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Old 06-26-2006, 10:56 PM
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Corvair - V8 Conversion?

I have a line on a 2nd gen corvair. I recall hearing about a v8 conversion that was popular back in the 70's. I don't want to take up the back seat, so my questions are as follows:

- Will a GM V6 (Buick?) or SBC bolt up to the transaxle in the original engine location?

- How drastic of a conversion would putting a V8 up front be?

- Is it even worth doing, (Build the air cooled motor with a big turbo? - if speed parts are even available) Go Yenko Stinger Clone?

What do you guys think? (I know, its a love it or hate it car...but my 2 cents, Nader was a no-mind)

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Old 06-26-2006, 11:27 PM
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well i don't squat about the V8 or V6 swap but i have read about the V8 swaps b4 & loved the idea. here's a web site about doing the swap & to buy the parts. it looks like the kit is fairly cheap enuff too, makes me wish i had a corvair only down side is u lose the back seat.

but here's a place that sells
high performance speed part for the corvairs and here's a Google search on corvair parts.......joe
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Old 06-27-2006, 01:52 PM
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Thanks TM2C: that site had a page with the Buick V6 conversion I had heard about. Pretty slick...simple mods & no butchering the back seat too!

Now how about a GN motor with a honkin turbo! Poor little transaxle would need to be replaced for sure.
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Old 06-27-2006, 03:01 PM
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if u want to do a V6 swap look at the 3800 Supercharged Buick motors IF it would work. we had one in a 92 Park Ave Ultra & it would screammmm...joe
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Old 06-27-2006, 06:35 PM
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The late model ('65 - '69) Corvair is a great car... fully independent suspension (not swing axles like the early models) and parts are readily available (and being reproduced).

The engine up front has been done, but it's not easy... it's a unibody car and you'd basically have to replace everything but the outer skin. You'd have to build a tube frame and just use the outer body panels, but in a RWD rear end, etc.

You'd have to reverse the rotation of the engine to put a V6 in the original location. Trust me, you don't want to put the motor in back seat, it's hot, noisy and there's not much legroom left up front.

The swap to a aluminum Buick 215 V8 used to be popular too (when there were a lot of them around), but it still needs a reverse rotation cam and a rewound starter. It has the advantage of putting the motor in the engine compartment and doesn't mess up the balance of the car too much (the radiator, fan, etc up front helps to compensate for it)..

You'd want a '66 or newer transaxle (Saginaw) because it's stronger than those of the '65.

I've got 2 Corvairs... a '65 Monza convertible and a '66 500 coupe. Check out the Corvair Society of America (CORSA) at http://www.corvair.org

Last edited by MAUSS; 06-27-2006 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 06-27-2006, 09:28 PM
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Thanks guys. Mauss, to reverse the rotation of an engine, do you only need to rewire the starter and change the cam? (Would reverse rotation cams be a custom order??)

I would think that an all aluminum late model 6 would have the same weight as the old Buick 215 too, or maybe even less. (no?)

Thanks again,

GHF
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Old 06-27-2006, 10:30 PM
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Crown was the company that made the V-8 conversions way back when. Clark's Corvair Parts ( www.corvair.com ) had the leftover inventory after Crown bit the dust. A company named Kelmark also did some conversions using a different process. Here's some stuff from a board search for crown corvair:

http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/sear...earchid=524051
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Old 06-28-2006, 05:04 AM
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My son's first generation Corvair:

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Old 06-28-2006, 06:38 AM
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The cam and the starter should be it, at least if you're not using too modern of an engine that has a crankshaft position sensor and such. I tend to think old-school on stuff like this.

The 215 was a nice swap because it fit so well in the engine compartment... all you had to do was get rid of the bump in the rear panel behind the license plate where the lid latch goes. Nothing shows on the outside.

I remember hearing once that there were marine applications that spun one motor in the opposite direction. That might be a source of reverse rotation cam for some types of engines (check some of the cam manufacturers, like Comp Cams). The starter doesn't need to be re-wired, it needs to be re-wound to spin in the opposite directiion.

There's nothing wrong with the original Corvair drivetrain... the late models were available with engines rated 95, 110, 140 and 180HP (180 being a turbo). Like I said, parts are readily available (even if they're not as cheap as they used to be).

Last edited by MAUSS; 06-28-2006 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 06-28-2006, 07:14 AM
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IIRC - The 4 speed box on the 65-69 Vairs had Muncie internals, so it is strong enough to mate up to a fairly stout small block.

I had a friend that had a factory turbo car that would pull the front tires off the ground, so, at least in his case, the trans-axle was stout enough.

I don't think you have to reverse the engine rotation. I remember reading several articles about the swap (admittedly a long time ago) and don't remember this being mentioned. Also, all the photos I looked at today seem to have a stock water pump with standard rotation. Think about it. If the 215 and the V-6 will drive the wheels the correct direction, the V-8 in front will as well because you are also swapping the left and right wheels side to side.

Really be different and build a Vair turbo engine.
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Old 06-28-2006, 07:40 AM
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Check out this link- http://www.corvaircorsa.com/crown1.html and click on the Norris conversion. 27 pages of how to do it.

Parts for a V8 conversion run around $1.5-2K and there's the car to buy too. '66-'69 Corvairs value drop by half the second they're modified, so if you're serious about the conversion, a much better deal can be had by buying an already converted car.

There's a reference in this article for a vendor that builds Corvair transaxles to handle 500hp. In a light car, that'd be some serious scoot.

Unfortunately, no fifth gear or OD available....

Neil
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Old 06-28-2006, 08:24 AM
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Instead of trying to adapt a V8 to the Corvair transaxle, have you considered using the entire drivetrain from a FWD car? If you want a V8, you could use the Cadillac Northstar. If not, you could use a Honda Vtec or choose from the number of other high performance FWD units.

(In case anyone's confused, this is still taking place at the rear of the car.)
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Old 06-28-2006, 09:24 AM
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I thought to reverse an engine you had to change the distributor as well.

Check some marine applications for reversed starters and cams. PCM and Indmar have engines and parts.
Also www.skidim.com has about any marine engine part.

I recall in the 70's some Corvairs being converted to front engine using a mid 60's chevelle frame. Maybe had to be narrowed and shortened. But we had several front engine Corvairs running around here back then.
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Old 06-28-2006, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyShope
Instead of trying to adapt a V8 to the Corvair transaxle, have you considered using the entire drivetrain from a FWD car? If you want a V8, you could use the Cadillac Northstar.
Similar idea, but lower cost would be a 4.9 Cadillac FWD drivetrain. You can pick them up for next to nothing.

Not as cool as the Northstar, but also not as pricey. Northstar also uses the 4T80E, which requires a powertrain controller. The 4T60s were just electronic shift, and the controller is less sophisticated - I suppose you could even rig up something custom.

Both the 4.9 and the N* are aluminum block V8s.

For some ideas on all of the above, do a search on Cadero (Fieros with Cadillac engines) - the Fiero guys are doing all sorts of creative swaps and a lot of that info might be transferable over to your 'vair.


I imagine you could also investigate the older GM FWD drivetrains - the TH425 that was in the first FWD Eldorados and Toronados in the late 60s and 70s, and the TH325 that was in the downsized Eldos/Toros and Rivs in the 80s.




I know they'd be a bit on the expensive side, but would a Porsche drivetrain (911) be adaptable?



I don't know all that much about the Corvair layout, so the above are just some ideas that popped into my head. Might be useful...might not.
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Old 06-29-2006, 06:41 AM
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Swapping in a different engine and transaxle on a late model Corvair gets tricky, suspension wise. The engine and transaxle on a Corvair are stressed parts of the rear suspension... the rear suspension lower control arms bolt to the transaxle case. I've seen a car where a whole Northstar engine and transaxle have been used, but the car was converted to a tube frame.... definitely not a weekend project.
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