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Old 02-24-2009, 09:56 AM   #1
1953 Rat
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Default 1953 Bel Air engine swap

I have a question and I am hoping all of you may have some advice for me. I have a 1953 Bel Air and i purchased a 1955 265 small block, This engine doesnt have side mount motor mounts. All of the V8 swap kits i have been able to find are designed for 1958 and later small blocks with the side mounts. I was told to get a bellhousing with the integrated motor mounts from a 55 to 57 chevy. I now have one of these and i am looking for the frame bracket that mounts to the frame that the readily available rubber mounts (for the bellhousing side) bolt to. Where can I find these brackets? I saw these brackets on a 55 to 57 chevy's but the frame seems to be wider than a 1953 frame. Will they work, or will I need to fabricate something that will work. Also will I have to run a transmission cross member or will the use of the mid motor mounts eliminate this. I have heard conflicting opinions on this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:51 AM   #2
atomickustom
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

I think what you need is a FRONT mount. It'll bolt to the front of the motor toward the bottom and extend out on either side. There'll be a rubber donut bushing at each end, which will bolt onto a bracket that you'll have to bolt or weld to your frame. That's how my Dad had a 265 in his '50 Ford.
Try Speedway Motors, try J.C. Whitney, and if those don't work try Googling it. Someone somewhere must still sell them.
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:53 AM   #3
wayfarer
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

Speedway has a front mount setup for small blocks in these cars. I used one in my '53 wagon. I have some pictures in my album.
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:56 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

Ah yes i already have the front mount kit from trans dapt. Will I need to use the bellhousing mid mounts or just the fronts and a trans cross member for the rear support?
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:15 AM   #5
propwash
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

do NOT use only the front saddle mount and a tranny crossmember mount. The engine/trans assembly will sag in the middle and you'll have all kinds of problems. You will probably have to fabricate the mating mount brackets for the frame (at the bellhousing mounts. Your choice on also using a crossmember mount - certainly much stronger, but a few years of Chevys with Cast Iron PGs made it with only the front engine mount and the side bellhousing mounts
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

Interesting that you picked on of the most scarce SBC engines in the mix - but I'm not posting to chastise your engine choice - run what ya brung.
I happen to know the guy responsible for figuring out where the "Side mount" engine mounts needed to be when Chevrolet decided to eliminate the problems they were having with the first gen mounting system. Meanwhile, I would suggest finding a side mount 283 and a new home for the 265 - someone restoring a 55 or 56 (anyone left?)
Bottom line is side mounts work a lot better at load distribution and harmonic dampening, do not NEED bell housing mounts and can be used with a trans tail housing mount (all side mount SBCs are this way)
Besides - drill out that 283 to 331 and put a nice little lopey cam and some 10 or 11 to 1 pistons and have a great setup! - then again what do I know...
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

I would like to have side mounts but i dont. I have a 383 stroker in my nova but that's going to stay there. I got the 265 by chance and dont want to let it go unless the price is right you know? Was it that uncommon for people to put a 265 into a 53? I'd like to think it happened more than a few times.
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

Very popular swap back in the late 50s/early60s - but, guys that made the mistake of suspending them front/saddel to rear/tranny dripped lot of oil, cracked lots of bellhousings. There are a few kits out there specifically for this swap, but one that uses the stock 265 front bolt holes has got to be pretty scarce by now. Just face that you'll need to fabricate those frame brackets for the bellhousing mounts, and let'er rip. By the way - a mildly bore 265 out to 272 makes a very sweet sounding mill with a good cam. Most of us 'silverbacks' started with 265s after we realized what ZA-D was providing us with over the counter. I tossed a perfectly good 371 Olds out of a 1936 5w back in 61 just to make room for a 265. Wouldn't do that now, of course, but made sense at the time.

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Old 02-24-2009, 03:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

Thanks guys. I'll fire up the welder
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:17 PM   #10
jusjunk
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustyoldbodyman View Post
Interesting that you picked on of the most scarce SBC engines in the mix - but I'm not posting to chastise your engine choice - run what ya brung.
I happen to know the guy responsible for figuring out where the "Side mount" engine mounts needed to be when Chevrolet decided to eliminate the problems they were having with the first gen mounting system. Meanwhile, I would suggest finding a side mount 283 and a new home for the 265 - someone restoring a 55 or 56 (anyone left?)
Bottom line is side mounts work a lot better at load distribution and harmonic dampening, do not NEED bell housing mounts and can be used with a trans tail housing mount (all side mount SBCs are this way)
Besides - drill out that 283 to 331 and put a nice little lopey cam and some 10 or 11 to 1 pistons and have a great setup! - then again what do I know...

I ran a 283 with a hurst style front nount and a turbo 350 and the trans mount with a home made x member for the trans in a 29 model a and it was fine and no wierd vibes... I saw the car 3 or 4 years ago and its still running the same mounts.. I built the thing over 25 years ago!...
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:24 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

Yeah i saw a post about the Hurst style front mount and a kick ass CAD drawing about it in the archives. Its good to hear that i may have more than one option. Its funny, i never expected to go this far into it but like all things its never what it seems
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

anyone use any of the universal style mounts from speedway
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:04 PM   #13
R Pope
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

I ran a 283/three speed OD with front mount and tailstock trans mount without any problems. Of course, it had a cast iron bellhousing, not aluminum.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

Can folks still get those plastic blocks to use settin' up motors like this?
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:19 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

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Originally Posted by Customline Vicky View Post
Can folks still get those plastic blocks to use settin' up motors like this?
http://www.vanpeltsales.com/FH_web/replica-engines.htm
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:52 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

My son's 57 BelAir has the original peg mounts up front, aftermarket bellhousing mounts in back AND a trans mount out at the end of the tailshaft too.
It just looked too nervous to me to suspend that much weight along that much distance on an aluminum trans bellhousing when I changed the transmission.
The old Hurst saddle mount has the mount ears down near the frame whereas the early 'Vette mount has the ears up midline cause the 'Vette had mount towers.

The intermediate mounts aren't too complicated and bolt into the frame where the originals did on the 57 engine/trans then to the mounting flange of the trans/engine.
Pretty simple but require space for the biscuits, naturally.
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Old 02-25-2009, 06:23 AM   #17
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

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Originally Posted by Gauder the goof View Post
Thanks. If I were goin' to do a major project I think I'd do one of these.
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Old 02-25-2009, 08:10 AM   #18
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

So if the bellhousing I have is cast iron then i shouldn't have to worry about it breaking holding up that much weight. Using only front mounts and a trans mount? Yeah that plastic engine seems all sorts of helpful maybe i'll use that to find where the mounts need to be.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:26 PM   #19
kurts49plym
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

Use front mounts and the 55-57 bellhousing. Don't bother with a trans mount as you won't be drag racing. The nice thing (if I remember right) is the 265 exhaust manifolds may work good in your swap. Seems to me the steering box is in the way of a standard dump manifold-but you can check that out. That would be a neat swap keeping the stock oil bath air cleaner and valve covers. Good luck
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:45 PM   #20
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Default Re: 1953 Bel Air engine swap

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Originally Posted by hotrodboner View Post
Use front mounts and the 55-57 bellhousing. Don't bother with a trans mount as you won't be drag racing. The nice thing (if I remember right) is the 265 exhaust manifolds may work good in your swap. Seems to me the steering box is in the way of a standard dump manifold-but you can check that out. That would be a neat swap keeping the stock oil bath air cleaner and valve covers. Good luck
find an early 80s truck caprice or camaro (305 most likely) for the driverside and use a rams horn on the passenger side. the 265 exhaust is tiny. I'm using the whole 305 roller cam motor, truck 11" clutch and a sag 4 speed. It seems a mid mount on the driver side would be in the way of the clutch linkage.
you don't have to completely remove the firewall ribs, just trim to fit, I can measure anything you may need as I am almost finished with mine. I mounted it about as far back as you can w/o firewall surgery.
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