Duramax Diesels Forum Truck of the Week
  #1  
Old 12-27-2016, 03:30 PM
the_engineers the_engineers is offline
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Default New guy with van addiction

Greetings all!

My name is Brooks and I have a van problem. We have a 2002 GMC Savana Hightop Explorer conversion van with a 5.7/4L65E swapped to 6 lugs. The 5.7 is very worn after ~190k and just doesn't have the power to pull our 20' enclosed car trailer.

We kicked around swapping a HT383E, but in the end decided we'd always be on the ragged edge of properly towing (and stopping) the 7,000 lb load. After a year of searching, we bought a 2006 Express 2500 with a Duramax to use as a donor chassis. The plan is to get the '06 into shape (head gaskets, injectors, etc) and swap bodies. I'd like to swap to the Allison as part of the switch. The ability to swap to the truck tune, more reliability and lower highway rpms are all of positives. I understand the floor needs to be cut, which is not a big deal as the conversion van has a loose center console that will hide the majority of the change anyway.

I've read a lot of starter threads here, and elsewhere, about people starting the Allison swap, or hearing about the Allison swap...but I have yet to see proof that someone has done it successfully. FWIW, I'd like to do the 6-speed to see the full benefit.

Anyway, I've rambled plenty. Thanks for having me and feel free to point me in the direction of a successful Allison van swap if you know of one.

Thanks!
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Old 12-27-2016, 08:23 PM
the_engineers the_engineers is offline
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The donor vehicle
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Old 12-27-2016, 08:40 PM
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That is awesome, I want a van to pull the racetruck.
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Old 12-27-2016, 09:16 PM
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:43 PM
the_engineers the_engineers is offline
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I guess I should clarify...a success thread about an Allison swap in a van seems to be elusive. Sorry for any confusion...

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Old 12-28-2016, 05:12 AM
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Since it looks like you're going to use this thread to describe your build, I moved it into Repower/Transplant section.

Nobody on here has swapped a van 4L80 to an Allison that I know of. JoshH is the only guy I can think of still here who even messes around with a Dmax van.
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Old 12-28-2016, 05:35 AM
036.6turbo 036.6turbo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_engineers View Post

We kicked around swapping a HT383E, but in the end decided we'd always be on the ragged edge of properly towing (and stopping) the 7,000 lb load
I can't help with the van dmax swap, but I did put a 383H.T. motor in a TBI GM truck. Many, many moons ago, back before GM even offered the "E" model.

I can tell you it did tow well, but the 4L60E I had behind it was never happy.

On it's best day, it was not on par with a Dmax.
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Old 12-28-2016, 05:40 AM
036.6turbo 036.6turbo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_engineers View Post
The plan is to get the '06 into shape (head gaskets, injectors, etc) and swap bodies.
I just reread your post, my mother drives a 2003 Chevy full size conversion van. If memory serves, it is a Uni Body, not a body on frame configuration?

I'm not sure about a body swap?
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:40 AM
the_engineers the_engineers is offline
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After 1995, they are all body on frame. There's actually a great YouTube video showing the body being lifted off to replace the motor, rather than pull it out through the front.


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Last edited by the_engineers; 12-28-2016 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:58 AM
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I have played around with the Duramax powered vans a little, but I've never really even considered swapping in an Allison. From what I remember, there is quite a bit of clearance around the transmission to the floor. I wouldn't be surprised if you could fit it without doing any cutting. It might get a little tight around the bellhousing though. Wiring probably shouldn't be too complicated since the TCM and ECM will be speaking the same language. It will take a little bit of wiring, but if you have access to wiring diagrams and know how to read them, you shouldn't have too much trouble.
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:08 AM
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how about a 6l90 they came in 11 and up duramax vans and had a 14k gvw
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:54 AM
the_engineers the_engineers is offline
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The reading that I've done makes it sound like the electronics on '10 and newer would be an extremely steep hurdle. I don't recall seeing a stand-alone for the 6L90...

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Old 12-29-2016, 10:21 PM
the_engineers the_engineers is offline
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Busy day today...good news and bad news.

Good news:
I talked to Jason at TransmissionTuner.com. He figures the best route is to run the ECM, TCM and BCM from a donor truck. I'd automatically have the truck tune and all three would be automatically able to talk to each other. He suggested keeping my current BCM and figuring out which BCM pieces need to talk to the GMLAN...AC, cruise, etc.

Given that info, I saddled up the trailer and headed to pick up a '06 Allison that i found at a nearby salvage yard. Trans, torque converter and 90 day warranty for $660 plus tax.


Bad news:
I finally got a chance to really give the donor van a good once over. Aside from having a body that's been beaten like a rented mule, the doghouse is much larger than my current. We'll have to see how much is necessary.

Oh well, I'm in it now...

Last edited by the_engineers; 12-29-2016 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 12-31-2016, 02:46 PM
the_engineers the_engineers is offline
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So, looking at the Allison yoke, I have a noob question about driveshafts...do all Allison-equipped trucks have a slip, or 2-pc, driveshaft? I'm used to the standard slip-yoke arrangement for most transmissions.
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Old 12-31-2016, 02:53 PM
CarolinaHD CarolinaHD is offline
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2wd was slip shaft and 4wd was slip yoke, both 2 and 4wd trucks came with 2 piece steel driveshafts, some had single piece aluminium shafts on 4wd shorthe bed trucks.
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