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Thread: Pulled the trigger on the 383

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    VCVC Member lvjjj's Avatar
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    Pulled the trigger on the 383

    Just took the '94 Suburban over to my friend's master mechanic garage getting a lung transplant. Ordered a remanufactured 383 stroker with roller cam from S&J Automotive in Spokane. Tom is a custom car builder and fantastic mechanic and is going to charge me around $3700 to buy and install the engine (only charging me half price for his labor). Can't beat that I don't think. Even though the original 350 was towing just "ok", got tired of struggling up 5 and 6% grades at 35 or 40 mph at around 3200-3500 rpm. Used to push it to 4200 rpm with a fastchip but kept cracking exhaust manifolds and you all and everybody else told me I shouldn't do that. Spoil sports.

    Before deciding to put a new engine in the Burb, we looked at several mid-2000's GMC Denali's and XL's with 6.0 and 6.2 engines. Everyone of them had at least 160,000 miles, was pretty worn inside and had a variety of problems such as bad transmission, bad transfer box, shot air shocks, ripped interiors, etc. etc. Plus I got to thinking that I much prefer old school technology. Didn't like the idea of dealing with OBDII computers and stuff I couldn't work on on these "newer" vehicles. Since the Burb is so pristine in and out, cruises to smooth, is so comfortable and since we've had several parts replaced due to wear, I decided I would much rather keep it and buy more power. Most Denali's in the 2005 range were around $10,000 or more, so $3700 for an engine seemed a much smarter way to go. We'll see.

    The upside, now driving the early for a week.
    LARRY OF THE PACIFIC NW
    1965, 292, TH350
    purchased Nov. 22, 1970

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    New Guy
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    I'd like to hear it.

    Mechanics round here only want to do the small jobs it seems. I'd probably hear a quote double of that here. Newer cars have so much added electronics I'd rather stay with something older. I own a 95 van and I bought from the state of california a 95 chevy caprice came with the lt1 engine, had it since it was 5yrs old.
    Last edited by Leonard; 10-16-2019 at 01:13 PM.

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    VCVC Member lvjjj's Avatar
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    Yea, just couldn't pass up the deal. I know the mechanic and the company that builds the engine.

    At 73 years old I'm definitely old school that's why I love the 65 and the '94 is about as new as I want to get. While its got a computer, it does have fuel injection which is a lot better than carbs. Although the early runs a 2 bbl weber without hardly any trouble.
    LARRY OF THE PACIFIC NW
    1965, 292, TH350
    purchased Nov. 22, 1970

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    VCVC Member LedZeppvan's Avatar
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    I am glad to hear of a quality mechanic shop in Spokane. I am moving to Soap Lake to retire soon. I am related to an historical figure in the area "Sagebrush Annie" who was my great grandmother., she was known to walk from Soap Lake to Spokane. I have not been to Spokane yet, but I plan on a visit in November. I am happy to meet a person near by!? I am not up with my van yet going to take it up last when I finish the total move from California. Let me know what's fun during the summer and spring months!
    Jacke

    1964 GMC Handi-Van Custom 350
    1971 Ford Mustang 302
    1957 Karman Ghia Project

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    VCVC Member lvjjj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LedZeppvan View Post
    I am glad to hear of a quality mechanic shop in Spokane. I am moving to Soap Lake to retire soon. I am related to an historical figure in the area "Sagebrush Annie" who was my great grandmother., she was known to walk from Soap Lake to Spokane. I have not been to Spokane yet, but I plan on a visit in November. I am happy to meet a person near by!? I am not up with my van yet going to take it up last when I finish the total move from California. Let me know what's fun during the summer and spring months!
    Zep, all S&J does is build engines. I'm on the west or opposite side of the state way up in Blaine, next to the Canadian border. I envy you I much prefer central and eastern Washington, not much rain and acutual seasons, we have two, rain and more rain. We go to eastern WA in the summer for the dry heat and stay at parks such as Lincoln Rock State Park near Wenatchee, Crescent Bar on the Columbia river also near Wenatchee. Lots of sun and wide open spaces.
    LARRY OF THE PACIFIC NW
    1965, 292, TH350
    purchased Nov. 22, 1970

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    VCVC Member lvjjj's Avatar
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    Enigne is in and is running good. Have no idea yet how it tows cause I have to get 500 miles on it and change the break in oil.
    LARRY OF THE PACIFIC NW
    1965, 292, TH350
    purchased Nov. 22, 1970

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    VCVC Member Wookee's Avatar
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    Cool

    Hook the trailer up to it and go pull a grade.
    She is ready to rock now, as well as 500 miles later.
    If you do hurt it.Make the next stop that shop & drop it off.
    They did some thing wrong...

    ......Wookee
    Last edited by Wookee; 10-28-2019 at 04:08 PM.
    Its a "van thing". A life style you have to live to understand!!!!

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    VCVC Member lvjjj's Avatar
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    383!! does good

    Sittin' here in our travel trailer at Pacific Beach State park on the coast of Washington watching the tide come in and waves crashing and feeling good.

    The 383 got us here in incredible style. It's a monster torque machine. Although I-5 from Blaine to Olympia doesn't have any mountain passes it does have several significant long 5% grades. Went up those in 3rd, torque converter never unlocked and it just charged up said hills with no problem. After a while, while on level or slight downhills I shifted into 4th, which I know you're not supposed to do for the sake of the transmission, but it ran easy and never unlocked. I would pull it down to third on said hills. We kept it at about 62 mph but could speed up fast if needed to pass. When we stopped for food, I pulled the trans dip-stick and found it wasn't hot or burnt. Felt the trans cooler and it wasn't hot. I'm gonna get a transmission temp gauge to make sure I'm not overheating it cause that 383 prefers to run in 4th at lower rpms (its a stroker). So if the trans is not hunting at all, I assume its not gonna overheat?

    Probably the best part, is that it got 9.5 miles per gallon, about a mile per gallon better than the old engine.

    And better yet, 49 years ago today I bought the early, 11-22-70.
    LARRY OF THE PACIFIC NW
    1965, 292, TH350
    purchased Nov. 22, 1970

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    VCVC Member Wookee's Avatar
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    Cool

    Leave her in 4th gear.
    It will not hurt the transmission.
    Driving around in 3rd will,can do more damage.
    The computer will do a good job shifting into passing gear when needed..
    Glad to hear you are happy with the new engine
    Welcome to the V/8 towing world...
    Its a "van thing". A life style you have to live to understand!!!!

  10. #10
    VCVC Member lvjjj's Avatar
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    Thanks Wookee. Always nice to have your input. Everything I've read says never tow in overdrive, so wasn't sure.

    This was our shakedown cruise so at first, it did seem like driving in 3rd was stressing the engine with all those rpms forced by the 3.73 gears., so after a while I upshifted to 4th and it settled in and ran smooth and much easier, a lot quieter too. It tows so much like the van with the 292, lots of torque, just chugs along, no need to shift down until going up the 6% mountain grades, no need for lots of rpms like the old engine.

    And getting almost 10 mpg towing is amazing. I was told those 383's really liked to use lots of gas. I didn't take it easy, kept my foot in it going up hills or passing cars, I wanted a true mileage check.
    LARRY OF THE PACIFIC NW
    1965, 292, TH350
    purchased Nov. 22, 1970

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