High Performance Big Block Cadillacs
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Author Topic: Researching 500 into C4 Corvette swap; request info and pics  (Read 16477 times)
CadVetteStang
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« on: September 03, 2009, 10:58:15 AM »

I’m collecting research for a planned 500 into C4 Corvette swap. I’d like any information you have on previously done swaps including pictures.

I’ve been finding deals on C4 Vette project cars from $900 - $3500. The cost of getting a C4 is going to be less than replacing my 72 Fastback Mustang with a car of the same condition. I was going to put C4 Vette suspension under the front of the Mustang anyway, so as it turns out, building the Vette is going to be much cheaper and a little easier.

The Chevy guys in the Vette forums are advising me to stay away from 1990 up cars due to their electronics. I think I want to avoid the 84 because of the crossfire injection. I prefer using a modified TPI injection setup. I want to plumb an aftermarket Caddy intake for the injectors, install a fuel rail, build a converter box to mount where the carb would be so I can install an aftermarket 780 CFM or 1,000CFM throttle body and install a chip so that the Vette’s computer will run it as if the 500 was a factory option. (see uploaded picture for TPI adaptor box)

I know I will have issues with the tranny and the rear end. My goal for that is a race hardened Dana 44 with 3.07 gears and a race prepped Grand National TH200 – 4R. However, for this thread, the focus of my research is the physical swap of the engine and the setup and tuning of the fuel injection.

I have heard from the Chevy guys that a Big Block Chevy swap requires the frame to be notched and the rack to be moved forward 2.5”. I’m thinking with the Caddy distributor in the back, the engine can be set back a little and may reduce or eliminate the relocation of the rack. I’d like as many pictures as possible of swaps that have been done. I have also been told that I will need at least a 6 point cage in the car.

My budget (heavily affected by medical bills) will limit what I can do with the Caddy motor. My goal is to match the strength of the engine with the strongest possible modified Dana 44 rear end. However, that may limit me to a stock 500 at 10:1 with a cam, intake and headers. That would make my budget happy and it would still run circles around a ZR1, and blow the doors of the C5 and C6 Zo6s.

I’m not in a hurry; I am just planning right now. I want to know what to get and how to do it. I want to bargain shop at the swap meets and salvage yards and build this thing for such a cheap price that no one believes it. Paint and bodywork will be a low priority until the car is 500 powered and very fast. If I am lucky enough to find a running car, I’ll drive it while I prepare the Caddy engine, suspension and collect parts. I won’t actually begin the swap until I have everything I need; I’m not going to loose another project car to the crusher. And I am determined to show up an SCCA autocross event with the fastest car.

If you know any Caddy parts vendors who might have Corvette customers, please let them know I’m researching this swap; maybe their customers will join the forum and share their photo documentation and research data.

Thanks,
Cody G. Carson


* adaptor CUSTOM for TPI to Caddy 500 in Vette.jpg (66.82 KB, 640x480 - viewed 4175 times.)
« Last Edit: September 03, 2009, 11:04:47 AM by CadVetteStang » Logged

“Battlecar Cadillactica” 70 Eldo that raced SCCA autocross in 1985 & 1986

“The Cadinator” 82 Eldo w/ TBI injected 472 and autocross handling pkg.

“CadVetteStang” 72 Fastback Mustang w/ Caddy 500; awaiting a cage & C4 Vette front suspension when the guy storing it- sold it w/o permission
CadVetteStang
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2009, 10:23:25 AM »

asside from making some Chevy guys mad,  Grin  one of the guys in a Vette forum forwarded this link. Sine the Caddy 500 is pretty much the same overall size as the 454, this is very good information:
http://vettextc.jiminees.com/jeff/C4_BBC/
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“Battlecar Cadillactica” 70 Eldo that raced SCCA autocross in 1985 & 1986

“The Cadinator” 82 Eldo w/ TBI injected 472 and autocross handling pkg.

“CadVetteStang” 72 Fastback Mustang w/ Caddy 500; awaiting a cage & C4 Vette front suspension when the guy storing it- sold it w/o permission
~JM~
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2009, 01:22:04 PM »

The only Cadillac/Vette swap type post I can ever recall....  Huh?

Brought up the issue of the Vettes extremely low hood line & the Cadillacs HEI not even being close to workable. I seem to recall that post being made on one of the previous MTS boards, many years ago when it was the only Cadillac 500 forum on the I'net. I think that project made it as far as the mock-up stage & then was scrapped in favor of a more suitable engine for that model of car.

Personally, I don't see the Cadillac engine & a Vette as a complimentary pairing. I picture a Vette as more of a light weight, high winding, manual tranny, sports car & the Cadillac engine as the complete opposite. More of a moderate RPM, auto tranny, stump pulling, work horse.

I have been of the opinion that the 3rd generation Vettes are probably the best value on the market for the last several years, for an investment grade performance car/muscle car. Compared to all the other popular cars such as the early Camaro's, Chevelles, Chevy II's, 1964 to '73 Mustangs, etc. If you take $10 to $20K and apply it across the board on those cars I just mentioned (Plus the many others that I didn't list) and then compare it to what is available in the 3rd. generation Vettes in that price range. I think the Vette offers a far cleaner example of that car than any of the others.

Now the 4th. Generation Vette offers THE best value on a performance car per dollar spent, period, at this time. Four wheel independent suspension, disc brakes, lightweight aluminum suspension pieces, wind tunnel piercing design, an engine bay that will house just about any engine Chevrolet has ever produced. Plus what does it weigh? A bit over 3K lbs? I don’t know the actual weight, but I’d be surprised if it was much more than a couple hundred lbs. over 3K. All this plus a fairly comfortable cockpit for the average sized person, heater & A/C, stereo, etc.

Anyone looked at the pricing on these cars lately? I’d be willing to bet that $5K would put you in a Cherry.

Find yourself a clean one & then start cruising the salvage yards for an LS or LQ engine. Later on you could pick up one of those very affordable Borg Warner replacement turbo-chargers intended for the Dodge/Cummins. Plus an eBay intercooler & have yourself one hell of a machine for a very reasonable price.

Don’t you just love car shopping for other people!  Wink  Grin
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PS. You don't have enough cam. Grin

...Summit has a kit for $99.... Shocked
~JM~
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2009, 01:34:33 PM »


  .... (see uploaded picture for TPI adaptor box) ...

  ...I’m thinking with the Caddy distributor in the back....   

Cody,

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be seeing in the picture you posted. Plus... You do remember that the Cadillac distributor is up front, right?  After you read the other post I just left. You may wish that it actually was in the back.

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

...Summit has a kit for $99.... Shocked
ST Dog
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2009, 10:55:44 AM »

Sine the Caddy 500 is pretty much the same overall size as the 454, this is very good information:

I seam to remember the Cadillac is wider than the Chevy.
There was a page online somewhere that listed the dimensions of most V8s, but I don't remember where now.
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~JM~
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2009, 01:26:56 PM »

I seem to remember the Cadillac is wider than the Chevy.
There was a page online somewhere that listed the dimensions of most V8s, but I don't remember where now. 

You mean this one?  http://caddy500.com/index.php?topic=17.0

I think it was the very first post in the 4X4 section. Where would you guys be without my categorical memory skills? Cheesy Wink

ST Dog brings up a very important point that is not mentioned very often or is not very well known. Although the printed dimensions would lead you to believe that the Cadillac engine is smaller than most other big blocks. Unfortunately it is much broader at the worst possible location, through the mid-section. This is the area that has the most potential to cause you fitment problems, due to the engines width, the motor mounts, the exhaust outlets, the vehicles frame rails, the steering gear, etc. All come together at this spot.

Fortunately the Cadillac motor mounts are positioned far forward of most other engines & this helps immensely. If you have had the opportunity to see many Cadillac engine swaps into smaller, more modern cars. You will often see that the engine looks like it sits fairly high in the engine bay. I believe this is due to the fact that not only is it a fairly tall engine, but the overall width prevents it from sitting down in there any lower.

Does anyone have a bare block sitting on a stand, where it would be easy for them to take several accurate measurements across the width of the engine at the oil pan, the motor mounts & several other locations leading up to the deck or head mounting surface? We could then add that info to the post with the chart listed above. I think that would be very beneficial information to have available for anyone contemplating a swap.

When I was planning my Cadillac CJ-7 swap. The only pieces of information that I had to go on, was that chart & a couple of others like it. Plus the fact that I had personally seen a CJ-7 with a 454 Chevy in it.  I also knew of another Jeep with a 455 Buick in it. I figured if the 454 fit then the Caddy would also, and it did, but my engine sits much higher & fills the engine bay much more than I remember the 454 in the other Jeep did.  Grin
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PS. You don't have enough cam. Grin

...Summit has a kit for $99.... Shocked
ST Dog
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« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2009, 01:36:37 PM »

I'd check with 53Studillac.

He did 3D models of damned near the whole car to figure out placement and such.
I know he has a good engine model since he was doing a serpentine belt system, and had a new front from section made.
One  of the front end changes was to make it wider between the towers so the engine could sit lower.
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CadVetteStang
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"BattleCar Cadillactica" at home in the pylons


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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2009, 06:47:40 AM »

If the C4’s hoodline does not clear the distributor, my plan is to hide it under an aftermarket ram air hood I can get slightly damaged ones from swap meets for cheap. If I can use the forward mounted engines mounts of the Caddy to my advantage and slide the engine back 1.5 inches, then I will clear the frame, not have to move the rack forward, won’t be between the shock mounts at all, and will have nothing under the motor except pavement. I could then sit it as low as the oil pan would allow. Might be able to use a RWD mid sump pan. This is an example of how small of a sports car package a big Cad can fit into:





The width of the Caddy engine is rearward of the shocks in the C4 Vette. The brake power booster is set far off to the left. The A/C box will be in the way, but can be modified.

If I choose to use the stock hoodline, and don’t have room for an aftermarket aluminum intake, then I could plumb the fuel rail into a 368 aluminum intake, ot even use a 76 500 fuel injected intake (wasn’t there a 425 aluminum intake that has a fuel rails too?) Anyway, that shouldn’t be a problem, because a Big Block Chevy fits with a low rise intake and Accel fuel injection. So, my idea of a an aftermarket intake, plumbed with a rail and a 90 degree throttle body adaptor bolted in place of the carb should work.

A handful of the guys at the Corvette forums are starting to like the swap idea and are giving me more help than I thought they would. They also see the light weight properties of the Caddy 500 and the low torque peak being a good match with the C4 and newer tendency to run over drive trannys with 2.59, 3.07 and other highway gear ratios. If I ever get the cash to upgrade to aluminum Caddy heads, it would be lighter than the 350 anyway. For autocross, the stump puller is a good match to get the car pulling hard out of corners taken around pylons. Geared and cammed right, the 500 will hit peak torque long before a turbo 350 spools up. I’d love to take on a twin turbo 650 HP Banks car with 450 HP Caddy power in the autocross. Talk about making people mad! Yeah, sure the horsepower of those Vettes is awesome from 50 MPH and up, but the only time you see above 50 in the autocross is in the slalom. Other than that, as far as the engine is concerned, its all about low end torque and instant throttle response.

The engine will fit; that’s not the issue. How best to make it fit and what all has to be done to get it to fit is the area of my research. It won’t take much for the Caddy to max out the Dana 44’s power limit, so the right rebuild would be a mild “just over stock” low end torque build requiring few mods; that would also make the computer easier to program. I also found out that the software is available for the stock Vette computer giving you ability to tune it on a laptop.

I remember reading in a CAD company catalog over 25 years ago when it was called Cadillac Motorsport Development, that they had a “low rise” distributor designed to clear Vette hoods (this was back before the C4s came out). I always suspected that this low rise distributor was an 1980/1981 368 distributor, because my 82 Eldorado’s 368 distributor looked low. Any thoughts on that?  
« Last Edit: September 09, 2009, 04:01:33 AM by CadVetteStang » Logged

“Battlecar Cadillactica” 70 Eldo that raced SCCA autocross in 1985 & 1986

“The Cadinator” 82 Eldo w/ TBI injected 472 and autocross handling pkg.

“CadVetteStang” 72 Fastback Mustang w/ Caddy 500; awaiting a cage & C4 Vette front suspension when the guy storing it- sold it w/o permission
CadVetteStang
Eldorado Autocross Racer
C2
**
Posts: 52


"BattleCar Cadillactica" at home in the pylons


WWW
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2009, 07:00:15 AM »

Cool! this just in from a Vette forum:

"Some info.In stock form the dist location of the SBC is the limiting factor as far as moving engine to further to the rear.As this is not a problem with the Caddy , the trans could be moved approx 2" to the rear before bellhousing hits tunnel.This would be dependent on you getting to the bolts from underneath. At the closest point (pass side head ) there is 2" clearance from rear face of head to firewall.Pics tomorrow.."

That means I don't have to relocate the steering rack or notch the frame!
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“Battlecar Cadillactica” 70 Eldo that raced SCCA autocross in 1985 & 1986

“The Cadinator” 82 Eldo w/ TBI injected 472 and autocross handling pkg.

“CadVetteStang” 72 Fastback Mustang w/ Caddy 500; awaiting a cage & C4 Vette front suspension when the guy storing it- sold it w/o permission
fuzz
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« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2009, 07:20:19 AM »

This is a very interesting project you have planned. Sounds like it's going to be easier than I would have thought. Hope you'll post some pictures when you get started. Looking forward to it.
Fuzz
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Live your life so the preacher doesn't have to lie at your funeral!!
CadVetteStang
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Posts: 52


"BattleCar Cadillactica" at home in the pylons


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« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2009, 07:29:23 AM »

Thanks! It will be a while before I start; I want to know as much as possible before I get started and have all of the parts collected and as many custome things built before hand as possible.

How much farther forward are teh Caddy engine mounts than the Chevy mounts? If I slide the Caddy motor back 2 inches to clear the frame and steering rack, how close will the Caddy engine mount locations come to lining up with the Chevy mounts? It would be cool if a small bolt on engine mount bracket was all that was needed.
 
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“Battlecar Cadillactica” 70 Eldo that raced SCCA autocross in 1985 & 1986

“The Cadinator” 82 Eldo w/ TBI injected 472 and autocross handling pkg.

“CadVetteStang” 72 Fastback Mustang w/ Caddy 500; awaiting a cage & C4 Vette front suspension when the guy storing it- sold it w/o permission
~JM~
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Posts: 1853


« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2009, 12:03:28 PM »

I can't offer much more information than I already have. I wouldn't discount that Dana 44 third member as much as you are. They are much stronger than you might think. I recall reading long ago that they were not that far below the Ford 9". Of course you could always make up a rear U-joint in the drive-shaft, that would shear before damage is done to the rear axle. Somewhat like a fusible link. Some serious thought should be exercised on how good of an idea this would be for a street car though.

Have a look at the 4X4 section on this forum. I believe you will find several links to various axle sites on the I'net with plenty of info on what is available & how to make it survive.

This could actually be a very cool project after-all. I'd like to see you make it happen.
Logged

PS. You don't have enough cam. Grin

...Summit has a kit for $99.... Shocked
CadVetteStang
Eldorado Autocross Racer
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**
Posts: 52


"BattleCar Cadillactica" at home in the pylons


WWW
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2009, 04:08:53 AM »

This could actually be a very cool project after-all. I'd like to see you make it happen.

Thank you.

This just in from the Chevy guys: "As you don't have a rear dist that is no longer a problem as regards firewall clearance.The trans could go back maybe 2" before the top corners of the bellhousing hit the tunnel.Some creative fibreglassing could net you more
There is 4" of clearance from drv head SBC to firewall  but the wiper motor is in that space
Your Caddy has the drv side furtherest back to head to booster would be  the limiting factor."

Logged

“Battlecar Cadillactica” 70 Eldo that raced SCCA autocross in 1985 & 1986

“The Cadinator” 82 Eldo w/ TBI injected 472 and autocross handling pkg.

“CadVetteStang” 72 Fastback Mustang w/ Caddy 500; awaiting a cage & C4 Vette front suspension when the guy storing it- sold it w/o permission
~JM~
Shop Keeper
C5
*****
Posts: 1853


« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2009, 10:22:41 AM »

Cody,

Maybe it's just me, but an explanation of what your picture is showing would be helpful.

Thanks
~JM~
Logged

PS. You don't have enough cam. Grin

...Summit has a kit for $99.... Shocked
CadVetteStang
Eldorado Autocross Racer
C2
**
Posts: 52


"BattleCar Cadillactica" at home in the pylons


WWW
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2009, 10:40:51 AM »

Cody,

Maybe it's just me, but an explanation of what your picture is showing would be helpful.

Thanks
~JM~

In the previous reply, (if you are talking about those pictures, I was posting a picture of transmission bolt –to- firewall clearances of both sides as provided by one of the Vette owners who was saying I could go back at least two inches with the engine/tranny assembly.

If you were referring to my initial post, I showed this picture:


I was attempting to show a custom adaptor that was constructed to bolt onto a carb intake in order to mount the TPI throttle body. Here is a closer shot:




Logged

“Battlecar Cadillactica” 70 Eldo that raced SCCA autocross in 1985 & 1986

“The Cadinator” 82 Eldo w/ TBI injected 472 and autocross handling pkg.

“CadVetteStang” 72 Fastback Mustang w/ Caddy 500; awaiting a cage & C4 Vette front suspension when the guy storing it- sold it w/o permission
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