Might be time....Motor and trans swap/replacement

Disclaimer: Links on this page pointing to Amazon, eBay and other sites may include affiliate code. If you click them and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission.


Full Access Member
Jan 30, 2010
Reaction score
Might be time for me to consider motor and trans swap/replacement; 323k miles- runs fine, but I'm starting to get nervous on longer trips...My last trip to Death Valley she got a little warm (once) and has been sipping some antifreeze lately. Honestly I have been searching for the next ride as well...but not finding much I actually want to throw money at- or at least the kind of money is being asked for..

So back to considering what sort of options and costs come along with a motor/trans swap...Not looking for 'built motors' or anything fancy. But would definitely think about moving away from the 5.3 to 6.0 or 6.2. The 5.3 is a fine motor but could use more torque. If I had a wish it would be to put 20/21' Diesel in this, but that might be outside of my budget.

But before I pull up to any shop and ask, I thought I'd start here first...
1) given that I like my tahoe and it certainly has more than paid for itself....am I just throwing good money away by considering this route?...is thinking 10k-15K about right for something like this?

2) if not; what is a good approach to going about this; find my own motor and trans for a shop to install?

3) if I upgrade to 6.0 or 6.2, I'm assuming many of the bolt-on from the 5.3 won't fit/work, correct?

4)Staying with thought 6.0 or 6.2, will I need to a new rear end, torque convertor etc..?

Thanks in advance for all my questions...as you can see I'm still vetting if this is a reasonable route. Josh
*note- all the suspension, arms, shocks, etc were just recently replaced about 10k-20k miles ago.


Joseph Garcia

Supporting Member
Aug 2, 2018
Reaction score
If the rest of the truck is in as good a condition as the photo (you've already replaced the suspension components), I'd certainly consider replacing the motor and keeping the truck.

I believe that you could put a 6.2L rotor into it with minimal issues, BUT, I will leave it to the experts on this Forum who have done this work, to advise you in greater detail on your question.


Nov 12, 2021
Reaction score
MS Gulf
As I'm in the process of replacing the engine in my 06 Escalade, which I bought to rebuild, I prefer the environmental awareness route (LOL) of doing an engine swap. Two ways to go, perhaps three. You can go the salvage yard route and find a 6 or 6.2 with decent miles. Advantage there is cost and minimal labor. If you get it with the ecm its pretty much drop-in, plug and play. Another route is to buy a GM performance engine, which is what I did. It too is pretty painless. The LS364/450HP is a rebuilt 6.0L LQ9 with LS3 heads and a LS6 cam circa 02-04 Corvette. You'll need a different manifold for the rectangular ports and new efi rails and injectors for better pressure. I went with a new truck manifold but if you can find a manifold from a 6.0L TBSS it will give you better performance. The engine is set up to run with your existing ecm. I bought mine from a local Chevy dealer for around $5,600 including a new manifold fuel rail, injectors, coil packs and spark plugs. Summit racing sells them at a competitive price. They will set up the engine and even tune it before shipping it to you so all you need do is install the bolt-ons and drop it in. Jpeg also offers the same engine at a decent price. As for the trans, my Esky came with a 4L65E that was working fine, so I had it rebuilt. Cost me $1350, but that's N. AL prices. The third option is to see what is available from here. I think I saw a 5.3 someone has for sale. Utube has a bunch of videos of the LS364/450HP.