Chevy Fullsize Pickup - Big Repower
Pulling Your Old 350ci For A 383ci Crate Engine
The previous generation '96-'99 GM fullsize trucks and SUVs are excellent workhorses that put tons of miles under their bumpers without a whimper. However, the 305ci and 350ci small-block V-8 powerplants can definitely use a little help in the power department. For that reason, we're showing you how to swap an emissions-legal 383ci GM Performance Parts V-8 crate engine into your '96-'99 GM truck or SUV for a healthy increase in torque and horsepower.
383 PowerTo get started, a GM Performance Parts HT383E V-8 engine, part number 1249910, was ordered from Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center, an Authorized GM Performance Parts dealer in Lubbock, Texas. The pros at Scoggin-Dickey recommended this engine because it was designed to provide 'truck-usable' power-low rpm grunt with excellent efficiency-and will bolt into the truck just as a 350ci replacement engine.
The HT383E engine uses a cast-iron engine block and heads and a forged-steel 3.800-inch-stroke crankshaft, in place of the 3.480-inch crankshaft usually found in 350ci engines. The longer stroke crank combines with aluminum pistons in the traditional 4.000-inch small-block V-8 cylinder bores, to attain the 33-ci increase to 383 ci.
The dyno results make it clear this is a truck engine-with ratings of 435 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm and 340 hp at 4,500 rpm. That kind of down-low power makes this engine ready for stump-pulling or hill-flattening, when needed. In fact, this grunt-daddy makes more than 400 lb-ft of torque from 2,500 to 4,000 rpm.
A Complex Job Made EasyHow many times have you experienced this: Something that seems like it should be easy turns into a complete nightmare? Like removing a worn-out engine and reinstalling a new crate engine in your truck-sounds straightforward, right? But we all know this process is filled with steps that must be completed in a certain sequence, using special tools, and little-known, but required, actions. Beyond paying a shop the $1,000+ required to complete this job, there is another way to successfully swap your engine-use the ultra detailed, easy to understand Dr. Whaba R&R Photoinstructions to guide you through the process.
In case you haven't already noticed, the patent-pending system is being showcased here in this summary story by nesting the Whaba icons in the photos to visually tell you where to work on the vehicle and what tools you'll need to do the work-before you've read a single word.
While the Dr. Whaba R&R kit was used as a guide to swap this 383ci engine, asking for help made it easier to do this job right the first time. In this case, we asked an experienced mechanic friend, Gil Baker, if we could rent a two-post lift in his shop for a few days and ask him questions when we needed more understanding.
He agreed and we're glad he did-getting on a lift makes this job go that much faster. You can do the engine swap in your own garage on jackstands, but the lift definitely speeds things up and reduces the backbreaking nature of this kind of work.
Baker was also a great resource to ask about special processes and had many of the special tools on hand that were called for in the Dr. Whaba R&R books.
Look for Part 2 of this story next month where we install, tune, and chassis-dyno test the GM Performance Parts HT 383E engine for maximum truck performance.
|Time Spent Working:||Approximately 6 hours|
|Degree of Difficulty:||Intermediate|
|GM Performance Parts HT 383 1249910||$4,439.95 |
(Price from summitracing.com)
From The Driver SeatWe were surprised how straightforward it was to upgrade to the 383ci engine and have enjoyed the new power levels. This is one of those swaps that is definitely worth the effort for the 'seat-of-the-pants' difference. While all of these stats sounds great, we can say from real-world experience that the HT383E lives up to the billing. Whether unloaded or loaded (with a 9000 lb, 28-ft enclosed trailer tied on), this engine pulls like a hopped up big block-but without the heavy weight and horrible fuel mileage. The engine does sound a little like a hot-rod engine at startup, which is OK with us. We're told the noise is attributed to the long stroke and big bore. Once up to temperature, the engine quieted down and performed without a hitch.