How I decided to rebuild my GM Vortec 5.3 Engine

Can a guy with hardly any car experience take on a project like this?  I mean, I have a PHD in flashlight holding from watching my dad work on cars when I was a kid, but he never let me touch an actual tool, so I didn’t retain anything.  Should I even attempt this?  Here’s why I did…

My 2002 Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec 4WD has ~ 185,000 miles on it.  The repair shop gave me a long list of “recommended fixes” when they last looked at the car.  I’m spoiled by my Tahoe.  It’s an LT with 4wd.  After all these years, I still LOVE it!  I’m also not very crazy about the newer body styles.  To outfit a 2016 Tahoe 4WD just like mine would cost over $75,000 and I just don’t have it.  Even if I put $10K down, I still have over a $1000 monthly payment, for 60 months.  Screw that!

Here’s another long story that I will make very short.  We needed another car (lots of variables here).  Short story – I bought a 10-year-old used Chevy Colorado for a few thousand bucks and now I have something to drive while I work on the Tahoe.

As soon as I knew I had to replace the water pump, my mind wondered about how close I was to the camshaft.  Dreams of a muscle car idle and 400 horsepower filled my thoughts.  I knew I wanted to do a cam swap, but what I didn’t realize was that, eventually, I would decide to take it much further.  Original plan: water pump, timing chain, and cam.  Read on to find out where I end up.   As I write this, I don’t even know. …..