Goodbye TBI 305, Hello 5.3! Time Lapse C10 Engine Swap Video

The eighties were not exactly the glory days of the venerable small-block Chevy. Tightening emissions standards and soaring fuel costs during the previous decade had necessitated the switch from carburetors to fuel injection, but the EFI of the era was, frankly speaking, half-assed. “Throttle Body Injection” of the era was an early attempt to get better economy and lower emissions without going all-in with new engine designs, and the results showed it.

A case in point is the 1987 Chevy pickup in this video. Saddled with the unloved 305 cubic inch V8 and factory TBI, it could be counted on to produce a paltry 170 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque “at the brochure.” Compare this to the 285 or so horsepower made by a bone stock 5.3l LS powerplant, and it’s easy to see why our YouTube friend AGearHead4Life would undertake the swap shown in this time lapse.

We’ve previously highlighted his DIY LS pre-oiler and head porting videos – here, it’s just a straightforward engine replacement, with a junkyard 5.3 that’s undergone a bit of tweaking. Here’s the partial parts list:

  • 5.3L LSx (165k miles)
  • 4.8 flat top pistons (Used) (10.6:1 CR) – reused 5.3 rings
  • Home ported 862 casting heads
  • LS1 2″ intake valves (Used)
  • TSP 220r cam – 220/220 581/581 112 LSA (Used)
  • PAC 1218 .600″ lift valve springs (New)
  • Schoenfelds LSx truck swap long tube headers with Tech Line Coating (New)

It’s a budget-friendly mix of new and used parts, and we’re looking forward to the dyno results once he gets the tune dialed in. So, after seeing this, are you inspired to do your own swap? Let’s hear about it in the comments…

About the author

Paul Huizenga

After some close calls on the street in his late teens and early twenties, Paul Huizenga discovered organized drag racing and never looked back, becoming a SFI-Certified tech inspector and avid bracket racer. Formerly the editor of OverRev and Race Pages magazines, Huizenga set out on his own in 2009 to become a freelance writer and editor.
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