For What Its Worth

Straight 6 to a Small block V8 swap, what does it take?


Some things to note when swapping a V8 into a Chevy II (63-67) where a L6 used to be.   Putting a V8 in the Chevy II frame is about like putting a size 10 foot in a size 9 1/2 shoe. It can be done, but takes some work.   This is with the stock style suspension and front clip.   A few things to consider.

  1. Throttle arm differences. the one by the firewall.
  2. Fuel line. V8 ran on the outside of the frame and came in under the battery. 6 runs into engine bay on the inside of frame rails.
  3. Motor mounts. Both the ones on the engine and the arms from the frame are different.
  4. Radiator size and spacers. With a V8, no spacer is needed between radiator and front support. Old radiator may not be able to handle a V8. Don't forget the shroud.
  5. Note, the V8 Engine on a Chevy 2 is not centered.  It is offset 1" to the passenger side.  Be aware when looking at fan shrouds, headers etc.  Headers and plug changes are more interesting on the passenger side.   I use "shorty" plugs. 
  6. Oil pan takes some deciding. Stock style front sump pan, even aftermarket ones, take a special oil pump and pickup.  No high volume/high flow oil pump option.  The rear sump v8 pans with the notch to clear the steering arms hang low and may give you ground clearance problems.  I ripped up 2 of them.  The notched pans do use easily available oil pumps and pickups. I went to the Church Boys R&P for my steering and now use a stock style rear sump pan, no notch, with good clearance. Also if you get the "side kick out" oil pans and have headers, you will need a remote oil filter mount.
  7. Automatic or standard? Floor shift or Column shift? If headers, column shift gets real interesting. Lots of homework here. Don't forget the trans to carb/throttle linkage connection on an automatic.
  8. Stock style exhaust manifolds. Again, special for the Chevy IIs. You need the special "ram horn" exhaust manifolds that angle to the rear. Not the ones that dump straight down.
  9. Headers..... do your home work, many brands available, but this is a tight fit car, with old time build tolerances.  I finally ended up with Hooker Super comps. 
  10. Distributor. HEI big caps usually do not clear the firewall. Small cap stock style are point based. I would upgrade to an electronic pickup minimum. I run a MSD that is basically the HEI in a small cap. Basic, similar to a stock setup. no external box etc.
  11. Front springs, usually not a problem. Unless they are worn out to begin with.
  12. Long vs. Short water pump. Some use the long water pump.  I have a short water pump setup. Just don't know about the stock shroud works with long water pump setup.   Long water pump has much easier time finding Alternator, PS and AC mounts that fit in these Chevy II cars, as long as it is the newer style heads with front mounting bolts.   Short water pump was stock, with Alternator and AC mounts combined with the exhaust manifold locating bolts.  Personally I didn't like the mounts off of the exhaust manifolds.  Original style heads didn't have mounting bolts for accessories and choices were limited.       
  13. Starter with headers, usually a new small body aftermarket starter is needed.
  14. Standard/Clutch.   The Z bar attachment will take some work or an aftermarket replacement.   Or you can go Hydraulic clutch system.   The Z bar setup was not a strong point on these cars. If you do not have an "original" chevy II V8 block, a Z bar pivot adapter for the engine side of the Z bar mount will be needed.
  15. Small 153 tooth or larger 168 tooth flywheel.  Smaller 153 is more room for starter to header clearance.   Be aware.   I have 168 tooth and got my starter in with headers, but it was an aftermarket mini starter that I could spin the body around the mount.   Also had to hacksaw off the un-used mounting bolt hole for header clearence.  
  16. Low mount short water pump based alternators do not usually clear the stock front cross member.  You will need a special Chevy II aftermarket low alternator mount.
  17. 700R4 Transmission will need a new aftermarket rear transmission crossmember.   .

Hopefully that is all the big stuff. 

Happy Motoring, VHubbard.  June 2014

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