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BB Engine Swap on a 1954 Chevy 3805 Panel
#1366358 Thu Jun 25 2020 03:26 AM
Joined: Oct 2019
Posts: 12
5
'Bolter
Hello Stovebolt friends,
I think I have a doozy of a question for you (maybe not)... more like several questions actually. Please allow me to thank you in advance; your help is very appreciated. I want to make sure this path I am taking is feasible.

I am really wanting to replace the 235 cu in engine that came with my newly acquired, but very worn, 1954 Chevy 3805 Panel Truck.I was able to acquire a 454 at a pretty good price; I think this would be a great engine to install for this fine vehicle. The block is being bored as I write this; and I have some high performance parts coming my way from Summit. I am very excited about this build.

So I see a few obstacles that I am going to need to conquer.
1) The steering system is going to need some attention. I saw in another thread what somebody did for a Chevy 5600. I am not sure if the same methodology can be done for my 3805. I would love to hear what others have done, particularly regarding a power steering system. Please let their be somebody that has done this exact thing to guide me... lol.
2) Dealing with the exhaust pipes might be an issue, particularly on the driver's side. I just don't know if the steering is going to interfere with the exhaust. I also don't know if there are other problems I need to consider.
3) Will new engine mounts need to be welded to the frame?
4) Is there a recommended braking system that should be considered?
5) Are their other clearance problems that should be considered?
6) Will the original transmission work with the 454? If so, are there specific mounting requirements I need to know about? If not, is there a recommended manual transmission to use with this configuration.
7) Any thoughts about replacing the current brake system with a power brake system?

Sorry for bombarding you with so many questions. Any help with any one of these question would help me out tremendously. Many many thanks in advance.

Re: BB Engine Swap on a 1954 Chevy 3805 Panel
54paneltrucker #1366713 Sat Jun 27 2020 08:11 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,916
C
'Bolter
How many tools and how much equipment do you have? This is a major undertaking as if done right NONE of the drive train, steering, or suspension will be retained. We have done at least a dozen BB into AD's but I usually try to steer the customer towards a 427 or 502 since the 454 was designed by GM to be a smog (lower emissions) engine. All are physically the same size on the outside. If some of the speed equipment you have ordered includes aluminum heads and intake the weight factor gets way better. If you must have a manual transmission then you need to find a 60-62 V8 bell housing that uses the passenger side hydraulic clutch release. This unclutters the left side which already has the pedals and maybe the shift rods for additional exhaust room. By far the best is to go with an automatic (PG for least intrusion to 700R4 for most) as this leaves both sides wide open for exhaust. A frame clip from a BB Chevelle would include everything needed for steering and suspension as would a MII DESIGNED for a BB like say from Fatman---not cheap. An open driveshaft rear end in the 3.00 to 3.25 ratio and with triangulated 4 link and disc brakes all around will provide the needed go and whoa. I have seen AD's with BB's that retained much of the original design and can usually find who owned them by watching the obituaries. Pics are of a 54 3100 that is all set up for BB clearance but has an LS with coil covers that bring the dimensions close to that of a BB.

Note recessed firewall:
[img]https://i.postimg.cc/cg1wPNXc/IMG-4837.jpg[/img] [postimg.cc]

Recessed firewall inside view; under dash panel is for a/c vents:
[img]https://i.postimg.cc/yg5xnq5x/IMG-4839.jpg[/img] [postimg.cc]

Rear end set up that will take the torque of a BB:
[img]https://i.postimg.cc/4HfGzW4y/IMG-4840.jpg[/img] [postimg.cc]


Evan
Re: BB Engine Swap on a 1954 Chevy 3805 Panel
54paneltrucker #1366769 Sun Jun 28 2020 03:17 AM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,042
'Bolter
Coilover,

Will the frame hold up to someone running a 454 or is there too much flex?

Chris

Re: BB Engine Swap on a 1954 Chevy 3805 Panel
54paneltrucker #1366773 Sun Jun 28 2020 03:43 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,322
E
'Bolter
Chevy 6's are heavier than V-8's.

Ed


'37 GMC T-18 w/ DD 4-53T, RTO-610, 6231 aux., '95 GMC running gear, full disc brakes, power steering, 22.5 wheels and tires.
'47 GMC 1 ton w/ 302, NP-540, 4wd, full width Blazer front axle.
'54 GMC 630 w/ 503 gasser, 5 speed, ex fire truck, shortened WB 4', install 8' bed.
'55 GMC 370 w/270, 420 4 speed, grain, dump bed truck from ND. Works OK.
Re: BB Engine Swap on a 1954 Chevy 3805 Panel
54paneltrucker #1366782 Sun Jun 28 2020 05:11 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,916
C
'Bolter
The frame will do fine if engine power and tire size are both reasonable. One has to be careful with frame boxing as the flexible "C" channel frame will crack where it meets the rigid boxed area unless the boxing plates have long tapered ends to give a transition from rigid to flexible. The factory S10 box frame had a parabola or Nike shaped "swoosh" to do the transition where the front box section joins the "C" channel rear section. One just has to match the torque (horsepower means NOTHING) to tire traction to figure the stress on a frame. Driving style figures in but the biggest contributor is experience---much by trial and error and a stack of broken parts.


Evan
Re: BB Engine Swap on a 1954 Chevy 3805 Panel
coilover #1368171 Wed Jul 08 2020 12:37 AM
Joined: Oct 2019
Posts: 12
5
'Bolter
Thank you tremendously for your input, everybody. I will incorporate your information into my notes. I'll keep you posted.
So as it stands, I have pulled the body off of the frame. The rotating hardware is still being machined, so I have time before the engine rebuild. I want to see about modeling my frame and body area where the engine sits (specifically the cavity area from which the engine sits) and the fully assembled engine. I should have access to a Faro arm to accomplish this... Unless somebody has already modeled it. I want to have a good plan.

Thanks for the information regarding the transmission. My preference would be a manual transmission; but due to the limited space, I will most likely be forced to stick with an automatic. My wife will be happy because she will be able to drive it.

Re: BB Engine Swap on a 1954 Chevy 3805 Panel
54paneltrucker #1383789 Sat Nov 07 2020 11:24 PM
Joined: Oct 2019
Posts: 12
5
'Bolter
Alright... quick update. The 6 cylendar engine (the original 235 ci) I pulled, including the accessories, is 630 lbs where as the 454 big block engine, and accesories, is roughly 685 lbs. I am removing the fan in favor of an electric fan mounted directly to the radiator.

Weight-wise, this is only a 55 lb difference. I don't see this as an obsticle in the least bit.

Turning the page though, the 454 that I am rebuilding will problably produce up to 400 lb*ft of torque (consideirng the parts I am putting into this engine). I am designing this engine for torque. On that note, I am looking at adding bracing to the frame in addition to providing more flexible mounting to the engine and tranny.

The bottom line is that I am seeing that there will be some seroius fab work. Although this is an amazing build and I am excited to complete it, I am finding that there are not a lot of manufactures that do not support the '54 1 tons... which makes this project incredibly interesting and challenging.

If anybody can suggest companies that sell 3800 series parts or kits, please reply to this thread. I can fabricate quite a bit... but if there is already a kit, I would rather do that (as I am sure you would too). Thank you in advance for suggestions.

Re: BB Engine Swap on a 1954 Chevy 3805 Panel
54paneltrucker #1383924 Mon Nov 09 2020 04:33 AM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 61
A
Wrench Fetcher
Just a thought. I would not recommend just going with an electric fan. We had one on our Anglia due to room and even though I put a new one on to make it "reliable" it crapped out after a few hundred miles and overheated well. A friend has a '50 Chev pickup, with the same the setup on his small block and has had similar issues. I have always run a regular fan with an electric one as a backup on my other rigs and have never been left on the side of the road with this.

I put a 409 in my '52 and am going to be running two fans in it also.

Last edited by Alaska gasser; Mon Nov 09 2020 04:45 AM.
Re: BB Engine Swap on a 1954 Chevy 3805 Panel
54paneltrucker #1383959 Mon Nov 09 2020 06:25 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,549
B
Sir Searchalot
Here is the deal. Here is my approach.

We don't know what kind of truck you are building. A grocery getter or a hot rod with big torque (for some reason).....or maybe a dragster. Probably not the latter, assume a Daily Driver or Show. A super long wheel base, very heavy 1T panel truck is really not a platform for a hot rod. If you plan on keeping for many years, it sounds like a good project. The resale and number of buyers may not compute very well.
Next, I'm old school. Many guys, including me, have done a motor swap to all kinds of vehicles. We don't have Faro Arms or work at a professional shop or are a pro like Evan. I can see you are trying to be meticulous and preplan everything. You want everyone to tell you all the potential problems, but you already have identified them in basic form. So you are a savvy guy it seems. Each build is a little bit unique and a little bit common. The 1T C channel frame is quite a bit stronger than the 1/2 or 3/4 Frame. So strength is there. I believe you have an open drive shaft already. Your choice, as to what differential and trans to use is depending on your requirements for street/highway performance of truck. The motor is already a given. Curb weight is a given.

Upgrades to better steering and stopping is advisable. Power steering kits for 1/2 or 3/4 should be able to be applied to 1T. Front suspension has donor or aftermarket choices or just stock. Suspension kits available for clip to entire chassis probably available....or stock. A 1T build is rare and may require fabbing and/or modification of kits.

Planning it like a NASA moon shot is one style. The better style is mocking it all up to discover all the good news and identify the challenges. You will need to know where the firewall and trans hump is if the body is off. (with your money you can get a beat up 1/2T cab or front of a cab to use) smile. Clearances issues and their fixes are identified by mock up. They can not be identified by forum. As you get stuck, we enjoy helping to solve.
It's a highly technical "Whac-A-Mole" technique.

You already have it all apart, which is good. You have access to measure and blumb bob it and think on it and mock it. You don't need a co-ordinate measuring machine or a 3D solid model. If you delete crossmembers, try to replace at a near location. I like the tubular universal adjustable weld or bolt on aftermarket crossmembers for motor and trans. They are inexpensive, light fabrication involved. Don't sweat the small stuff now, like cooling fans and what tint for windshield. smile Don't buy a whole lot of stuff, just get to work. We are ready for a fun project. thumbs_up
Can you supply link to the Chevy 5600 thread?


Watch out for careful drivers!!!
I'm away on an ego trip. Will be back on Feb 30.
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I charge $0.02 for every opinion and I take Paypal.
Plan B is always better than plan A, by definition.
I used to think beer was bad for me, so I gave up thinking.
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Re: BB Engine Swap on a 1954 Chevy 3805 Panel
54paneltrucker #1383965 Mon Nov 09 2020 06:59 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,406
"Hey! I sound like Darth Vader!!
Electric fans aren't a bad thing. You need to find the correct version, is all. Heavy duty, plenty of CFM. Like anything, the better ones cost more.

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