High Performance Big Block Cadillacs
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Author Topic: 500 Cadillac in a '54 GMC 1-ton  (Read 28167 times)
OldSub
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« on: December 25, 2008, 04:47:23 PM »

Hi, I just found this forum about an hour ago, and quickly decided I'd like to join.  This area geared to swapping a 500 into a truck is what caught my interest.

I'm building a trailer puller based on a 1-ton '54 GMC.  I'm using a GM 14-bolt rear with 3.42 gears.  I have an HEI 500 with 400 Turbo currently hanging in the engine compartment.  Exact position is still undetermined and I've not bought or made any mounts yet.  The cab and bed are not on the truck.  And I'm still debating what the front suspension will be, either stock plus disk brakes and power steering, or a transplanted IFS from a '72 Chevy 3/4-ton.

I have two different general questions.

First, has anyone seen one of these done before, and do you have any pictures and/or advice you can offer that might make my project more successful?

And second, what mods to the motor should I consider to optimize performance towing  a trailer?

I have an 18 foot tandem axle flat bed I use for hauling old trucks around.  If I honor the GVWR sticker on the trailer the load is not going to exceed 7,000.  I've thought about upgrading to a trailer rated at 10,000, so I'm using that number in my planning.

I intend to mount a larger utility bed on the back of the truck, so I'm estimating the truck itself will weigh about 6,000 ready to role out of the yard.

I've thought a lot about what I want to do, but after reviewing what I've said about this project it sounds further along than it looks.  Any comments and suggestions are very welcome!
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ST Dog
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2008, 10:02:38 AM »

Sounds like a good topic for mario.
I believe his truck is a '56.
http://caddy500.com/index.php?action=profile;u=12
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sMiles
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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2008, 01:28:49 PM »


You are using my favorite year Chevy truck .. I have wanted a 1 ton panel for many years.

For your pulling purposes, I would do a quality rebuild on the 500,  use a +0.060 or 0.080 piston,  the small chamber heads, and one of Potters DD airboat cams which bring the power in 1500-4800rpm,  Edlebrock 2115,  a two core alum radiator with 1.25" tubes.

The stock stroke is enough, the +.060 bore will just unshroud the chamber, the small chamber heads will get you to 9-9.5:1 easily,  the cam used with Ford or Chry lifter sizes will put the power where your axel ratio/tire size can use it, the 2115 likes the rpm range,  the radiator can keep it cool.   The $$$ are reasonable and the result will put a smile on your face while pulling the grade.

My 2 centavos ..

 
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OldSub
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2008, 02:02:43 PM »

Well sMiles I do have a Chevy 1-ton panel truck...  Its a '51 and currently parked out back waiting its turn in the shop.

I actually have two 500's and a 472, and unless all three prove to need work to run clean, I'd like to avoid rebuilding anything.  One is still in a low mileage '76 Deville, so I'm betting it will do the job as is.  But a cam change seems like a good plan, along with a new chain and sprockets and oil pump.  The Edelbrock is also on my list.  I'll save the bore and head change for the eventual rebuild.

Where do you shop for the cam you mention?  A quick google for 'Potters DD airboat cams cadillac' did not produce any hits on the first couple of pages that looked promising.  I've looked some at the offerings of MTS and they seemed geared to drag racing, not dragging a trailer.
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ST Dog
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« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2008, 02:49:42 PM »

One is still in a low mileage '76 Deville, so I'm betting it will do the job as is.  But a cam change seems like a good plan, along with a new chain and sprockets and oil pump.  The Edelbrock is also on my list.  I'll save the bore and head change for the eventual rebuild.

For sure a new timing set. The 32 year old nylon cam sprocket is due to break any day.

Quote
Where do you shop for the cam you mention?  A quick google for 'Potters DD airboat cams cadillac' did not produce any hits on the first couple of pages that looked promising.  I've looked some at the offerings of MTS and they seemed geared to drag racing, not dragging a trailer.

Potter's = Potter Automotive's Cadillac Performance Parts, aka CPP.
http://www.cadillacperformanceparts.com/

The cam mentioned above is the direct drive (DD) air boat cam mentioned here.
http://www.cadillacperformanceparts.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=60&Itemid=68
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MTS Marty
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« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2008, 02:58:08 PM »

The MTS #3 & #5 cams are perfect for your use. The #3 with the low compression 75  500 or the #5 with a more compression
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MTS-EAST
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2008, 09:00:05 AM »

Well sMiles I do have a Chevy 1-ton panel truck...  Its a '51 and currently parked out back waiting its turn in the shop.

I actually have two 500's and a 472, and unless all three prove to need work to run clean, I'd like to avoid rebuilding anything.  One is still in a low mileage '76 Deville, so I'm betting it will do the job as is.  But a cam change seems like a good plan, along with a new chain and sprockets and oil pump.  The Edelbrock is also on my list.  I'll save the bore and head change for the eventual rebuild.

Where do you shop for the cam you mention?  A quick google for 'Potters DD airboat cams cadillac' did not produce any hits on the first couple of pages that looked promising.  I've looked some at the offerings of MTS and they seemed geared to drag racing, not dragging a trailer.

  Welcome to the forum

  At MTS we are geared toward cadillac performance from a airboat to a daily driver and everything inbetween.

   Give Marty a call I am sure you will come away understanding what we are about.

   Good luck with your project


    JW
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~JM~
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2008, 12:32:52 PM »

Hey OldSub,

Welcome to the board. I hope you find it worthy of your time. There are a few Truck & Jeep swap posts in this section that you might find helpful. If you have a low mileage, well maintained, clean running donor. You probably won't need to overhaul much of it. As has been mentioned already, the timing chain & camshaft should be changed. Many of the OEM Cadillac camshafts have several degrees of retard ground into them. Another area that should be looked at, would be the valve seals, valve springs & valve guide height. The OEM Caddy valve seals were made out of a plastic type material that hardens with age, breaks & usually can be found in your oil pan. A modern seal on the intake valves & either the same on the exhausts or an umbrella type seal that would allow some oil to the exhaust valve would be beneficial. The OEM valve springs are fairly light duty & can often be compressed with your thumbs. The valve guides could benefit from having some of their height removed. This will provide the needed clearance to run some decent camshaft lift.

Oftentimes the short block can get away with a simple ring & bearing job. Pay some attention to the coolant passages & beware of any accumulations of junk that could handicap your cooling system. The Caddy has some large bearing surfaces that produce heat. Your cooling system needs to be in good shape. A new water pump with a disc type impeller & the correct Cadillac specific thermostat are wise investments. You may be able to retain the original oil pump.

Please have a look at the "Vendors Showcase" section of this forum. There is a listing for each of the Cadillac performance parts vendors with their contact information. I think you will find them all to be very helpful.

Good luck on your project & please keep us updated. We like pictures if you have any.  Grin Cool
~JM~
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PS. You don't have enough cam. Grin

...Summit has a kit for $99.... Shocked
mario
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2008, 07:08:48 PM »

hey old sub:
tom is correct. i do have a 56 gmc, however, it is a 100, 1/2 ton, not a 1 ton. and yours is a first series whereas mine is a second series. my biggest advice to you would be to make sure that the engine is set with the fan directly in front of the biggest radiator you can fit, or make fit, in the frame. IIRC that 1 ton has very large front fenders, unlike its 1/2 ton baby brother. you should have no problem fabbing what you need. please be sure to post picts, especially in the frame fab as those are the most detailed. i know that you will be happy the first time you step on the gas. it will take a long time to get that smile off of your face. speaking of long time, it took me 7 years to get it done!!!!!
st dog (tom) has been in a ride with my 56 and he was smiling when we stopped for food.

good luck,
ciao,
mario
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"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." --Ben Franklin
ST Dog
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2008, 08:59:39 PM »

st dog (tom) has been in a ride with my 56 and he was smiling when we stopped for food.

The GMC was nice ride.
The Cad was much more fun though, and if it had been on the open road I suspect it'd have been even better.

BTW, I may be back out there near the end January for a few days.
(It was hinted at the week before Christmas.)
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OldSub
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« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2009, 05:53:55 PM »

Brief update...

I've chosen to upgrade the front suspension using '72 Chevy C20 stuff.  I chose this approach because it allows mounting the engine and transmission low enough to clear the toe board and floor of the truck without modification.  Getting the engine/transmission that low requires modifying or removing the original bellhousing crossmember, which also provides lateral support for the original leaf springs.

I decided the IFS approach solved that problem, and while I'm aware of the advantages of slightly later IFS stuff, I already had the '72 C20 stuff on hand.

This approach may not work out, the exhaust may end up close enough to the frame that I choose to raise the motor even if it means toe board/floor board mods.

That IFS conversion is not complete as I write this and may not be for some months as some medical problems have severely limited my time in the shop.

Meanwhile I've been thinking about some issues.

Can I use the same transmission mount from a Chevy TH400 on the Caddy TH400?  I plan to modify the C20 transmission crossmember to mount the transmission, and the hitch would be any problem using a Chevy type transmission pad.

I've read of problems using the oil filter relocation kits.  Is this a serious problem?  If it is I can modify the front crossmember to make room for the stock filter location to work.  I'd rather leave the crossmember stock and reloclate the filter.  

Thanks for any thoughts and suggestions regarding either issue!
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ST Dog
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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2009, 07:58:40 PM »

Can I use the same transmission mount from a Chevy TH400 on the Caddy TH400?

No, the mounting holes on the transmission are different.


The holes are 1.75" apart on the Cadillac.
The other THM-400s have holes 4.25" apart
http://www.tciauto.com/Products/TechInfo/trans_dims.asp

I don't think the pad is wide enough to drill holes on the wider spacing either, but I could well be wrong on that count.

If you swap the tailshaft and extension housing to a shorter version, the mounts should be OK.
Or, find a shorter tailshaft 400 in a BOP case
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OldSub
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« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2009, 08:17:33 PM »

Thanks for the reply.  I may need to modify my rear crossmember plans....

I have two of the long case TH400's and do not have any other two-wheel-drive types on hand.  My first effort will be to use what I have, but knowing there is an option I'll keep it in mind.

Thanks!
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~JM~
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« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2009, 12:14:54 PM »

....I've read of problems using the oil filter relocation kits.  Is this a serious problem?

What problems have you heard of?

Thanks
~JM~
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PS. You don't have enough cam. Grin

...Summit has a kit for $99.... Shocked
OldSub
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« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2009, 04:32:31 PM »

I've heard that the filter relocation kits have failed allowing the motor to loose oil pressure.  I'm trying to think of a source for that information and not coming up with anything at the moment.  Maybe I'm worried about a non-issue?

I've also seen some posts here and elsewhere regarding oil pumps, maybe I'm confusing the two.
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