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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 23rd, 20, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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Engine swap questions

As a new guy and first time classic car owner i've been trying to gather info. I'm learning how to tinker and work on cars. I purposely went ahead and spent the money on getting a car that doesn't need restoring so I would have a great base to work with. I have a '70 malibu with a 350 small block with an edelbrock fuel injection system hooked to a bowtie overdrives 2004R level 2 transmission. I really think I'm wanting to do an engine swap to a modern setup. Something along the lines of an SS comaro engine or the like. In all of others experiences/expertise what are yall finding as a good modern motor to use? I'm hoping to achieve between 400-500hp, Auto transmission, and not terribly expensive. I'm not against pulling a motor from a wrecked car etc. I have my own lift, and a few neighbors who have all done swaps in their c10's in their garage (i have very good resources to help me with the process).

Thanks!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 23rd, 20, 11:44 AM
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jeff
 
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Re: Engine swap questions

You can keep the trans you have and if you want more modern like an LS engine I would look for a 6.0 like an LQ9.

That engine has impressed me much more than the smaller siblings.
If you think 5.3 I would rather keep the old school 350"

And there is nothing wrong with an old school 350 when tuned correctly and parts matched up.
Not hard to get 440 hp from one and have it dead nuts reliable.

Here is a race against a buddy of mine. His 2015 Mustang coyote 5.0 supercharged It has smaller blower pulley exhaust and tune and other stuff.. 550 wheel HP vs my old school 57 chevy 4 door 350" engine from 1969 station wagon.
I ported some HO 305 heads # 601 I had and stuck in a 280H comp cam. stock bolts and stock rockers and pushrods.

Way old stuff that just works.

Yea new stuff will trump me in the MPG department.
No idea what your goal is..
Buddies LQ9 with or without the cam swap did not get the MPG my 57 gets.
I got 11.5 MPG pulling a 20 foot pontoon to the lake 160+ miles away
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 23rd, 20, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Engine swap questions

I ultimately want turn key reliability. I want to be able to haul the wife and 2 kids without worrying about being stuck on the side of the road. (already happened bc of a busted fuel line). To get 440 out of the 350, what kind of parts would you think it would take?
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 23rd, 20, 12:10 PM
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Re: Engine swap questions

The new modern LS series of engine is a phenomenal powertrain. So much so that tons of people are swapping them into classic cars of all types to take advantage of the power, reliability and ease of operation.

That being said, swapping a modern fuel injected engine into a 50 year old car isn't cheap. There are 2 types of swaps that I've seen or heard of over the years:

You hear of some guys doing a straight up junkyard swap. They pull an LS engine out of a wrecked car or truck and convert it to fit their classic car. The costs of this swap are basically controlled by the kind of used engine you find, and of course your budget. Sure you can find a 150,000 mile truck engine and swap it into your car for a fair price....but you're putting a 150,000 mile motor into your car. Some guys get lucky and find a decent low mileage motor out of a Camaro or truck but they tend to cost more.

Then there's all the supporting items you need. Motor mounts, oil pan, exhaust, radiator and cooling set up, accessory brackets and conversion parts, not to mention wire harness, computer, fuel pump/tank, etc. These can all add up to way more than you spend on a junkyard motor.

Several years ago on my previous classic car, a 69 Camaro, I priced out an LS swap. My thinking was that I didn't want to put a bone stock junkyard truck motor into my restored classic car. I wanted a 500-600HP motor that would sound like a Musclecar. I love a lopey idle. A stock engine with a smooth idle is just boring to me. So in the process of pricing out the motor that I wanted along with all the supporting cast I was looking at around $12-$15K to do it the way I wanted. With one child looking at colleges and another 2 years behind, I just couldn't justify spending that kind of cash on a motor swap no matter how much it improved the driveabililty of my car. Especially since I live in PA where my car is parked for 5-6 months out of the year. And the last straw is that I am married and if I told my wife that I needed $15K to swap motors, that would have gone over like a fart in church!!

Add to all of this the fact that you have specifically stated that you are learning how to tinker....depending on your skill level, you may find yourself having to pay someone to perform certain services that are beyond your capabilities/knowledge....that will drive up costs exponentially.

I'm not trying to discourage you in any way, its just that sometimes guys will only tell you about the positives and make it seem like its easy to do with an adjustable wrench and some duct tape...ha ha over 30 years of playing with old cars has taught me to double/triple whatever time frame I allocated and to DEFINITELTY triple whatever budget I assigned to a specific job.
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Greg

67 Chevelle SS 138 VIN
468 BB, AFR 265CC aluminum heads, Straub custom hydraulic roller cam, Performer RPM intake, Holley 950 carb, Legend LGT700 5 speed, 12 bolt rear with 3:73 gears, UMI suspension, 4 wheel disc brakes
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 23rd, 20, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Engine swap questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw468 View Post
The new modern LS series of engine is a phenomenal powertrain. So much so that tons of people are swapping them into classic cars of all types to take advantage of the power, reliability and ease of operation.

That being said, swapping a modern fuel injected engine into a 50 year old car isn't cheap. There are 2 types of swaps that I've seen or heard of over the years:

You hear of some guys doing a straight up junkyard swap. They pull an LS engine out of a wrecked car or truck and convert it to fit their classic car. The costs of this swap are basically controlled by the kind of used engine you find, and of course your budget. Sure you can find a 150,000 mile truck engine and swap it into your car for a fair price....but you're putting a 150,000 mile motor into your car. Some guys get lucky and find a decent low mileage motor out of a Camaro or truck but they tend to cost more.

Then there's all the supporting items you need. Motor mounts, oil pan, exhaust, radiator and cooling set up, accessory brackets and conversion parts, not to mention wire harness, computer, fuel pump/tank, etc. These can all add up to way more than you spend on a junkyard motor.

Several years ago on my previous classic car, a 69 Camaro, I priced out an LS swap. My thinking was that I didn't want to put a bone stock junkyard truck motor into my restored classic car. I wanted a 500-600HP motor that would sound like a Musclecar. I love a lopey idle. A stock engine with a smooth idle is just boring to me. So in the process of pricing out the motor that I wanted along with all the supporting cast I was looking at around $12-$15K to do it the way I wanted. With one child looking at colleges and another 2 years behind, I just couldn't justify spending that kind of cash on a motor swap no matter how much it improved the driveabililty of my car. Especially since I live in PA where my car is parked for 5-6 months out of the year. And the last straw is that I am married and if I told my wife that I needed $15K to swap motors, that would have gone over like a fart in church!!

Add to all of this the fact that you have specifically stated that you are learning how to tinker....depending on your skill level, you may find yourself having to pay someone to perform certain services that are beyond your capabilities/knowledge....that will drive up costs exponentially.

I'm not trying to discourage you in any way, its just that sometimes guys will only tell you about the positives and make it seem like its easy to do with an adjustable wrench and some duct tape...ha ha over 30 years of playing with old cars has taught me to double/triple whatever time frame I allocated and to DEFINITELTY triple whatever budget I assigned to a specific job.
Thank you for the input. I'm really at a loss where to go with this project. I want to enjoy it as it is for a while. I just can't decide how turn key reliable i can make the current engine.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 23rd, 20, 12:41 PM
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jeff
 
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Re: Engine swap questions

On old rides some things need to happen so you do not get stranded.
Here is a budget 442hp 350"
https://www.hotrod.com/articles/vort...-block-engine/

Now the fuel lines in all my old rides gets replaced with good steel 3/8" new line. all brake lines and hoses get replaced.

Fuel tank gets removes and inspected and new pickup and new float assembly.
If your float assembly works you are good there.

New grounds and new hot wires from battery and from block to frame etc.

Stranded because of a busted fuel line is a bad deal and you could have torched the car in the process.

Avoid as much rubber line as possible.
Radiators in my cars are new.. i will not use a 10 year old radiator unless the car was in service all those years.
If it has sat empty for a few years ..It could be iffy..
Radiators are cheap compared to being stranded.

I can jump in my 57 or any of my old cars and turn the key and head to California no issues.
Not that I want to go to California

I run carburetors and those are very reliable.
I also run factory GM distributors not those aftermarket MSD things.. Never an issue.

For a few years the wife and I both drove over 70,000 miles a year.
I drove my 78 Nova mostly.. with the engine that is now in my 57 chevy.
Oil changes every 2 weeks.. I needed reliability.. I did break 3 torque converters and had 1 tire blow out in all the miles I put on the Nova.
I suppose when literature on the converter states Not intended for big blocks or max HP 350 they kind of mean it.

I did find out something in the lower rated converters is pressed in and the higher stall ones for big blocks that part gets welded.
I forget what it is ..But a local converter company fixed me up and told me about it.
I spun one of theirs.. they said they never had one spun like that in the low stall converters and their others get welded.
Now they weld all of mine.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 23rd, 20, 12:59 PM
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Re: Engine swap questions

I see you spending a good 10kplus for a low mi Camaro piece startto finish minimum

Why not sell your 350 order up a mild 400 crate engine with roller cam modernheads?
Bolts right in and will do what you want. BB toruqe wihtout the expense, you can still get decent mpg dont fall for the "too huge cams"
That would be the route Id go hands down.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 23rd, 20, 1:10 PM
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Re: Engine swap questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_70_Malibu View Post
Thank you for the input. I'm really at a loss where to go with this project. I want to enjoy it as it is for a while. I just can't decide how turn key reliable i can make the current engine.
The Chevy small block 350 is a fantastic motor. I don't see any issue with making it reliable. When I got out of the Marines in 95, I purchased a brand new K1500 Silverado pick up with a fuel injected (throttle body) 350. I daily drove that truck until last year. I got 24 years of reliable service out of that 350 without any issues. All I did was stay on top of regular maintenance. I changed the oil religiously at 3000 miles with a quality filter and good oil. I tuned it up annually and replaced fuel and air filters at regular intervals. And the beauty of that truck is that with 199,000 miles it started and ran fantastic. So much so that I didn't want to get rid of it, so I gave it to my 17 year old daughter to drive back and forth to school and her part time job. It's still in our family and my 14 year old son has dibs on it when my daughter goes away to college.

The new LS motor is the new modern fad these days and rightfully so. It's a fantastic powerplant but that doesn't mean that the tried and true small block isn't any good. Remember, Chevy came out with the small block in 1955 and used it in pretty much everything until the late 90's. That's a 40 year run!!!
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67 Chevelle SS 138 VIN
468 BB, AFR 265CC aluminum heads, Straub custom hydraulic roller cam, Performer RPM intake, Holley 950 carb, Legend LGT700 5 speed, 12 bolt rear with 3:73 gears, UMI suspension, 4 wheel disc brakes
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 23rd, 20, 1:11 PM
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Re: Engine swap questions

Hello,

All good advice above but don't discount the Gen 3 5.3 liter LS truck motors. They are inexpensive and abundant in the yards, can be found easily and are often priced at one third the cost of a 6.0 or 6.2 liter engine. And don't be afraid of any 150,000 mile LS engine simply because of the mileage. There are many, MANY of these so called high mileage engines running in LS swapped vehicles at well over 200,000 miles. With good care, these engines will last a very long time and with good inspection of any candidate donor engine, you can maximize the chance of getting a good one. As always, cylinder compression and oil pressure checks of any donor engine are highly recommended.

But an LS swap is not an easy thing. There are two universal truisms with respect to this swap:

1 - It will cost you more than rebuilding what you currently have.

2 - It will take you longer than rebuilding what you have.

Do I regret doing my swap? No, absolutely not. However, I read two LS swap books cover to cover before getting started very far and spent hours, literally many hours reading here and other places about swaps. This might seem like a waste of time but it is not because it will absolutely save you money and prevent the waste of time later.

Rick

1970 El Camino under Reconstruction - 5.3L LS VORTEC Engine and 4L60E Transmission
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 23rd, 20, 1:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Engine swap questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff swisher View Post
On old rides some things need to happen so you do not get stranded.
Here is a budget 442hp 350"
https://www.hotrod.com/articles/vort...-block-engine/

Now the fuel lines in all my old rides gets replaced with good steel 3/8" new line. all brake lines and hoses get replaced.

Fuel tank gets removes and inspected and new pickup and new float assembly.
If your float assembly works you are good there.

New grounds and new hot wires from battery and from block to frame etc.

Stranded because of a busted fuel line is a bad deal and you could have torched the car in the process.

Avoid as much rubber line as possible.
Radiators in my cars are new.. i will not use a 10 year old radiator unless the car was in service all those years.
If it has sat empty for a few years ..It could be iffy..
Radiators are cheap compared to being stranded.

I can jump in my 57 or any of my old cars and turn the key and head to California no issues.
Not that I want to go to California

I run carburetors and those are very reliable.
I also run factory GM distributors not those aftermarket MSD things.. Never an issue.

For a few years the wife and I both drove over 70,000 miles a year.
I drove my 78 Nova mostly.. with the engine that is now in my 57 chevy.
Oil changes every 2 weeks.. I needed reliability.. I did break 3 torque converters and had 1 tire blow out in all the miles I put on the Nova.
I suppose when literature on the converter states Not intended for big blocks or max HP 350 they kind of mean it.

I did find out something in the lower rated converters is pressed in and the higher stall ones for big blocks that part gets welded.
I forget what it is ..But a local converter company fixed me up and told me about it.
I spun one of theirs.. they said they never had one spun like that in the low stall converters and their others get welded.
Now they weld all of mine.
I got really lucky it didnt go up in flames. It was raining gas on the header. As you can see in the pic i had to turn the fuel line straight up to get it to stop draining.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 23rd, 20, 6:28 PM
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Re: Engine swap questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_70_Malibu View Post
I ultimately want turn key reliability. I want to be able to haul the wife and 2 kids without worrying about being stuck on the side of the road. (already happened bc of a busted fuel line). To get 440 out of the 350, what kind of parts would you think it would take?
Like others on here have said the 350 SBC is a good reliable engine if built right

You have the right Auto Trans ( TH2004R) built to with stand ??? HP for Hwy Cruzin
and some good Stop Light to Stop Light Perf

Based on your Pic the reason the Fuel Line let go/loose was someone did not know
the Right way to hook the Line into the AN Fitting
or something pulled the Line out or there was to much Fuel Line Pressure going into the Carb


So do not blame the type of Engine or how old it is but blame the Installer of the Fuel Line

I had a 327 Old School Engine with 300+ HP and I drove it every where on long Trips etc.
and it got great Gas Mileage even thou the car just had a 3 Speed Auto TH 400 in it and 3.55 Rearend Gears

Then I decided I wanted a BBC for Drag Racing at the Track
still have the TH400 in it and still drive it on Long Trips / in the City all the Time
but it costs me a lot more in Gas $
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1/4 = 11.814 et / 115 mph
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1/8 = 7.311 et / 91.76 mph
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 23rd, 20, 6:46 PM
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Re: Engine swap questions

If you are stupid bucks up I raced a guy that had one of these in a Chevelle.
https://www.chevrolet.com/performanc...s/lt4-wet-sump


No traction for him until about 70 MPH.

For me I like ported iron heads or port whatever heads are on your car now. Slap in a decent cam and be done.
280H or say a XE276 Roller is a very nice one also.
Pac beehive springs and tune it.
That is the cheap way out.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 23rd, 20, 8:39 PM
 
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Posts: 2
Re: Engine swap questions

I know what you're talking about when it comes to reliability; nothing that getting stranded with family on a ride. That 350 should give you many years of enjoyment and they are easy/cheap to wake up with a cam/intake change.

I'm a newbie at classic cars and now 5years in to my 72, I've learned a lot of things. I wasn't ever happy with the anemic 240hp 402bb and found it was going to cost more to keep the stock motor and have heads machined, cam change, and so forth. With a little research on this forum, I was lucky enough to find Mark Jones from VortecPro. For less than $7k, 515hp with 600+ ft lbs of torque on the dyno and his reputation is fantastic. He's a wealth of knowledge and very willing to help out. I haven't driven the car yet this year, but should be a handful when I need it but dead reliable without losing that nostalgic feel of the old car. Hope this offers another opinion.

1972 Mistress
VortecPro 468 Motor
Tremec TKO 5speed
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 24th, 20, 9:40 AM
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Eric
 
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Re: Engine swap questions

It seems like whenever an inexperienced classic car owner has mechanical problems the first thought is to swap in a new crate engine or swap to a modern drivetrain to eliminate breakdown problems instead of addressing the breakdown problems of the current set up.

Swapping in the latest engine available doesn't automatically eliminate breakdown problems...new cars breakdown and there is always a chance that new engine swapped into your classic ride can experience malfunctions as well. The braided fuel line and fitting that failed on your current engine are also commonly used on modern engine swaps.

Swapping in a late model style engine usually requires swapping in some type of PCM to control everything, electric fans and fuel pumps. All of these can also be a source of failure and lead to breakdowns.

If you have the finances to swap in a late model engine and you've decided it is what you really want for the car, then continue with your plan and enjoy the results. Just don't jump into this costly endeavor thinking that all the money spent will mean your car could never possibly breakdown again.

Breaking down with a car loaded up with the wife and kids is awful, having that happen after spending a bunch of money on a drivetrain swap is aggravating and usually causes for unwanted feedback from the Mrs.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Unread Mar 24th, 20, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Engine swap questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by dell72 View Post
It seems like whenever an inexperienced classic car owner has mechanical problems the first thought is to swap in a new crate engine or swap to a modern drivetrain to eliminate breakdown problems instead of addressing the breakdown problems of the current set up.

Swapping in the latest engine available doesn't automatically eliminate breakdown problems...new cars breakdown and there is always a chance that new engine swapped into your classic ride can experience malfunctions as well. The braided fuel line and fitting that failed on your current engine are also commonly used on modern engine swaps.

Swapping in a late model style engine usually requires swapping in some type of PCM to control everything, electric fans and fuel pumps. All of these can also be a source of failure and lead to breakdowns.

If you have the finances to swap in a late model engine and you've decided it is what you really want for the car, then continue with your plan and enjoy the results. Just don't jump into this costly endeavor thinking that all the money spent will mean your car could never possibly breakdown again.

Breaking down with a car loaded up with the wife and kids is awful, having that happen after spending a bunch of money on a drivetrain swap is aggravating and usually causes for unwanted feedback from the Mrs.
I've always had the idea of putting a new motor in the car prior to purchasing it. I like the "pro touring" type of builds.

Also decided to throw in a pic of the engine bay for looks. This car is VERY clean.
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