High Performance Big Block Cadillacs
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Author Topic: El Camino 500 swap.  (Read 51233 times)
Mike P
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« on: July 26, 2009, 09:55:20 AM »

 I found this site a couple of days ago and have been looking around a bit.  I see some people from a couple of other forums Iím on so a few of you may already know about my project.  Basically I picked up am 83 El Camino as a parts car for another project earlier this year and then decided it would be a good place to stuff the 500 El Dorado engine Iíve had laying around for several years.  Itís rough but pretty solid, and the plans are to make it into a daily driver/highway cruiser.  With the plans for the truck having changed a title has become an important issue so Iím waiting on that before I actually start setting the truck up.



  In the mean time Iíve been getting the parts together for the project.  I plan on doing a basically stock rebuilt on the 500 with a bit more cam and some good valve springs.  I have a 472 donor engine that provided the driverís side exhaust and non-EGR intake.

  I came across a 59 Ford SW rear end at a very good price and have gone thru that, installed G Body mounts and added Posi with 2.75 gears and Lakewood adjustable upper control arms.  For a transmission I have a BOP TH400 from a 69 Pontiac that was originally behind a 455.





  This weekend I found out more about Cadillac pulleys than I think I ever wanted to know.  This is probably old hat for several members of the site but it was a learning experience for me.  Neither one of the engines I have had a complete set of pulleys and brackets but I figured between the 2 Iíd have enough to make it work.  Want I wanted was to run AC and PS with an HEI and no smog pump.  Once I figured out that things werenít lining up I went to a buddyís shop who has a few Caddies sitting around.  Thatís when I found out that Cadillac ran the water pump off the smog pump  :Smiley  .  Fortunately he also had a 70 Caddy sitting around that doesnít use a smog pump so at I knew what to look forÖ..and to make it better the local wrecking yard Iíve dealt with for years happened to have a 70 that still had the pulleys and brackets on it.  

  The next to last picture is the setup my 500 would have had , and the last is the 70 setup I used.

  I have the bracket on order to use a Sanden compressor on the 500, but it hasnít come in yet and I wanted to make sure the belts would line up and clear the HEI.  Being a bit impatient I started looking at the stock A6 compressor bracket on the 472 and figured out that with a little clearancing (basically opening the saddle portion where the compressor sits and enlarging the bolt holes slightly) it would work on the Sanden.  It fits so well I may just go ahead and build some rear brackets and use it instead.  Every thing clears and the belts all line up so that part is figured out.

  So at this point I now have the engine mocked up, a transmission and rear end ready to put into the body once I get paper on it.  








« Last Edit: September 05, 2010, 04:19:32 AM by Mike P » Logged
~JM~
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2009, 10:52:57 AM »

Welcome to the forum Mike. Looks like you have an excellent start to a great project.

A book could be written on the variety of OEM Cadillac pulleys, except I don't know if any of the original engineers are still alive that could write it. Another aspect of the pulley problem that you may already know, is the timing indicator. Several different timing pointers & pulleys were offered. You should install some form of piston stop on the #1 cylinder. Then go through the beginning motions of degreeing your camshaft to determine exactly where TDC on #1 is. Then check your timing marks to verify if they line up or not. You may be in for a nasty little surprise when you try to set the timing on your engine. Hopefully you will find that the notch in the pulley lines up with the pointer. If not... You can either file a new notch or fab up a new pointer. If you have the fab skills & your engine has one of the plastic pointers, you should probably make a new pointer. You might even be able to make a pointer that displays up to 30+ degrees of advance. I don't know how big that would be, or if you would even be able to read it once the engine is installed.

I seem to recall reading once, that it was best to grab a complete set of pulleys & the timing marker from one engine instead of trying to mix & match. Most folks tend to prefer the stamped steel pulleys from the 425 engines due to their lighter weight. My engine was from a '75 Eldo. It has the heavy cast pulleys. The lower one weighs about 14 or 15 pounds if I remember correctly. Shocked

Good luck & please let us know what you find out. I'm looking forward to following your progress on your project. This forum should have a picture gallery soon... That is if I can figure out what I did wrong when I tried to install it. Embarrassed

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

...Summit has a kit for $99.... Shocked
Mike P
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Posts: 87


« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2009, 02:39:22 PM »

 Thanks for the welcome JM I am pleased I found your site.

  I think I got lucky all the way around with the pulley set. The first part was just having the friends I do where I could go look at the differences in pulley setups and know what to look for.  The second was having the JY I deal with still in existence.  The place has been there for close to 50 years now and itís one of the old types where the inventory is in the owners head not on a computer. Itís just a small 40 acre mom and pop outfit of the type that has almost vanished. They have saved a lot of stuff from the crusher over the years. Last but not least was that the donor car had had the front fenders sold off of it at some time so once the hood was up it was really easy to get into the bolts to get the pulleys LOL.

 I had read about the timing pointer but forgot to snag that when I got the pulleys (something I will do the next time I go back).  I did remember it however when I went to change the lower pulley and ran the timing marks to 0 before I pulled the original, when I put the new one on the timing mark was in the correct place.  I have gotten into the habit of verifying TDC marks on all my engine builds however, youíd be surprised how many are not correct due to the outer ring of the balancer having slipped (not a problem the Caddy will have I realize), so it will be verified as a mater of course.

  The 70 pulleys are also stamped rather than cast and youíre right about the later lower pulley being a heavy son of a gun.  
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Mike P
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Posts: 87


« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2009, 04:41:29 AM »

There hasnít been a lot going on with my project, Iím still waiting to get a good title on it (the state seems to be taking a bit longer than usual on this one).  Iíve seen too many guys do projects and wait until the car is finished before they do a title change to get the vehicle in their name.  In most cases at worst they end up doing is jumping thru hoops to get a clear title, but in one instance I  knew a guy that actually lost the vehicle.  As aggravating as the waiting is, Iíll wait rather than taking a chance of building this truck for free for someone else. So at this point itís pretty much collecting parts and doing the little stuff that I can.  
 
  Looking over the 500/G Body swaps Iíve come across, most indicate there is an issue with the front sump and drain plug sitting directly above the crossmember.  Depending on the builder, some of have the engine sitting to low to access the front drain plug and have eliminated the front sump, others are high enough to get to the plug but it then drains directly onto the crossmember and some had cut and welded a channel into the axel relief between the 2 sumps. I had a spare Eldo pan laying around so I decided to see if I could use some heat, a length of pipe and a big hammer to make a drain trough.  I think it worked out pretty well.







  I normally leave the exhaust until much later in the project and up until the last couple of years would usually send it to a muffler shop. As some of the local shops have closed or changed hands the quality of the remaining shops has gone down and the prices up, so lately I have been building my own systems or buying pre-bent pipes when they are available.  I came across what I thought was a pretty good deal on a pair of  2 1/2 ď G Body tail pipes so I picked those up. After reading some discussion and seeing pictures of the fit of the Pypes X Pipe for the G Bodies, I went ahead and got one of those also.  I will actually need the X pipe for mockup so I know where to put the exhaust reliefs in the crossmember Iíll be building.  Depending on clearance issues I may also include some ball and socket joints in the system to allow the X Pipe to be dropped out for drive shaft/Transmission removal, but weíll see when I get to that point.    




 Finally, I did get new fuel lines from the pump to the carb built along with a return line built.  The final bending on the return will be done when I get it in the car and see how it matches up with line mounted on the frame


« Last Edit: August 28, 2010, 04:23:30 AM by Mike P » Logged
~JM~
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2009, 12:16:21 PM »

Very cool pan modification. That whoop-de-doo in the original pan, traps a full quart of oil, if I remember correctly. I should've tried that on my pan. Even though I'm able to access both drains I would've preferred to have cut that section out & make it a straight run.

On the title issue... You could always use your car for mock up. If worse comes to worse, you could pick up another car & swap everything over. Has anyone ever told you about the various S10 suspension parts, etc. that interchange with G-body vehicles?

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PS. You don't have enough cam. Grin

...Summit has a kit for $99.... Shocked
Mike P
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Posts: 87


« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2009, 02:05:22 PM »

  Thanks JM, the pan worked out as well (and a bit easier) as I'd hoped for  Grin  .  You noticed I did this on my "spare" pan (just in case), which will now end up being the pan that I use when I actually build the engine.

 As far as the title thing goes I've already started the process thru the state to get a title.  The problem is if someone comes forward with a good title he takes the vehicle as it is at the moment (plus any parts he can prove that belong to it).  If my engine, transmission and rear end happen to be bolted in it at the time .....he now owns them too period.  Right now I have little enough in it that it wouldnít be a real tragedy if I canít get a title but, I would be very upset and out a fair amount if I lost my 500 and 9" rear. Like you said all the parts I have can go right into another El Camino (or other G Body for that matter).  

  I've read a bit aobut the brake swap, but wasn't aware of any other interchangeability.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2009, 02:10:36 PM by Mike P » Logged
~JM~
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2009, 03:08:39 PM »

...I've read a bit about the brake swap, but wasn't aware of any other interchangeability.

I'm not sure how much swaps back & forth. The S10 drop spindles interchange.

Here are a few G-body links you might find interesting:

http://www.maliburacing.com/tech.html

Coil Spring Cross Reference Information
http://www.maliburacing.com/coilspring.htm

Suspension
http://www.espo.com
http://www.buickgn.com/suspensiongbody.htm
http://www.wolferacecraft.com/buick.aspx
http://www.hotrodstohell.net

Brakes
http://www.carcraft.com/techarticles/swapping_10_5_inch_stockers_12_inchers/index.html
http://www.hawkhead.com
http://www.piratejack.net

Frame Braces & other links
http://jeffd.50megs.com
http://tech.oldsgmail.com

That ought to keep you busy on a rainy day.  Grin






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PS. You don't have enough cam. Grin

...Summit has a kit for $99.... Shocked
Mike P
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Posts: 87


« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2009, 03:26:03 AM »

   Well I guess I'm ready to actually start the swap  Grin  As I mentioned in another post the title finally came in so I could actually start getting some of the things done I wanted to do prior to the swap.

  The engine and transmission are bolted together (both will still need to be rebuilt but that will be done when the truck goes to the body shop after mockup).

  

  I've been tripping over the 9" for a couple of months now, so it got put under the El Camino where it belongs.  



  The biggest job so far has been the front clip and door swap.  This all came about when I was checking out interchangeability for a replacement door and came across some front end swaps other people had done on G bodies.  I've always been fond of the bold body lines on the 78-80 Monte Carlos and also happened to know where a couple of potential donor cars were.  The one I ended up  with besides being rust free and straight also has power windows, door locks, and power 45/55 seats. It will also provide non-computer wiring harness and a few other parts.  The swap wasn't exactly bolt on (but itís also not extremely difficult) the frame horns had to be extended slightly and the body lines at the back of the door will need to be changed a bit to match up.    



  With any luck I should be able to at least get the engine and trans in this weekend and start figuring out motor mounts crossmember etc.


  

  
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 07:25:24 PM by Mike P » Logged
sMiles
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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2009, 08:12:35 AM »


Hi Mike,
            I have read your post here and wanted to say welcome to the board.

Seeing the last pic you put up,  the tail shaft could be exchanged for a shorty type and allow you to set the engine further toward the firewall,  improving the weight distribution.

I was able to move mine 10" closer to the firewall and still have space for the lines for the heater connections, etc.

Watcha gonna do with tha early Hemi ?
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Mike P
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Posts: 87


« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2009, 07:32:48 PM »

  I've got one short tailshaft TH400 parts tranny laying around I could swipe the parts out of but will probably not. This setup will require a custom drive shaft anyway so the cost will be the same if it's a short or long one.

  The old Hemi will eventually be going into a 37 Dodge pickup I've got stashed away.
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cadzilla500
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« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2009, 06:11:50 AM »

That looks cool with the Monte front end  Grin
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517" '79 Malibu, Th400, 12-bolt
7.75 @ 89 mph 1/8th mile (horrible fuel problems)
~JM~
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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2009, 11:10:12 PM »

Uhhhmmmm.... Hemi! Cool Me Likey! Grin
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PS. You don't have enough cam. Grin

...Summit has a kit for $99.... Shocked
Mike P
C2
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Posts: 87


« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2009, 03:29:53 AM »

  Guess I've just got a thing for big engines and putting them in things the factory never intened them to be in. Grin
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Mike P
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Posts: 87


« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2009, 04:43:05 PM »

Itís finally time to actually get the 500 in the engine bay.  The way Iím doing it is not the only way to get it stuffed in there, there may be easier ways or shortcuts that will work better for someone else, but this is the way I did mine. I hope this is not overly detailed, but I wanted to cover as much as I could for those who have never done an engine swap before.  

 In my case I wanted to do it with the front clip and inner fenders on the car to make sure that there would be no surprise interference problems.  Now that I have seen that there wonít be I know that I could have left the front clip off and it would be a bit easier to do the swap.

  Iím using the basic engine swap kit from MTS as the basis for my motor mounts.  While it may seem a bit expensive for a few pieces of metal and a couple of motor mounts when you figure the time involved in finding the bits and pieces, cutting bending and drilling them it really is a s worth the money to me to have it as a starting point.  While I will be welding mine in, from the looks of it you could also make them a bolt on affair with some extra work (in the event you donít have access to a welder. (Picture shows brackets for 1 side).



  I did notice a couple of things about the kit that I felt I did need to modify.  The first is the size of the hole for the motor mount stud.  The stud is swedged into the mount and the raised portion does not allow the plate to sit flush on the mount.  I cured this by relieving the hole a bit with a die grinder.  The other thing I noted while installing the engine is that the motor mounts are splayed.  In the event that the engine ever has to be removed/reinstalled from the car it would be physically impossible to do by just removing the motor mounts stud nut.  You would actually need to unbolt at least one if not both of the motor mounts from the engine in order to get it out.  Although I havenít done it at this point I will be turning the holes into slots to allow the engine to be removed and re-installed with the mounts attached.




  Iím doing this swap with a chain hoist and engine leveler because I have them and it does make it a lot easier.  While it most assuredly can be done with an engine hoist, I just feel a lot more comfortable doing it this way and I donít have to worry about the engine hoist leaking down over time while I make adjustments.  As I put the engine and trans in as a unit the engine leveler makes the job a lot easier as the unit has to go in at a pretty steep angle (especially if youíre using a long tail shaft version like I am).





   If you are using the leveler, make sure you attach it to the next to the last intake manifold bolts instead of  the most rear bolts, otherwise the rear chains hit the firewall before you can get the engine back far enough.

                                                            



  Prior to actually setting the engine in there are probably a few things you will want to do in the engine compartment besides just removing the old engine mounts.  One is remove the transmission linkage from the steering column.  It interferes with the head on the driverís side and wonít allow the engine to go back as far as it could.




You may also want to either remove or at least wire out of the way the original fuel line that comes thru the frame (and is on the passenger (wrong) side anyway).  It makes it difficult to get the new motor mounts brackets slid into place while setting things up.




When I go this El Camino the AC has already been removed and a delete plate installed.  Personally I like the way it cleans up the engine compartment so Iím going to be installing an aftermarket behind the dash AC/Heat unit.  If you are retaining the original AC unit I understand that there will be an interference problem with the AC box and pass side valve cover.  This probably leaves you with a couple of options when setting in the engine.

 One way would be to completely remove the box and accumulator from the fire wall while your setting the engine in (which would give you a better view of your clearances in the right rear corner of the engine compartment).

  It MIGHT also be possible just to remove the passenger side valve cover and gain enough clearance that way to get the engine in and mounts built and then trim the box as needed on the final install.

  Finally you could trim a little bit off the box as you go until the engine sits where you want and the go back later and fiberglass in the hole.


                                              


As far as getting the engine ready to install, about the only thing I did was to remove the water outlet nipple in the back of the driverís side head and pull the AC compressor, carburetor and distributor to make room for the engine leveler chains.  I also pulled the oil filter so it wouldnít interfere with the sway bar during the install.  I left the exhaust manifolds, fuel pump attached.  

As I did not know how the motor mounts would fit best (with the stud up or down) I left these off until the engine was close to the final position and found they fit best with the stud up high, and then bolted the plate that came with the MTS to the  motor mounts.  Knowing that now if I were to do one in the future I would bolt the mounts and plates to the engine prior to setting it in the engine compartment.




There were a couple of things I did to help make positioning the engine a bit easier.  One was to set a short section of 1Ē (actual dimension was 3/4 ď thick) board on the crossmember.  This gave me the height I wanted the engine to sit at and helped stabilize the engine while I was locating it.  Once it is removed after the mounts are built there is good clearance between the pan and crossmember.  While I would prefer the oil pan to sit up at least level or a little above the crossmember, the El Camino will sit at a little higher than stock ride height so this should be OK.






                                                  


I also positioned a small screw type jack stand (normally used for leveling mobile homes) under the rear of the transmission.  This allowed raising and lowering the rear of the transmission and is a bit more precise and less in the way than a floor jack.

 

  With the engine set at the height I wanted it the next step was to move it back as far in the engine bay as possible.  The distance you can move it back is determined by how much room you have between the back of the drivers side head and the fire wall.  You want to remember that with the stock rubber motor mounts the engine is going to rock somewhat so you need to make sure the there is sufficient  room not to rub on anything.  This picture shows the amount of clearance I left for myself.

  

The Cadillac engine is pretty wide especially at the exhaust manifolds and in order to get sufficient clearance on the steering column I offset it to the right about an 1 1/2Ē .  

 
 With the clearances set the next thing was doing the final tweaking and leveling to make sure the engine sits square in the engine compartment.  For leveling the engine a lot of guys use a bubble level, which works well as long as the car is sitting on a level floor, has the same size front tires and the springs donít sag more on one side than the other.  As my garage floor is slightly slanted I prefer to lay a straight piece of metal across the engine and make measurements from the top of the frame rail to make sure the engine sits level from side to side.  





To make sure the crankshaft centerline sits straight I also measure from a fixed point on the frame to points on the left and right side of the engine, in this case I ran a piece of straight threaded stock thru 2 existing holes in the core support (I had already measured the core support to ensure it sat square in the frame).



I then took measurements from the 2 lower water pump bolt bosses which should be square to the block.




Clearances were close on both exhaust manifold outlets and Iíll probably have to relieve the frame slightly for clearance, which was not unexpected after seeing some other peoples builds.





Clearance on the steering shaft is close but adequate.

 


After I was satisfied that everything was square and had the best clearances I could get, I vicegripped the 2 bracket halves together.




And the tacked the brackets together and to the frame.  The welds are a little ugly right now as I used my stick welder as Iím more comfortable that Iíll get good penetration.  Once the engine is back out Iíll final weld the brackets, add gussets, grind welds etc.  for now it good enough to hold the engine in position.



The last interference problem I ran into was the oil filter, as with other people who have done this swap, I found I cannot get a filter on the oil pump due to sway bar interference.  Some of the swaps Iíve seen space the sway bar down to cure this.  As I will need a new oil pump for this build anyway, Iím going to order one from a later 425/368 that is supposed to tuck the filter closer to the block and see if that will work.  Iíll keep you posted on that one.



  
And here it sits for now, I want to run a 1Ē spacer under the carb and a dropped base air cleaner on the stock manifold.  With the Monte Carlo hood having some extra clearance I just might make it.  I donít think if I was running stock front sheetmetal it would work without a hood scoop or loosing the spacer though.  



The next major project is going to be the crossmember and exhaust, but thatís for another weekend.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2010, 04:24:45 AM by Mike P » Logged
yellowroket
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2009, 10:45:31 PM »

Awesome Mike,

  Thank you for the detailed pictures, im getting ready to do my swap here into my 442 very soon and the pics are perfect for seeing what im getting into. I was going to just use some 3/8" flat plate and run straight out off the crossmember an set the mounts on that (thought the mts mount kit was an un needed expense) but looking at your pics it seems that is the way to go. Looks like it will be alot easier to level engine side to side without having to shim the plates and or mounts and can actually set the motor lower as well with the kit from MTS.  Do you think it can be safely bolted with grade 8 hardware, the 442 i bought might be worth something one day and i would like to try and keep it to where I can atleast put it back stock someday. With that much torque probably needs to be welded though.
  You said you were going to run an aftermarket heater/AC setup, where are you going to pull coolant from? Is there still enough room between the head and firewall to put the nipple and hose on?
 
  Thanks again for the pics and details by far the most informant posts for the g-body swap I have seen on the web, looks great!!
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