Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 80 (permalink) Old Aug 30th, 06, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

The questions on bell housings, flywheels and clutches arise here MANY times. So, I took some pictures and will attempt to explain the differences.
First, because it comes up so often, here is a picture of the truck housing and then a picture of a truck housing next to a pass car 3899621 type housing. Notice the big, extra bulge in the lower section of the truck housing. The purpose of this additional bulge in the truck housing is to accomodate a 12in clutch. You don't want or need a 12in clutch in a car.





Next, is the truck housing turned over on top of the 621 housing to show the difference in the bigger hole of the truck housing compared to the hole of a pass car housing.



The smaller 403 type housing compared to the bigger 621 type housing.



The next two pictures are the earlier open bottom housings. There were basically 3 types, 55-57 cast iron, 58-62 cast iron, and the 60-63 alum.
Notice the 55-7 style with the provision for side engine mounts. The 58-62 iron and 60-63 alum housings are virtually identical (no side mounts). The ALUM open bottom housings were used on hi-perf 348 (pass cars) and 409 engines and ALL 60-62 Vette engines. The 60 alum open bottom is a one year only housing. The difference for the 60 is that it had a smaller hole for the bearing fork than the 61-63 version. ANY of the 60-63 open bottom alum housings are worth a small fortune!!! Also, ALLLLLLLLLLL 57-63 open bottom housings were used ONLY with the big, 14in diameter 168 teeth flywheels.





The next 2 pictures are the big, 14in dia, 168 teeth and the small, 13in (actually about 12 3/4in) dia, 153 teeth flywheels and flex plates. Notice the big flex plate has added weight on one side. This came off of a SB400, which is EXternally balanced and requires a flywheel or flex plate with added weight. The smaller flex plate came from a 307 with PG.





This picture is the engine side of two big flywheels. One is neutral balance, the other is UNbalanced. Notice the added weight on the right flywheel. This is from a 454, but an UNbalanced flywheel with this extra weight is required for BOTH a 454 (and dirivatives such as 468, 496, etc) and a SB400. The 454 flywheels are fairly common to pick up at swap meets, but it is unlikely that you will ever come across a SB400 flywheel. The 454 flywheel can be used when building a SB400 because when you have a SB400 (or any engine) built, you're going to have it balanced. Right? Right! Thus, the 454 flywheel provides the needed weight for a SB400.



The last picture shows the comparison of a 444 and 621 housing. Notice that the ONLY difference between them is the thickness of that one rib at the corner. The thin rib is the 444 housing.



Last of all, look closely at ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL of the housings for the big flywheel. Notice the bulge for the starter nose. That bulge sticks out about 1in from the side of the housing, whereas the starter nose bulge of the 403 style housing is even with the side of the housing.
The smaller flywheels will ONLY accept a 10 1/2in clutch. The big flywheel is required for an 11in clutch. BUUUUUUUUUUUUUT, some of the early BIG flywheels only had a bolt pattern for a 10in clutch, such as 55-7 Chevys with a V8. They all had the big flywheel, but only had a bolt pattern for the 10in clutch (in the early years, clutches were 10in but now they are 10 1/2in and fit the same bolt pattern). There have been some big flywheels with dual bolt patterns for either 10 1/2in or 11in clutches. They are kind of rare.
Study carefully, take notes, there will be a test!

Tom Parsons
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Last edited by Philip; Oct 23rd, 11 at 4:56 PM.
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post #2 of 80 (permalink) Old Aug 31st, 06, 12:19 AM
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Thanks Tom. I have one of those truck bellhousings (6263756) in my garage and found out the hard way it won't work with a passenger car transmission. Is it worth anything?
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post #3 of 80 (permalink) Old Aug 31st, 06, 12:22 AM
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Tom,

Great job on the amount of time you took to post this for everyone. A job well done.

Jody Haag

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post #4 of 80 (permalink) Old Aug 31st, 06, 1:08 AM
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Great job Tom, now I'm wondering if you have a list of cast numbers for pass applications (non-truck) that accept the 11 inch clutch. That would be most useful. FYI, I'm sure by now everyone knows that the 444 and 621 bells work but they also cost a fortune; I personally always forget the one which supercedes the 621. Jason.

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post #5 of 80 (permalink) Old Aug 31st, 06, 3:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Ted,
At one time I always passed up the truck bell housings at the swap meets (they could always be picked up for $10-25) because I considered them useless. BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT, now I'm having serious second thoughts because there are now spacer rings available (someone right here also makes them) to allow a pass car tranny, such as a Muncie, to be adapted to the truck housing. So, if you see a truck housing at the swap meet for cheap, it may now be worth buying. I think I'm going to start picking them up if they are cheap enough.

One thing that I left out is that all 3 styles of bell housings (403, 621, truck) require a different stamped sheet metal cover which goes in front of the lower portion of the housing. ALLLLLLLLL 3 are still available from Chev parts dept. I just picked up one for that truck housing yesterday (my cost was about $15).

Tom Parsons
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post #6 of 80 (permalink) Old Aug 31st, 06, 3:34 PM
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Excellent job Tom and much appreciated Now all the info is in one place. Maybe it would be worthwhile putting it in the Tech Section so folks don't always have to search the forums?????????????

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post #7 of 80 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 06, 7:12 AM
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Tom, the mods, or anyone,

Could someone explain why I can only view these pictures if I am logged out of the forum? If I am logged in, they appear as a hyper link and no picture until I click on them? Is this something that needs to be set up on my profile? If so, where?

Thanks

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post #8 of 80 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 06, 7:59 AM
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by DZAUTO View Post
One thing that I left out is that all 3 styles of bell housings (403, 621, truck) require a different stamped sheet metal cover which goes in front of the lower portion of the housing. ALLLLLLLLL 3 are still available from Chev parts dept. I just picked up one for that truck housing yesterday (my cost was about $15).
And isn't it amazing that people sell them on ebay for quite a bit more than that and have the audacity to list them as NOS Thanks again Tom for your effort as I'm sure it is appreciated by all!

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post #9 of 80 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 06, 9:52 AM
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Tom, You've got mail ... I distilled an Acrobat PDF of your post.

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post #10 of 80 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 06, 10:21 AM
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Tom, one interesting note...the cast iron housing with provisions for side mounts looks exactly like the original bellhousing to my 64 C10 with 6cyl and 3-speed Saginaw. When I converted this truck to a 1969 vintage 350 V8, not only did the 6-cyl flywheel and bellhousing work just fine on the 350, but so did the starter, which mounts to the bellhousing, NOT the engine block. This could be useful information to engine swappers.

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post #11 of 80 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 06, 10:46 AM
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Great set of photos and info Tom. This needs to be a "keeper".

Jody, you had display images set to "off" in your profile. I turned them back on.
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post #12 of 80 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 06, 11:40 AM
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Tom
Great job, But I have a question. When I got my 67 BB it had a open bottom aluminum housing with the 621 number on it. I assumed the bottom had been cut off, was it? or is it for real. Also what did they use for a cover on the bottom?

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post #13 of 80 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 06, 3:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Mike,
You are EXACTLY 100% correct!!!!!!!!
A bell housing, SIMILAR to but not the same as the 55-7 car housing, was in fact used on trucks from 55 until about 70. Maybe I should have gotten into some detail about that particular housing but I was trying to stay as close to car related as possible (with this being a Chevelle site). I specifically included that full enclosure alum truck housing because that housing is frequently sold by unscrupulous people as a "BB" housing to guys who need the big housing (621 type). My intention was to educate those who don't realize that the truck housing is NOT a car or "BB" specific housing.
So, now that you have bought up this issue, let me include some information about the "EARLY" truck housing with side mounts. As you can see from the above pictures, the 55-7 Chevy pass cars used a housing with side mounts (there were two mounts on the front of the of 55-7 V8s, thus, in my opinion, providing the BEST engine mounting ever for a Chevy V8). The trucks (55-70) also had a SIMILAR bell housing with side mounts. BUT, for mounting purposes, the early truck housing WILL NOT work in a 55-7 Chevy. The reason is because the truck housing has ONE threaded hole and one pointed pin for proper psoitioning of the mount that attaches to each side of the housing. ALSO, THE FLAT SURFACE ON THE TRUCK HOUSING FOR THE MOUNT IS AT A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ANGLE THAN THE THE FLAT SURFACE OF A 55-7 CAR HOUSING! So you can't use the early truck housing on a 55-7 Chevy. ALTHOUGH, as far as using the early truck housing for just the bell housing function, it works just fine.
Last, Mike you're also correct that the bell housing/flywheel which you mentioned would fit a V8 as well as the housing mounted starter. In 1963, the Chevy 6cyl engine was TOTALLY redesigned and the back of 6cyl blocks was changed to be the same as all V8 blocks. Thus, starting with 1963 6cyl engines, the flywheel, starter and bell housing are totally interchangeable with V8s. When the 6cyl engines stopped using the "early" style cast iron housings (about 70-71) and switched over to the full enclosure alum housings, they also started using both the small and big flywheel/housing. GENERALLY speaking, the smaller, lighter duty pickups got the small flywheel/housing and the heavier duty pickups or trucks with a 6cyl got the big flywheel housing. FOR THE MOST PART, THE PICKUPS WITH THE BIG FLYWHEEL/HOUSING ALSO HAD THE SAME HOUSING AS THE CARS. The trucks with the "truck" housing as pictured above, were usually big trucks, such as 1ton and bigger, that had a 5sp (or more) tranny and 12in clutch. Sorry I didn't add this info also.

And now that we've gone through all of this, let me add one more thing.
That housing with side mounts for 55-7 Chevy cars was also used on the 55-7 Vettes, BUT, the Vettes DID NOT have mounts on the bell housing. The Vettes started out in the very beginning (53) using a rear mount on the tranny tail housing, thus, even though they used that same bell housing with mounts that was used on 55-7 cars, they didn't use the mounts on the housing (at the time, there was only ONE style V8 housing). In 58, everything (except trucks) went to a tranny mount, so the side mounts on the housing also went away in 58.

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post #14 of 80 (permalink) Old Sep 5th, 06, 5:27 PM
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Great information Tom, thanks!

Mike

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post #15 of 80 (permalink) Old Sep 5th, 06, 8:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Course 101 on Bell housings/Flywheels with photos

Joe,
A 621 housing was a FULL ENCLOSURE housing. If it is now an open bottom, then someone cut it off!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For the genuine open bottom housings (iron or alum) a stamped sheetmetal pan (same pan) was used. Also, there was another sheetmetal cover that went in front of the housing.
The full enclosure type housings only had the cover on the front of the housing, and those are still available from Chev parts dept.

Tom Parsons
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