Vortec and 4l80e transplant

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Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by Sinister on Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:54 am

I currently have a 2002 5.7 motor and 4l80e transmission available.
I'm thinking of transplanting this into a 74 Elky.
Need some help planning the swap.
What do I use to reprogram the computer?
I have the complete harness,but comes from a 2002 commercial truck...I'm guessing it is standard GM...but not sure if commercial vehicles have cats?
Does it matter?
The Elky runs on the longer 118 wheelbase...so a 112 wheelbase drive shaft would work?
4l80E uses it's own yoke?
What type of oxygen sensor do I choose?
What type of oil cooler setup will keep the trans healthy?
I've never played with the new technology of today's motors and electronics.
Any books that would help me out?
Thanks,guys.
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by JB2wheeler on Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:06 pm

All the information you will need can be found here http://www.ls1tech.com/forums/ There is a book put out by Chevrolet that is very helpful. Considering you have the wiring harness and computers you are over the hump on the deal. You will have a great machine for everyday use there. JB
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by pila on Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:11 pm

The El Camino has a 116 inch wheel base by the way, 4 inches longer than a Malibu coupe, but the same as a wagon.
I would think that the cooler in the radiator would do the job OK, but you can always add another one in front if you think it needs it. Maybe an after-market stand-alone wiring kit would be easier than sorting out the OEM harness. That 4L80E is a lot more trans mission than you need in an Elco.

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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by Sinister on Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:51 pm

I understand the longer wheelbase..I'm hoping moving the trans mount back 4 inches and using the 112 wheelbase drive shaft will work.





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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by pila on Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:33 am

Sounds like a good idea, hope it works for you.

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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by jerry46765 on Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:49 am

Hang on... Do you have a gen I conventional small block Chevy which GM still used in vans and big trucks through like 2004? Or do you have a gen III small block which has aluminum heads and possibly an aluminum block? They are two completely different animals and depending on which one you have will multiply or divide the amount of work required in a transplant.

Regardless, I have never done a transplant and ever been able to avoid cutting a driveshaft. It's just part of the fun.

Thanks -
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by Sinister on Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:42 pm

It's the iron block L 31 motor.
As far as I know,they never used Aluminum blocks in commercial trucks.
The only reason for Aluminum is for passing the EPA fleet mileage carp.
I've decided I don't want the electronic headaches.
I've decided to sell the setup and use the money to build my 396.
I really enjoy building engines...I hate electronics.
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by 77mali on Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:53 pm

Sinister wrote:It's the iron block L 31 motor.
As far as I know,they never used Aluminum blocks in commercial trucks.
The only reason for Aluminum is for passing the EPA fleet mileage carp.
I've decided I don't want the electronic headaches.
I've decided to sell the setup and use the money to build my 396.
I really enjoy building engines...I hate electronics.

You should talk to G3Nut, he just did an LS swap w/ trans upgrade. Personally I'd prefer a 396 or 454, but his came out excellent & he did all the electrics/computer...etc.
http://www.g3gm.com/t2583p45-73-chevelle-ss-pics
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by Sinister on Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:09 am

I may just use the motor for now,and just switch over to a Holley carb and ditch the electronics.
I'd like to go with a standard hydraulic cam also.
$800 for cam and lifters is insane.
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by 77mali on Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:34 pm

I did a vortec cylinder heads/intake manifold upgrade & rebuilt my Q jet. It's on my cars thread. Only ran it enough in the fall to confirm operation & break in the springs, etc. ( I jump around on the car & will be back to the engine soon hopefully).

I have an 87 block but she is good and solid- I used standard "Hi-Energy" pushrods and "Magnum" rockers (roller type) for flat tappet cam, from Comp Cams. I kept the cam & the hydraulic lifters as there was no evidence of wear. Also used Edelbrock 2116 manifold & RHS cylinder heads. There are good deals out there too for Chevy/GMC vortec heads that are rebuilt & go for a bit cheaper (as you prob know). All together I think I spent about $1,100 (including gaskets, spark plugs & other small stuff).
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by Sinister on Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:14 pm

Good point about reusing the cam and lifters.
I'm not sure if my motor has a roller cam or not...but I will use the stock bottom end for now and see how it runs re calibrated.
I don't have funds available right now,as I've recently become unemployed.
I have a good job lead,but it's at a slight pay decrease.
Shouldn't be hard to find a vortec intake somewhere...I have plenty of Holley's hanging on the wall.
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by 74Malibu383 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:09 pm

I don't know if the difference in wheelbase will give you enough room to slide the transmission crossmember back, but I know you can't do it on the 2 door Malibu's. I just put a 4L80e in mine, and the crossmember humps hit the floor when trying to move it back that far. Ended up making my own... Will have photos of it shortly.

Anyway, I'm curious to see if you can do it!
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by Sinister on Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:36 pm

The transmission is a monster...even though it's aluminum..it's pretty darn big.
I'd be smarter to sell it and buy a Turbo 400.
We shall she how the funds work themselves out.
I received the title for my new ride today...now I'm waiting for the shipping company to get on the ball.
I paid the shipping in full,hoping,they would expedite the shipping.
We shall see.
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by 74Malibu383 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:47 pm

Yes, it's huge!!!! You'll obviously lose the overdrive. You could always go Gear Vendor I guess. I'll stick with the 4L80e though.
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by 77mali on Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:59 pm

You don't need any electronics to run a 350 or 400, what about the 4L80?
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by 74Malibu383 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:08 pm

350/400 - No
200-4R/700-R4 - No
4L60E/4L80E - Yes. There are a lot of companies out there building "plug and play" aftermarket systems for this one. I think Hot Rod or Popular Hot Rodding just did a big article on them. I personally went with the GM Performance Parts Supermatic Controller for mine. It was the most customizable. I hope to install the computer and wiring harness this weekend.
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by Sinister on Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:11 pm

Let me know how the install goes.
Any pics of the install?
I mainly work by myself,so installing transmissions are not a favorite task.
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by texan01 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:55 pm

pila wrote:The El Camino has a 116 inch wheel base by the way, 4 inches longer than a Malibu coupe, but the same as a wagon.

The 4 doors and A-special also have 116" wheelbase. So do 77-96 Caprice/Impala SS.

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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by jerry46765 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:32 pm

Ok, the L31 is the base engine for a Ramjet and 350HO GM performance engines. It's a good one. It has a hydraulic roller and a nice set of Vortec heads. You could easily swap intakes, get an HEI & a 650 vac secondary Holley and it would drop right in. It's ton easier than a gen III small block.

The crate engine 350HO will make 330hp and 380ftlb torque.
Here is the details from Summit:
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/NAL-19210009/

GM part number for a turn key engine is 12499711. You can search that number and get the complete parts list for comparison with what you already have.

Thanks -


Last edited by jerry46765 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:33 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : whatever...)
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by jerry46765 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:42 pm

Oh forgot, if you are planning on running a carb why complicate the install with an electronic transmission? If you were doing full EFI engine, that would be a different story. If you want an overdrive, a well built 200R/700R will drop in behind the L31 with minimal hassle.

I've used two of those transmission controllers. They work, but they don't integrate well with other electronics, so you end up running multiple sensors (which do the same thing) or you build ratty looking pigtails to send signals to the ecu and trans controller. The OEM production ECU talks to the trans controller so all the monkey motion is completed with two wire communication connection.

That is the cool part of hot rodding, there are 25 ways to do the same thing, and any of them can be the right way to do it... providing it's functional...
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by Sinister on Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:10 pm

I have a 700r4 also,but again,I don't want the electronic hassles.
I'll just use the current Turbo 350 and keep my eyes out for a 400.
The Elky does use a short tail correct?
Thanks.
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by Sinister on Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:27 pm

E stands for electronic...as in torque converter.
needs computer input to get the over drive advantages.
I believe you would wear out the clutch packs without a correct controller.
check this out..the motor I bought is a 4 bolt block.

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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by jerry46765 on Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:17 am

Motor looks good.

You don't need the lockup to use overdrive, but there are ways to wire up manual control if you want it without an ECU. A 200R/700R only need a properly connected TV cable to control shift points.
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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by Sinister on Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:24 am

Pretty happy with the over all condition...very little deposits in oil pan and intake area.


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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

Post by Sinister on Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:26 am

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Re: Vortec and 4l80e transplant

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