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Technical 1949 Pontiac engine swap.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by irishlefty333, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. irishlefty333
    Joined: Oct 24, 2016
    Posts: 17

    irishlefty333
    Member

    I just acquired a 1949 Pontiac. One of the many things I'd like to do is to remove the stock six cylinder for an eight cylinder. I'd like to install a small block 350 but am having a hard time finding any info to do it. Wondering if this is possible our is there an easier eight cylinder to install. All info would be great. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Bird man
    Joined: Dec 28, 2009
    Posts: 697

    Bird man
    Member
    from Milwaukee

    An Irishman! They say God invented Whisky to keep us from ruling the world :)
    Why not keep it all Poncho? I know of several complete 55-59 V8s that would look Bitchin' under the hood.
    maybe an OHC 6? What part of the world ya in?
    Pictures?
    PS, I also know of some Poncho Straight eights in WI, condition unknown.
     
    tractorguy likes this.
  3. 270ci
    Joined: May 17, 2010
    Posts: 398

    270ci
    Member

    That 49 Indian needs a Pontiac engine! Keep it within the Pontiac tribe. A 389 would be a good choice.
     
    tractorguy and irishlefty333 like this.
  4. irishlefty333
    Joined: Oct 24, 2016
    Posts: 17

    irishlefty333
    Member

    Would love to keep it in the Pontiac family. This is all foreign to me. I have never done a build. What year 389? And I hate to sound completely stupid but what's the 389
     

  5. irishlefty333
    Joined: Oct 24, 2016
    Posts: 17

    irishlefty333
    Member

     
  6. irishlefty333
    Joined: Oct 24, 2016
    Posts: 17

    irishlefty333
    Member

    Just looked up the 389. Would you know if this would be a fairly easy swap? And either way what trans would be best? Thanks a lot for dealing with the new guy. I did do a search on this site and some of its Greek to me. Lol
     
  7. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,952

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Another vote to keeping it all Pontiac.
     
  8. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 3,259

    bchctybob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    A few questions; 1. what do you want to do with the car? street cruiser? Drag race? 2. Do you plan on doing your own work or have a local shop do it? 3. If you're doing it yourself, what tools and facilities are at your disposal?
    While it would be very cool to install an early Pontiac V8 (287-389), they are a little harder to work with, for example, the bellhousing bolt pattern usually requires an aftermarket adapter to use a modern transmission. The '65-up V8 (350-455) uses common TH350-TH400 transmissions and the engine/trans combos are fairly easy to find used on Craigslist or at a local salvage yard.
    Give us pictures and info and with all the collective experience on here you can get it done.
     
  9. irishlefty333
    Joined: Oct 24, 2016
    Posts: 17

    irishlefty333
    Member

    I'm looking for it to be a street cruiser. Daily driver kinda thing. Some highway time. Most the work will be done myself. As for tools. No problem there. I have most everything at my disposal. I'll post pics of it as soon as I have some. I've been wrenching for a long time just nothing of this age and have never done a build of any sort except some dirt track stock cars many moons agoAs for other mods I'd like to lower it some. Do a 12volt conversion and front disc brake conversion
     
  10. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,331

    sunbeam
    Member

    Use an engine from a 80s Firebird it would be as easy as a SBC oh wait.
     
  11. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 3,259

    bchctybob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    When I was young, my Dad and I passed by a '49 - '50 Pontiac 2 dr. sedan on the way home from baseball practice on Saturday mornings. It was black with chrome wheels, with big tires on the back. Every now and then, the guy would be out there with the hood open and it looked like it had a later V8 with factory tri-power in it. Had to be around 1962 or so. I always wanted to build a car like that but other projects got in the way and time is going by way too fast.
    Get that old engine/trans outa there, clean and paint the engine compartment and see what you have to work with - space wise. Scarebird makes disc brake conversions as do several other companies.
    There's several die-hard Pontiac guys on here, I'm sure they will chime in soon.
    If you decide on Pontiac power, you're building on of my dream cars!
     
    irishlefty333 likes this.
  12. Put a 350 in mine.
    So shoot me.
    IMG-20110501-00184_zpsa89d8120.jpg
     
    raidmagic likes this.
  13. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 3,259

    bchctybob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Weren't Pontiacs powered by Chevys in Canada? You're safe.............
    Hell I ain't one to quibble, almost everything I own that runs has a SBC in it, only my F100 has dodged the Chevy transplant (for now).
     
  14. mr.chevrolet
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 7,843

    mr.chevrolet
    Member

    if it was me, i'd buy a parts car poncho with a 400 cu. in. eng & T350 trans. rob everything from the parts car and you're in business.
     
  15. These cars have an engine bay that pretty much anything can fit in, especially if you do away with the "fresh air" tubes in the wheel wells - be aware that while the body seems pretty much the same as Chevys of the same year, the chassis is significantly different. I have a '50 2dr fastback that I front clipped with an 81 Monte Carlo clip and moved the engine back 6" and still have quite a bit of room at the rear of the engine. And, while it isn't a Pontiac,check out the valve covers -close enough?
    header rework 3.JPG pontiac r header.JPG
     
  16. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    56sedandelivery
    Member Emeritus

    Find yourself a "newer" (late 60's to later 70's) Pontiac CAR; use everything from that car you can. Just keep it ALL Pontiac, like most everyone has said. Good luck, and welcome to the HAMB! I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
  17. irishlefty333
    Joined: Oct 24, 2016
    Posts: 17

    irishlefty333
    Member

    Any suggestions on what I should look for?
     
  18. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,738

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    In the late 70's (I think) GM started "corporatizing", and the unique engines to each brand started to disappear.

    If you got a Trans Am, circa 1982, it would have a SBC in it.

    The 70's were some dark times for GM in terms of performance, and smog equipment. If selecting from that era, plan on freshening-up, with some good, aftermarket parts.

    Anything full-size would be a good donor. They are not as "cool", and are thus cheaper to get.
     
  19. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 3,259

    bchctybob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    A local salvage yard may have something in the '67-'73 area, look for the less desireable models, 4 drs and wagons.
    Maybe something like this; https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/cto/5788293714.html
    After '71 they added smog stuff and dropped the compression way down, like 250 HP from the T/A 455.
     
  20. Welp, I'm the first guy who would keep a 49 Pontiac all pontiac BUT! It sounds like you're pretty new to all this hot-rodding stuff. The easiest and cheapest V/8 engine to install in your car would be a 350 chevy.....a crate motor makes the most financial sense. The problem is working around the steering gear box...it intrudes into the area where you'd like to put your exhaust manifolds and the problem is compounded if you use a wider [than a chevy small block] Pontiac engine.
    As a certified Pontiac guy, my 34 ford coupe has a Pontiac engine but I had to make up mounts to install it 1.5 inches offset to the passenger side to clear steering shaft, clutch and brake pedals etc...and the starter is mounted on the left to make it more fun to install.
    If you have the ability to fab up your engine/trans mounts I'd say use a Pontiac V/8 of some kind but the fact is the chevy s.b. will almost bolt in with a Hurst engine mount and a Speedway trans mount.
    After you get the car going with a chev V/8 and you feel a little more confident in your abilities, you could search out a Pontiac engine ....just my opinion.
    PS......your old 49 rear axle will hold up ok on the street.
     
  21. irishlefty333
    Joined: Oct 24, 2016
    Posts: 17

    irishlefty333
    Member

    I would not be opposed to keeping the Pontiac a Pontiac with a Pontiac motor and trans. Point me in the right direction and I'll fly with it. Just seems that a crate sbc is so accessible and cheap. But you are absolutely right. Hot rodding is VERY new to me. Would love to keep her Pontiac though. Any advice would be greatly appreciated
     
  22. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,738

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Customs look better with the hood closed, anyway.

    The best thing that you can do is get it set up to go down the road confidently, and as best as fits your budget.

    Pontiac, Chevy, Hemi, or, while it might not fly here, Mercedes turbodiesel, whatever.

    Make it go, and enjoy the ride.
     
  23. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 3,259

    bchctybob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Oh Rocky, say it ain't so.......
    Oh well, I guess common sense had to slip in here sooner or later. I think Ol' Irish can handle a Pontiac installation if his wallet holds up, he's got all of us to help with the other stuff.
     
  24. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    56sedandelivery
    Member Emeritus

    Like has already been said, Craig's List. Another possibility is towing yard auctions. It does't really matter too much about the model, you're only after the powertrain after all. Body damage, rust, trashed interior, etc, all that does't matter; it will help knock the price down however. Firebirds, Ventura II's (Nova platform style) will have "shorter" transmission lengths; the full size model may have the long extension housing transmissions, shorter is usually easier to work with/around. Maybe even place a "wanted" ad. Scrap prices are down again, so it may be easier to find a complete car; people don't want to get beat up too bad when they deal with hulkers (they were paying a couple/few hundred dollars for cars, now it's fallen way down). Fill out your profile, with where you're located especially; you may have a HAMBER close by that has just what you need.
    I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
  25. irishlefty333
    Joined: Oct 24, 2016
    Posts: 17

    irishlefty333
    Member

    Filled out my profile a little bit more. You guys definitely have me leaning towards keeping the Pontiac a Pontiac drivetrain wise. Thanks for all the info and help. I'm excited to get working on her. Feeling pretty confident that with your help she'll be fine.
     
  26. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,856

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    When I was in high school in the fifties, the engine of choice in a Pontiac was an Oldsmobile Rocket. Pontiac V8's had just been introduced and were less powerful, hard to find, and expensive, while Oldsmobiles were common. From what I heard, the Pontiac hydramatic bolted to the Olds (or the Olds hydro bolted to the Pontiac mount), and the swap was almost a bolt-in. There were several cars like this in the Minneapolis area. I remember one in particular. It was a copper color early fifties two door. The guy ran it without a hood and it had an Olds with 6 two barrels with the "Frogs-Mouth" scoops painted red on the inside. As you can see, that car made an impression on me.

    Does this make an Olds Rocket in a Pontiac traditional?
     
  27. irishlefty333
    Joined: Oct 24, 2016
    Posts: 17

    irishlefty333
    Member

    Found a 67 Lemans the runs and drives. If I can scrape together the funds I'll buy it. Is that a good choice in a donor car?
     
  28. Lebowski
    Joined: Aug 21, 2011
    Posts: 1,569

    Lebowski
    BANNED

    I vote for a Pontiac straight 8 like the one I had in my '50 Chieftain. Good luck...

    PICT0020.JPG

    PICT0003.JPG
     
  29. irishlefty333
    Joined: Oct 24, 2016
    Posts: 17

    irishlefty333
    Member

    Found a 67 lemans. Runs and drives. Good donor car?
     
  30. dogwalkin
    Joined: Jan 17, 2013
    Posts: 91

    dogwalkin
    Member
    from tn

    Yes should be a good donor.

    Sent from my VS990 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     

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