The entire time all this was going on, I was trying to figure out what to do about an engine. The 307 hadn't really been helped by a new timing chain, valve seals and a carb rebuild. I toyed with the idea of just putting 305HO heads on and a cam in it like I read about in a thread on the HAMB. Then I considered putting a big block in it since I've never had a BB car, so here is my opportunity. I looked into it and read tons here at TC and all over the place. What I found out is that a BB is out of my price range. THen I started considering SB options. 350, 383, 400, 406. Checked out my options and looked into costs, but even that, though people say how cheap engines are, is out of my price range. Thought and thoughts went through, always considering, going over options and such. The trail led me to LS1Tech where I began to read about actual inexpensive engines.
From what I read, just about anything I considered would have required lots of running around, finding machine shops, trusting them with my meager funds, and then doing a lot of assembly work myself. At least until I hit on the LS engines. It seems that these are much less likely to have worn out cylinders and even other parts when run as high as 200K miles. The older smallblocks mostly always seemed to be pretty much done and needing a rebuild at 150K. I'd always liked the 96-up 350 Vortec and the engine management, so I always thought I'd put one of those in a Chevelle. May as well start with any junkyard 350 at that point and go through all the mess of buying, disassembling, cleaning and rolling the dice on whether the parts are even any good then deciding on oh hell all that stuff that needs deciding on when you build an engine. Not fun for me.
So, researching the LS engines, I decided that my chances were much better going with that since I wouldn't have to even open the long block. I would get my SFI fuel system and have an actual modern engine. I started to look for a 6 liter truck for a donor.
I couldn't find one that fit into my $3K budget for the entire swap, so I started checking the online junkyards for the right one. Of course, I wasn't able to find the legendary $300.00 6.0 complete with harness and trans. I settled on an LM4 aluminum block 5.3 from a Buick Rainier, and rolled the dice to see what showed up after I placed the order.
This is how it arrived.
It was wet inside the plastic and smelled nasty. Not bad engine nasty, but moldy something wet nasty. Had me a little worried, but not too much, so I found a buddy with a pickup to get it home for me
At which point I realized I didn't have any bolts to attach it to the engine stand :/
So, along with my beautiful junior assistant, I started disassembling it anyways.
During which I discovered that some of the front bracket bolts could be used for attaching it to the stand. It was pretty annoying to be cleaning up my work toolbox a couple of days later and finding a whole bag of the correct metric bolts. So, problem solved.
But I got it all cleaned up and ready to put the pan on.
Then, last weekend when I got the pan all torqued down, I went to put the dipstick in. Um, you know, it's a funny thing about the Buick Rainier, the dipstick goes into the oil pan, so they don't even drill the boss in the block for one. So I had to, once again with the help of my junio assistant to hold the vacuum hose.