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Author Topic: Manual trans swap  (Read 269 times)

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CookieCK

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Manual trans swap
« on: 02/05/18 02:03 AM »

So first things first, I am plan on doing a transmission swap to a manual trans in my 2007 Avalanche.
I tend to over explain things, so if you want the details read on. If you want the basics, tl;dr at the end.

Of course I've heard all the criticism about it, but this isn't some lighthearted idea. I've looked into it plenty, and found almost all the answers I need, but I still have a couple questions I can't find exact answers for my specific application.

I've seen Lord Aries ZF6 swap, and as awesome as it is, the ZF6 is not needed for me. I also have 2wd, not 4wd, so slightly different setup(no worry about transfer cases and the driveshaft for the front). I plan to us the NV4500. I've got the parts side of things pretty much figured out, I've found plenty of info on other forums between people doing or contemplating this swap in silverados, sierras, other gm V8 vehicles, or even using the vortec engines in jeeps or other toys, 2wd and 4wd, with plenty options of manual transmissions used as well.

So parts and labor aside, my only concern is the tuning bit of things. I've come across conflicting ideas and options for it and just not sure what to go with. So obviously the 5.3 engine in my avalanche never had a manual transmission from GM, in any application. The 4.8 and 6.0 engines did. So there isn't the simple find an ecu from a manual version and swap it or copy the tune or whatever. I've seen the option to tune it yourself, but as comfortable as I am with tearing apart and rebuilding things, tuning is one thing I've never gotten into with newer vehicles. And I read on a few other forums that just simply tuning out the automatic transmission protocols can cause issues with deceleration and idling requiring more tuning or parts to fix. And there's also the issue of the pesky check engine light, which I've heard will most likely be on. Where I live, vehicles less than 25 yrs old do have to pass a basic emissions test yearly. Its nothing as stringent as say California, but a check engine light on will fail it. So in my research, I came across one post that recommended Howell EFI for an ECU to use with a manual transmission on the 5.3. Has anybody here heard of them? I think I found it on an offroad forum so the CEL dilemma wasn't really discussed, but they said it worked with the 5.3 with a manual transmission to get the vehicle running at least(it was a jeep forum swapping a 5.3 into a manual jeep rock crawler, so a completely different beast but similar enough I guess). So would that be something that could pass emissions? Swap my ECU for theirs after all the transmission bits are in and good to go? If that sounds too good to be true, or won't work for some reason, what would be the next easiest thing? One forum post suggested just getting a 6.0 manual ECU and running it as is, but that seemed way to hinky for me, running a 6.0 tune on a 5.3 engine. But could a 6.0 ECU be easily changed to match the 5.3 engine parameters?




tl;dr - Will a Howell EFI ECU for a 5.3 work fine, get my truck running with a manual trans, and pass a basic OBD emissions test yearly? If so, is it a basic plug n play kinda swap or will there still be anything else needed for engine side of things? If not, whats the best options for someone with no computer tuning experience?
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redheadedrod

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Re: Manual trans swap
« Reply #1 on: 02/05/18 08:53 AM »

If your area does yearly testing you need to check with them about what you can upgrade. You may find that anything installed in your vehicle not matching up with what it was built with may fail you. Or you may find they just stick a sensor in your tail pipe. First find out what limitations the laws in your area are before you do anything.

Beyond that also check with your insurance company that it won't cause issues. I know there was a clause in my State Farm insurance that stated anything done to make the vehicle faster would void the insurance. It also states that it didn't cover vehicles used in races and some other stuff. (Ie if you roll your car at the drag strip it is NOT covered etc..)

Once you do that research then you can move on from there...
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CookieCK

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Re: Manual trans swap
« Reply #2 on: 02/05/18 05:02 PM »

The emissions here is simply a plug up obd port test, checks for any CEL codes, which is why I'm trying to figure that part out first. The actual equipment doesn't matter, they don't check up or look at anything else, just plug up the port and turn the car on, so it's only the computer side of things that matters. And not so much worried about insurance either, I don't race the truck or anything, I've got a sport bike and a Camaro if I want speed. I will still double check with insurance before doing the swap, but if I can't figure out the computer side first then insurance won't matter if it won't pass emissions.
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JVZL1

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Re: Manual trans swap
« Reply #3 on: 02/05/18 07:48 PM »

  ms38w search his builds and PM him.

Good luck keep us posted.
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redheadedrod

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Re: Manual trans swap
« Reply #4 on: 02/05/18 09:55 PM »

When doing a swap like this research is your best friend. There are many places out there that provide services for this sort of thing that are experts in doing it. I would suggest using google and different search words to see if you can find someone that did the same thing.

Note that you will find that pretty much any vehicle that came with the LSX engine configurations will be similar. Not sure with the 2007 but if it is the same engine as earlier trucks they came as 4.8, 5.3 and 6.0.

Sounds like your testing just checks for no codes and tail pipe testing. They were going to start doing testing in my area that was much more significant in theory anyhow. They were going to run the vehicle on a machine and run the speed up and down to check for emissions and do some other tests on the cars. Luckily it was tossed before we had to do it.

I know when I was looking into swapping the engine in my car they stipulated that an engine of the same year or newer had to be used in order to be "legal" as far as the "feds" are concerned. Not sure with the transmissions. But again, you should be able to find shops that do these sort of swaps. Biggest issue is going to be getting a tune for your control modules depending on how you do it. If you go after market I don't know how compatible they are with the testing stations since they will want to be able to pull some information such as VIN and such. I know some swaps use factory PCM/ECM reprogrammed to the engine/transmission combo.

Looked into this sort of thing when I was looking to do a V8 swap into my S10 but never did due to unfortunate circumstances. Stripped the S10 and had the frame sand blasted. Was going to put it together with an LT1 from a caprice I had but never made it. Ended up scrapping it and the engine blew a crankshaft bearing when I installed it into my caprice after cracking the original block..  Doing my own swaps sure did cost me... lol but still cost me less in the end dollar wise when compared to paying someone to do it. Like when paying for a rebuilt transmission and got a 12k mile warranty for it to blow at 13k... So yea, can be a "fun" time... Learned a lot doing it myself though.

Whatever you end up doing please share what you did find out. I know I will be doing some stuff to my truck in the coming years and hearing how others ended up will certainly help.
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2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
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Calicak89

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Re: Manual trans swap
« Reply #5 on: 02/06/18 07:37 AM »

  ms38w search his builds and PM him.

Good luck keep us posted.

X2,
ms38w has worked every gremlin associated with this
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enoniam

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Re: Manual trans swap
« Reply #6 on: 02/06/18 08:56 AM »

Tuning for going to a manual for your truck is very simple.  I have a tuning business and while I've never done this exact thing I have successfully tuned a truck 5.3 in a 68 Camaro with a V6 S10 PCM.  While that sounds complicated it isn't really that bad.  PM me if you'd like...
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CookieCK

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Re: Manual trans swap
« Reply #7 on: 02/12/18 06:08 AM »

When doing a swap like this research is your best friend. There are many places out there that provide services for this sort of thing that are experts in doing it. I would suggest using google and different search words to see if you can find someone that did the same thing. 

Yea I've been doing this basically nonstop for a long time now. I can find lots of similar examples, and I've pulled bits and pieces of info from lots of them, just piecing it together to get exactly what I need. I'll definitely keep looking for more info as I go. I don't personally know of any shops near me that would do a swap like this but I'll ask around and see if I can find some and get some info from them as well if I can.

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll look into what I can and see what I can figure out. I hadn't planned on doing this swap for awhile but my transmissions messing up and if I'm gonna drop money into it I'd rather it be for a manual transmission. My Avy is the only vehicle I have that has an automatic so it'll be fun having it as a manual too. It'll still probably be awhile til I get it done, I'm not in a rush as its not my daily driver or anything, I'd rather take my time and get it right.

Any other help or suggestions are still welcome, the more info the better.
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