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NOOB that needs guidance, and wants more TQ.

Old 08-12-2018, 12:12 PM
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Question NOOB that needs guidance, and wants more TQ.

Howdy all, first post, I've been lurking on this site for a very long time trying to piece information together about what I want to do with my truck.
I didn't know what I was getting into when I bought my vehicle, (2013 Suburban Z71). I thought everything was the same as a 1500 pickup and I would have no problems finding specific parts and whatnot. In most aspects, I still do, but I have a large number of shadetree mechanics telling me there will be countless issues to run into if I try to use bolt on Silverado or Sierra motor parts.
I'm not new to engines, I used to sit and watch and learn with my grandfather who (now in his 70's) used to build motors and drag race. Albeit I was very young and forgot mostly everything important about car engines. However, I am very versed in motorcycle engines and know them inside and out. I digress.

2013 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 Z71
Everything that you cant see from the outside of my burb is stock. I am using a 3.5 inch lift and running 34 inch tires, I have a custom (hackjob) exhaust. Stock headers that feed into stock y that go to a huge ebay cutout muffler that dumps under the passenger door, I don't think it's doing me any favors.
That's it!
Body mods are an important consideration because they're adding lots of weight, before it's over with I'll have a metal bumper set, winch, hitch tire carrier, and spare fuel. altogether I believe it adds roughly 550LBS.
My budget is tight for the time being, and I don't intend on getting all these parts at the same time, however if anyone has any insight on the best mods to produce more usable torque, please let me in on the secret. Also it's a given I'm going to do the common bolt on suite with intakes and headers, gears, and all that jazz.

This vehicles purpose is to be an off-road recovery vehicle, heavy use of towing off pavement, getting stuck in mud trying to go from point A to B, and hauling at least 800lbs worth of people.
As it sits, it's a slouch, a big slouch. Towing just a payload of 800lbs I had to use manual mode religiously to keep the revs up and maintain highway speed. I can't keep doing that.

I know about the big buzzwords, "Cams, Gear Ratios, Throttle Bodies, Tuners, Superchargers"
I need insight about, "If I get this camshaft, what other parts do I need to ensure it's running at full potential?" and, "If you do this mod, you need this mod to make it work better" and so forth.
I'm interested in extensive internal engine work, but I couldn't risk the reliability of my daily+service vehicle. I'm interested in the middleground.

Where do I start guys, I'm in a rut.
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Old 08-12-2018, 05:51 PM
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Needs 4.56's or maybe even 4.88's with such large tires. With the 6 speed auto, maybe the 4.56's are the better choice. Your stock, I assume 3.42's are making it a complete turd.

Your camshaft selection comes down to budget and what you want from the truck. Do you want just 50--70hp or do you want another 100-150hp??

The bigger the cam you pick the more a torque converter will be required but if you tow and want to haul people from the mud/sand/whatever a bigger stall could just be a major issue.

Here is my suggestions. Small cam, maybe headers, new gears and a tune.

Or just do new gears, a supercharger kit with a tune. This option will cost the most.
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:20 PM
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Like FFDP said gears will be the best upgrade for your goals.
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dantheman1540 View Post
Like FFDP said gears will be the best upgrade for your goals.
Agreed +2
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:58 PM
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Yep, gears will be your biggest bang for the buck. How much are you wanting to spend on all of this?
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Old 08-12-2018, 07:21 PM
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Don’t listen to anyone telling you that engine parts from a silverado or Sierra will not fit in a suburban. You don’t need that negativity in your life haha.
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Old 08-13-2018, 06:19 AM
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You don't need but tons of power for the dirt. Go with gears, locking diffs, and really good tires. You can only go so much if you mod the engine. A lot of mods take power from the bottom and put it on the top. For example if you install a big cam you will get surge that is highly annoying off road and it will take away low rpm power where you will be operating most of the time.
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Old 08-13-2018, 08:36 PM
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If this is a long term project the first thing to do is to fix the exhaust and get a tune. Then gears and a 14-bolt axle for the rear (AXN). Then buy a used L9H motor and have that tuned. Unless you supercharge the 5.3, you'll spend a lot more money on internals and still barely equal the power of the 6.2 and lose some of its manners. For a 5.3, run 2 mufflers with 2-1/4" pipes or one muffler with 2-3/4" pipes. The 6.2s run 3" single if memory serves.

Consider swapping this truck out for a 2500 Suburban or Yukon XL.
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Old 08-14-2018, 03:31 AM
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I appreciate the replies, I intend to get the gears changed and tuned asap, Once i become more knowledgeable on everything and finish some drop ins, I'll really put it through it's paces and see what I really need for my situation.
I guess I'm like everyone else because the idea of a 6.2 swap really makes me giddy, humor me, how different is it to swap a 6.2 into a burb than it is into a silverado?

I know I could have some help from mechanic buddies but what would differ? I can go find a post to swap a 6.2 for the 5.3 but would it be apples to apples for my truck?
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Old 08-14-2018, 06:45 AM
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Ya know if you're looking to do an engine swap you might want to look into dropping a diesel in there. You want torque, that'll give it ya, plus better mpg's. I'm not a diesel fan, but in a big truck like that you can't beat it. I'm no expert to know for sure about swapping between LS model motors, but going between the 5.3 and 6.2 should be pretty straight forward, except trannies. You'll definitely want the 4L80e over the 4L60e.
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