Install Timing & Rear Covers, Harmonic Balancer and bolt – Rebuild Video 2

Special tool for getting the harmonic balancer on safely

Special tool for getting the harmonic balancer on safely

GM Truck Vortec LS Engine back from machine shop

GM Truck Vortec LS Engine back from machine shop

The first thing I did when the block came back home was paint the oil pan to match the rest of the block. I had never taken the old front and rear seals out, so out they came. Next, I put the new front and rear seals back in and then used a special tool to get the harmonic balancer back in properly without damaging the seal or the block.

Next came a little measuring of the crank shaft snout to the hub of the harmonic balancer, and finally the insertion of the new ARP harmonic balancer bolt.

 

Harmonic balancer tool in use

Harmonic balancer tool in use

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

Machine Shop Short & Long Block – Rebuild Video 1

So, the rebuild begins!

Vortec LS block freshly cleaned, decked, honed, and painted at machine shop

Vortec LS block freshly cleaned, decked, honed, and painted at machine shop

The engine was at the machine shop for about 10 weeks. He told me he was busy and it would probably be 8, so 10 was no big deal. I have heard of others waiting 6 months to a year to get their block back.

Crankshaft getting balanced at machine shop

Crankshaft getting balanced at machine shop

I was originally planning on just having the machinist clean, deck, and hone the block, and clean and do some work to the heads. The guy (Scott at A&K Rebuilders – Clover, SC (803-831-2718)) was awesome. He kept sending me updates with photos and I was wowed by his workmanship, and attention to detail. I wanted to rebuild the entire engine myself, but having never done it, (and the fact that this is a daily driver) I had him do the short block. All those micro tolerances kind of scared me anyway, and to have him do it with professional tools & knowledge vs. me doing it with plastiguage and cluelessness made perfect sense.

Camshaft and mains GM LS Vortec Truck Motor

Camshaft and mains GM LS Vortec Truck Motor

Then we decided (together) to go ahead bore it and upgrade the pistons, rings, rods, and valves – and after some thought, I had him just finish the long block. Now that it’s done, I wouldn’t change my mind given a second chance. Not on this motor – the one that gets me to work every day. I’ll have other chances in the future to do it myself.

Freshly cleaned and ported heads w new valves

Freshly cleaned and ported heads w new valves

So, in this video, I show the images he sent me from the shop; I detailed the parts that went into the block, and I wanted to throw a shout out to all the YouTube car guys that helped me get through not only the build, but the tear down as well.

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment. Thanks!

 

 

GM Vortec LS Mahle Pistons Scat Rods, Comp cam, lifters, rods, rocker arms, springs

GM Vortec LS Mahle Pistons Scat Rods, Comp cam, lifters, rods, 1.72 rocker arms, springs

 

 

Starter Removal & Unbolt Flex plate from Torque Converter GM Chevy Tahoe Vortec LS Engine vid 14

Removing the starter is not too hard.  I made sure I documented what wire went where before disconnecting.  Then it was just 2 bolts, and a few tugs on the starter (forward) to get it out.

Starter on the GM Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Starter on the GM Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Starter wires on the GM Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Starter wires on the GM Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Flexplate and FP to torque converter bolt on the GM Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Flexplate and FP to torque converter bolt on the GM Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

There is a transmission cover that allows access to the flex plate.  This needs to come off to grant access to the bolts that attach the flex plate to the torque converter.  I did not record this process.  There are some really good videos already on YouTube that document this process.  I include references to the one that helped me out.  Essentially, you need to turn the engine to access each bolt.  In other words, turn the engine (from a socket over the crank bolt up front) and expose the first bolt.  Remove it, turn the crank, remove bolt 2, and so on.

I used a little PB and let it soak in for an hour or so.  Then I used a universal on an air wrench (it was floppy, so I taped it up).  The universal allowed me to get the air wrench in where the starter usually goes, and access to the bolts.  This is another case where torqueing the bolts turns the flex plate and would otherwise be very hard.  I saw videos where other people jammed a slot head screwdriver into one of the teeth of the flex plate to keep it from turning, but I was afraid I would probably break something.

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

 

Impact wrench helped to get the flexplate to torque converter bolts off on the GM Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Impact wrench helped to get the flex plate to torque converter bolts off on the GM Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

 

Crankshaft position sensor is accessible after starter removal on the GM 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Crankshaft position sensor is accessible after starter removal on the GM 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

 

 

Removal of Various Wires, Harnesses, Etc. GM Chevy Tahoe Vortec LS Engine vid 13

Rear pass side block ground strap - GM 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Rear pass side block ground strap – GM 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Wires and harnesses.  There are a few kinds on modern engines.  The ones you can see, and can get to; the ones you have no clue how to get to; and the ones you don’t know even exist yet. This video only tackles the first type, the easy ones.

Large firewall ground strap - GM Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Large firewall ground strap – GM 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

They’re there, in plain sight – and relatively easy to get to and remove.  If you are gonna pull the block, they need to get unhooked.  Firewall ground straps are fairly straight forward.  I chased a part of the harness to the mass air flow sensor only to realize that it branched off (near the AC accumulator) and down the firewall, along the frame, and out of sight.  I decided to figure this one out in a later video – as well as another ground under the block that I didn’t even know existed until later.

So many wires and harnesses, and these are the ones you can actually see on a GM 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

So many wires and harnesses, and these are the ones you can actually see on a GM 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Aside from removing the grounds near the firewall, this video is a bit of a lead down a dead end road, but this is a documentary of my journey, so I left in the dead end chase as well as when I got it right.

 

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

 

 

 

Remove Alternator, Valve Covers, Rocker Arms, Push Rods GM Chevy Tahoe Vortec Engine LS vid 8

Valve covers prior to removal on my GM Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Valve covers prior to removal on my GM Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

I’m happy to say that the removal of the alternator, valve covers, rocker arms, and push rods was very easy!  Everything went exactly as you would expect them to go.  My only exception was the dramatic difference in coloring of the rocker arms and valve springs from the passenger side to the driver’s side.  Passenger side was gold in color and (to me) looked healthy.

Valve cover removed showing rocker arms and springs GM 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Valve cover removed showing rocker arms and springs

The driver’s side looked brown, burnt, and very unhealthy.  I posted a question on one of the Tahoe discussion boards, and never heard back from anyone.  So either, it was a stupid question, or no one knew the answer.  I still don’t know.

Pushrods and rocker arms from my GM 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

Pushrods and rocker arms from my GM 5.3 Vortec LS Engine

You will notice the careless way I threw all the push rods in the box.  I already purchased a cam, new springs (and hardware), new rocker arms, and new push rods, so I was not too concerned about where everything ended up.  I did keep the rockers in order, just in case something came up that I needed to identify what was what.  If you are planning a cam swap without replacing the push rods and rockers, take care in knowing exactly where everything came from.

By the way, you can’t pull the valve covers until you have removed the spark plug coil packs (check out Video 5).

 

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

Remove Exhaust Manifold GM Chevy Tahoe Vortec Engine LS Video 7

This one exhaust nut took days to get off. I had to grind it down to nothing to get it to finally fall off.

This one exhaust nut took days to get off. I had to grind it down to nothing to get it to finally fall off.

Notice the side of the head. I had 2 exhaust bolts break off into the head. These are the things that set you back hours on your GM Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec LS Engine teardown

Notice the side of the head. I had 2 exhaust bolts break off into the head. These are the things that set you back hours on your GM Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec LS Engine teardown

Removing the exhaust manifold, what could go wrong?  Well, mine was the tale of two extremes.  The passenger side was straightforward, quick, and easy.  A few bolts from the head and 3 from the Y pipe.  Total time, under 10 minutes.

Finally got the Exhaust Manifolds out on my GM Chevy Tahoe Vortec Engine LS

Finally got the Exhaust Manifolds out on my GM Chevy Tahoe Vortec Engine LS

Driver’s side:  I rounded one of the nuts from the connection at the Y pipe,… short story –  it took days.  But I finally got it.  Also on the driver’s side, once I got the Y pipe separated, for some reason, I could not get the exhaust manifold past the steering shaft.  I watched endless videos where people did not have the problem, (or edited right past the problem), but I definitely did.  My solution is in the video.

Biggest take away: Hit the exhaust manifold to Y pipe bolts with penetrating blaster and let them soak overnight before trying to get them off.

 

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

Remove Water Pump, Harmonic Balancer Pulley Bolt – GM Chevy Tahoe Vortec Engine LS Video 3

With the radiator, fan shroud, and fan out of the way, (see video 2) the water pump removal is actually quite easy.

remove old water pump

remove old water pump

I removed the tensioner pulley, then the thermostat housing and 6 bolts later, the water pump was off.  Special thanks to a guy who goes by OldskoolFunk on YouTube for cautioning us that the water pump bolts are a little different, and use of a template is very helpful.

I wish I could say the harmonic balancer pulley bolt was just as easy, but it is not.  It’s on there, and on there good!  The hardest part is the fact that torqueing the bolt moves the pulley, too.  I tried a strap wrench, but there was no way.  I hit it with penetrating blaster and let it soak overnight.  The next day, it was a combination of heat and an air wrench that got it off.  Here’s the video. NOTE: This is video 3 in a 20 + part video series.

Remove Radiator, fan, & hoses GM Chevy Tahoe Vortec Engine LS Video 2

This is part 2.  Part 1 is here. On with the tear down.  First thing to do was negative battery cable.  In this video, I remove the AEM Brute Force cold air intake.  This is the equivalent of the stock air box that came from the factory.  The stock air box is much bigger in size then the AEM, but either way, it needs to come out.  Then came the coolant from the radiator so I could undo the upper radiator hose, and on to the upper fan shroud.  Next was the fan and the lower fan shroud, and on to the radiator and corresponding hoses.  All the steps are in the video.

The hardest part in this video is the transmission cooler lines. The transmission has lines that go into the radiator to cool the transmission fluid. These are the hard lines that to into the radiator on the passenger site. The hard lines contain an almost invisible “C” clip that needs to be removed to separate the lines from the transmission. See video for details….