Stuffing BBC into a little S10
I have an "89" S10 that had a SBC 350 in it when I got it. I am thinking about stuffing a BBC in it because it is strictly a drag truck, no street use. The only problem I can see is maybe the steering box. Has anyone done this swap before and is the steering box an issue? Anything else you know that I am not seeing? Here is what I have done to the truck already.
Narrowed 9" Ford - 31 spline
Tubbed with 33x16.5x15 Hoosier Slicks
I scrapped the factory radiator support and fabricated one using 1x2 rectangular tubing. The inner fenders were removed for space and I have changed it from power brakes to manual to eliminate the brake booster. Thank you all for all the info and help you have given me in this build. I can't wait to get it done.
I tried to insert a picture but can't get it to work.
here is some info
1st Generation S-10 Big Block Installation
Early style big block Chevrolet motor mounts were used to mount the engine to the cross member. Extensions were welded to the front edge of the cross member and brackets were fabricated for the motor mounts to bolt to.
The front cross member was cut at the back edge approximately 3" and then boxed in. This allowed room for the engine oil pan to clear and so the engine could be mounted low. The right side of the cross member was cut at the starter location allowing enough room to install a GM full size starter although a mini high torque was used.
There were no modifications needed to the frame for the fuel pump to clear.
The frame on the left and right side was cut along the top inside edge and reshaped into a cup shape to give more room for the exhaust pipe to clear.
The front tips of the frame rails where the radiator mounts were cut downward into a U shape, boxed and welded. This allowed room for the height of the radiator. The radiator support mounts on the frame were cut and moved outward to allow room for the width of the radiator.
A stock S-10 two-wheel-drive automatic transmission cross member was used but it was cut, reshaped and welded on the left side to allow the exhaust pipe to pass through it aiding in ground clearance.
Sheet Metal Modification
A section of the firewall was cut out around the steering column and moved 1" toward the driver’s side of the truck. This allowed clearance for the steering column at the head of the engine.
The flange where the transmission tunnel and firewall meet had to be hammered up to give some clearance for the transmission to clear.
Where the right exhaust manifold meets the firewall of the truck, it had to be reshaped at that point to allow room for the studs, flange, and the pipe to clear.
The radiator support was trimmed approximately 2" at the top, in the boxed area, to allow extra room for the height of the radiator.
The 2 supports on each side of the radiator were moved outward, trimmed to fit over part of the headlight bucket area and welded. This allowed room for the width of the radiator.
Since these areas were moved outward, the radiator support mounts on the frame were moved outward also as described in the frame fabrication.
The radiator was moved forward into the condenser location and the condenser located to the outside of the support.
With the relocation of the radiator and condenser, the hood lock support will need to be cut off just below the lock mechanism. Once this is done, another lock support brace will have to be fabricated to clear the condenser and to support the lock. If a support brace is not made, the hood will shake during driving.
The safety catch on the hood lock was also cut because of interference with the condenser. Some type of safety catches needs to be fabricated for the hood lock in case the lock should fail.
The back of the 1984 grille will also need to be trimmed to clear the condenser.
The filler panel between the grille and the bumper will also need to be trimmed to clear the condenser.
(If a later model grille is used there may not be any or very little trimming needed.)
The stock S-10 hood was used. The under hood reinforcement just above the air breather was trimmed to clear the breather. All of the adhesive attachment points were maintained.
The breather used was a dropped base breather allowing more room to help clear the hood. The stock hood insulation was used and flexes enough to close over the breather.
(Hood Insulation) GM # 15659223
Cooling System - A/C
A GM radiator was used from a 1979 Chevrolet van w/small block 400 4 flu.
The radiator filler neck was relocated to the side of the tank instead of the top. Changing the filler neck to a 90-degree bend allowed it to come out past the radiator support thus eliminating cutting a hole in top of the support for the factory filler neck. The radiator shroud is for a 1979 Chevrolet van w/small block 400. It was trimmed 2" and then cut in half horizontally. It was also trimmed near the p/s pulley.
A GM short style aluminum water pump was used. GM # 14058915
An 18" flex fan was used and there is very little room between the fan bolts and radiator. The fan shroud was cut in half and two brackets on each side were made to hold the two halves together. This allows for removal of the top half of the shroud and the removal of the water pump.
The water pump has to be removed with the fan and pulley as a unit. Once the unit is removed it will allow enough room for the radiator to be removed.
(Shroud) GM # 14052540
The thermostat housing was used from an early Chevrolet. The thermostat used is a Robert Shaw 160 degree.
The top and bottom radiator hoses were trimmed to fit on each end.
Radiator hose upper Gates # 20983
Radiator hose lower Gates # 21262
A transmission cooler is mounted between the frame rails in the front just under the radiator shroud.
The A/C compressor is a Sandon 508 134A system. The a/c hoses were custom made using a combination of angled fittings at the top and the factory S-10 fittings at the condenser and drier.
The evaporator and condenser are stock S-10.
The A/C evaporator box was cut and reshaped to allow room for the engine valve cover to be removed.
The A/C condenser was moved to the outside of the radiator support just behind the grille. Two brackets were welded at the bottom of the support to hold the condenser and two straps were made to hold the condenser at the top.
The steering shaft was custom made using 3 universal joints to work around the exhaust manifold and 1 heim joint to support the shaft to the frame. The steering box is the stock S-10 unit.
The shifter is on the column and a B&M shifter cable was used with a custom made bracket that attaches to the end of the column. B&M # 80605 or PA 5020808
The power steering brackets, pump and remote reservoir came from a 1968 SS Chevelle B.B w/short water pump. The P/S pulley is the flat one – GM # 3925537 P.
The P/S lines and line fitting for the back of the pump are from a 1990’s 4.3 S-10. The lines had to be reshaped to fit this application.
The a/c brackets are Alan Grove 118R made for B.B. Chevrolets w/short pump. These use the Sandon 508 compressor.
It came with a double groove pulley and matches with the other pulleys.
The alternator brackets are from a 1968 Chevelle B.B. and the alternator pulley used is a small one.
The water pump pulley is GM # 3905989.
The inner 2 groove crank pulley is GM # 3874418 BS.
The outer 2 groove crank pulley is GM # 5525.
Alternator belt – Gates # 7555 XL
P/S belt – Gates # 7500 XL
A/C belt – Gates # 7603 XL
The upper control arms were cut on each side above the bushings and a pie shaped section was removed then welded back together. This had no effect on the strength or in the geometry of aligning the front suspension. The bushings installed with no problems.
The truck uses the V6 springs with a half coil removed and Bell-Tech 2" dropped spindles. There was no modification to the lower control arms. The front sway bar is also stock S-10.
The front brakes are stock S-10 and they seem to work well and so far there have been no problems with stopping and with the added weight it seems to ride good and steer fine.
The exhaust manifolds are stock GM # 3994045 left
GM# 3989310 Right
The exhaust manifold on the left exits at the back and turns in close to the oil pan.
The exhaust manifold on the right side had a section along the bottom notched out and a peice of metal welded in it. This gave more clearance were the exhaust manifold sits above the control arm.
This side exits out at the back toward the firewall of the truck.
The firewall of the truck had to be cut, reshaped and welded at that point to allow room for the studs, flange, and the pipe to clear.
The exhaust pipe that was used is 2 ½" aluminized. Clearance at the oil filter was a little tight since more ground clearance was needed because of the truck being lowered.
The mufflers that were used are Flowmaster 40 series # 942542.
The mufflers were placed under the cab and above the frame line, and there is clearance between the cab and the top of the muffler.
If the frame were stock in the rear of the truck it would be better to place the mufflers past the cab to cut down on interior noise.
Since this is a Pro Street truck, the narrow frame limits the placement of the tailpipes, so they were placed high by the frame then turned down in front of the rear tire just showing very little of a chrome tip.
This sounds like a lot to deal with but a very good muffler man makes all the difference.
Just Thoughts of What I Did
Everyone always ask, "How fast is it"? For me it wasn’t about how fast it is, it’s the fun of drivability. The engine is not that radical. I used a 454 engine and a 350 automatic transmission. When I was building the truck I wanted to be able to cruise around town and travel to some shows out of town without the fear of breaking down. I looked for all stock type parts that I could, like belts and hoses incase something did go wrong replacements could be found at just about any local parts store.
As far as fast, a good built small block could surely out run this truck. Having the Big Block in it is fun for me when we go to a cruise-in or car show because most people don’t believe that there is a 454 in it. They think that everything in the truck has to be gutted and cut up to get the B.B. installed. I like cruising out of town with the a/c on, cruise set and listening to tunes. So far the truck has a little over 6,000 miles on it and everything seems to be doing well. I’ve driven it through the mountains of TN and to the coast of SC.
The BIG question that everyone wants to know is "does it run hot"? It depends on if you are in stop and go traffic. In town on a mild day it might run 180-195. On a hot day driving around town it will run 200-210 with the a/c on. When we have been traveling on the highway with the a/c on at 70 mph it would run about 190-200 depending on the heat.
I was asked the other day what would you do differently? The first thing is I would have had an aluminum radiator in it. I believe that it could possibly cut the temp by 5-15 degrees. When I built the truck I really wanted to keep the stock hood on it with the Big Block so that it would make you wonder what motor might be in it. I think that might have bitten me in the butt.
There is very little intake area at the front of the radiator support although I did cut the area out to match the cooling area of the radiator. Having the bumper and the bumper filler panel there blocking some of the airflow and having a closed hood with not a lot of area to blow the hot air out it seems to hold a lot of heat in the engine compartment. Keep in mind to how low the truck is to the ground and how much heat is coming up from the road also. I think with a cowl induction hood on it that is open at the back it might also help lower the temperature.
The second thing I would have done differently is not have did the Pro-Street thing. It’s cool to see the fat tires under it and sweet to roast them but it’s not easy to drive in the rain. I had the Mickey Thompsons on it before they come out with the Hoosier Radials and at about $300 a tire I’ll have to wear these out first before they get changed. A good 10" street tire would have looked good and been easier to handle in wet conditions plus they would be a lot cheaper to replace.
There was a good bit of cutting and welding involved and this is not something you can do in the driveway but mine was done in a single car block-building garage. I’m a Collision Repair Tech. and have some mechanical and MIG welding experience although I’m not a mechanic or certified welder. I don’t want people to read this and think that I think I know all there is to know about installing a Big Block in an S-10. I read an article years ago on a BB S-10 and liked it and wanted to do it. I also had a friend that did it before I did and gave me a lot of help with issues I had. "He’s my hero". That’s for you Eddie! 8)
Thanks for all the info va4cqd. I hope mine is a little easier since the whole engine compartment is bare. The firewall has already been "hammered" up when the SB was put in. The crossmember may be an issue since it has not been modified. I can do all the work and welding, thats no problem. I was just looking into the hassles of the BBC swap to see if I wanted to tackle it.
I'm sure that would of provided a custom fit of sorts.
VA4CQD (sounds like an amature radio call sign) has it nailed. Lot better info that Hot Rod offered a guy about 40 years ago who wanted to put an FE 390 into a Ford Falcon. They suggested he remove the hood and existing engine. Then raise the 390 about 10 feet over the engine compartment, then drop it!
I'm sure that would of provided a custom fit of sorts.
Thats just too funny !!!!!
The Big Block should bolt in where that Small block used to be. It will be taller and wider at the top, you will need to custom build a set of headers or maybe you could go with a fenderwell header setup since you don't have any inner fenders.
Also, if it hasn't already been done, swap to manual steering, gives a bit more room.
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