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Old 01-27-2020, 02:51 PM   #1
Truckracer
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1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

I have a 1959 Apache with the 6 cylinder and 3 speed column shift.

The 6 is tired, very tired.
I have a vortec 350 with one piece rear main seal to swap into the truck.
I have also attained a v8 bell-housing for the 59.

What flywheel / clutch combo or parts will make this a bolt together operation?
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:28 PM   #2
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

It will all depend on the starter ring gear size to source the flywheel. 11" are the smaller car flywheels and 12" came in trucks. Once you know that you can source one from an 86 up chevy application easily. Most older stick cars and trucks had 10 spline inputs. Around the 80s things get a little wierd with a 20 something spline on some cars and v6s tend to have this. If your trans is 10 spline I would get all truck parts. Early 80s trucks still had 3spd manuals. I don't think that you will have any issues with these 12 inch clutches. I use them behind built 400sbc without slipping. I don't know about a 59 but my 60 had a 283 with a small flywheel and standard diaphragm clutch. Hopefully someone else can chime in with a little more info.

Don't forget that a vortec motor doesn't have provisions for the mechanical fuel pump.
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:35 PM   #3
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

you may need to know the number of teeth on the flywheel in order to match up a starter drive with the right tooth count as well.
check the flywheel on the engine and size it up in the bellhousing before spending any more cashola. make sure it's gonna fit first. also check the release fork and ball stud for wear and release bearing wear surface on the trans input to ensure they are servicable and not gonna hang up the bearing.
are you sticking with the 3 on the tree then? is the shifter mechanism in good shape?
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:50 PM   #4
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

Could u explain what "provisions" are lacking on a vortec motor for the mech fp? Thanks
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:49 PM   #5
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

You need a 168 tooth ring gear flywheel for that Vortec engine. That is if you run the starter designed for that bellhousing that bolts to the bellhousing.

Clutch I'd go with the diameter that the flywheel uses (11 I think) and use the correct throw out bearing to get it to work. (correct length) Disk has to match the input shaft on the trans.

To use a stater that bolts to the block you may have to trim part of the bellhousing off on the outside corner where the starter bolts to it. Common practice 40 years ago when putting a later engine in a rig with the cast iron V8 bellhousing and using the starter that bolts to the block.
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:53 PM   #6
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

on the vortec engine, the spot on the engine r/h front corner where the fuel pump is normally mounted, is simply cast there with no cavity for a fuel pump plunger, pushrod or bolt holes for the mount. no oil drain back hole etc. they were made to use an electric fuel pump
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Old 01-27-2020, 09:06 PM   #7
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

DS RAVEN Thanks for the info!!!
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Old 01-27-2020, 09:23 PM   #8
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

There was more than one fuel pump configuration. Some had every detail but the hole into cam.
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Old 01-27-2020, 10:04 PM   #9
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

Some important notes:

The original clutch was a three finger clutch. Switching to a diaphragm style clutch with the original bell housing and clutch linkage will cause the "breakover" to occur much closer to the floor. It will never feel correct. The T/O brg was a pain to get when I was installing my clutch. Several listings were wrong. Doing it today I'd probably figure out a GM number and look for NOS or a cross-reference to aftermarket.

The starter used with the Vortec engine is a newer design PM (permanent magnet) starter. They produce more torque from a smaller starter and generally last longer than the old Delco starters. In most cases the newer starter nose fits in the bellhousing without trouble but if you plan on that happening then it won't work.

Original four speed and HD three speed transmissions used 10 spline input shaft. My memory says some light duty three speeds used 14 spline inputs but I may just be remembering the results of scrounging around a few junkyards as a kid.

MAKE SURE you get a flywheel for a one piece rear main seal. The flywheel for the older two piece seal engine does not fit.

Some of the six cylinder transmissions in the TF trucks had a bellcrank in the 2-3 linkage which bolted to the block and bellhousing. It caused the shift arm at the transmission to move "up" when the shifter was moving "down" (see photo). As I remember it the V8 bellhousing has no provision for the bellcrank, and without it 2nd and 3rd gear positions get reversed. Ask me how I know that, and for how long I drove my old truck with the messed up shift pattern. (Crazy kids!)

BTW, you can tell if you have a truck or car bellhousing by looking at the bottom where the engine mounts attach. Truck bells have one threaded bolt hole for each engine mount while car bells have two threaded holes for each mount.

The original Vortec blocks don't have all the machining for a fuel pump. But some of the replacement blocks did. If yours doesn't have it then a simple diaphragm pump will work.
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:20 AM   #10
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

A mini starter will work for sure on the old bellhousing without trimming. I did this on my 72.

I never had an issue with replacing a 3 finger Borg clutch with a diaphragm style. I think you had the wrong throw out bearing. The only time I had an issue like this was using a Borg clutch in a later bellhousing. I mixed the throwouts when swapping engines. It all worked out in the end. There are 3 different hieght throwout bearings.

Yrs there was a 14 spline input but I don't remember the application.

Buy a flywheel with dual patterns and you can run any clutch you like. I like the HD 70s clutch from advance. Cheap, holds, and has a lifetime warranty. Atleast it used to. The last one has been in the truck 3 years and is heavily abused.
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Old 02-09-2020, 01:21 PM   #11
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

Great information guys. I appreciate all of it.
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Old 02-09-2020, 04:58 PM   #12
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

all this, and no pics. c'mon man!
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:10 PM   #13
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

Quote:
Yrs there was a 14 spline input but I don't remember the application.

The other day I remembered that it was the output shaft, not the input shaft, that was different in light duty three-speeds found on the back of a 235. When I built my first '55 as a kid I tried every transmission I could looking for an advantage without spending money I didn't have. LD 3 speed had higher 1st and 2nd gear ratios and fine spline output shaft.
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:36 PM   #14
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

The Permanent magnet starter designed for the Vortec and later engines is a far better starter than those one size fits all things from the aftermarket. I've never heard of anyone having trouble with those but there are hundreds of threads on the net about issues with those little aftermarket "mini" starters.

The right flywheel for the engine shouldn't be an issue new or used as there are tens of thousands of standard shift Vortec powered trucks out there. I've been wanting to sell my flatbed and get a later model 4x4 crew cab to pull my boat and my car trailer with and all the trucks with good prices have a stick in them rather than an automatic and it's no fun to back down a boat ramp with a 25 ft boat with a stick.
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77 C 30 dualie, 454, 4 speed with a 10 foot flatbed and hoist. It does the heavy work and hauls the projects around.
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:28 AM   #15
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr48chev View Post
I've been wanting to sell my flatbed and get a later model 4x4 crew cab to pull my boat and my car trailer with and all the trucks with good prices have a stick in them rather than an automatic and it's no fun to back down a boat ramp with a 25 ft boat with a stick.
Why not? Personally I wont have an auto in anything that I consider a work truck. I daily drive on roads that are worse than 95 percent of the people in the US even know exist. Heck to turn a trailer around in my driveway requires using the bucket on a tractor! The only times I dont like having a stick shift is an improperly set up truck or sitting in stop and go traffic for over an hour.

On a side note. I went to one of those mini starter when I got sick of replacing the factory starters. The factory gear drives are nice but I can spin the motor over faster with less amps by using a mini starter. It's also easier to get around the headers.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:13 AM   #16
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Re: 1959 Flywheel / Clutch / V8 conversion

The 70's and 80' trucks actually came with 2 clutch sizes (not counting big trucks that used the huge truck clutch). Light duty used an 11 inch disk and the heavy duty application used a 12 inch one. Both used the same flywheel but pressure plate to match it has to be used. Cars used a 9 and a 10.5 inch if memory serves me correct. I used to use the big flywheel and the truck 12 inch in car builds but you got tired of pushing down the pedal after awhile. Big diff in pedal pressure in a car.

The 11 inch truck pressure plate had bolt holes same as most pressure plates. The 12 inch had the bolt area cut out to where the disk almost touched the bolts.

Last edited by jmlloar; 02-12-2020 at 11:49 AM.
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