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Old 12-18-2010, 01:58 AM
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Another Buick 455 Question

Hi all;
I just traded into a good running Buick 455,with the intention of putting it into my Bro's '86 Chevy one ton duallie. He's fearing it'll be a real bag-o-snakes to install (currently has a 350 and a T-400),so I'm asking,how tough is this swap REALLY? There's not an abundance of money to do this,but there IS an abundance of "Redneck Ingenuity". His truck has a 9 foot utility bed on it,and he usually pulls a 20 foot car hauler with it,so the torque of the 455 would be a lot of help to him. I think the adapter for the bellhousing is about $70.00 over at Summit Racing. Not sure what else we'll need;the frame brackets for the motor mounts will be with the engine,for what that's worth.
Anything you can tell me will be appreciated,since I'll be driving 300 miles to help install this beast.
Speed

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Old 12-18-2010, 08:03 AM
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Chevy has a 454 that would be an easier swap unless you are just a glutton for punishment! JMO
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Old 12-18-2010, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Stepp
Hi all;
I just traded into a good running Buick 455,with the intention of putting it into my Bro's '86 Chevy one ton duallie. He's fearing it'll be a real bag-o-snakes to install (currently has a 350 and a T-400),so I'm asking,how tough is this swap REALLY? There's not an abundance of money to do this,but there IS an abundance of "Redneck Ingenuity". His truck has a 9 foot utility bed on it,and he usually pulls a 20 foot car hauler with it,so the torque of the 455 would be a lot of help to him. I think the adapter for the bellhousing is about $70.00 over at Summit Racing. Not sure what else we'll need;the frame brackets for the motor mounts will be with the engine,for what that's worth.
Anything you can tell me will be appreciated,since I'll be driving 300 miles to help install this beast.
Speed
You will need either a BOP trans or an adapter plate to the Chevy trans. You will need to custom fabricate motor mounts. You will need to custom fabricate the exhaust. Stock Buick manifolds may or may not clear. You'll need all the Buick accessory brackets. You'll need the Buick starter. Wiring will need to be lengthened as needed to reach the Buick items (like the front distributor). This is not exactly a bolt-in, however there should be plenty of room in the truck. As noted, a Chevy swap is nearly a bolt-in.
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:25 PM
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Buick 455

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgcantrellsr
Chevy has a 454 that would be an easier swap unless you are just a glutton for punishment! JMO
The 454 Chevy (or,more truthfully,a 402) is actually what he wants,but around here,and in Reno where he lives, good ones are just stupid expensive. The Buick 455 idea arose because I traded a transmission for one,don't really have a need for it,and thought it'd be a cheap,not-so-easy way to get his truck set up a little better for the work he does with it. "No replacement for displacement!" I think this is a '75 or so engine,so maybe later a a rebuild with pistons,a set of heads from a '70,and a better cam can be added,to build it a little closer to the 510 ft.pound torque monster he really needs. At this stage,we just have to work with what we can get though.
Speed
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Stepp
The 454 Chevy (or,more truthfully,a 402) is actually what he wants,but around here,and in Reno where he lives, good ones are just stupid expensive. The Buick 455 idea arose because I traded a transmission for one,don't really have a need for it,and thought it'd be a cheap,not-so-easy way to get his truck set up a little better for the work he does with it. "No replacement for displacement!" I think this is a '75 or so engine,so maybe later a a rebuild with pistons,a set of heads from a '70,and a better cam can be added,to build it a little closer to the 510 ft.pound torque monster he really needs. At this stage,we just have to work with what we can get though.
Speed
If it's a 75, 455 it won't pull a string out of a cats butt. You would have to do a lot of work to get the power you're talking about. You would be better off with a 350 SBC or a BBC. JMO
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1930u
If it's a 75, 455 it won't pull a string out of a cats butt. You would have to do a lot of work to get the power you're talking about. You would be better off with a 350 SBC or a BBC. JMO
So when was the last time you had to pull a string out of a cats butt?
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:21 PM
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LOL, back about thirty years ago my brother knew a guy with a big crew cab Chevy pickup with a 350 in it who towed a fifthwheel five horse trailer. I had to load the trailer up on the street because he couldn't get it up the steep driveway loaded. My brother looked in to a 454, at the time it was about a grand without a transmission. He bought a 455 Buick complete with T400 for three or four hundred bucks and bolted it in. As I remember it took no modifications what so ever. The guy was THRILLED with the torque the Buick had (512 ftlbs) and was very happy with it.

Brian
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
...He bought a 455 Buick complete with T400 for three or four hundred bucks and bolted it in. As I remember it took no modifications what so ever. ...
Well, considering that the Buick has completely different motor mounts, frame mounts, exhaust manifolds, starter, accessory brackets, and distributor location, I'm thinking that your remembrance of "no modifications" may be incorrect.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_padavano
Well, considering that the Buick has completely different motor mounts, frame mounts, exhaust manifolds, starter, accessory brackets, and distributor location, I'm thinking that your remembrance of "no modifications" may be incorrect.
The only one you mention that requires any REAL fabrication is the motor mounts. The exhaust is different, big deal, you make all new exhaust like you put on different rims and tires, I don't even call that a modification. accessory brackets, so, they are all different just as the intake manifold is different, again, no real mods just hook up your power steering and such to a different/same pump as you would bolting in a Chevy. The truck we did didn't have AC so I don't know if the AC lines would need to be changed somehow. Power steering may require different hoses that is true. Distributor, yep you need to add or cut shorter a piece of wire, starter, again add or cut a few pieces of wire.

Now, on the mounts, I called my brother, we did make mounts. But they were pretty simple. I say "we" but he did the mounts. He bolted a piece of flat stock to the frame at the stock location. Run a bolt through a piece of tubing in the Buick mount on the engine. The motor was then set in with these pieces of tubing resting on the flat stock and tack welded the tube to the flat stock. Removed the bolt and pulled the motor out then finished welding the tube to the flat stock, done deal, motor mounts.

Brian
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
The only one you mention that requires any REAL fabrication is the motor mounts.
Not arguing anything you wrote, but not everyone here has the same skill level or the same definition of "no" fabrication.
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_padavano
Not arguing anything you wrote, but not everyone here has the same skill level or the same definition of "no" fabrication.

I got you, you're right, thanks.

By the way, I have a stinging memory of this swap. When I was welding the exhaust back together a spark (gas welding) went thru a vent in the welding goggles (where a little cover had fallen off) bounced off the lens and went right in my eye! Went to the doctor the next day to have it removed.

Brian
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Old 12-19-2010, 05:30 PM
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"Went to the doctor the next day to have it removed"'. The spark or the eye?? Seriously tho, any of the GM big blocks. Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Olds or Pontiac. Will fit in most 60's-80's truck chassis. The biggest thing to remember is get all the accessories and mounts with the donor engine. I've done several. Personal favorite is 500 Caddy. Great tow engine with good gas mileage.
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:55 PM
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Thank God it was not my eye that had to be removed, it was a speck of metal FROM my eye.

If you do some searching on the net you will find a lot of people living and dying by that 500 inch Cad. 550 ft lbs torque you know!

And yes, most all GM motors and trannies from the mid sixties or so will interchange with any GM car or truck. Of course with a little work, I'm sorry I made it sound like you simply bolt it in. But when you talk about engine "swaps" it is hardly much of a challenge.

Brian
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Old 12-20-2010, 11:18 AM
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I've posted several times on putting a Pontiac 455 into a 4WD full-size Blazer. I used an adapter from TCI along w/the cast iron exhaust manifolds to clear the column shift linkage. If headers are to be used, plan on a floor shifter- my guy didn't want to spend the money and that was OK w/me, except it cost him ~50 HP. Prolly what kept the TH350 from taking a grunt the first time he nailed it on pavement.

For mounts, I simply removed all the Chevy parts and loosely bolted the rubber mount to the clamshell, lowered the engine into the bay, centered it and welded the mounts to the X-member.
If bolting is preferred, the same procedure is used, except the mounts are tacked into position so the bolt holes can be drilled. In the case of the Pontiac engine, it went into position w/no mods to the driveshafts. Nor the trans or transfer case locations.

If the mounts are a different style, just work w/what you have- as long as there's steel to steel once things are lined up, it's all good, IMO.

The Buick 455 has the same side starter as the SB Chevy, so the wiring there is the same. Wiring the alternator may or may not require some splicing, same w/the front-mounted distributor. But those are minor considerations.

Plumbing the radiator will be self-explanatory as well. If y'all have ingenuity, it'll be a relatively easy project, IMHO.
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Old 12-25-2010, 11:31 PM
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Okay-thanks for all your input and information! sounds like about a weekend job for him,except the exhaust,which he'll have a tough time with.(no extra pipe,etc. to work with,and he has headers on his smallblock.)
I did some skulking around my Motors Manuals and learned:
mid 70's Chevy 350-(that's what he installed when he got the truck)
205 hp.@4800 rpm
255 ft./lbs. torque@3600 rpm
'75 Buick 455
205 hp.@3800 rpm
345 ft./lbs. torque@2000 rpm
'70 Buick 455
370 hp.@4600 rpm
510 ft./lbs. torque@2800 rpm
So it looks like he'd have about the same horsepower with the "Smog" 455 as he has with the bellybutton,and approx 30% more torque. Both figures could be improved upon with a little work.
Like he pointed out though,doing this swap would require making it smog legal,and according to the info he's given,he can't legally install this engine in Reno. He's told that according to the smog laws there,it has to be the same make and size or they won't smog it,thus,no smog certificate,thus,no plates.
Man-I tell ya,you couldn't PAY me enough to live there-well,ya COULD,but I'd be spending a LOT of time in Court or Jail. That's such BS !! I figure a one ton shouldn't even BE smogged,and one that old should,at worst,get the basic sniffer test. I think the Government in Washoe County bears a striking resemblance to Hitler's Germany...
If he does the cab swap he's looking at,the engine swap will be fine-he won't have to smog a '64 Chevy truck. If the swap doesn't formulate by Spring,I might use the Buick motor for a project I've been working on;I want to use a BOPC engine and adapt it to a 50's/60's Chevy truck V-8 iron bell housing,and modify a Chevy truck fly wheel to fit the BOP engine with the same offset from the block as the Chevy engine would have,thus being able to use up to a 12" clutch,Chevy truck starter,and all the stock clutch linkage. It'd work with anything from '55 up. The big plus is that it'll be strong enough to use in a dump truck or car hauler. I think the flywheel spacer could be set up to hold the pilot bearing so you could use a Caddy engine as a bolt-in,without having to get the crank drilled.
Whaddya think? Sound workable? (If it works in my '74 Chevy one ton dually,I have a '57 GMC 2 ton dump/flatbed that would also benefit from the extra cojones.
Speed
BTW Cobalt;
I put a '68 Pontiac 400 in my '57 GMC half ton,my friends all said "Go for it!! It's a bolt in swap!! Well-the front mount and the exhaust manifolds bolted up,but I had to re-engineer everything else. Found a later flywheel and had it resurfaced,could only use a 10.5 inch clutch,used a BOP bell housing,block mounted starter,and since the rear mounts were part of the original bell housing, I made a plate that fit between the transmission and the rear face of the bell housing,and welded two pieces of angle to it that fit the original saddle mounts. Had to get crearive with linkage,ended up making a push set up into a pull set up bu putting a J hook at the end and making a clip that held it from dropping. The conversion wasn't too pretty,but that truck sure did move!
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