We completed the full disc-brake conversion just in time for our cross country move back to the East Coast, which I will post about soon.
In the meantime, we wanted to share this helpful info from a fellow Metallicar conversion. We don't plan on swapping Vlad's 293 engine, but want to cover as much helpful info as we can here, so I asked James to write a guest post to share about his process doing a BB to SB conversion.
Find more on Amara's build at https://www.facebook.com/#!/amarasupernaturalimpala
Hey everyone, I got asked by Stella to guest write a blog post about what is involved in doing an engine swap/drop in a 1967 Impala. I’m currently in the middle of a build, using a California 396 car. It has a 12 bolt, TH400, power brakes, A/C, and power steering. That being said, here are a few tips about pulling/dropping an engine back in one of these cars. The process of building an engine is an entire other topic that many people have already written volumes on.
Pulling: the easiest way to pull is to remove the radiator support, and pull the engine and transmission together, as shown here:
Make sure you have everything unhooked, and put the car back on the ground. Then you can simply roll the car backwards and there’s your engine/trans combo. Before you pull check twice and make sure that nothing is still hooked up!
Installing a new engine:
Going from a big block to a small block: My car was a big block car, so all of this holds true for doing a conversion down to a small block. Also note this: You DO NOT have to change frame stands to go from a BBC to a SBC. I have seen both answers on this, but i have confirmed that you can leave the frame stands in the car, they are the same (or close enough that is doesn't make any difference)
1. U Joints: The factory U joints are held in place by a plastic mold, you have to use a torch to remove the plastic retainer. They will come out of the hole like a snake when you get them hot enough. For those of you with TH400s, you need Precision 534G and 355 U joints. Those with a powerglide will use a precision 369. To double verify, be sure to measure your U Joints dimensions before ordering/ driving into town.
2. The Murray radiator that you can buy at most auto parts stores is a nice piece. Plastic and aluminum, not brass, so it is $300 cheaper than a "period correct" alternative.
3. Summit/ blackjack/ etc headers that fit most chevys of this time period will fit easily. The cheap Summit part number is SUM-G9001. This style of header fit well enough. For those of you with straight plug heads, you may have to use accel shortie spark plugs to keep from burning a plug wire boot. These headers neatly clear TH400 factory linkage, the steering box, and the trans cooler lines (more or less). They also tuck pretty decently under the car so ground clearance shouldn't be much of an issue.
4. A moroso or miloden kick out deep sump pan will fit the car. I used the moroso 20190 pan on my motor. Please note this is a driver dipstick pan, so verify its the right one for your motor!
5. For those of you who want to go to a modern style altenator with an internal regulator, the conversion is simple. Here is a simple writeup on what has to be done. http://www.wallaceracing.com/alt-conversion.html
6. Engine and trans mount: The cheapest trans mount is the anchor brand piece that you can buy at oriellys or napa. Its a simple rubber mount. Unlike the motor mounts, there is no added safety to having a poly mount. Now when it comes to the engine mounts, upgrading to an intergral lock motor mount is really a safety issue. right around this time GM had some problems with motors tearing their mounting and bouncing around the engine bay. So do yourself a favor, buy modern style mounts with a safety lock. I used Energy suspension 3.1114G motor mounts. They are poly, and have the safer interlock design.
7. Change your rag joint! Mine was pretty much falling apart, yours may be too. You won't know how worn out it is until it is out of the car. This item is often overlooked, and can make your car drive like new again. The easiest time to change it is when the engine is out of the car, but it can be done with the engine in. Yes you have to drop the steering column. And yes it is much easier with two people, but one person can do it by themselves.
Pictured above is the new engine, with the Murray radiator we discussed above, the Summit G9001 style headers (These aren’t actually summits, but they are bent the same) The power steering pump is a 74 Camaro piece, the bracket is a billet piece off Ebay from ICW brackets, the Alternator is a 1984 Trans Am piece with a three wire setup, the Alternator bracket is a summit racing piece that doesn’t use an intake bolt hole, and using these pieces allows for identical Gates 7445 belts to be used on both pulleys.
Be sure to check out https://www.facebook.com/#!/amarasupernaturalimpala for future updates and information on doing various aspects of this build.
Thank you James and Amara! If anyone else is working on their baby and would like to submit a guest post to help the rest of us out, please get in touch!