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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
6,548 Posts
Discussion Starter · #41 · (Edited)
Hooray!!! The V8 is finally in!!! It dropped in easily (this past weekend). It went in like it was made for it! It was a one man job too!
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I installed it complete with headers attached, new plugs, water pump, harmonic balancer, pulley, and oil filter all in place. The headers measured almost exactly the same distance as the stock exhaust coming out, and went in easily with NO clearance issues whatsoever! Also, NO need at all to pull the bumper... just angle back the motor and keep stepping it down and in! You only need to have the van angled up high on jack stands to match. Simple!

The only initial minor trouble I had is that I didn't have the motor positioned and angled correctly on the lift, as seen in this first photo.
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It was angled too far down in front... and the hook was not tight enough. Although I was able to lift the front by hand, I still didn't have the hook tight enough for overhead clearance when I got it to the motor mounts.
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Here are some photos of it tighter on the hook, and angled better...
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The front opening of the lift plate was ideal, giving it a much better angle to go in! This is the first time I ever used a lift plate, so you see the chain as a fallback. The biggest advantage of the plate is that it kept the block strait going in.
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A few final things left... basically slide in the motor mount bolts and attach transmission. But first I had to wait for the rain to stop before crawling underneath! lol
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Adjustable JTR V8 mounts are awesome! Quality stamped steel product... seriously worth every dollar! Tighten trans up to block first.. then final tightening of mounts. Went in perfectly!!! One very important note: you will need 1/2 longer 5" Grade 8 bolts for the thicker mounts! Thank you icebrrg3rd for that tip!
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Plenty of room... everything completely cleared with room to spare!
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The ONLY unrelated issue I had was overlooking the fact that the 1970 flexplate did not match the later model 700R4 lockup torque converter bolt pattern, which I didn't notice until after I bolted the trans to the block. Fortunately, I had another later model 350 flexplate laying around that had "dual pattern" holes, which worked perfectly. A minor inconvenience caught early... fortunately.

Overall, not too pretty... and the alternator, pulleys, and A/C accessories will cover most of it. But it's a runner.. and is going to be awesome!!!
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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
6,548 Posts
Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Thanks! My biggest hurdle now is to attach the throttle cable to the carburetor. It pulls from the front, and has the wrong fitting on the end. I expect to replace it with something compatible, but I will still need a bracket or way to pull from the front. Minor stuff I have to figure out.

My other related issue is fuel. I will be using the stock pump (in tank) which is supposed to produce about 12psi. I will obtain a fuel pressure regulator (with return) to lower pressure to something the carburetor will like.

I've been removing ECM wiring and connectors that used to attach to the TBI system, and various other engine stuff... and cleaning things up a lot! The only engine wiring I kept is oil pressure, temp sender, alternator, and A/C. Starter too of course. One ignition power source for HEI distributor, and stock wiring for fuel pump (if it still sends a signal). Otherwise I will just wire it direct myself. Wiring couldn't be any more basic. I sure removed a lot of it and re-routed it nicely!

I will need a simple relay for the electric fan, and I still have to build the dual exhaust system, which I have.
I have some nice dash mounted gauges and tach already mounted, that will require hookup at some point.
I will put in a temporary manual switch for the lockup converter, unless I find another alternative.

I think that will pretty much cover it.

Hope to post a video soon of me firing it up!

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Doesn't it feel good to have it nestled inside the engine bay? Makes it hard to stop working because you want to turn that key and hear it roar.

Great job so far!


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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
6,548 Posts
Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Ok... I got the poke! lol It's time to post an update!

First of all... I'm sorry it has taken so long! I somehow manage almost every weekend to find something else to do... or somewhere to go! I live a very FULL and busy life! I also love to ride my motorcycle... so I often find myself riding when I have free time.. and the V8 van upgrade keeps taking a back seat. But this is a 4 day weekend for me... and my goal is to fire it up for New Years! Realistically, I have less than a day's work left.

I found a perfect solution to the throttle cable! It is from my old carbureted 74 G10 van. The cable is about 4' long, runs out and under the floorboard, and comes in from behind as needed. I also have the factory bracket that mounts to the manifold behind the carb... which also holds the kickdown cable for the transmission. Simple... problem solved!!! It fits like it was made for (well it actually was) it and connects to the carb perfectly! I suspect just about any throttle cable from just about any carbureted van will work. The pedal side also fit perfectly.. I think they all use the same universal type.

I bought a Holley fuel regulator (with fuel return), which should work perfectly with the stock "in tank" pump. I am mounting it underneath to the frame where the two metal lines connect to the rubber TBI lines. I will post photos.

There essentially isn't anything left to figure out.

The Holley I had planned to rebuild got bumped for a much nicer (and in better shape) one of two Carter/Edelbrock carbs that I used to use in a dual-quad setup. I had forgotten that I had these boxed up and ready for future use. It's all cleaned up and ready to go!

Drive shaft is in (trans was never removed). Van is off jackstands, and new suspension is tightened up and done. Thermostat and new heater lines done. New belt pulleys.. done.

Tomorrow I finish the fuel system install... I already bought the line, angle adapters, and connectors, and placed the regulator. I will drop in the HEI distributor, wire the plugs, install the DS accy's (PS pump and A/C compressor), and lastly connect up the radiator. Then it's time to fire it up! The final dress up can come after it's running. The little things like factory oil spout, vacuum to PCV and brake booster have all been sorted out.

The last thing I will need to do is a full dual exhaust system, which I already have... a nice custom FULL stainless dual exhaust system. But this won't stop me from cranking it up with open headers. The exhaust system may be easier than I'm expecting.. we'll see.

I also have a full set of dash mounted gauges.. but can deal with them after I get the van on the road. The factory oil and temp is already wired up.

I'm excited to be in the final stage of this project!

Video and more photos coming shortly...

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
6,548 Posts
Discussion Starter · #51 · (Edited)
UPDATE: SUCCESS!!! The V8 swap is about done... the motor has been finally been started!

The old Holley needed complete rebuild, so I opted for an Edelbrock carb I had stashed away years back. It saw last service about 10 years ago.. but it was put away clean so I chanced just putting it on and going with it. I wasn't sure if I'd see fuel gush out or not... but turns out it worked perfectly.
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As mentioned above... I mounted a Holley fuel regulator (with fuel return) upside down to the frame. The rubber fuel lines were simply slid over the steel fuel lines and clamped down. They are flared.. so the connection is solid and reliable.
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I used the throttle cable from my old 74 G10 van, as well as a simple cable bracket that mounts to the corner bolt of the carb. I also used a factory mount for the transmission cable. The setup was quite basic and simple.
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All the V6 accessories and brackets fit the V8 perfectly! It really made the swap quite simple! With all the accy's, brackets, and hoses in place, you can see why I only "cleaned" the engine and didn't worry about re-painting it.
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I moved the power steering reservoir over to the side so it wouldn't hang in front of everything...
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I used a Black Magic electric fan (from my old van) mounted to an over-sized stock radiator.. which is twice as thick as original stock radiator. The original hoses worked perfectly... I trimmed (shortened) them slightly for prefect fitment. The final spacing of radiator/fan to waterpump pulley was CLOSE... with less than 1/2 inch to spare!
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I opted for an HEI distributor (see below).. for it's simplicity... while still giving great performance!
One power wire is all it needs to work completely! It also has a tach output.

Here is a photo of the engine moments from when I fired it up for the first time!
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It started without issue... and without mufflers! With open Hedman shorty headers, it made it's first entrance to the neighborhood well known! The fluids, idle, and timing all still need to be set.. but it needs an exhaust system next.. if I want to coexist with my neighbors! For the moment, I can now at least drive it back and forth from and into the garage.

It was my New Year's resolution to finally get this project up and running.. which I did!
I will upload and post a video of it's first start in next post.

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6,127 Posts
Fandamntastic MM! Good to hear.
Little noisy w/ open headers, eh? lol
My landlord suggested I do the break-in on mine w/o the exhaust because he really hates the condo behind us. I was afraid the cops would show up half way through so I waited till I had the pipes done.

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
6,548 Posts
Discussion Starter · #53 ·
I would never attempt a first "break-in" with open headers... you can't hear if anything is going wrong. Since this motor was already run years ago.. I had no issue firing it up open headers.. because I knew it would be brief... and I had waited too long to finally get to this moment.

The audio in the video recording is very compressed... so you can't really hear the dynamics of the sound... or the backfiring initially when I had the timing or plug wires wrong.

I know it will sound so much better when I have the exhaust system in place. I expect it to be deep and rumbly! I will be doing the exhaust system this Saturday. Then I can actually start driving it!

Time to finally join the "V8 Club"... lol

So excited now!!! It's been a year now since I put the V6 to rest.

I will post a nice video of it in action!

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
6,548 Posts
Discussion Starter · #55 ·

After 5 years of the engine sitting (and the van for a year)... I finally cranked up my new hot rod V8-350 Astro! This video of the first crank was literally the first time the key was ever even turned to the start position (I wasn't sure if the starter would engage, or there would be fuel issues). The video is live, unedited, short, and original. It's open shorty headers (for the moment)... dual 2 1/2" stainless exhaust system is next!

Ok... here is the video of the first cranking of the new V8!

1st Attempt: After the first few seconds of cranking... I knew I had the distributor 180 backwards. Yes.. I know you can pull plug #1 to determine correct TDC position... but due to the plug's lack of easy access.. I felt it's easier to just to flip the distributor. Two backfires confirmed... neighbor dogs now barking.

2nd Attempt: It started... but had rough idle, lack of response, and backfiring. I traced the plug wires and found I had reversed #5 & #7.

3rd Attempt: SUCCESS!!! It started perfectly! There were NO apparent issues!

I only ran it briefly due to the fact the trans and PS fluid levels had not be determined or set. For now... NO MORE PUSHING! I can finally drive it in and out of the garage to finish it up.

Exhaust goes on this Saturday!


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216 Posts
V8 swaps.... or in my case the 2nd v8 in the same van... are not dead!

I finally got back around to working on my 91 and had to drill-tap the head for the serpentine setup.

I made a small steel template/guide to drill my.head hole and it worked great!

I stayed with the 3/8" bolts and fabbed a lower bracket for the 3rd hole mount.

I end up cutting the small extended boss on the rear of serpentine bracket, ground the casting mark down on the head, then bolting the bracket to my made bracket.

Fit everything up this weekend and it worked great!

Should be running again(sitting for 3 years) Monday afternoon!


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The old 4.3 in my 92 Astro made it to 282,000 original miles! A recent tick that developed into a knock turned out to be a broken piston skirt...not sure how it happened. Oil pressure still strong.

I'm swapping with a 350. I have no intention of using the computer. The 350 engine is carbureted, and is originally from a very low mileage 70 Caprice. (No emissions in Fla) The engine has a nice rumpity-rump high torque cam and intake installed, gets great mileage and runs AWESOME!

I have already purchased the custom swap V8 motor mounts, and Hedman shorty headers.

Here are my initial questions:

1) I assume the only issue with the 700R4 will be the lock-up converter (assuming I want to use it)? I've been told to either add a toggle-switch, or possibly a vacuum switch to operate it... assuming the converter is sufficient to use behind a V8? (I have a nice new TH350 with B&M 11" Holeshot converter, but I think I'd miss the overdrive).

2) The stock A/C system runs on a serpentine belt, the older engine is V-belt of course. I assume I will need to swap water pumps with a proper reverse pump that will work with serpentine system. What pump will I need? Will the V6 pump interchange? I'm assuming the powersteering and alternator will bolt up ok?

3) I also assume I will have to do something with the cooling system, fan, shroud, radiator, etc.

I will be pulling the motor from the front (working in my home garage)

The motor will be naturally aspirated (carbureted)... using HEI distributor. Fuel delivery will be stock system, with a regulator.

The other mods seem fairly obvious to me. I will have ALL the accy's available from the stock V6... if any are needed and can be used.

I have been waiting for many years for the V6 to finally die, the V8 has been patiently waiting! I just couldn't bring myself to pull a perfectly good running engine... but now the time has come.

I plan to run full dual exhaust as well.

I know there is a wealth of info here on this site... which I will be reading. I'm excited about my new advanture... as I have been a hot-rodder all my life! My last G-van had a supercharged 502. This current V8 was in my '69 Chevelle convertible.

Now it's the Astro's turn for an upgrade! It's a shorty with wide-tires and Centerline rims... and should be a perfect match!

Thanks for any advice and suggestions!
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I wound up on the S10 going to scrapyards till I found one with all the belts intact, showing me everything was there. Those JTM mounts are the shit, but I had to add some to the driveshaft. But yeah, carb. and adjustable pressure regulator, plus HDI is about all ya need to get 'er driving!

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
6,548 Posts
Discussion Starter · #60 · (Edited)
YES... HEI and carb makes it simple!!

The beauty of any Gen 1 block (70's-90's) is that all the belts pulleys and accys from the V6 bolt directly on to the V8. All you need is the basic engine.

I can update and say after 8+ years with this V8 installation.. I have NOT had one single issue!. It literally always starts AND always goes! I've played with the Holley carb a few times, but only because the engine is somewhat radical and it was for fun. I literally just turn the key and drive it. No sensors, no controllers, no nothing. Most reliable vehicle I have ever owned.

It gets a lot of attention rumbling though my car shows when I setup or load up... plus the old-school raked look. It gets good gas mileage (better than the 4.3 did).. doesn't need a thing. But my quiet and comfy 2000 is still my preferred vehicle for trips. I'll be putting in a V8 for it one day too when v6 dies.. but much more tame and quiet than what I have now in my 92. Not sure if I'll use what I already have or not (previously supercharged 400 sitting on stand). Even mild midrange-torque will still burn tires all the way down the road regardless.. lol
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