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Old 02-28-2007, 12:06 AM
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Engine Swap Help

I just installed a 1971 chevrolet impala engine in my 1985 el camino.
The 71 is a rebuilt 350 that has replaced my 1985 305. It came with a powerglide transmission that I am not using. I am using my 1985 trans. with overdrive. I have had the 350 running but it ran bad. I think I need to bypass the computer in the 1985 to make the 1971 work. I don't think anything will work right if I bypass the computer. The trans. won't shift in the correct spots and my gauges won't work. The 1971 engine did not have a computer behind it. I can't be the first one to put an older engine in a newer car. This engine and trans. came from a friend and did not cost me any money.
They both have 5 grand on them. The guy wanted to put a big block in place of this 350. This is how I came about this driveline. I need help to figure out how to make this work. The engine and trans. are in the car and my baby is in need of running. I am in need of having my baby running. If anyone out there has a way for me to get my Camino back on the road, PLEASE HELP ME!! SOS SOS SOS I am by no means a wrench. I worked with wood for over 30 years and now I am retired. This is why I took on this project. Otherwise I would have had someone do it. When money is low we do what we have to do. Even if you never did a job like this. I know the hard part is over with. I just need information on a way to get this to work for me.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR INFORMATION AHEAD OF TIME. KACHINA321

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Old 02-28-2007, 12:38 AM
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Welcome to the site.

You made it sound as if you are a beginner when working on an engine? Is this accurate?

You came to the right spot for info. There are many very knowledgable and patient poeple on this site that will help you work out the bugs.

Your swap should be pretty strait forward (assuming the 350 is a stock to mild build).

You stated that it runs bad. Elaborate please.

Will it idle? Does it backfire? Does it run real rough?

If it is running really rough, I would check to make sure you have all the plug wires going to the correct plug.

Have you adjusted your timing?

Is your El Co carbed or is it fuel injected?
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Old 02-28-2007, 03:16 AM
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Yes And Thanks

Yes I am by no means a wrench. I am willing but have no hands on. I always fooled around with stuff but never got into the nitty gritty of the workings of an engine. I did everything so far to the Camino. I did the R and R of the engine. I had some help with the bolting up of the transmission. I took apart the entire front end to make it much more E.Z. to R and R the engine. So as you see I am not affraid to get busy. I was under the car as well as on top.
I checked all the wires over and over. I have a performer carb. along with a performer manifold. So I am not FI. I have done everything that I can think of. I also went over it again and again. As of right now the car is not running at all. I took the distributer that was in out and swapped it for the non computer controled distributer that came with the 350. When the engine was running it was running real rough. The engine has a mild build from what I have been told. 1/4 cam, 2 over, 10 to 1 pistons and was also told it has somewhere between 330 to 360 HP. I took everything off the front of the engine again. Meaning the hoses and belts. So this way I have better access to what I need to check. I am thinking, and I could be very very wrong here. That it has something to do with the computer in the 1985 Camino. Also the computer runs many items in the Camino. I think it is confusing everything that I am trying to do. I don't think the trans. will shift if the computer is bypassed. I have heard that there is something out there that will make everything come together. I have yet to run into anyone who really knows.
Thanks for responding to my SOS.
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Old 02-28-2007, 03:24 AM
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Also

Timming has been checked and all is good. I do have some question on how to put the wires to the plug. I did have a friend who has some knowledge of these things check the wires. The way he put them on the car ran. I went to a book that had a 1971 fieing order and it was differant from what he had. So I put them on the way the book said and the Camino did not run at all. So I put them back the way they were. I have not been able to start the car since. I am in need of another body to help me out when turning the engine over. I am waiting for my buds to come back this weekend. I am also waiting for new gauges to be put in so we know if we are getting oil pressure and not over heating. They should be here this week some time. I am thinking that they wont work without the computer though. We will see if they work or not. Again, Thanks for your reply,,,,,Dennis
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Old 02-28-2007, 05:34 AM
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The computer should have nothing to do with your problems. Your gauges probably are not working as you have the wrong sending units..You need the ones from the 85.

Get your friend to put the wires back on the way it was when it ran. Chances are, its just a matter of setting timing and checking for vacuum leaks after that.

It is very hard to diagnose stuff like this over the internet, without being there to see what is happening.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 02-28-2007, 05:45 AM
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What type of ignition are you using? Was the car originally fuel injected (did you remove the high pressure pump if so)?

Last edited by Lonestar; 02-28-2007 at 05:55 AM.
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Old 02-28-2007, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonestar
Was the car originally fuel injected (did you remove the high pressure pump if so)?
If it was FI a better way than replacing the pump is to install a 4-1/2 to 9 Lb. bypass style pressure regulator plumbed to the return line then you don't have to replace the in-tank pump and it's still there if you decide to reinstall the EFI later on. Holley has one for about $60, it HAS to be the "bypass" version though.
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Old 02-28-2007, 12:32 PM
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Thank You All

I put all the sending units back that were in the 305. I am not sure if the gauges are working yet since I can get the car started. I have someplace to start now. I was in the dark before. I am waiting for new stock gauges to be delivered so I know I am getting oil pressure.
I will keep you all posted on how this is turning out. Thanks again for all your input. I did not remove the pump. Thank You All For Yor Help. Now I need to find the computer and unplug it so I can time the engine. Dennis
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 02-28-2007, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KACHINA321
I put all the sending units back that were in the 305. I am not sure if the gauges are working yet since I can get the car started. I have someplace to start now. I was in the dark before. I am waiting for new stock gauges to be delivered so I know I am getting oil pressure.
I will keep you all posted on how this is turning out. Thanks again for all your input. I did not remove the pump. Thank You All For Yor Help. Now I need to find the computer and unplug it so I can time the engine. Dennis
The computer is not causing the problem...you need to verify firing order, timing and fuel pressure.

Was the car fuel injected?
Are you running a points distributor?
Charging system wiring correct?
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Old 02-28-2007, 12:46 PM
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answer to your questions

No FI I am not using points.....I have checked and rechecked everything many times. I was told I need to disconnect the computer and then do my timming and all the other set ups. Thaks For your replys. Dennis
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Old 02-28-2007, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KACHINA321
No FI I am not using points.....I have checked and rechecked everything many times. I was told I need to disconnect the computer and then do my timming and all the other set ups. Thaks For your replys. Dennis
The "computers" in that car did no more than retard the timing to prevent spark knock and control a solenoid on the carb...

If you have a 12 volt keyed feed to the distributor and the starting/charging systems are wired correctly then you should not have any electrical issues.

Again, check the spark plug wiring order (pull the cap, verify #1, etc...), timing and fuel pressure.

Once these are verified as correct, then we can help further. I can appreciate the fact that you are not a professional mechanic, and you will get tons of help here to get you into the learning process.

Try to get the computer issue out of your mind.
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Old 02-28-2007, 07:58 PM
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Hi,

I just checked the firing order for both engines, and they are both 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2.

Why don't you just use the HEI distributor that was on the 305 (and original to the car) on the 350? It is a direct fit swap ... and all of your compatability issues should be over.


This is what an HEI distributor cap should look like. The coil mounts on top of the cap on an HEI system, so you can remove the old (point-style) coil and bracket from the engine and discard them.

I'm also attaching a diagram of the firing order. It even shows which cylinder is #1, and lays out the positions of the wires on the cap
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Old 02-28-2007, 11:11 PM
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You may have the distributor in wrong. Take the cap off and make sure the rotor is pointing toward the #1 cylinder (as in the above pic) when #1 is at Top Dead Center of the compression stroke.

You can use the timing marks on the balancer to find TDC (the 0* mark). When the mark on the balancer is at 0*, the #1 will either be at top of the compression stroke or discharge stroke. Put your finger over the spark plug hole when turning the motor by hand. When you feel air pressure pushing past your finger the engine is in the compression stroke. When the mark is at 0*, you are there. Now, check the orientation of the rotor.

Take your time and work out one issue before going to another (i.e. timing, fuel, ...).
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Old 03-02-2007, 07:04 AM
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Thanks Fellas

My Buddies And I Just Might Be At It This Wekend. I Just Got My Gauges In. So Now I Can See If I Am Getting Oil Pressure And Not Over Heating. I Am Taking Everything You All Give Me And Applying It. I Did A Print Out Of All The Info. And Now Have It In My Buds Hands. He Has The Know How. I Am Doing The Hard Stuff Before He Gets Here. Thanks Once Again You All Have Given Me Much To Work With. Dennis
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Old 03-02-2007, 08:07 AM
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print this off

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