2017 Tahoe engine swap, advice appreciated

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Seanslane

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Our engine is going out in our 2017 5.3 Tahoe. It’s at the dealer now since they just put in a new transmission for $5700. Then they diagnose the engine .Chevy said it’s a lift arm and needs the whole top taken off to replace it all. Best to just change engine. They quoted me $11,000 for a new engine swap with warranty and all. I live in California and barely making it by month to month. Trying to get this done and move back to Pennsylvania. Anyways. I can do it myself. I have everything to do it with help. My biggest hurdle at this time of a sourcing a reliable engine. I would like to do this only once if luck will have it.

I’m accepting any advice necessary even if it’s constructive criticism. I want to weigh all my options and ego is set aside so I can overcome this hurdle. Life is already tough enough as a middle class worker.

A good friend is an ex John deer mechanic and has everything I need to do this and will help and I have swapped engines before in a 2003 ford 7.3.

Advice on where to get an engine?
Best to buy used or reman?
Any other advice or concerns welcome and greatly appreciate.

Thank you
 

Thrust

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Does it just need new or rebuilt heads?
 
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Seanslane

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Does it just need new or rebuilt heads?
They said it was a lifter. Guess this engine only has one cam shaft. So needs a new cam and all the lifters. Then put heads back on. They said with all parts and labor would be close to what it would be for a new motor. Which was $6k and labor for a total at the $11,000 range.
 

Thrust

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Wow! If you have the ability to pull the heads get them to a machine shop, you can have them rebuilt. Get yourself a good cam and do an AFM delete. You won't have near $6K into it. Do a search on here as there are several posts about people who have had the same issue and replaced the problem.
 

Trey Hardy

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I just did a whole top end rebuilt with new cam lifter springs retainers seals etc
Sourced and machined some 243 heads to replace the 899s
Well under 2,000$ doing the work myself
That motor has over 230,000 on the bottom end
My Tahoes motor has close to 350,000 on the original powertrain
My advice is to rebuild the top end and beef it up some with better then factory parts and let er wobble!
 
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Seanslane

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Wow! If you have the ability to pull the heads get them to a machine shop, you can have them rebuilt. Get yourself a good cam and do an AFM delete. You won't have near $6K into it. Do a search on here as there are several posts about people who have had the same issue and replaced the problem.
Wow! If you have the ability to pull the heads get them to a machine shop, you can have them rebuilt. Get yourself a good cam and do an AFM delete. You won't have near $6K into it. Do a search on here as there are several posts about people who have had the same issue and replaced the problem.
I am watching a YouTube of a guy that is spot on with his explanation.
I’m just wondering if it’s the same motor as mine. I can research it as well. Not to ask you guys dumb questions. But here is his video name…
How to replace lifters and head gaskets on a Chevy 5.3 Vortec LS engine. COMPLETE GUIDE
He’s AutoRex on you tube. Sorry if I’m not allowed to mention stuff like that on here.
Anyways looks like it’s a complex job. Not impossible by any means. Hardest part obviously for anyone over 50 years old like me and has worked manual labor their whole lives will be the part where you are bent over a front end, or crouched over sitting on a radiator.
The thing that gets me is Chevy charges so much to fix things like this that are from bad design and issues they know about but keep making. Something about the fuel injection or something being notorious for eating the cam. Also the Trans I just had them replace is from a bad torque converter that breaks apart if towing any kind of load, then the metal going through the trans fluid pump eats the tranny.
Thank you for your reply. I appreciate it. Not sure what I’m going to do yet since today is the first I’m learning about the engine issue. But seems rebuilding is the cheapest by far. I’m wondering if there is anything else about the engine I should be worried about. I would hate to do the rebuild and something else go out that I should have addressed while in there.
 
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Seanslane

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I just did a whole top end rebuilt with new cam lifter springs retainers seals etc
Sourced and machined some 243 heads to replace the 899s
Well under 2,000$ doing the work myself
That motor has over 230,000 on the bottom end
My Tahoes motor has close to 350,000 on the original powertrain
My advice is to rebuild the top end and beef it up some with better then factory parts and let er wobble!
Thanks Trey for your response I appreciate it. I’m sure you will read my reply to Thrust. If I can ask you the same.
I would hate to do the rebuild and something else go out that I should have addressed while in there. Engine has 130,000 miles. Should I look at anything or replace anything else? Thank you.
 

ivin74

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Thanks Trey for your response I appreciate it. I’m sure you will read my reply to Thrust. If I can ask you the same.
I would hate to do the rebuild and something else go out that I should have addressed while in there. Engine has 130,000 miles. Should I look at anything or replace anything else? Thank you.
130k miles is not that many to rebuild the top end. Alot of folks on this forum have done this repair on engines with more miles that yours. A used engine will not be any better than your current engine, unless you buy a new engine. To replace an engine is 2x more work than rebuilding the top end.


I would do like @Trey Hardy did and be done with it.
 
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Seanslane

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Wow! If you have the ability to pull the heads get them to a machine shop, you can have them rebuilt. Get yourself a good cam and do an AFM delete. You won't have near $6K into it. Do a search on here as there are several posts about people who have had the same issue and replaced the problem.
One of the comments on the YouTube video I mentioned said this. I’m assuming this is what you are taking about when you say delete the AFM.
I did read the thread from the link you sent. Thank you for that by the way.
I did read something about when you do a delete that you might have smog problems. Maybe I read that wrong and it pertained to something else. I would love to delete and not run into this problem again. But I’m not sure I can move out of California fast enough to not worry about smog. Here is the guy’s comment.

might aswell just do away with the afm lifters all together buy either a full set of new Is7 lifters (elgin brand $114 ebay) or they do sell half packs of 8 and use the 8 factory lifters usually nothing wrong with them. 2 Is2 lifter buckets. a factory Im7 cam or we cam you choose just make sure it can be used with factory springs if you don't plan on changing them out. and you'll need a 3 bolt 4x cam gear & a 12598832 valley cover you can either use a range to shut off the afm or pay $100 for 2 credits to someone with hp tuners and have them shut it off your vehicle will never go into v4 mode again and you won't have to worry about tearing it all apart again in another 50k miles when the new afm lifters you installed the last time.
 
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Seanslane

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130k miles is not that many to rebuild the top end. Alot of folks on this forum have done this repair on engines with more miles that yours. A used engine will not be any better than your current engine, unless you buy a new engine. To replace an engine is 2x more work than rebuilding the top end.


I would do like @Trey Hardy did and be done with it.
Thank you for the advice. Yea I feel now that replacing an engine would be more work for sure and more money. I also wouldn’t need a shop with the hoist. I could do in my garage.
 

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