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5.3l Tahoe to 6.0l or 6.2l? Options? Advice?

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So I've got a 2002 Chevy Tahoe LT with the 5.3l in it, and the other day I got to drive my buddy's same year Escalade with the 6.0l and was just blown away.

I'm trying to learn what options are available to get a little more HP out of this thing. Mostly just for daily driving 0-60 time or 55-75 pretty much.

Some things I've seen while researching:

  • drop in a 6L
  • drop in a 6.2L
  • tuning / programming?
  • swap 3.73 to 4.11 rear end?

Gas mileage isn't too much of a concern, but I'd like to keep the price under ~$2500 if possible.

If anyone has experience or any advice with where to start researching, that could point me in the right direction, it would be greatly appreciated.

Also for anyone that knows, is the 6.2l that much more powerful than the 6l?



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The 6.2 in my truck is rated at 420 /475  so yeah. It's a 2016 sierra denali


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No reason to swap, that 5.3 is capable of making some serious power when built.

Invest in a head, cam, intake, and a tune to start with.

Rearend will make a huge difference in acceleration depending on what factory gear you have.

That being said a lot of people's definition of "music" is a clipped 30 hz sine wave with some 80 IQ knuckle head grunting about committing crimes and his genitals.

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I have a 04 Yukon XL with a 5.3 and 3.73 gears. CAI, Borla muffler, 05 electric fans and a black bear custom tune. It really woke the truck up, much more responsive. Made it much more fun to drive. Would like to do cam and all that, but it's my family hauler and I don't want to lose any reliability from it. You might look into those mods first and go from there. I think the only other thing I might do is speed engineering long tube headers and full exhaust and a retune and call it good.

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I LS swapped my Silverado from a 5.3 to a LS2 with a cam and lifters and Springs, 4.56s and posi. I'm on 20s with 33s. This shit moves for a heavy ass truck. My plan was to leave it NA but I'll probably SC it. Only reason I'm going to SC it is because I'm planning on doing suspension work (mazulla) and putting 37s on it. Swapping might be be more expensive than you think. If I were you I'd do what some have suggested and mod your current block. 

Edit: take it to someone to tune it as well. That will really wake it up. 

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There is no replacement for displacement when looking for low end torque. I have a 7.5l in my truck and it is a blast to drive even as big as it is. A super charger will do the same thing without a bunch of work. If you do a cam make sure you tell them what you are looking for so you don't end up with a cam for top end or something. Maybe start with the simple things that will give the most bang for the buck like exhaust, intake and tune. If you are building for low end then your gears should be good. Tuned in for pictures. 

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My 5.3 feels gutless too but its not worth upgrading for me.  Doing the rear end will be the easiest, cheapest, fastest (IMO) of the mods listed and may yield the results you are looking for.  Will not help your top speed but will help with acceleration and may make it feel zippy which may fulfill your desires...  Might hurt your top speed, keeping your engine at higher RPM's on the highway and cause worse MPG if that matters.  Otherwise all good options.  You can get a tune and should be able to notice it with really only costing some money and not having to touch anything physically really...  CAI is cheap and easy and fast but with yield little results.  IDK man...you must plan on keeping that vehicle huh?  5.3 is a good motor like people have said.  If you are going to do bol- ons make sure you get the tune AFTER all the things you want installed.  I don't know how serious you are for power but yea you could start replacing shit like Broke has said...it's hard to know your own personal HP goals honestly, are we talking 20 RWHP only or 60+ RWHP because there is a big difference, and because of the low HP in these I bet you could "feel" 20RWHP but wouldn't be tons more power and barely noticeable, but if you do like everyone is saying and/or add a SC and you see 100RWHP increase...well...that will be an entirely new beats on the roads!!!!!


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All I got is a CAI on my Tahoe and I could hear it suck more air and throttle got a little more responsive but otherwise I couldn't tell much of a difference because my bottle neck is not air getting to the engine, but if you coupled it with other things it would do more.  Just an FYI........

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26 minutes ago, ShadeTreeMechanic said:

There is no replacement for displacement when looking for low end torque. 

good old 460, i miss seeing big blocks in trucks.

That being said a lot of people's definition of "music" is a clipped 30 hz sine wave with some 80 IQ knuckle head grunting about committing crimes and his genitals.

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so theres a big difference between people adding parts to their cars and saying it will pick up 50hp and actually putting it on a dyno. 

CAI and exhaust is worthless without a dyno verified tune in place, and most times those "upgrades" net like 2-5hp...so then you get into HPtuners or EFILive or a standalone ecu to actually get the most potential out of the motor and what you find out is that it was the tune that is actually picking up power and you should have done something else in the first place...like a cam or boost. (you are still going to have to dyno tune it to get any upgrade to really make any real power reliably)

The biggest difference in power is going to come from a new cam and if you are doing a cam you might as well put new springs in it. That will net 50+ real hp. your heads are probably fine but a cam and springs will run you less than $500 most times and give you real rear wheel horsepower. 

If you are in a state that aren't emission nazis the other thing you can do is supercharge it or turbo it. The 5.3Ls love boost and you can get a safe 600hp-800hp with just boost and maybe a spring upgrade. Although boost has a way of teaching you where all your other weak links are...


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