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Technical Question installing small block into 1940 Chevy

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Brossard, May 1, 2020.

  1. Brossard
    Joined: Apr 29, 2020
    Posts: 10

    from Minnesota

    Ive got a 1940 Chevy Special Deluxe that I’d like to put a small block Chevy into. My question is will I be able to keep the original suspension or should I put something else in there? I’m guessing the small block is heavier than the original 216 so I’d assume it would benefit from a better suspension. Mine has the original independent front suspension that came with the special deluxe, not the straight axle like the master 85s had. Any input would be appreciated, I’ve never done an engine swap on cars with older suspension like this.
  2. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 5,151


    Alloy heads & intake, tube headers...;)
    Mallory Alum. dual point. Small starter.
  3. According to a Google search, the SBC is lighter by approximately 50 pounds.
  4. sdluck
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,883


    Just the tip of the iceburg,the brakes,12 volts lots of other things to address.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.

  5. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 11,013

    jimmy six

    It's not the weight, it's missing all the steering s**t. Adding a later suspension or one of the kits really helps along with a different column. A lot more than what you think needs to be altered or changed due to mounting, e-brake, foot feed, rear end, etc.

    I did a similar swap in a 53 which surprisingly not that different and made it work with just a front saddle mount and rear trans mount and a 4-speed.

    If your plans are to go ahead I would not splice a later front frame. Stick with yours, Chassis Engineering had one of the best but was bought out after the owner passed away. Jim Meyers has one of the best also.. Also remove the fenders, grille, etc leaving the radiator mount if you can you need to see really what you are working with. Good luck.
  6. saltracer219
    Joined: Sep 23, 2006
    Posts: 881


    It IS a very easy swap, if you want to talk to someone that has experience with this swap, you can P.M. me and I will get you his contact number.
    stillrunners likes this.
  7. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,956


    you'd be wrong with that guess. The old 6 weighs a lot!

    But there are other reasons to consider changing the suspension...are you happy with the stock ride height? the original brakes? the original steering? the original shock absorbers? (they're part of the upper control arm assembly) the original rear end?

    And what are your long range plans for the car? what's your budget? how much time do you want to have the car apart? What will you do with it when it's all done? but really, what will you do with it when it's all done?
    Mark Yac and 41rodderz like this.
  8. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 28,624

    Jalopy Joker

    take a look at for mount kit
    friend had a '41 Chevy sedan with small block Chevy V8 & 350 turbo - worked good with stock suspension - do not know difference compared to a '40
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
    saltracer219 likes this.
  9. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,259


    Chassis Engineering is out of business.
  10. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,927


    Jalopy Joker likes this.
  11. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,613

    Rusty O'Toole

    Have you considered a later 235 six or the big brother 261 out of the Chev trucks? Both are bolt in swaps and have the advantage of full pressure oiling and insert bearings and can perform well with a mild hop up. With the added advantage of not over matching the stock trans, rear axle, brakes etc. Either will get you down the road in fine style but of course, not have the power of a 350 V8. But then, the V8 is a lot more work and expense. Besides, with the hood up at a car show, guess which one is most impressive?
    6inarow likes this.
  12. Speed Gems
    Joined: Jul 17, 2012
    Posts: 4,200

    Speed Gems

    If the steering column is in the same place as the Master 85 it's nearly impossible too find exhaust manifolds or headers because the it runs very close to the rear exhaust port unless you use something like a 265 manifold that dumps out in the front. We finally went with the MII IFS.:(
  13. Brossard
    Joined: Apr 29, 2020
    Posts: 10

    from Minnesota

    Lots to think about...I suppose the end goal is to be able to drive it around everywhere as much as possible. My main goal is to be able to take it on the highway and be able to safely go 60-70mph without an issue. I’d love to go to car shows, take it on Sunday drives, get groceries and just enjoy the hell out of it as much as possible. My dad has a mid 1950’s 235 that we could put into it, might be a better and easier (and cheaper) option from what I’m hearing.
    squirrel likes this.
  14. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 8,233


    I have a 37 with a 57 235/T-5 and will get me up to 80 on the highway with no problems.
  15. IzzyGarcia7
    Joined: Apr 3, 2021
    Posts: 14


    I actually have a similar question... I want to do an sbc swap on a '39 deluxe, and want to know more about what it might take. What parts are NECESSARY to change? Same as the original poster, I really just want a reliable daily with some more push to it. Is this something I can do all by myself with the proper tools and extra hands? Will it work with a budget around $5-6,000?
  16. easy peasy ... Fiero transaxle and you avoid all the steering components.
    deathrowdave likes this.
  17. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 4,414


    My brother did a Nova subframe swap on his and it cost about 500 bucks plus his time.
  18. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,417


    I hope that the 40 frame architecture is similar to the 38 (I do know that the frame is the same width from 38 to 48 where the front bumper mounts....that's something that leads me to believe it is). When I built my car in the 70's I fabbed my own engine side mounts (using the holes for the original shocks on the frame) and used angle and channel iron for the transmission cross member. You can see from the picture that rams horn exhaust fit with no problem.
    The picture is from the 70's. The magazine reprints were from when I was going to build a 48 fastback.
    48 Chevy_0001.jpg 48 Chevy_0002.jpg 48 Chevy_0003.jpg 48 Chevy_0004.jpg 38 engine_0002.jpg View attachment 5025725 View attachment 5025724 View attachment 5025723 View attachment 5025722
    View attachment 5025712
    Just Gary and Bob Lowry like this.
  19. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 914

    Bob Lowry

    Sleep easy, friends. I have done SBC swaps into '37's, '39's, 1940, and '46's.
    pumpkin 1.jpg pumpkin 3.jpg pumpkin 2.jpg pumpkin 4.png
    Here is a picture of my yellow '37 sedan I did, as well as
    the early stages of my '40 Chevy. Later on, I put 6" C-Channel between the frame and suspension
    to raise it up, without affecting the geometry. Basically, this same front end design was used on all
    cars up to '54, and even on the C1 Corvettes up to 1962!! Never had an issue with the suspension or ride.
    41 coupe and jimmy six like this.
  20. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 11,013

    jimmy six

    Anyone reading this. 1940 is a one year only frame. All models used the same one. 37-39, 41-48... CE and Jim Meyer are the best for a swap.
    . If anyone here has a cut up, bent, rusty, etc 40 frame I have an excellent one for sale in So Cal. Special Deluxe also; from Arizona absolutely no rust...can e-mail photos. Currently stored inside.
    Speed Gems likes this.
  21. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,272

    from Oregon

    In my opinion a SBC V8 swap in these older Chevys is about the easiest swap you could do, but I'd plan on always swapping the rear axle too, just so you can get a complete modern drivetrain front to back. And I don't have $6,000 in my whole build, including paying $1500 for my '39, and swapping in a SBC 350, 700R4, and 8.8" Ford rear axle. Unless you go crazy and start buying new crate engines, and new transmissions, rear axles, etc., I can't see how you'd spend $5k-$6k?
    I fabricated my own motor mounts, and trans crossmember, plus the rear axle perches were just the 8.8" perches relocated. Used a 3rd gen Camaro driveline and just swapped the ends to make it fit rear axle, and trans. Used a '32 Ford to SBC swap radiator in mine.


    Mine was knee action Master Deluxe, but I swapped in a '58 Chev truck axle I narrowed 5" and converted to disc brakes. I swapped to a Corvette dual master mounted on the firewall, and used a Subaru hanging pedal assembly to work the brakes.
  22. IzzyGarcia7
    Joined: Apr 3, 2021
    Posts: 14


    To be honest my budget is trying to account for other necessary components as well, since I've never tried something like this. I don't expect the power/drivetrain to cost too much, but I'm trying to factor in any steering, brake, or suspension work that MUST be done along with it to make it work. Things like throttle linkage, radiator, exhaust, driveshaft, all the gauges in the car, steering column, etc.
    I guess my issue can be boiled down into this: What parts are required to make this swap run/drive/stop, and what parts are recommended to make sure it's safe and reliable? What parts must be installed now, and what parts can I leave for now/take care of down the line while I drive it? (As you can tell, I'm trying to get behind the wheel of it ASAP)
    Thanks in advance for your guys' help and sorry in advance for any dumb questions, I know my way around a car but the world of engine swaps is completely new to me.
  23. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,272

    from Oregon

    I bought a new spoon pedal for $25. A braided steel throttle cable kit for $25. Radiator cost me $179 delivered to my door. 8.8" Ford axle I pulled from an Explorer at the wrecking yard is a 3.73 posi, for $110. 700R4 from a swap meet with converter for $175. Headers were $107 new polished stainless. Exhaust system was a kit from Jegs for a late 60's Chevelle 2.5" with mufflers for $175. Cut it into pieces, and welded it together to fit my car. Engine is a 350 Chev roller motor I found as a rebuilt short block for $100, and heads are LT1's I bought for $100, and spent $500 to totally rebuild.
    Of the $6,000 I have in my car I deducted $1500 I paid for it, and deducted another $1500 I paid for all the various metal I bought to replace the entire bottom 4" of the body. floors, rockers, tail panel, lower doors, lower 1/4's, etc.
    So the other $3,000 is engine, trans, driveline, front axle, disc brakes, dual master, pedal assembly from a junkyard Subaru, 12v. complete wiring kit, a commercial sewing machine I bought reconditioned for $250, black vinyl to sew up the interior, $30 for a pair of bucket seats. etc., etc.
    It's not too expensive if you're able to do the work, and own a good wire feed mig welder. By the time I finish shooting paint soon, I might hit $7k total.
    Shadow Creek and IzzyGarcia7 like this.
  24. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,969

    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    I think many of the low estimates forget the small things needed, bolts, nuts, bulbs, brake lines, etc. I have a $100 motor, $50 trans, and a $200 rear end. The rear brakes were 150 to rebuild, the rear springs were 120 for new bushings
    and pins. I cannot even guess what I have spent on bolts, spray paint, brake fittings etc. but I bet they total as much as
    the major parts that we tend to remember. Your budget is doable, but you will find you must be careful.
    VANDENPLAS and vtx1800 like this.
  25. coast40
    Joined: Mar 22, 2008
    Posts: 100


    [QUOTE="CE and Jim Meyer are the best for a swap.[/QUOTE]
    Jim Meyer of Lincoln City, Oregon, is out of business. Very sad because the quality was great, but getting your parts became problematic. There is an UNRELATED Jim Meyer Enterprises in Cal. or AZ.
  26. choptop40
    Joined: Dec 23, 2009
    Posts: 4,231


    easy as hat design frame ..everything in kit is bolt on no get appreciated...
  27. hepme
    Joined: Feb 1, 2021
    Posts: 165


    My 40 master delux had the knee action setup. I used it with the 216 for a long time, but a friend showed me how to use a pinto ifs-all this long before any kits were available. By the time you buy the rebuild parts for the old setup it'll prob. be near the cost of a bolt in Mustang 2 ifs. Get that done and the rest is a cupcake. Small block, explorer rear end (bolt in, $200. or so) and you're just about there-no prob. with 70+ traffic and reliable. Or, if you're truly determined to drive it, get a later 235 and just bolt it up-but i doubt you'll be happy (you have to drive a knee action to know what i mean) There will be some changes necessary for it also-$.
  28. 40 Masters did not have knee action fronts, they were coil spring/A arm design,...altho some people still referred to them as knee action.,...they are a good front end design with the addition of a tube shock addition.
    jimmy six likes this.
  29. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 11,013

    jimmy six

    I have a really nice 1940 frame for sale. Posted here because a 1940 guy may need it. In SOCal from Az where I picked it up. No rust not a straight axle.
  30. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,272

    from Oregon

    They had knee action shocks. Cast iron control arms.

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