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Engine Swap Everything about swapping an engine into your Third Gen.....be it V6, V8, LTX/LSX, crate engine, etc. Pictures, questions, answers, and work logs.

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Old 12-07-2005, 04:21 PM   #1
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Car: 1975 IHC Scout II
Engine: 1967 Buick 340 with TBI
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Vortec short block?

I've been gathering parts for a few weeks now to do a 350 TBI swap into my lo3 car. I have a set of rebuilt heads, 193's, not the best, but will work fine for my aplication. I just came across a vortec short block out of a 98 truck. Has 40K miles on it. Had a coolent leak from the intake into the oil. It locked up a main bearing. Pistons, bores, cam all look great. It just needs a crank kit. I can get the complete short block for $100. Local machine shop can grind the crank, with new cam and mains for $200. So, will all my parts go on the vortec block?? I want to keep all the parts i can off my 305, and use the 193 heads, i have the 350 ECM and injectors for a 350. I know i need a knock sensor and spark control module off a 350, right?
Also, what kind of cam is in the vortec truck motor?
And, where is the spark control module on the vans?? they seem to be most common in the junk yards around here with 350 TBI's
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Old 12-07-2005, 09:39 PM   #2
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Ok, ive done quite a bit of searching around. only think of possible concern i have found is that the vortec block doesent have the provisions for water pump bypas in the block? so, if i'm going to use my heads and intake, how do i get around that?
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Old 12-07-2005, 10:59 PM   #3
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I vaguely remember hearing something about the water pump by-pass on Vortec engines, but nothing definate. Mind pulling the pump and taking a picture of it & block?

I also seem to recall hearing the truck cams weren't all that great. A good thing to upgrade while you've got the chance.

You'd better have the main caps checked out as well. An align hone or bore may be in order if the bearing seized on the crank.

I have no clue where to look for the van knock sensor module. Wouldn't surprise me if it's on the driver's side under the hood.
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Old 12-08-2005, 12:03 AM   #4
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I dont have the block yet. Water pump isnt even on it. Still researching how and if it will work. I really dont know how back the bottom end is. All i know is it got water in the oil, and the crank locked up. One of my local machine shops is closing, and the have all sorts of stuff piled up in the back.
The cam dosent have to be that great for now, as im going to be running on a stock tune as i learn to tune anyways.
I'm wondering, i havent checked the casting numbers yet, the guy didint call me back. But my resurch shows me that most vortecs where 880 castings, which is also zz4, and gen 1 crate motors. I have seen 2 diffenct 880 casting 350s in TBI trucks at the wrecking yard. So, even if the block isnt drilled for the bypass, can it be, and use the earlyer pump?

Last edited by HillbillyJeeper; 12-08-2005 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 12-08-2005, 07:10 PM   #5
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IT is an 880 casting, and for those like me who want to know, the block is the same, and can use the older water pump. Looks like they just used the head gasket to block off the water pump bypass port into the head. But the port is still there. So, if anyone knows of any other differnce that might present a problem, i'd like to know.
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Old 12-11-2005, 09:35 PM   #6
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Well, I'm using a Vortec 4 bolt main for my next build up. Will work just fine. Like you said you can use the parts off of your 305. Example will be the timing chain cover.
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Old 12-11-2005, 09:38 PM   #7
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Be VERY leary of this block.When the coolant leak you mention,followed by the "lockup" occours,it's almost always the front main bearing spinning in the block.These blocks are notorious for cracking in the main journal when that happens,leaving you with $100 tied up in $10 worth of scrap and a set of PM rods that you MIGHT be able to save.
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Old 12-11-2005, 10:56 PM   #8
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Acctually, didnt hurt any of the mains. Lost 2 rod bearings, but still didnt do to much to the rods or caps. I could probably get away with running them, but im going to have them reconditioned, bacause the caps werent market when they came off. Picked up a crank today, perfect condition vortec crank for $50. I have another set of rods, but i'd rather use the PM ones, even if it means having them reconditioned.
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Old 12-28-2005, 07:57 AM   #9
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Water pump bypass

I ran across the reverse of this problem doing a 95 350 tbi conversion in my 96 s10 w/vortec style v-belt waterpump set up, the vortec water pump does not have the return hole located on the right lower side of the waterpump, as the 95 tbi 350 block has the hole, and the 89-92 tpi waterpump will not work with the vortec v6 serp setup, I was forced to use the vortec water pump w/out the hole, I pluged the hole in the block, used a 180 thermostat w/two small holes drilled in it, to my understanding the return prevents trapped air in the block and heads and the two holes in the stat keep this from happening, the heater hose routing on the vortec motors is different than the earlier 350's also I used larger heater hose niples in the tbi intake to keep water flowing better, and w/ac on in the summer I sit at @ 180-210, depending on traffic and outside temp, I would be carefull w/the vortech block as cooling in your configuration is a big concern, and the 3rd gen cooling setup is not the greatest to start with, and might cause problems later.
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Old 12-28-2005, 08:58 AM   #10
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I think i got it all worked out. And there is nothing special about the vortec block casting itself. It was used as a crate motor replacement for TBI trucks. ITs still a generation 1 block. It does, of course have a roller cam, and powdered metel rods, steel crank, and short hyperutectic pistons(i believe), and moly rings, all factory. But theres no major differences in the block itself that i can find. And i'll be using early TBI heads and water pump, and intake.
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Old 12-29-2005, 05:03 AM   #11
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Nodular Iron crank, not steel
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Old 12-29-2005, 08:34 AM   #12
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OK. Was told by the local machine shop that it was a steel crank. Not that it matters much to me. Thanks.
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Old 12-29-2005, 08:34 AM
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