I have a 1998 Chevy Express cargo van that needs to have its short block replaced, but I can't do the labor.

How many book (flat rate) hours would this take?

  • 1
    Costing/shopping assistance is off-topic for the site. A question which would be on-topic would be what the book hours for replacement for this would be. Costs change, but book hours give you the basis for the cost without having to worry about locality (CA would probably be more expensive than TX, for instance). Most reputable shops charge by book hours, anyway. They will also advertise their hourly rate, so you shouldn't get ripped off from that standpoint. Apr 7, 2015 at 17:31
  • Thank you, @Paulster2. How should I rephrase my question? Apr 7, 2015 at 17:44
  • That looks good enough for me. I have retracted my close vote and +1. Apr 7, 2015 at 20:17
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    1/2, 3/4, or 1 ton. What size engine, gas or diesel? Manual or Automatic Transmission? Does it have cruise control, an oil cooler, Air Conditioning, 4 wheel drive, Block heater, strut rods, skid plates? Apr 7, 2015 at 21:43
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4 Answers 4


Short Block 18.3
Includes: R&R Engine And Transfer All Necessary Components.

With A/C add 1.5
With Cruise Control add 0.4

Complete Assembly With Transfer Of Parts 10.8
Includes: Transfer All Fuel & Electrical Units. Does Not Include: Transfer Of Optional Equipment.

With A/C add 1.4
With Cruise Control add 0.4

Long Block 15.3
Includes: R&R Engine And Transfer All Necessary Components Not Supplied With Long Block.

With A/C add 1.5

Check around, you may get a better overall price at a machine shop, a lot of them do the whole job, including R&R the engine. Otherwise you are paying a shop to pull the engine and send it to a machine shop. Unless of course you are just purchasing a reman short block outright, but it may still be less expensive to go to a machine shop for the whole job.

  • Can you recommend a good resource (online or otherwise) to help me understand/learn about engines and everything else under the hood? (A "Dealing with Mechanics 101: what you need to know" would also be appreciated.) Thank you for the detailed reply! Apr 11, 2015 at 22:07

The Chevy 2500 express van with a 5.3 is rated at 17.5 hrs to R@R an engine. 13 hrs for a Chevy 1500 4wd R@R. Take time for cleanup and preparation and that's all there is to it other than to do it.

  • So, is there any adjustment for seized, rusted or damaged components? These all cause extra labor...
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 14, 2018 at 8:50

The long block version of this vehicle, the 2500 (I believe), is 17.5 hours. This only includes the engine swap off an automatic transmission, associated electrical and factory fuel systems.

AC adds time as does a broken bolt and any post migration troubleshooting that is required if there are components that have failed that the shop was not aware of prior to the swap. Items that @movemorecommentslinktotop enumerated are all relevant as well.

Hours can easily increase.


Engine swap changing only necessary components. 13 hrs.also if it's 4 wd. Will make it a little more difficult. This time is for an automatic 4wd..

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