5.3L Vortec engine swap and other upgrades

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
34,478
Salem, Oregon
The setup I have isn't autometer except for the black trim piece. Using autometer gauges would have made the whole setup around $800. Instead I used a $180 6 pcs gauge set off ebay and got a programmable fuel gauge from speedhut to match the others. Total setup was about $350.

That's why I got rid of it. With my cluster going out and not wanting to deal with integrating the two systems it just made sense. Although I'm still trying to figure out the vss sensor from jeep to GM and what the best route to go is
Okay, that makes sense. I like it the way you did it better anyways. I thought about reusing my factory gauge cluster, but I think it just complicates things more by having to have two PCMs communicating with each other.

I'll be curious to see what you end up doing with the VSS sensor.
 

Alex0413

Member
Oct 26, 2018
93
Baton Rouge, LA
Had to acquire the engine from Texas but the trip wasn't to bad and she made it fine.View attachment 73890
Got her Unwrapped and ready to put on an engine stand
View attachment 73891
Thought I could make this more... dirtable… since my carport it pretty small... turns out it doesn't work well because the engine is pretty top heavy... weird! hahah
View attachment 73892
Either way, There it is, just waiting to be installed!
View attachment 73893

LS TJ with a 5 speed, I'm in on this build!!!!!

Where in Louisiana are you located? I'm in Baton Rouge!
 
OP
Jeeper25

Jeeper25

New Member
Jan 13, 2019
21
Louisiana
So, I took another hack at the heads today and was able to rescue the hole. I went at it with a new bit, cleaned out a lot of the bolt and then just drilled it out so I could tap it and install a heli-coil to match the original thread size. I managed to get the last bolt out tonight as well. I took my Dremel with a very narrow bit and but out a groove to make it like a flat head bolt. I then took my impact driver backed it out... by far the easiest bolt to recover and I think ill try that from here on out. I didn't have pictures of that, but here's how I repaired the second stuck bolt hole

bolt rethread 2.jpg


bolt rethread 3.jpg


bolt rethread 4.jpg


bolt rethread 5.jpg


bolt rethread 6.jpg
 
OP
Jeeper25

Jeeper25

New Member
Jan 13, 2019
21
Louisiana
LS TJ with a 5 speed, I'm in on this build!!!!!

Where in Louisiana are you located? I'm in Baton Rouge!
Thanks man. Hopefully I can make some progress on this thing now that I have the head bolts out. But I'm out here at Fort Polk in Leesville. greatest city on earth! said no one ever! lol. If you have no idea where that is, its about 3 hrs north west... or like and hour north or Lake Charles off Hwy 171.
 
OP
Jeeper25

Jeeper25

New Member
Jan 13, 2019
21
Louisiana
Anyone doing an engine swap using Novak engine mounts and is looking for some freshly painted and properly cured headers? Turns out these headers don't work to well with the Advance Adapters engine mounts. When you look at the pictures, I still have to fit an 8th inch piece of metal and a bolt head between the exhaust and inner mount... with out it melting bushings... so I'll probably just have to use the stock truck manifold which is what advance adapters recommend since they don't have one made yet... it just sucks... if the manifold was shifted back maybe half an inch it'd be no issue....

Oh well. When I painted the headers I used the VHT paint, primer and clear coat. I used three coats of primer, three coats of paint and then two more coats of satin clear coat. Let it dry for an hour and them baked it in the oven per the recommended temps. So 30 mins at 250 degrees, cool 30 mins, 30 mins at 400, cool 30, and finally 30 mins at 600 degrees. The coating isn't chemical resistant unless you cure it properly which a lot of people skip and end up with crappy results later down the road. Either way, they cost about $350 unfinished, they apparently don't need gaskets because of the way they're designed... seems weird to me but go check them out, either at the Novak site or on the Sandersons Street Rod Headers website.

But if anyone's interested PM me. Don't mind my greasy prints on them, it'll wipe off. But here's the pictures to show you what I'm talking about though... I guess it wouldn't be a project with out a few issues here and there... or in my case... here... and here and here and over there! haha

20190129_215209.jpg


20190129_215228.jpg
 
Reactions: JMT

Alex0413

Member
Oct 26, 2018
93
Baton Rouge, LA
Thanks man. Hopefully I can make some progress on this thing now that I have the head bolts out. But I'm out here at Fort Polk in Leesville. greatest city on earth! said no one ever! lol. If you have no idea where that is, its about 3 hrs north west... or like and hour north or Lake Charles off Hwy 171.
I do know where Fort Polk is, are you in the Army? Do you ever ride at Sicily Island? Spring Fling is April 13th, your rig should be ready!
 
OP
Jeeper25

Jeeper25

New Member
Jan 13, 2019
21
Louisiana
I do know where Fort Polk is, are you in the Army? Do you ever ride at Sicily Island? Spring Fling is April 13th, your rig should be ready!
Nice! Nah I'm in the Air Force. Where like unicorns out here, people hear stories about us, but they never see us! haha. I just got out here a few months ago and then started taking the Jeep apart so I haven't been anywhere. It sounds pretty fun though. I'll try to get this thing ready before then and see if I can get the time off.
 
Reactions: JMT

Alex0413

Member
Oct 26, 2018
93
Baton Rouge, LA
Nice! Nah I'm in the Air Force. Where like unicorns out here, people hear stories about us, but they never see us! haha. I just got out here a few months ago and then started taking the Jeep apart so I haven't been anywhere. It sounds pretty fun though. I'll try to get this thing ready before then and see if I can get the time off.

Sicily Island is the only place you can go rock crawling in Louisiana. Spring Fling is one of the biggest events of the year there: tons of people camping all weekend, rock bouncer races, modified races, night rides in the rocks. It's a ton of fun! I'll be there, let me know if you can make it!
 
OP
Jeeper25

Jeeper25

New Member
Jan 13, 2019
21
Louisiana
Installed the flywheel, clutch and transmission tonight. Had to make a few adjustments to the space and pilot bushing... the directions weren't to clear with the kit so I kind of guessed it... I was wrong but got it figured out when I tried to install the trans and it stopped about an inch short lol. Here's some pictures. Never mind the rats nest on top, I just tossed the harness up there to keep it out of the way when putting it in and out of the Jeep.

75274


Here's the Pilot bushing and spacer I was talking about. Before I had the brass pilot pushing pressed in flush with the back of the spacer (silver circle around it) so it stuck out. I had to take a socket and tap it the rest of the way in. The most descriptive part of the instructions explains that the side of the spacer with the groove in it needs to face out... I figures its easier to tape the Pilot bushing in if its wrong than to try and get it back out later. Either way, it worked out and I got it set up right.
75275


75277


Everything bolted up well, but it's only held on by 5 bolts... I mean their strong bolts and you also have the 2 alignment pegs to help keep it in place...but I'd expect it to mate up to every bolt hole. there's one hole near the top that's maybe only half a bolts width off and it just seems weird that its not designed to line up... Anyways. It seems like a pretty good product so far. I'm excited to get this thing in the Jeep so I can get the driveshafts ordered
75278
 
Last edited:

Mike_H

Rust Belt Heavyweight
Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2017
3,787
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
Wait, your adapter doesn't match up to the block? That seems wrong. I think I'd call advanced adapters or Novak (whomever you got it from) and let them know whats going on. They may have sent you the wrong part?
 
OP
Jeeper25

Jeeper25

New Member
Jan 13, 2019
21
Louisiana
Wait, your adapter doesn't match up to the block? That seems wrong. I think I'd call advanced adapters or Novak (whomever you got it from) and let them know whats going on. They may have sent you the wrong part?
So it does bolt up, but I'm assuming that they have a one size fits all bell housing engine bolt up pattern... and then they mill out the trans portion specific to the trans being used. They have a part that specifies with the gen 3 engines, you may only be able to use 5 bolts and I think it's because the same bell housing can also be adapted to older GM engines that have a similar but slightly different bolt pattern. I can cut a notch out to allow the last bolt to be used, but i dont think itll be necessary. I just think they could have elevated the top part of the housing and drilled it to specifically for the gen 3 and it would add an extra comfort
 
OP
Jeeper25

Jeeper25

New Member
Jan 13, 2019
21
Louisiana
Got some new headers in today and tried to test fit the engine with the transmission attached. Turns out that my engine lift is to short. If only I had an extra 3 or 4 inches I'd be able mount it with the trans. I'm headed to harbor freight tomorrow to pick up a 2 ton Lift. It has over a foot of extra length to the lift arm so I shouldn't have any issues. Right now the hydraulic cylinder is hitting the front of the jeep frame. I got my new speedhut gauge in as well so ill toss some pictures of that up later too. Unfortunately its raining its ass off right now so I cant really do anything more with the jeep. Maybe ill go get a 10x10 sunshade and pop that thing up over the engine bay lol... with the temps starting to pick up, it might not be a bad idea anyways. Don't mind that I have the hood resting on the lift. I was done for the night and wanted to cover it as much as I could before the rain came lol... don't want people telling me "It'll really help if you lift the hood up" haha.

77070

I was a little worried about the clearance of the end of the headers, but so far it looks like its going to clear everything just fine

77071

It has a neat pyramid to help prevent turbulence as the exhaust meets together... not sure if it'll help much, but I thought it was a pretty need added touch that I haven't seen on some much more expensive headers.

77072

Just needed 3 more inches!!! I even have the arm over extended and it was still short... Don't try this at home disclaimer?

77073

I tried to match the new gauge up as much as possible. It's not perfect but its not really an eye sore. the most noticeable thing is being able to see the bottom of the needle.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: Alex0413