99 swap to 01 motor and trans? Or LV3 & 6l80 swap?

99 swap to 01 motor and trans? Or LV3 & 6l80 swap?

Postby kade225 [OP] » October 28th 2020, 11:38pm

Hey guys so I’ve got a few questions. I can pick up an 01 Vortec motor and rwd trans out of a totaled s10 for really cheap but my van is a 99 awd. Besides the obvious trans tail shaft swap what other issues would I run into with the different years?

My motor is starting to knock and trans is getting a bit tired both are original with a little under 220,000 miles on em. I’ve been researching a v8 swap or a duramax 2.8 or what I’m leaning to most is a LV3 Ecotev 4.3 swap With a 6l80 trans but until funds start flowing in none of those would be available. Here’s an example of a package deal. I bet I could pull it together myself for cheaper though. https://lsswap.parts/product/lv3-swap-kit-4-3l-turnkey-swap-kit/

With the lift and 31s my van is lacking the power I want and I can’t tell if it’s just on it’s last leg or if that’s how the 4.3 Vortec is. If I can easily swap in the 2001 motor and trans with 60,000 miles on em I may go that route since it’ll likely give more power and dependability for the cheapest cost. But damn I do want to feel some serious power at the pedal.

I know any swap will likely be expensive and time consuming on top of a whole lot of problem solving, re engineering, and exploring the unknown but that’s the kind of project I want to get into, either on the Astro or another vehicle.

Ps: here’s some recent shots of my van, Eileen, she has seen a lot of changes since last time I posted here. I should be getting to making a build thread pretty soon here too.
EDC855CA-9D97-4A3E-B43F-9CEC7CF503B1.jpeg

360B8E99-9B8B-48A1-9921-D23454DC73C2.jpeg

4ADC1AC1-340B-44F1-A0A0-680218722094.jpeg
Original Poster [OP]
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Re: 99 swap to 01 motor and trans? Or LV3 & 6l80 swap?

Postby Leeann_93 » October 29th 2020, 1:19am

Come On Eileen....




(sorry; I really couldn't resist)



Going newer is always better. Or easier. But '99 didn't use a BCM and '00+ did, so there's some wiring to upgrade unless you want to swap solenoids and stuff. If you use the intake on the '99, you won't have to worry about the lack of EGR on the '01 or only 1 coolant temperature sensor on the '01 engine (2 on the '99), for instance. '99+ uses PWM for the trans, so that should be okay, but I've never double-checked the connections vs an '01 to be sure.

However. If you have installed a lift and bigger tires (and 31s are definitely bigger tires), you probably need to regear to get power back. What ratio is on your Astro? Most are 3.42. 3.73 is rare in the Gen 2 vans. It was stock on my '93 Olds Bravada (AWD version of the Blazer/Jimmy/S10) with 4.3 CPI and on my '93 Astro EXT AWD with 4.3 CPI; the Bravada also has a G80 but the Astro doesn't. Unless you have 3.73, you're really undergeared for those tires. You need at least 3.73 and, probably, 4.11.

I also have a Jeep Liberty and that's the biggest problem run into by guys who lift and run larger tires on their Libbys - the 3.6L V6 Liberty comes 3.73 stock and needs the 4.10, which are stock on the 4-banger version, to get back into the proper power band. Guys are pretty ticked off when someone finds a 4-banger to steal the diffs from to fix their trucks and they can't find one even on car-part.com from associated pick-n-pull junkyards.
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'99 Safari XLE AWD - broke
'93 AWD EXT vin W - real broke
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Re: 99 swap to 01 motor and trans? Or LV3 & 6l80 swap?

Postby kade225 [OP] » October 29th 2020, 7:11pm

:bouncy: :dance: Yep that’s pretty much what she’s named after!!!

Okay sweet so it sounds easily doable. Basically I’ll be using all the same harness and wiring off my ‘99 and swapping the intake over to make that happen? With presumably the only big exception being that I’ll have to add proper wiring/connectors to account for the bcm of the ‘01?

That’s where I’ve got more questions now, what solenoids are controlled by the bcm on the ‘01 drivetrain? I assume it’s the transmission solenoids or something? And so you’re saying I would be adding a bcm and wiring it up the same way the 01 is hooked up? Or else I’d have to go through and downgrade solenoids to the ‘99 style to work without a bcm.

And then from what I’ve read the ‘01 trans had the overdrive/tow haul button where my ‘99 does not. Is that something that I could easily add in on a toggle switch or if I was to pull the gear selector off an ‘01?

I actually just finished re gearing to 3.73 and I will say it’s made a huge difference! The van still feels like a big slow van (as expected) but it’s a lot more responsive on acceleration and it doesn’t mind extra weight nearly as much. I haven’t completely tested its new found power because I don’t want to put my slightly knocking motor and hard shifting trans through that. The gearing feels great but the weak link is definitely the drivetrain now.

I think I’ll run a compression test to see if I can make some assumptions about how much power I’ve lost on my tired motor. If I know I’ll be making a decent power gain with the 60,000 mile Vortec I can justify that. But yet I can’t stop drooling over the LV3’s roughly extra 100 hp and 50 torque and likely significantly better mpg due to cylinder deactivation. (though mpg isn’t a justification because it wouldn’t offset swap costs) Also the 6l80 has two extra gears to choose from and has a 32% gearing increase in first gear over the 4l60 which would make it quicker and better off-road.

Anyway thanks for the reply and info! I have to make up my mind before jumping into anything. For now I’ll just keep on researching both options and asking questions.
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Re: 99 swap to 01 motor and trans? Or LV3 & 6l80 swap?

Postby dcsleeperdcsleeper is online! » October 29th 2020, 8:24pm

Sweet looking van!!

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Re: 99 swap to 01 motor and trans? Or LV3 & 6l80 swap?

Postby Leeann_93 » October 30th 2020, 12:06am

I would think that it would be easier to swap the items with different connectors over to keep your '99 wiring setup. I honestly don't remember what exactly is different from '99 to '00 or '01 on the trans, just that the '00+ only has one coolant temp sender (driver's side head, rear) instead of two. The intake on my '00 has a drilled boss there, but there's a pipe plug installed instead of a sensor.

Tow/haul was an option on '00+. I'm not sure how easy it is to add to a van built prior to the option; you'll at least need the gear selector and the ignition switch (the wiring harness that connects to the key cylinder and gear selector), but I don't know how much more you will need after that. That function might live in the BCM, but I'm really not sure.

On my '99, no tow/haul:
99_newSwitch.jpg


On my '05, with tow/haul:
05_switch.jpg



I replaced the switch in both my '99 (along with a few other things on that one, like the portion the key cylinder screws into and the key cylinder itself) and in my '05 (both the ignition switch and key cylinder).

'99 writeup here, much more involved:
https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... &start=280
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Re: 99 swap to 01 motor and trans? Or LV3 & 6l80 swap?

Postby MechBob » October 30th 2020, 3:14am

Great looking van,very nice pictures!! Anyway,I am not up to date on all the swap stuff,it can be simple or as complicated as you and others want to make it.But,several things,kinda sounds like you have run your engine hard,because of the knock.But I could be wrong,parts do fail.But,think about what makes an engine "feel" tired.With today's electronics,low compression on all cylinders "might" not be noticed,but a physical impossibility.Several "low" cylinders would cause a check engine lamp.The most common cause is a loose timing chain,usually causes a slight lack of power,taking off from a stop,but also is monitored by the PCM,anything bad or big would give you a lamp.The biggest cause of "low power" is owner perception.You,with the lift kit,big tires,hauling weight,are a prime candidate for a V8.A 5.3 is maybe faster,cheaper,but less torque.A 5.7 would give you torque and acceleration,but a bit heavier.Just my 2 cents,now the v8 guys can pick on me.I only fix em,not build em. :D
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Re: 99 swap to 01 motor and trans? Or LV3 & 6l80 swap?

Postby stent » October 30th 2020, 9:53am

the LV3 6L80 swap is intriguing. :ugeek: :ugeek:
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