2007 Yukon SLT 5.3 to 6.2 swap, VVT cam replace options, and long tube headers

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k99ja04

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Hi,

I have a 2007 Yukon XL 1500 4x4 with 5.3L 4L60 with 240k miles that is recently burning a LOT more oil and losing coolant (slowly). I suspect head gasket failure. Amazingly no issues from DoD so far. Rather than go through rebuild and DoD delete on the 5.3, I got a deal on a salvage 2007 Yukon Denali 6.2 engine with 150k miles, including the engine wiring harness, PCM, and the 6L80 transmission. I’m aware I also need the 6 speed shift mechanism, cables, lever, and a Denali cluster to swap to 6 speed transmission. It also included the Denali AWD transfer case, but I intend to swap over my 2-speed 4x4 transfer case.

I don’t have the donor engine on a stand yet to run a leak down and compression test to evaluate piston rings and valve seals, but my current plan is just to freshen a few seals, and not crack open the heads. I’m on the fence with replacing timing chain and tensioner guides, but if I do replace the timing chain this opens the door to a cam swap (shhh, let’s not tell the wife about that).

The other relevant fact is I need a complete new exhaust system from manifolds all the way to the tailpipe. The cats no longer work and numerous leaks present in muffler (thank you Michigan winters!). I’m considering either Stainless Works or American Racing long tube headers with their catted y-pipe, as well as new cat back exhaust. Anyone have experience with these brands in a 6.2, or other recommended long tubes / cats? I came across Kooks but those are pretty expensive comparatively.

My other question for the forum is what is the opinion of stock 6.2 VVT cam? Is this a solid cam and I shouldn’t be worried about VVT failing the same as DoD, or should
I consider a VVT delete and cam swap while engine is easy to wrench on? This will be a daily driver, but I wouldn’t mind if idle had a very slightly noticeable lope, and since I’m already doing headers and complete exhaust this is usually necessary to take full advantage of a cam swap. Nothing crazy, but something in the 210-215 degrees of duration and around 0.5 lift seems reasonably mild. I came across some articles that mention the LS9 cam is an option. I prefer off the line torque as I sometimes tow a ski boat and this is primarily a kid-hauler, and not a 5000+ high rpm revving sports car. Aftermarket cam opinions? If I do the cam, any suggested timing chain sets? I hear LS2 timing chain set works, but seems a Cloyes also an option.


Thanks!
 

Geotrash

Dave
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Hi,

I have a 2007 Yukon XL 1500 4x4 with 5.3L 4L60 with 240k miles that is recently burning a LOT more oil and losing coolant (slowly). I suspect head gasket failure. Amazingly no issues from DoD so far. Rather than go through rebuild and DoD delete on the 5.3, I got a deal on a salvage 2007 Yukon Denali 6.2 engine with 150k miles, including the engine wiring harness, PCM, and the 6L80 transmission. I’m aware I also need the 6 speed shift mechanism, cables, lever, and a Denali cluster to swap to 6 speed transmission. It also included the Denali AWD transfer case, but I intend to swap over my 2-speed 4x4 transfer case.

I don’t have the donor engine on a stand yet to run a leak down and compression test to evaluate piston rings and valve seals, but my current plan is just to freshen a few seals, and not crack open the heads. I’m on the fence with replacing timing chain and tensioner guides, but if I do replace the timing chain this opens the door to a cam swap (shhh, let’s not tell the wife about that).

The other relevant fact is I need a complete new exhaust system from manifolds all the way to the tailpipe. The cats no longer work and numerous leaks present in muffler (thank you Michigan winters!). I’m considering either Stainless Works or American Racing long tube headers with their catted y-pipe, as well as new cat back exhaust. Anyone have experience with these brands in a 6.2, or other recommended long tubes / cats? I came across Kooks but those are pretty expensive comparatively.

My other question for the forum is what is the opinion of stock 6.2 VVT cam? Is this a solid cam and I shouldn’t be worried about VVT failing the same as DoD, or should
I consider a VVT delete and cam swap while engine is easy to wrench on? This will be a daily driver, but I wouldn’t mind if idle had a very slightly noticeable lope, and since I’m already doing headers and complete exhaust this is usually necessary to take full advantage of a cam swap. Nothing crazy, but something in the 210-215 degrees of duration and around 0.5 lift seems reasonably mild. I came across some articles that mention the LS9 cam is an option. I prefer off the line torque as I sometimes tow a ski boat and this is primarily a kid-hauler, and not a 5000+ high rpm revving sports car. Aftermarket cam opinions? If I do the cam, any suggested timing chain sets? I hear LS2 timing chain set works, but seems a Cloyes also an option.


Thanks!
The stock Denali exhaust is excellent. I would look for one at a salvage yard and go that route. The stock cam is also very good. I went a different route with my 2012 and installed a stage 2 truck cam that I'm happy with, but the stock L92 cam is quiet and powerful. GM really got the balance between power and livability right on the Denali's.
 

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