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Old 11-10-2010, 07:29 PM
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Default 4.2L GM Atlas Swap - Looking for Best Shop

I'm starting to put the pieces together to (hopefully) do a GM Atlas 4.2L I6 engine swap in my 80. I can't do this kind of work really at any level and I am looking for a shop that can handle the swap and electronics - we have a lot of great "vendors" here on RS, but the x-factor is I am not going with a Toyota powerplant or transmission.

Discussion thread (not mine) on Mud for this swap here:

http://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-te...o-91-fj80.html

I'm looking at the Atlas because it is an inline six with V8 power and (so is said) as good or better than a V8 torque curve - I love the I6's and this engine just seems ideal for an 80. It is lightweight (all aluminum) and should deliver a 50% improvement in fuel economy to go with the major HP increase. Engines are relatively cheap in the yards, parts should be around for years and years.

Why ditch a perfectly good 1ZFE with relatively good miles that has had its headgasket replaced as preventative measure by Mr. Slee and Associates? I am sick of the narrow power band, the horrid fuel economy, the lack of lungs at altitude, and the less than stellar NVH especially over 2,900 RPM. I could go forced induction (assuming SC remain available), but I am extremely wary of the fuel vapor smell issue emerging on our engines, which is clearly exacerbated by forced induction and altitude, and it does nothing for fuel economy.

Anyway, recommendations for shops (including by their owners ) is much appreciated so I can start looking at total costs/time to get this done to see if it is viable in the relatively near future.

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Old 11-10-2010, 08:32 PM
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I can't see doing the swap for increased fuel economy only power. At which point is it more cost effective to just do forced induction, SC or turbo. If its a lot cheaper to go with a TRD SC then I'd go that way. You can buy a lot of fuel for the cost of a swap. I have no idea what the end cost would be for this proposed swap. But I'm sure I could install a SC for less.

Plus you break down on the road some where with a SC any Toyota dealer should be able to service your truck. With a swap there will be more potential issues there.

Landtank turbo when done? 2UZFE?

I did a SBC swap in my 60 and the little things nickel and dime you.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corbet View Post
I can't see doing the swap for increased fuel economy only power. At which point is it more cost effective to just do forced induction, SC or turbo. If its a lot cheaper to go with a TRD SC then I'd go that way. You can buy a lot of fuel for the cost of a swap. I have no idea what the end cost would be for this proposed swap. But I'm sure I could install a SC for less.

Plus you break down on the road some where with a SC any Toyota dealer should be able to service your truck. With a swap there will be more potential issues there.

Landtank turbo when done? 2UZFE?

I did a SBC swap in my 60 and the little things nickel and dime you.
A 50% increase in fuel economy will save me between $750-$1,000 a year in fuel costs, so this swap has a reasonable payback period that also comes with a major increase in power. This does make for a compelling case vs. any V8 swap as both the upfront and operating costs will be lower without sacrificing any material power for what I am after in a swap.

The 2UZFE has quite a bit less horsepower than the Atlas 4.2 and is far more expensive for the engine itself, while delivering significantly worse fuel economy. I also have a soft spot for inline six engines compared to V8's. That engine platform is the heritage of our rigs, and the Atlas 4.2 seems to be everything we wish the 1ZFE could be. Great fuel economy, flat torque curve from near idle to a 6K redline, VVT above 4K about where the 1ZFE is huffing at best, close to half the weight of the 1ZFE, which further improves the power to weight ratio. It also appears to fit perfectly, which makes sense given it would be replacing a 4.5L I6 and the engine bay of the 80 was designed for an I6.

I won't mod the 1ZFE. I started getting the fuel vapor issue this summer, and swapping out the charcoal canister did not completely cure it. This was minimal for me compared to the issues some are reporting (very high vapor pressure, boiling fuel), but it makes me loathe to invest in the 1ZFE, particularly since forced induction will not help the fuel economy or other issues and appears to be a factor in the vapor issue.

Call me crazy, but when a whole bunch of 80's suddenly start showing this issue, regardless of model year or mileage, all at once, that's like installing lightbulbs over a two year period and having them all burn out at the same time and thinking the problem is with the bulbs rather than say the power supply (or in our case, the fuel supply).

There was a turbo 80 on the OCG run last weekend, and the fuel smell was strong for most of the trail anywhere within about five feet of his rig (I had some minor fuel smell, but it also wasn't that warm, and on SC on Father's Day it was about unbearable - not much fun for family wheeling). I have yet to see any long term proposed solution for this since we can't control fuel mixtures, and GM, for better or worse, is built for our corn-fed country. IMO, that makes investing in a modern GM powerplant a smart move, especially when you have to wonder how long Toyota will continue to support our aging platform.

The fact that I would end up with a GM engine mated to Toyota electronics is the greatest concern. That's why I want to talk to a shop(s) that have done this type of swap in order to understand the potential issues before diving in.

But I am either going to leave it alone or go down this route - the numbers from power to economy are too compelling for sticking with an I6 platform that was regularly rated as one of the 10 best engines in production during its run and is dirt cheap at boneyards.

One other thing is the GM 4L60E transmission has a lower first and second gear than the 80's A343F, and a taller overdrive. Perfect for running 5.29's with improved HP and torque curve without pushing so much RPM at highway cruising speed.

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Old 11-10-2010, 10:04 PM
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Nay, on average, late model sbc swaps range from 8-15G's
I am assuming yours would be no different.

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Old 11-10-2010, 10:04 PM
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I'm interested in what a final cost would be for the swap. Its hard to argue anything without that.

I have not experienced any of the fuel vapor issues personally so I can not comment on that. My truck mileage wise is young compared to most (126K). Electrical could be a big issue. Its my biggest concern long term with my truck even without planned modification. How much can you mess with a harness that is 15+/- years old, brittle in many places and not be chasing down shorts for the next 10 years?

What are your thoughts for/against a diesel power plant?
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:17 PM
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I think a merc.617 or a cummins 4bt diesel with manual fuel components and great MPG, power, reliability, easy part hunting and most any tranny combonation is...too me..Priceless!
That and I love the smell of burnt diesel

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Old 11-11-2010, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corbet View Post
I'm interested in what a final cost would be for the swap.
Me too

Quote:
My truck mileage wise is young compared to most (126K).
I have 145K - my concern isn't longevity of the 1ZFE (except having to live with it for the next 15 years )

Quote:
Electrical could be a big issue. Its my biggest concern long term with my truck even without planned modification. How much can you mess with a harness that is 15+/- years old, brittle in many places and not be chasing down shorts for the next 10 years?
My biggest concern, too. That's why I want to find somebody experienced to talk through the swap. Part of my goal is to learn the connections in the swap, which can be accomplished through this process. I am not going to learn anything by leaving it alone, so on some level my experience and capability go up in relation to leaving it stock, not the other way around. This is often the value in a big mod - you learn a lot about your rig.

Quote:
What are your thoughts for/against a diesel power plant?
I don't want a Cummins. That engine class cannot compare for long family interstate trips to places like Moab, or skiing day trips. The 80 is a big SUV that is my mountain truck for my family. I wheel it hard, but it does far more highway miles with four kids and two dogs in the back. The 4.2L by all accounts I can find should improve NVH against the 1ZFE substantially (the GM heads on TrailVoy admit that the 4.2 is smoother and quieter than the 5.3 and 6.0 V8's), but a Cummins goes the other way, big time.

A Toyota diesel is basically a powerplant that has virtually no U.S. technical support, and it is extremely expensive. If the argument is that a GM engine swap will leave you stranded because your average Toyota dealer can't work on it, then a Toyota diesel is a complete non-starter because you are talking about having to import increasingly rare parts.

A Trailblazer is about the same weight as a stock 80 (4,600 lbs). I've read reports that fuel economy is not great (14-16) on the stock truck, as well as reports of 18-20 where the owner wasn't babying it. That's a big spread that requires some more research on my part.

The key will be how "easy" it is to do vs. the fitment required for a V8 and the relative cost of the engines. All of this may lead to a swap that works well financially over the years, but that's what I'm trying to figure out. I'm not a power freak - I can live with the 1ZFE. It's just not all that enjoyable when I can't even get up Monument hill without the damn thing dragging ass and getting 7-8 mpg in the process.

Maybe I'll go and test drive a Trailblazer while we debate the merits
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nay View Post
I'm looking at the Atlas because it is an inline six with V8 power and (so is said) as good or better than a V8 torque curve - I love the I6's and this engine just seems ideal for an 80. It is lightweight (all aluminum) and should deliver a 50% improvement in fuel economy to go with the major HP increase. Engines are relatively cheap in the yards, parts should be around for years and years.
Nay, do you have a link for some HP and torque curves. I have always been underwelmed with Chevy gas engines as used in their SUV's and Pickups. On paper the specs always look good, but when you drive them you go meh, not that good on real life. Never driven any with this motor in it, but I am curious. Maybe need to go testdrive something with one of these motors.


Quote:
Why ditch a perfectly good 1ZFE with relatively good miles that has had its headgasket replaced as preventative measure by Mr. Slee and Associates? I am sick of the narrow power band, the horrid fuel economy, the lack of lungs at altitude, and the less than stellar NVH especially over 2,900 RPM. I could go forced induction (assuming SC remain available), but I am extremely wary of the fuel vapor smell issue emerging on our engines, which is clearly exacerbated by forced induction and altitude, and it does nothing for fuel economy.
FWIW, I have a used SC that has 60k on it for $2k if anyone is interested.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:16 AM
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Nay, what is this fuel vapor issue you're referring to for us non-80 educated?
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleeoffroad View Post
Nay, do you have a link for some HP and torque curves. I have always been underwelmed with Chevy gas engines as used in their SUV's and Pickups. On paper the specs always look good, but when you drive them you go meh, not that good on real life. Never driven any with this motor in it, but I am curious. Maybe need to go testdrive something with one of these motors.

FWIW, I have a used SC that has 60k on it for $2k if anyone is interested.
Christo, I have been looking for a chart (googling) and not finding one - lots of talk about 90% of max torque available by 1,600 RPM and pretty flat up to redline (plus talk of a flatter curve than the V8's), 10:1 compression ratio, but I haven't been able to find an actual chart.

I need to test drive, too, before I get too overly excited. My guess is that it will feel "normal" by today's standards in a heavy SUV, which is actually what I am after. The SC would certainly accomplish this, but I may be fearing too much for the future of our engines in avoiding that route re: the fuel vapor concern.
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