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Old 08-11-2004, 08:44 AM   #15
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The 350 is a common and popular motor so, one consideration is to drop in a performace "crate" motor. Here are just a couple examples: http://store.summitracing.com/defaul...N=120%20305340

There are also others on Ebay. A google search should provide tons more!

Just a thought!
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Old 08-11-2004, 09:57 AM   #16
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I think you ought to get rid of what you have and get something with more power and newer. A 95 suburban with a newer, fuel injected, 350 would probably do it, but a 2500 suburban with 4:10'a and a 454 would be better. I think it would be better to have a large motor, that would not be straining to pull the load, than to have a small motor, straining to pull the load. The gas mileage will probably be about the same. Maybe you could find a 1995 diesel suburban. Alot of people say to stay away from that year GM Diesels....6.2 litres, but we had one and put about 200,000 miles on it with minor trouble. It only had 195 hp, but around 440 lbs. of torque and torque is what you need to keep that load moving up the hill!

You could on the other hand get a towing monster like me...the 6.6 litre duramax and then it won't even be an issue
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Old 08-11-2004, 10:09 AM   #17
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Or, if you like the van concept, SELL that 77 money pit, and get a newer 1 ton cargo van with a 454 (GM) or 460 (Ford) with 3.73 or 4.1 rear gears and customize the insides to your liking.
I had a friend that towed with a Ford 1 ton Passenger van 460 that he had limo tinted the back and side windows, and he removed the rear seats when he hauled his motorcycles in it. It towed a 34 ft Limited widebody with no trouble.
I would think this would be not any more expensive than trying to redo a 77 Van.
That old van might be just fine for someone who wanted a weekend van camper, and you could get the one you need in an updated model at about the same cost as upgrading the 77.
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Old 08-11-2004, 10:14 AM   #18
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Is it a stick or an automatic? I had a similar problem in my 77 GMC/AT that was alleviated with some chemical additive. Was a temporary fix tho. Second gear got really slippy after awhile.
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Old 08-11-2004, 10:43 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dscluchfc
Or, if you like the van concept, SELL that 77 money pit, and get a newer 1 ton cargo van with a 454 (GM) or 460 (Ford) with 3.73 or 4.1 rear gears and customize the insides to your liking.
I
Just an FYI, unless things change for 2005 model year, the biggest engine available in GM vans built beginning in 2003 was the 6 liter Vortec 6000. Also note that the best towing configuration is the 3/4 ton van 4.10 rear end and Vortec 6000 engine. At last look it was rated to pull 9,900 lbs in 2003. Note that the one ton van has less capacity due to its heavier components.

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Old 08-11-2004, 11:48 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dscluchfc
Or, if you like the van concept, SELL that 77 money pit,
I hate that line of thought. If it's cared for that 77 will cost less to maintain over the next 100k then a newer vehcile that is out of warranty . If your capable of doing your own work then that 77 will be cheaper on general maintaince then anything new.

My 75 Jimmy is VERY reliable vehicle. I have used to to Haul my Moms "New reliable car 250 miles home after it puked tranny #3 in the 87k it had been on the road. My Newer toyota just set me back $90 for a throttle position sensor. $90 I can rebuilt the carb and give a full tune up to that 75. The running joke about that truck is "It's broke I need $35 to fix it". Rarely does it cost me more then $35 to fix something. Yeah it isn't shinny but it starts every time and it gets me there every time.

Sorry when a new car has a problem repairs are ALWAYS over $100 to just look at it and hook it to a computer to try to figure it out if it out of warranty. The company van I drove off the lot with 14 miles on it had puked a computer, rear axle, and had some bad transmission problems in the first 60k it was on the road. In that same time I put that 75 on it's side off roading it. Dragged home moms car. Drove that truck over a couple junk newer cars and only issue I had was a wore out master cylinder.

New does not make it any less of a money pit. It makes it more. Insurance is higher and repair cost are higher. A 5 year old car with 150k on it is just as prone to problems as a 25 year old car with 150k on it. I can work on my 25 and even 15 year old cars without haveing a computer degree. They are still simple enough that I can use comon hand tools and a multi meter to diagnose and repair them.
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Old 08-11-2004, 12:11 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 59toaster
I hate that line of thought. If it's cared for that 77 will cost less to maintain over the next 100k then a newer vehcile that is out of warranty . If your capable of doing your own work then that 77 will be cheaper on general maintaince then anything new.

My 75 Jimmy is VERY reliable vehicle. I have used to to Haul my Moms "New reliable car 250 miles home after it puked tranny #3 in the 87k it had been on the road. My Newer toyota just set me back $90 for a throttle position sensor. $90 I can rebuilt the carb and give a full tune up to that 75. The running joke about that truck is "It's broke I need $35 to fix it". Rarely does it cost me more then $35 to fix something. Yeah it isn't shinny but it starts every time and it gets me there every time.

Sorry when a new car has a problem repairs are ALWAYS over $100 to just look at it and hook it to a computer to try to figure it out if it out of warranty. The company van I drove off the lot with 14 miles on it had puked a computer, rear axle, and had some bad transmission problems in the first 60k it was on the road. In that same time I put that 75 on it's side off roading it. Dragged home moms car. Drove that truck over a couple junk newer cars and only issue I had was a wore out master cylinder.

New does not make it any less of a money pit. It makes it more. Insurance is higher and repair cost are higher. A 5 year old car with 150k on it is just as prone to problems as a 25 year old car with 150k on it. I can work on my 25 and even 15 year old cars without haveing a computer degree. They are still simple enough that I can use comon hand tools and a multi meter to diagnose and repair them.
59, I am glad you feel more comfortable with the outdated and less effiecient technology of carbs and points smog pumps and the like.
I have found that electronic fuel injected vehicles run more efficiently for more miles and less cost per mile than their predecessors. I drive about 30K miles per year minimum, so I think I can say that.
True, when something breaks it costs to have it repaired unless you can do it yourself. However, the reward is vehicles that go 100K miles on a tune up with proper maintenence and fluid changes, and do it at optimum fuel economy, with less emission devices choking the horsepower and torque out of the motor.
I chipped my 350 Yukon for $150 to allow a complete reprogramming of the fuel injection and timing of the motor, shift points, torque and horsepower to a towing mode....and in doing so found that the horsepower and fuel economy actually increased in non-towing driving (provided I could keep my foot out of it )
The 350 chipped was still gutless in the hills towing my 31 footer. (42 mph in 2nd gear up hills at 3000 rpms...no choice but to sit back, grind it out and monitor the guages hoping that nothing failed).
So, I opted to purchase a used 2002 GMC Crew Cab Duramax/Allison. I get 20 mpg solo highway, 17 mpg mixed driving commuting, and 12 mpg towing 70 mph now...there is no turning back or substitute for the power and torque. Towing now is a pleasure, not a white knuckle experience.
There is NO WAY I would try to justify staying with a 1977 350 van and then spending a minumum of $5000 to get to a 454 with new tranny when I could likely update to a fuel injected 8100 in a Van or Suburban that would get 3-5 mpg better fuel economy than a carbed 454.
...just my 2 cents...
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Old 08-11-2004, 12:25 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dscluchfc
59, I am glad you feel more comfortable with the outdated and less effiecient technology of carbs and points smog pumps and the like.
I have found that electronic fuel injected vehicles run more efficiently for more miles and less cost per mile than their predecessors. I drive about 30K miles per year minimum, so I think I can say that.
.
Figure in cost to buy it and your insurnace and get back to me

Yess the Deisels are light years ahead of what was available in the 80's and early 90's.
The gas are no more reliable. My 88 454 burb gets 11.5 with no OD tranny. My buddies 454 burb that is 10 years newer gets 13.5. I paid $5k cash for my Burb and he paid $17k for his when it was 5. His has left his wife stranded on the side of the road 6 times now. One was a bad ECM. Once was a tranmission problem. Mine has never left my wife stranded.

What one has been the bigger money pit? How long will it take him to make the money back on that 2mpg to make up for extra $12k he paid for it and the $3k in repair bills it has had and the higher advolurum and insurance its goingto take one hell of a long time for that 2mpg to pay off.
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Old 08-11-2004, 03:12 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dscluchfc
There is NO WAY I would try to justify staying with a 1977 350 van and then spending a minumum of $5000 to get to a 454 with new tranny when I could likely update to a fuel injected 8100 in a Van or Suburban that would get 3-5 mpg better fuel economy than a carbed 454.
...just my 2 cents...
Ditto here. No way do I miss 60's era blocks, heads, and manifolds modified with vacuum lines and controls to meet 70's and 80's emission and mileage standards. Manufacturers tightened internal tolerances in the late 80's-early 90's and these engines will go twice the mileage the older ones lasted. OBD and electronic control is light years ahead of the rat nest it replaced. Mounting bolts even line up better, my pry bar/drift pin collection is beginning to rust.

Early BB EFI is over 15 years old, the price won't be but a couple of hundred dollars more than an earlier one with a carb. With OBDI anything that sets a code doesn't cost any more than a paper clip or scrap piece of wire to diagnose. As you live in the mountains it will be dramatically better to tow with, altitude adjustment is performed as part of the normal operation. Keep your eyes open and you will find a running van for less than what it would cost to retrofit the '77.

John
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Old 08-11-2004, 04:27 PM   #24
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In your market, for 6-8K you can get a 90's era van that is already a converion that will have most if not all the tow package gear on it. Along with FI, and an OD transmission. I ran a quick search and there were 58 to choose on autotrader from 87-2005 (zip was for vancouver ,wa) . I think 97 was the last year for the G van.
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Old 08-11-2004, 06:13 PM   #25
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350 engine

The '77 model year was the last year for leaded gas at least for the K5 Blazer. Maybe you have some burned valves or compression may be low. Have the compression checked to see what condition your engine is in before doing anything.
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Old 08-12-2004, 12:53 AM   #26
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One last additional post here...I ran a TBI 350 over 375,000 miles...3 sets of plugs...it was going to need timing chain and gear, and was using oil at the valve guides so...I replaced the motor with a target GM engine, and then 8000 miles later it got stolen with 383,000 miles on the chasis and still going strong.
I don't recall many aquiring that kind of performance from pre computerized 1977 era models....so while you are adding costs....be sure and figure in everything.
The costs of insurance on my GMC 2500HD Crew Cab Duramax/Allison 4x4 are LOWER than my Yukon was...don't ask me why...but it is a fact. Texas has no ad valorum taxes on vehicles....and I cannot help it that there is an occasional lemon on the roads that is a repair bill producing monster to some people. Usually, those that have large recurring repair bills are those that fail to do proper routine maintanence, or fail to STOP and have that "little noise" checked out when it first starts....they drive it until it is a HUGE LITTLE NOISE and a LARGE REPAIR BILL.
A friend of mine had the temp light come on in her car...she told her husband, I was only 10 miles from home so I just drove it on in...it seized up about the time she pulled into the driveway. Had she stopped when the light came on, it might have been nothing more than a thermostat replacement. As it was, it was a complete motor replacement and tranny overhaul due to heat...on a Lexus...and it totalled about $8,000. Some people are their own worst enemy when it comes to vehicle repair bills.
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Old 08-12-2004, 07:06 AM   #27
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Well, coughing up $12K or thereabouts for a replacement tow rig is definitely NOT in the cards this year. Probably in the future when my daily driver wears out and it's time for a new car, I'll consider combining the two into a new tow rig, but not now.

I've gotten some good tips and direction on how I might get a modest power boost, and I will follow up on that. It appears that a new cam, new manifold/carb and dual exhaust might be a path for a modest gain without breaking the bank.
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Old 08-12-2004, 12:28 PM   #28
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Torque is what the vehicle will pull, horsepower is how fast it will pull it.

Oversized tires will lower your torque, try tires a size or two smaller, but watch your weight ratings, they fall off fast the smaller the tire is.
A 4 barrel manifold and carb will increase horsepower, a different grind camshaft can increase torque.
A quick trip to a knowledgeable auto parts performance person can help steer you in the right direction.
Terry
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