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Old 01-10-2005, 01:41 PM
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Arrow 350 crate engine into 53 Oldsmobile

Hey there,

I am new to this message board, but have spent a few hours browsing through the old discussions.

I recently purchased a 1953 Oldsmobile 88. It has the stock 303ci V8 and 3 speed transmission.

Currently the engine does not run, and the price of a rebuild kit is staggering.

I was wondering what it would take to drop a new 350 Chevy crate engine in. Can i use the existing motor mounts? Any suggestions on what type transmission i can drop in?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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Old 01-10-2005, 03:36 PM
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engine swap

Using everything for an SBC including the bellhousing and flywheel forward, it should be a fairly straight up swap, since the Olds shared a lot in common with the 53 Chevy chassis. You will need to use Chevy motor mounts and fabricating a mounting location for them on the front crossmember shouldnt be a problem either. The Olds radiator should hook up pretty easily as well.

You mentioned that you are running a 3 speed in the Olds, so I am presuming that is a manual transmission. IF thats the case, it should bolt right to your SBC bell housing. If you are going automatic, then you will need to bring along a tranny that will bolt to the Olds Hydromatic, since the bellhousings arent the same, or get an adaptor plate or bellhousing that will mate the SBC to the Hydro. At one time Hydros were the hot setup and several companies made both adaptor plates and bellhousings to bolt the Hydromatic up to just about eny engine you could imagine.

Last edited by Max Keith; 01-10-2005 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 01-10-2005, 07:17 PM
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Thanks for the input.

The transmission is an automatic. (i thought it was a 3 speed but i could be wrong, I don't know much about the car)

I do not know what kind of condition the tranny is in though. I may look into rebuilding it if using a new bellhousing or adapter will work.

thanks again
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Old 01-10-2005, 07:25 PM
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trannie

You would probably be about as well off to just drop a TH 350 in it as they are plentiful, and most likely would take more abuse, as well as being more economical for rebuilding if thats necessary. Also, getting a good shift kit for the valve body would be an excellent move, which you might have trouble finding one for the old Olds tranny.
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Old 01-10-2005, 09:31 PM
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If i were to drop a 350 small block with a TH 350 transmission, would i have to get a custom drive shaft fitted? Also what about the linkage for shifting?

Also, with the 350 small block, do you know of any clearance issues with exhaust, etc.?

thanks
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Old 01-10-2005, 09:42 PM
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350 crate

Im not all that up on GM cars. One thing you might do before measuring is compare the over all length of the engine and transmission and points in between, like distance from rear crossmember to the front yoke, overall tranny length, engine length. Pan sump location. Its intirely possible that if the distance between the tranny crossmember to front yoke distance is the same, that all you would have to do is get the proper front yoke for your TH350. It might require going to a driveshaft or bearing shop to get a U-joint that will work.

Shift linkage, that depends on where the gears are located on the gear indicator on the dash. if you have P R N D S L, then if anything you may have to make some minor mods to the linkage to make them work together. It may just need either shortening or lengthening the shift arm coming back from the bell crank.

Bell crank mounting may require some mods as well if the ball that mounts in the block isnt the same as with your Olds.
THis can be handled by fabricating a bracket to bolt to the side of your engine.

The exhaust shouldnt be a problem, as your Olds V-8, is at least externally similar in dimensions.

In high school, I remember one guy dropped a 327 in a 55 Olds, without much trouble.
The key to it is to make real good measurements and look everything over real well and then make up an options list of ways to correct any problems you might run into.
Above all, dont get in a super big hurry.
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