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  1. #1

    SWAP OPTION: LL8 / Vortec4200 / 4.2L straight 6

    After reading up on Franks v8 swap and all of the little issues he's having with fitment, I'm wondering if this engine (the Vortec 4200/ LL8/ 4.2L) would be a better choice for a swap into my XJ. I see that the front diff is integrated into the pan; perhaps a new one, with a relocated oil p/u could be fabbed pretty easily?

    The information I've found so far is telling me that this engine (the Vortec 4200/ LL8/ 4.2L) would be a fantastic replacement for the 4.0L Jeep I6 in my XJ, with reliable power because it's a "stock" motor, not a bleeding edge 4.0 stroker.

    I searched and found this old closed thread......

    http://www.colorado4x4.org/vbb/showt...ht=Vortec+4200

    .....so here's a new thread with more information that I've gathered. I'll be adding more info to this first post as I find out more, so check back....

    Stock GM Photos:

    Drive/Intake side:


    Pass/Exhaust side:

    This is actually the i5, because I can't find a pic of the i6 pass side.

    GM Cutaway:


    Some basic engine info/specs:

    LL8

    Vortec 4200 LL8 engine in a 2006 Chevrolet Traiblazer.The LL8 (or Vortec 4200), is a straight-6 truck engine. It was the first Atlas engine, and was designed for GM's new SUV line. It displaces 4.2 L (4160 cc, 254 cu in)[1], with a 93 mm (3.7 in) bore and 102 mm (4 in) stroke. Engine redline is 6300 rpm. Alternator: 150 amp

    LL8 Applications:

    2002-2009 GMC Envoy, Envoy XL, and Envoy XUV
    2002-2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer and TrailBlazer EXT
    2002-2004 Oldsmobile Bravada
    2004-2007 Buick Rainier
    2003-2008 Isuzu Ascender
    2005-2009 Saab 9-7X

    Power by year:

    2002 270hp / 275ft/lbs
    2003-2005 275hp / 275ft/lbs
    2006-2009 291hp / 277ft/lbs (can vary slightly through the years due to the new SAE rating procedures)

    The Atlas LL8 was on the Ward's 10 Best Engines list for 2002 through 2005.

    SOURCE 1

    SOURCE 2


    Detailed engine specs (not dimentions)


    Here's a shot showing the integrated diff that I would have to work around:




    TRANSMISSION

    Transmission: 4L60e 4-spd auto w/OD

    They came with 2 different tail housing bolt patterns. 4 bolt and 6 bolt pattern. The 4 bolt unit is a two-piece transfer case with just a removeable tail shaft cone, whereas the 6 bolt unit is a three-piece transfer case with a removeable bell housing & tail shaft cone. The 6 bolt unit is the "late model" version mfg'd after 1997, but from what I've read, the preferred model years appear to be post 1998. SOURCE 1 SOURCE 2


    Early 4 bolt pattern:


    Late 6 bolt pattern:


    NOTE: Per the Novak site, the pre '08 and post '08 4L60e (and variants) may not be cross compatible due to an Input Shaft Speed Sensor. It's probably best to keep the model years of engine/trans the same or close, but not cross the '08 model year.

    Advance Adapters makes an adapter for the Atlas case. They list as being for the early & late versions, but the picture shows a 4 bolt pattern. SOURCE



    There's a write up on BC4x4 that shows AA offering a 6 bolt adapter, but I can't find it on AA's website. SOURCE



    Transmission bellhousing SBC (left) vs. 4200 (right)


    An adaptor plate has been made to adapt an ealier model 700R4/TH350/TH400. It requires modifying the old style bellhousing to make room for the high mounted starter.



    Yet another option would be using the bellhousing, transmission & transfer case from an H3, but I believe it's the same system as was used in the Trailblazer/Envoy/ect..



    4WD SYSTEM

    4wd: AutoTrac automatic full-time four-wheel

    SOURCE 3

    Transfercase: NVG226 - It provides five modes of operation: Auto 4WD, 4 HI, 4 LO, 2 HI and Neutral. - Probably look into a swap to a more common manually shifted case.



    ENGINE MEASUREMENTS:

    Bottom of oil pan to top of intake is @33inch or 837.2MM

    Crank C/L to top of intake is @21 inch or 533.4MM



    TUNING OPTIONS:
    According to the folks over on www.trailvoy.com;

    Quote Originally Posted by ScarabEpic22 View Post
    If you're looking at an 08-09 then an I6 could be done much easier than an earlier I6, plus if you use the stock trans the wiring would be a TON easier.

    So 08-09 I6s with stock trans can be controlled pretty much remotely, the E67 is very versatile and is what GMPP LSx motors come with if they are EFI. Running the stock 08-09 OS you can setup different tach settings/pluses and you can shut off all the VATS stuff in EFILive (security stuff, might make it so you dont need to run a BCM...).

    Need to be able to run the ECM/PCM independently of the rest of the body. I know that the VATS (Vehicle Anti Theft System) will need to be disabled. But what else?

    HP Tuners
    PCM for less
    EFI Live
    Others??



    MISC INFO & IDEAS

    Here's a thread with a lot of hard core LL8 performance info, but also some small details are covered for swap purposes.
    http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=33447


    One issue can be the "drive by wire" throttle system that the 4200 uses...be sure to get the corresponding throttle pedal from the donor vehicle.

    They didn't make a 2wd version SOURCE so a custom pan may be required, but apparently you can get 2 pans from the Vortec 3500 (it's the same block but shorter) and cut/weld to proper fitment. This probably also requires the oil p/u assy from the 3500 as well.

    Here's a shot of the Vortec 3500/I5 - For reference of the rear sump & oil pan



    Here's a shot of a custom welded oil pan for the 4200



    UPDATE: There's a company that offers a custom pan now. http://www.emtechmotorsports.com/ind...es/Page540.htm

    Apparently the swap has been done in a TJ: http://picasaweb.google.com/scott.el...JeepTjProject#
    Last edited by Backwoods Rambler; October 7th, 2009 at 02:04 PM.
    - JD
    2004 WJ- Stock...for now...

  2. #2
    'Screw you guys, I'm going home" Frank Z's Avatar
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    5.3L fits just fine, the truck intake is a little tall so some folks opt for the LS6 version. The truck intake makes more low-end torque though.
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  3. #3
    4.2 have bottom end issues i would stay away from them plus why put time money and effort into swapping in a 6cyl
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Z View Post
    5.3L fits just fine, the truck intake is a little tall so some folks opt for the LS6 version. The truck intake makes more low-end torque though.
    I wasn't aware of the taller truck intakes...

    No offense Frank, but to me, "fitting just fine" doesn't involve cutting the exhaust manifold, the hood and fabricating/modifying the alternator bracket, so that the engine will sit in the chassis & the hood closes. Don't get me wrong, you know that I think it's awesome that you're doing it, but considering the power numbers, I'm just wondering if the I6 makes more sense for me.




    Quote Originally Posted by rockrashengineering View Post
    4.2 have bottom end issues i would stay away from them....
    I'm not sure what you mean here; 90% of thier max torque is available at 1600 rpm and I can't find anything about the bottom ends being unreliable.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockrashengineering View Post
    .....why put time money and effort into swapping in a 6cyl
    1. Because it makes more power than the stroker I was considering buying
    2. Initial cost, and hopefully over all cost, would be less than the stroker
    3. It would likey be more reliable than a 4.0 stroker
    4. Because it makes comparable power (less a little torque) as the vortec 5.3 v8 that Frank just swapped in. SOURCE
    5. It looks like it would be an easier fit than the 5.3 due to is smaller size.


    Not that I would need to if I had nearly 300hp/300ft lbs on hand; but I think it's worth saying that the smaller size would allow room for a turbo or supercharger if I wanted it down the road.
    Last edited by Backwoods Rambler; September 13th, 2009 at 11:21 AM.

  5. #5
    'Screw you guys, I'm going home" Frank Z's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoods Rambler View Post
    I wasn't aware of the taller truck intakes...

    No offense Frank, but to me, "fitting just fine" doesn't involve cutting the exhaust manifold, the hood and fabricating/modifying the alternator bracket, so that the engine will sit in the chassis & the hood closes. Don't get me wrong, you know that I think it's awesome that you're doing it, but considering the power numbers, I'm just wondering if the I6 makes more sense for me
    No worries and no offense taken at all.

    The manifold idea was just that, an idea, not sure that will ever happen. I can buy a set of headers from Novak that are a perfect fit, but the cost is a very bitter pill to swallow. as it stands it looks like I'm going to have to go that route as of today.

    As far the height, yeah it has to be dealt with and if I had to start over again I'd go with the car based LS motor. It certainly does simply the process.

    A V8 swap into any vehicle that didn't originally come with one is no small feat and not for anyone that wants a drop in solution for more power (insert Tim Allen Grunt). I'm learning a tremendous amount doing my own mods, wiring, and fabrication but let's be 100% honest here....I ain't perfect. Hopefully when it's all said and done and the heep is back on the road, the final summary will greatly simplify the process for anyone else that wants to do the same. No I'm not saying that my build thread will be the singular reference for LS swaps, but maybe someone will look at it and glean info info to make there's go a bit smoother.


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  6. #6
    svoman2300's Avatar
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    That 4.2l looks quite tall to me. There may be a hood fitment issue with that engine also if not worse in a XJ. The link you posted with the TJ shows the engine up much further than a 4.0l would be. The TJ's have quite a bit more hood clearance than a XJ. I would assume the engine Frank has would fit into a TJ no problem.
    86 AMC Eagle Wagon

  7. #7
    'Screw you guys, I'm going home" Frank Z's Avatar
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    You are 100% correct. The height of the 5.3L or 6.0L is a non-issue in a TJ.

  8. #8
    SVO - yeah, that's a concern and I can't seem to find a set of overall dimensions for the 4200, so I'm still looking into that. Notice the lack of depth in front portion of the 4200 modified tank; that could help.

    The height could definitely be a deal breaker and a reason to stick with the "car based" 5.3L plan...

  9. #9
    SOME INITIAL ENGINE MEASUREMENTS ADDED TO FIRST POST

    I updated and changed the first post to help keep all of the info organized since that is where all of the critical information will be kept.

    If/When I do the swap there will likely be a new thread.

  10. #10
    j5's Avatar
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    2 questions: What are you swapping it into? Why do you want an IFS front?
    88YJ - way over budget
    49ish M100 Willys trailer

  11. #11
    I don't want an IFS front. However I do think IFS is a good platform for certain levels of 4wheeling, and with advancements being made, it might be the next hot thing.

    I'm talking about swapping the Vortec 4200 into my XJ.

    I'll edit the first post to make that more clear...
    Last edited by Backwoods Rambler; September 16th, 2009 at 07:59 PM.

  12. #12
    svoman2300's Avatar
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    "Bottom of oil pan to top of intake is @33inch or 837.2MM"

    That's almost 10" taller than the dimensions I found online for a LS1. I have got a Jeep 6 on the stand in the garage and from the bottom of the pan to the very tallest point (PVC elbow) it is just under 27".
    Last edited by svoman2300; September 16th, 2009 at 08:59 PM.

  13. #13
    Yeah, it occured to me that the measurement I got is with the front sump oil pan, which I would be swapping to rear sump. That alone should eliminate 6"-8".

    I'm less interested in it's height difference to a v8, than I am to it's difference to the Jeep 4.0 I6.

    I'm also thinking that the smaller I6 engine will have less issues with cooling.....any opinions on that since they make similar power?

  14. #14
    [hijack]That I5 would be kind of interesting. I know numerically, a 5 cylinder engine is as close to "perfect" as you can get. (in terms of crankshaft rotation between power stroke). I know that adds nothing to this thread, just came to mind.[/hijack]
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Janky View Post
    [hijack]That I5 would be kind of interesting. I know numerically, a 5 cylinder engine is as close to "perfect" as you can get. (in terms of crankshaft rotation between power stroke). I know that adds nothing to this thread, just came to mind.[/hijack]

    The 4.2 is an inline 6. The 3.5 and 3.7 (hummer, colorado, canyon & others) go the I5.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by svoman2300 View Post
    "Bottom of oil pan to top of intake is @33inch or 837.2MM"

    That's almost 10" taller than the dimensions I found online for a LS1. I have got a Jeep 6 on the stand in the garage and from the bottom of the pan to the very tallest point (PVC elbow) it is just under 27".

    What's the measurement from the center of the crank pulley to the top of the motor (PVC elbow)??

  17. #17
    svoman2300's Avatar
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    With my measuring tape and my calibrated eye approximately 18.5" .

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoods Rambler View Post
    The 4.2 is an inline 6. The 3.5 and 3.7 (hummer, colorado, canyon & others) go the I5.
    Ya, I was referring to the OP and the pic of the I5, that's all.

  19. #19
    UPDATE: There's a company that offers some 4.2 parts now. http://www.emtechmotorsports.com/index.htm

    Including custom oil pans: http://www.emtechmotorsports.com/ind...es/Page540.htm

  20. #20
    A forum member turned me onto his Atlas 3.7 I5 swap which turned out VERY clean and reportedly offers great power & economy over his stock motor.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/autoerot...eat=directlink

    http://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-te...-i-5-fj80.html

    Right awn!

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoods Rambler View Post
    fixed

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