The L20 is an engine is manufactured by General Motors and can be found in the company’s full-size van and pickup vehicles. Utilizing 4.8 liters in a V8 configuration, the L20 is part of the Vortec engine family or the Generation IV Small Block engine family. This engine serves as a replacement for EcoTec3 engine family. Currently, the engine is housed in the GMC Savana as well as the Chevrolet Express vehicles. It used to be available in the GMC Sierra 1500 and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500- but since has been replaced by the all-new 4.3-liter V6 EcoTec3 LV3.
Features of the 4.8 Vortec Engine
GM built the 4.8 Vortec engine as an engine that offers enhanced as well as balanced cradle and developed mounting arrangement. With this configuration, the engine keeps vibrations passed from the chassis into the driver/passenger’s partition- a minimum. Additional features of the engine include:
- The pistons which have a glaze of polymer substances that limit wear and decrease bore friction.
- An abrasion of the tube wall coming from the up and down motion from the cylinder.
- A durable tube block and a turning arrangement.
- A weightless firm foundation for an effective engine.
- A sturdy & deep-skirt structure design which invites the driver to increase truck strength.
- High-flow tube heads with a Valvetrain.
- E85 Flex-Fuel competency. With its efficiency, the Vortec 4.8 has a clean-burning compartment which creates unconventional fuel.
Chevy 4.8 Engine Problems
Some of the most common Chevy 4.8 Engine Problems and solutions include:
Reports indicate that when you depress on the gas, it will appear and sound as no power is coming- till it reaches 1800 RPMs. But once the engine reaches 1800 rpm’s, it’s a smooth ride.
There have been reports of grinding noises that come from the hub and bearing. It may look as if the brake pads are crushing on a particular metal.
Engine Will Rev Between 40-50 MPH
Reports of the engine revving up around 40 0r 50 MPH have surfaced. And revving sound very inconsistent. Once you hit the gas or speed up, the revving stops.
Axel Seals Leak
Another common issue with this engine is the axel seals leaking on both sides. While a jobber axel seal is prone to leakage than any other option, when you have a massive gear oil leak you have a huge mess on your hands.
Problems with the Oil Pressure Gauge
Oftentimes, the oil pressure gauge can move rapidly back and forth rapidly during isolation.
Solutions and Tips for Maintaining the Chevy 4.8 Truck and Engine
When you talk about engine performance, it is crucial to get the maximum benefit from your engine by performing periodical adjustments. If you feel that your truck is being pulled from one side to another, it’s best to examine those tires and get a good alignment for engine performance.
Keep Battery Life Healthy
As a car owner, it is important to remember that the number one source of energy to a 4.8 engine is the battery. So, keep that battery healthy and when there are issues, have them looked at ASAP.
Don’t forget that you must be able to spot the signs of brake wear. Some of those signs include chirping, grinding or squealing noises. Once you hear those noises, it is time to get that car into a repair shop, ASAP.
Check Hoses Too
Don’t forget to check hoses for cracks, splits or damage.
4.8 Common Problems
Check out what various 4.8 engine owners say about their engines!
Owner Number One
“The only time my 4.8 has ever ticked was when it was about a quart low on oil. You will find that the 4.8 has about the same issues as the 5.3 because they are virtually the same engine. Newer models will just have the same issues as the older ones since they don’t have that 4-cylinder mode (whatever the hell it’s called). My biggest pet peeve that I have had with the 4.8 (and it’s not even the engine) is the stupid clunk from the rear drive line. As stated though, it’s not the engine. It’s a very stout and reliable motor when well-maintained should keep you going. I have put roughly 70,000 on mine without any issues from the motor (almost 100,000 miles and now I need to change the water pump). I notice that I have a small leak out of one of my valve covers, as stated the water pump needs replacing but that’s all I can think of.”
Owner Number Two
The most common problem is a bad knock sensor under the intake. Water gets in if you are one to wash your engine a lot and corrodes the contacts. Otherwise, really reliable.
Owner Number Three
The 4.8 life span will be the same as a 5.3 that gets taken care of both can do 250k . The only difference from a mechanical stand point is the stroke of the crank. You guys with a 4.8 have 9mm less. That’s it a shorter crank stroke in the 4.8. So, it stands to reason we can all agree that size does matter sometime.”
Owner Number Four
My 2008 Silverado 4×4 truck had a ticking noise and an oil leak. I had the oil pump changed and also the oil valve lifter changed, that helped for a short time then it started again louder, ticking and running like the motor was out of time. Finding out the 8 cylinder / 4 cylinder mode was stuck on 4 cylinder mode. At this time, I’m out of warranty and my truck runs like sh*t. Next, the mechanic tells me that I should rebuild the top end valve job and lifters, 2,400 dollars. After completing valve job my truck still was not working properly.
Cleared codes, forgot to mention that the service traction control was flashing on my display, still trying to clear codes while motor was running and running like sh*t still. Then the worst happens, the motor blows a hole through the block and I’m screwed. Come to find out the many Chevy owners experiencing the same problems, low oil pressure, ticking noise top end, service traction control flashing on display, stuck on 4-cylinder mode.
Nothing but problems. I spent $50,000 on a truck I can’t use, now I’m going to buy a new motor. I hope this works. $5,000 more on my truck I don’t have … I’ve always been a CHEVY MAN! JUST MIGHT TURN TO FORD. HOPE YOUR LISTENING TO YOUR CUSTOMERS CHEVY”
What Is the Difference Between A 4.8 L And 5.3 L Engine?
For many, it may be difficult to identify the 5.3L and 4.8L because the blocks are similar. But there is a substantial difference inside. The 4.8L uses an 83mm stroke while the 5.3L is 92mm. Once you can glance at the top of the pistons, by pulling a head or by getting your hands on a bore scope, you can see the displacement. For the dished pistons, you have a 5.3L. For a flat-top piston, you’ve either got yourself a 4.8L or a higher-output, Gen IV 5.3L. Next, you can check the crank. If you look and see the casting number 12553482, you’ve got a 4.8L. The 5.3L will have the same crank casting number as other 3.62-stroke LS engines, which is 12552216.
What’s the Horsepower of the 4.8 Engine?
Depending on the model year and vehicle, the 4.8-liter V8s can offer power output between 270 and 295 horsepower and 285 lb./ft. and 305 lb./ft. of torque.
Used Chevy Silverado 1500’s. 4.8L vs. 5.3L- Which is Better?
Check out what some Silverado owners had to say about the 4.8 compared to the 5.3!
Owner Number One
“I have had many 1500 Silverados over the last several years and my 2006 has the 5.3L. I would opt for that if you are planning to tow with the truck. Both are good solid motors but if you can find it get the 5.3L.”
Owner Number Two
“Trust me, I own a new style 2007 with 4.8 even though the horsepower is the same as my old 5.3 old style, which I miss, do not go that route. In this case, older definitely is better. I never should have listened to a salesman.”
Owner Number Three
“I have a ’99 Sierra K1500 with the 4.8L engine. I too drove about 60 miles a day and wanted something with a little better gas mileage. It seems to have less get up and go over the 5.3L engines. I have a neighbor with an ’03 and 5.3L to compare to. I like mine. I have not had any major problems with the truck. Just the normal wear and tear. Runs well but I don’t know much about the gas mileage comparison. I have 90K on mine and it looks like I could get many more. Go for it!”
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