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Old 02-19-2008, 01:53 AM   #1
87Lowrider
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Prepping for a BBC conversion

When I bought my '87 SWB, it had already been slammed and sits perfectly as far as I'm concerned. I've found and purchased a 454 for it from a '76 3/4 ton p/u. I'm in the process of preparing the engine for a transplant next month.

Here's how it looked when I bought it in 2007


The front has 2 1/2 drop spindles and shorter springs to obtain the current stance. Roughly 3" from lower control arms to the pavement. Rubs on some speed bumps, but that's ok. Once I drop the BBC in it, it's gonna sink even more.

What I need to do it get it up enough to offset the weight difference without changing the stance too much.

Re-Install stock spindles?
Change out springs for Heavier duty springs?

Any thoughts?

Kenny

Last edited by 87Lowrider; 02-15-2009 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:05 PM   #2
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

Once you have the BBC installed it will probably be trial and error with springs to get the stance you want. I believe BBC trucks came with the HD springs you see advertised in parts catalogues, you will need a stiffer spring to prevent bottoming out with the extra weight. I would leave the drop spindles on, since that gives you a static drop and work with the springs.
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:50 PM   #3
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

I Did The Same Swap On My 83, I Instaled Air Helper Springs With A Load Controller From Summit. It Worked Good............ I'LL GET SOME PICS OF IT THIS EVENING IF YOU WANT

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Old 02-20-2008, 12:50 AM   #4
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

It WILL come down when you drop the BBC in. If you like it like it sits now, I would put the stock ones back in and see how it sits, if its too high, cut them a little at a time until they site like you want them.

How much drop is the springs?
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Old 02-20-2008, 06:27 AM   #5
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

It will come down alittle,like captkaos said put stock spring in and then cut coils until you get the height you want, or rock it without inner fender wells, and roll it LOW...
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Old 02-20-2008, 06:49 AM   #6
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

It made no difference on my truck nothing noticeable at least.
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1976 Custom Deluxe SWB Med FMB.3/4 Drop.
Gen VI 454, Muncie HD 3 speed With Modified OE Hurst Shifter, 3.73 12 bolt, GMPP HO roller cam, Hooker headers, Performer intake with modified Q-jet, Accel distributor. Best 1/4 12.3 @108. Funnest run 19.84 @88 full 1/4 mile burn out.
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Old 02-20-2008, 07:59 AM   #7
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

Slug... I'd love to see some pics. Thanks!
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:02 AM   #8
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

Capt....I have the stock springs from the guy I bought the truck from. I believe ones in there now are 2"-4" shorter than stock. I'm not sure. You don't think the HD springs would be needed? If so, where could I buy them and how would I order (surburban, 4x4, etc...).

Thanks for all the advise.

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Old 02-20-2008, 11:54 PM   #9
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

the weight of a big block is only like 150-200# heavier than a small block. just get one of your buddys to stand on the front bumper and you should have your aproximate ride height.
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Old 02-21-2008, 05:57 AM   #10
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

It will probably drop about an 1", depending on what accessories you are using. If you have the stock springs, just use them, it isn't THAT much of a difference.
I don't know what your current stance is like, but I would seriously doubt you have a 4" drop spring in there, I would say 2.5 is the most that is sold. If it is 4" someone cut them.
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:57 AM   #11
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

Mine dropped about an inch when the big block went in. It has 3" drop spindle and 28" tall tires. Occasionally the top of the tire will rub the fender well. Usually it is when the springs are compressed some and then hit a bump. Feels like somebody tapped the brakes. I will be putting in new springs this summer.
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Old 02-21-2008, 08:57 AM   #12
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

Wow you guys must have some seroiusly weak springs if it droped that much. My truck has no noticeable difference at all.
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Old 02-21-2008, 09:28 AM   #13
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

I just got in, was next door talking with my neighbor who is a 10.5 racer. He said the same as you guys.. I appreciate all the input. I'm pretty excited. Getting the heads rebuilt this weekend in Louisville. World of Wheels is in town too I believe. Gonna stab the cam in it and start putting it back together next week and get the truck ready for it. After I get the motor back in, I'll see where everything stands and then make some decisions. I do like the Firestone product though.
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:00 AM   #14
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

I thought I'd add these pics at this point to document the build and process of putting the 454 in. For most of you BBC guys, it's a been there done that kinda thing.

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After several months of looking in the area for a 454 to put into my 87 SWB this spring, I found this truck in a barn. It's a '76 3/4 ton truck.





I picked this little combo up for $700. Motor and tranny. The rest of the truck is being parted out by someone else. The motor is bone stock, we actually drove it in the garage. Rebuilt in the last 5 years. Motor has a casting of 361959. The Heads have a casting of 336781. I don't want to do anything radical to this set, but I would like to waken it up a bit. Bigger cam, new intake, carb, etc.

Last edited by 87Lowrider; 03-16-2008 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:08 AM   #15
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

Continuation....

I tore down the 454 to get it ready for the rebuild. Atleast the top end anyways, assuming rotating assy is ok. Block is virgin 2 bolt. Here's a few pics.

Before pressure washing


After




781 Heads.. going to Louisville on Friday for 4 angle and new 2.190s/1.880s and all the trimmings. (Brother is a machinist) - Cuts down on labor costs


And to top it off Friday, some of my parts started to "flow" in.

7561 RPM Air-Gap Intake
1407 CARB
Comp Cams XE274H-10 552/286
Comp Cams Timing Set

Lots of work to do before spring... Kenny

Last edited by 87Lowrider; 02-15-2009 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:12 AM   #16
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

Continuation 2/24/08 ...

I drove to Louisville, Ky Friday with my 781 heads from the 454 I'm building for the '87 lowrider.

Here's what they looked like when I removed them from the block last week.


My wife and I dropped them off at my brothers shop so he could get them in the washer, cleaned up and ready to start the machine work on Saturday morning. We left his shop 30 minutes later heading down I65 to his house and I lost power in my '86 Jimmy. Had to tow it back to his shop. Saturday morning, I started working on it while he started working on the heads. The problem was in the pickup stator in the distributor. So, I rebuilt the distributor and fired it up.

Later in the day, he got the heads finished. Here are the old valves and new ones:


He opened up those stock heads with 2.190/1.880 valves


Here's the finished product, ready for paint and installation:


Got them back home last night. Started prepping the lower end tonight. Hope to have it running in a few weeks.

Kenny
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:18 AM   #17
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

Continued 3/02/08...

I had planned to get the engine completely put together but I hit a snag with the Timing Set. I think it's the wrong one. Chain was too short and 1 of the 3 cam bolts wouldn't line up once installed. I did get the engine painted though. I installed the heads, cam and oil pan. Set the intake, carb and timing cover on for the picture.



Coming together slowly. wanna have it running in 2 weeks.


I still need to buy my ignition system next week, get a new timing set tomorrow and finishing buttoning her up. It's going in the '87 below.
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:30 AM   #18
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

Timing set problem was nothing. Buddy came over and fixed in about 5 minutes.

I got some more parts in on Friday.


New Oil Pump, Headers, Mufflers, gaskets, MSD Pro Billet Dist, MSD HVC Coil, 8MM wire set, looms, MSD Digital 6 Ignition Box, Alum Water Pump and 454 Emblems for the fenders.

I'm thinking of putting them just above the front side marker lights.

Last edited by 87Lowrider; 03-14-2009 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:49 AM   #19
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

Here are few pics of the engine going into the Lowrider. I've got polished valve covers from ProForm coming. I've also got Ride Rite bags for the front springs if I need them and new wheel wells to put in the truck this week before the engine drop.




Engine on the left is the original 350 out of the lowrider that's going into the camaro below later this spring. In the background is my '57 SWB Stepside that will be next to get some attention.



The weather is supposed to break this week in KY so the engine goes in next weekend if Mother nature cooperates.

Last edited by 87Lowrider; 03-14-2009 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:33 PM   #20
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

those 781 heads are one of the best oval port heads GM made back then --- later on if you want to "pump up the volume" a little bit, they can support about 550 hp's or more with just some pocket porting.

You really scored there, as i didnt think the 781's were even a truck head
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:29 AM   #21
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

Thanks.

I hope just by putting bigger valves in them, it'll waken them up a little. With the cam, intake, carb and ignition I've chosen it should make a decent bit of HP and torque.
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Old 04-06-2008, 05:39 AM   #22
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

Here are a few pics of the truck late last fall









This is the weekend for the BBC transplant
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:38 AM   #23
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

The motor is finally in!!! Pics to follow.. what a day!
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Old 04-08-2008, 04:55 AM   #24
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

What a weekend!!

Got the new wheel wells put in. Fit like a glove (LMC)


Still got wiring to clean up, install ignition, fuel and cooling systems. Hoping to get her running for next weekend's trip to Gatlinburg, TN.


No noticable difference in ride height from the small block to big block. Of course, I did lighten up the engine by about 100 pounds though with aluminum parts. With the new wheel wells put back in, they are very close to the tops of the tires. I purchased the Firestone Spring helpers for the front. I'm going to install the stock springs back in it first and check ride height before I install the spring helper bags.

Last edited by 87Lowrider; 04-30-2008 at 05:45 AM.
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:45 AM   #25
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Re: Prepping for a BBC conversion

Been a pretty busy last couple weeks. Got my accessory brackets in and installed. Primed the motor, exhaust installed. Still need to mount ignition box, maybe in Glove Box, cleaning up wiring, install radiator and fire it up.


Last edited by 87Lowrider; 04-29-2008 at 02:45 AM.
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