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Author Topic: Farmboy Fab: 1989 K2500 6.0 LSx swap on a budget  (Read 5885 times)
catapultkid
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« on: December 14, 2014, 07:40:27 AM »

Mindy and I bought a house in Goochland last January and with that there are some basic requirements out here. First being able to take the trash to the dump, second is the something sizeable to do the mulch runs and laying plywood in the bed along with the ability to get up a pretty steep driveway in the dead of winter with snow on the ground. So I bounced around for a few months on what I needed and with the VW coming along one day and the merkur here now to play with I added in the requirement to tow. After missing out on a nice late 90s powerstroke ford, a '04 chevy k2500 and a few others I finally landed with this 1989 chevy with a TBI 350 in it and a 4 speed, it happened to be a neighbors truck less than a mile away. I paid 2600 bucks for the truck and brought it home.





It needed a oil leak fixed, some tires, an alignment and a oil change. The truck had obviously been repainted at some point but there was no rust anywhere I could see. Typically, even on new chevys, the rocker rust out in a matter of a few years. This is what really attracted me to the truck.





Even splurged and bought a set of wheels and fresh tires for it. 400 dollars later on C'list.



However driving the truck for a few weeks and checking the plugs the motor was indeed consuming some oil.



No matter a common problem is the intake gasket. Justin and I swap that out one evening.





That didn't solve the issue as we soon found out when trying to tow his caprice. Truck didn't want any part of that adventure.



Then I put in new valve stem seals as that is also a common issue.





Then seafoamed the crap out of it. Notice the black puddle.



However even after this it was determined to be the rings of cylinders 5 and 7. I couldn't get them unstuck. The options ran through my head and for the price of a rebuilt or even rebuilding my own motor I could gain another 100 hp and another 100 lb/ft of torque with a more modern motor. Most likely even more than that with a few simple bolts ons and a tune.

The build starts with finding a motor and after a few weeks on C'list looking around I scored a LQ4 (iron block LS series) from a chevy 3500 express van with, I'm told, 63k on the clock. This was a "complete" swap along with all the sensors, starter, accessories, wiring harness and PCM. I paid 900 bucks for it. Picked it up with a oil burning TBI. It burnt a quart of oil in the 120 mile round trip.



So the adventure begins. What I'm looking to do over the next few months is do a complete swap as quickly and cheaply as possible. I can't afford to have the truck down for a extended period of time with the bi-weekly requirements of trash and snow on the horizon.

-Paul
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-Paul
1990 k20 swapped Gti (3rd motor)
1985 merkur xr4ti (4th motor)
1989 6.0 lsx swapped k2500 (2nd motor)
2000 honda insight (1st motor... yay)
catapultkid
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2014, 08:00:50 AM »

Step 1: Stripping the motor down.

Motor came in very clean however it needed to be stripped of all its wiring and accessories that I'm not going to use.





Then all the loom was removed to expose a huge wiring harness. Apparently the van harnesses are much bigger than the truck counterparts. This will be cut down to size and only the items I need left behind.



Lastly is building the "list" of all the components I need. This requires a lot of research as this list includes all of the part numbers that I need, the short version is below.

1. lq4 and accessories
2. clutch
3. flywheel
4. throw out bearing
5. pilot bearing
6. hardware
7. motor mounts
8. ecu flash
9. wiring harness
10. pedal
11. hoses
12. thermostat
13. crank position sensor
14. fuel pump '96
15. fuel line
16. push lok flex fuel line
17. fuel fittings
18. MAF 99-07 TRUCK
19. MAF connector
20. muffler
21. vbands
22. Filter with pressure regulator
23. OBD harness
24. wiring stuff
25. Starter
26. Intake
27. 2.5" Y to 3"
28. 2.5" j bends

Total build price so far is just south of 2100 dollars. However ebay has been my friend. I don't think it is realistic to do this for less that 2600 but I'm going to try. That includes the motor.

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-Paul
1990 k20 swapped Gti (3rd motor)
1985 merkur xr4ti (4th motor)
1989 6.0 lsx swapped k2500 (2nd motor)
2000 honda insight (1st motor... yay)
jloehlein
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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2014, 06:56:44 PM »

Nice, looks good.  LS motors in everything!
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2000 Honda Insight - Daily Driver
1995 Honda Civic CX - Street Mod/HPDE beater
1994 Chevy Caprice wagon w/6 speed - tow vehicle
1991 Mazda Miata (plus parts cars) - LeMons racecar
catapultkid
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2014, 07:21:03 PM »

Step 2:

Harness is almost finished up. A week in front of the TV after work for a hour or two and most of the unused stuff has been taken out of the van harness.





Here are the wires I was able to remove. About 40% of the harness I'd say.



Then everything was run back on the motor to get the finial fit up and make alterations of a few of the wires and there lengths.



Here is a example. Since the routing is different these wires need to be lengthened a bit.



Like this.



Once that is complete the harness gets buttoned up.



Then a few additions where added to the harness. Note the OBD2 port, tach wire and red check engine light.



Lastly the remaining pink wires need to be added to a relay circuit.



Until next time.

-Paul
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-Paul
1990 k20 swapped Gti (3rd motor)
1985 merkur xr4ti (4th motor)
1989 6.0 lsx swapped k2500 (2nd motor)
2000 honda insight (1st motor... yay)
catapultkid
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2015, 07:16:25 PM »

After 6 months of collecting parts I've finally pulled the trigger on getting this done. Here is the latest.

Its a little bigger than the merkur, glad I didn't get a extended cab.





Added clutch, flywheel, pilot bearing and pressure plate:



Pilot bearing is installed with about a 1/4" hanging out. This sets the proper engagement with the input shaft of the transmission.



Last time with this motor in the truck.



More coming soon.
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-Paul
1990 k20 swapped Gti (3rd motor)
1985 merkur xr4ti (4th motor)
1989 6.0 lsx swapped k2500 (2nd motor)
2000 honda insight (1st motor... yay)
catapultkid
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2015, 07:03:38 PM »

Few more photos of the progress. It is really about cleaning up the truck now and preparing it for the new motor.

Took a few hours to remove all of the attachments.



Then with a little bit of tug and some aligning of the transmission the motor almost fell out. Thanks to Mindy and Jeff. I've never had a engine come out as easy as this one.





During the week I borrowed Justin's power washer and wen to town.





Lastly I pulled and cleaned the fuel tank to get ready for a high pressure fuel pump install. The TBI 350 uses something like 14psi of fuel pressure. The more modern LSX motors use 58psi.





Couple coats of black paint on the top half.



More next time.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2015, 07:05:34 PM by catapultkid » Logged

-Paul
1990 k20 swapped Gti (3rd motor)
1985 merkur xr4ti (4th motor)
1989 6.0 lsx swapped k2500 (2nd motor)
2000 honda insight (1st motor... yay)
catapultkid
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2015, 03:10:47 PM »

John reminded me that I had not updated the thread this weekend. So here we go.

High pressure fuel pump was swapped out using the 96+ chevy fuel pump for a vortex motor (58psi if I remember correctly). Once again it was a simple bolt in setup.



Painted the engine bay and fuel tank bottom with a bunch of thick coats of rustoleum





New fasteners used for the fuel tank straps. I had to cut one to get the tank out, so better safe than sorry.



Motor mounts bolted on and locktited. I went with the dirty dingo mounts as they provided more adjust ability forward and aft.



Oil pressure gauge port/oil cooler block off added. One day I'll add a oil cooler but this should suffice for now.



Dropped the oil and it came out bright and clean. Nothing alarming and help solidify the maintenance done on the motor was a least normal.



Cutting out and picking apart the stock wiring. Here we go...


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-Paul
1990 k20 swapped Gti (3rd motor)
1985 merkur xr4ti (4th motor)
1989 6.0 lsx swapped k2500 (2nd motor)
2000 honda insight (1st motor... yay)
jloehlein
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2015, 06:29:03 PM »

Hmm, your pictures don't work for some reason.
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2000 Honda Insight - Daily Driver
1995 Honda Civic CX - Street Mod/HPDE beater
1994 Chevy Caprice wagon w/6 speed - tow vehicle
1991 Mazda Miata (plus parts cars) - LeMons racecar
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