1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project complete.

GOT THE URGE FOR BLOWING BLACK SMOKE, NEED TOWING POWER, OR JUST WANT GREAT FUEL ECONOMY? POST UP YOUR DIESEL SWAP QUESTIONS HERE.

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Coyote X
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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by Coyote X » Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:58 pm

The minimum I have seen on any 4l60e computer is tps and rpm. Unlike the 700r4 it is totally computer controlled. There is one variant called the 4l60 without the e on it that is still basically a 700r4 and needs the tv cable hooked up. It is possible to modify the stock astro ecu to run the 4l60e transmission only but you have to be able to burn a new chip for it and rewire it slightly to get it working. It also seemed pretty complicated when I was looking at how to do it online somewhere.

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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by TaxiVan » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:33 am

Coyote X wrote:The minimum I have seen on any 4l60e computer is tps and rpm. Unlike the 700r4 it is totally computer controlled. There is one variant called the 4l60 without the e on it that is still basically a 700r4 and needs the tv cable hooked up. It is possible to modify the stock astro ecu to run the 4l60e transmission only but you have to be able to burn a new chip for it and rewire it slightly to get it working. It also seemed pretty complicated when I was looking at how to do it online somewhere.
So I'd be far better off to just get the bracket for cruise and throttle valve from a later 6.2, (getting the serpentine drive in the process) and buying a 700-R4 to work with my application?
1998 GMC Safari SLT AWD - LOADED! Mileage unknown. Currently dead, contemplating 6.2 diesel swap

I use my van as a taxi, and if these seats could talk.... BUT I WILL!

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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by TaxiVan » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:17 pm

CoyoteX - found a guy not terribly far from me (around 75 miles) that is willing to do this conversion for me. I would do it myself, but I lack a lift, and it seems like any time I try to do anything mechanical without the proper tools and equipment, something goes TERRIBLY wrong. This shop is the only one I've found for miles around that is not only unfazed by the word diesel, these guys actually build hot-rod diesels... He likes the idea, and is interested. I like the idea that he priced removing the donor engine at around $400-500, cheap when you think about it.

He said they charge $65 an hour, but he's not sure how many hours it will take. I referred him to your videos and website. I was curious if you had an estimate of hours involved in your conversion off the top of your head? Specifically the engine/trans swap itself, as I will not be doing any heavy-duty towing on a regular basis, (most use will be hauling maybe 1000 lbs of bodies - LIVE ones LOL) I plan to simply rebuild my stock 7.625 rear. Which brings me to another question -- My van has 3.73 gears factory, which I think might be okay around town to not work the engine so hard, but perhaps not practical on the highway. What gears does your van have, and if you swapped them, what were the original/replacement gears? Mine being an AWD might be a complication, as my gearing options will be somewhat limited by the front differential. I think 3.08 / 3.42 / 3.73 may be my only options.

He mentioned having to move the trans slightly to compensate for engine center-line. Obviously minor drive-line modifications are needed to compensate for the adjustment. I'm pretty sure my front drive-shaft is adjustable, so no problem there. Was any major modification required to align drive-line components in your 2WD? Did you have to lift the body for engine clearance?

You mentioned using a radiator for a '67 Suburban. I have an aftermarket replacement that mounts in the stock location that is upgraded, which is to say that it has a single core with tubes between 1-2 inches. It also has built in oil and trans coolers. I'm not sure what the original was. Could my existing radiator have enough capacity the keep the 6.2 from losing its cool?
1998 GMC Safari SLT AWD - LOADED! Mileage unknown. Currently dead, contemplating 6.2 diesel swap

I use my van as a taxi, and if these seats could talk.... BUT I WILL!

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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by Coyote X » Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:09 am

The AWD part of the swap is the only thing I am really wondering about. I have no idea how the front end of an AWD fits in there but the oil pan on my 6.5 was barely able to clear the 2wd crossmember. I am using the stock driveshaft with a conversion joint to fit the larger 4l80 yoke. The trans is in the stock location with the mount just moved back a bit to fit the 4l80 mounting position. If you are keeping a 4l60 the trans should be able to stay in it's stock location and mounting.

I am not sure of the hours but me and a buddy did most of the work over about 10 days and probably 5-10 hours a day. This was also with the factory service manuals for both vans so I knew where every connector and bolt was located. That makes a huge difference when trying to get everything all matched up enough to keep everything working like factory. The stock radiator is pretty weak and would not cool mine. But I was also running the old water pump. The ~97 water pumps flow double and the engine doesn't overheat much with it. They are serpentine belt drive though. I am not sure about the combination of the stock low flow water pump and an upgrade stock size radiator, but I would think it would overheat with a load about like all of them do on the stock pump.

Most people change engines on these vans with just an engine hoist to lift the van off the motor and subframe then just roll the subframe out from under the van. So a lift is nice to have but it is really not required to swap the motor. I think it is going to get expensive in a hurry paying someone 65 an hour to do it for you.

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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by peter » Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:33 am

This has been an awesome thread!

As Coyote stated earlier in the thread, adding a body lift makes things soooo much easier. On an awd, pretty well mandatory. When I swapped in my 502, I ended up going with a 5" body lift. Made things much easier, especially for pan-to-diff clearance as well as exhaust manifold routing. Myself, I welded 5" high capped schedule 40 pipe on the subframe. Made for a more stable "feel" than before the swap whenI had 2" plastic spacers.

The rad from a 90's corvette or Camaro can be used with Astro tanks. The single-core measures 1.25" thick and is more than up to the task of cooling a 502. Dunno if a diesel throws off more heat than a bog block though.
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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by TaxiVan » Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:50 pm

peter wrote:This has been an awesome thread!

As Coyote stated earlier in the thread, adding a body lift makes things soooo much easier. On an awd, pretty well mandatory. When I swapped in my 502...
Holy SH*T! And people think a 6.2 won't fit in mine? LOL... CoyoteX - Did you have to do a lift of any kind for the 6.2?
1998 GMC Safari SLT AWD - LOADED! Mileage unknown. Currently dead, contemplating 6.2 diesel swap

I use my van as a taxi, and if these seats could talk.... BUT I WILL!

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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by mdmead » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:07 pm

TaxiVan wrote:
peter wrote:This has been an awesome thread!

As Coyote stated earlier in the thread, adding a body lift makes things soooo much easier. On an awd, pretty well mandatory. When I swapped in my 502...
Holy SH*T! And people think a 6.2 won't fit in mine? LOL... CoyoteX - Did you have to do a lift of any kind for the 6.2?
The front diff on the AWD is a real problem! The question is, is there a pan out there that might work... not likely as I suspect there wasn't much variation in pans for the 6.2 as compared to say the small block that has been around/stuffed into MANY different vehicles forever... or can the pan be modified for clearance? The engine bay doesn't give you a whole lot of latitude regarding fore/aft and left/right placement. The body lift opens up another dimension though... and is what I plan on using as the solution for my 5.3L swap (as the pan on it wants to share space with the diff as well.)
Matt
Selah, WA
-96 GMC Safari AWD Hi-Top Conversion -->Stalled 5.3L swap & 5" lift
-74 Ford Bronco -->Far from perfect but mine!
-99 V-10 Ford Super Duty Super Cab 4x4 -->Stock with 285 Cooper ATs
-00 Ford Focus Wagon -->The Red Turd
-95 Ford 24' Class C Motorhome -->My big block sleeper
-07 Can-Am Outlander XT -->My yellow 4x4 quad for work & play
-04 Ski Doo REV Summit -->Still several chassis behind!


No new projects until the current ones are done!

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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by TaxiVan » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:43 am

mdmead wrote:
TaxiVan wrote:
peter wrote:This has been an awesome thread!

As Coyote stated earlier in the thread, adding a body lift makes things soooo much easier. On an awd, pretty well mandatory. When I swapped in my 502...
Holy SH*T! And people think a 6.2 won't fit in mine? LOL... CoyoteX - Did you have to do a lift of any kind for the 6.2?
The front diff on the AWD is a real problem! The question is, is there a pan out there that might work... not likely as I suspect there wasn't much variation in pans for the 6.2 as compared to say the small block that has been around/stuffed into MANY different vehicles forever... or can the pan be modified for clearance? The engine bay doesn't give you a whole lot of latitude regarding fore/aft and left/right placement. The body lift opens up another dimension though... and is what I plan on using as the solution for my 5.3L swap (as the pan on it wants to share space with the diff as well.)
Check out this AWD 5.7 Vortec swap... This guy used an aftermarket 8 qt pan, modifed, I'm sure the 6.2's pan can be modded, though I'm hoping a pan for a 4WD application will work.

http://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=10761
1998 GMC Safari SLT AWD - LOADED! Mileage unknown. Currently dead, contemplating 6.2 diesel swap

I use my van as a taxi, and if these seats could talk.... BUT I WILL!

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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by mdmead » Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:28 pm

TaxiVan wrote: Check out this AWD 5.7 Vortec swap... This guy used an aftermarket 8 qt pan, modifed, I'm sure the 6.2's pan can be modded, though I'm hoping a pan for a 4WD application will work.


http://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=10761
You used to be able to buy a modified pan from Jagsthatrun for the small block. I don't see them listed now, but they have a kit to modify (lengthen) a V-6 pan. (For a 5.3, the stock aluminum pan can be modified too. Since I'm planning on the lift anyway, I'm hoping to skip this step.)

As for the 6.2, if it is only a sump clearance issue, then someone should be able to cut and weld for the clearance.

The other problem I'm having with the 5.3 is the accessories. The A/C compressor sits down low on the passenger side, and it too wants to share space with front drive components. I don't know what the layout is on a 6.2 diesel, but it could be an issue I suppose. (For the 5.3, I've found an aftermarket kit that moves the A/C compressor back up top.)
Matt
Selah, WA
-96 GMC Safari AWD Hi-Top Conversion -->Stalled 5.3L swap & 5" lift
-74 Ford Bronco -->Far from perfect but mine!
-99 V-10 Ford Super Duty Super Cab 4x4 -->Stock with 285 Cooper ATs
-00 Ford Focus Wagon -->The Red Turd
-95 Ford 24' Class C Motorhome -->My big block sleeper
-07 Can-Am Outlander XT -->My yellow 4x4 quad for work & play
-04 Ski Doo REV Summit -->Still several chassis behind!


No new projects until the current ones are done!

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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by TaxiVan » Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:59 pm

Perhaps the accessory drive setup from a full-size Express van could work?
1998 GMC Safari SLT AWD - LOADED! Mileage unknown. Currently dead, contemplating 6.2 diesel swap

I use my van as a taxi, and if these seats could talk.... BUT I WILL!

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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by Coyote X » Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:32 am

Started to repaint the van finally

ImageImage

This thing has been an absolute pain trying to get those stickers off. I ended up just having to use paint stripper to remove everything around the stripes. I will sand down the paint that is left to feather the edges then use that thick smoothing primer on the whole thing. I will just paint it back the same color as before just this time no stripes. I still need to find a really nice mural that matches the colors for the sides :)

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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by Coyote X » Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:09 am

ImageImageImage


Just need to paint the running boards and reinstall them and it is finally one color again.

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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by LiftedAWDAstro » Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:16 pm

Looking good. How about an update on how many miles you have put on as well as mileage so far.
Current rides:
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2008 Dodge Nitro 4x4
2005 Nissan Sentra 1.8S Special Edition

Mileage spreadsheet

Vans owned:
1986 Safari 2.5L 4 speed manual - scrapped
1995 Astro 2WD conversion 4.11 posi, shift kit, DHC rock rails - sold to Skippy
1998 Astro 4x4 D44, D60, NP231, full hydraulic system with 9k# Milemarker winch and snow plow - sold to Lockdoc
2003 Astro AWD all stock - traded for a 3/4 ton truck
2005 AWD, 4.10's - sold to skippy

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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by Coyote X » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:34 am

I didn't drive much this summer. I am right around 35k on it. It has been chugging along good. I had one tank with really bad mileage and when I went to check why. I found the water drain valve on the fuel filter was not tight so it was dripping diesel. Other than that I haven't had to open the hood on it or do anything to the drivetrain. The mileage is pretty constant but starting in a week or two I expect it to drop slightly as the winter diesel gets out to the gas stations.

It will probably take me a couple of weeks to decide on what to do to break up the huge wall of paint on the sides of it. Either paint a silver stripe down the lower part or get some sort of graphic for the side. I will buff out the paint this weekend and hopefully get the running boards put back on.

I have all the parts to finally mount the turbo. I just need to get some other projects done and out of the way so I can get the van into the garage to mount it. But hopefully it will have a turbo on it before the end of the year.

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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project comple

Post by Coyote X » Thu May 09, 2013 6:47 pm

The van is right around 40-45k on it since I did the swap. The army surplus injection pump I put on it is starting to blow white smoke when it is hot so it is time to put the stock pump back on it. I actually have only put 400 miles on it since Jan. I think that is probably what killed the pump was it was almost out of diesel and I let it sit all winter then started it up and drove it with some water in the tank. It will take a few hours to swap the pump back to the original one and it should be as good as new again.

I am really thinking of selling this thing since I never drive it anymore and things have changed enough in my life I don't have any need for a conversion van anymore. So maybe someone else will get to have what seems to be the only daily driver diesel astro around at least until one of the other projects gets done. If someone does buy it I will have to point them to this thread and let them keep it going.

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