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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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Engine swap

Hi, I am considering installing a small block chevy motor in my 66 LeMans. Has anyone done this? Its a four speed car, any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 09:17 PM
 
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I did this swap in my 66 GTO so you should be pretty much the same. I'm sure I won't remember everything but one big thing that will always help is when looking for a part go with 1966 Chevelle. Basically the same frame and such. 1) Buy a set of small block chevy motor mounts. 2) The starter will be on the passenger side, if you are stock setup you will probably need to mount the battery on the passenger side like a Chevelle. you can order that battery tray and drill one hole in the inner fender and it fits exact, 3) fuel line will be coming down the wrong side of the car, several ways to overcome this you can decide which is best for you. 4) Trans mount and driveshaft from pontiac setup all worked but you will need a chevy bellhousing and fork. Hope this helps, I can say this worked for me for many personal and future plan reasons but will tell you it's not just bolt-in. Don't rule out finding a Pontiac engine and paying a little more up front. It may save you time and money in the long run. It can be done, isn't too terribly tough, but certainly isn't bolt-in. Good luck with however you go bottom line is you gotta have a motor to enjoy it!
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-15-2019, 07:26 AM
 
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"...Don't rule out finding a Pontiac engine and paying a little more up front..."

^^^^^^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

There are still a few of us old timers who think the old Pontiacs, especially the A-bodies should have Pontiac power, or sell the car to someone else & buy a Chevy.

I can't see any reason to own a Pontiac A-body & put a Chevy engine in it. I understand that a cheap Chevy engine is cheaper than a Pontiac engine. But, if your budget is so low that you can't afford even a low budget Pontiac engine, then maybe that Pontiac is not the right car for you.

This is not a personal attack on you, or anyone in particular. It's just a generalization, and is my personal opinion, and probably the opinion of thousands of other long time Pontiac lovers.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-15-2019, 11:32 AM
 
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Both here and in the PY forum yiu see folks almost giving away complete and frequently running Pontiac 350 engines. This may be the easiest way to go and least expensive. Check the ads on this forum:
https://www.gtoforum.com/f49/

And also on the PY Pontiac forum:
BUY, SELL, TRADE Classic PONTIAC "PARTS" - PY Online Forums

Of course there is always the E-bay ads in which to find engines.

(I will be stoned by other members for this, but the PY Pontiac forum has a section if you continue in your SBC longings, here is the site:
Non Pontiac Motors in Pontiacs - PY Online Forums

Anyway good luck with your '66 LeMans!
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 08:38 PM
 
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If you had the time, know how and tools, you could swap in about any engine you wanted. However opening the hood of the LeMans only to see a small block really cheapens the car IMO and makes you start to wonder what other corners were cut on the car in order to get it running. Reason I say cheapens is because Chevy parts are slightly cheaper than Pontiac parts and Chevy's have always been considered GM's "entry level" car or a car for those that are "budget challenged" so if you see the "cheap" engine option in a Pontiac you start to wonder what other "cheap" parts the owner decided to use or whether the owner skipped other maintenance items. 30 years ago when there were limited cylinder head options you could potentially make an argument why to switch engines but that is not really the case any more. With the aftermarket engine parts, including complete Pontiac engine blocks, intakes, fuel delivery, etc. etc. that are readily available today, you can make almost any engine perform the way you want it to. Don't believe me - go to your local dragstrip and look at what all the folks are running under their hoods nowadays and you'd be quite amazed. Stick with the Pontiac engine and not only will your resale value be better but if you use a good Pontiac engine builder (there are several good ones in this country) you should be able to get both the performance and temperament of the engine that you seek.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 01:55 AM
 
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If you had the time, know how and tools, you could swap in about any engine you wanted. However opening the hood of the LeMans only to see a small block really cheapens the car IMO and makes you start to wonder what other corners were cut on the car in order to get it running. Reason I say cheapens is because Chevy parts are slightly cheaper than Pontiac parts and Chevy's have always been considered GM's "entry level" car or a car for those that are "budget challenged" so if you see the "cheap" engine option in a Pontiac you start to wonder what other "cheap" parts the owner decided to use or whether the owner skipped other maintenance items. 30 years ago when there were limited cylinder head options you could potentially make an argument why to switch engines but that is not really the case any more. With the aftermarket engine parts, including complete Pontiac engine blocks, intakes, fuel delivery, etc. etc. that are readily available today, you can make almost any engine perform the way you want it to. Don't believe me - go to your local dragstrip and look at what all the folks are running under their hoods nowadays and you'd be quite amazed. Stick with the Pontiac engine and not only will your resale value be better but if you use a good Pontiac engine builder (there are several good ones in this country) you should be able to get both the performance and temperament of the engine that you seek.
You will find few here on this site or PZy that will want you to make that swap. It's very easy and will save you money in long run. Pontiac motor are becoming hard to find and you can get a crate 350 for 1/2 the price. I am a long time old Pontiac owner but I would rather see a Pontiac on road with a chevy motor than sitting in a back yard rusting away . Best luck and hope you change your mind but I do understand why you would do it Doug
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 02:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 67goat View Post
If you had the time, know how and tools, you could swap in about any engine you wanted. However opening the hood of the LeMans only to see a small block really cheapens the car IMO and makes you start to wonder what other corners were cut on the car in order to get it running. Reason I say cheapens is because Chevy parts are slightly cheaper than Pontiac parts and Chevy's have always been considered GM's "entry level" car or a car for those that are "budget challenged" so if you see the "cheap" engine option in a Pontiac you start to wonder what other "cheap" parts the owner decided to use or whether the owner skipped other maintenance items. 30 years ago when there were limited cylinder head options you could potentially make an argument why to switch engines but that is not really the case any more. With the aftermarket engine parts, including complete Pontiac engine blocks, intakes, fuel delivery, etc. etc. that are readily available today, you can make almost any engine perform the way you want it to. Don't believe me - go to your local dragstrip and look at what all the folks are running under their hoods nowadays and you'd be quite amazed. Stick with the Pontiac engine and not only will your resale value be better but if you use a good Pontiac engine builder (there are several good ones in this country) you should be able to get both the performance and temperament of the engine that you seek.
You will find few here on this site or PZy that will want you to make that swap. It's very easy and will save you money in long run. Pontiac motor are becoming hard to find and you can get a crate 350 for 1/2 the price, maybe less. You can get a 350 r that has close to 350 hp for 3500 from gm fully Warranteed . you will spend close to double that on a Pontiac I am a long time old Pontiac owner but I would rather see a Pontiac on road with a chevy motor than sitting in a back yard rusting away . Best luck and hope you change your mind but I do understand why you would do it Doug
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 06:08 AM
 
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"...I would rather see a Pontiac on road with a chevy motor than sitting in a back yard rusting away.."


If a guy is gonna put a Chevy motor in an old Pontiac A-body, I'd rather see him sell that Pontiac to someone who would use a Pontiac motor. Then the Chevy motor guy could take the money from the sale of the Pontiac and buy himself a Chevy vehicle and a Chevy engine for it.

Thru the years, and I've seen quite a few now, I've always been very disgusted to see a decent lookin Pontiac, only to look under the hood & see a Chevy engine. There is a real nice lookin 1st gen Bird that I've seen at several area car shows. But, as soon as I realized it had a Chevy engine, I was no longer interested in lookin at the car.

Back when I raced a lot, several times guys would see our Pontiacs and would come over & want me to come look at their Pontiac. I'd go over to check it out, only to find a Chevy motor in it. I'd just walk off shaking my head. Was not interested in the car or how quick it was, after seeing the Chevy motor, Just a complete turn off, for me.

My wife was taking pics of Pontiacs at a show a couple of years back. She saw this nice lookin red '67 Bird, so started takin pics of it. Then we saw the sbc engine in it. Several of us Pontiac guys tried to talk the owners into changing over to Pontiac power. They seemed agreeable. But, last time I saw it, the sbc engine was still in it. Some guys think sbc, BBC, & LS engines are just fine in old Pontiacs. I'm not one of those guys.
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Last edited by bigD; 04-19-2019 at 06:22 AM.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 09:15 AM
 
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You will find few here on this site or PZy that will want you to make that swap. It's very easy and will save you money in long run. Pontiac motor are becoming hard to find and you can get a crate 350 for 1/2 the price. I am a long time old Pontiac owner but I would rather see a Pontiac on road with a chevy motor than sitting in a back yard rusting away . Best luck and hope you change your mind but I do understand why you would do it Doug
Here is a sample of the "hard to find" Pontiac crate engines (not endorsing any, just posting sample list of options)...plenty more on ebay as well, just take your pick - the ones below are performance engines but you can build for much cheaper if you really want only 350 HP that the Chevy crate engine makes. If you have a "hard" time finding, you must be too lazy to browse the internet. You also forget the cost and time difference of the changes needed to switch engines - that is no surprise considering you were too lazy to browse the internet, so probably too lazy to think the whole project through. That is why when I see a Pontiac with a Chevy engine I walk away because very likely the owner was too lazy to browse for the best options and too lazy to really think it through.

https://www.dcimotorsports.com/servi...-crate-engine/

Pontiac Performance Crate Engines

https://www.tinindianperformance.com/

https://butlerperformance.com/i-2448...tegory:1267471

SD Performance- Pontiac Performance Specialists
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 10:44 AM
 
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The only reasonably priced good quality Pontiac crate engines I know of are built by Len Williams. And they're about $5000 & up, shipped.

400 Long Block

455 Long Block

The base brand new 350 sbc long block engine can still be bought for less than $2000 shipped, and has a 3 yr/100k mile warranty. So, there is absolutely no doubt that sbc is the cheap way to go.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/CHEVROLET-1...UAAOSwXqZbLRmj

https://www.amazon.com/Genuine-GM-10...gateway&sr=8-1

Now there are cheaper Pontiac long blocks available. But they are sold by the large volume engine rebuilders, and will have the cheapest parts, like cast rebuilder pistons. Pontiac engine cores are also a problem with the big rebuilders. They most likely won't have the block/heads you want. The block they are likely to have will probably be the weak 500557 block. They do have some sort of warranty. But, if you need to use the warranty, you're out shipping both ways, and will get back the same quality engine you got the 1st time. But, I'm sure there are some out there, somewhere, who have actually got good service from one of these cheap Pontiac engines.

A quick search turned up this site. The best deal I see is a 455 for $2290 + $800 core charge + shipping. But, I doubt they even have a good 455 core in stock. They also show some 400 engines, for about the same price. But, those will probably have the horrible "8 eyebrow" cast rebuilder pistons. And it's likely that the only block they have will be a 500557. I could be wrong.

http://remanufactured.com/Pontiac_Engines.htm

Here's one that's even cheaper. Description says it has a 7 yr/100k mile warranty & that performance options are avilable. Comes with #98 heads, which are low compression 2-barrel heads, with press-in studs. But, they show that 6X heads are available on 400 engines they sell. So, if you could get them to substitute the 6X heads, then that 455 MIGHT be a decent deal.

http://www.hiperformer.com/engines/p...pon_455lb.html

Here's one that's advertised as a Ram Air 3 engine. Nothing about it is RA3, except maybe the cast rods. probably has a 500557 block too.

http://www.rebuiltcrateengines.com/p...v8-p-2155.html

Here's another cheap 400 listing. But, you'd likely not get the #96 heads, since a good ready-to-run set could easily cost $800-$1000.

http://www.rebuiltautoengines.com/po...lb-engine.html

Last edited by bigD; 04-19-2019 at 11:19 AM.
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