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Thread: Lower intake swap / Vortec head & cam install on stock bottom end

  1. #31
    Serious about performance Tooky's Avatar
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    Re: Lower intake swap / Vortec head & cam install on stock bottom end

    Thursday night I got the turbo and passenger side exhaust manifold out. The 4 turbo nuts were froze even though I used good antisieze when I did the PT51 upgrade in 2003. All it took was 15-20 seconds of an easy propane torch to each nut and I was able to get them with a 14mm open-ended stubby on the nut and a pipe on the stubby, and strike it with a mallet.

    The crossover is real easy to get out when you have this much stuff removed:




    When I pulled the exhaust manifolds, each side had 1 or 2 bolts/studs that were really tough to turn (due to manifold "stretch"), and it rounded the threads and made them all shiny.. Is there any way to prevent this? Where can I get new bolts/studs?




    Here's about half of the parts that came out so far.




    Saturday (yesterday) I got the stock steering shaft out (upgrading to MYyellowTY's Jeep/u-joint shaft) and then removed the driver's exhaust manifold. Now it's down to just the heads!! Things are looking up now, like I might still get this done in time for Nationals 2007.




    Here's a good look at the stock heat shield on the driver's motor mount:




    The bottom of the driver's exhaust manifold literally rests upon the heat shield, it's no wonder why nearly every time I see a truck with the red polyurethane motor mounts, they are dripping like melted candle wax!! I will NEVER put those polyurethane mounts in my truck, that's for sure!!
    Josh Straub, Syclone #0044.
    My tuning/tech how-to DIY site: www.PowerTunePlus.com - Learn how to make your truck Fast for Cheap!

    Vortec heads/218* cam 11/10/07: 11.45 @ 117.7 17-20 PSI [timeslip] Vortec Install Thread, 100+ Photos

    * DIY Vortec heads/cam upgrade Budget & Parts List ($1,504)
    * 11.45 @ 117 COMPLETE Budget & Parts List (Every part on my truck! = $8,600)

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  2. #32
    Super Member turbodig's Avatar
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    Re: Lower intake swap / Vortec head & cam install on stock bottom end

    Quote Originally Posted by TookyCat
    The bottom of the driver's exhaust manifold literally rests upon the heat shield, it's no wonder why nearly every time I see a truck with the red polyurethane motor mounts, they are dripping like melted candle wax!! I will NEVER put those polyurethane mounts in my truck, that's for sure!!
    I've had 3 of 'em here with poly mounts, and no problems so far. Some with many, many miles on them.

    You hit on the problem, though, some try to use the heat shields as-is, which ain't gonna cut it. The successful ones all have additional heat-shield (blanket) material in that area to avoid the problem.
    Dig
    11.94@114- 100% stock motor, 20G, 9/11.
    Built Motor, L35s, cam.... ?

  3. #33
    Serious about performance Tooky's Avatar
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    Re: Lower intake swap / Vortec head & cam install on stock bottom end

    Mark Larson strongly advised me to stay away from the poly mounts and his advice was to use nothing but stock GM mounts. I know you're local to him - do you know why he might have felt that way? I haven't talked to him in a while.

  4. #34
    Super Member nallj92's Avatar
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    Re: Lower intake swap / Vortec head & cam install on stock bottom end

    ill stick to my stock rubber mounts and my engine tiedown

    tooky- awesome research / writeup as always
    92 ty #1015- black/grey
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  5. #35
    Serious about performance Tooky's Avatar
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    Re: Lower intake swap / Vortec head & cam install on stock bottom end

    Is anyone else besides me and Dig reading this stuff?? I posted a few questions (the stuck PS puller tool, the rounded exhaust manifold bolt threads) and no responses, I hate to waste the time documenting this if nobody needs it.

    Here's the latest update anyways. Spent 6 more hours last night and got the passenger's head off. I noticed something strange. After taking the valve cover off, none of the rockers seem like they are being "lifted"? I could also grab all 6 rockers and wiggle them slightly with little effort. The pushrods also seemed relatively easy to spin. I don't have any method to crank the motor or I would have turned it over. The driver's bank had a few that were lifted.




    Here's a tip to anyone else who does this in the future. Drain your block before you pull the head bolts! Hell, drain it as soon as you can in the job. Even with the exhaust manifolds removed I couldn't get to the driver's side 14mm drain plug due to the brake lines and oil filter lines, so I did the passenger side near the starter. Hopefully new head gaskets will also solve an occasional "murky coolant" problem I've had for the past 3 years or so (it seems to come and go).

    The reason you want to drain the block first is because when you open the head bolts, coolant will pump out!




    Here's my passenger side cylinder head:




    Here's my #2, #4, & #6 bores. Comments?? The gray speckled spots on #2 and #6 have me concerned. Am I correct in assuming that is damage suffered from detonation?




    Here's a closeup of that #6 which appeared to be the worst. The garbage at the bottom is thread sealer and crap that fell in when I lifted the head and then tried to wipe it up with a rag which seemed to jam it further into the gap. (I'll try vacuuming it out tonight.)




    The driver's head will come off soon. It sure is a pain removing the rockers and head bolts with hand tools!!

  6. #36
    Serious about performance Tooky's Avatar
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    Question Other Questions

    Anyone have any suggestions for other things I should do while I have it this far apart? I thought of replacing the motor mounts with fresh GM ones just for the hell of it, but it will be a challenge to find someone who can borrow me a cherry picker, and I've never pulled a motor before either so I'm sure that'll add an extra 12 hours.

    Someone suggested replacing the rod bolts since I plan on spinning the motor higher than stock, can you even do that while the motor is installed? The rod bolts I've looked at always seemed like they were press-fit into the rod.

  7. #37

    Re: Lower intake swap / Vortec head & cam install on stock bottom end

    Tooky, replacing rod bolts requires removal of the rods, if you go with good bolts (ARP) then they should be re-sized and I won't put a set in any other way no matter what any one else says (just my anal opinion) due to several failures I have seen. I would check the balance also because I ahve seen a difference there also. If it were a bone stock family crusier that would never see 4000 rpm, then no biggie.
    Who cares what I got or had.... cept' my EX WIFE !

  8. #38
    Donating Member V's Avatar
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    Re: Lower intake swap / Vortec head & cam install on stock bottom end

    Quote Originally Posted by TookyCat
    When I pulled the exhaust manifolds, each side had 1 or 2 bolts/studs that were really tough to turn (due to manifold "stretch"), and it rounded the threads and made them all shiny.. Is there any way to prevent this? Where can I get new bolts/studs?
    Doesn't look too bad in the pic. A die should clean up the bolts/studs. Manifold spreader would've made removal easier. You'll probably need a spreader...or heat...to put the manifolds back on.

    Prevention? Just need more experience wrenching to know when you're about to FUBAR something. You can learn to "feel" when you're about to snap a stud, round a nut or strip threads.

    Things are looking up now, like I might still get this done in time for Nationals 2007. ?
    I hope so, but don't count your chickens....putting it back together is always the hardest the first time around. Good luck!
    Last edited by V; 08-21-2007 at 06:33 AM.
    V~
    Sy 1264 SoGT 264 93 Ty 0757 96 Bravada Where's Ty 2264?


  9. #39
    Serious about performance Tooky's Avatar
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    Re: Lower intake swap / Vortec head & cam install on stock bottom end

    Quote Originally Posted by V
    Doesn't look too bad in the pic. A die should clean up the bolts/studs. Manifold spreader would've made removal easier. You'll probably need a spreader...or heat...to put the manifolds back on.
    Good call, V. I used a spreader once in the past when I had to install exhaust manifold gaskets on the passenger side.

    I hope so, but don't count your chickens....putting it back together is always the hardest the first time around. Good luck!
    I thought taking it apart would be harder because I don't really know what I'm doing and everything is so filthy and gunked together. Any other things I should look out for when I start reassembling with the new heads? Thanks for your time.

  10. #40
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    Re: Lower intake swap / Vortec head & cam install on stock bottom end

    I have never had a problem with two set of manifold I have pulled off. I am very aware of manifold shrinkage, so I always bolt my set of manifolds to a set of heads. I supose your manifold could have shrank in the past though.
    Dave
    Sy #2661

  11. #41
    Serious about performance Tooky's Avatar
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    Heads are off

    3 more hours and the driver's head is off! Whoop, whoop! Just look at that little motor, reeking of "LB4", non-balance shaft badness...




    Spent a fair amount of that time trying to drain the driver's side of the block after pulling the first headbolt out and having coolant pump all over just like the passenger's side! You'd assume they are connected in the block but evidently not! The little 9/16" bolt that plugs the driver's side turned out to be just impossible to remove so I had to give up and let the coolant run off the deck, down the block. I'd love to hear how anyone gets that thing out without removing the oil filter adapter.

    Here are the #1, #3, #5's:




    The driver's head gasket looks good to me. So I am not sure why my overflow was bubbling last year and why it had this same color brown coolant, but I didn't do anything and it stopped on it's own. I was kind of hoping to find something more of a smoking gun.

    Driver's cylinder head: (I bet that little star means it's a super secret L35 casting! Quick - somebody notify "Partyboy" )




    I'm up to #80 on my major parts removal list, I'll be typing it up and sharing it here when my project is complete! It should serve as a nice little guide to anyone trying to do the same job in the future.

  12. #42
    Donating Member Mtn Z's Avatar
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    Re: Lower intake swap / Vortec head & cam install on stock bottom end

    This is a project I intend to tackle in the very near future. Thanks for posting up the pics!
    1991 Syclone #0113: sold 9/2012
    1999 Camaro Z28
    1996 Camaro Z28 SS #1175

  13. #43
    Serious about performance Tooky's Avatar
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    Post Heads back from machine shop

    Today I received my OEM "L92" GM beehive valve springs, I believe they are the same as the LS2 valve springs, both are yellow. Cost: $50. Unfortunately the Comp 787-12 retainer (for non-LS1 heads [i.e. Vortecs] running LS1-style Beehive springs) doesn't fit inside the LS2 valve spring! But its really close, in fact 2 out of the 16 springs fit the retainers. So I'm going to do a little grinding to the valve spring to make them fit.

    I picked up the vortecs from the machine shop. This was the first machine work I have ever had done, and it went pretty well, all things considered. Here is the bill:

    Cut heads for larger valve springs: $30
    Resurface/mill heads flat for RA50 finish: $50
    Drill intake surface to old pattern, drill 4 old style 1/4"x20 holes for factory dipstick/wire looms: $130
    Flow test one intake, one exhaust port: $40
    Total: $250

    The prices seemed slightly high compared to what I have read others have paid here ($50-$75 for vortec head drilling), but I couldn't find any other shops to do it cheaper in a reasonable time period and this shop seemed very helpful & knowledgeable.

    The resurfacing is a classic example of Things That Can Go Wrong. I originally bought the heads off eBay as "NEW" but upon receiving them I noticed they had been mounted to a head gasket and the head bolts tightened, but clearly never ran. Well the numb-nuts who owned them must have hit the deck with a "Scuzz Buster" (as the machinist called it) because here's what it looked like, and the machinist said this is a big "no-no" and said it would require a resurface:






    They took .004" off the heads which they said was the minimum amount possible to cleanup the deck. The machinist drilled/tapped the intake holes per my instructions for 3/8-16 but said afterwards they would have preferred a finer thread considering how thin 3 of the 6 bolts threads turned out:




    Since the Vortecs are not "made" to have the old pattern drilled; it's very thin here and you only get 3-4 threads when you're done. Compare to the Vortec factory intake holes which are at least 3/4" thick.


    Here are the dipstick/wireloom holes done: (will require thread sealer since they go into coolant)




    And the valve spring machining:




    What's interesting is I instructed them to cut the valve guides for .550" lift clearance, the machinist assembled one cylinder with my factory Vortec valves, and my beehive springs/retainers, and he measured .590" clearance on the intake and .610" on the exhaust! I told them I was shocked since ALL the literature on the net says the Vortecs can only handle ".450" lift", so he gets the machinist that actually did the work and he says he's certain of his measurements and that it's plenty of clearance including the .050" safety margin (for my cam which will have .530" lift). So I got to save the $ it would cost to have the guides ground down and I can reuse the factory valve stem seals (which were obviously still new).

    Now onto the bad news. The intake holes looked great at the shop, but I didn't think to lay the Felpro 1203 gasket over them while I was still there. I got home and it lines up like this!



    That's with the gasket lined up to match the roof and floor of the intake ports... I'm not sure what they lined up the gasket with when they drilled the heads! At home, I tried taping the gasket to the intake, and having someone hold a spare (stock) intake manifold up with the 6 intake bolt holes lined up to the ones drilled in the heads, and here's what it looks like:




    I guess that doesn't look too bad.... does it? I won't really know "for sure" until I get my modified vortec lower intake back to really test fit. I still can't imagine why they wouldn't have lined up the ports to the gasket when they marked the 6 intake holes for drilling...

    The last thing is the flow numbers. After searching SyTy, I was expecting 220cfm intake and 155cfm exhaust. I wound up with 227cfm and 163cfm, slightly better than average. They are going to send me the full flow numbers tomorrow. These are totally stock 2004 (I believe) Vortec heads/valves. The old claims I've heard that stock vortecs flow 240, or even 250cfm are totally BOGUS... I've seen absolutely no evidence to substantiate that... ever. (unless you talk about V8 Vortecs which may be different than the V6 Vortecs)

    I guess worst case scenario is the intake holes are drilled too low on the heads and I have to drill/slot the modified vortec lower intake manifold bolt holes to match. Lame, but not the end of the world.
    Last edited by Tooky; 08-22-2007 at 11:32 PM.

  14. #44
    I Glow Therefore I am
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    Re: Lower intake swap / Vortec head & cam install on stock bottom end

    Josh defintely keep up the posting, I check your thread everyday because I love to read about how your doing.

    We had to slot the holes in my intake so the bolts would line up with the heads. Maybe deck heights play such a big factor, but mine were off quite a bit too.
    Roy
    1991 GMC Syclone #1512
    1991 GMC Syclone #2898

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  15. #45

    Re: Lower intake swap / Vortec head & cam install on stock bottom end

    damn josh really working at that thing huh? lol
    Brandon
    '96 2 Dr 4x4 Blazer - Built silverado 4l60e w/corvette servo, 2.5" Flowmaster exhuast, TB Mod, K&N Fipk Gen. 2

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