Swapping '72 455 into '69 350 LeMans - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
 
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Swapping '72 455 into '69 350 LeMans

So since my research thread "350 Compression" is done and I went with the 455 I thought I'd start a new thread to cover the swap. It will be over the course of a winter, but most likely longer, as I have two little kids that take a lot of attention.
So I'd like to start with the basic first question. With a 2 car garage and no other means of lifting the car other than putting it on some jack stands, do I pull the tranny with the engine and put the engine and trans back in together or do I separate them? I've never attempted an engine swap and need to know what I'm in for. It's a TH350 on the 350 right now and will be the TH350 on the 455 when I'm done. I plan on new engine mounts and headers...I guess that's another question. Can I get the headers on with the engine and trans in place?
Thanks guys and I can't wait to get this ball rolling!

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post #2 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-03-2016, 11:48 AM
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I've never been successful at re-installing the engine and transmission as a unit. Just my experience, your mileage may vary.

My son and I spent a couple hours trying to do that on my 69, and that was with all of the front-end sheet metal off the car. We gave up and split them, installed the tranny first then the engine --- took a grand total of about 30 minutes for both.

Make sure you support the rear of the engine and the front of the transmission before you split them, once you do there'll be nothing supporting either one at those points otherwise.

Yes, you can install headers with the engine in the car. The trick is to remove the long motor mount bolt on the passenger side first, use a floor jack to lift that side of the engine and tilt it over to get some room, then install that header (from the top). Lower, re-install the bolt, then lather-rinse-repeat for the drivers side. Tip: replace the end bolts with studs. This way if you ever have to R&R the header or even just loosen it to get room to work on something else, you'll have something to "hang" it on during reinstallation which will make getting the rest of the bolts started MUCH easier.

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post #3 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-05-2016, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
 
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Well thanks Bear...not exactly what I was hoping to hear as I do not have a great way to get my car that high off the ground other than floor jacks and stands but I'll make due if it truly is the easiest way.
Thanks for the header tip too! Parts are on their way! woo

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post #4 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-11-2016, 05:17 PM
 
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If you want to remove and install the engine and transmission as one unit this tool is a must. Jack the front of the car up to allow enough room for the transmission to tilt down. As you pull the engine forward and the transmission clears the firewall level it out and raise it enough for the oil pan to clear the radiator support. Take in account that if you raise the car too high you will need additional room to clear a garage door openings.
I just installed the engine and trans in my 67 as one unit using this tool. Easiest engine installation that I've ever done. I was able to sit the engine at a perfect height where the motor mount bolts screwed right in by hand. Then I tilted the trans up a bit and slid the cross member in place Well worth the $50 price.
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post #5 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
 
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Ah yes I've seen some shows use those I just assumed they were out of my price range. $50 isn't too bad for an easier installation and I can just sell it when done I guess. Thanks Frank

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post #6 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 10:50 PM
 
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Using Frank's hoist tool may well solve your dilemma with pulling and installing your engine and tranny as a single unit. Note that Frank did this with his '67 GTO and that worked well. You have a '69 body style as does Bear (who is VERY experienced and a person I rely on for good advice). It may be that the '69 body has different front end dimensions as opposed to the '67 so do take lots of measurements and approach this with caution as well as safety. I was able to swap in a Chev 350 and TH350 as a unit into '65 Studebaker but the jack stands were fully extended front and rear and the cherry picker almost touched the ceiling to angle the engine/trans unit into the car. We took a bunch of measurements beforehand and were glad we did.

Best of luck with your swap! When you get it altogether and all the bugs worked out you will be a happy guy....455's ROCK!
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post #7 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-13-2016, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
 
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Duly noted! I'll be sure to take measurements and chat more when the time comes. As for now I ordered my SMI Quadrajet! 800 CFM Stage 2 electric choke. I have to wait 7-8 weeks to touch it though....living in MN I guess that doesn't really matter because I have about 5 months of downtime ahead of me haha.

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post #8 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-13-2016, 04:27 PM
 
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Even with the best of engine tilters its going to be near impossible to install the engine & turbo350 over the top of a '68-72 Pontiac Abody V8 core support, & then get the transmission tail housing down & keep from dragging the front of the engine on top of the core support. On engine installs, much easier to drop the engine in with a cherry picker/ overhead trolley, etc, then install the transmission from underneath with an affordable floorjack & small square piece of wood. if you have access to a transmission jack adaptor, even easier. After the engine & transmission is in, can attach engine accessories to front of the engine, then carefully work the large fan shroud down behind the radiator being carefull as the lwr shroud & rubber insulators tuck in under the radiator.
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post #9 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-13-2016, 10:52 PM
 
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I raced my '69 GTO between 1973 & 1988. Pulled & installed the engine/trans together probably dozens of times. I used an overhead chain falls type hoist. Used a short piece of chain, from the driver side rear to the pass side front of engine. I set the amount of tilt by inserting a screwdriver in the correct chain link. Also pulled & installed 'em together in 1st & 2nd gen Birds, with the same set-up.

Yeah, strictly "shade tree" type stuff. Hey, I had nobody to teach me. Had to learn by trial and lots of errors. And most of the time, had no help. But hey, I was young & I loved racing. So, I just kept at it 'til I learned enuff to build the cars, win some races, and have LOTS of fun.
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post #10 of 53 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
 
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Well lots of conflicting thoughts here. I do not have access to an overhead hoist nor is my garage set up for such a thing. Looks like I'll just have to buy another set of floor jacks and get the car up enough to get to the trans from below and separate the two because if I can't get it out with the hood off and radiator and stuff out of the way I might as well split them. Will the water pump already being installed on the 455 cause me issues putting it back in? PH mentions putting accessories on after its in...

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