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Discussion Starter #1
I have a '55 Chevy that's had a body off experience. I went with the Fatman clip, SS coilovers and 4 wheel discs at the corners. The 4 link rear end is a 3:42 posi. Here's my problem, and I wish I had more of these problems. I have a 383 (450HP) with a 700R4 and a 427 (468ci 600+ HP) with a built TH-400 and can't decide which to use. Some guys say to go with the BB simply for the torque and power experience and just live with any problems that might arise because it's worth it. Plus having a BB avoids the same old "small block in a Chevy" routine. They say a BB will also enhance the resale value. Others say that the BB will require constant fiddling and can nickel and dime me to death. The car is set up for the 383 but I have the frame so modifying it to accept the 427 shouldn't be a problem. I plan to drive the car to meets and shows and on week ends and like that. So what's the consensus (assuming you give a rat's turd). Anybody have some insights or past experiences that I can use? Will a BB really bring eternal happiness and answers as to the true meaning of life? Or will running a small block bring me fame and fortune for less money? Decisions, decisions. Moochas gracias.
 

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If you drive the car often go with the 383.But in my opinion I would much rather have the big block.There not as prone to tuning problems as some people may believe.I had a big block originally in my truck for over 150,000 miles.I only replaced it with a small block because I drive it everyday.Did'nt have any real bad problems.The rockers had gotten a little loose before I pulled it.And I was going thru starters a little too often.But that was all.I rebuilt that Motor as a 427 and put it in my Nova.Has ran great,no problems. Plus there is nothing like the power and sound of a big block.
In your car the gears might be a little light for that much motor.But you also would'nt have overdrive with the 427.I'd say if you want more fun go for the 427,But if you want to drive with a little more comfort the 383 should be much easier to drive.Personally I'd rather have the big block,Overdrive or not.
 

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I'd go for the big block myself, as they say there's no replacement for displacement.
Your car sounds like its going to be a really cool ride and I think you'll enjoy it with either motor :thumbup:
 

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go with the best of both worlds and build a 427 small block
Sorry but that isnt the case... Apples and oranges...

The BBC will for sure move both the car and value up a notch... :thumbup:
 

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If you relieved your firewall during the body off, the BBC is the way to go, just remember that some of the clearances which we take for granted with a small block just aren't there with the big boy...

In the long run, the BBC is no more difficult to keep in tune than the 383 would be, and the appeal of a big block Tri-Five is undeniable...

When I next re-engine the wagon it's BBC all the way...

Paul
 

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I would have to vote for the big block also. I just had an oval port 496 built for my weekend cruiser. Also, if there is one thing I have learned while dealing with hot rods, it is that you quickly get used to the hp your car makes. If you go small block, I bet it will be fun for a couple of months, but then you will probably get used to it, and wish you would have gone with big block. The overdrive is nice, but with the extra low end power of the big block, you dont have to run as steep of rear gears to make use of the power. Is this car going to be driven on the highway?

Adam
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
383v. 427

Thanks for your opinions and insights about installing a BBC or SBC in a '55 Chevy 210. It's the big block by a mile!! Now the question is this. The frame was originally set up for a SBC with a 700R4. The firewall in my '55 Chevy has been smoothed flat but is not recessed any more than stock. I know the BBC will bolt to the mounts but will it clear the firewall using the SBC mounts on the frame? What exactly will be the clearance problem? Is it the distributor bumping up against the firewall? And will that be the only clearance problem or are there others? If it's the distributor that won't clear, is there another one aside from the MSD currently in use that will clear? Maybe use a front distributor drive? I have one available. I'll have to switch to the TH400 with the 427. What issues will I encounter when trying to mount the TH400 to the 700R4 mount locations? I currently have a 700R4 mount that simply goes from one side of the frame to the other with a bend in the middle. Anybody with '55 experience, I NEED HELP!!! Thanks amigos.
 

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These are generalizations: BBC's will conflict with the firewall at the passenger side valve cover, tight at the distributor, and at the driver's side firewall (but not quite as badly as the pass side).

You'll have to move the radiator to the 6 cylinder position in front of the core support.

Your transmission will work as originally configured because the BBC's were always intended to bolt up to the same basic mounts as small blocks. Today there are any number of suppliers who can provide bolt-in or weld-in side mounts which will allow you to move the motor further forward, if you wish to do so. Additionally there are still available the Hurst-style front saddle mounts which we all used back when the BBC was known only as a rat motor and had been available only 1 or 2 years (mid and late 60's). That mount plus the factory style trans/bellhousing to frame mounts and a tailshaft mount gave us a 5 point engine mounting system but also meant that we had to relieve the firewall at the distributor and valve cover areas. A BFH was the usual tool of choice.

I intend to clearance the firewall in our '56 for one of these big boys because I do not want to move any additional weight forward and I do not want to change the side and rear mounts from the small block configuration.


This dates to 1968, basically an L-88 right out of the parts book with an Engle cam and valve train, and the tunnel ram, hookers...ran C/MP, 11 flat on a 10.8 national record at 128mph, in a 3900 lb '56 210 wagon.

Hurst front mount, stock frame mounts at bell housing and no tailshaft mount on the Muncie.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #12
427 clearance problems

I'd really like to address the clearance problems now that the body is off the frame. I have lots of experience with BFH's but I'll try to fix it using just a tad more finesse (this time anyway). Trouble is, I don't know EXACTLY where on the firewall it hits the valve cover. A photo of a firewall with a similar clearance problem solved will be greatly appreciated. I can wing it from there. Failing that, I'll move the motor forward (or maybe just move the body back.....not really). Thanks again to all.
 

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I can't give you any firewall photos, but go to the modified 55-57 forum at
www.chevytalk.com
lots of people there who can give you very specific information and photos...

A caution on moving the body back...which I did on the wagon, I moved it as far as I could, which meant that my fender to cowl gaps could not be as tight as I'd originally planned. The core support would not allow me to push the front assembly closer to the engine without eliminating all the clearance I had between the 8 cylinder position radiator and the HD mechanical fan.

With a BBC installation that is not a problem because the radiator is in front of the core support.

Paul
 
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