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Old 03-11-2009, 02:19 PM   #1
MrTucker
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installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

I'm not looking to build a hot rod, I just want something with stock suspension, and possibly a mild V8/th350. Nothing over 300hp. This is not my dream truck, so I dont want to put a lot of money into it. It currently has a 6cyl with a Hydromatic trans. Everything is stock...

Has anyone swapped in a V8 and kept the stock suspension? I'm aware that the stock suspension is not the best, but I'm curious to hear from anyone who's done this...
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:16 PM   #2
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

My first classic was a '51. I drove it with the original 6 with a four speed for about a year until I blew the engine on the freeway. My Dad, my brothers and I installed a 350 with a th400. I left the stock suspension. We had to cut out the bellhousing crossmember and slide back the original rear tranny crossmember back. Just redrilled holes in the frame and in the crossmember to bolt up to the th400 mount. The biggest issue was the steering box. That has to be spaced out about 3"-4". There are better ways of doing it, but what I did was unbolt the box from the frame rail, notch a piece out of the inner fender, and spaced it out with a piece of 3"x5" square tubing. Drilled the tubing and bolted in back to the frame rail. The steering column and steering box are all one unit, but from inside the truck, you couldn't tell the box had been spaced out. Never had any problems. The better way to do it is using univeral steering joints. I ran ram horn manifolds. As for motor mount towers, my Dad fabbed some up out of the leaf style overload springs that I removed from the truck. They worked great with clam shell style motor mounts. The rearend was a 10 bolt out of a mid 70's Camaro. The width of those rearends are good for AD trucks. I'm sure there are a million ways of converting your truck to a V8, but this was my backyard experience. The '51 now belongs to my brother and is still running strong.
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Old 03-11-2009, 06:10 PM   #3
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

Most guys offset the engine a bit to the passenger side.
I had a 283 with ramhorns in the 48 for several years. I am not sure if we offset it or not but I believe it was centered as I had had a 194 with a V8 bellhousing in the truck before that. I had to offset the steering box 1-1/2 inches and then bent the pitman arm back that inch and a half to line things back up.

When I offset the steering box I believe we used a piece of inch and a half angle iron to move the top mounting holes over.
We also had to open up the hole in the floorboards a bit to move the column over. The steering wheel angles slightly but not uncomfortably. I don't remember having to hog out the opening in the inner wheel well but may have opened it up a bit.

The second generation Camaro rear ends fit pretty well as do the 4x4 S-10 rears which are a bit wider than the 2x4 S-10 rear.

I have a mid 70's Nova rear under the truck now and three other rears sitting in the yard to measure including a disk brake late 70's early 80's Camaro, a 76 Seville which is a corporate rear but has leaf springs and big drums. and the 86 S-10= 4x4 rear end out of a Blazer. I'll try to get them moved around and get some measurements off all three this weeked to see what the differences are.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:24 PM   #4
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

so if you swapped in a new, modern steering column and some universal linkage can you avoid having to move the box? or does it interfere with the motor itself??
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:08 PM   #5
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

It's not the column thats the problem it is the box being in the way of the back end of the left exhaust manifold. You still have to move the box no matter what else you do, at least with any manifold I have seen.

As I said some guys install the engine offset to the passenger side to alleviate a bit of the clearance issues but a lot of guys don't like to do that.

Maybe someone will post a good photo of the box being moved over and how they did it. I followed an article in one of the magazines at the time but I did the swap in 1974.
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Old 03-11-2009, 09:56 PM   #6
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

that's what I figured. Moving box should be too hard.

any pics of this type of install would be greatly appreciated!!

also, what are your thoughts on this? Is this a crappy hack job? or a legit swap?
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Old 03-12-2009, 02:17 PM   #7
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

I wouldn't call it a crappy hack job. Plenty of guys did this back in the day. When we did mine, a guy down the street had the same conversion already done. We basically copied what he did. Later on I remember seeing an old Hot Rod magazine from the seventies that my buddy had. They had an article on it and it was pretty similar to what we did. Moving the box over isn't hard at all.
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Old 03-12-2009, 03:14 PM   #8
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

Thanks bro!
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Old 03-12-2009, 04:47 PM   #9
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

For what it's worth, Sanderson CC2 headers (think that's the model number) worked for me in conjunction with spacing the box out about an inch. I had to clearance the firewall slightly to accommodate the column.
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:20 PM   #10
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

It's nice to see you using the stock suspension. With all the modern IFS kits and clipping done, folks forget that in the 60's & 70's we just dropped bigger engines into just about everything. 392 Hemi into a Jeepster, no problem. SBC into just about anything that had a six. 401 nalhead buick into a 50 ford sedan, yep. Caddy engine into a Studebaker pick up! These were all cars my friends had. Back then emphasis was more on go than show, at least in the group I ran with. Can't wait to see the photos.
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:51 PM   #11
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

that's my mindset on this project as well. My dream truck is a 67-72 and I plan on dropping a good amount of coin on one. This truck is a gift from my father in law, and isn't something I want to drop a lot of money into. but I dont want to cruise around with a 6 cyl all day either!
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Old 02-15-2015, 03:44 PM   #12
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

How was the ride at interstate speeds. Vibrations? bump steer problems
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Old 02-15-2015, 04:40 PM   #13
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

sbc weighs less than a 235 six, so you actually improve the weight distribution. Go with a modern aluminum bellhousing and trans and it gets better.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:02 PM   #14
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Smile Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

Ive got a 327 / M21 in my '49 3100 with the steering box moved over 1.5" with a dropped axle. I have no problem cruzing at 70 + and it tracks straight. Just make sure everything in the steering linkage is tight & go enjoy the looks when you pass people at freeway speeds
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:35 PM   #15
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

thanks. what extent did you restore your front suspension....spindle/linkage/disc/axle? any pictures thanks
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Old 02-17-2015, 04:22 PM   #16
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

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Originally Posted by nvrdone View Post
Ive got a 327 / M21 in my '49 3100 with the steering box moved over 1.5" with a dropped axle. I have no problem cruzing at 70 + and it tracks straight. Just make sure everything in the steering linkage is tight & go enjoy the looks when you pass people at freeway speeds
I'd be interested in seeing how you moved your steering box. Thinking of keeping my original chassis with a drop axle and adding disc brakes.
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Old 02-19-2015, 06:17 PM   #17
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

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Originally Posted by MrTucker View Post
I'm not looking to build a hot rod, I just want something with stock suspension, and possibly a mild V8/th350. Nothing over 300hp. This is not my dream truck, so I dont want to put a lot of money into it. It currently has a 6cyl with a Hydromatic trans. Everything is stock...

Has anyone swapped in a V8 and kept the stock suspension? I'm aware that the stock suspension is not the best, but I'm curious to hear from anyone who's done this...
I've got around 300 HP at the crank.
I'm running stock leaves & I-beam with power steering, 12" disc brakes, fresh kindpins, tapered wheel bearings, etc on the I-beam.
Honestly, 300 horsepower is more than a match for this suspension. I'm sure I could do more to make it manageable but with 300 HP, I'm up to "scary" fast in no time flat. It's probably no more expensive to put an IFS of some kind in these trucks, even with a rear axle swap figured in, than it is to upgrade a beam axle to the point where it handles 60-70 mph.
I'm on the fence for future plans, between carrying on with the beam axle or going IFS. At the moment, the handling isn't a priority for me. I don't need to take the truck on the interstate (I live 40 miles off of it) to be happy with it.
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Old 12-16-2018, 06:08 PM   #18
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

In the last 3 months I have found that half of the people say the steering box must be moved , the other half say use 265 corvette manifolds and don't have to move steering box or move engine off center. Going to work on getting 350 engine and 700r4 tranny in my 47 Chevy truck this week. Looking for more input, Thanks.
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Old 12-16-2018, 10:46 PM   #19
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

I did a V8 installation by moving the engine about 3/4" to the passenger side. Also helps counteract the notorious "Chevy lean." Watch your fuel pump clearance against the inside frame rail.
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:45 AM   #20
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

Thank you for the info, trying to make the best decision as I go along with research.
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:48 AM   #21
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

Anyone interested I have a complete inline 216 from fan blade to the rear end for sale with tires and rims drums etc. have video of engine running just prior to removal in November.
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Old 12-17-2018, 06:51 PM   #22
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

The 235 weighs about 200 pounds more than the 250 and more than a 350. I'm keeping my straight axle and running a blown 292. Properly set up leaf springs and sway bar with tight steering is a fine front end. A lot of modern 4x4 trucks run a solid axle in the front. Gassers run them at the strip. JMHO.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:01 AM   #23
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

Can anyone tell me if raising the 350 engine up by cutting the flooring in my 47 Chevy truck will put the engine high enough to clear the steering box, and make room for the exhaust manifolds. it seems like this would also center the engine closer to the center of the radiator?
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Old 01-12-2019, 11:59 AM   #24
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTucker View Post
I'm not looking to build a hot rod, I just want something with stock suspension, and possibly a mild V8/th350. Nothing over 300hp. This is not my dream truck, so I dont want to put a lot of money into it. It currently has a 6cyl with a Hydromatic trans. Everything is stock...

Has anyone swapped in a V8 and kept the stock suspension? I'm aware that the stock suspension is not the best, but I'm curious to hear from anyone who's done this...
You have a lucky find there if it's an original Hydromatic truck. I'd keep the six or either a larger six, and put dual carbs and exhaust and drive it. I wish my 57 had been an factory automatic even though it would have been a powerglide and not a hydromatic.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:03 PM   #25
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Re: installing a V8 in a 53 with stock suspension?

Message to the editor: At the pumpkin run in Clermont county Ohio, I saw scads of 350 v-8 engines, installed in 47-53 Chevy trucks. Can you direct me to the right people who can tell me if setting the engine higher will enable me to avoid moving the steering box or engine off center. Any help much appreciated, thanks. Contact me at birdtalesfarm@ hot mail.com, SEMPER FI
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