eastsideTim PowerDork
7/28/21 8:35 p.m.

Did a bit of fitting tonight.  Not very great news.

  1. Driver side header rubs the crossmember.  Should be able to be corrected by moving the engine back a fraction of an inch.
  2. Driver side header is very close to the passenger front brake line.  Will either have to reroute it, or maybe come up with some heat shielding where it passes under the header.
  3. Looks like the steering shaft upper u-joint and the header interfere with each other, even though I've moved the engine as far to the passenger side as I can.  I had to unbolt the steering shaft to get the header in, but if I had to guesstimate, based on measurements, there's about 1/16" of an inch of overlap.  I can heat the offending pipe and ding it in a bit if need be, but there is also a steering shaft available with a smaller u-joint.
  4. Despite these mounts supposed to not cause this problem, there is no berkeleying way the power steering pulley is going to fit.  A 5.3 Trailblazer pulley, or a Dorman plastic pulley are both options when this happens on other mounts.  I'll have to do some investigating.  Another possibility is to switch to the manual steering box in my stash, but I'd prefer not to, as there'd be no way to use hydroboost in the future.  I will also look up using different front end accessories, but am a little bummed, as I already bought a water pump/pulley kit a ways back when I thought the truck accessories would be okay.

On the good side, the passenger side header has gobs of room.  Pushing the engine back a bit should not cause any new interference issues.  Once the transmission crossmember shows up, and is installed, I'll have to see if I can keep the column shifter.  If not, I still have the fireturd floor shifter laying around somewhere.

eastsideTim PowerDork
7/28/21 9:02 p.m.

Found the metal version of the Dorman pulley, p/n 300-202.  It's about 1.5" smaller diameter than my stock pulley.  Once the engine is pushed back, I'll try to reinstall the PS pump, and figure out if it'll work or not.  If so, that appears to be the cheapest good option.  May end up needing a slightly shorter serpentine belt, but that's a lot less expensive than most of the other options.

eastsideTim PowerDork
7/29/21 8:24 a.m.

Tried to move the engine back this morning, but was not successful.  I used the hoist to get it as unloaded as possible, but is seems like maybe it is still bound up somehow, even though it is not snagging on anything.  Now I'm even more certain the frame is out of square.  I don't recall having this problem when shifting the 305 around, though.  Will try to find somewhere on the engine and frame I can lever against without damaging anything, including myself.

eastsideTim PowerDork
7/29/21 12:01 p.m.

Think I figured it out at the end of my lunch break.  The transmission is loaded against the brace I made.  I need to lift it a little bit, and that may allow everything to be shifted.

eastsideTim PowerDork
7/30/21 4:32 p.m.

Had to remove my janky transmission brace, rest the transmission on some blocks and a furniture dolly, and remove the engine mount bolts, but I was able to finally shift the engine.  Everything is so snug, though, that I am likely going to need to wait to finalize the positioning until I have gotten (or made) a transmission crossmember.  I was able to move the engine back and to the right far enough to get the steering shaft to clear the header, but the header is still too close to the engine crossmember.  I think this is because the transmission is sitting lower than it was before.  It is possible the transmission will be lifted to just the right point where the header clears everything, but I just can't be certain.  I was also only able to put 3 bolts per side back in for the engine mounts.  The poly frame mounts just don't allow enough flex to get the others installed.

On the passenger side, one of the coil mounting studs on the valve cover is pressed against the heater box, and it looks like part of the engine block may also be making contact with it.  I may be able to adjust the interference out, but since I'm dead in the water to some extent, I may pull the heater box, and cut and weld it to make sure there is more clearance.  Also, the rear tube of the passenger header is positioned such that it may cook the wiring coming out of the firewall.  I'll need to get some insulated wrap for the harness in that area.

Unfortunately, my transmission crossmember is still on backorder, and with no estimated date for shipping again.  Beginning to regret going with a 4L80E in order to "future-proof" the build.  With all these issues, I'm not going to want to have to pull any of this apart to upgrade.

eastsideTim PowerDork
7/31/21 11:57 a.m.

More fitting and adjusting today.  I checked how much I had move the engine backwards, and it looks like it was 3/8" of an inch. 

Here's the issue with the passenger side valve cover and head:


I jacked up the trans pan, but it didn't take long until the engine/trans caught on something else.  However, that did give me about 1/8" clearance between the driver's header and the frame.

I decided next to get the power steering pump in, so I could check out if a smaller pulley would do the trick.  Space is so tight that I had to remove the front accessory bracket, bolt the pump on, then reinstall the bracket.  I tried the S10 pump first, since it has a smaller reservoir, and I figure I could just T the return line for hydroboost, but it was clocked in such a way that it will not fit unless I cut away some of the bracket.  I may still do that.  The Sierra's pump went in, and the bracket was bolted up.  It's a bit of a tight fit.

To the right, you can see the hydroboost return fitting is actually rubbing against the return line for the steering box.  I don't think there is anything I can do about this if I keep this pump, other than just keep an eye on it, and replace the lines if they get worn enough to start leaking. 


The stock pulley definitely will not fit, but that looks like considerably less than .75" interference, so a 1.5" diameter smaller pulley should work just fine.

The final fitting check that needed to be done was for the front of the engine versus the radiator fan.  It was nice to have the core support back on, even if only for a few minutes.

Major success here, there is plenty of room, especially considering the SBC was right up against it, and did a little self-clearancing of the fan housing

With 7/8" of an inch up front, I decided to move the engine forward a smidge, and got it about 3/16" forward, pretty much splitting the difference of where it started and how far back I'd pressed it.  At this point, if the transmission is jacked up enough, the heater box clearance issues go away, but I still have a problem with the driver side header and frame.  I think the transmission is getting caught on its upper cooler line, but with the truck on the ground, I just can't tell for sure.

I am a little concerned about the fuel lines potentially rubbing either the bellhousing or the cab floor, but I can just run them outside the frame, and over the brake booster if need be.   I am tempted to grab a smaller booster from the junkyard, and not worry about getting hydroboost working from the get go, just to simplify things.  If I do, I need to take a look at where the truck intake usually has a vacuum fitting, as mine does not have it.

I do have a different fitting concern now, too.  I have no idea how crooked the engine is sitting.  Shifting the angle could be enough to get rid of or create more fitment issues.  The transmission crossmember really is the linchpin in all this.  Plus, I need to have a little extra room to lift the back of the transmission, to get the driveshaft angle right, since the truck is lowered.  I may have a solution, though.  Summit advertises Holley's transmission crossmember as in stock, even though Holley apparently does not have any.  If I do not get a relatively firm shipping date by Monday mooring, I think I am going to cancel my order for the GForce piece, and order the Holley one, and hope it works fine with the engine mounts I've selected.

Right now, I'm kind of debating with myself over whether to pull and modify the heater box this weekend, or let it ride, and see if it all will fit.  I am also finding myself wishing I could stumble on a clean GMT400 RCSB roller for a great price, and just put the drivetrain in it, instead.  laugh

SavageHenry New Reader
7/31/21 12:52 p.m.

Have you considered going with a manual steering box and adapting the electric power steering from a Yaris or newer Hyundai? From what I've read they require little in terms of wiring and might help free up some room and hassle.

eastsideTim PowerDork
7/31/21 1:07 p.m.
SavageHenry said:

Have you considered going with a manual steering box and adapting the electric power steering from a Yaris or newer Hyundai? From what I've read they require little in terms of wiring and might help free up some room and hassle.

In the future, I may.  I've read the Saturn Ion electric steering rack is pretty popular, too.  I mostly didn't want to do much fab work at this stage.  However, if the truck gets turbocharged eventually, space is going to be at enough of a premium that I'll need every trick in the book to keep it all under the hood.

eastsideTim PowerDork
8/1/21 5:28 p.m.

Took advantage of the nice weather today, and ran to the junkyard.  Picked up a ECM bracket and cover, and a fusebox bracket and cover.  The brackets were too mangled on the Sierra to recover.  I may not use them, and will have to modify them some if I do, but it'd be nice to have some weather protection for the electronics that actually looks factory.

eastsideTim PowerDork
8/1/21 9:10 p.m.

Found Holley's version of the transmission crossmember in stock somewhere, so I ordered it. Would rather have the GForce one, as it seems more heavy duty, but would like be able to move forward.  Also ordered the smaller PS pulley, so once the engine is fitted, I can toss it and the other front end accessories on.

Tomorrow starts the next two week stretch of heavy workload, so I may not get much time to work in the evenings, but I hope I get a chance to install the crossmember before next weekend.



eastsideTim PowerDork
8/3/21 9:05 p.m.

The crossmember showed up on my porch today, and despite a rough workday, I hit the garage.

One of the reasons I wanted the GForce part was it was one piece.  The Holley is 4 pieces.  Once I had it laid out and looked at the instructions, I figured that it was so they could reuse some parts in different kits.

To its credit, it did go in relatively easy.  I just needed to do a little fitting on the passenger side and drill a couple holes in the frame.  1994-up S10s supposedly already have the them drilled from the factory.  Did end up getting coated with more sand.  Someday maybe that won't happen when working under the truck.

Here it is, sort of in place. 

The transmission is just resting on it now, as it is not lined up just right.  The front transmission cooler line is up against the transmission tunnel, so I will need to remove the center piece to lower the transmission, and bend the line a bit.  I am hoping I can do so with it still attached to the transmission, but I may have to pull it.  There is a chance I'll need to shim the transmission a bit to get a good driveshaft angle, so I want to make sure it has a little extra room, too.  The polyurethane mount I bought did not have all the hardware I need, so I'll need to run out to get a 7/16-14 bolt so there will be two bolts holding it in place instead of one.  I needed to dip into my 3/8" hardware to get it bolted to the small piece of metal that attaches to the transmission.  Which brings me to my main complaint - the design will put some twisting force on the poly mount, instead of it primarily being under tension and/or compression.  I suspect that'll shorten its life somewhat.

The fuel lines will also need to be rerouted, but that will be handled after the engine and transmission are permanently located, and I swap out to a new pump.






eastsideTim PowerDork
8/6/21 3:00 p.m.

A bit of a tetris situation with fitting everything.  The cylinder head was rubbing against the heater box again once the transmission had settled onto the new mount.  So, the engine should go forward.  Which will prevent the driver side header from fitting.  I had to jack up the transmission, and pull the engine forward with the hoist in order to even remove the heater box.  Not to mention pull the passenger side valve cover...again.  In the interest of time, I think when I cut it down and reshape it, I'll just use rivets, and some gasket maker, instead of welding.  I'd like to just flatten it where it is near the head, but it needs at least a bit of a lip, as the frame of the flapper door sticks out into the engine compartment just a bit.


Going to try to have this done, and the transmission line bent before the end of the weekend, so I can finalize the location of the engine and start adding other pieces back on.

eastsideTim PowerDork
8/7/21 2:00 p.m.

Started out this morning working on the heater box.  After double checking a few measurements, did some cutting and fitting.

Looks like it'll have clearance now, I am hoping it all works out, because there really wasn't room to cut more off, or it'd interfere with the interior ducting.  Could grind that down, too, I suppose, but would rather not have to.  A little cardboard aided drafting, cutting, drilling, and riveting got me to this:

To seal it all, I slathered on an unhealthy amount of RTV on the inside.  Even if it isn't perfect, there were originally a couple of drain holes in the heater box, so it's not like it was perfectly airtight to begin with.

I'll plan on flipping it over tonight and hitting the bare metal with some spray paint.  If I can get the transmission cooler line dealt with, I'll be able to reinstall it tomorrow.


Speaking of the transmission cooler line, it was a bit of a bear to remove.  I pulled the transmission mount, and lowered the transmission, but it did not give me enough clearance.  Ended up having to remove the entire center section of the transmission crossmember to lower it enough.  Gave it a quick try to bend it by hand, but there was no way that was happening.  There was not enough space to use my tubing bender, either.  So, I tried this:

Put a quarter inch bolt in the vice, wrapped in a layer of tape to cut down on marring, and to try to match the ID of the transmission line, dropped the line on top of it to just the level where it needed to be straight, then tried to bend it.  That did not work.  I tightened the vice multiple times because I thought the bolt was slipping.  It wasn't.

Other than maybe heating the tubing up with a torch, I'm low on ideas.  Since it is a quick disconnect line, I need to keep the flare near the end from getting damaged.  Another possibility might be see if I can unbolt the fitting from the transmission that uses the quick disconnect, and install one that uses a standard flared fitting.  That way, I could make the bend far from the end of the tubing, cut the tube short, then flare it.  Maybe there is also a 90 degree adapter I could look for.  If anyone's got ideas, please let me know.


eastsideTim said:

Another possibility might be see if I can unbolt the fitting from the transmission that uses the quick disconnect, and install one that uses a standard flared fitting.  That way, I could make the bend far from the end of the tubing, cut the tube short, then flare it.  Maybe there is also a 90 degree adapter I could look for.  If anyone's got ideas, please let me know.

Yes, the cooler fittings simply unscrew and you can choose whichever style suits your needs. On my current project I bought the Russell AN fittings so I can just build hoses. Not the cheapest, but solves all clearance problems. With -6 hose and straights, 45s, and 90s, you should be able to get yourself out of any jam. 

eastsideTim PowerDork
8/7/21 4:05 p.m.

In reply to Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) :

Thanks - pulled the forward fitting, and it looks like it is probably a 5/8"-18 inverted flare (I hate nominal sizes).  Also found a parts list for someone who has done something similar to this, so I may alter it a bit, but give it a try.  They used AN hose for the entire run of the transmission lines, but with my space constraints, I am debating whether to do that, ot switch it back to hard line where it passes under the engine mount.  Will try to decide fast and order some parts this weekend.

To check for fit, I tried to get the transmission lined up side to side, and it took forever.  It was acting like it was snagged on something, but it wasn't.  Eventually, I got the right combination of engine hoist lift, and floor jack under the pan to get it to move.  Ran into a new problem trying to bolt the trans mount up to the transmission, though.  The Holley piece bumps into the tailshaft/pan before it hits the actual mounting points.  I was able to reverse it from how the pictures in the instructions show it fitting, but my opinion of the kit is going down.  I may leave the GForce crossmember on backorder, and try it out once it finally ships.  Anyway, back to fit.  It looks like I have approximately 2" between the front fitting and the floorpan.  I may order the AN adapter fittings and a -6 90 degree fitting just to confirm it works before ordering all the other parts.

Also, after a text conversation with wae about a plug swap he was working on with a 5.3, I think I am going to get some long life plugs to put in the engine instead of the copper ones I've already bought.  I had been thinking copper, in case I added my nitrous kit to it, but for now, I'll just hold off.

eastsideTim PowerDork
8/11/21 9:57 a.m.

I've got AN fittings in and pointed in the right directions, but as noted in this thread, I have ordered a different fitting that might give me a little bit more room in case the transmission mount has to be shimmed to correct the driveshaft angle.

For now, I am going to keep the rear line with the stock quick disconnect, but I have enough fittings on the way that I will likely have all I need to convert it to AN lines, except for hose, as I only ordered 10 feet of it.

eastsideTim PowerDork
8/14/21 11:31 a.m.

About ready to scream.  I did some more testing with some AN fittings, and gained about 1/16" clearance on the front transmission cooler line.  Started checking fit for everything else, and it seemed like a go.  Managed to set the engine forward from its furthest back by about 3/16".  Tightened everything down.  During my recheck after tightening, I remembered I needed to check the oilpan.  It is rubbing the berkeleying crossmember.  Set the engine back as far as it could, and it is still rubbing.  I think my next step is going to be to lift the engine a bit, unbolt each engine mount bolt one at a time, and put a washer between the engine mount and the engine, to raise it just a little.  If I can insert a piece of paper between the oilpan and crossmember, I'll call it good for now.  If not, then the engine will likely have to come back out.

I swear, if the engine has to come back out, I may just hack out the crossmember, get some thick steel to make end plates, and some thick-walled tubing and make a much smaller crossmember.  Or more specifically, I'll pay someone else to do it.


eastsideTim PowerDork
8/15/21 11:05 a.m.

Guess I should update the and get rid of the suspense.  The washers worked.  Picture farther down in the thread, with more details.

This fitting is what I eventually went with as my final choice.  I think the fact that it is actually a metal line, instead of a cast 90 degree turn gives it just a bit more space, and a slightly gentler turn.  Its a good thing I went with it, as I lost a little room shimming up the engine.

Back to the engine mounts.  Removing one bolt at a time, and loosening the passenger side chassis bolt allowed me to put some 1mm thick M10 washers between the engine mounts and the engine.  Still only able to bolt up three instead of four per side.  Really hoping that doesn't bite me later.  The engine also stayed in the fully rearward position.  With the mounts at a 45 degree angle, that should have bought me a little over .7mm of space.  Turned out that was enough.  I was able to slide a flexible plastic ruler into the gap.  Since the mounts are poly, I am hoping they won't collapse, and if they do, I hope not by much. 

All the engine and transmission mount bolts are now tightened.  Ironically, the GForce transmission crossmember showed up yesterday.  I'm planning on keeping it, in case I have problems with the Holley one.  Don't plan on swapping them out though, unless there are problems.

Most importantly, with the engine/trans combo secured in their "final" position, I was able to fold up the engine hoist for the first time in months. 

Now I have more working room, and there are tons of little jobs that can be accomplished in short time, so working on it during weeknights should be a lot more viable.  Already swapped out the spark plugs.  Gap on the old plugs was good, but a couple of them did not look happy  - wouldn't be surprised if I have a few leaking injectors.  Not to mention the newer plugs are spec'd for a smaller gap, so maybe they won't be as hard on the coils.

I am hoping to have most of the body back on in the next week, so it will be easier to remove the bed to get to the gas tank to install a new fuel pump, figure out the wiring issue with the taillights, make it easier to swap out the rear axle, and figure out exhaust routing, so I can order tubing and a muffler.  I am hoping to keep this thing fairly quiet, so if I can stuff a big stock style muffler in after the rear axle, I'd like to.

eastsideTim PowerDork
8/17/21 9:29 a.m.

Got a little accomplished last night:

  1. Ran some water through the heater core.  Heater core and radiator have had green coolant, and the block has dexcool.  I'll flush the system and put the green stuff in after it is running, but I'd like to start with as little incompatible mix as possible.
  2. Installed the block off plate with an 1/8" NPT adapter on the oil pan.  This is where I'll put my aftermarket oil sender.  Looks like I am going to need to grab an extension or an angle adapter to get the electric sender to fit, as there isn't enough room right now.  Picked up a plug for it for now.  When I do my first start, I'll use a mechanical gauge, too, so I can make sure oil pressure builds before I actually fire the engine.
  3. Installed the new starter.  Learned the hard way that the outer bolt needs to be put in the starter before it is put in position.  The frame gets in the way otherwise.  Space is tight enough that when it fails, it may need to be pulled from the top, so not something that is an easy roadside fix.

Going to try to continue to do something each night this week, even it is it just minor.  Might try to clean up and install the valley pan tonight, might go for the water pump and idler pulleys.  Might do something completely different.

eastsideTim PowerDork
8/18/21 7:39 a.m.

More onion peeling, not sure I made much actual progress last night and this morning.  Installed the plug on the oil block off plate, but that was the only thing that went smoothly.

Removed the old water pump, and found a decent amount of corrosion on the block.  Here's a pic of the driver's side, that I have not cleaned yet, need to pull the accessory bracket to make it easier to clean up:

Here's the ports on the passenger side after  I hit it with a wire wheel:

Doing some digging on the internet, there are multiple camps to how to deal with it:

  1. No matter what, never use RTV, even if there is pitting/corrosion.
  2. A small group seem to think you should put RTV on both sides of the gasket.
  3. Another suggest a small skim coat of RTV on the block.

And of course, there's also disagreement on what type of RTV to use, although for option 3, multiple people seem to suggest gray rtv.  Going to have to figure this out.  It's easy to swap the pump out now, but once it is all together (and I'll finally know if it is leaking), it'll be a lot more difficult.

The final issue - I filled up the oil filter and went to install it.  Somehow, despite measuring the threads, since I had heard there were some metric some SAE, I failed to realize the oil pan has female threads as does the filter.  So, it appears there is supposed to be an adapter there.  Of course, if there was one on my old oil pan, I can't know now, as it has been scrapped.  Rock auto doesn't sell the adapter, but they do sell a gasket for it.  I'll do a quick internet search and find out if it is something I have to buy online, or if it can be yanked off a normal truck oil pan at the junkyard.  Drained the filter, and tossed it in a ziploc bag for now.

Edit:  Looked online.  If the adapter is what I think it is(just a small threaded tube with a hex for tightening it), I have no idea what the gasket rock auto sells is for.




eastsideTim PowerDork
8/21/21 4:03 p.m.

Yesterday, installed the water pump and idler and tensioner pulleys.  Decided to go with a very thin skim coat of gray rtv on the block and hope that everything seals up fine. 

Ran out this morning to the junkyard to get the oil filter adapter.  Pulled a filter off a 2002 Suburban, and found it is nothing like what I need.  I know they are supposed to be on LS1 f-bodies, and may be on 2007-up trucks, but this yard did not have any of them.  Went ahead and ordered an aftermarket part, as I could still not find a GM part number.  Will see if it works in a week or so when it gets here.

Going to clean up the lifter valley cover and try to flush the green coolant out of the radiator, and may call it a day, and hope to actually accomplish a decent amount tomorrow.



eastsideTim PowerDork
8/22/21 4:14 p.m.

Another couple of setbacks.  One expected, one unexpected.

  1. I installed the PS pulley, and test fit the stock serpentine belt.  Will definitely need to go with a shorter belt in order to keep any tension on it.  Took a few measurements, and should be able to approximate the difference closely enough to get something that will work.  Edit:  Quick calculation says I need somewhere around a 53mm shorter belt. Stock belt is a 6K923.  Looks like a 6K900 is 58mm shorter, so that should be close enough.
  2. Installing the valley cover, and even though I lubricated them, I tore one of the knock sensor seals.  None of the local shops stock them, either, so it's either overpay to get them tomorrow from one of the local places, or just order online.
eastsideTim PowerDork
8/22/21 6:56 p.m.

Found a parts store that was a bit out of the way that had the seal, so decided to run out and get it.  When I got back, I discovered why the first had torn.  The post the knock sensor bolts to was rusty.  I couldn't really sand it clean, since I don't want rust and sandpaper grit to end up in the crankcase.  Wiped it with an oily cloth to get the worst of it, and then oiled the hell out of the post and the new seal.  And it worked.  Installed the knock sensors, including replacing the rusty one.

While I was at the store, I picked up a belt that was the size I thought should work.  It was too small, so I'll see if I can find one that splits the difference.

I think next I'll try to find a way to mount the transmission vent tubing, since the bracket for it bolts to the back of the engine, but will not fit with the engine up near the firewall, and then start to run the wring loom.  There are some connections on the back of the block that I will not be able to get to once the intake manifold is on, and I'd really like that installed so I can stop worrying about the possibility of crud getting past the paper towels and tape over the intake ports.  Its a lot easier to cover just a few holes on the manifold.

eastsideTim PowerDork
8/24/21 7:47 a.m.

The transmission vent is now secured to a heater box mounting stud with zipties, so it won't fall down.  I was getting ready to pull the harness out of its bin when I realized during all the knocking around, I'd broken the oil pressure sensor on the back of the block.  Even though I'm going to have an aftermarket gauge, I'd like the factory sensor to be working, too.  Found a local store that should have one in stock, along with the socket that will be needed to remove/install it.  Will try to get out at lunchtime to pick it up.

Also ordered a belt that splits the difference between the two I already have, and a couple of 1/8" NPT adapters to figure out the aftermarket oil pressure sensor install.  They should be here early next week.


eastsideTim PowerDork
8/24/21 7:23 p.m.

New sensor is in.  Pulled the harness out and ran into some fitting issues.  Had to pull the driver side valve cover to get it to fit around the shifter linkage, but then ran into another snag.  With how tight the engine is to the firewall, I can't get the transmission part of the harness tucked in to where it should be.  It'll fit once it is in place, but getting it there is the problem.  First thought was to cut it and add a connector, then I realized it'll be a lot easier to just pull the tape off the harness along a few inches of its length, then flatten to the point it's only a few wires wide, squeeze it in (carefully, there are some screws sticking out of the firewall in that area), then just tuck it back in the wire loom cover.  Ran a little short on time, so decided not to attempt that tonight in case anything goes wrong, but I should have more time to look at it tomorrow.

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