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Technical How did your 401 nailhead fit ??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by wood remover, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 987

    wood remover
    Member

    Have a 33 chev , Have a 401 buick nailhead.
    Just starting to eyeball the fit . The chev frames are very close to the same as 33 34 fords .
    What fun can I expect ? Running a manual trans . Can I get exhaust inside frame rails ?, what steering box ? Let's see yours and hear your experience .
     
    Speed Gems likes this.
  2. Baumi
    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 2,691

    Baumi
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    All I can contribute is: You are having tons of fun ahead,both building and even more driving. The 401 should make that Chevy haul. Don´t know about fitment, but I´d go with a ST 400 transmission and a rearend gearing in the 3.08-3.23 range to use all that low end torque.
     
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  3. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,445

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Going way back, the main problems with a Buick in a Chevy swap were awkward placement of starter and exhaust manifold hitting the steering box. Don't know if there is a mini starter that will fit. It may be necessary to offset the engine for clearance or modify the left exhaust manifold.
     
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  4. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    IMG_4190.JPG
    IMG_4416.JPG
    Take the old one out and put the Buick in. I don't know what problems you might have with a 401... I installed a 1965 Buick Gran Sport 425 cubic engine; complete with the original switch pitch torque converter turbo 400... and I didn't even split the wishbone... it wasn't necessary.;)
    Use the saddle engine mount from CE to help strengthen the frame.:) Otherwise that big Buick will start making a pretzel of the chassis.:eek::D
    Just do it.
    Remember, "Nothing is impossible so long as you are not smart enough to realize it can't be done." I think a fellow named Ford said that or something similar.:)

    I'm sure y'all recognize that this is 32 Ford cabriolet and not a Chevy but the principle is the same. I had a 33 Chevy tudor long ago with a SBC that came in it.
     

  5. Roadster pu 1929
    Joined: Dec 20, 2012
    Posts: 20

    Roadster pu 1929
    Member

    I have a 1933 Eagle 5 window coupe doors at belt line measure 31 1/2” and 44” tall at rear edge. It has a 425 nailhead and a 400 turbo switch pitch in it. I had to move center cove in firewall back 3/4” and off set engine 3/4” to passenger side to clear center dump headers.Plenty of room with a mini starter as well. Steering box is Vega with cross steering on original axle and spring. Car drives very nice and steering is no effort.


    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  6. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    I forgot to mention that it took some research and a lot of hunting but I managed to use stock Buick exhaust manifolds.;)
     
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  7. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 755

    jaracer
    Member

    The nailhead is a long engine, but since a straight 6 lived there first, the length shouldn't be a problem. Like others have said, the starter is on the left side and may pose steering clearance problems. I used a set of Sanderson block hugger headers for my Model A to get the exhaust where I wanted it.
     
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  8. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 987

    wood remover
    Member

    I have the 400 switch pitch.I also have a buick to ford bell housing and manual flywheel .
    Leaning towards the manual shift .
    Have a choice of 3 transmissions
    56 57 3 speed od , 78 3 speed od . 67 toploader close ratio from 390 gt .
    Have center dump headers and exhaust manifolds . Had a 34 chev with a 390 .
    So not new at this but know the starter and steering will fight hard for the same space .
     
  9. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 987

    wood remover
    Member

    34 with 390 ford installed noname.png
     
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  10. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 987

    wood remover
    Member

    Where would ce mounts be available from ??
     
  11. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 987

    wood remover
    Member

    Here is my blank canvas , hoping to get started in a few weeks , 20210112_120429.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  12. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,124

    sunbeam
    Member

  13. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 987

    wood remover
    Member

    Some pretty interesting info there , but it says the starter is on the right (401 buick) .
    Starter is on the left .
     
  14. I will be following your build (keep us posted with pics), as I am starting a similar build with a 401 in a 40 Buick. Centerville Auto Repair has the mini starters, as well as most adapters for various transmissions for the nailheads. Not sure what manual tranny you plan, but make sure it is a heavy duty one.
     
    wood remover likes this.
  15. Which manifolds did you use? Might save me some time.
     
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  16. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Centerville helped me find one and a pal had the other but it was damaged and I had it repaired. I got the mini starter from Centerville, too. I did a thread on the engine change and included what definite info I had. I'll look for the thread.

    Here's the full thread on the car and the engine change is addressed toward the end of the thread.
    Hot Rods - 32 cabriolet that was in same Spokane family 75 years now DRIVING with 425 GS Buick engine!! | The H.A.M.B. (jalopyjournal.com)
    Hope this helps.
    Good luck,
    Al
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  17. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 987

    wood remover
    Member

    Thanks Al , That's a whole lot of write up , went through some of it quickly , definitely will read through it when I am able . I have 2 401 nailheads a 63 and a 65 bell housings for both and manual flywheels . Have to get them running to see which to use . Hoping to avoid a rebuild .Never looked at the manifolds , 63 came out of a wildcat and 65 out of a riv .no transmission with the 63 but likely would have been dyna flow and tube driveshaft anyway .
     
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  18. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 987

    wood remover
    Member

    These are the manifolds on the 63 , appear to be about 26 inches apart . Checked on the frame and have about 27 inches . Have center dump headers somewhere here as well . Moved a year ago and havent unpacked all my car stuff yet , busy renovating our home , close to done and preparing to get back out to the shop. 20210112_162406.jpg 20210112_161806.jpg 20210112_161755.jpg 20210112_161646.jpg 20210112_161633.jpg 20210112_162406.jpg 20210112_161806.jpg 20210112_161755.jpg 20210112_161646.jpg 20210112_161633.jpg
     
  19. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 987

    wood remover
    Member

    Also picked this up at a swap meet so may have to leave a little more room 20210112_163149.jpg 20210112_163156.jpg
     
  20. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    driver side exh manifold used by Al Casteen.JPG
    This is the manifold I used on the driver's side. The guy at Centerville knows all things Buick and located this manifold for me. Go to him for help... you can email him this picture to make sure he knows what you want.
    I don't have a good picture of the passenger side manifold now but will try to get one for your reference.
    Heidts bought CE(Chassis Engineering) and still offers the engine saddle mount. They actually updated their Buick motor mounts specs based on my feedback with the first ones they made in house... one bolt was drilled slightly off from where it should be. I tweaked the mounts to work with a few files... and later went for ice cream!;):D:D
     
  21. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 987

    wood remover
    Member

    Thanks Al for the advice on the manifold .
    I will try to find the headers (there here somewhere ) and see how they look .I used that style of mount when I put the 390 in the 34 .Spent some time filing that too LOL.
     
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  22. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,124

    sunbeam
    Member

    I remember changing the starter on a 1965 grand sport with a 401 I got it off put could not get it out of the car. Went to the dealer for help. The shop manager said the shop manual sez pull the engine
     
  23. A 401 in a '33 Chevy coupe traditional build won't require a heavy duty manual transmission. Not being sarcastic, the car will never get enough traction to break anything, unless wood remover puts some very wide, very sticky wrinkle-wall slicks on it with lead weights in the trunk. If he did that and values his appendages, he should probably be using a billet flywheel and scatter shield versus a chicken-sh** cast bellhousing and the flywheels readily available for nailheads.

    wood remover, any of the manual transmission options you mentioned above will work fine with a good rebuild. While you didn't ask about/mention your rear axle, just about any V8 will do the job too. Since your build is later for traditional with a mid-60's nailhead, an 8" Ford from a 64-66 Falcon or Mustang or a Mopar 8.75" out of an A body would likely fit the bill nicely for width and dropout gear options. As Baumi mentioned earlier, you'll want to stay in the low 3's on ratio, likely closer to 3.08 since the car is so light. It'll help some, though little, with traction while taking advantage of the 401's torque profile.

    As to your original question about fitment, while others have discussed many of the areas to lookout for, my input is that you will be wise to mock up your fuel and brake lines when you are mocking up the engine and exhaust system. If I were putting a 401 in a '33 Chevy coupe, I'd box the entire chassis. The added weight along with the torque are going to do a number on the chassis and therefore body. The issue you'll run into is that after boxing the frame, you will have limited space for tubing and wiring running along the chassis, so vapor lock and brake fluid degradation become a concern, especially with a 401 that tends to run hot. Since it sounds like you plan on running exhaust manifolds or block huggers, you'll have more options for routing. It's always a chore to make this look good while being safe and meeting NHRA and land-speed organization rules. Most guys I see at drive-ins just run the hardline to a fuel block on the firewall and then run 3' of damned hose laying on top of the intake/valley. :eek: Nothing like hot fuel killing power, watching your car burn to the ground at a drive-in, or being rejected by tech inspection. :p
     
  24. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 987

    wood remover
    Member

    Hey Basement sweeper , Thanks for your advice and input , I will box the frame and add an x member. A 33 chev frame is basically ladder bar construction and I will be removing a few rungs to squeeze the nailhead and transmission in LOL .
    The flywheels I have are original buick flywheels , not the new stuff available with berstends bell housing .
    I wrecked a 65 mustang years ago 1980??
    Still have most of the stuff ( not a hoarder LOL) .Have the 8 inch rear end , to steering boxes , column attached to the box .the toploader 4 speed from it as well , these 4 speeds from the mustang are only 25 spline output shaft and havent been able to find the yoke for years now . Cant find at swap meets either .Car is side steer now and will likely have to make it crossteer .Not looking to drive it to hard, traction is an issue . My 390 34 chev could break traction shifting to 4th LOL.
    Just trying to keep it as traditional as possible.
     
  25. Sounds like a plan on boxing/x'ing and the 8". Have you looked into whether another toploader output shaft with the splines you want will interchange into your transmission? I don't know enough about Ford toploaders to even guess what might interchange.
     
  26. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 987

    wood remover
    Member

    Havent really looked into another output shaft
    didn't figure the yoke would be to tough to find .
     
  27. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 755

    jaracer
    Member

    When I got my engine it was in a somewhat rough 65 Electra. It had been setting at the curb for a while, but I was able to get it started and drive it home. It ran very good, but would have a lifter tap on cold startup. It had good plates so I drove it around for a month or two. I considered not tearing it down based on how well it ran, but that's not me. When I tore it down I was amazed at how worn out it really was. All the lifters were dished on the bottom, the cam lobes were going and everything else was just well worn. I'm glad I tore into it rather than having to pull it later.
     
  28. I will pull a yoke out of a spare 3.03 toploader I have tomorrow and count the splines. I put a new one in my car and I am pretty sure it is 25 spline.
     
  29. Thanks for the manifold info as now I know what to look for. I also enjoyed the build link as now I have a treasure trove of information.
     
    Hamtown Al likes this.
  30. Sorry, my yoke is 27 spline. I will dig thru my pile.
     

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