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Old 10-13-2004, 02:32 AM
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Big Block 71 Nova Swap

Hi guys. I have been reading this forum alot, but I finally took the time to register today. I own a 71 Nova that I am currently dropping a 454 in. This was originally a 307 equipped car. Well Monday me and my mechanic went to drop the motor into the car and ran into all kinds of clearance issues. We have all of them figured out except one, the oil pan. I want to start by saying that the 454 came out of a 85 Suburban and we put the Suburban (truck) oil pan back on the engine after the rebuild. Well after going to drop the motor in the car the oil pan was hitting on the frame with about another inch needed to clear the frame. But on a 71 Nova the steering is "behind" the frame where the engine bolts in so I would actually need about another 3-4? inches of clearance to get the oil pan in properly. Now to my question: If I were to buy a "street/strip" racing oil pan (flat most of the way back before dumping into a big square) would it clear everything I needed it to? Has anyone else done this swap before and could maybe give me a few tips? We have been working on this project for around 4 months and with the end being so close I am really pushing to get it done. Any info you all could shed would be truly appreciated. Thanks
Rob

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Old 10-13-2004, 05:46 AM
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The 396 big block was offered in the Nova when it was new, I would try and find a pan for a big block Nova, be it OEM or aftermarket. You are also going to have header or exhaust manifold issues to solve.

Vince
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Old 10-13-2004, 09:10 AM
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Use a passenger car pan. The aftermkt pan will work if sump is all the way to the rear.

Flip the heater core and drill new holes in the cover. The factory used black duct tape to cover the small block holes.

Headers for a 67-69 Camaro are the same as Nova 68-72.

The power brake booster will hit the v-covers. Dimple them or try to find a big block booster brkt.

The big block radiator originally mounted from the sides as opposed to the small block that has the top retainer.. Get a big radiator and a shroud.

The small block engine mounts will work if you get the correct combination of parts. Sometimes a spacer is needed on the engine mount side. The original big block mounts are a bit wider than the 307 mounts.

The rear end will not last unless you are grandpa.

I owned several of these cars. Even bought a new COPO 70 Nova SS. Loved these cars.
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Old 10-13-2004, 12:11 PM
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Wow Bob, I didn't realize you were such a Chevy freak.

Vince
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Old 10-13-2004, 10:52 PM
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Thanks for all the info. I figure if I buy a drag race type oil pan it will be better all the way around as for clearance issues and holding more oil. I already have "Hedman headers" that are made to go on a big block 71 Nova, but I have to convert to manual steering which is basically already done. I dont have a heater and the valve cover issue im pretty sure I can work around. I have the correct frame mounts on order because my car originally had a 307 in it and 307 frame mounts wont work on a big block conversion. I may have to do some rearend modifications later, but my current rearend is a 10 bolt with literally brand new (maybe 500 miles) 3:55 gears. Thanks for all the info and I will let you guys know how it comes out.

Rob
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Old 10-13-2004, 10:53 PM
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Just FYI, here is a pic of my 71 nova.

Rob
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Old 10-13-2004, 11:35 PM
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I like it!! I bought a 71 Nova on E-bay this past spring and plan on doing a similar setup to it. Already have a 496 with World Products heads. A Fairbanks 400 turbo 3500 convertor and a 9" Locker rear for it. Looking for a cowl scoop steel hood. I have so many projects on the fire right now I doubt If I get to it till about this time next fall.

I want to finish my 61 Mercedes Benz and my two old Studebakers this cold season.. My Opel GT next spring.. Then there's the 48 Ford Business coupe and the 36 Terraplane needs paint and.......,,,,,,.....,,,.....
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Old 10-14-2004, 01:31 AM
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I know the feeling. I just completed my 69 Corvette convertible and im trying to get this Nova done before I start on my 70 Corvette. Heres a pic of the 69 after just painting it and before I had the chance to put the trim pieces on it. The big block Nova swap should be done as soon as these parts get in the mail so I will let you know something in the next week or so.

Rob
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