Engine Swap to stroked 6.0 (408) and general vehicle refurbishment

Chooko

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I have been a member here for several years, but have only rarely posted, although I have to say that the times I have needed help the members of this forum have been extremely responsive and helpful and I greatly appreciate it.

I have a 2010 Tahoe that we bought soon after out daughter was born in 2012. It had 60,000 miles on it then. It has 220,000 now. It has been a rock solid, reliable family vehicle for most of that time, and we sure got our moneys worth out of it. Mods to date are pretty minimal, but include added USB charging outlets in the front and rear, MSD starter, and aftermarket wheels (they were on it when we bought it and I don't even remember the brand). All was fine with this Tahoe until about two years ago and around 210,000 miles. One day while I was deployed it overheated and left my wife stranded on the side of the road. She had it towed to the local crook (I mean mechanic) who told her it had a blown head gasket, which was probably true, and that it "wasn't worth fixing" (pretty sure he was hoping she'd offer to sell it to him cheap). Being as I was deployed, there wasn't much I could do, and so she went and bought a 2019 Grand Cherokee to replace it. I HATED the Jeep from the moment she picked me up in it when I got home from that deployment, and have refused to part ways with the Tahoe, and still drive it whenever the whole family goes anywhere because it is so much more comfortable than the Jeep.

However, all was not fine with the 5.3, and it has been using coolant (remember that blown head gasket?) and has also had oil pressure issues including what I perceive to be a very gradual overall loss in oil pressure. It fouls the #7 plug constantly as well (again, the head gasket). I just haven't wanted to pull the head off because I was afraid of what I'd find, and have been nursing it along for the past couple of years knowing that eventually the day would come. Well, the day came a couple of weeks ago. I was cruising on the interstate with my wife in the car, looked down, and the temperature gauge was pegged. I had topped off the coolant that morning, so this was definitely not expected. Before I could get pulled over there was a loud pop. When I got to the side of the road and opened the hood coolant was everywhere. One tow truck ride later (he let us ride in the Tahoe on the tow truck which my wife thought was the greatest thing ever), and its in my drive way. Once it cooled off I looked around. The loud bang was the pressed in back of the 8 month old water pump blowing off the pump.

At this point I was expecting heavy pressure to send her to the junkyard, but my wife is a special kind of woman. We talked about it, and she agreed that the Tahoe is our family vehicle, and so I have a significant budget to put a new engine in the car and also do a bunch of updating. The intent is to make the car as mechanically sound and reliable as possible, while also updating some things to make it more comfortable in 2021. Thus far I have ordered:

-A brand new engine from Texas Speed. Its an Iron block 6 liter stroked to 408 with a Texas Speed Cathedral Port heads, their Stage 2 VVT Cam ( I want to keep VVT), Wiseco pistons, and a bunch of other goodies. I also bought from Texas Speed an Air Raid intake and filter box. The plan will be to use the factory intake manifold, and bolt this engine right in place of the 5.3 with minimal wiring, etc.

-Eaton True-Trac Posi unit (considering going to 3.42 gears, but haven't decided yet.

-Lots of mounts (poly), u-joints, timing chain covers, etc

-Vapor Canister Purge Solenoid (Have the annoying gas-clicking-off-when-you-try-to-fill-it syndrome)

-Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX with all new JBL speakers

-Backup camera (My Tahoe didn't come with one and I've always wanted to add one) which will go to the Pioneer.

-New stock replacement headlight housings with LED bulbs


Things I'm planning to do

-Have my 6L80E rebuilt and strengthened (Never had a single issue with it, but with 220,000 miles and a significantly more powerful engine coming, it seems prudent).

-Tune of course (Probably BlackBear, but I need to do more research because I want to be able to use the software and find tuners who use the same software for both this car as well as my 2005 GTO. For whatever reason it seems like the GTO community largely uses HP tuners)

-Flex plate (I'll have a look at the one on the 5.3 and decide)

-Torque converter (Maybe Circle D, maybe not, I'm still weighing options I'm thinking 2200-2400)

Shorty headers (I Know, I know, longtubes make more power. But I have always found them to be a complete hassle, and I think I'll be making enough power as it is. I just want something to give a little more rumble, and look nice in the engine bay). The other option is to have the stock manifolds sandblasted and coated.

I'd say that I am a fairly accomplished shade-tree mechanic, although this is far and away the largest job I have ever taken on by myself (I do have friends around that can help with the more physical aspects). I am pretty well stocked with tools, including multiple impact guns and other power tools, a significant amount of metric and SAE hand tools, and two floor jacks (one low profile) as well as a third floor jack that I converted to a transmission jack. I recently bought an engine hoist with a leveler and an engine stand, and the new engine will come on a stand. Ive done shocks/struts and brakes in the last 10,000 miles, so I'm not planning on anything in either of those areas at the moment.

The plan, in a nutshell, is to work on radio, rear end, etc, while keeping the Tahoe mobile (it still runs and can move in and out of the garage or up and down the driveway). The engine wont be ready for 14-16 weeks. I am planning to pull the transmission in about 8 weeks (final determination once I pick a shop and see what their time line looks like) so that it is hopefully ready around the same time as the engine. I also bought a Dirty Dingo lifting plate, although I'm wondering if anyone has removed and installed an engine into one of these vehicles with the intake installed on the engine, and if so, where did you attach the hoist chains? I am considering getting a set of junk wheels with no tires to put on it to lower it a bit for the engine swap. Any thoughts on that?

So that's what I'm up to. And I am looking to all of you folks for advise and guidance. If anyone has done this, or something similar, in their garage or driveway, and sees anything that I am missing parts wise or plan wise, or has anything they ran across during the process that they wish they had known or thought of going in, I'm all ears.

I'll get pictures up as the parts start to show up and as I start doing work.

Joe
 

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Bill 1960

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I’ll comment on the part that I have, which is the Pioneer in my sig. It’s a POS. Glitchy, inconsistent behavior of the interface. Laggy and inconsistent wireless CarPlay response.

If I do another road trip with the Hoe I’ll be replacing mine.

My brother has one in his Silverado that behaves just like mine.

I love the idea of the stroked out 6 liter. I hope you’ll do a thread on your project in the Under Construction area.
 

swathdiver

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I have been a member here for several years...

-A brand new engine from Texas Speed. Its an Iron block 6 liter stroked to 408 with a Texas Speed Cathedral Port heads, their Stage 2 VVT Cam ( I want to keep VVT), Wiseco pistons, and a bunch of other goodies. I also bought from Texas Speed an Air Raid intake and filter box. The plan will be to use the factory intake manifold, and bolt this engine right in place of the 5.3 with minimal wiring, etc.

-Eaton True-Trac Posi unit (considering going to 3.42 gears, but haven't decided yet.

-Lots of mounts (poly), u-joints, timing chain covers, etc

-Vapor Canister Purge Solenoid (Have the annoying gas-clicking-off-when-you-try-to-fill-it syndrome)

-Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX with all new JBL speakers

-Backup camera (My Tahoe didn't come with one and I've always wanted to add one) which will go to the Pioneer.

-New stock replacement headlight housings with LED bulbs


Things I'm planning to do

-Have my 6L80E rebuilt and strengthened (Never had a single issue with it, but with 220,000 miles and a significantly more powerful engine coming, it seems prudent).

-Tune of course (Probably BlackBear, but I need to do more research because I want to be able to use the software and find tuners who use the same software for both this car as well as my 2005 GTO. For whatever reason it seems like the GTO community largely uses HP tuners)

-Flex plate (I'll have a look at the one on the 5.3 and decide)

-Torque converter (Maybe Circle D, maybe not, I'm still weighing options I'm thinking 2200-2400)

Shorty headers (I Know, I know, longtubes make more power. But I have always found them to be a complete hassle, and I think I'll be making enough power as it is. I just want something to give a little more rumble, and look nice in the engine bay). The other option is to have the stock manifolds sandblasted and coated.

I'd say that I am a fairly accomplished shade-tree mechanic, although this is far and away the largest job I have ever taken on by myself (I do have friends around that can help with the more physical aspects). I am pretty well stocked with tools, including multiple impact guns and other power tools, a significant amount of metric and SAE hand tools, and two floor jacks (one low profile) as well as a third floor jack that I converted to a transmission jack. I recently bought an engine hoist with a leveler and an engine stand, and the new engine will come on a stand. Ive done shocks/struts and brakes inteh last 10,000 miles, so I'm not planning on anything in either of those areas at the moment.

The plan, in a nutshell, is to work on radio, rear end, etc, while keeping the Tahoe mobile (it still runs and can move in and out of the garage or up and down the driveway). The engine wont be ready for 14-16 weeks. I am planning to pull the transmission in about 8 weeks (final determination once I pick a shop and see what their time line looks like) so that it is hopefully ready around the same time as the engine. I also bought a Dirty Dingo lifting plate, although I'm wondering if anyone has removed and installed an engine into one of these vehicles with the intake installed installed on the engine, and if so, where did you attach the hoist chains? I am considering getting a set of junk wheels with no tires to put on it to lower it a bit for the engine swap. Any thoughts on that?

So that's what I'm up to. And I am looking to all of you folks for advise and guidance. If anyone has done this, or something similar, in their garage or driveway, and sees anything that I am missing parts wise or plan wise, or has anything they ran across during the process that they wish they had known or thought of going in, I'm all ears.

I'll get pictures up as the parts start to show up and as I start doing work.

Joe

She has 3.08 gears? If so, 3.42s or 3.73s would be a must to get her moving, especially with a cam that moves the powerband north of stock.

Lots of guys have posted engine builds with lots of photos on here.

Check out Sonnax's website about what you might want to upgrade with regards to the 6L80. Check out Precision Transmission's videos on youtube.

Should make gobs of torque with the 243/799 heads. You'll want/need larger injectors, maybe the ones from the L9H.
 

pwtr02ss

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I don't think you'll get the engine in or out with the intake on it. Here's mine. I did end up having to pull the passenger side manifold and dipstick tube off. Everything else stayed on. Go in sideways and spin it once you get past the cowl.

F4FFF42A-47B3-4573-84ED-A678500E239D.jpeg28FEA9D4-EF13-40D4-A2DF-97AE6388B1A7.jpeg3B598F3F-62C3-493C-8E58-4ED50FF4B89E.jpeg198A326B-1A93-4E90-A594-6E27A24BE7AC.jpeg44DFB48A-7CFC-45A2-876E-BF332D6B4523.jpeg
 

Dantheman1540

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The 408 is going to feel like a ***** ape compared to the 5.3. A buddy of mine has a fairly aggressive 408 in his Denali and it puts a good 2 truck gap on my Tahoe with a little 6.0.
 

The Raven

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I’ll comment on the part that I have, which is the Pioneer in my sig. It’s a POS. Glitchy, inconsistent behavior of the interface. Laggy and inconsistent wireless CarPlay response.

If I do another road trip with the Hoe I’ll be replacing mine.

My brother has one in his Silverado that behaves just like mine.

I love the idea of the stroked out 6 liter. I hope you’ll do a thread on your project in the Under Construction area.

How is it when not using CarPlay? I was going to chime in here because I have the exact opposite experience with my Pioneer NEX HU...but then I realized i'm using Android Auto and you're using CarPlay. CarPlay is notorious for wifi issues (in fact Apple as a whole is terrible at implementing wifi apis but that's another story). Your problem may be CarPlay and not the HU. My NEX is near flawless with Android Auto...only problem I ever have is that iHeartRadio disappears from the home screen every now and then. Disconnecting and re-connecting always brings it back.
 

Bill 1960

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@TheRaven I hate it even when the phone is not involved. The onscreen controls are finicky and I don’t have steering wheel controls. Volume difficult to adjust quickly. Power on/off often requires repeated presses or outright refuses to respond. It’s a boat anchor waiting to happen for me.
 

Tonyrodz

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@TheRaven I hate it even when the phone is not involved. The onscreen controls are finicky and I don’t have steering wheel controls. Volume difficult to adjust quickly. Power on/off often requires repeated presses or outright refuses to respond. It’s a boat anchor waiting to happen for me.
Did the hu come with a remote?
 

Tonyrodz

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Yes. It’s in the glovebox and it lives there. I’m not fumbling around with that while driving; tiny little buttons.
I have a pioneer with remote, I find it much easier, and safer using it while driving. I have the buttons memorized, so I just go by feel.16382870210267710093250173525739.jpg

This would also knock out the touch screen sensitivity issue you're having.
 

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