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L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

General engine tech -- Drag Racing to Circle Track

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F-BIRD'88
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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by F-BIRD'88 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:30 pm

change to a 27"-28" tall hiway tire.. you pay a big performance price for the "terrain tires".

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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by 77cruiser » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:36 pm

How about something similar to Mark 900HP truck 383 build. Just downscale it a bit.
Jim

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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by Newold1 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:10 pm

Don't screw around. Go to Ebay and check out this Suburban #192217628110 !

Make a decent offer and put a nice set ow towing wheels under you.

I've owned over a dozen tow vehicles over the years and if it was me and I was trying to do it right for a decent dollar this is what I would do!

THERE AIN'T NO REPLACEMENT FOR DISPLACEMENT!

You'll look and feel better driving this tow vehicle!
The Older I Get, The Dumber I Get :wink:

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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by pdq67 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:53 pm

Travis,

You ever think out of the loop about installing something like a 472" or a 500" Cad in her?

Low rpm for great mileage and the early 500" ones have 550 T! I think the later ones, only 525 or maybe 500 T?

These engines only weigh like 625 pounds or so, so are light for their SIZE!

And we all know about the quality of a Cad!

pdq67

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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by F-BIRD'88 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:56 pm

Might as well just buy and tow with the 1968 1970 Cadillac Coupe DE Ville or Sedan de Ville.
There is near as much room in the Caddy trunk as a Pickup bed and the ride is a lot nicer.
The car and frame and driveline is plenty heavy duty for towing.
Uip great motors The similar era Old Buicks 430-455 cars are great too.

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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by F-BIRD'88 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:29 pm

Look at the tire tread on a transport truck. It is like it is for a reason for hyway driving.
Straight water grooves. Your tires are like (squermy power eating) Snow tires and are eating power and fuel mileage. and are too tall.

A P225-70-15" tire wheel set in a truck load rated capable tire "LT" with hiway style tread (27" tire diameter)
will run a lot better and get you the 15% gearing change for towing and GET BETTER mileage too.
You will notice the difference in effective gearing ( same as swapping the 3.73's to a 4.30)
and save fuel too. That L31 motor will seem a lot more powerfull.
You got the wrong design and size tires on the truck for towing purpose.

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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by GARY C » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:50 pm

travis wrote:What can you do with one of these things for under, say, $2000?

My '99 Suburban C2500 just isn't cutting it. It has a stock L31 350 vortec, 4L80, and 3.73's. At 5700 pounds empty there just isn't enough motor there for towing much of anything. I'm seriously considering purchasing a L29 equipped pickup and swapping engines, as I have found a few decently priced without a million miles on them. Do these things respond to basic things like a cam and headers while retaining the stock FI setup? Or is it the same situation as the L31, where the FI is pretty close to maxed out on a stock motor?

I'm in the midst of moving to another county that does not do smog checks, so going to a carb isn't out of the question, but that really feels like going the wrong direction for trying to keep some semblance of highway fuel economy and max low end grunt
Another option would be to save a little more money and trade up to a 2000 or newer with a 6.0 LS engine you would have more hp about the same tq as the big block better fuel economy a great platform for future improvements and a newer vehicle and 0 hassle.
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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by econo racer » Thu Jul 18, 2019 5:25 pm

The stock 350 turned into a 383 would be economical and have good torque. I personally like the vortec 454 the best though. It is what I use to tow.

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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by donforeman » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:59 pm

I was in your position last year. I got the same good advise here. My 350 is a little different as mine is a 95. The gear swap from 3.26 to 4.11 helped. The small 196 ramjet cam and swap to vortec heads (you already have these heads) helped a lot too. I like the ramjet cam a lot for towing, it puts the power band right where you need it for towing. Sure I could have swapped in a 454 or 383 and done a lot better, but its a noticeable improvement as is. I currently tow a 5000 lb trailer load and the van is slightly over 5000 lbs with a few hundred pounds stuffed in the back of the van, so in that range a few changes may help do what you want. I don't think the minor changes would be as good with towing 7000 lbs plus unless you lived in a state without the mountains we have here in Oregon. After the cam swap, the tune makes a big difference. My ecm is not the same as the later one, but I think HP tuners cover your Suburban with the 5.7 or 7.4, that's actually a lot better software than what I have to use and its only about $100 for the credits if you can borrow the programmer from a friend. A lot of LS people use that software so chances are someone you know has the hardware. I have decided not to pursue the larger engine in the van. I am keeping a look out on craigslist for an 8.1 Suburban, most in my price range are beat up or sell so fast I can not even look at them.

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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by travis » Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:39 pm

I wanted an 8.1 Suburban as well but like you said, they are either worn out junk or sell very quickly. Same even with the 454 versions.

If I do a gear swap it will be to 4.56’s. I’ve considered the ramjet cam as well. Those that use it speak highly of it.

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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by donforeman » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:50 am

I have both now, a 1996 7.4L vortec and the 2001 8.1L. I have not decided what one to keep, they are that close when comparing in the 2500 based chassis. Here on the west coast it seems like everyone is diesel crazy so the big block 7.4 just sit. I was very happy with my 1996 C2500, but after watching a 8.1L Suburban sit on craigslist for a while I tossed a low offer to the owner, expecting a no. The 8.1 usually do sell faster than this one did, but it was a bit rough, even with the low miles. The owner instead wanted to know how fast I could get the money. I had a Suburban an hour later. They both are very close to the same miles 110K and 120K. The differences towing are not as big as some make it out to be, having them side by side hooked to the same load is interesting. The suburban does tow better, but it's so slight that I am really unsure what one I will be keeping. I think the Suburban might be a bit heavier with its 8.1 and full options as they almost feel the same when towing grunt wise, edge still goes to the Sub. The longer wheelbase C2500 feels a bit more stable on the freeway when hauling and may have a little stiffer suspension from the feel of it. The Suburban has tow haul mode for the transmission and that helps, plus a little better stopping power. I just posted this up for info, like a lot of people I thought the 8.1 package was a bigger difference than it seems to be for me. I think I can keep the 1996 454 as it is in better shape and not have any regrets as the differences are small towing wise.

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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by Orr89rocz » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:09 am

8.1 may have more tune ability with the pcm. The 96 7.4 would need Jet DST i believe which isnt bad but not as popular as hptuners.

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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by donforeman » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:25 am

Yes I have a close friend with two of the Jet DST. They are finicky. Lots of horror stories of bricked pcms and Jet is very limited on support. Even when they are free licenses, the DST not worth it to me to mess with it. Hp Tuners I am much more comfortable with.

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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by ptuomov » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:13 am

I don’t know if this is relevant regarding the cam swap:

http://www.superchevy.com/how-to/engine ... e-cam-swap

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Re: L29 Vortec 454 on a budget

Post by pdq67 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:39 am

Travis,

Back again!

If the 350 is GOOD, then BLOW IT!!

pdq67

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