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89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Old 07-02-2018, 12:31 PM
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89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

My trans am developed a pretty noticeable tapping noise at 127k after running it pretty hard one day. Does GM or anyone make a direct replacement for it? Or any crate engine that will work fine with my tpi setup?
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:38 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

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Old 07-02-2018, 12:43 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

That link brought up 10+ pages of engines.... hoping to narrow it down a bit to something you guys have used before.
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:15 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

I have used a few 96ish 350 truck short blocks that I got new from GM.
Pretty darn cheap (1200ish) and you have to reuse a LOT of your other parts but worth it for a mild driver..

Last edited by TTOP350; 07-03-2018 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:20 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

the l31 r is the best deal and best engine however it has vortec heads.
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:23 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

The l31 is a good engine but you need to buy a tpi vortec base

https://sdparts.com/i-23896057-sdpc-...SABEgKtA_D_BwE
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:28 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

If you want to tune your tpi or datalog for someone a l31 with a hot cam works well.
You need to have the heads machined for the higher lift and Alex springs or beehive ls work good too.
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:59 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

So if I would buy a l31 and a vortec base, everything else would bolt up and be good? Stock tune on the care would be fine?
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:01 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Every thing will bolt up both engines your 89 and a l31 are a one piece rear main seal.
It doesn’t have to be tuned but you can gain more performance if it is.
Since your car has a l98 and t5 it would be a custom tune.
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:07 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Gotcha, best place to buy a l31? Does gm sell them directly? Does the car need to be on a dyno to be tuned or is there someone on the internet that has tunes?
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:13 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/nal-12530283
You would need to datalog here is a device that hooks to your ecm and laptop.
Dyno tuning works or sending a datalog to a tuner using tuner pro rt.
http://www.moates.net/aldu1-and-cabl1-p-127.html
There are multiple sources for tunes , I do them , Scott Hansen, ed write of fast chips or brian Harris tbi chips .com
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:21 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Awesome, I'll definitely hook up with you when I get to that point.
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:24 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

The l31 comes with a roller cam but you could always swap it out for a. Teter cam before it’s installed. The t5 is your weakness.
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:32 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Well I definitely dont want to up the hp to more than the t5 can take. We just swapped the auto out for that.
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Old 07-02-2018, 03:19 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

If you want the simplest way to go...
Use this short block remachine your heads reuse your cam, a Cloyes 9-3145 timing set and no tuning required. Bolt it all together with the rest of your engine parts and go.

https://www.ebay.com/p/Chevrolet-Per...ne/22003366217

All the specs

https://paceperformance.com/i-238406...ck-engine.html

Last edited by Dyno Don; 07-02-2018 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 07-02-2018, 03:53 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Hmm. Not sure if I would want to reuse my cam with 127k on it.. I got some rough numbers from 2 engine builders near me and it was more $ just to do the machining than what it was for a complete crate engine...
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Old 07-02-2018, 04:01 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Don, why would you have to machine the heads? ...or are you suggesting that simply as a refresh? I looked it over real quick...maybe I missed something. -But...that IS a quality looking piece from GM.
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Old 07-02-2018, 05:13 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

bone stock with the tpi the l31 should be 40 to 60 hp stouter than the original engine.
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Old 07-02-2018, 05:47 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

This is the exact thing I'm doing to my '88...figure on around 400 foot pounds of torque, and other than the Scoggin-Dickey manifold, it will look bone stock.


I'd recommend this swap wholeheartedly...but would start shopping for a T56.


I'm having one rebuilt now to install in my car, hopefully, I'll have the T56 done in a couple of months.
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:23 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Gonna be putting a ZZ4 short block in my car (the one in that link), I put AFR 180s on it, but it is a very nice piece with good parts in it. I trust factory built engines more than the aftermarket rebuilders or even local guys. Maybe I'm wrong to think that way, but I've heard a lot of horror stories.
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:26 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Originally Posted by Galaxie500XL View Post
This is the exact thing I'm doing to my '88...figure on around 400 foot pounds of torque, and other than the Scoggin-Dickey manifold, it will look bone stock.


I'd recommend this swap wholeheartedly...but would start shopping for a T56.


I'm having one rebuilt now to install in my car, hopefully, I'll have the T56 done in a couple of months.
Just to clarify, your going with the l31?
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:32 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

What advantage does the ZZ short block have over the L31R? Just looking at the published specs on the ZZ, it's not exactly impressive. Last I checked it's a nodular iron crank, powdered metal rods, and hypereutectic pistons. Is that much different from the 4-bolt main Vortec truck engine? Because the Vortec L31R adds a roller cam with all the extras, Vortec heads, all the tins, oil pump, blah blah blah. Plus the L31R crate engine is reportedly all new parts, and $200-300 less than the ZZ short block. Am I missing something or is L31R about $1,000 more engine for the money? Even if a person pulled the Vortec heads, and truck cam, it would seem like a better deal.


https://www.jegs.com/i/Chevrolet-Per...30283/10002/-1

Last edited by Drew; 07-02-2018 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 07-02-2018, 07:24 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Originally Posted by Abubaca View Post
Don, why would you have to machine the heads? ...or are you suggesting that simply as a refresh? I looked it over real quick...maybe I missed something. -But...that IS a quality looking piece from GM.
Hmm. Not sure if I would want to reuse my cam with 127k on it..
Why not? it is steel from the factory.

Yes, just refresh, valve job, seals, resurface etc.

Drew

Last I checked it's a nodular iron crank, powdered metal rods, and hypereutectic pistons.
Read it again, 4bolt block, steel crank.

The L31 has a old cam technology (small), linkbelt timing chain (that gets sloppy after a few miles) dished pistons. ZZ motors have flat tops.

If you're going to do it, might as well make it better, maybe a better cam too, but that gets back to having to tune.

[quote] Even if a person pulled the Vortec heads, and truck cam, it would seem like a better deal.[/qoute]

I Agree but then, back to tuning.

Last edited by Dyno Don; 07-02-2018 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 07-02-2018, 08:36 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Originally Posted by Dyno Don View Post
Read it again, 4bolt block, steel crank.
Yeah, I'm seeing that in the online descriptions. The GMPP catalog around here somewhere is more ambiguous. It shows two different crankshafts for the ZZ4, and LT4. Some pages say the ZZ4 uses a forged steel crank, others say nodular iron. Could be a running change I suppose, or a misprint in the catalog.

9.8:1 compression ratio on the ZZ vs 9.4:1 on the Vortec. It'd be nice to know the part number for the pistons GM uses in the L31R, but they seem a bit tight lipped about the internals.

Not sure how much difference it'd make under TPI.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:53 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

If I would rebuild the 350 I have, I'd like to put a new cam in it. Just a mild lobe. Nothing too crazy. What would you guys suggest?
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Old 07-03-2018, 10:22 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Spend a butt-load at your local machine shop having the heads reconditioned, and machined for more lift. Because if you don't, nearly any "performance" cam is going to bounce the retainers off the valve seals. Or you know, leave the cam alone because you don't want to dump money into the stock heads, and you'd have to tune for it anyway...
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:10 AM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

I think I am going to go with the sp350/357 crate engine. Get the vortec intake adapter so I can still use my tpi. And then tune the ecm accordingly. Obviously it will be alittle more power than the stock 350 I have. So the t5 wc will be alittle overpowered. I'll just be easy on it and upgrade to a t56 later if needed.
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Old 07-14-2018, 02:54 AM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

ATK, makes a nice drop in TPI crate motor. Comes with Edelbrock 60cc aluminum heads, roller cam and no tuning for $3,900. The cam is very close to stock specs.

https://www.high-performance-engines...tte-p/hp57.htm

Horsepower: 289
Torque: 370 lb/ft
Block: Seasoned OE 4 Bolt Main 1pc Seal Roller Block P/S Dipstick
Bore/Stroke: 4.040 x 3.480
Year Range: 1987-1991
Displacement: 350 C.I.D.
Crankshaft: OE Cast Crank 3.480" Stroke Externally Balanced Rear/Internal Front 1pc.
Connecting Rods: OE Powder Metal 5.700" Stock Bolts
Pistons: Hypereutectic Dished
Piston Rings: Moly Rings
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1 Compression
Camshaft: Hydraulic Roller
Camshaft Specifications: 207/214 @050 .411in/.428ex 117LSA
Camshaft Bearings: Installed & Clocked to OEM Position
Cylinder Heads: Edelbrock Performer Aluminum 60cc/165cc 2.02/1.60
Freeze Plugs: Brass Installed & Sealed
Rocker Arms: Stamped Steel 1.6 Ratio
Oil Galley Plugs: Installed & Sealed
Oil Pan: OE 5qt.
Weight:350
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Old 07-14-2018, 08:26 AM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Originally Posted by burnout88 View Post
ATK, makes a nice drop in TPI crate motor. Comes with Edelbrock 60cc aluminum heads, roller cam and no tuning for $3,900. The cam is very close to stock specs.

https://www.high-performance-engines...tte-p/hp57.htm

Horsepower: 289
Torque: 370 lb/ft
Block: Seasoned OE 4 Bolt Main 1pc Seal Roller Block P/S Dipstick
Bore/Stroke: 4.040 x 3.480
Year Range: 1987-1991
Displacement: 350 C.I.D.
Crankshaft: OE Cast Crank 3.480" Stroke Externally Balanced Rear/Internal Front 1pc.
Connecting Rods: OE Powder Metal 5.700" Stock Bolts
Pistons: Hypereutectic Dished
Piston Rings: Moly Rings
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1 Compression
Camshaft: Hydraulic Roller
Camshaft Specifications: 207/214 @050 .411in/.428ex 117LSA
Camshaft Bearings: Installed & Clocked to OEM Position
Cylinder Heads: Edelbrock Performer Aluminum 60cc/165cc 2.02/1.60
Freeze Plugs: Brass Installed & Sealed
Rocker Arms: Stamped Steel 1.6 Ratio
Oil Galley Plugs: Installed & Sealed
Oil Pan: OE 5qt.
Weight:350
Wow, that is a sweet setup! You may have just changed my mind...
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Old 07-15-2018, 08:14 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

These are the heads that come on it part #60879
http://www.edelbrock.com/automotive/...rbolt-sb.shtml

It does have the vette TPI heads so you will either have to use a vette tpi intake base or any Edelbrock or Accel intake base (they are drilled for both).

Last edited by burnout88; 07-15-2018 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 07-15-2018, 08:27 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

So the TPI base that I have for mine won't work? That sucks...
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Old 07-15-2018, 09:07 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Correct, but you can find a used stock TPI vette intake base very cheap. Especially over on the vette forums. Probably get one for $50
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Old 07-15-2018, 11:58 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Your base will work fine, you just need to elongate the 4 center bolt holes.
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Old 07-16-2018, 03:18 AM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Gotcha, thanks for the info!
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Old 07-16-2018, 07:31 AM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Originally Posted by Dyno Don View Post

Read it again, 4bolt block, steel crank.

The L31 has a old cam technology (small), linkbelt timing chain (that gets sloppy after a few miles) dished pistons. ZZ motors have flat tops.

If you're going to do it, might as well make it better, maybe a better cam too, but that gets back to having to tune.

I Agree but then, back to tuning.
The newest ZZx engines no longer have forged cranks. They have nodular iron cranks. It was a running change sometime early in the ZZ4 production. The nodular crank is the same one that is in the 1-ton 4-bolt main 350 Vortec. The 1-ton Vortec engine also uses the same roller timing set as the ZZ4. As for the SPO 357 HP 350 crate mentioned above. It would be thousands of dollars cheaper to buy a 1-ton 350 Vortec, swap the cam to the SPO cam and swap the plastic timing cover to the GM cover made without provision for the crank sensor and end up with the very same engine. You could duplicate the SPO 357 HP 350 for $2500 with new GM parts, FWIW. The Vortec does have dished pistions, but you could also pull the factory 0.051" compressed head gasket off that crate engine, substitute the .028" thick GM performance parts one they should have built those engines with while you swap the heads to LS6 valve springs on Comp 787 retainers. I think the SPO cam would run better with the beehives than the OEM vortec springs they equipped those engines with. I would also upgrade to 1.6:1 full roller rockers at the same time. For those while you have the heads off, drill the pushrod holes to 1/2". For less than $3,000 you could do all of the above and have a valvetrain that was stable to 6,500 rpm.

I am speaking from first hand experience with the SPO 357 HP cam in a 4-bolt main 350 Vortec. Mine was running with 0.020" milled 906 vortecs with 2.02/1.60 valves and 1.6:1 full roller rockers. The SPO cam is pretty tame at only 215/223 @ .050 but has a nice choppy idle with its 108* LSA and 1* retarded 109 ICL. It had a great powerband under a L31 marine intake manifold with Tri-Y headers. I ran it in my Express van with a 4L85E and 4.56 geared 10.5" 14-bolt and put down more than 300 RWHP with it.

Last edited by Fast355; 07-16-2018 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:52 AM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

ATK, makes a nice drop in TPI crate motor. Comes with Edelbrock 60cc aluminum heads, roller cam and no tuning for $3,900. The cam is very close to stock specs.
Buy GM.
Buy Local.
Pay top dollar and buy from a national performance engine builder.

Those would by my only 3 options. ....I'd stay away from any national budget builder.
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:55 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Originally Posted by Ty92Z View Post
Your base will work fine, you just need to elongate the 4 center bolt holes.
That will work also but I have always found the vette intakes for super cheap and found it a cleaner install with less hassle. I have a couple in my garage right now and one I got for $25.00.
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Old 07-18-2018, 04:45 AM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

I did some research on ATK. Found alot of bad reviews stating that they are outsourcing alot and quality has really gone down. Also very poor customer service. So I guess I'm back to the sp350 or having a local guy rebuild it.
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Old 07-18-2018, 07:51 AM
  #39  
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

check out blueprint engines regardless of what others say on here I know PLENTY of guys even myself that run there engines from budget builds to crazy 396 engines they built an never had a problem.great prices an awesome customer service..
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:24 AM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

check out blueprint engines regardless of what others say on here I know PLENTY of guys even myself that run there engines from budget builds to crazy 396 engines they built an never had a problem.great prices an awesome customer service..
I think too many have had negative experiences for BP to be considered an option. Of course....I'm not the consumer in this instance.
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:28 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Still looks like the L31-R is still the best bargain to me. Heck, Jegs has it for $170 off right now. https://www.jegs.com/i/Chevrolet-Per...30283/10002/-1
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Old 07-18-2018, 04:32 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Originally Posted by indy82z View Post
Still looks like the L31-R is still the best bargain to me. Heck, Jegs has it for $170 off right now. https://www.jegs.com/i/Chevrolet-Per...30283/10002/-1
agreed. I've pulled the trigger on this and will likely slap a pro flo XT edelbrock intake on it. I think this will be way ahead of a comparable TPI setup bhp/$$$

goodnight
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Old 07-24-2018, 04:41 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Originally Posted by mxnoah418 View Post
Just to clarify, your going with the l31?

Compression and bottom end appear to be in good shape in my L98, so for now, I'm just buying new Vortec heads. Occasionally, they're on sale from GM Performance for about $600.00 a pair. I already have the Scoggin-Dickey Vortec TPI manifold, so I'm going the cheaper route first, but later, when the L98 gets tired, I'll go with a new L31.
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Old 07-24-2018, 07:51 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

I've pulled the trigger on this and will likely slap a pro flo XT edelbrock intake on it.
Make sure to document that if ya don't mind. Not a lot of info on that intake.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:32 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Sorry to ask a potentially stupid question. I have a 91 Formula with the L98 engine. The L98 has a crack in the block. I am looking at the L31 as a replacement engine along with the SD3816 TPI Base Intake Baseplate so that I can use my existing factory TPI setup. Is that all that is required to swap in an L31? Does the SD3816 simply bolt up as an adapter or are there some other modifications that are going to be required? Thank you very much for all your help. I'm trying to explain to my mechanic what needs to be done for this swap so I can get my Formula back on the road.
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:10 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Originally Posted by tillyvick14 View Post
Sorry to ask a potentially stupid question. I have a 91 Formula with the L98 engine. The L98 has a crack in the block. I am looking at the L31 as a replacement engine along with the SD3816 TPI Base Intake Baseplate so that I can use my existing factory TPI setup. Is that all that is required to swap in an L31? Does the SD3816 simply bolt up as an adapter or are there some other modifications that are going to be required? Thank you very much for all your help. I'm trying to explain to my mechanic what needs to be done for this swap so I can get my Formula back on the road.
Vortec long block, vortec tpi intake base and it'll drop right in.. I would have the intake ported though.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:24 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

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Old 11-07-2018, 01:38 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Thank you all! Went ahead and ordered an L31 and the vortec tpi base, hopefully my mechanic can figure out everything else with dropping it in without too much problem!
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:44 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Originally Posted by Abubaca View Post
Make sure to document that if ya don't mind. Not a lot of info on that intake.
sure. I have the intake (7138), a LS1 TB (with adaptor) together with the LT4 Hotcam, LS6 springs and associated comp-cam retainers.

The install will likely be Q1 2019 but will def. take it to the dyno once its on its feed tune wise; figure I'll get one run in before the T5 goes purgatory...

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Old 11-28-2018, 06:15 PM
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Re: 89 350 TPI Replacement/ Crate engine options

Can anyone tell me what the HP of this L31 Engine is? I have been debating building my stock 350 L98 but for the price of these motors its kind of a no brainer to buy a new drop in Engine.
I am looking for 330-350HP out of an Engine. Or can you reccommend a different motor as I am thinking this L31 only produces 255ish for HP ??
I drive the Car every day from Spring to Fall and need it to be reliable, but worth the money spent in regards to performance.
And I am wanting to bolt on my Stock TPI System. So can someone tell me EXACTLY what I need to accomplish that and will my Hedman Headers bolt onto this Engine?
Thanks
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