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Username Post: Best options for 58 Belair Engine/transmission swap        (Topic#351401)
Icecream baby 
Poster
Posts: 11

Reg: 06-02-18
06-02-18 06:22 PM - Post#2735720    

Hi folks. Please point me to it if there is already information on this. I am considering doing an engine swap in a 1958 Bel Air.

The car is currently a 6 cylinder with a 2 speed Powerglide. I would like to keep the Powerglide, but would like to go to a Small Block V-8 of around 300 HP.

My skill level in fabrication is not that high, so I want the simplest option.

I have been told that V-8 bell housings for the Powerglide are tough to come by.

Any information is appreciated.

Thanks in advance




 
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raycow 
Honored Member
Posts: 27485
raycow
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Reg: 11-26-02
06-02-18 06:54 PM - Post#2735723    
    In response to Icecream baby

The PG bellhousing was never sold separately by GM, only as an assembly with the case, because they are machined together. For this reason, it's not a good idea to swap a V-8 bellhousing onto a 6 cyl case (or even another V-8 case).

However, a complete 58-62 V-8 PG is a total bolt-in. Everything will hook up exactly as it is now. You will also need a V-8 flexplate, starter, and adapter ring (the piece the starter mounts on). None of these parts is difficult to find.

Now with that said, some people might give you a hard time about keeping the PG. They will say you are taking a major performance hit in comparison with a more modern 3 or 4 speed automatic, and they will be right. However, you said you wanted to keep the swap as simple as possible, and you will get your wish and be back on the road a lot sooner than the guys swapping the newer transmissions.

Ray

Those who choose an automatic transmission want transportation. Those who choose a manual transmission want to drive.


 
japete92 
"4th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 967
japete92
Loc: No. Virginia
Reg: 01-18-13
06-02-18 07:23 PM - Post#2735726    
    In response to Icecream baby

  • Icecream baby Said:
Hi folks. Please point me to it if there is already information on this. I am considering doing an engine swap in a 1958 Bel Air.

The car is currently a 6 cylinder with a 2 speed Powerglide. I would like to keep the Powerglide, but would like to go to a Small Block V-8 of around 300 HP.

My skill level in fabrication is not that high, so I want the simplest option.

I have been told that V-8 bell housings for the Powerglide are tough to come by.

Any information is appreciated.

Thanks in advance




Just my opinion but putting a power glide on a 300 hp sbc engine is like putting snow shoes on Usain Bolt.

A 4 speed manual will be TONS more fun to drive. Because you are changing engines, changing to a manual transmission (even a three speed) is better and not difficult.

Again, just my opinion.

Pete



 
Icecream baby 
Poster
Posts: 11

Reg: 06-02-18
06-02-18 08:06 PM - Post#2735730    
    In response to raycow

I like the way you think Ray



 
Icecream baby 
Poster
Posts: 11

Reg: 06-02-18
06-02-18 08:09 PM - Post#2735731    
    In response to japete92

Very true Pete. I actually have a pg on a 327 300hp, as well as a 390 horse 4 spd that is waaay fun to drive. I actually have a line on a 61 283 vette Engine & 3 spd manual, but it is only 230 hp



 
58Yeoman 
Poster
Posts: 25

Loc: Burlington, Ontario
Reg: 12-22-15
06-03-18 06:04 AM - Post#2735752    
    In response to raycow

Icecream baby: pm sent

1958 Chevrolet wagon (Yeoman)
1958 Belair (parts car)
1961 Impala convertible


Edited by 58Yeoman on 06-03-18 06:07 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
japete92 
"4th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 967
japete92
Loc: No. Virginia
Reg: 01-18-13
06-03-18 07:20 AM - Post#2735763    
    In response to Icecream baby

  • Icecream baby Said:
Very true Pete. I actually have a pg on a 327 300hp, as well as a 390 horse 4 spd that is waaay fun to drive. I actually have a line on a 61 283 vette Engine & 3 spd manual, but it is only 230 hp




I'd take on (and beat) the the 327 pg in a red light to red light race in that Vette combo any day.

Pete



 
Techhead 
Senior Member
Posts: 819
Techhead
Loc: Etobicoke, Canada
Reg: 10-25-05
06-03-18 09:22 AM - Post#2735773    
    In response to japete92

Don't forget to swap out the V6 motor mounts for V8 mounts. No fabrication required

Can be purchased at any of the forum's sponsor websites.

I'll be Frank, this hobby isn't getting any easier.
58 Delray in disaray


 
raycow 
Honored Member
Posts: 27485
raycow
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Reg: 11-26-02
06-03-18 10:23 AM - Post#2735780    
    In response to Techhead

Actually, the 235 is an inline 6, not a V-6, but you are absolutely correct about the engine mounts and brackets. Thank you for the reminder.

Ray

Those who choose an automatic transmission want transportation. Those who choose a manual transmission want to drive.


 
Icecream baby 
Poster
Posts: 11

Reg: 06-02-18
06-03-18 03:54 PM - Post#2735820    
    In response to japete92

I will leave the racing to you youngsters



 
ragtp66 
Contributor
Posts: 659
ragtp66
Reg: 12-09-07
06-03-18 06:26 PM - Post#2735848    
    In response to Icecream baby

I would recommend a new crate motor best bang for the buck definitely under $2000 fpr 300HP and some will even give you a 3 yr warranty. You will blow right past $2000 rebuilding an original era engine. Turbo 350 trans will be almost as easy as the PG swap and much more reliable than a PG plus it wont puke its guts all over your garage floor every time it sits and the torque converter drains back into the trans. Modifications would be very Minimal for that swap. Find a short tail 350 like from a Chevelle and you wont even need to cut the driveshaft. It is much harder to find one of the old guys around that KNOWS how to rebuild a Powerglide than it is to find someone to rebuild a 350 plus with everyone switching to Overdrive automatics you can pretty much find guys that will GIVE them to you if you come and haul it away.

Toys:
1958 Impala 2dr Hardtop Under Construction
1966 Chevelle Malibu Convert M20/350 Aztec Bronze
1987 Sea Ray Pachanga 22
2002 Cadillac Escalade EXT Parts chaser
2007 Trailblazer SS -gone and missed


 
raycow 
Honored Member
Posts: 27485
raycow
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Reg: 11-26-02
06-04-18 01:17 AM - Post#2735865    
    In response to ragtp66

Sorry, but an X-frame PG is about 2" shorter than a short TH350, so you will need to either shorten the stock PG driveshaft or else find one of the very scarce 3 speed + overdrive driveshafts, which will be quite expen$ive because it also fits a 4 speed.

Other modifications needed for a TH350 will be the shift linkage, TV linkage (cable), and cooling lines. You will also need a custom selector quadrant, which I am not sure if anyone makes for a 58.

Please don't misunderstand me about this. I am not in any way trying to say that the PG is a desirable transmission, but only that it is the easiest swap. That's what the OP asked for, and I was doing my best to answer his question.

Ray


Those who choose an automatic transmission want transportation. Those who choose a manual transmission want to drive.


 
rdean58 
Member
Posts: 9

Loc: Maryland
Reg: 09-10-03
06-06-18 12:00 PM - Post#2736155    
    In response to Icecream baby

Well, back in 1980 my dad, granddad, and I put a 396/Turbo 400 combo into my 58 BelAir 2dr ht. My car originally had the six/power glide setup like yours does. later I swapped a 283/power glide from a 58 4dr into it and when that died my dad found the 68 Impala with the 396. At that time I had a flip nose on the car so it was very easy to remove the front clip and that BB/Turbo 400 slid right in. Used the 58 V8 engine mounts and just had to fabricate a trans cross member for installation. I used the radiator out of the 68 Impala. The front yoke from the 68 had to be put on the shortened driveshaft. I also had converted the car over to a floor shift from a 64 Impala SS so I did not have to deal with a column shift setup. But, the point I'm trying to make is, putting in the BB was very easy. It weighed right around what a 348/409 would and it's outside dimensions were within 1/2 inch to an inch. A crate motor 502 Big block and a turbo 400 would make your car scream. (BTW, that is the plan for mine, the 502 with a 4L85-E Trans to replace the very tired 396/turbo 400 combo.)

'58 Bel Air 2 dr Hardtop 396 T-400 Yah!


 
rdean58 
Member
Posts: 9

Loc: Maryland
Reg: 09-10-03
06-06-18 12:14 PM - Post#2736156    
    In response to Icecream baby

Well, back in 1980 my dad, granddad, and I put a 396/Turbo 400 combo into my 58 BelAir 2dr ht. My car originally had the six/power glide setup like yours does. later I swapped a 283/power glide from a 58 4dr into it and when that died my dad found the 68 Impala with the 396. At that time I had a flip nose on the car so it was very easy to remove the front clip and that BB/Turbo 400 slid right in. Used the 58 V8 engine mounts and just had to fabricate a trans cross member for installation. I used the radiator out of the 68 Impala. The front yoke from the 68 had to be put on the shortened driveshaft. I also had converted the car over to a floor shift from a 64 Impala SS so I did not have to deal with a column shift setup. But, the point I'm trying to make is, putting in the BB was very easy. It weighed right around what a 348/409 would and it's outside dimensions were within 1/2 inch to an inch. A crate motor 502 Big block and a turbo 400 would make your car scream. (BTW, that is the plan for mine, the 502 with a 4L85-E Trans to replace the very tired 396/turbo 400 combo.)

'58 Bel Air 2 dr Hardtop 396 T-400 Yah!


 
1belair1954 
Poster
Posts: 41

Reg: 12-24-12
06-08-18 05:27 PM - Post#2736351    
    In response to Icecream baby

I am sure the cast iron powerglide is no where as strong as the aluminium cased unit. Also very expensive to rebuild I would opt for a later t350 at the least the newer Overdrives even better.
I had a 283 with PG combo in my 66 Nova I liked it a lot although a very light car.



 
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