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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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I have NO idea what the issue is with the 2 part main.
My engine is 2-part. Unless it's an issue with the pan.
As I said.. with my lift I'd simply lift the engine too, and use stock pan.

Unless you have someone (or a shop) who knows about custom engines (and custom work) and is willing to work with you.. I'd suggest you sell the 400. It's a race motor and would require someone experienced to work on it.

Unfortunately, this will pretty much apply to any V8 upgrade (the fact it's a 400 makes no real difference). There are other options for V8 upgrades, but they still require a level of knowledge and experience.

If you have a crate 4.3.. then this will probably be your best option.
 

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Unless you have someone (or a shop) who knows about custom engines (and custom work) and is willing to work with you.. I'd suggest you sell the 400. It's a race motor and would require someone experienced to work on it.

If you have a crate 4.3.. then this will probably be your best option.
I agree entirely!
I love my V8 swapped astro and would not sell or trade either.
That said I could not run either w/o the support of a decent and willing mechanic. I can't do it myself, my skill set is not wrenching so unfortunately I need to swing a hammer a little more to pay for my toys.
The most difficult part for me was finding that wrench.
 

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2003 Astro AWD
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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Thanks for the sound advice once again! You guys are always spot-on and I super appreciate it. There's a van guy here in Montana, username Bigfork something on here, and I guess he did his V8 swap in the past year or so while I've been gone, so I'm hoping maybe we can work something out for him to do mine. And if I can't find anyone solid to do it for me, then yes, I plan to follow ya'lls advice and just do the 4.3.

Musicman, yes the 2 part main was an issue regarding the custom oil pan I thought I needed to accomplish the V8 swap since my van has AWD. However, if I can still do it without one then perhaps that issue is fine with a lift (which I wanted to do anyway) and perhaps the Jegs custom motor mounts?

Woodbutcher, yeah I never thought that trying to throw money at people to do a cool project would be a problem lol. It definitely is the most important aspect to this whole thing as it turns out. I'm not mechanically inclined at all, but I have a big ideas and goals for this van, so hopefully I can find the right person to help make it happen. Thanks for the insight!
 

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Common Sense + Critical Thinking
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Check out this pan, https://amzn.to/3tmPHdT might work for you.

To me it sounded like you really wanted the 400 in there, don't give up on what you want. When it's all done you will be super happy you took the bit of extra time/energy/money to do it the way you want.
 

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After having done mine I would say it was a pretty straightforward. When MMusicMan said fuel line and a power wire he isn't kidding. Initially I had my van driving on a 5 gallon gas can and a toggle switch to turn on the power to the distributor. After that I started working on getting all the little things back to how they are supposed to be.

I didn't even have a radiator fan, don't stop and you won't have a problem. :ROFLMAO:
 

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2003 Astro AWD
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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Awe, thank you guys! I really appreciate the encouragement! I think all problems can be resolved in time, but the biggest factor will be finding someone to do it. I've worked so hard and waited this long on this little dream machine, so I think maybe I will go ahead and wait a little longer to see if I can make the 400 work. Thanks for the replies and advice!
 

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I think all problems can be resolved in time, but the biggest factor will be finding someone to do it.
Indeed, it's not something most will want to take on. But with an engine hoist and some basic hand tools you can definitely do it if you have the time/place/determination.

There are a ton of great people here on the forum that can help walk you through it as well, just have to take your time and be safe about it. It's honestly one of the easiest engine swaps you can do, provided that you have the mounts and pan.

I did one when I didn't have my engine hoist with, I bought one from HF with a coupon and had it delivered, sold that one when I was done, didn't cost me a dime for the engine hoist.
 

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2003 Astro AWD
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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
Oh man, that'll work! That's awesome, thanks! (y) :D Ok, now I just need to figure out how to hook a tranny up to this sucker. I have a recommended tranny guy calling me in a hour, so we'll see what he says. I want a 4L80, but no idea how to make it work on this engine. I can't do the old-school TH400 one with only 3 gears, and I don't want a manual.
 

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2003 Astro AWD
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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
AstroWill, don't get crazy haha! I really don't think I could do it, but I appreciate the support! I barely can get thru little projects like painting all the brake parts for my Savana van. I screwed it up completely the first time (wine may have been involved lol) and I had to strip everything and start over, which is how most of my projects go. I learn and get it right the second time though. I have a nice 2 ton big red hoist, an engine stand, tools, and an open field next to my house, but that's about it. However, it would probably take me forever to get it done.

If someone wanted to come help me though and take a vacation to Montana I'd definitely make it worthwhile. Yellowstone Park is 90 minutes away and I have a Savana van you could borrow. Bozeman is a huge tourist destination, so it might be worth the trip for someone.
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Common Sense + Critical Thinking
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Painting is a bit of an art, so it takes repeated practice to get better.

You would have a few options as far as controlling a transmission. You could use the existing transmission(double check on flywheel and such w 2pc seal) and PCM, would have to wire up a TPS to your carb and some other sensors. The adapter can be home made, see here: Matt's 95 Astro pretty sure I have seen some commercial versions available as well. They also have aftermarket controllers that can be used for pretty much any transmission that you would want to use, but keeping the existing PCM to run everything(transmission/gauges/etc) except the engine makes a whole lot of sense.

Yellowstone Park is 90 minutes away...
Now don't be tempting me like that ;)
 

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2003 Astro AWD
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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
We're getting closer! Talked to a recommended tranny guy yesterday, I decided to stick with my original 4L60e tranny, and that oil pan that AstroWill found will definitely work. So, the last piece of the puzzle is finding a kit to run the tranny with this engine. So far I haven't had any luck. The guy that wanted my engine took the news pretty hard, but he was nice about it.
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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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The 400 flex-plate is EXTERNALLY BALANCED.
This is crucial. (you should see big weight on other side from this photo.. unless the crank had some sort of custom balance job)

You'll probably need an 80's/90's dual-pattern plate that will work with modern 4L80e torque-converter (not sure if it's same pattern as 700R4 which is common in that time period).

Sidenote: I see from photo your heads have all the accys holes.. this is excellent.
 

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Update. After getting overwhelmed and confused about the 2 part main and custom oil pan thing I quit the project for a year. I also got super confused about what to do about the tranny with this engine. And, the third part of contention was the carb and whether or not it would work in this situation. I'm getting this project going again though and I have the money, fortunately.

However, I have a guy that desperately wants to buy this engine, so I have to decide ASAP whether or not to keep it or if I should sell it and just install the new 4.3 V6 crate engine I have.

I also have to find someone to do it for me because everyone here in Montana, which is slim pickings, will only install the 4.3. I can haul the Astro and engine though, so I could take them anywhere (within reason) to get it done.

But, first things things first, I have to figure out what all it's actually gonna take to get this 400 in without making a hard project any harder. Then I can make this decision to sell it or install it and then move forward from there. Ya'lls input will sway me so please reply! Thanks so much!
I once had a full-size g-series Chevy van with a SB 400.
Thing was a total gas hog and didn't seem
any more powerful than any 350 I've ever had.
I would never recommend that engine to anyone.
 

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Sure looks like everything should work out for you. I think as long as that is the flexplate they had on the engine when it was installed, it's 99.999% likely to be the one for the engine ;)
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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I once had a full-size g-series Chevy van with a SB 400.
Thing was a total gas hog and didn't seem
any more powerful than any 350 I've ever had.
I would never recommend that engine to anyone.
Clearly your engine was not running right, if it was underpowered and sucking gas.
Mine was an AMAZING torque monster (way more than my 350), and still got good gas mileage.
All depends on how they are set up.
Bought in new in crate. I HIGHLY recommend this engine.
 

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2003 Astro AWD
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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Yeah, I pretty much bought this engine because of Musicman, however, I never expected to actually find one. So, there's no going back now!

I agree, my first thought was there must have been something awry somewhere for Huckleberry to have that experience. I do appreciate the feedback though!

No idea if this was the original flexplate, but surely you can buy one that's original if it's not. This is how the engine sits now, Musicman. Is this gonna be proper counter-weight? Not sure I'm missing anything significant. The previous owner gave me a few parts that go with it, such as the distributor, carb, and the starter or alternator (not sure which it is), but none are big enough as a counterweight I believe.
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2004 Safari RWD, 2002 Astro AWD
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Your 400 flywheel should most likely have this balance weight.
Shown on right side of picture.
Unless it is mechanically machine milled balance as mentioned in above post.
Like the guys mentioned above, check on other side of your plate.
See picture of counter weight on flywheel.
This is for people who wonder what we are talking about a balanced flywheel for the 400 cube small block motor.

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