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swapping a 4.3L to the 5.3L

swapping a 4.3L to the 5.3L

Postby zackattack [OP] » Apr 23 2012, 5:58pm

Currently i have a 4.3L in my truck and needless to say its not exactly a powerhouse. This summer when i am home from college and working, i am hoping to swap my 4.3 out with a 5.3L. I plan on hopefully buying a donor truck with the engine i want (if i can find one that was wrecked in the rear so the engine is still intact). I have done some research but still a little confused, i get that the wire harness needs to be changed, but is it the whole wire harness or just a small portion in the engine compartment? Where would i get my computer reprogrammed? do i need to change fuel line, from what i have been reading the 5.3L uses a bigger fuel line? Will my transmission work or would i have to put in a different one, if the website i read was correct the 5 speed manual is the same with the 4.3 to the 5.3L, but i'm not 100% sure on that. i know i need to change the engine mounts, but from what i read there just bolted in. any other advice would be appreciated, and thank you for your responses.
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Re: swapping a 4.3L to the 5.3L

Postby ASTE25 » Apr 23 2012, 7:20pm

I'm not trying to be a smart ass, but, I'm not sure you have the level of expeirince to complete this swap. It can be done, but it is a very in depth procedure. There is (as you know) a lot more to it than just swapping the engine out. To answer your questions I believe the only part of the fuel lines that need to be changed are the ones actually going to the engine (they are bent different). I believe the wiring harness for the engine bay is all that will need changed. The thing is, the 5.3 never came with a 5 speed, although it will bolt up, the donor truck will not have the correct wiring harness due to it will be an automatic truck. An easier option would be to go with an old small block 350 and make it a carburated or aftermarket fuel injected one with the old non-computer controlled HEI ignition. I believe all your brackets from the front of the engine will work on the 350. Then you do not have to worry about the computer wiring harness. Really , the best thing would be to get a truck with a v-8 already in it from the factory.
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Re: swapping a 4.3L to the 5.3L

Postby zackattack [OP] » Apr 23 2012, 8:38pm

well that is a bummer. but thank you for the response, i never thought about the transmission wire harness. I guess ill stick with my v6.lol
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Re: swapping a 4.3L to the 5.3L

Postby 11 Silverado » Apr 23 2012, 9:06pm

The 4.3 is a great engine, not as much power as the 5.3, but sufficient for most tasks. I would just drive what you have, and when you can afford to, upgrade to a newer truck with the engine/transmission, and equipment that you want. If you start swapping things in your current truck, the reasale/trade value could be hurt considerably. And, like stated above, it is not a simple or cheap swap.
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Re: swapping a 4.3L to the 5.3L

Postby rdss » Apr 23 2012, 9:14pm

Something to consider, looking into turbo or superchargers for the 4.3. If you were willing to drop the cash to do this swap you should be able to break even on a power adder and maybe come out on top. It will take custom tuning and probably piecing together a kit from an S-10 or Blazer.

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Re: swapping a 4.3L to the 5.3L

Postby zackattack [OP] » Apr 23 2012, 10:04pm

a turbo was a thought that crossed my mind, and that should get the power i want but they seem kinda expensive but should be worth it.lol but i have no idea about a supercharger, i have no idea how they work or what they do other then add power. if someone could explain a supercharger it would be greatly appreciated. as of now im looking at cold air intake, custom exhaust, and a custom tune.
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Re: swapping a 4.3L to the 5.3L

Postby Rebel842001 » Apr 24 2012, 3:55am

ok differences in turbo and superchargers. the goal is the same with both, to over come atmospheric pressure in result adding more air and fuel making more power. a turbo does this by the exhaust driving a turbine wheel that spins the compressor wheel to over come atmospheric pressure. A super charger is either a cenntrifigual or a roots style. Both are driven by a belt off of the crankshaft. The cenntrifigual is basically the compressor half of a turbo being driven by cranshaft instead of by exhaust. A cenntrifigual can be intercooled very easly just as a turbo can be. The roots style is like the big chrome superchargers that you see sticking out of the hood with the big scoop on top of it. these have two rotors that compress the air. These are a little harder to have intercooled but alot of the kits now include an intercooled manifold. The only thing with a supercharger is they rob a small amount of hp to turn them. But an up side is no turbo lag due to having to wait for the turbo to spool up. The easiest one to install in my book is a cenntrifigual type super charger over a roots and a turbo. With the cenntrifigual kit all you have to do is bolt on brackets, plump the duct work to the throttle body, pretty simple and straight foward. The roots style requires swapping the intake manifold out for one that come with the supercharger. And turbos will require changing atleast one exhaust manifold if you do a single turbo kit then plumbing the intake piping on it also. most kits will have some way of retuning your factory computer, either a handlheld programmer or overnight your computer to them they reflash it and overnight it back to you. anything else you need help on understanding turbos and superchargers just ask and ill try to explain more
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Re: swapping a 4.3L to the 5.3L

Postby zackattack [OP] » Apr 24 2012, 3:11pm

Thank you for the explanation on the turbos and superchargers. It was very helpful. Would i have to change anything else, like high flow cats, or anything in the engine? they seem to produce a lot more power and i don't know if the stock engine can handle it.

I was just surfing the web for super chargers and came across this, its $400 with all the additional items, looks basically like a small electric supercharger that you hook up to the intake pipe. this is the website http://www.superchargertuning.com/GMC/C%2FK+1500/ only thing i can see is they don't offer different engine sizes, but it also says it only works in engine up to 5.0L.
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Re: swapping a 4.3L to the 5.3L

Postby Rebel842001 » Apr 24 2012, 4:00pm

Hi flow cats will help
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Re: swapping a 4.3L to the 5.3L

Postby 11 Silverado » Apr 24 2012, 4:55pm

zackattack wrote:Thank you for the explanation on the turbos and superchargers. It was very helpful. Would i have to change anything else, like high flow cats, or anything in the engine? they seem to produce a lot more power and i don't know if the stock engine can handle it.

I was just surfing the web for super chargers and came across this, its $400 with all the additional items, looks basically like a small electric supercharger that you hook up to the intake pipe. this is the website http://www.superchargertuning.com/GMC/C%2FK+1500/ only thing i can see is they don't offer different engine sizes, but it also says it only works in engine up to 5.0L.


I have never seen or heard of these electric turbo's. They don't give any exact power increase numbers, so not sure what to expect. It does say it provides 3 psi of boost though. But, for less than $200, it might be interesting to buy one and see what it does. Probably can return it if it does not perform worth a darn.
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