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Hot Rods Your first engine swap - Remember when?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER, Jul 1, 2020.

  1. Pistnbroke
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 476


    About 1968 I helped my 2 uncles pull a 348 from a 60 impala hardtop and put it in a 58 Apache pickup my uncle said he paid 75 bucks for the car took the motor and sold the car for $30 we used a chain over an oak tree limb pulled with my grandfathers old ford tractor I was driving the tractor and hit it hard since I couldn’t get traction when it came out it bounced like it was on a rubber band my uncles ran for cover and the yelled at me. Next time was with an old borrowed a-frame and a chain hoist much safer.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  2. OahuEli
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,039

    from Hawaii

    Did a few "like for like" engine swaps, pulled a 326 Poncho and replaced it with a 455 in a customers o.t. car, pulled a 302 & C4 and installed a 1970 429 & C6 in my buddies Mustang. It was a p.i.t.a. since we had to "modify" a few things to make it fit but Holy Moly what a difference in the cars' performance! Of course we didn't tell anyone at the local hotrod/burger stand and my buddy made a buck or ten off a few other guys. People asked him "What did you do to the car?" and he'd tell them he changed the air filter.:D
    My favorite swap was pulling the old Y block and 3 speed and dropping in a 429 and toploader 4 speed into my avatar. Hade to make motor mounts, trans mount, clutch linkage and a few other things but it was well worth it. I'd put a small cam (0.509 lift) in the 429 when I rebuilt it and that truck would pass everything but a gas station.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
  3. Boodlum
    Joined: Dec 19, 2007
    Posts: 339


    OK not really a swap, but the first time I pulled an engine out of a car was 1962 and my first car. I was thirteen. A 1956 Chevy 150 2-door post that when bought was primer gray and had a locked-up 265 with dual-quads and a 3-speed. Paid $250 for it at Billy Peoples Used Cars lot in Rockwall TX just to haul it away. Put the car in a horse stall in the pole barn nearest the house, took everything off the front end, winched the engine out of the frame with a block-and-tackle we used to stretch barbed wire, set it on the ground on a bed of fresh hay and started learning engines by doing. Looking back I should'a never messed with that car. If it came from the factory the way I got it, it was a rare car. Oh well. It got a teenage me to Dallas to work at Shelby's dealership.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
  4. Deuce Daddy Don
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 4,956

    Deuce Daddy Don

  5. Deuce Daddy Don
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 4,956

    Deuce Daddy Don

    Swapped Flathead for 4 banger added juice brakes!---Also ''39 trans.
    dana barlow, ladyhrp and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  6. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 1,121


    Not really a bolt in. You had to turn the motor mounts 180 degrees to make it work, right?;)
  7. I had a '54 Bel Air that the previous owner had converted to open driveline in anticipation of a V8 swap, it had a 235 in it when I got it. Two one barrels, split exhaust, three on the floor. Engine was pretty rough to say the least. A friend and concocted the idea to swap in a 383 Chrysler and four speed that he had. Actual swap was easy, the biggest problems, all minor were making the clutch linkage and a driveshaft.

    Clutch linkage was easy, tire iron and a 1/2" bolt did that. Driveshaft, took the '55 Chevy driveshaft from the car and a '63 Dodge Polara driveshaft. Made my measurements, took the driveshafts to a friend's plumbing shop where he cut the two. Believe me, we got lucky, the Dodge shaft slipped into the Chevy shaft. Ran an arc weld bead around it. If it wasn't in perfect balance it was real close, no perceivable vibration in the shifter.

    Used to get a lot of looks when I hit the key and you would hear the familiar whine of a Chrysler gear reduction starter from under the hood.
  8. khead47
    Joined: Mar 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,699


    Your right-but they did bolt in !
    dana barlow, ladyhrp and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  9. This is the last one I installed. HRP

  10. My first one was a piece of cake...66 Fairlane 390. Engine worn out so I replaced it with another 390 out of a CometGT while I was on military leave. Main problem was the tiny garage I did it in had barely enough room to walk around the car.
    dana barlow, Fordors and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  11. Don, There was a big oak tree in my granddad's front yard and I remember him hanging a chain fall on a huge lower limb, I raised it up and we removed the hood and pushed the car under the tree and then removed the inline 6, then hosted it out, pushed the car back and backed up granddad's truck under the engine and lowered it behind the V8 waiting it's turn in the bed of his truck.

    No sooner he we got the V8 swinging in the tree a storm rolled in and we covered the engine with a piece of clear plastic and it hung in that tree until the next weekend, summer showers left the ground muddy but the sun and heat dried it up by the next weekend and by the end of the day the engine was in it's new home and Sunday afternoon I drove the car home.

    I've come a long way since my teens, I now have a portable engine hoist, I can work inside in any weather and I have a bit more knowledge, yeah, we have come a long way. HRP
  12. woodbutcher
    Joined: Apr 25, 2012
    Posts: 3,193


    :D My first was an(alledged)289 R1 that I paid $25.00 bucks for into a 53 Studebaker coupe that had a flat head six.Did it in Dads garage.The engine was in a couple of boxes.So that was a learning experience.Sure was fun though.3 speed overdrive BW tranny cast iron case.That was a fun ride.
    Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
    dana barlow and Fordors like this.
  13. big john d
    Joined: Nov 24, 2011
    Posts: 161

    big john d
    from ma

    first was a 292 in my first car a1957custom 300 tudor ford then a 312 then a 430 mel then finally a 390 then an econoline front straight axle i really liked that car and had a ton of fun init
    dana barlow and Fordors like this.
  14. Big oak trees used to be the common engine hoist.
    There is an old guy (older than me) about 30 miles from me that has a big collection of old cars. The first thing I noticed when I went there was a big ole chain hanging from a huge oak limb that had been there so long that the tree limb had grown around a lot of it.
    dana barlow and Fordors like this.
  15. Frank Carey
    Joined: Oct 15, 2009
    Posts: 501

    Frank Carey

    I was 18 years old in 1957 when I decided to build a hot rod. Bought a project 34 3-window, channeled, roll bar, hydraulics. And flathead of indeterminate condition. $100. Bought a 1 year old 265 from a wreck for $200. Don't remember where I got the sbc to Ford adapter. Bent up some angle iron mounts and had them welded down the street at a welding shop. Went drag racing at Montgomery NY. C/Altered. I was bone stock with 2-barrel and not at all competitive. But Flatheads were in C/A then and I could beat them all. Big ego boost. A year later I was on the road in northern NJ, Very few rods on the road then. Lots of good memories. Here's one. I was often at the local Drive-In. One time a kid who I kinda knew came over. Our parents were friends. We chatted about the car and he asked If I would take his visiting cousin for a ride. I agreed. Visiting cousin turned out to be a 14 year old girl. And I was John Milner. Don't remember how long I was stuck with her.
    dana barlow and Fordors like this.
  16. sedantudor
    Joined: Jan 28, 2012
    Posts: 97


    My first swap I was involved with was my Uncle"s 34' Plymouth PE coupe. I was young man at the time around the age of 17. We installed a 360 LA motor in place of the flat 6. Numerous curse words, tack welds, grinding off the tack welds, and rewelding we had the engine in the car. This is when I learned no matter how much room there seems to be, when all the sheet metal is installed and the hood goes back on, room seems to disappear fast. Today we (My Uncle and I) were talking and planning on how we are going to shove a 425 nailhead into his 25' Buick. Looks like there will be enough room, it is all planned in my mind, I am sure it will go exactly as I see it in my head.
  17. earlymopar
    Joined: Feb 26, 2007
    Posts: 1,224


    Engine swap? No. But I had rebuilt (3) engines by the time I was16 and owned and drove (3) cars before I was legally able to drive. The beauty of growing up in rural America!

    - EM
    dana barlow likes this.
  18. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,754



    I was looking forward to my first engine swap when I was 13 in 1957. My brother had his 1951 Olds two door sedan and we were looking for a Model A to make into a street legal gas coupe for the Gas Coupe and Sedan Class at Lions Dragstrip. We found one, towed it home, cleaned it up and got it running. Then, I was all ready to take out the motor for a swap with an SBC motor. By the time we were ready, one day after school, the Model A was gone and in the driveway was a shiny new 1958 black Impala. Wow, what a switch. (reasons explained on another thread)

    So, in a blink of an eye, the dreams of the engine swap was whisked away. But, in the driveway was a new way to go racing, use as a cruiser, hot rod and daily driver to high school. So, for the next 2.8 years, it was all Impala racing and developing skills as a mechanic. Then in late 1959, my brother had it with the A/Stock class racing. He was under powered with his motor to the newest Chevy sedans to show up and race. Now, we were in the market again for another coupe to build into a street legal Gas Coupe with an SBC motor.

    As luck would have it, my brother had already planned on buying another coupe for such a new build. He had his eye on a 1940 Willys Coupe that was a block or two away from the Model A backyard. Now, the ground was set for our first swap. This was in November of 1959. We got started, after we had to shore up the normal two car garage rafter beams. Once the 2x4 and 2x6 support beams were in place, the front end of the Willys Coupe was disassembled. With the normal removal of the mounts and a few other bolts, the motor/transmission was raised with the chain hoist and the Willys Coupe was rolled out of the garage.


    We had to stop working on the Willys Coupe as soon as we rolled it back out of the normal garage. We had to tear down the bottom supports for the chain winch and get the whole garage pristine for our dad’s big Buick to come home soon.

    After we got our 6 Stromberg carburetor SBC motor all assembled in the backyard garage, it was now ready to set up the normal garage again after our dad went to work. We had until 5 pm to get the garage back to normal, ready for the big Buick to arrive again. The SBC install was many weeks after the removal of the 4 cylinder Willys motor. It was just how it had to happen in our garage set up. With the Willys frame all cleaned and prepped, the SBC and LaSalle transmission went right in place with no problems. Now, we were old hands at engine swaps, it was just several weeks apart.
    When we rebuilt the 283 SBC and made it larger to 292 C.I. with all blower spec parts, the removal was again set up on an empty garage scene as soon as our dad went to work. The 283 removal was really easy and the tear down and clean up was also getting easier with each removal or install. This time, the 292 SBC motor had more done to it, so it took a lot longer in the build phase, before it was wheeled back into the normal two car garage for the final install in our 1940 Willys Coupe.

    In August 1960, the 292 671 supercharged SBC motor and LaSalle transmission was removed at a friend’s house. We used a similar overhead garage beam supported set up, when the Willys Coupe was on a trailer not in driving condition.
    upload_2020-7-11_4-11-18.png similar to this build
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  19. ramblin dan
    Joined: Apr 16, 2018
    Posts: 2,093

    ramblin dan

    It wasn't my car but my friend's older brother. He had hauled home the shell of a 1970 Mach one fastback from the junkyard and was making a daily driver out of it. I was fifteen years old at the time and when it was time to drop the motor in we pushed the body across the street where a huge willow tree stood in front of a pink stucco house. The guys that lived in the house seemed to be covered in grease all the time from working on cars and had a huge chain that hung from the tree branch that stuck out over the front lawn which was full of ruts from cars being worked on there. We backed a pickup truck with the Boss 302 engine under the chain, plucked it out and and slowly lowered it in the Mustang as the tree branch made scary noises all the way down.
    Fordors likes this.
  20. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,201


    Around '69 or so.
    327 into '65 Skylark GS @ 16yrs old. My friend (17) drove it back to Ohio from Cali, used 29qts of oil. His stock-car driving uncle sold (gave?) him the 327. We used a pipe tri-pod & a chain fall. It was a 4spd. Tire smokin' one-legger it was...! :eek::D
  21. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 81

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    from Upstate NY

    Summer of 72, threw a rod in a 1962 CJ5 with the F-head 4 banger, trying to go 50 with it with 5.38 gears (they weren't made to go fast, hey I was 18 right out of high school and knew better, right?). Had a 327 365 hp chevy from my first dirt track car sitting unused in the garage, just looking for a new home.

    Bought the engine mounts (Hurst) from JC Whitney, the trans adapter too. Got a 62 Chevy radiator from the local scrap yard, cut the old radiator shroud out until the chevy radiator fit. Cut the firewall and floor out until the 327 would snug up to the trans. Got the engine bolted in, started the exhaust using rams horn manifolds, then made a new firewall using a cheap stamped steel wheelbarrel pan (something I read in HR magazine, way backwhen it really was an enthusiast's magazine...).

    A friend did the body work, we rebuilt the body mounts, smoothed off the cowl seams, and removed the rusted tailgate and replaced it with flat sheet. Painted it 72 Cadillac Brewster Green Metalflake. It came out great, looked good at 5 feet (hey I'm a dirt tracker, anything closer than 5 feet is rubbin'), and ran good.

    First trip was to work with it 8 miles each way. Got to work ok. On the way home blew up the 327. Who would think a race engine from a short track car wouldn't survive 16 miles round trip. Who would thing that the engine didn'tlike running at a sustained 4500 rpm for 8 miles. Remember those 5.38s. On a short track an engine goes to 6 07 thou for less than a second or so, then back to much lower rpm.

    Go to local scrap yard, buy another 327, a 350 hp engine out of a wagon. Lasts a week (remember I was 18 and knew better; also remember 5.38 gears). Take a granny driven engine, 2k rpm maxmost of its life and wind it to 4500 for miles on end...

    Go back to scrap yard, buy 3rd 327, a 300 hp out of a sedan. Bet you can't guess the outcome, 'cause I knew better...

    Still need to get to work, so once more to the scrap yard, running low on cash. Get a high mileage 283-2 barrel 62 engine, swap a set of the double hump heads, the 350 hp cam, new oil pump, give the engine akerosene bath on the inside to get all the sludge out. You all are saying, "This sounds bad, 'cause he knows better". Guess what? It ran for 13 months of the worst abuse any engine ever had a right to endure. I still have the crank in my garage to this day. Someday, when I get a small journal 327 block again, I want to build 1 last 302 to relive my youth on the dirt tracks. Well the engine will run but will be a coffee table with all my old parts, Hilborns, Vetex mag, 7rib Vette rocker covers, 3-gear cam drive, and all the rest of the junk I've hauled around the country with me as I moved from job to job during my career. 'Cause I know better!
    Fordors likes this.
  22. Rex_A_Lott
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,017


    I was 5 when I "helped" my Daddy and my Uncle pull a 223 out of an old 54 Ford. They were using my homemade swing set, and the cross bar started to bend. Pop went and got long pry bar and slid up in there so it would be stout enough to hold.
    I really don't remember the first time I did one by myself. I'd been around that sort of thing for so long it was a non-event.
    ramblin dan likes this.
  23. My first swap was in high school in '61-'62 as a helper. '57 Olds J-2 with B&M hydro into a '53 Ford 2 door sedan. Great fun running around town with the hood off and the 3-2's showing off.
    Fordors likes this.
  24. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,948


    4 kids in 1958-put a flathead on a Model A-what a greasy mess we were! Had an oak tree and an old fence comealong. Got it done with some guidance from an old guy next door. Then we terrorized the area in it! Then a 32 sedan-same deal -engine swap--the guy still has the 32 sedan in his barn too-62 years ago!
    Fordors likes this.
  25. I had a bitch of a time re-scaling the image, so this is to see if my attempt to make the size of the picture smaller was successful. This was done in Laredo, TX in 70-71. I used the 6 cyl pads on the front, and the stock truck belhousing to mount the engine and the M-21 transmission. I made a separate crossmember for the overdrive.

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