View Full Version : 86 Silverado engine swap
Is it possible to put the engine, transmission, and rear-end from a 2000 Silverado into my 86 Silverado? If so, what kind of price tag am I looking at? All info is appreciated.
10-08-2000, 01:35 AM
My first question is WHY?
First of all, I'm pretty sure the engine and trans would fit easily. You would need the computer from a 2000 model, along with all the wiring, to control the engine and trans. You would need the fuel pump from the 2000, or one that would deliver the same volume and pressure. The rear axle would have to be modified to fit. The all around cost of such a swap, would outweigh the benefits though. You could spend the same amount of money, and end up with a better result. A guestimate on cost would be $10,000+ depending on how much of the work and mods you could do yourself.
What are you hoping to gain by doing such a swap?
I like the 86 body style more than the newer ones, but I want the performance of the 2000 Silverado.
10-08-2000, 11:33 PM
yeah Im with chuck...
it would be extremely pricey/time consuming and you wouldnt end up with something as nice as a 2K silverado..
its all about the motor.. the rear end need not be changed, the trans is the same thing they've been using for years.
the motor (im assuming 5400 series?) is a next generation small block, designed to give max power and min. pollution.. its only 325 cubic inches and is not very impressive if you ask me.. sure it runs great, the trucks are downright fast, but its all upper rpm power, no good old fashioned tire frying torque.. for a fraction of the cost you could build a very very strong small block, and have an overdrive trans put in your '86 and outperform any 2K model truck, but it would have to be done right. NOT that "being done right" doesnt go for the 2K driveline swap, cuz its even more crucial that you do that one right.. just some food for thought, let us know what you decide to do..
10-08-2000, 11:40 PM
Put a turbo on there or something. Dual carbs, new cam.. better exhaust..... seems like too much time, money, and labor to put a 2000 engine in a 86 truck....
Thanks for all the input guys. I think I'm convinced not to go with the 2k motor. Now, what would be the best motor to drop in it? I'm not really looking for a dragster. Just a strong, reliable motor. It has a 305 in it now with 165k on it. I'm in no hurry, it runs good now. Just want to have everything planned out before I start. The rest of the truck is in excellent condition. That's why I'm leaning toward putting money in it instead of a new one. Thanks again. Shay
[Edited by Shay on 10-09-2000 at 03:58 AM]
10-09-2000, 01:14 AM
I dont know where you are from, what kind of emissions/inspection laws you have to deal with, but putting those aside for a little while, I think your best bang for the buck would be a small block 400. Big cubes, small package.. Next on the list, if money is an issue, is a good old 350.. there is just SO much you can do.. I could talk for hours and hours about mods, performance parts, etc.. but I wont :) I think you should seriously consider a nice (9.5:1, aftermarket aluminum heads, headers, free flowing exhaust) 350 with an aftermarket fuel injection (multi-port!) system.. that would give you unbeatable performance with the best economy.. even with an RV cam I bet you could push 300hp easy from that setup.. just a thought... it all depends on what you wanna do, and how much you wanna spend to do it..
Thanks Mike. I'm in Ft. Campbell, KY. I'm not even sure what the emissions laws are. I guess I should look into that. How much more would the 400 cost over the 350(ballpark)? What is a RV cam? I'm not a mechanical guru as you have probably noticed. I'm gonna have to have most if not all of the work done by the pros.
[Edited by Shay on 10-09-2000 at 05:16 AM]
10-09-2000, 09:56 AM
My suggestion would be go to your nearest GM dealership. Get to know the parts manager and the service manager.
GM has some great deals on Crate motors, of all shapes and sizes.
talk to them, tell them what you are gonna be doing with the truck. I am not sure the warranty extends to commercial use, but you can check.
I would be willing to bet a 350 HO or a 383 stroker will fit the bill. of course there is alaway the ZZ4
10-09-2000, 11:30 AM
One of the reasons the 2000 performs so well with that motor and drivetrain, is weight. The 2000 models weigh significantly less than the 86 model. Even the 86 model weighs less than a 76 model. GM tried to drop weight where ever they could. Items like the aluminum NP 208 transfer case compared to a cast iron NP 203 or NP 205, dropping from a GM 12 bolt rear axle to a GM 10 bolt rear axle, it all adds up to less weight. Also the GM 14 bolt 9.5" ring gear axle, as opposed to the 10.5" ring gear 14 bolt axle. GM did it to satisfy the EPA on emissions ratings, and MPG ratings.
One key factor in builing up your 86 that will keep it easier, is that it seems to be 2wd. You didn't say, but you only mentioned swapping in the rear axle, so I made the assumption.
Mike: The rear need not be changed, but a gear swap may be in order. I have seen many trucks with strong motors, but they never got the power to the ground, due to a high gear ratio (numerically lower).
A truck with 4.11:1 gears will hop off the line, compared to one that has 2.56:1 gears. At the same time, the 4.11 equipped truck will be turning much higher RPM's on the highway than the 2.56 equipped truck. Having the OD trans helps correct this though.
10-11-2000, 01:27 AM
Yes it is possible, and yes it is do-able. I know of several people who have done this. There is a guy on the chevytalk forum who put a LT1 from an F-body in his 81-87 C-10. There are a few on sportruck.com who have converted. Typically the most expensive part is going to be the motor/trans/ECM. Being a new model it will be expensive. I haven't checked, but you might can pick it up at a salvage yard for around $5000. I know where you can get LT1/4L60E's with ECM for $5000 all day long, and he is high on his pricing.
As far as dropping it in, it would be pretty much a cake walk if you have done alot of swapping. The hardest part would be routing the ECM wiring and mounting. If you used a your transmission instead of the Electronic version 4L60E you would simplify some problems, especially since yours came with a 700R4.
Which would be cheaper? Of course building a motor would be cheaper. Did I leave some steps out, sure, It would take a book or at least doing it to cover everthing.
As far as weighing more, not sure how much the new trucks weigh, but my '73 non-power C-10 SWB with 454 weighed 3948lbs. A buddies ( http://www.shelby.net/mgervin ) '85 C-10 SWB weighed 3960lb. Here is a weight discussion we had a few weeks back: http://www.chevytalk.com/ubb/Forum45/HTML/000169.html
10-12-2000, 01:38 AM
If your truck is carbureted, then you're in luck. If it's original, it should be. I have an 87 & got stuck with TBI, which means I have to stick with TBI replacements unless I do alot of re-routing & changing things. If you go with a big block, you'll have to replace & change motor mounts, & other things.
I say your best bet is to search the newspapers & traderonline.com for a 350 motor, which should be like finding a Wal mart-easy. next call northern auto at 800-831-0884 & you can get a 383 rebuild kit with all necessary parts for $650. Jegs & Summit are too expensive. Installation should run about 400-700 if you shop around & find a reputable mechanic. All told you should have maybe 1500-1700 in the whole kit & kaboodle, & it'll eat a 2000 Silverado alive.......... Heck, it'll eat alot of cars alive, depending on your axle ratio. It'll whoop a big block too, unless it's beefed as well. Best bet & bang for the $$$ is a 383 stroker!
10-13-2000, 02:46 PM
A BBC uses the same motor mounts as a SBC. The only things you would have to change is the carb to a BBC one and the exhaust and it only needs to be changed at the drop-down tubes from the manifolds. Carb wouldn't "need" to be changed, but you would be hindering the motor some. This is assuming you got the complete BBC, brackets, accessories and all. TBI version would really need a 454 PROM for best results.
10-14-2000, 10:00 AM
Do you want an EFI motor?They will cost a lot more and run much better,but power wont realy be any more or less.It will just be more drivable and efficient.The cheap way is a reman or new GM crate motor,you'll be installed for less than 2K with good performance.EFI wise,Id go with the older camaro/firebird L98 TPI,they make lots of torque and will move that truck out like nothing.The porblem is they all have high miles now and are worn out.The LT1 F-body 350 from 93-97 will work well too,but its a little harder swap,and torque is not as good as TPI 350,although it will outpower it on top end.You should be able to find a good running TPI car wrecked or in need of repair for about 1200-2500,uuse the complete engine/trans and harness.I ahve done this before-it isnt that hard-but you need to be knowledgable in electrical and mechanical too.You didnt sya where you were from-so i dont know your emmisions laws there,but any EFI would pass-even in CA,a cammed 350 wouldnt make it past the sniffer however if you have testing in your state-you need to consider this.
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