GM "Industrial" vortec 4.3l gurus? Need to swap engine in forklift. What can we use?
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    Default GM "Industrial" vortec 4.3l gurus? Need to swap engine in forklift. What can we use?

    Have a forklift (96-97 vintage) that will need another engine. Other is not worth rebuilding IMO. I am having a hard time finding information on the "Industrial" engines. What is different? What is the same? How many flavors exist? Does it matter?

    So far, it seems like the old engine was only rated to less than 100HP. Issue is getting something that has a reasonable power curve to work with a fork. I have also heard about the "hardened valve seats" for LP and not sure how others might stack up? I don't need to stack the hours on this machine. Maybe 100hr/yr. I just need to do some cross checking here before I do a transplant.

    Would a pickup engine be cam'd about right? Would compression ratio be too low to really take advantage of LP?

    Just need some good info on these 4.3's! All I can find is guys playing with their toy trucks and not much about industrial applications. I guess there are marine engines, which is probably on par though. No talk about compression, or cams though.

    Our fork has electronic spark timing so I have concerns we will run into issues if we have something cam'd radically different. I am not sure if we can just alter the mechanical advance to cheat or not. So little info.....

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    The performance is the last thing I d worry about.....Continentals with 5 to 1 compression run on LP,valve seats for unleaded are OK for gas......biggest issue with engines is the power takeoff for accessories.....where is the hydraulic pump drive?,the steering pump?.....and the biggie...is the crank flange the same?is the block drilled the same for the housing?......only way to find out is to compare the parts-pull you engine and the replacement and compare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by huleo View Post
    Have a forklift (96-97 vintage) that will need another engine. Other is not worth rebuilding IMO. I am having a hard time finding information on the "Industrial" engines. What is different? What is the same? How many flavors exist? Does it matter?

    So far, it seems like the old engine was only rated to less than 100HP. Issue is getting something that has a reasonable power curve to work with a fork. I have also heard about the "hardened valve seats" for LP and not sure how others might stack up? I don't need to stack the hours on this machine. Maybe 100hr/yr. I just need to do some cross checking here before I do a transplant.

    Would a pickup engine be cam'd about right? Would compression ratio be too low to really take advantage of LP?

    Just need some good info on these 4.3's! All I can find is guys playing with their toy trucks and not much about industrial applications. I guess there are marine engines, which is probably on par though. No talk about compression, or cams though.

    Our fork has electronic spark timing so I have concerns we will run into issues if we have something cam'd radically different. I am not sure if we can just alter the mechanical advance to cheat or not. So little info.....
    I'm looking at doing this also!

    I have a 1980's Hyster with the 4.3 and 1990 Chevy pickup with a 4.3 that I will use for the donor. I wasn't planning on doing anything other than freshening up the replacement motor, possibly a new cam and lifters........I wonder if the compression is lower for the propane fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    The performance is the last thing I d worry about.....Continentals with 5 to 1 compression run on LP,valve seats for unleaded are OK for gas......biggest issue with engines is the power takeoff for accessories.....where is the hydraulic pump drive?,the steering pump?.....and the biggie...is the crank flange the same?is the block drilled the same for the housing?......only way to find out is to compare the parts-pull you engine and the replacement and compare.
    No power steering pump to worry about, done with hydraulics. Unlikely the crank flange would be any different than a passenger car/truck would have? Same thing with the engine block, I'm sure a standard Chevy bolt pattern? I wouldn't think Hyster would pay for the cost of casting a new block to fit just their trucks?

    Kevin

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    Quote Originally Posted by huleo View Post
    Have a forklift (96-97 vintage) that will need another engine. Other is not worth rebuilding IMO. I am having a hard time finding information on the "Industrial" engines. What is different? What is the same? How many flavors exist? Does it matter?

    So far, it seems like the old engine was only rated to less than 100HP. Issue is getting something that has a reasonable power curve to work with a fork. I have also heard about the "hardened valve seats" for LP and not sure how others might stack up? I don't need to stack the hours on this machine. Maybe 100hr/yr. I just need to do some cross checking here before I do a transplant.

    Would a pickup engine be cam'd about right? Would compression ratio be too low to really take advantage of LP?

    Just need some good info on these 4.3's! All I can find is guys playing with their toy trucks and not much about industrial applications. I guess there are marine engines, which is probably on par though. No talk about compression, or cams though.

    Our fork has electronic spark timing so I have concerns we will run into issues if we have something cam'd radically different. I am not sure if we can just alter the mechanical advance to cheat or not. So little info.....
    That's in the Mercury service manuals. If you have a marine engine in mind, gets its serial number and head over to mercruiserparts.com to learn more.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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    How bad is "not worth rebuilding"? A short block should be easy to get. You can reuse your heads and cam if you choose.

    In my experience, the only difference between the propane and gasoline engines is the carb and the ignition timing. And the gasoline engine ignition timing will get you close enough to get it running.

    It's not like diesel versus gasoline. The pistons, valves, cam, etc should be same on gas or propane.

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    Propane runs better and offers more hp with higher compression. That being said, a gas engine will run fine on propane. Years ago they built propane specific engines, in modern times they just use the exact same engine for both.

    I’d just find a donor 4.3 out of a pickup or buy a reman engine. I wouldn’t worry too much about performance. Unless you are racing the thing, you’ll never notice plus or minus a few hp.

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    This is the beauty of a Chevy, it all bolts right up, if you have the right parts. I agree they probably did not design a new block for it. My friend has a 327 forklift block in a 69 Camaro. Bolted right up. Just use the intake, carb, and distributor from your old motor. The cam may be optimized for the aplication, but the truck cam will work. Its not going to be that much different. Propane conversions used to be common, and in some places still are, no one changed the cam, pistons, etc when making these conversions of gassers to propane. I think you will be fine, just buy a doner truck or van, pull both motors and compare what you need and what is different. Chevy has not changed much from 1955 to the ls motors. Chevy is the most swapped motor in history, I have seen them in buldozers, tractors, car crushers, snow blowers, and every make of car. Get a good running donor truck and keep everything till the swap is done. You will do fine.

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    I do have the free donor in possession now but the donor is slightly newer and this is complicating things. No one knows a thing about them and its no wonder so many engines get built wrong when there are 500 variants.

    The engine I have in the fork I believe to be a 93-95 era engine with the standard GM TBI intake. The propane carb bolts right to that carb.

    However, the donor is a year newer as the "vortec" engine even though the fork engine says "vortec on it". I always remembered the auto vortec engines as the ones with the two piece intake, which thewer donor has.

    This engine has the injectors and lines inside the intake, with a throttle body at the front. The intake also has 8 bolts instead of 12. Looks like I need a different intake....yay!

    The donor has no detectable blowby, instant oil pressure, and seems to run just fine.
    Someone asked why the other engine is "not worth rebuilding", it actually is to the right guy, but I don't have the time right now and that engine needs COMBED because the morons that built is punched it 30 over and installed STD pistons! There is also a valve stuck in a guide that is TIGHT! Like real tight. All things that tell me the numbers were not checked, it was just slapped together.

    I think the valves, guides, and seals are all could make a good engine, but it needs checked out.

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    Thats what I mean about having the right parts. Chevy builds em in generations, or seasons. Some parts interchange from season to season, others dont. That intake and heads is one of those seasonal changes. The forklift heads will bolt onto the truck block, so if you fix the sticky valve, that is one option. Fixing the sticky valve is not difficult. An auto machine shop should be able to do it, even if they end up putting in replaceable guides and new valves. Another is to find a 1995 or earlier doner, which will have the correct heads. Yet a third, is to get a set of used heads from a junkyard or craigslist and use them on the truck block. I would still take any used heads apart, check for wear on the stems and guides, touch up the valves and seats. Reasemble with new seals, good to go. Loose guides are better than tight, though really loose guides can pass a lot of oil. I think I would keep looking for a doner in the right year range, with the tbi intake. That would be the fastest and easiest swap.

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    Its hard to argue with a free, good running donor..... There are other intakes, just none that have a TBI bolt pattern so I will have to adapt to anything I do.

    I would say finding an older TBI engine that is low hrs will probably be a stretch, as is accepting someone's "rebuilt" status. I can see how that rebuilt thing looks on the current engine. I used to build engines for a living so I know the hours involved to get one right and I just don't have the time right now.

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    Where s the guys say it all bolts straight up cause its Chevvy......they ll come over and do it for ya.Before the beer runs out.

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    pay someone to rebuild the engine properly and install it,test run it.get a warranty. 30 over go 40 if need be no big deal. seized valve in guide no big deal.
    If you don't know about hardened seats you need to learn a lot more and tick every last detail off if you do a swap one missed detail will end up in the crapper and you have wasted maybe 2 weeks of time and back to doing a rebuild.

    heck give them 4 weeks to do the job and you will be still ahead with all the wasted time searching here and everywhere else.

    then piss and moan about the cost while you drive your forklift, just don't post it here i don't want to hear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    Where s the guys say it all bolts straight up cause its Chevvy......they ll come over and do it for ya.Before the beer runs out.
    Yep. There's no higher level of interchange with GM. There's a whole lot of looks pretty close, but doesn't fit stuff.

    They all pretty much build the cheapest shit that makes it past the warranty period. Some do certain things better than others, but most vehicles and engines are just built for one thing- To sell.

    I think the vortec 4.3 came out long before 1995. 1996 was the first year for the vortec 350 thing, but the 4.3 had it for more than a few years prior to that. You gotta go back pretty early to get a non-vortec 4.3

    On a side note, had a good friend who fixed forklifts for Pape machinery. He said the vortec 4.3's were a pile of shit Propane engine and Hyster had a huge pile of warranty work when they started using the new "vortec" style 4.3 engines on propane. They wouldn't make the same power as the old 4.3 and used way more propane and had overheating problems. Something about the fancy vortec head combustion chamber wasn't playing nice with propane. Propane likes a shitty slow moving bathtub combustion chamber.

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    Default 4.3 interchange

    I hear ya about the free doner, and you can still use it, just need the right heads. And yes, it will bolt right up. And yes, Chevy has made some crap over the years, but its still the most interchangable engine around. The bellhousing flange on that 4.3 is the same as the first 265 v8 made in 1955, the same as a 454, the same as a 250 inline six. The op asked what will work. I gave him 3 solid options, let him choose one, or make up one he likes better. In any case, he has a better understanding of the situation.


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