94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Bikley [OP] » March 20th 2021, 3:46am

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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Engine mounts and oil pan for 94 Safari AWD
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Passenger side exhaust manifold 85-86 Chevy truck
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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Bikley [OP] » March 20th 2021, 4:15am

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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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby markmitch » March 20th 2021, 4:21am

One thing I forgot to tell you is prior to installing the oil pan as I said I cleaned it and got the rust out but what I forgot was I rubbed Vaseline all over the inside and the reason is it keeps rust from coming back and will melt into the engine oil without hurting anything, its used in rebuilding transmissions so why not use it in the engine oil pan?
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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Bikley [OP] » March 20th 2021, 4:37am

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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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Bikley [OP] » March 20th 2021, 9:30pm

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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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby WoodButcher » March 20th 2021, 11:57pm

You realize that if you find a 350 from a full size van you will need only the motor mounts?
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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby markmitch » March 21st 2021, 12:21am

he is building an AWD Woodbutcher.
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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Bikley [OP] » March 22nd 2021, 7:18am

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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Unpin dark green/white wire from slot E3
image-2021-03-21-22-21-06.jpg
Pin dark green/white wire into slot A9
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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Big_kid » March 22nd 2021, 11:48pm

That's exactly what I did in my swap. I used the tuning valve wire since it was already ran through the firewall, I soldered and shrink wrapped the second fuel injector connector on. Not wanting to attempt removing the pin from the ECU plug without the proper tool, I cut a pin from the donor van plug and just slipped it into the empty hole in the existing plug, connecting the former tuning valve wire to it. I downloaded, printed, and studied the diagrams for both my van and the donor, it was pretty straightforward once I wrapped my head around it.
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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Bikley [OP] » March 23rd 2021, 2:39am

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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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Big_kid » March 23rd 2021, 5:08am

Pretty much. That's about what I did.
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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Bikley [OP] » March 26th 2021, 7:23pm

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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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Bikley [OP] » April 2nd 2021, 11:00pm

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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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Big_kid » April 3rd 2021, 12:56am

As Will reminded me during my swap, the fuel pressure is set by the regulator in the throttle body (you're going TBI, right?). I'm still running the CPI pump and letting the TBI regulator return any excess fuel to the tank. I've not had any issues with it.
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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Bikley [OP] » April 3rd 2021, 1:58am

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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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Big_kid » April 3rd 2021, 8:15am

When I pulled the donor engine I cut the lines long and used compression fittings on the steel portions. I've not had any trouble with them so far, nor do I expect to.
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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Bikley [OP] » April 3rd 2021, 10:44pm

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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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Big_kid » April 3rd 2021, 10:50pm

It took me 2 tries to find a good one. The G20 donor i took the engine, transmission, computer and harness, the heads were junk. I brought them back and found a roller cam 350 with low miles, I ended up exchanging the heads and buying the shortblock, then putting the intake and exhaust from the G20 on it.. Pick n pull came through for me.
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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Bikley [OP] » April 4th 2021, 1:36am

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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Re: 94 AWD 5.7 TBI project.

Postby Big_kid » April 4th 2021, 4:26am

The right one will come along. You'll find it.
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