maintain than the other? Is one better on gas? I was told that in 96 the 350 was changed a bit and because of that while the 97 has higher miles it is a better motor, is that true?
 

·
Hates: Liver. Loves: Diesel
Joined
·
5,659 Posts
They are both the same block. The only real difference in the 97 is the heads and intake. So, from the standpoint of longevity, one can expect them to both last the same. The 97 is a more powerful engine with much better heads, but you could convert the 92 pretty easily.

This would be an absolute no-brainer for me. Take the low-mileage truck. 114k isn't terrible IF the owner took immaculate care of the engine, but the trannys don't last long, and who knows how many times he/she changed the rear diff fluid, serviced the suspension parts, etc. Not knowing how it was taken care of, that truck could have half its life left, or it could have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I personally hate high-mileage vehicles for that reason. There is no way to tell.

The difference in engines boils down to a little more power, but they're the same engine. In the high mileage truck, not knowing how long it will be until the 4L60E tranny takes a dump on me in the desert, and not knowing how sloppy the steering will be in 50k, it would make me sick... get the low mileage truck.

If you want to bring that 92 up to the power specs of the 97, spend $1200 on Vortec heads, intake with EFI, and computer. The TBI won't impress you with power or MPG, but I can almost guarantee that you'd spend well over $1200 in repairs on the 97 in a few years just holding it together. Why not buy the older truck and spend that money on making it better?

Absolute no brainer... buy the 92
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Dude 1992 low miles is good. After that I say look up a Elberbrock performer RPM cam and intake. you will have about $800.00 in getting both. It will drink gas just like a huge truck will do. On the bright side that cam and intake make power from 1,500 rpms to 6,500 rpms. So if you feel the need to let the 350 scream like a mad man or baby it you can make power easy. Well I hope this helped and good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
the TBI 92 will be good on gas for a small block, but on the flip side it makes very little power (230 hp from the factory i think,maybe not that much) (we had one at our house and it got just as good if not better than another truck with a 4.3L V6)
the CFI Vortec 97 makes more power but most likely burns more gas,it also has the troublesome 4l60e trashy tranny

i would go with the 92 because 1)lower mileage 2)the tranny is a 4l60 (not a 4l60e)=cheaper repairs3) Cheaper repairs because of less complicated fuel injection (TBI vs CFI)

its hard to have power and fuel economy

PS:did i bore you enough lol :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,304 Posts
both motors have the same block, both are factory roller cam but the 97 should have vortec heads. 96 were the 1st year for vortec heads. imo buy the 97 higher mileage shouldnt be that much more worn with the roller cam. but if your gonna buy a vehicle to wear out the 92 is probably the best choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
whats that have to do with the main and rod bearings? they take the abuse with mileage as with valve guides and rings,the 4l60e tranny is more expensive to repair than the 4l60, more power to it means more problems
BTW it WILL have Vortec heads, not should have

newer doesnt always equal better man, and if you think so, your on the wrong forums
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,304 Posts
mynuffinfutsitch said:
whats that have to do with the main and rod bearings? they take the abuse with mileage as with valve guides and rings,the 4l60e tranny is more expensive to repair than the 4l60, more power to it means more problems
BTW it WILL have Vortec heads, not should have

newer doesnt always equal better man, and if you think so, your on the wrong forums
why dont you read the last sentence of forum #5 . the rest is my opinion,and if your worried about what i personally think your gonna get upset over alot more on here than just me.
and are you saying the 92 will have vortec heads?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
"buy the 97 higher mileage shouldnt be that much more worn with the roller cam''

no about the roller cam, high mileage means more wear on the main and rod bearings, valve guides and rings

also read my first post, that might clear some stuff up
 

·
Hates: Liver. Loves: Diesel
Joined
·
5,659 Posts
The 92 will have the *cough* terrible swirl port heads. The 97 will have Vortec heads. Even if I wasn't going to modify it, the 92 would still be my choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,454 Posts
1992 TBI 350
200hp
300 lb/ft torque
flat tappet engine

1997 Vortec 350
255hp at 4600
330 lb/ft at 2800 rpm
roller cam engine


That 1992 has sat around for a very long time. The only TBI truck I would get with low miles would be a TBI 454SS. 90 454 230 hp and 385 lb/ft 91-93 454SS 255 hp 405 lb/ft .

The 96-02 Vortec 350's have different casing numbers than the 87-95 TBI engines on their blocks.
The L31 Vortec 350 heads are the highest flowing stock GEN 1 heads that came from GM.

The 1997 has dual cats, the 92 has a single cat.

The Vortec 350 get better fuel mileage than the TBI 350, I know this for a fact. I got an extra 100 km per same sized 100l tank in a 1997 reg cab shortbox 3.08 gear auto 2wd trucks than I did in my 1992. Both trucks were optioned 100% the same.

It makes no sense for GM to install a less effecient engine in the 96+ trucks. Whoever said the TBI 350 gets better fuel mileage than a Vortec 350 in the SAME platform is mistaken. If you are talking about WOT fuel economy, then you are correct, the Vortec 350 is a much more powerful engine.

I run a 14.8 in my 97 with bolt ons and a stock longblock Vortec 350.

the 1997 4l60e has the better 13 vane pump than the 1992 700r3 pump. The 700r4 and the 4l60e are basically identical with the 4l60e being electronically shifted via the PCM. There are many improvements in the 1997trans over the 1992 trans.

the L31 Vortec 350 is limited by its intake manifold and its fuel injectors. It uses a 19 pph injector "poppet" injector which CANT be retrofitted with a larger injector. This limits NA power to ariund 400 crank or 330 rwhp.
I am using the GM mArine intake manifold n my truck, so this wont be a problem.


peace
hog
 

·
Hates: Liver. Loves: Diesel
Joined
·
5,659 Posts
I agree with most of what you said, except the flat tappet. All SBC passenger vehicle V8s went roller in 87. The 92 truck WILL have rollers.

We're basically talking about the same engine with different heads and intake, an electronic difference in transmissions, and a :eek: 100,000 MILE DIFFERENCE I don't care about all the other stuff, that is basically 7 or 8 YEARS of life that has not already been spent on the 92 truck. The 97 could be toast, or it will at least need major parts long before the low mileage truck.

I'm sorry for the bold type, but for heaven's sake, we're talking about a 100,000 mile difference for the same price!!! buy the 92 quick before I do. :) The newer engine is just that; newer, but the parts like the rotating assembly in the block is 100% interchangeable with every chevy small block back to 87, and many of the parts interchange back with the very first small block in 1955.

Am I crazy? :confused: We're talking about some horsepower (which is super simple to change) and 100,000 miles. There I go with the bold type again. If it weren't for the fact that I'm typing, I'd be pacing back and forth waving my arms in the air mumbling, "am I the only one with any common sense here?" :)

Buy the 97 and budget $1200 for a rebuilt tranny -OR-
Buy the 92 and spend that $1200 on the vortec conversion. In the end you'll have the same truck with 100,000 MILES LESS. :sweat: There goes that bold type again.
 

·
Car Audio Junky
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I would like to thank everyone that has helped me in this thread. I will post pics of the truck that I pick up by Monday.
 

·
Car Audio Junky
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I read in a post that the 92 has sat around for a while, neither truck has sat around the motor in the 92 was rebuilt.
 

·
Hates: Liver. Loves: Diesel
Joined
·
5,659 Posts
Oh no... tell me its not 15,000 on a rebuild, but the rest of the truck has more... I HATE that.

The truck has to be sold and titled as odometer miles on it, not engine miles. Make sure you find out which one it is.

That just leveled the playing field a whole lot.
 

·
Car Audio Junky
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Both trucks have the same amount of miles on them. The difference is the rebuilt engine. Sorry about the confussion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,454 Posts
curtis73 said:
I agree with most of what you said, except the flat tappet. All SBC passenger vehicle V8s went roller in 87. The 92 truck WILL have rollers.

We're basically talking about the same engine with different heads and intake, an electronic difference in transmissions, and a :eek: 100,000 MILE DIFFERENCE I don't care about all the other stuff, that is basically 7 or 8 YEARS of life that has not already been spent on the 92 truck. The 97 could be toast, or it will at least need major parts long before the low mileage truck.

I'm sorry for the bold type, but for heaven's sake, we're talking about a 100,000 mile difference for the same price!!! buy the 92 quick before I do. :) The newer engine is just that; newer, but the parts like the rotating assembly in the block is 100% interchangeable with every chevy small block back to 87, and many of the parts interchange back with the very first small block in 1955.

Am I crazy? :confused: We're talking about some horsepower (which is super simple to change) and 100,000 miles. There I go with the bold type again. If it weren't for the fact that I'm typing, I'd be pacing back and forth waving my arms in the air mumbling, "am I the only one with any common sense here?" :)

Buy the 97 and budget $1200 for a rebuilt tranny -OR-
Buy the 92 and spend that $1200 on the vortec conversion. In the end you'll have the same truck with 100,000 MILES LESS. :sweat: There goes that bold type again.
I am sorry Curtis, but you are incorrect about teh 87-95 TBI trucks ALL having roller cams, they DO NOT. The 87-91 350 TPI and 92-96 350 LT1/4 Vettes, 87-92 TBI 350/305 and 93-96 LT1 and 1997 LT4 F-bodies and 96-02 Vortec 305 and 350 trucks have roller cams. The 87-95 TBI truck engines can accept the roller cam, cam button, and even have the 3 vertical bolt holes that hold the sheetmetal lifter retainer spidre in place, but these 3 bolt holes ARE NOT TAPPED.
If you have a TBI truck engine, simply tap the 3 vertical holes in the valley, get the shorter roller cam pushrods, roller cam, roller lifters, retainer spider, and cam button and istall all teh parts and then you will have a TBI truck engine that is indeed a roller cam equipped engine.

My 1992 TBI 350 reg cab truck did NOT have a roller cam, nor did my 1989 305 roller cam reg cab long box truck.

I have heard that the 1996 3/4 ton and 1 ton TBI Vans did come equipped with roller cams, but the 87-95 trucks did NOT.
I dont mean to be an ***, but about the TBI trucks having roller cams, you are incorrect.

discuss?

An extra 55hp SAE net hp isnt so easy to get out of a TBI 350 while still keeping the same fuel economy. Teh Vortec 350 is better on fuel than teh TBI 350 to begin with. 100,000 miles is nothing on the Vortec engines. I have torn them down with 200-300-400-500,000 miles on them and they have looked excellent inside if they are taken care of. IE change the oil.

The Vortec and TBI blocks are different. ANd if you get a Vortec 350 out of a 3/4 or 1 ton truck it will have 4 bolt mains, different pn rods.

peace
Hog
 

·
Hates: Liver. Loves: Diesel
Joined
·
5,659 Posts
Ok, I'll buy that. I had heard differently and my Father's 88 TBI truck did have factory rollers so I put that together with what I had known and made a blanket statement that may have been incorrect. I was very certain of what I said, but maybe I opened my mouth too soon :embarrass

I'll have to check in on it more. There's a junkyard around here with about 30 TBI trucks lined up, some of which have no intakes so its really easy to look :)
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top