Install a 350 or 4.3 in a 1954 Chevy Truck? - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:42 PM
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Install a 350 or 4.3 in a 1954 Chevy Truck?

I have a 54 chevy panel truck with the stock 235. I am ready to update to a 350 or a 4.3 with a 700R4 and 373 rear end. There are various kits available to bolt into the frame for engine mounts and transmission cross member etc...

I know many years ago I read that when installing a 350 you need to move the steering box over a few inches to make room for the exhaust manifold. I have looked online trying to find info but no one has mentioned that aspect of it.

Can anyone give me the facts about what I need to know as well as any other tips about installing a big block in this style truck?

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Old 08-11-2007, 01:51 AM
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i have 4.3L Vortec V6 thats in my wrecked blazer for sale in case your interested it....everything is there....all wiring..tranny...etc....
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:23 AM
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Install a 350 or 4.3 in a 1954 Chevy Truck

What year is the blaser and is it 4-wheel drive? How many miles on the engine etc...

I installed a rear end from a s-10 in a 1949 chevy truck but the only way it would fit was if it was 4-wheel drive because it was a little longer.
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Old 08-11-2007, 08:25 AM
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If you went with the 4.3 it sits 8 inches futher back than a 350. Even so I don`t know if it would clear your steering box, but it may make it easier to work with. The 4.3 is certainly no powerhouse in stock form but it can be made to run. You would want heads from a 1996 and later 4.3 as they have the real vortec heads. Even so GM started to use the name in the 80`s and called them vortec, they had junk swirl vane heads before 96. There are 2 types of 4.3, the non balance shaft and the balance shaft models. They are somewhat limited in parts interchange. But a 4.3 is just a 350 with 2 cylinders chopped off so You can use 350 pistons. The crank is a offset journal design and if you look at the rod journals you`ll notice where the journal is offset it`s very thin and this is the weak link of these engines but it will still make 300 horses safely. The Vortec heads of 96 and up used a screw in stud and a non adjustable valvetrain, you can remove these studs and just screw in regular studs and have a adjustable valve train. You would need a roller cam, avalible from comp cams, Isky to name a few, and if you used the vortec heads a edelbrock vortec intake. If you use a non balance shaft engine you`ll need to have it balanced at 36% as these engines are known shakers, I would also recommend the use of a aftermarket balancer on the non balance shaft engine. Here`s a link that will give you all the info you need if you would like to use a 4.3.
If you read this and have anymore questions just ask. The article may seem confusing, but it`s really not that complicated.
http://www.babcox.com/editorial/ar/ar40047.htm
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Old 08-11-2007, 12:30 PM
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Install a 350 or 4.3 in a 1954 Chevy Truck

DoubleVision...

I am not much of an engine mechanic but I did look over the website and it does make some sense. I will look over it more when I find a 4.3 and need to know more about it. If I am not concerned about performance and more concerned about just having a great driver do I need to be as concerned about the balanced and unbalanced etc...? I just want to update the truck and horsepower is not really of interest to me.

Now, I have a 49 pickup and I installed a Mustang II with a 350 motor mount kit and placed a 4.3 in it. Even though the engine is shorter it made more room up front. I am still not finished with it and have picked up interest on the 54 so that is what I am concentrating on now. Besides, since I swapped the front end I did not have to worry about the steering box.

So with this stock 54, I am wondering if I could just move the engine more forward and give myself more room in the back? It all depends on where I put the motor mounts. Then again the frame gets more narrow as you move forward so that would create the issue with running the exhaust down the side.

If I do get a 4.3 is it hard to take the computer stuff off and make it work? I know I will need a new intake and carb but the various ports and sensors...can I just plug them off?
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Old 08-11-2007, 01:28 PM
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You`ll need a non computer controlled distributor, and the after market has intakes that use a carb instead of TBI. Keep in mind if you move the engine forward the trans has to go forward also, so the mounting points would be moved and you would have to make sure it was straight and level. They didn`t go to balance shaft engines until 93, so finding one in the late 80`s early 90`s would be fine, providing it`s still in good shape, I would at least install a new timing chain. Then order a intake that accepts a carb, slap it together and go. The 4.3 in stock form has plenty enough torque to move your pickup, but as said it won`t be a power house. These engines last a long time when taken care of.
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Old 08-12-2007, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knothead
What year is the blaser and is it 4-wheel drive? How many miles on the engine etc...

I installed a rear end from a s-10 in a 1949 chevy truck but the only way it would fit was if it was 4-wheel drive because it was a little longer.
the blazers is a 1995 and yes it is 4 wheel drive the motor has a little over 100,000 miles on it but runs like a champ...good oil pressure....ill let it go for cheap if your interested...my dad is tired of a wrecked car in the driveway...
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Old 08-12-2007, 05:12 PM
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could go with a 250 or 292 I6 for more clearance but wouldnt be as fun as a v8
Shane
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Old 08-15-2007, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevrolet4x4s
could go with a 250 or 292 I6 for more clearance but wouldnt be as fun as a v8
Shane
Actually, the dare-to-be-different swap is the Vortec inline 6 from the newer Trailblazer (and clones). 4.2 liter, 270 HP, 270 ft-lb, EFI, dual cams, 4 valves...

More HP and torque than the 4.3 and no steering clearance issues.

Last edited by joe_padavano; 08-15-2007 at 11:17 AM. Reason: spelling
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