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454 engine in a 1951 Chevy truck!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ROADSTERJEFF, Oct 26, 2009.

    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 426


    Got chance to pickup a (1982) 454 big block and transmission with only 50,000 miles. Will it fit in a 1951 1/2 ton Chevy truck with out cutting the fire wall.
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 37,091


    maybe if you move the radiator forward far enough! short water pump helps

    steering clearance is fun too
  3. junk yard kid
    Joined: Nov 11, 2007
    Posts: 2,642

    junk yard kid

    my buddy isnt haveing that problem, its headers for him
  4. 52pickup
    Joined: Aug 11, 2004
    Posts: 847

    from Tucson, Az

    It should fit... making everything else fit around it will be the challenge! :D
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  5. The Shocker
    Joined: Dec 30, 2004
    Posts: 3,540

    The Shocker

    Not sure about the 55 1st series and down ,but i have seen a 454 in a stock 58 Chevy Apache ,and it fit pretty well and it was mated to the 4 spd granny.I think it would be real close on the firewall ,and radiator on the 51 ...
  6. rainh8r
    Joined: Dec 30, 2005
    Posts: 792


    You can do it with the short pump, small-cap distributor, and custom headers. The steering is right there, so moving it to the left is necessary if you try to use exhaust manifolds. They also need a really good radiator and a way to get the hot air out from under the hood-the engine fills the compartment pretty full, and big blocks don't like to get hot.
  7. OldSub
    Joined: Aug 27, 2003
    Posts: 1,064

    Member Emeritus

    I've seen it done very nicely. Here are a couple of pictures I took at Billetproof Chehalis in 2008.

    I didn't see anything that looked butchered and in fact this swap was cleaner than some small block swaps I've seen.

    This was the steering clearance solution.

    This truck was running cast iron exhaust manifolds.

    I'd go for it!
  8. Michael_e
    Joined: Mar 15, 2005
    Posts: 420


    I've thought a lot about this swap also, but was told it would be really tight. What is that steering setup in the pics above? I really want to keep the truck rated at 3/4 ton so that almost rules out the mustang II option. Going the 1/2 ton route would make things a little bit easier, but i really want the 3/4 or even the 1 ton rating 'cause i seem to end up doing a lot of towing.

    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 426


    Thanks for all the input.
  10. N8B
    Joined: Sep 28, 2009
    Posts: 478


    We are sticking a 89 454 w/ T400 and a Gear Vendor in a 52 Chevy pickup. One option we are looking at is a hurst style front mount. Like everyone else has said, short water pump.
    Sorry no pictures as of yet.
  11. MO_JUNK
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 824

    from Rolla, Mo.

    Yes, lengthwise it will fit but you have to cut the x-brace rods in the core support and move the radiator forward a couple inches. You can trim the valence and make it neat. Also, you'll need to run the short waterpump. I did it with a 75-79 front steer subframe and used a U.S. Radiator called "the desert cooler". I made sure the valence sealed good around the radiator and the truck ran in the 180-190 degree range even with the a/c on and flat-towing a 26 T tub. The picture in the responses above is of a later model (mid to late 70's) chev. truck (or later)steering box mounted to the outside of the frame in front of the axle(near the core support). You then fabricate a steering arm that fastens to the top spindle/backing plate bolts and steer via the left front wheel. You'll need to make a short drag-link as well. This is a good set-up. There was an article on this set-up in Street-Rodder I believe. It would have appeared in the late 70's or so. Kits for this swap were available if you are not a fabricator. This is a good set-up if you are staying with the original axle and you can use the manual or power box. A later model column can be swapped easily and is hooked up via standard PTO or borgeson joints and double-D shaft. If you Google "Sam KImbrough" you will see the Custom and Classic Trucks article on my truck from 1995. A big block looks good in these trucks. I ran stock exhaust manifolds and had plenty of room to change plugs, etc. Again, my truck had a sub-frame but I have seen the other set-up and it looked clean. Good luck. Sam
  12. Double Caddy
    Joined: Feb 2, 2009
    Posts: 689

    Double Caddy
    from virginia

    I know its not the same but I am finishing up putting in a 454 in my Cadillac. I used the short water pump and the altenater bracket I used from transdapt requires headers not exhaust manifold.

    Attached Files:

  13. OldSub
    Joined: Aug 27, 2003
    Posts: 1,064

    Member Emeritus

    I'm pretty sure the one in my photo is one of the kits.

    The trouble with the kits is that they assume you're dealing with a 1/2-ton frame, and the profile of the 3/4- and 1-ton trucks is just enough different you are going to be fabricating that part even if you buy a kit.

    I spent a lot of time considering modifying a kit to put power steering on my 1-ton GMC project. I'm running a 500 Cadillac instead of a 454 but many of my challenges are similar.

    There are more pictures of that truck and the power steering setup at Be forwarned most are big and located on a slow server. The first picture of this truck is 100_4357.jpg.
  14. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,990

    Member Emeritus

    Go for it. You'll have all the help you could ever want right here on the HAMB
    and it would make one hell of a tech thread. I'm gathering parts for something similar but a '48 F1. Mine is going to have a Dakota front end via an Industrial Chassis (Elpolacko) front crossmember, BBC and 4L80E into a 9" rear.

  15. 68 C10
    Joined: Jun 15, 2009
    Posts: 47

    68 C10
    from Athens, GA

  16. AnimalAin
    Joined: Jul 20, 2002
    Posts: 3,414


    This swap was covered in one of Petersen's Engine Swapping specials in the mid-70s or so. Like most, it isn't impossible, but a long way from bolt-in.

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