5.3l Vortec vs. 5.7l LS1 Engine Swap - JeepForum.com
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Unread 03-12-2014, 06:02 PM   #1
JHarriott
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5.3l Vortec vs. 5.7l LS1 Engine Swap

I need some suggestions about which engine to do an engine swap with.

I currently have a blown 2.5l stock Jeep engine and am starting my upgrade now.

I am aware the LS1 is pushing more horsepower because it is a 350, but the torque of the LS1 is less than the torque of the Vortec.

After research I found these specs:

5.3l Vortec - (290-310 horsepower stock) (325 lb-ft of torque at about 3800 rpm)

5.7l LS1 - (340-360 horsepower stock) (340 lb-ft of torque at about 4400 rpm)

the LS1 obviously has more horsepower and torque, but the torque is at a higher rpm because it's a racing engine correct? contrasting to the lower rpm for maximum torque of the 5.3l truck engine.

I will take any information that will help (easier installs, cheaper parts, more available parts, etc.) I want the biggest bang for my buck so all information is appreciated.

Thanks!

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Unread 03-13-2014, 12:21 AM   #2
ltrail
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I think the 5.3 is overlooked by many who think the bigger badder engines are the only way to go. I can say they are peppy, reasonable, and when the other guy buys a new LS-something cam you can snag his stock parts cheap and gain some.

Here's the main theme though, how will it be used? Torque is good crawling, some wheel speed is needed in sand or mud.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 02:24 AM   #3
jp360cj
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You really need to compare the torque curve for the 2 engines. Just because the 5.7 makes peak torque at higher rpm than the 5.3 doesn't necessarily mean it makes less torque at lower rpm (than the 5.3). Also, I believe I read somewhere that the LS motors are aluminum block.& Vortec's are cast iron?
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Unread 03-13-2014, 09:52 AM   #4
JHarriott
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltrail View Post
I think the 5.3 is overlooked by many who think the bigger badder engines are the only way to go. I can say they are peppy, reasonable, and when the other guy buys a new LS-something cam you can snag his stock parts cheap and gain some.

Here's the main theme though, how will it be used? Torque is good crawling, some wheel speed is needed in sand or mud.
Well, it will mainly be used for crawling and also some hill climbing. I try to stay away from the mud as much as possible. It seems to ruin to much stuff if you know what I'm saying.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 09:54 AM   #5
JHarriott
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jp360cj View Post
You really need to compare the torque curve for the 2 engines. Just because the 5.7 makes peak torque at higher rpm than the 5.3 doesn't necessarily mean it makes less torque at lower rpm (than the 5.3). Also, I believe I read somewhere that the LS motors are aluminum block.& Vortec's are cast iron?
That's a good point. I'll just have to research harder I guess to see. I mean they both seem pretty close in torque then. It's just the horsepower difference, but I mean quality is much more important to me personally. But yea the Vortec is iron contrasted to the aluminum block of the LS1, so that's obviously something to consider.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 02:05 PM   #6
ltrail
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I thought the 5.3 had aluminum versions. Boss's son did an iron block 5.3 in his pickup and it rips. Torque curve is important also as stated. This is why I asked what the usage was. If you crawling its torque game. I am loving my stroker in the xj, it pulls hard to about 4k and then it dies off. I wanted the low end so I built it up that way. I can't beat Hondas in a race but I can haul a full size Chevy on a trailer with it. If you can fund a wrecked Tahoe or suburban and buy the whole thing. You will have everything you need except simple parts like mounts. I have nickel and dimed swaps together and it drains your wallet. A whole truck is easier, sell off unwanted parts and any leftovers from the swap and gain some coin back.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 06:49 PM   #7
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Check the head castings on the 5.3L truck engines. Avoid heads with casting number 706. Tend to be Castech heads which are prone to being porous, and garbage.
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Unread 03-14-2014, 07:49 AM   #8
JHarriott
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Quote:
Originally Posted by streetglideok View Post
Check the head castings on the 5.3L truck engines. Avoid heads with casting number 706. Tend to be Castech heads which are prone to being porous, and garbage.
This is very helpful. Thanks!
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Unread 03-14-2014, 07:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltrail View Post
I thought the 5.3 had aluminum versions. Boss's son did an iron block 5.3 in his pickup and it rips. Torque curve is important also as stated. This is why I asked what the usage was. If you crawling its torque game. I am loving my stroker in the xj, it pulls hard to about 4k and then it dies off. I wanted the low end so I built it up that way. I can't beat Hondas in a race but I can haul a full size Chevy on a trailer with it. If you can fund a wrecked Tahoe or suburban and buy the whole thing. You will have everything you need except simple parts like mounts. I have nickel and dimed swaps together and it drains your wallet. A whole truck is easier, sell off unwanted parts and any leftovers from the swap and gain some coin back.
It looks like this is probably what I'll be going with. Thanks!
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Unread 03-14-2014, 07:57 AM   #10
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I can say the 5.3 will be much better for your budget. You can get a complete LQ9 from a junk yard for $900 or less where as the LS1 is going to cost well over $2k. I like my LS1 but in hind sight I probably would have gone with the LQ9.
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Unread 03-17-2014, 09:14 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by jhughes2013 View Post
I can say the 5.3 will be much better for your budget. You can get a complete LQ9 from a junk yard for $900 or less where as the LS1 is going to cost well over $2k. I like my LS1 but in hind sight I probably would have gone with the LQ9.
Thank you!
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Unread 03-18-2014, 11:58 AM   #12
unobtanium
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHarriott View Post
I need some suggestions about which engine to do an engine swap with.

I currently have a blown 2.5l stock Jeep engine and am starting my upgrade now.

I am aware the LS1 is pushing more horsepower because it is a 350, but the torque of the LS1 is less than the torque of the Vortec.

After research I found these specs:

5.3l Vortec - (290-310 horsepower stock) (325 lb-ft of torque at about 3800 rpm)

5.7l LS1 - (340-360 horsepower stock) (340 lb-ft of torque at about 4400 rpm)

the LS1 obviously has more horsepower and torque, but the torque is at a higher rpm because it's a racing engine correct? contrasting to the lower rpm for maximum torque of the 5.3l truck engine.

I will take any information that will help (easier installs, cheaper parts, more available parts, etc.) I want the biggest bang for my buck so all information is appreciated.

Thanks!
Back when I had a 2001 WS6 6-speed (LS1 F-body), I raced a guy who had a 5.3L with the 241 casting LS1 heads. My car was faster, but not by NEAR enough for it to make me want to do any swaps, were I in his car.

How he ended up with a 5.3L in an LS1 F-body, I believe, was the stock engine died due to oil starvation or something like that, and he just replaced the short-block with a 5.3L take-out. Kept the OEM cam and all that, just put his LS1 heads on it.

Anyway, that's a unique datapoint for you. I inched on him, but my car was also a bit of a freak, I think, as well. Every LS1 F-body I raced that was stock, I beat.

I would personally go with the 5.3L and put some LS1 heads on it. You can find take-offs pretty easily/cheap from people upgrading, and its worth a few hp probably. You can get LS6 heads for about the same price, but I am not sure if the flow-rates and velocity would benefit or actually hurt you with the stock 5.3's cam profile's lift/duration and your intended rpm window.

All of GM's LS-based motors kick ***. They last forever, and make gobs of power for their size/weight. I love the 5.7 Hemi in my Jeep, but my LS1 did almost as much, and was FAR LESS maintenance. I drove that car to 150K miles and did nothing but change oil. Still got 27mpg the day I traded it in, on 150K mile-old plugs/wires/etc. I did change the PCV valve to the 5.3L oriface style, and run 0-30GC in it and WIX or K&N oil filters. That's about it.
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Unread 03-18-2014, 12:54 PM   #13
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you can get a Lh9 5.3 is cast aluminum. Lh8 is the iron one i believe.
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Unread 03-21-2014, 08:09 AM   #14
JHarriott
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Just to update y'all.

I ended up finding a 6.0l Vortec out of a 2500 with only 90k miles on it. I got it with an automatic transmission, wiring harness assembly, and am having the ECU set for my Jeep currently.

The engine specs:
HP - 300 at 4400
torque - 360 at 4000

Appreciate all of the help!
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Unread 04-06-2014, 04:19 PM   #15
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what year did it come out of? did it have the 4l80e behind it? just to verify-it was it a 4x4 truck? what are you doing for t-case, fuel system, mounts, exhaust? You have the engine and trans? that's the easy part....
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