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Old 11-18-2007, 01:19 PM   #1
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Tow vehicle engines

My present tow vehicle is a 1997 Suburban K2500 with the 350 and 4.10 gears. Out west, we have many 6% grades. This combo struggles with anything more than a 5000 lb. load. Not wanting to sacrifice fuel economy for the 90% of the time that Iam not towing, I don't want a big block. The answer is the GM factory replacement HT 383E engine for '96 to '99 pick-ups, and suburbans. It is a direct bolt-in job and is smog-legal in most states. This engine will give you 340 hp. and 430 lb-ft., which is more than the factory 454 engine, and still reasonable fuel economy. This is not a "high performance" engine, it runs on reg. gas, has low compresson, and is designed for towing. It might be the answer for some, I know it is for me.
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Old 11-18-2007, 01:51 PM   #2
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I'm gonna need a new engine at some point

Quote:
Originally Posted by rangebowdrie
... It might be the answer for some, I know it is for me.
Would you mind sharing a ballpark figure of the installed price?

Thanks,
Tom
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Old 11-18-2007, 02:05 PM   #3
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Tom W Rivitmaster, paceperformance.com sells this engine for 4879.95 complete with new dist. water pump, ignition, etc. part #17800393. Installation prices will vary of course.
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Old 11-18-2007, 02:32 PM   #4
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rangebowdrie grasshopper, what do people typically get for installing new crate engines?

Tom
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Old 11-18-2007, 04:48 PM   #5
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Great numbers. What is the rpm for peak torque? It'll have to be dead on with your rear axle ratio vis-a-vis the torque converter stall speed. That is, if peak torque is close to same number as the current motor.

As you are aware, full-length exhaust headers don't add power so much as broaden the power available at a given rpm; gives some elbow room so to speak.

The price seems low (Chevy guys have it easy). If the above is even close it ought to just great.

And those really are big block numbers. I'd check the web to see if there are any drawbacks to that motor, seems I remember something to watch out for.
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Old 11-18-2007, 05:25 PM   #6
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TomW,I really have no idea about typical installation prices. Backyard mechanic to Chevy dealer prices could vary a lot
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Old 11-18-2007, 05:34 PM   #7
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Rednax, peak torque is at 4000, but torque is over 400 at any rpm over 2500. you don't need full length headers to achieve these values. Engine is a production crate motor with a forged steel crank, not a re-built 350. also has a warrenty. The chevy dealers get more bucks, but some shopping around sure helps
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Old 11-18-2007, 05:59 PM   #8
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Cool, so 80%-plus of peak from 2500 on? I knew it was a new motor. I wanted one for a car I used to have and had started to work the numbers on torque converter and rear gears to make it work, but sold it for another.
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1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
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Hensley Arrow. 9-cpm solo, 15-cpm towing
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Old 11-18-2007, 06:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW
rangebowdrie grasshopper, what do people typically get for installing new crate engines?

Tom
A few busted knuckles and a solid weekend of work and usually a few aspirin take care of the hangover after drinking all the beer required during the job and to keep your friends motivated with a little liquid oxygen.

Seriously, buy the crate, and DIY. It is not that hard. A typical install will cost 1500 - 2000 at a shop.
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Old 11-18-2007, 06:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rangebowdrie
Rednax, peak torque is at 4000, but torque is over 400 at any rpm over 2500. you don't need full length headers to achieve these values. Engine is a production crate motor with a forged steel crank, not a re-built 350. also has a warrenty. The chevy dealers get more bucks, but some shopping around sure helps

Forget headers. They are good on your race car but a PITA on anything else. They rust and the bolts are constantly coming loose both at the head and at the flange where they bolt up to the pipes.

I had hooker super-comps on my truck, yeah, you can feel the extra torque, people do install them for a reason, but it is not that much of a difference and good old cast iron manifolds are MTX free.

Chevy Hi-Performance did a whole series on this HT engine. It is a monster for good low end power. I think it is a great idea and you will be very happy with it. Here is the link to the article HT 383 Crate Engine Test - Tech Article - Chevy High Performance Magazine

It was a long series, they did all kinds of stuff with this engine.
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Old 11-18-2007, 06:45 PM   #11
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What combo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rangebowdrie
.... This combo struggles with anything more than a 5000 lb. load. ...
What are you towing?

You appear to be a vendor.

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Old 11-18-2007, 09:38 PM   #12
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Headers that are constructed of 14-ga metal, with a 1/2" flange, secured with locking bolts, etc, etc, can make a big difference in prolonged heavy pulling.

Something a dynoed engine never sees: 20-minutes of WOT.

Unless the manifolds are really decent flowing (the ones I'm used to run out of ability around 2000 rpm) then headers are worth looking at.

The Super Comps are for racing, and are paper thin.

I look forward to seeing how it does in tow mpg vs solo mpg.
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1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:48 PM   #13
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TomW, the "combo" is a 350 with 4.10 gearing. No, I am not a vendor. I sell nothing except my labor. I was towing a cargo trailer loaded with industrial tools, and perhaps 1000lbs. in the suburban.
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDNAX
The price seems low (Chevy guys have it easy). If the above is even close it ought to just great.
I have used scoggin-dickey for bowtie heads, manifolds, cams, lifters. Usually the best prices for GM stuff. Here is the link to HT383.
GM Performance Parts 383ci / 435hp HT383 Engines
Price is why many stuff chevy engines into Ford bodies, cheaper to maintain. Mopar folks are typically just shy of insanity and buy Mopar no matter how much it costs.
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