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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've always wanted to put a V8 into the Safari but the stock engine has always ran really well and still does at 180k miles. The issue now is that it is getting leaky on the timing cover and pan. Now is the time to pull it. We got a decent tax return and my wife is on board with the engine upgrade so here we go. If its coming out anyway may as well.

I've done a lot of engine swaps in cars back in the day but this is my first van. All the great people on this forum who have done this and shared their experience give me confidence that it will go smoothly. I thank you all!

My project has started with getting the mounts and oil pan from JTR. I also ordered a passenger side exhaust manifold for an 85-86 truck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
As soon as I got the pan I took it to be dipped then it will get paint.

I haven't got an engine yet because I was waiting to get a cherry picker so I can unload it when it gets home. The cherry picker came today so the search begins. I have a few leads but I'm hoping to find something that isn't going to need a lot of work beyond cleaning up and changing gaskets on the stand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I use all purpose grease because it doesn't melt as easily as Vaseline and its easy to wipe off the excess before installing the pan. Its going to be sitting for a bit so I want something that is clingy.

I'm getting excited about this but the swamp formerly known as my driveway has to dry out for a few days. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My exhaust manifold arrived today. One piece at a time. Its about to start sounding like a Johnny Cash song, "Its an 85 86 90 94 95..." :D

Standing on the shoulders of giants I can clearly see the road ahead
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I may have found a 95 truck engine on Craigslist. The next nice day I'll go take a look at it.

If possible I'll pull the plugs put in a compression tester and crank it over by hand. From the not so great picture I can tell they cut all the wires but at least left the connectors. Wiring is not really an issue. While there's a difference in a couple sensors from the V6 to the V8 as long as you have the correct PROM chip the computer doesn't care.

Going from CPI to TBI requires a second fuel injector circuit that isn't wired in to the VIN W. The solution to that is to use the wire that goes to the variable tuning control relay. Unpin it from it's slot on the blue ECM connector and then pin it into the injector B slot in the red ECM connector.

Unpin the dark green/white wire from the relay under the hood and wire it directly into the injector B connector.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have the FSM for the van and that's a huge help. The beauty thing is, when your dealing with a same year swap all the systems and circuitry are 99% the same. All I plan to do is make sure I have the correct knock sensors and connectors for the V8 and the PROM chip. As far as I can tell everything else should just plug in and work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The pan is back and I found a few pinholes in the welds so after I put some spot welds on the holes I'm considering having it powder coated rather than painting it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Some progress is being made. I'm looking at a promising 95 engine tomorrow and I ordered a new distributor with 8mm plug wires from Southwest Performance. At some point I'll get an AC Delco module because the ones that come with the dizzy are trash.

I'm thinking about preemptively getting a new pressure regulator and using my existing pump. Its a fairly mew AC Delco so it has lots of miles left in it.

To be continued...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's good to know. I figure plumbing it will be pretty easy if I get the right fittings with nipples and some good fuel hose. I guess if I need steel line I can get a cheap tubing bender and make it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well that was a bust. The clean engine in the photo couldn't be found and the others they had looked like junk. There was one I might have taken a chance on but the guy wouldn't negotiate so I walked.

The search continues...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I've been scouring the interwebs today and found one PnP which is ripe with 94/95 trucks. There's a couple 90-92s too but I'd rather stick with 94/95 in case Big Brother at the emissions place gets too curious. :D My son and I are going to check them out Monday.

Until then I hope everyone has a Happy and Blessed Easter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I didn't make the PnP today but we did manage to weld the pinholes on the inside of the pan and work some JB weld into the outside seams. Once its dry and sanded you won't hardly notice the seams and it will not leak. I hope to paint it tomorrow. Chevy orange of course!
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
While I'm waiting on an engine I've been accumulating parts and working on the oil pan. It still needs more sanding but I made some good progress today before I helped my son put a new spider in the Blazer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I'm still looking for an engine. Its been the wettest April here since the 40s and I've literally had ducks swimming in my driveway so I haven't put a lot of effort into it anyway.

Once it dries out I'll hit a couple of junkyards and find a good one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
A small bit of progress. I got my motor mounts today. They're the cheapies but they don't seem too bad. I figure if I fill the gaps with some Permatex black it will help them hold up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Cool. I bet you're anxious to get back to it. For now I'm planning to use the Y pipe from whatever I get the engine from and tie it in to my existing system.

I still haven't found an engine but we're going to try to get to PnP next weekend. In the meantime if I get a nice day this week I'll do the transmission. I have all the parts for that so its just a matter of getting it done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Yeah, I'll definitely ask about a warrantee. I plan to crank it over on the stand and make sure it has good compression before it even goes in. I only want to do this once.
 
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