Turbo LQ4/4l80e '84 T-type Build


New Member
Aug 5, 2018
Been meaning to sign up and create a thread for this. A few weeks back my cousin spotted an '84 T-Type on facebook marketplace. Then started peer pressuring me into getting it. The peer pressure worked. About 2 weeks later we were driving from VA to PA to pick the car up. A 10 hour round trip. The goal for this car is Hot Rod Drag Week 2019. So even if it's not turbo'd at that point, I want it to at least be running/driving N/A. I work pretty slowly so progress updates may be few and far between.

Got the car home and washed it right away.
1 - Picked the car up from a guy in PA. My cousin helped me out, drove 10 hours round trip to ...jpg

Then took out the polish and compound. Looks a lot less like trash. The paint is obviously shot, but my uncle is a body-man with 40~ years experience, and said he'd paint and do the body work on the car for me. I wasn't going to say no. Our family helps each other out. The S15 (in many pieces) in the background of my garage is his.
2 - Gave it a polish and compound. Still needs a repaint but doesn't look like trash now.jpg

Pulled the fender trim off with the intent to paint it black. Decided that I liked the trimless look better.
3 - Pulled the fender trim off with the intent to paint it. Decided to leave it as-is. I like ...jpg

Went to the local yard to scout out a 5.3 and 4l80e. Ended up seeing a 3500 van, which had an lq4 and 4l80e. Went back a few days later, talked to the guys out there, heard it run, and put a deposit on it. Came back a few days later and picked it up. Tore the engine apart right away.
4 - Picked up an LQ4 and 4l80e from the local yard. Got lucky because they literally just got ...jpg

Got really lucky since it's a later Gen 3 with the Gen 4 rods. Also pretty clean and the cylinders look mint. No hone needed. Not in the picture, but the stall is the factory high stall option. 2424 stall speed. The shortblock will be torn apart later. I'm no mechanic and would rather not destroy this engine, so my cousin will be taking the engine down the rest of the way and gapping the rings.
5 - Lucky me. It's a late 6.0 with the Gen4 rods. Same with the Converter, which is the factor...jpg

Yanked the 3.8 Engine and 2004r trans out. Engine has a pretty bad rod-knock but oddly enough isn't possible to hear when driving or at idle. Only while revving and not under load.
6 -  Pulled the rod knocking 3.8.jpg

Installed a Jeep Steering Shaft. Powerwashed, oven-cleaned, took a grinder to the engine bay, and then painted the engine bay. Little bit of overspray on the inner fenders and hardly a perfect paint job, but most of it will be covered with engine and turbo anyway. Really should have pulled the fender and then painted. But going to clean the inner fenders with acetone later. Especially since I'll need to pull the fenders to yank the engine harness out. Stupid design.
7 - ground down frame, painted engine bay.jpg

Ordered a bunch of go-fast parts. MS3 Gold Box, Sloppy Stage 2 Cam, Pac 1218 Valve Springs, CTV-V Oil Pan, and a set of Dirty Dingo engine mounts.
8 - Got a bunch of go-fast parts. Pack 1218 valve springs. Sloppy Stage 2 Cam, Dirty Dingo eng...jpg

Thats it for now, Will probably be a couple weeks before I update again.
Damn similar build to mine. Only difference is I have a stage 2 ljms cam and I’m going with a billet vs480 and a nice converter

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I'm kind of broke, so I tend to take the cheap route until I can afford the expensive stuff. I'll likely be going with the VS Racing Billet 7875. I'm thinking with the LQ4 and 7875 lag will be minimal, if there is any at all. I have no intention of going 9's with this car, so I may not even change the converter unless I start blowing through it.
I got all my parts when eBay had 20% off. I’m cheap too. I need a set of 210’s. I’m basically copying the final build of the Colorado.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Yea, I missed that ebay sale. Matt Happel's build? What was the latest, 1k+whp? I'm being lent a set of deka 80's, but I'll probably end up going with the snake eater 1500cc (160lb?) injectors eventually. The car has a 255 pump in it right now, or so I'm told, so the bigger issue for me is fuel pump. I'm thinking I'll go with a single 450 for now unless there's an easy way to make two 450's work.
I'll be keeping an eye on it. My understanding is that the stock converter is fine for somewhere in the 600-700whp range. If there's issues I'll dial it down.
So figured I'd update this. I haven't stopped working on it, but have been working at a snails pace. Found some wonderful looking rust on the roof of the car, so thats going to be fun. Gotta love bondo artists. Was expecting a decent bit of paint and body work but not this crap. So, another thing to add to the list to fix. Car had 40k miles on it, and based on the lack of rot anywhere else, I'm thinking it was parked under a tree and sat there for years building up junk in the drip rails. It's on the list for next year. This year's goal is Hot Rod Drag Week. First year as a driver instead of co-pilot.

Pulled the pistons and rods, cleaned them up , and then gapped the rings.

Before and After.

Sent the heads off to the machine shop and had them milled down a bit since there were a few creases on the surface that I wasn't comfortable with. Then threw the engine back together with the new cam, valve springs, etc.

Spent the day putting the engine back in the car. I completely get why so many people take the front clip off these cars when installing the engine now. The hoist was long enough to get the v6 out easily, but had to be moved around all over the place to get the new engine in.

Picked up a china special radiator and a set of intrepid fans which I cut down waaaay too much. Going to replace the fan eventually since it looks like trash, but it'll work for now. Went with this radiator because of the inlet and outlet being on the same side, making for cleaner hose routing.

Started wiring up the Goldbox this weekend.

Nothing is going to be pretty this year, but I'll likely be tearing it back apart next year or the year after to clean everything up and make it look decent.

Next up is finishing up the wiring, then doing the exhaust/turbo and fuel system. Hopefully next update it'll be running. I have till September to get this done and ready to drive 1500 miles. Maybe I should pick up the pace a little :unsure:.
Picked up a china special radiator and a set of intrepid fans which I cut down waaaay too much. Going to replace the fan eventually since it looks like trash, but it'll work for now. Went with this radiator because of the inlet and outlet being on the same side, making for cleaner hose routing.
Is that a dual pass rad? {Look in the neck, and see if there's a block off plate about 1/2 way down.}
@Chuck Leeper , it is a duel pass radiator. That was the primary reason that I went with this one as opposed to a factory V8 G-body replacement which would be much easier to fit, outside of house routing. For a cheap ebay radiator it actually looks pretty nice.