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What should 100% be replaced with new parts when inspecting/ tearing engine down to short block

  • Rod caps/bearings/bolts

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  • rings

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  • no hardware only gaskets

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Discussion Starter #1
So what first started as a potential cam/valve train upgrade on my basically stock 2004 L59 5.3 (BTR stage 4 V2 truck cam, summit LS7 lifters spec lifters, and summit push rods to match, BTR beehive .660 valve springs, btr ls hat valve seals, and other odds & ends needed for job)
I originally planned to do the job with engine in car, and on a lift. After some thought and debate with a buddy who will be helping and providing the shop space to do it, he suggested to just pull the motor out to do everything. And that got my wheels turning...when I thought about fighting the inevitable rusty manifold bolts, and other hard-to-access and seized bolts, and tough connectors/ lines that go with anything that's never been taken apart it definitely started to seem like a better route to go so looks like I'll be buying a Gen 3 LS lift plate to yank this thing out!
I've never pulled a gen 3 LS engine before but have pulled a ford modular 4v 4.6, and a few older sbc's but those were very simple, because they were standalone, and in a drag car so no extra electrical bs and had carb.
Before removal i think im gonna do a compression check just for piece of mind. what are normal compression ratings for a 140k mile regularly driven by a flat footer?
Plans after motor is out & on stand : Leak down test on each cylinder. Pull valve covers, manifolds, heads, timing cover, rear main cover, and oil pan along with all engine sensors. Valley cover too i suppose.I DONT plan on disassembling the rotating assembly/pistons as long as cylinders have a good hone still and leakdown and comp test is in spec.
MY MAIN questions are: 1. any important or must know tips/tricks/methods to pulling this 5.3 specifically the L59 that is in an AWD Yukon?
2) any specific area/part/surface i should give a more thorough inspection to compared to the rest of the engine?
2. While oil pan is off is it okay to remove connecting rod bolts, and connec. rod cap/bearing cap to feel for any wear and or any places the rod bearing may have started to scratch or gouge the bottom part of crank where it meets? & if it is fine to proceed and the cylinder tests & bore and honing marks are within spec can i leave the piston, rings & rod in the cylinder OR remove each rod & piston in full to inspect?
3.
IF PISTONS & RODS ARE FINE: is it alright to re-use the piston & rod? And do re used ones HAVE to be re-ringed, and new connecting rod bearings & rod bolts? i really would like to NOT have to go this deep into tear down but will if the wear&tear/ abuse signs seem to get worse the more i go or its just collectively bad and roached out.

4.(final question) lol. IF STUFF NEEDS TO BE REPLACED FROM WEAR WHAT HAVE
YOU REPLACED OEM PARTS WITH? from individual rod cap bearing & bearing shells/bolts, to single or if needed sets of rings, to entire piston sets, rod, sets, all engine sensors, head gaskets, head bolts. to any other specific o ring, bolt, nut, stud, bearing, spring or any other item that needs to be replaced when taken apart (not basic common items but the usual oh-shit i forgot stuff.... lol
sorry for this maybe overly-written and the diverse semi-specific questions. i know im over thinking this, and will have good on hand in person guidance and help, but this same caution, and curiosity of other's first-hand knowledge & experience is the same thing that has helped myself (and the same buddy thats helping on this 5.3 job) realistically blueprint, assemble, disassemble and reassemble x3 times a nearly 100% OEM stock longblock(minus arp studs, custom ground cams & head gaskets) 2003 svt ford mustang cobra engine thats almost 1300 rwhp if cranked to its 28lbs "safe" max of psi via a custom hand-made twin turbski set up on a once bone stock '03 svt cobra 4.6L 4V mod motor. thats 1/2 way thru its 2nd full season north of 1k rwhp on e85 and shes all smiles after a 8.7 1/4ET @164mph lol
Yea i over think and definently overly word situations and questions but like my family that owns and operates Rhyne Competition engines and Ben Franklin say “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

Thanks a ton in advance even if you have a few words of wisdom or any sort of short answer/any helpful info i'll gladly accept it! my email is [email protected]
 
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n. fil-dert.
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Wait if your family owns and operates a speed shop why are you asking random people on the internet for advice? Not trying to be smart but seems like that would be where I started. There's definitely a pic of an LS build on the FB page.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Wait if your family owns and operates a speed shop why are you asking random people on the internet for advice? Not trying to be smart but seems like that would be where I started. There's definitely a pic of an LS build on the FB page.
Joe is so busy, along with the 4 other guys that’s in the shop it’s hard to even catch one not buried in a motor that’s worth a lot more money to the company and in general than mine lol I plan to ask him if I catch him outside or there after hours but definitely not an easy task to do with their schedule tbh haha I know it doesn’t make much sense but I don’t wanna waste someone over in the shops time with my questions while they’re working on an ARCA motor or god knows what else.
I know I’ll get some more responses on this a lot sooner than I will from cuz. and if he starts to blueprint this engine I don’t even wanna see the bill


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Go on the gmperformancetruck forum for more info


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If you are going for cost and time savings, just pull the caps and check the bearings. Odds are they are good if the maintenance has been kept up. If the bearings are good and the cylinders look good, leave the short block alone. You could replace individual bearings if you find one or two bad ones, but at that point, might as well do them all. They are pretty cheap. Things I would go ahead and replace are the front cam cover plate (esp since you are cam swapping), oil barbell, rear main cover and seal, oil pump, front crank seal, and all gaskets.

That's what I personally would do, but you could certainly get by with less, and you could also go full on rebuild and spend a shit ton more at the machine shop if you want to go full refresh, but I think that would be unnecessary. Just do a thorough inspection of it and go from there.
 

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If it’s not broken, and you don’t want/not prepared for full rebuild, let it ride. Do the cam swap in the car, it’s extremely easy.

IMO if you want to pull it, go for it, but you can nit pick for days once it’s out, and will always come to the conclusion everything has wear. Might as well bore it to a 5.7 and run all LS6 parts if you have it out.
 

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Also why are you running .660 springs on a .550 lift cam? And aftermarket push rod when it calls for stocks? You’re gonna have some serious valve chatter. Personally I think you are way over thinking this.

Edit: the manifolds bolt have to come out to pull the motor or heads. Easy fix if you have a mig welder. But if anything it’s more bolts and wires to pull the motor than heads.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Also why are you running .660 springs on a .550 lift cam? And aftermarket push rod when it calls for stocks? You’re gonna have some serious valve chatter. Personally I think you are way over thinking this.

Edit: the manifolds bolt have to come out to pull the motor or heads. Easy fix if you have a mig welder. But if anything it’s more bolts and wires to pull the motor than heads.
I actually was able to source the BTR springs that were out of stock. Thank God lol I don’t know why but it would’ve drove me crazy since I’m using BTR valve seals and cam lol some what uniform. But I do have a couple questions. I want to go ahead and replace the oil pump so what’s a good one to use? I’ve heard good things about Melling, but once I looked I got a little lost. Should I get standard volume, high pressure? Or standard pressure high volume?
ALSO, which timing chain set is best suited for me and the build? Double roller? Any one use summit? Or go with a cloyes or melling? Stainless ? Billet? Looking for any input and even more so from someone who’s used/using one they vouch for




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n. fil-dert.
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I'm not an engine guy by any means but have been lurking in truck forums for a long time (so trust me lol) - I'm just confused on your end goal with this build. If it is reliability/another 16 years out of the truck I'd check compression and do the bare minimum. No offense or anything but it seems like you are kind of caught between a rebuild and a blueprint build where some of the parts being suggested are going to be wasted unless you go all out or aren't even applicable. What is the goal with this truck? If it's a daily I would button it up, if you want a little cam/headers that makes sense, everyone likes how those sound.
 

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I'm not an engine guy by any means but have been lurking in truck forums for a long time (so trust me lol) - I'm just confused on your end goal with this build. If it is reliability/another 16 years out of the truck I'd check compression and do the bare minimum. No offense or anything but it seems like you are kind of caught between a rebuild and a blueprint build where some of the parts being suggested are going to be wasted unless you go all out or aren't even applicable. What is the goal with this truck? If it's a daily I would button it up, if you want a little cam/headers that makes sense, everyone likes how those sound.
I know im all over the place my apologies lol. My adhd gets the best of me sometimes hahaha but honestly as far as my end goal I’m unsure, I’m sure after 6 months post cam, headers, stall I’ll be ready to go back into it but wanna go in parts. It’s foreseeable going to boost next year single or twin Hiroshima hair dryers. For now cam headers stall and supporting parts for that. But with 147k miles I’m sure the timing chain and oil pump being replaced will benefit me in the long rim and I’ll be right there now so wanna kill that second bird with this stone ya know?
Next year end of year hoping to be similar set up or close to the 1320 TT AWD escalade. Per my car fax Vehicles from out west in Arkansas so it’s one of the cleanest in my area (northwest Indiana ) I’ve seen, so the platform is A1. Plus who doesn’t like an unusual sleeper. Anyone can make a mustang/camaro fast( plus already did that)

not a 5500 lb suv lol


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I actually was able to source the BTR springs that were out of stock. Thank God lol I don’t know why but it would’ve drove me crazy since I’m using BTR valve seals and cam lol some what uniform. But I do have a couple questions. I want to go ahead and replace the oil pump so what’s a good one to use? I’ve heard good things about Melling, but once I looked I got a little lost. Should I get standard volume, high pressure? Or standard pressure high volume?
ALSO, which timing chain set is best suited for me and the build? Double roller? Any one use summit? Or go with a cloyes or melling? Stainless ? Billet? Looking for any input and even more so from someone who’s used/using one they vouch for




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BTR has sent me GM LS6 in there cam kits many of times before. It’s like an extra $25 but they just send what ever is in stock. And once again I hope that’s not .660s in that box.

Ac delco DOD/AFM pump. Those motors require higher pressure, so it’s basicly a factory high flow/high output pump when put on a gen 3 motor, without the hassle of aftermarket nonsense. I get around 65psi at idle and it will max out after 2500rpm on a gen 3 block.

LS never have timing chain issues in the first place. The cheaper double rollers are a joke. I’ve taken motors apart with 5k-20k running the $100-$200 double rollers and they will have more slack than a 400k work truck with zero maintenance. Not to mention grinding the cover, and oil pump spacers, more things to break/fail, and a lesser parts than a LS6 single roller. My go to is the cloyes $50 timing set, never seen one fail or pick up slack. I also recommend the melling timing chain damper bracket for the older truck blocks.
 
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