I am thinking about installing this engine in my '68 Chevelle. Has anyone installed or have this engine? Is there a better engine for my application (lot's of power and torque, daily driver, race occasionaly?)
I wish I had the bucks to buy 10 of them. I think your Number 1 concern is to be sure you have the drivetrain to back it up. Absolute minimun of a 12bolt posi, and well built. Or maybe an aftermarket 9in. As far as a tranny goes, well maybe you know how I feel, real Chevys have 3 pedals on the driver's side. The purpose of the one on the far left is to provide the driver complete control of torque multiplication. My personal choice would be to have a relative high rear gear (3.08-2.56), and a 5sp Richmond with a 1st gear around 2.80-3.00. And no overdrive, I would prefer to have a high rear end, low 1st gear, and 1:1 5th.
But if you must have one of the other, no driver option, type trannys, I, again, would prefer a high rear gear (2.41-2.73) and a well built Turbo 400. I don't know enough about the later OD auto trannys to recommend one to go behind a 502-502.
The primary reason I suggest a high rear gear in both cases, is because a 502 will have more than enough low end torque to get your 68 going. And once you are in high gear, it will allow you to get reasonably good mileage out on the road. You are going to drive this car, Right?
Not only do I think you are going in the right direction, but I have always believed that if the govt had not stuck their nose into the industry years ago, engines such as 502s would be as common as 454s, or more so today.
One last thing, be sure you have provided adequate cooling and fan, especially if you have ac. I would go with the 7 blade clutch type fan used on 454 cars.
Go for it! The big-block will deliver more "smile-per-mile", than you can imagine. I spent $11,000 building up the 'numbers correct' 454 in my '70. You'll spend less, and have more streetable grunt with the 502, than I have now.
With all due respect to DZ, I much prefer an auto.........It's nearly the 21st Century after all! I max'd out a TH400 (reduced first and second ratios, four sets of tandem sun gears, all billet and torrington bearings, etc) only because the 4L80 hadn't been designed yet. This tranny will handle over 700 lbft of torque, without a wimper. (It's designed to live in a 24,000 lb gvwr vehicle) As an over-drive 4spd auto, it'll deliver on the open road for you. There are four first gear ratios available. I'd suggest staying low, to start out higher into your power-curve.
Whichever flavor tranny you decide upon, the 502 is the medium to make it shine!
A friend of mine has one in a '69 SS396/375hp car. He drove it from Toronto to the Woodward Ave Cruise the last 2 years. It's orange and has a blower on it. You probably saw it. It has 502 badges on the side front fenders.
Guess what? I still act like a kid in a candy store when I find a steam locomotive somewhere going down the tracks. And I have to take 3 pairs of underwear with me when I get close to "Aluminum Overcast" (a WWII B-17) or "FIFI" (a WWII B-29). Especially if I can get up REAL close when the engine starter engages and those big ole props start to slowly turn over and over as the starter whines! It's magic! No magic to a blow torch coming out the butt of an airplane. God willing, they will make it into the 21st century, and lots of people driving automatics will go see them and wish they could fly in one just once.
I'm going to keep pushing that left pedal into the 21st century.
Recently completed 502 Gen6 swap in my 70 SS-454. Its a GREAT motor for the $$. Went in easy, but I did my homework first. You will need a different oil pan, electric fuel pump, 502 flywheel & tapped ball stud boss if you like to shift (my personal preferance). I only used the 502 short block & bolted on everything else from the original LS6. Looks like grew there. E-mail me if you want more info / details.
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