8.1 Vortec VS 383 Stroker VS 6.0 Iron LS

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TheClassicRed

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I have a K10 that I plan to put on 3/4 tons on 9x16s(36in STA | Super Lug Traxion Tread E). I just want to get the communities .02

I want to put a 4L(80or85)E in it no matter what engine for the obvious, I'm severely torn on what route to go.

8.1 - Pros : BBC, Displacement, Stock Torque, Boost-Ability / Cons : Oil burner, Bad Aftermarket, Fuel Mileage
6.0 - Pros : Cheapest, Aftermarket, Middle of the road, Boost-Ability / Cons : Normal Ls swap, Kind of boring
383 - Pros : Original engine(350), Aftermarket, Stroker Coolness / Cons : Most expensive

I am learning all this myself since this is my first build. Don't be too mean if I'm misconstrued wrong etc. This is just how I see it with my info that ive read.
 

GTX63

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Welcome to the forum. If this is your first build, I wouldn't consider an LS swap boring. Every swap I do is a learning experience and I have been doing them for 40 years.
I build for dependability, which usually gives me the best return on my bucks. 6.0s are strong runners with longevity, but I can drop a Gen 1 motor and have it running down the road in a fraction of the time.
What will be the purpose/use for this truck once it is complete? Daily driver? Rock climber? Show queen?
 

1lejohn

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The 383 would basically be a new rebuilt engine. The stock fuel , and ignition system would work well for the 383. I would add long tube headers. A hydraulic roller cam, carb, and good dual plane intake. If you could afford a set of heads, I would do that also.

The 6.0's have some issues with the head gaskets leaking water, the front cover gaskets burn out , depending on the year the TPS sensors give you the dreaded Engine Reduce Power mode. These are all repairable, but can add to the cost. The fuel system and ECM add complexity to the build.

The 8.1 would be interesting. It would also require a fuel system and all the electronics. I might consider an older GEN 4, or 5 BBC. It could run the stock style fuel and ignition system.

For the transmission you would need a stand alone controller for the old school SBC, or BBC. The FI engines should run it, may require some programming. All it takes is time and $$$.
 

SquareRoot

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No matter which way you go, there's a universal law you need to acknowledge:

Fast-Cheap-Reliable.

You only get two. Choose wisely.
 

TotalyHucked

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I have a K10 that I plan to put on 3/4 tons on 9x16s(36in STA | Super Lug Traxion Tread E). I just want to get the communities .02

I want to put a 4L(80or85)E in it no matter what engine for the obvious, I'm severely torn on what route to go.

8.1 - Pros : BBC, Displacement, Stock Torque, Boost-Ability / Cons : Oil burner, Bad Aftermarket, Fuel Mileage
6.0 - Pros : Cheapest, Aftermarket, Middle of the road, Boost-Ability / Cons : Normal Ls swap, Kind of boring
383 - Pros : Original engine(350), Aftermarket, Stroker Coolness / Cons : Most expensive

I am learning all this myself since this is my first build. Don't be too mean if I'm misconstrued wrong etc. This is just how I see it with my info that ive read.
Just FYI, none of those in the rig you've described is going to get any semblance of good fuel mileage, so might as well take that off the table. The 6.0 will do the best, but it's still not gonna be great.

8.1 - Pros: BBC=torque, fuel injection, nearly bolts in other than wiring for the injection, slightly better fuel economy than a 383 / Cons: very limited aftermarket
6.0 - Pros: Aftermarket support, plentiful parts store availability if you stick with GM stuff for the swap, tuneability, boostability, these motors will take a beating and keep on trucking, driveability / Cons: there are no cons other than the wiring. I love my LS.
383 - Pros: It'll plug right in, it's a direct replacement for the original motor / Con: carb'd, worst fuel mileage of the bunch most likely
 

yevgenievich

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Gen6 454 would be good to consider as well. Big block or 383 will have better low end torque than a stock 6.0 ls
 

Drauka99

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I was tempted really bad recently with a 80s c-20 listing locally and also a local listing for a 8.1. I need a tow vehicle just enough to need to buy one but not enough that I worry about it sitting to much, and I think the 8.1 would be great for my needs. As for aftermarket support, yeah there isn't much support but I'd keep it stock form.

A week or two before seeing that combo listed I was able to pick up a 79 Ferd F350 for next to nothing and the old 400 V8 is supposed to be running.... its the next project after i finish my C10
 

TheClassicRed

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Welcome to the forum. If this is your first build, I wouldn't consider an LS swap boring. Every swap I do is a learning experience and I have been doing them for 40 years.
I build for dependability, which usually gives me the best return on my bucks. 6.0s are strong runners with longevity, but I can drop a Gen 1 motor and have it running down the road in a fraction of the time.
What will be the purpose/use for this truck once it is complete? Daily driver? Rock climber? Show queen?
Kinda all of the above truck stuff. Not looking to specialize the truck for anything in particular. Want to be able to take it anywhere I want it to go and move what I want it to move.
 

Bextreme04

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I was tempted really bad recently with a 80s c-20 listing locally and also a local listing for a 8.1. I need a tow vehicle just enough to need to buy one but not enough that I worry about it sitting to much, and I think the 8.1 would be great for my needs. As for aftermarket support, yeah there isn't much support but I'd keep it stock form.

A week or two before seeing that combo listed I was able to pick up a 79 Ferd F350 for next to nothing and the old 400 V8 is supposed to be running.... its the next project after i finish my C10
If you are going to be towing with this setup, then you want either the Gen VI or Gen VII BBC. You can get them with the wiring harness, computer, and engine/trans setup out of any 96-04 3/4 ton and up Truck/SUV. Exhaust and some of the internals will be the same between the 7.4 and 8.1 including the Cam(firing order is different but that won't affect anything).
 

TheClassicRed

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The 383 would basically be a new rebuilt engine. The stock fuel , and ignition system would work well for the 383. I would add long tube headers. A hydraulic roller cam, carb, and good dual plane intake. If you could afford a set of heads, I would do that also.

The 6.0's have some issues with the head gaskets leaking water, the front cover gaskets burn out , depending on the year the TPS sensors give you the dreaded Engine Reduce Power mode. These are all repairable, but can add to the cost. The fuel system and ECM add complexity to the build.

The 8.1 would be interesting. It would also require a fuel system and all the electronics. I might consider an older GEN 4, or 5 BBC. It could run the stock style fuel and ignition system.

For the transmission you would need a stand alone controller for the old school SBC, or BBC. The FI engines should run it, may require some programming. All it takes is time and $$$.
I have a few parts already for the 383 but those are because they came off my grandfather's old racecar, heads need completely rebuilt including a new valve job and blocks already bored .30 to .60 over but has some scaring. But I would probably be looking at about the same price of getting them rebuilt and machined as just buying new or just going for the 8.1 or 6.0
 

Catbox

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I would go L-29 454 Gen 6 big block.
All the after market you could want.
Power on tap for any level of want you could have.
Easy to find parts everywhere.
Can be plucked out of 1996 to 00 suburbans and trucks for not much if you keep your eyes peeled.

My kid and his buddies were at the Pick N Pull yard on half price day.
He called and told me there was a 454 with the 4L80 still attached in a 2wd 3/4 ton truck.
I told him to get it all and they were there from 9am to 4pm pulling the entire thing out for me.
Total outlay was about $450 for everything that day, engine, trans, driveline, and other little things they wanted.
Good deals are out there.
You must be registered for see images attach


Now they are in storage waiting for me to get excited enough to rebuild them and tear my truck apart.
 

Bextreme04

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I would go L-29 454 Gen 6 big block.
All the after market you could want.
Power on tap for any level of want you could have.
Easy to find parts everywhere.
Can be plucked out of 1996 to 00 suburbans and trucks for not much if you keep your eyes peeled.

My kid and his buddies were at the Pick N Pull yard on half price day.
He called and told me there was a 454 with the 4L80 still attached in a 2wd 3/4 ton truck.
I told him to get it all and they were there from 9am to 4pm pulling the entire thing out for me.
Total outlay was about $450 for everything that day, engine, trans, driveline, and other little things they wanted.
Good deals are out there.
You must be registered for see images attach


Now they are in storage waiting for me to get excited enough to rebuild them and tear my truck apart.
Yep. Thats what is going in mine... hopefully soon(I know I keep saying that). I bought a running/driving 1997 K2500 Suburban for $500 and gutted it. I sold ~$1000 worth of parts off it, took what I needed for the swap into my truck, then sent the rest to scrap.

I rebuilt the engine and trans myself and got an 0411 ECU from the junkyard for $50. I just need to finish modifying the wiring harness and drop it in. I changed out the stock 4x reluctor on the crank for an EFI connection 24x reluctor and had a custom grind put on the stock camshaft by Delta Camshafts in Tacoma. Got rid of the stock fuel pressure regulator for an adjustable external one and replaced the junk stock injectors for Bosch D3 30lb injectors. Other than that, everything is pretty much stock.
 

Shorty81

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I had a 76 date coded 454 of "unknown origin". It needed some major cylinder clean up. I order a Skip White 496 complete rotating assembly. 750 holley, Wiend dual plane, 781 iron heads. Happy motor, runs great torque monster. Gets 11 mpg in K20, 3:73, SM465, 208.This is my old school 8.1!!
 

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forcruzen

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I did an 8.1/4l80 and its been a lot of fun. Biggest recommendation would be the plug and play harness howell engineering makes for it. (It even has cruise wires labeled and ready) And the EFI tank with pump so fuel pressure is set. getting around 15/16 if I stay out of it... But the norm is 12 because its so much fun. Opening the hood and seeing the 8.1 intake is also unique and impressive.
 

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