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Old 09-17-2002, 08:49 PM
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Question Wagon motor

Ok, here's my first post. I am about to get a 81 caprice wagon for a cheap second vehicle/project. Overall the body and interior are in good shape. Glass is fairly good too. Even has power windows and doors. At the price I am getting it for, ~300, it is a good starting point.

The one question I really have is the motor. It is the stock 350. I know 81 or so was about as low power wise as you could get. There is where my problem is at. I don't have to have a world beater, but I do want better than average performance. I know you can get tons of parts for the 350. And where I live emissions are not a concern. So what I am thinking of is one of two things. Either fixing up the 350(dual exhaust, new intake, new carb, maybe new heads depending on my budget, rebuild, nothing wild) or dropping a 500 caddy into it. I have always wanted one of those big motors. And from what I have read/seen it would be an ideal motor for the heavy wagon. Good low end torque.

The questions I have about such a swap are what could I keep on the drivetrain. I have read of built TH350s behind 500 caddys. And this would be a nice solution if it would work because then I would not have to screw with the drive shaft. The rear end is another questionable area. I know this part probably belongs in another topic, but I am trying to decide if the engine swap would be worth it.

I plan on getting a shop manual for the wagon when I get it later this week. So that should answer some of my questions about the drive train. I don't have a lot of experience but I ain't a complete dumb*** either. Either approach would teach me alot, but I also have good help available.

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Old 09-17-2002, 09:19 PM
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I dont know about the 500, I could find out tomarrow and let you know. I think it would be better to go with the 350 because of the possibilities. They are very easy to get any part you will ever need and the prices are cheep cheep cheep.And with the right parts I think you should get enough power for what ever you want to do with the car, Crusing,towing,and going fast
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Old 09-17-2002, 09:25 PM
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I like the Cadillac idea, I helped a guy build a 472 that he put in an 81 Malibu wagon, it turned low 8s in the 1/8th mile, and the engine only had mild performance mods, I can't remember what trans he used, but I think it was a TH400. The Cads make brutal torque, I always thought a Nitrous Cadillac 500 would get the job done in a hurry.
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Old 09-17-2002, 09:28 PM
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I wouldn't worry too much about the driveshaft, any competent machine shop can chop , shorten and weld any kind of setup you want for a transmission.
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