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Old 05-19-2019, 06:26 PM
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Engine Swap Question

Hello all, first post.

I have an 84 C10, that I knowingly bought with a trashed engine. I would like to swap the engine with something a little uncommon, but the more I think about how to do this switch the more I realize I have no idea what I'm doing.

If money was no object I would buy a first gen 392 hemi, but since I'm not a millionaire I thought about using a 413 mopar engine as well.

How difficult is it to retain the turbo 350 trans in the truck but put a mopar power plant under the hood. I have looked at Trans adaptors, but they don't make a ton of sense to me. Also I have ran into a road block figuring out the throttle cable as well.

Any help offered would be appreciated.

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Old 05-19-2019, 06:50 PM
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My best advice to anyone building or otherwise modifying a vehicle is to figure out how they're going to sell it. No matter what you may say about it now, "I'll never sell it" for instance, life has a way of changing things around for us that may require you to sell the truck at one time or another in the future. What I'm getting at is that someone who would be attracted to a Chevy truck may not be attracted to a Mopar prime mover under the hood. And someone who may be attracted to a Mopar prime mover may not be very interested in the Chevy envelope.

What seems to work pretty well is using a larger displacement motor from the same corporate provider, such as General Motors Cadillac 472 or 500, Pontiac 421, 428 or 455, Oldsmobile 425, 455. I also remember seeing one of the coolest pickup trucks I have ever seen, this was decades ago, a fellow swapped the entire engine/transmission/differential package from a 500 cubic inch 1975 Cadillac Eldorado into the front of a Chevy pickup truck. It would be a simple matter of cutting the front frame rails just in front of the firewall on the truck and welding in the front frame rails from the Eldorado. I don't mean it to sound simple, but it would be a good project for a first time engine swapper. General Motors began making the FWD cars (Cadillac and Oldsmobile) in 1966, so there must be scadzillion of them rusting away in old boneyards and sideyards all over the country. This would be a project that would have really good resale value, in my opinion. Buy the whole car, use everything out of it that you can, then sell the remaining parts to help bring down the cost of the swap. I remember having an interest in doing this and went so far as to find out that Eaton manufactured a non-slip differential for the TH425 differentials.

No matter what you decide to do, you are thinking the proper way, that heavy truck will require max cubic inches to move out of its own way.

.

Last edited by techinspector1; 05-19-2019 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:18 PM
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Other than a thin trans to engine adapter, which you said you don't want, this is the only other way you are going to get a TH-350 bolted to a Big Block Mopar. Almost a $500 part though:
https://racewithjw.com/product/ultra...o-th400-th350/

This is a race oriented piece, but would work just fine other than you cannot use a stock diameter low stall converter, as it won't fit inside this smaller safety bellhousing. To install you saw off the stock bellhousing area of the Th-350 trans, this bolts on using longer pump to case bolts they provide. SFI race certified as a safety shield.
Would be a whole bunch cheaper to just use a Mopar transmission.

You may have engine oil pan clearance problems too, clearing the Chevy truck crossmember, depending on what pan the Mopar engine has. You may be able to just swap pans, or you may have to do some cutting and welding.
.
Definitely going to have to fab your own motor frame mounts to fit the Mopar engine mounts.

Exhaust manifolds will likely clear, but there re several mopar styles over the years and you may have to swap from what you currently have on the 413....if you want headers you'll find nothing premade unless you get lucky enough that a set for any mopar application just happens to fit and clear...other wise you are looking at making your own($500-ish with a kit)or having custom made(figure $750 -1000 minimum).

Throttle cable is easy, Lokar and others have hotrod/streetrod kits but it should not be hard to adapt the stock cable, as most carbs have very similar attachment..

Most everyone will advise you not to do this, just get a Mopar truck if you like that engine enough to use it.

Crossbreeding engines and vehicles is very unpopular with hotrodders/ racers in anything built after 1950...a Hemi gets a pass just for the cool factor, and Big Block Chevy's just because of their overwhelming use in racing....but anything else just gets branded as a mongrel and ends up with a huge reduction in value if you ever choose to sell.... unless you can find that one similar crazy mind that likes that same weird combo you just put together.

About the only off brand engine swap into a Chevy truck I see having any hope of any sale value or cool factor when finished is the 472/500 Cadillac engine swap. been done before and not tremendously difficult and gives great low end towing or tire torching power.

Sorry Tech, but I'd just shake my head it anyone crazy enough to swap a front drive transaxle/engine deal into a Cheyy pick up....unless you are putting it thru the bed!
Do it up front wheel drive and come need to sell it you won't be able to give it away.
Mopar 413 in a Chevy truck is going to end up in the same boat In my opinion unless priced low enough for either the engine or the truck body/chassis to be a keeper for someone and the other half scrap or trade bait.
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:18 AM
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Put a ls engine into it.
Everything bolts up and it is easy to do. Can be done for around $3000 correctly starting with a $500 150k engine then replacing seals changing mounts, exhaust etc.
There are many custom things that you can do with a square body. Engine wise a ls just works. I have a 02 which is a "good" year swap wise for the 87.
300hp and truck torque with lots of potential and around 14 mileage. Easy wiring hookup and very reliable.

Or
Budget wise find someone that has a "built" 350(355/383) and is selling it for around $1000 air cleaner to pan. They are out there I have bought over a dozen "built" engines for around what the heads(dart or other) cost alone. Run the engine, do a compression test, then tell the person to pull the cap and leave the dizzy in when they pull the engine. Use a lift plate on the intake and your good. Leaving the dizzy in saves some time and you don't need to wonder if they threw the thing across the shop floor. Thing will be a weekend swap and easy to do. Most of your stuff like exhaust,, fuel, cooling, mounts will all bolt up so no messing around fabricating. Even with new seals you should be able to buy and drop in the newer engine under $1500
Around 250-330hp and requires some tuning. But mileage wise your still over 12.

Or
You can go big block. But really there are a few issues here.

With a 472/500 your running into the valves, timing chain, and clearance issues of the pan and oil filter. These engines are pigs so don't expect mileage over 8. Furthermore the "good" high compression engines require premium and also require a re curved distributior to go from points to hei. They make great torque but only till about 4000 where things start to get funky. Fixing these issues is not cheap at all because it is a Cadilliac(same goes for the buick and olds big blocks of the 70's). You can easily have 3k into a 472/500 swap to make it reliable on todays junk gas.

With a 454 you have a wealth of parts and potential. Not to many headaches dropping it in and they are easily sourced if you ask around. It is one of those engines you can build upon or run around with just 300hp and a bit more torque then a 383. Mileage wise 8-10 depending on your foot. But back to the parts part of it a 468 makes good torque while having a nice amount of reliability at a fair enough cost. Finding a "built 454 is a bit tougher but if your willing to play with peanuts where someone swapped in a rv cam you can throw a carb intake onto that with hei and then be good to go for under $2000 after you do the seals and such.

Or
You can go the other way and go smaller. I have had 4 full size trucks sporting 4.3 engines and one sporting a 3800 engine. They are good, not great, but good engines. But you need gearing to make them work. Most of these came with a manual 5 speed in the full size trucks and gearing around 4.11. The thing wont be powerful but it is easy to work on and very reliable. Parts wise though your screwed in most cases. Which drives up prices and Mileage wise your going to be about the same as a 350 due to having to work that engine harder at slower speeds if still using a automatic.

Or
Screw ICE and go electric. Now you need to do some homework here. But Building your own parts, using common packs like toyota, sourcing junkyard motors, and just talking with people who have done it and learned from the mistakes you can do a electric conversion for Under $5000 with a range of around 60 miles(2 packs). The range sucks here with a 220 recharge time of around a hour for every 10 miles. But the mechanics are stupid simple and if your just driving the thing around short trips it may be a option. Heck throw a generator in the back and you have a hybrid when parked.
Battery packs are quickly getting better year by year which will allow your range to be extended closer to that 100 mile mark within 6 years.

Or
If you want to run a hemi I would just run a 727 and a 205 behind it. Price wise nothing about a hemi is cheap. Your going to be over $5000. I would budget closer to $7000 to do the swap right pushing around 500hp and the short version here is that a $7000 LS motor running some boost will make similar if not more power while being cheaper to run and repair.






Asking around and finding a "built" 350 will keep things simple and make this a weekend tbi 350 to carb 350 swap. Ease of use wise that will get the wheels moving on this for the least amount of fabrication and cost. It will allow you to keep a eye out for a great deal on a power train to do a swap with later.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:56 AM
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There a little more to it then just a thin plate adapter as the ring gear is on the converter on a mopar and the starter bolts to the mopar trans bellhousing. I know several that used this kit to put a 200r4 behind a big block and let's just say the adapter doesn't support the starter as well as the bellhousing and with the chevy trans there is no support for the nosecone of the starter.

Wilcap Store

I would source a Chevy engine in this case and bolt it in. Cheaper then adapters or bellhousings or custom built converters/flexplates.

Last edited by Hipster_G; 05-20-2019 at 03:12 AM.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:31 AM
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If you want something fun, but with fewer swap hassles, using a strong LS engine is hard to beat. Shoehorning in a Mopar engine doesn't seem worth it when GM has so many good engines.

4.8 and 5.3 LS swaps are common swaps in squarebody trucks because they are easy to find in the junkyard, but instead you could use something like an LS9 Corvette engine and have a more unique combination. 638 HP (LS9) or even 505 HP (LS9) in your truck would wake it up quite a bit.

Bruce
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:50 AM
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I won't debate the wisdom of a cross-marque swap, but in any case, with a 2WD truck, it is MUCH easier to swap the engine with a matching trans. Bellhousing adapters lead to all kinds of problems (converter depth, concentricity, etc), and frankly a TH350 isn't your best choice for a larger engine. Swapping the engine and trans as a set means you just have to make new motor mounts, modify the trans crossmember, and make a new driveshaft. Those are all much easier than a bellhousing adapter for a non-popular swap.
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techinspector1 View Post

What seems to work pretty well is using a larger displacement motor from the same corporate provider, such as General Motors Cadillac 472 or 500, Pontiac 421, 428 or 455, Oldsmobile 425, 455. I also remember seeing one of the coolest pickup trucks I have ever seen, this was decades ago, a fellow swapped the entire engine/transmission/differential package from a 500 cubic inch 1975 Cadillac Eldorado into the front of a Chevy pickup truck. It would be a simple matter of cutting the front frame rails just in front of the firewall on the truck and welding in the front frame rails from the Eldorado. I don't mean it to sound simple, but it would be a good project for a first time engine swapper. General Motors began making the FWD cars (Cadillac and Oldsmobile)

.
As a teenager in the 70's I remember talk of mounting a Olds Toranodo big block fwd package into a VW van. Then leaving the oil burning rattling vw motor in the back to sucker you into a race at the stop light.

As an adult, I don't think there is enough overhang in front of the front tires for the transmission, even if the motor was in backwards. But good bench racing fodder just the same.

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:36 PM
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An 84 Chevy pickup with a trashed engine and TH350 and no experience.

First off engines and automatic transmissions wear at about the same rate, if the engine is trashed the transmission if original isn't far behind. Connecting it to anything like a fresh engine let alone torque monsters like MoPar 392Hemi or a 413 Wedge will finish off the trans faster than you can read this. So figure any replacement engine even just what is already there will quickly bring a new transmission into your budget.

The best way to pickup some hotroding knowledge is to replace what you have with as much like to like as possible. This lets you build experience without introducing problems you don't have the money, time, experience, or expertise to deal with.

If this has a small block then the best path as another. You can upgrade a 305 to a 350 very simply as everything that bolts to a 305 bolts to a 350. 350's can be built from meek to outrageous and since there's a zillion parts out there from factory replacement to NASCAR ready the engine's power can be grown over time as budget, experience, and tool collection allows. This is a far better path than a half disassembled truck sitting in the driveway for the next ten years only to be sold for scrap along with a few thousand dollars in parts that never got used.

Forget the 392 it weighs nearly a third of your entire pickup, while it made great power in 1957' it's not up to today's standards and parts are rare and expensive, just finding a shop that can do basic machining on these is hard to come by. The LS is all electronic the electronics and electrical is a major undertaking in cost and time and it like the MoPar doesn't mate to a TH350 without an adapter, frame, and driveshaft modification.

Bogie
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:56 PM
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350 is your best bet here.

If you want a 454 you can find them with a rv cam in a rv for much cheaper then finding just the engine.
This also applies to a 8100 engine.

A bread truck for a 4bt mated to a sm465. Might sound like a great idea. But been there done that. Your mileage is not great, thing becomes really heavy, parts are expensive, and with a 4wd your running into clearence issues.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:43 PM
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Dont get the feeling we're picking on you, OK. Every guy here started at the stage of the most fantasical, amazing, unusual hotrod ever dreamed of. Many took, including myself, to an early whack at it. I expect most gave up, a few of the rest of use are still at it still screwing things up on occasion but still learning and honeing our skills. So we're offering our experence of been there, done that.

Bogie
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:01 PM
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Lots of good information above - most of it pretty reasonable.


So here's the thing. First, if I had the time and money and whatever else - that truck you got would be close to top of my list for something cool to hot rod so nice find! Second, I disagree with the notion that a dead engine indicates a dead tranny or wounded one at that - not saying it can't happen but the engine might have swallowed a rock for all you know and the trans is perfect - no telling until you take a look at the fluid, etc.


Third - lack of experience which and I am sorry to say most usually leads to a severe lack of tools. Do you have a cherry picker, plenty of hand tools, hot-wrench and a welder? What about space for work and storage? I do not want to discourage you in any fashion but I would suggest one book that you at least purchase: "How to Build a Hot Rod on a Budget". It's about building a Track-T but don't let that throw you off, there's a ton of good, solid information in the book to help you achieve your goal. And if the thought of just trying to figure out the throttle cable connection is a "road block" you need the book.


I say pick any engine you want that will fit the space but give a nod to keeping the engine and tranny in the same family. It can save a lot of grief for you and for the most part if you do decide on a mis-match, you're going to end up with some kind of adapter plate. I did a 350 Chevy/ CJ-7 a couple of years ago. Four major pieces were required. The engine to trans adapter to connect the Torqueflite to the Chevy, a radiator that fit the jeep and fit the Chevy, side motor mounts that fit the Chevy and Jeep frame and a set of headers that fit the Chevy and cleared the frame. There was still a lot of fabricating that was required along with upgrading wiring, gauge monitoring, shift linkage, power steering setup and on and on. I've been doing this hot rod deal for 53 years now and it took me 3 months to build the engine and put this project together. I also have the tools needed and a machine shop nearby that can do the things I can't.



Good luck and have fun!!

Last edited by chasracer; 05-20-2019 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 05-21-2019, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasracer View Post
Third - lack of experience which and I am sorry to say most usually leads to a severe lack of tools.
Yeah, but we've all been there when we started. I certainly didn't own many tools the first time I swapped an engine. I rented the hoist, borrowed stuff from friends, etc. And yeah, at some point you go buy the tools you need and then you have them. Today I have a fully stocked shop with hoist, mill, engine run stand, and four triple stack tool boxes all overflowing. It's only taken me 45 years to get there...
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Old 05-21-2019, 09:24 AM
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Yep, I guess I was a bit lucky on the tool count. I saved up my paper route money and bought a Western Auto 1/2" socket set with a red storage box. Think it was less than $20 back then. I started messing with my mom's car and my Dad got me an old Ford to work on in the backyard for a couple of hundred. Then seeing that I was grabbing some of his tools and serious about this mechanical thing, that Christmas I got one of the big Craftsman tool sets and a 3-drawer roller box. Save for a 1/2" ratchet out of the W.A, stuff, I still own every bit of it and just like you I have probably added another $25K or more to it.



I did my first engine swap when I was 12-13 years old, taking out that old Ford 6 and putting a Ford Y-Block in. Taught me a lot that old car did and before my Dad passed I made sure to tell him it was the best $200 he ever spent on my education.



People can accomplish darn near anything with very little to work with but I hate to see someone go in totally blind and end up with a pile of parts that they are no longer interested in.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:50 PM
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As someone mentioned above, I'd hate to see you go down the Mopar or even Cadillac path, only to get in over your head and be forced to sell the unfinished project at a big loss.

One of the engines available in an 84 pickup was the 454. Probably just the C20 and C30, but still it means just about anything you need to install a big block will be standard off-the-shelf stuff, AND WILL FIT with no mods to the frame, firewall, etc. And there's gotta be 5-10 times as many aftermarket parts for it compared to a Mopar or Caddy engine.

You could have a competent trans shop go through your TH350, assuming you don't plan to run slicks and smoke the tires at every opportunity. Or just jump right in and get a TH400 or a built 700R4. I don't think the BBC-equipped trucks (or the C20 trucks, for that matter) used the C10's 8.5" 10-bolt, but those things can live behind quite a bit of torque. However, my guess is aftermarket axles would be in order.

A drivetrain note: The big blocks are so torquey that you could get by with a 2.73-3.08 axle and still smoke the tires. That would mean you wouldn't need an overdrive trans.
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