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Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       11-04-2012, 7:31 AM Reply   
I really like my Chevy Avalanche but was never satisfied with the power delivered from the 5.3L powerplant. It's a pretty big truck (Suburban is disguise) and didn't move too quickly or go over hills very happily under the power of the 5.3. I thought about buying something new, maybe a Ford Ecoboost but I decided to go a different direction and supercharge the Chevy. I took the boat out for a tow over a few hills yesterday and I am very happy with the results. It's drives as it should have from the factory now. The delta guys out there know all about towing over the Vasco Road hills and the Altimont pass. Going over the Altimont it only shifted down once at the bottom when I needed to accelerate to pass a big rig. Once up to speed it held 3rd gear at 65mph all the way to the top at about 2/3 pedal into it. What's even more impressive is how little has changed. It's silent as long as your foot is in the throttle less than 1/2 pedal, idles smooth, retains good gas mileage, and even looks pretty stock under the hood. It is a bit of an investment but it sure beats buying a new truck. The shop needs a new GM dongle so they can turn off the 100mph governor but once that's gone we expect it to dyno at 384hp (rear wheel or about 460hp at the crank). The dyno tuner expects to maybe get another 15 with a few tweaks to the tuning. No more dreading the big hills!

This would also be a great upgrade to a truck with a 4.8L motor.
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Last edited by mikeski; 11-04-2012 at 7:41 AM.
Old     (501s)      Join Date: Feb 2010       11-04-2012, 8:51 AM Reply   
How much does something like that cost?
Old     (Nordicron)      Join Date: Aug 2011       11-04-2012, 10:21 AM Reply   
Yeah how much? Also do u have to run premium now also?

Wonder if this could be put into a marine application?
Old     (mach90)      Join Date: Jun 2009       11-04-2012, 2:35 PM Reply   
I looked at doing this to my 5.3L Tahoe just this past year. Unfortunately, in my case the motor was fairly run out (~200k miles) and my shop told me they wouldn't do it unless I put a new crate motor in because I'd be right back with other major issues.

I ended up going with a '12 Avalanche, and although I don't need to do it right away, I am interested in hearing more about your experiences and thoughts as you get used to it.

Btw, is your Avy a daily driver down there in the Bay? And if so, how quickly does the gas flow out of the bank account and through the motor as opposed to pre-forced induction?
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       11-04-2012, 2:52 PM Reply   
If you need to ask how much... you know the story. It's not cheap but it is less expensive than a new vehicle. My Avalanche has 110k on the ticker, cold start knock (common with these motors), and burns about a quart of oil every 4-5k miles. So you might question my reasoning. I thought about throwing in a $2k low mileage junkyard replacement in the truck before doing this but I figured I would start out with the existing motor and see if it held together. If I blow the pistons out of the bottom end I am not too worried about it so I figured what the heck and went for it. After driving it for a few weeks once I figure out what I want it to do I will take it in for a re-tune on the dyno. I already know of a few things l would like it to do differently, like shift earlier at WOT in tow mode.

This is my daily commuter. I drive in stop and go traffic 35 miles each way every day to and from work. I have only driven it to work twice now and the drive-ability is better with the supercharger. When I need to move up in traffic the truck is much more responsive. I actually feel it is a safer vehicle now for those times when you just need to get around somebody. My first 200 miles averaged 14mpg with a few spirited runs down the on-ramp on full boost. This is probably what I would have expected before the supercharger with similar driving patterns. Combined average for the past year with few 100+ mile tows in the mix over 10k miles was 15.2mpg. So if it only drops 1MPG I will be happy. If (and that is a big if) I can keep my foot out of it I suspect I will end up getting the same or better gas mileage. This configuration of supercharged motor is actually more efficient from what I have read. However I am now using the more expensive 91 octane fuel. Ultimately I expect the addition will cost me a bit more at the pump over the long term but I think it is worth it.
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       11-04-2012, 3:05 PM Reply   
"do they make it in a marine application"

No, not this type of supercharger. I toured the Edelbrock factory before buying this unit and asked a few of the guys about a marine unit. There is not enough interest for them to develop a package so you need to look elsewhere. One of the big benefits of this unit is it's low profile that fits under stock hoods (even in a Corvette). It is also very quiet.

I did consider supercharging my wakeboard boat motor and spoke with Whipple about doing it. In the end I decided against supercharging the earlier design 2 bolt main motor that sits in our wakeboard boats. For the same price ($6k) I worked out a better solution for a 425 cubic inck DART block aluminum head small block that would develop 450HP and 475ft lbs of torque without a supercharger. However I didn't pull the trigger fearing it would not have the reliability I want. If my boat had a LS style Chevy motor (ZR6) and I needed more power I would not hesitate to install a Whipple on it. The Whipple has a very effective water to air intercooler system. Unfortunately it will not be as quiet as the Edelbrock Eforce unit in my truck.
Old     (Elliottsx80)      Join Date: Feb 2012       11-04-2012, 7:01 PM Reply   
i would look into getting a better torque convertor for the tranny. the biggest thing i dont like about my supercharger is the amount of heat they put out. i have a magnacharger with a 12lb pully on my 6.0 h2 sut and if its over 100 i cant pull my boat with out if getting hot even if i kill the a/c and thats with a 2000.00 ron davis triple core radiator with custom electric fans 2 suckers and 1 pusher. i have a upgraded fuel system with 60lb injectors, texas speed heads and cam, ron davis radiator. pace setter long tubes corsca muffler and a built 4l80 with a 10 inch 4500 stall with a hp tune.... i dont know whos doing your tuning. but have them lock the convertor at wot pulls way harder
Old     (Elliottsx80)      Join Date: Feb 2012       11-04-2012, 7:03 PM Reply   
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Old     (simplej)      Join Date: Sep 2011       11-04-2012, 7:41 PM Reply   
arent eco boosts only 25k or so...
just failing to see the value

Last edited by simplej; 11-04-2012 at 7:47 PM.
Old     (Elliottsx80)      Join Date: Feb 2012       11-04-2012, 7:54 PM Reply   
0 payments is the value. not to mention more torque
Old     (boardman74)      Join Date: Jul 2012       11-04-2012, 8:06 PM Reply   
You can make a lot of payments for for what all the stuff you said you added.

There is no savings or value to this. You do it because you want to and who can blame you.

It's the same as the thread about cost to have and use toys. If you run the numbers it will be far less fun.

Everyone has their thing. Mine is boats. Everyone I build or restore I love and enjoy. But almost everyone dang one of them costs me money. It would have been a better "value" to just buy one ready. But what you have is a labor of love and given the choice you'd probably do it again!!
Old     (simplej)      Join Date: Sep 2011       11-04-2012, 8:08 PM Reply   
trade in value on that vehicle could be 11k, 6k for the supercharger would be 17k down right there for a new reliable vehicle that can be traded in 115k miles later, again just not seeing the value in the long term
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       11-04-2012, 9:20 PM Reply   
Every vehicle I own is paid for, I don't like car payments.

Robby, are you really running a 4500 stall converter on a tow vehicle? I don't see the point of a stall converter on a tow vehicle? I run mine in 3rd whenever I tow and it almost never unlocks.
Old     (nitrousbird)      Join Date: Sep 2008       11-05-2012, 8:17 AM Reply   
What made you decide the supercharger vs. a variety of other motor swaps you could have done for less money. LQ4, LQ9, or LY6 all come to mind as motors you can get used for fairly cheap (all 6.0 motors). If spending a little more cash, an L92, LS2, or LS3 would all be interesting additions as well for likely less money.

And your cold up starting is known as piston slap. Common and slightly annoying, but nothing to be worried about. I'd be a little concerned on that oil consumption - my 146k 5.3L doesn't leak or burn a drop and it hasn't exactly led a pampered life.
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       11-05-2012, 1:04 PM Reply   
The oil consumption issue is bizarre with this truck. It is not constant, sometimes I have gone between oil changes without it needing a drop other times it has inhaled a full quart within 3k miles. I have heard that some of these aluminum blocks have a porous rear surface above the transmisison that can leak oil, there is a GM technical service bulletin on this issue. I suspect this is my issue but the under carriage of my truck seems too clean for that so I am not sure. Good thing it has an oil sensor that alerts me if it gets below a quart low.

At times I sometimes have more time than money, recently my time has been at a premium. The fairly quick installation of a proven solution with the supercharger were factors in my decision. This solution is also CARB legal. In the past I would not have cared but I do today for a variety of reasons.
Old     (Elliottsx80)      Join Date: Feb 2012       11-05-2012, 6:49 PM Reply   
i dont use the h2 to tow that often. its more of a sleeper. but i do pull the 80 with it some. the 4500 isnt that bad. small blocks just dont have the bottem end torque like a big block or a diesel. so i yanked the factory 4l60 and upgraded to a built 4l80. when i had the 4l60 i had a stall that would flash about 3000 and it was hard to get the boat moving even with the 4l60 low first gear and the tranny temps would go through the roof. motor just didnt have the torque at 3000rpms. h2 is heavy and the x80 is even heavier. when i went to the 4l80 i put in i put a 4500 stall and up graded to a 10 inch convertor instead of a 8 inch like was in the 4l60 and went from 410 gears to 488s. the hummer can yank the 80 around pretty good now. i can tow the 80 in od and the convertor will stay locked. if i have a heavy head wind or big hill i have to drop it down in 3rd and it stays locked no matter what.
Old     (greg2)      Join Date: May 2002       11-05-2012, 8:07 PM Reply   

What year is your truck? Active fuel management?
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       11-05-2012, 10:40 PM Reply   
My truck is a 2007, active fuel management gets disabled completely during the installation. It only activated on the downhill anyway and I don't miss it. My truck was also flex fuel which was good since the stock flex fuel systems are designed to flow more fuel. In the past I did try a few tanks of E85 since it is supposed to have the equivalent of 110 octane. I couldn't tell much difference, could not feel the supposed extra 6HP as rated when using E85, it did however flow about 20% more fuel dropping the gas mileage down to 12mpg. Now it drinks 91 octane exclusively.

As a side not I let a co-worker drive it today compared to his Trailblazer SS. He was pretty surprised with the power. From the passenger seat I was surprised too with how quick the truck felt.
Old     (jdb11386)      Join Date: Sep 2011       11-06-2012, 2:50 AM Reply   
The active fuel management was probably your problem with the oil consumption. I've got a friend who's a gm mechanic and we recently had the same conversation about the fuel management. I can't remember the specifics but he said that oil consumption was a known problem and gm does have a fix. And since you've disabled it, it shouldn't be an issue, or at least that what he said about my brothers Tahoe.

Sent from my SCH-R530U using Tapatalk 2
Old     (Elliottsx80)      Join Date: Feb 2012       11-06-2012, 7:23 AM Reply   
i would put some long tubes on it, it really woke mine up. pacesetters
Old     (greg2)      Join Date: May 2002       11-07-2012, 6:20 PM Reply   
I have an 07 GMC with the 5.3 and it started buring oil at about 36K miles. After many trips to the dealer, half ass fixes and heated discussions they finally replaced the pistons and rings at about 70K miles. It got so bad that it was burning a quart about every 300 miles! As I understand it the pistons are sprayed with oil on the bottom as part of the active fuel managment to cool the pistons. This ended up seizing up the rings over time on many of these engines. Part of the fix was a shield to block the spray from hitting the pistons. My guess is if you're buring oil now it won't get any better until the rings are replaced.
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       11-07-2012, 11:12 PM Reply   
Last oil change was at 5k and the oil level was very close to full, not more than 1/4 quart low if that so the oil burn was surely not constant. Running Mobil 1 now but that should not change anything with respect to oil consumption. The active fuel management causing oil usage could explain the intermittent nature of my experience. First tank of fuel averaged 13.6mpg, of course I think I am driving about 5-10mph faster now that it pulls hills so well. Also fun to zip here and there when the opportunity is there.
Old     (JohnnieMo)      Join Date: Apr 2013       04-20-2013, 9:20 PM Reply   
I'm fairly interested in how the Avalanche tows. I have a 2008 LTZ 4x4 with the 5.3L and a towing package. (3.73 gears). I haven't towed much of anything as I leave my boat at the lake. However I am looking at getting a newer 22' towboat and I want to be able to tow it to and from the lake. I worry about tugging something 5000 to 6000lbs through the mountains.

Can anyone comments who has a similar setup? I don't mind putting a few thousand into the truck. I have a great shop here who could do the work and they already supercharged my '99 Trans Am. But I don't want to go ahead and do that if it isn't necessary OR if it is just going to destroy the rest of the truck.

Worst case I could move to a diesel, but I sure do enjoy the Avalanche for everything else. Great truck.


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