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Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
3/18/21 5:39 p.m.

This build saga begins in late 2019.  I had been messing around with my DSM's since 2016 and they were nothing but bad to me.  I discovered Sloppy Mechanics about that time.  After watching Matt Happel build a really simple Colorado, I knew it was something I could do and wanted to do.  So one day I was watching Youtube and said...

That led me to sell my DSM and go down the path of obtaining an LS-based engine and Colorado swap candidate, but that hasn't been so easy.

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
3/18/21 5:44 p.m.

Early 2020, soon after selling my DSM, I found a complete 4.8 over in Ohio for $225 complete with harness and PCM.  That's the only good thing about being  a southerner re-located to the land of sodium chloride, LS based engines are crazy plentiful and had for cheap.  I was pretty happy with my complete purchase.

 

Unfoutunatley, I didn't pop the valve covers before bringing the engine home.  When I did, I found this:

Hard packed sludge on everything.  I don't think the oil had been changed.  Ever.  I also noticed that the thrust bearings were toast:

So what's a boy to do?  I parted out this harness, shortblock, heads, and other misc items and also kept a good amount of parts.  Made my money back with ease and set out again to find another 4.8 or 5.3. 

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
3/18/21 5:47 p.m.

Like I said, land of cheap 5.3's.  I found this unit on Facebook for $300 from a frame-rusted 2002 Silverado.  Pronounced Silver-Ray-Doh around these parts.  I used my Gen IV 5.3 to obtain my Gen III 5.3:

This engine was clean:

Mucho Better, but it was far from clean:

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
3/18/21 5:47 p.m.

More tragic news to follow...

DjGreggieP
DjGreggieP HalfDork
3/18/21 6:00 p.m.

Following. I have this strange desire to LS swap my Colorado, but first I need a solid DD to drive instead of it at any point.

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/18/21 6:04 p.m.

Watching this!

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
3/18/21 6:33 p.m.

After some serious rounds with the pressure washer, oven cleaner, and a wire wheel, I was able to get the longblock all cleaned up pretty well.

This is prettty much where the long block sits in my garage.  Then, I moved on to find a swap candidate. 

Chesterfield
Chesterfield Reader
3/18/21 6:35 p.m.

Following. I also have a desire to LS swap my Colorado. Mine is a 2009 which the LS was a factory option, so it could almost be plug and play if I find the right rusty donor.

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
3/18/21 6:38 p.m.

Enter the 2004 Colorado 2.8 5-speed I picked up on Facebook  marketplace for $500.  I was pretty happy with this purchase.  The seller told me it had one bad place on the frame that he couldn't patch.  The reason I wanted a manual truck is for the AR-5.  It's a much more budget friendly swap and a company called Fabbot Fab (now there are othe copycats) make an adaptor to run a 4l60 bellhousing and LS-1 style clutch.  

Enter standard horrible Facebook Marketplace photos:

When I picked up the truck.  It was apparent that the frame was much worse than the seller had stated.  The last photo above is what he sent me.  Below is what I was working with.

I've never seen anything like it.  That's bad.  Real bad.  Bluetooth'd from one end to the other.  I can't believe this truck sat on 4 wheels without collapse.  I set out to find a replacement frame for this truck.  I know, that's way too much work, but I pressed on.

11GTCS
11GTCS HalfDork
3/18/21 7:22 p.m.

In reply to Scotty Con Queso :

Yeah, that’s crispy.   I found an ‘08 stick 4x4 Colorado that my daughter was really excited about but same issue. 

Will
Will UltraDork
3/18/21 7:51 p.m.

Weren't the later 4-door Colorados available with a V8 from the factory? I'd like to basically take that truck and put the running gear in regular cab truck.

BigIron
BigIron New Reader
3/18/21 7:58 p.m.
Will said:

Weren't the later 4-door Colorados available with a V8 from the factory? I'd like to basically take that truck and put the running gear in regular cab truck.

Yes, in extended and crew cabs.

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
3/18/21 8:12 p.m.

Man I like that clean engine! Not knowing anything about all the different LS ID nomenclature, is that an AL block, as well as the heads? The paint choice lookes fantastic, but I'd be tempted to clear coat it, if AL. May be "too much of a good thing" after install, but it looks good on the stand that clean.

BigIron
BigIron New Reader
3/18/21 8:18 p.m.
03Panther said:

Man I like that clean engine! Not knowing anything about all the different LS ID nomenclature, is that an AL block, as well as the heads? The paint choice lookes fantastic, but I'd be tempted to clear coat it, if AL. May be "too much of a good thing" after install, but it looks good on the stand that clean.

 

I was thinking it was an AL block as well in the after cleanup pic but he said it came out of a 2002. The AL 5.3HO L33 wasn't available in 2002.

 

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
3/18/21 8:32 p.m.

Iron block. Aluminum heads. I'll continue this saga tomorrow.

I'll also try to do a better job of breaking down the parts list so far. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
3/18/21 9:22 p.m.

That frame is like something out of a horror movie.  Cool project.

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
3/25/21 6:27 p.m.

Saying I'll update thread in a day but actually updating a week later is par for this build.  Moving on.  The next step was to aquire a good frame.  I did a lot of studying on how to lift the cab off the old frame and came up with this setup in my garage.  It actually lifted the cab off the frame pretty nicely.

The next step was to find a decent frame to put the cab on.

yupididit
yupididit PowerDork
3/25/21 6:32 p.m.

I'm jealous of those prices. I can't find a 6.0 in Texas for anything less than $1200. Usually in rough shape. You'd think there would be tons but stuff doesn't really rust here so all those trucks and suv's still on the road lol

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
3/25/21 6:37 p.m.

After I got the truck mostly apart, I sold the original engine for $350 and recouped some purchase price.  I then set out to find a good frame. 

This was the "decent" frame.  I found an ad for a guy parting out a similar truck very local to me with a "good" frame.  It too was a manual truck so I agreed to buy the frame, fender flares, and the transmission for $400.  He agreed to just keep the frame as a roller with wheels and tires.  When I showed up, he went back and said he wasn't including the trans.  I didn't really care because it was all still a good deal at the time. 

This was after a lot of work.  I mean a lot of scraping and wire burshing and rust treament and paint.  While scaling the frame, I found some issues with the frame by the leaf spring shackles.  I thought no biggie.  The more I poked at them, the bigger the rust holes got and the less metal I had to weld to.  I gave up on this frame after I found a huge rust hole under the shackle that had zero chance at repair.  That's right.  Even the good frame was a bad frame.  I sold the wheels for $60 and gave the frame away to a scrapper.

One good thing is that I had the stock cats from the blue truck and then when I bought the frame, the seller was like, hey, do you want this complete exhaust system for free?  Of course I do.  That netted me two more cats to sell.

The above netted me $400 from a scrapper.  Score. 

I then abandoned fixing the blue truck, sold the bed, and gave it away to a scrapper as well.  I was a little disheartened and decided to just stare at my engine for a while.  I toyed with buying another a different platform to swap and just kind of took a break. 

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
3/25/21 6:41 p.m.

Then, a ray of hope came in the form of this.  What does this have to do with LS swapping a Chevrolet mini-ish truck?  You'll have to wait til next time because I'm beat and it's time to put the kids in bed.

 

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
3/25/21 7:01 p.m.
yupididit said:

I'm jealous of those prices. I can't find a 6.0 in Texas for anything less than $1200. Usually in rough shape. You'd think there would be tons but stuff doesn't really rust here so all those trucks and suv's still on the road lol

6.0's up here still fetch $800+ regularly so it's not that far off. Everyone wants a 6.0. 

bgkast (Forum Supporter)
bgkast (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/25/21 7:05 p.m.

V8 focus!

mdshaw
mdshaw Reader
3/25/21 7:21 p.m.

This reminds me of my friend who rented a shop & @ 1/2 acre from us. He got into LS's & almost everyday he was arriving with another LS, another truck, another transmission. He was dis-assembling them & finding all kinds of things. He even had a 5.3 with different gen rods on 1 side than the other. He is a great welder & was finding cheap wrecked fronts & rears & making complete trucks out of the good frames & good motors. He did this to pay for his ls swap into his '65. Was just interesting to see his trailer pull up & hear him say "hey look what I found."  The shop was next door so was always an adventure. He even built one for free for his wife when it was done after he recouped the sold off parts.

yupididit
yupididit PowerDork
3/25/21 7:30 p.m.
Scotty Con Queso said:
yupididit said:

I'm jealous of those prices. I can't find a 6.0 in Texas for anything less than $1200. Usually in rough shape. You'd think there would be tons but stuff doesn't really rust here so all those trucks and suv's still on the road lol

6.0's up here still fetch $800+ regularly so it's not that far off. Everyone wants a 6.0. 

I'd take $800 all day. $1200 gets you sketch 6.0 here lol

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
3/25/21 8:33 p.m.

I hear lots and lots about how cheap ls swaps are... but I don’t find those prices either. 

In a completely different discussion on here, someone told me a stand alone computer was more than $600. I was thinking,”you must have a different definition of cheap swap than me!” 

Probably be hard to do an old traditional SBC swap for less than a grand these days as well, though

A friend once had a non drivable $300 F100 on the road for less than a grand with a junkyard sbc/TH350.. including the price of the truck and tires. 

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