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

Post by GnarliSafari » Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:42 am

well i see you found your way over to dieselplace, although you probably know more than most the guys on that forum it can be a pretty helpful one at times. this is still my home though, people over there kinda have the big truck cool guy attitude, even though half of them are too scared to actually drive a big truck and settle for extended cab short beds... :poke:
99 SLT Safari AWD, G80/GT4 rear, Burgundy, 196,000 and counting (strictly AMSOIL) flowmaster 40series muffler no more cat, K&N Kone Filter, roll pan, 255/60/15 rubbers mounted to 15x8.5 inch American Racing Tailgunner wheels, billet grille, CB Radio, Alpine Deck, Shag carpet, the list goes on....
03 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, LB7 Duramax Diesel, 5 speed Allison Tranny, Crew Cab Long Bed, no muffler or cat, 4 inch turbo back and side piped. not too many other mods yet, also addicted to AMSOIL.

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

Post by mdmead » Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:45 am

:cheers:

Finally, a documented swap!
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 starting.

Post by Coyote X » Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:54 am

figure I might as well add the text from my site on here, It wouldn't be a day without a detailed update :)



Lot of little stuff got done today including putting the accessories on the front of the engine and connecting up tons of random things. But it was worth it because it actually runs now.

First thing was getting all the accessories fit onto the front of the engine. It all fit but there isn’t much room to work. It really isn’t much tighter than the 4.3 it used to have but everything is closer to the radiator.

Image Image Image

I had to use the stock astro radiator for now. The hoses are a bit of a mess but they will do until I get a good radiator made for it. The main thing is it is for the most part complete and ready to run.

So with everything buttoned up and all the fluids topped off it was time to hit it and see how it runs.

The first video is of the very first try of getting it to start. It started pretty easy but there wasn’t enough fuel in the lines to keep it running while it picked up prime from the empty fuel lines. It only ran a little bit on the fuel in the filter before dying.

After that we had to manually prime it by taking the fuel filter out and pressurizing the tank with air to blow diesel up through the lines to get all the air out. Once we did that it started up without any more trouble.

So now it is running good. There are still a lot of little odds and ends to get done but it is pretty close to being back on the road. If I can get the few parts I need this weekend I should be able to drive it soon. But being a holiday I bet it will take till Monday till I get the parts in to have it complete.

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

Post by Smiliesafari » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:38 pm

Well done. :cheers: Keep us posted on the performance when you get it road worthy.
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Re: 1 Ton 94 Astro. 6.5L, 4l80e, 14 bolt swap project starting.

Post by astrozam » Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:46 pm

lockdoc wrote::bounce: :bounce: :cheers: :cheers:

Totally awesome! Congrats!

Don't forget the second one!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hppmfgpZ ... er&list=UL

Well I'll be......Congrats Coyote X, this days been a long time coming :supz:

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

Post by Coyote X » Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:17 am

Managed to get a few odds and ends done today. But the big thing was the exhaust is totally welded up and done.

Today I had lots of little things to do. I had to adjust the throttle position sensor to get rid of a code on the computer. The stock G30 air filter won’t fit under the doghouse so I had to put together a combination of pieces from both air filters. I cut the snout off the stock Astro housing and used it. The opening on the G30 housing was really small so the Astro one should offer more air flow. After that I reconnected the brakes and added fluid with the bleeder valves open till they started dripping to get the system primed. While the fluid was working it’s way down the brake lines I started putting the exhaust together.

I had all the pieces from the G30 and the Astro exhaust to use for parts. I managed to use mostly the larger G30 pipes and muffler to get it done. I have the Astro Y pipe on it for now since the G30 pipe comes out on the drivers side. I will have a 2.5 inch Y pipe made and a good 4 inch exhaust put on it later. But for now this one is good enough to drive.

Image Image

If I can get the alternator working tomorrow and a few minor things I should be able to get it out and drive it and see if the transmission computer is working properly. If the transmission computer is good then I should be real close to putting it back on the road once I find a good radiator for it.

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

Post by Coyote X » Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:29 am

I think I just found a good radiator. A 67 suburban has a 4 row 28x17 core radiator with a transmission oil cooler. So I can get that and just add an engine oil cooler to the front of it and have it made hopefully.

I will probably order that radiator tomorrow and see how it goes.

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

Post by Mr_Roboto » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:21 pm

awesome. I'm sort of surprised that they had a more restrictive inlet on the air cleaner of the 6.5L. Then again it isn't exactly a super high HP engine either, so it may make sense.

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

Post by Coyote X » Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:33 am

I went back to the G30 alternator and swapped pigtails so it would plug in and work the idiot light on the dashboard if it ever has any problems. The alternator I was using on the Astro 4.3 motor just quit working so instead of waiting to get it replaced I just used the G30 alt. The dead alt is under warranty still so I will exchange it and keep it as a spare.

I also found a radiator that seemed to be the best candidate for swapping. A radiator for a 67 suburban has the transmission cooler and is a 28×17 core. It has about the same hose sizes and fittings as the stock G30 radiator except for no oil cooler on the side. The G30 radiator has a 32×19 core and won’t fit at all. I got the radiator down in the stock location but that put it pretty close to the pulleys and I would only have a quarter inch of clearance from the fans to the motor. There is more room in front of the radiator to move it forward so I cut away a bit of the metal that was in the way. I could then move it right up behind the condenser. There is now plenty of room behind it for the fans and a bit more air flow. I will have to trim the radiator support across the top but not that bad to make an opening for the cap. It should work out good where it is at.


Image Image Image

I will have to move the two transmission coolers and make room so I can get the engine oil cooler mounted in there. I will try and finish mounting it and get all the hoses hooked up tomorrow.

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

Post by Mr_Roboto » Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:25 pm

That suburban rad is as wide as you're getting without hitting the frame rails isn't it? Very interesting. I've been trying to figure out what to stick in mine, I have a 96 suburban radiator here and the core is 34 inches wide. I would have to cut the frame to make it fit. Shame too.

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

Post by Coyote X » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:12 am

That radiator is a pretty good squeeze to get in there but it fits. If you don't mind cutting a bit to get it to go forward some. I will have pics of it finished with the supports and stuff mounted Tuesday. It is a huge radiator and should have no trouble cooling any gas or nonturbo diesel. When I add a turbo on there I bet I can still overheat it if I haul like 15,000lbs or something.

I didn't get any pics of anything useful today. I just did random stuff all day to get it where I could get it out and drive it a bit. I had to put new rear brake lines on it. The old ones didn't take the abuse of all the work and were leaking. I had to fit the coolers and get the radiator hooked up. I also had to bypass the battery isolator, for some reason it didn't want to charge the batteries so I just charged the main starting batteries directly and will charge the accessory battery later when I get the isolator working again.

With it all working I fired it up and moved it out of the garage for the first time. It runs fine with no errors or problems. I just drove it a quarter mile and back to the garage. I really don't think it would be good to drive far without a front end and the hood bouncing around on it. But it pulls good and beats the pants off the 4.3 :)

I have to work till 9 tomorrow so nothing is going to get done but Tues and Thursday I will have lots of free time so I am hoping to have it totally done by Thursday.

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

Post by Coyote X » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:11 am

Today was a pretty easy day of working on the van. Just finishing up and putting the last things together.

First thing was getting the fans on it and the final tweaks to the radiator position. Once the position was figured out and the last bits of metal that were in the way were cut and nothing was going to rub against the radiator then it was just a matter of bolting the fans into place. After that the two transmission coolers and the engine oil cooler could be mounted and the grille put back on.

Image Image

There is plenty of space between the fan and the water pump. At least if you consider a half inch plenty of space.

The shifter rod needed a bit of adjustment with a sledgehammer to bend the bracket an inch or so back. It would bind when going lower than OD and it was impossible to get it in 1st gear before bending it. The doghouse took a little bit of effort but it was mainly just get the side that needed bent a little bit back to the right shape so it would slide over it. The problem with the battery isolator was found and fixed so now it charges all three batteries but when it is on accessory it just runs off the deep cycle battery in the back. It starts on the two primary batteries like any other diesel.

It is pretty much ready to drive now. I need to make a shield for the battery under the body to keep road spray off it and put the spring expanders on the front springs to get it sitting level again. Other than that it is complete and just needs washed and vacuumed out. If I can find a truck water neck to make the upper hose lay in the right place it will even look totally stock..

Image

If the weather gets a bit better I will clean it up and get some final pictures of everything as well as some videos of it driving. So far the forecast calls for a nice day Thursday. We tried making a video tonight of it but the rain was making so much noise on the metal roof it was hard to hear anything other than the rain.

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

Post by Coyote X » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:25 am

Also could a mod change the title of this thread to indicate it is completed :)

I will put a post together in a few days after I am sure it is totally ready to drive with tips for anyone else who wants to do this swap. It really was a pretty easy swap and with a few tips the next one would be even easier to do.

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

Post by Coyote X » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:13 am

So it has been pretty bad weather and I haven't gotten a video yet of it driving around. I put around 100 miles on it so far and have pretty much all the bugs worked out and everything running real smooth. So if anyone wants to do this swap here is what I recommend.

Get the factory service manual for your van and whatever van you get for the swap. Keeping them in the same year range will make life much easier. I did a 94 Astro and 94 G30.

There is probably no chance of getting the motor in the front so don't bother trying and just drop the subframe.

The V8 motor mounts will make things easier but you should still bolt the 6.5 to the stock trans and stock trans mount to get it all sitting square on the subframe. The starter will need a hole cut in the crossmember to keep from hitting. Also the oil pan is closer than it should be and rubs the crossmember just barely. So bend the front edge maybe 1/4 inch where it is close. When you test if it together you will see what I am talking about. Also bolt the starter on now. When it is in the van it is very hard to get to that little brace on the back. You must use that brace on a diesel or the starter will crack the engine block. Just run the battery wire to the front out of the way somewhere and as you are lowering the van connect the small starter wire. I have big hands though so if you have small hands it isn't quite that bad to get in after it is installed.

The stock trans mount can work just drill new holes and bolt it where the 4l80 puts it. One bolt will go right under the body bushing so I cut it to clear and welded on a small tab to get a second bolt in there. A flat head bolt would probably also work fine.

Before putting the subframe back in:

Take off the parking brake bracket and put the rear bolt back in and leave it a turn or so out from tight. Take the same bracket off the passenger side and toss it. The parking brake bracket needs the bolt hole notched so you can slip it over the bolt already in there. Also one side needs ground down to keep from hitting the crossmember and transmitting vibration. The crossmember sits directly over the rear bolt so if it isn't in there before the subframe is mounted it isn't going to go back easy. Just slip the bracket on and tighten it with a wrench after the subframe is installed.

The ABS module bracket needs cut and moved over an inch or so to the drivers side to get the module to clear the valve cover. Get it as close as you can to the steering without hitting anything else. This would probably be very hard to do after the motor is in without a plasma cutter or some way to cut it without cutting the firewall right under it. With the motor out it is an easy job to move.

After the parking brake bracket and abs module are adjusted then you can put the subframe back under it. The body just barely hits the drivers side injector lines so bend it slightly. As you lower it down you will see what needs adjusted. Don't get carried away and deform it though so the doghouse will still fit on easily.

The Astro Y pipe will work good enough with a slight tweak to get it to fit but it is kind of small so it should be replaced. Make sure the cat is off it or you wont get far before you break lots of expensive engine parts.

The wiring is going to be dependent on the years so that is why I say get the factory service manuals. They are cheap on ebay if you look around. But on a 94 it was pretty easy. Just keep the water temp wire and oil pressure wire and the single fuel level wire out of the engine harness. Everything else including the computer comes out. The 94 G30 computer goes in and all the colors match up to get it working as long as you have a pin out to see what wire is what. The non turbo 6.5 engines have no computer so they only need the glow plug power and the fuel cutoff solenoid wired to run. The 4l80e needs the computer and won't run without it.

Some G30 vans have a slip yoke on the trans and some have a bolt on. If it has a bolt on just order the slip yoke for one like a 97 short wheel base. Also you need a conversion U-joint to go from the stock driveshaft S44 to the yoke's 1350 size.

Overall it really isn't a hard swap. The wiring might scare some people but the required wiring is pretty basic. I don't think it is much harder than a 350 swap really. I figure it would probably take only slightly longer than a 350 swap. Most of the extra time is just the other stuff like changing the fuel tank pickup tube out and sorting out the wiring to keep it looking factory. Getting that split loom stuff on it takes some patience :)

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

Post by 1Gary » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:59 am

Want to thank you for sharing this swap.Great job!!.
1979 Malibu drag race only car
1999 Sonoma 4.3 5 speed-Rufus
1989 Astro-Ole Yellar cancelled-still selling off parts
1985 Astro-shop van R.I.P. my friend
1994 Astro LT RWD W4.3 rod knock RIP
1982 Winnebago single rear wheel-Chevy 350 Scraped 1/28/13-broken dreams......


Rochester,NY

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