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Old 09-06-2004, 06:39 PM
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installing a big block in 55 chevy

I have just picked up a clean 55 belair body and when looking around for a good small block came across a good deal on a 427.
I was wondering, just how much trouble would it be and what issues would I face installing this engine along with a 4 speed manual trans into this body. I am especially wondering about headers, if they can be bought as it cost me an arm and a leg on my last project to have headers made up. Also, are the mounts the same? Has anyone out there done this setup? If so, I'd love to hear from you.

thanks

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Old 09-06-2004, 06:57 PM
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First you have to decide if you are going to mount the engine as GM did or are you going to use block side mounts.. IF you decide to go the GM route you will have to buy the front mounts. I think Speedway still has them, Hurst used to. Then you will need a Lakewood Scattershield with the 55-57 side mount drillings. If you have a 55-57 V-8 belhousing you can use it. But I wouldn't. I have seen what happens when a clutch/flywheel comes thru at 6500+ rpms. Hedders used to be quite available for this combo, anf Hurst has a shifter that clears the bench seat. If you go with side mounts you will be best to buy a kit from a 55-57 specialty dealer, as you would need to fab a crossmember along with the mounts
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Old 09-06-2004, 08:18 PM
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For my money, I would go with the side mount kit and a rear crossmember.

Vince
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Old 09-06-2004, 08:33 PM
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hooker and hedman both make headers for 55-57 chevys i believe but they are for using the stock front and rear mounts, not side mounts. plus they are onlt 1 3/4 tubes. some 55-57 parts companies that sell the side mount kits, also sell the correct headers. i see in jegs or summit that you can get fender well bbc headers for 55-57 now. i would use a 2" header.
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Old 09-06-2004, 11:33 PM
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Fitting a big block in a tri-five usually requires the side mounts. No worries as most kits are a bolt in affair. If I recall, I think the six cylinders used the spots where the side mounts go. It also requires the six cylinder radiator mount as the v8 mount places the radiator on the firewall side of the support that goes from fender to fender under the hood. The firewall will require some massaging with a hammer, which is not too bad. Jegs sells the headers you will want for this. The main thing with the headers is the ability to clear the steering box. Another reason to go with the side mounts is the torque you'll be making with the big block. I recomend using the turbo hydramatic bellhousing mount kit available from classic chevy part # 10612 (~70 bucks last I needed one) as well as some form of rear tailshaft mount. This will allow you to run a later model bellhousing with out any issues aside from how you're going to actuate the clutch. I've used a vega/monza cable style on the cheap, but a hydraulic throwout bearing type setup would probably do for ya if clearance is an issue. The reason for using the three mounts is simple, the side motor mounts and bellhousing mounts will take just about any amount of torque you can throw at them. The tailshaft mount is just to keep the transmission from jerking to the passenger side when the tires catch. At which point your new goal will be to eliminate wheel hop from the rear suspension.

You'll want a 5/8's fuel line too if you don't already have one put in.

edit - btw, the headers you will want are $220 bucks from jegs with 1 7/8s primaries. pn - 737-h8023

ooh - looks like they have some super competition headers too
2 1/8's primaries - pn 520-2227 $400

Last edited by dmc12mk3; 09-06-2004 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 09-06-2004, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dmc12mk3
Fitting a big block in a tri-five usually requires the side mounts. No worries as most kits are a bolt in affair. If I recall, I think the six cylinders used the spots where the side mounts go. It also requires the six cylinder radiator mount as the v8 mount places the radiator on the firewall side of the support that goes from fender to fender under the hood. The firewall will require some massaging with a hammer, which is not too bad. Jegs sells the headers you will want for this. The main thing with the headers is the ability to clear the steering box. Another reason to go with the side mounts is the torque you'll be making with the big block. I recomend using the turbo hydramatic bellhousing mount kit available from classic chevy part # 10612 (~70 bucks last I needed one) as well as some form of rear tailshaft mount. This will allow you to run a later model bellhousing with out any issues aside from how you're going to actuate the clutch. I've used a vega/monza cable style on the cheap, but a hydraulic throwout bearing type setup would probably do for ya if clearance is an issue. The reason for using the three mounts is simple, the side motor mounts and bellhousing mounts will take just about any amount of torque you can throw at them. The tailshaft mount is just to keep the transmission from jerking to the passenger side when the tires catch. At which point your new goal will be to eliminate wheel hop from the rear suspension.

You'll want a 5/8's fuel line too if you don't already have one put in.

edit - btw, the headers you will want are $220 bucks from jegs with 1 7/8s primaries. pn - 737-h8023

ooh - looks like they have some super competition headers too
2 1/8's primaries - pn 520-2227 $400
the 6cly. used the same style front mounts as the V8, they were just closer to the rad. my 56 had a bbc in it at one time and they used the 6cyl. mounts to fit it. most of the side mount conversion will move the motor forward enought to eliminate having to clearance the firewall. it depends on what box your using, stock or 605 box or rack and pinion, to know what headers to use. i`m not sure about those 1 7/8 tube headers but i know the 2 1/8 are for using the stock style front and rear mounts. always ask the tech guy or manufacturer if they will work with your mounts.

the 5/8" fule line is way too big. a 3/8 or 1/2 would be plenty.

there are also a few companies that sell 4spd linkage for bbc motors. just look at the different kits before you buy one and make sure it will work for what you want .
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Old 09-07-2004, 01:01 PM
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doh, my bad - I meant 3/8ths

I should learn to go to bed earlier (grin).
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