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GM B-Body Forum, 77-79 Caprice/Impala Forum

A forum for all the owners and enthusiasts of General Motors B-Bodies from 1965-1996, but dedicated to the owners of 1977-1979 Impalas and Caprices. Join up now!

    454 carb engine swap in a 80 impala


    Posts : 1
    Join date : 2019-02-08

    454 carb engine swap in a 80 impala

    Post  merki_dj on Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:02 am

    so i have a 80 impala which is nothing but same as the caprice classic i was wondering if anyone can help me as i want to put a older 454 carbed engine in my car as for now it has a 305sbc with a 700r4. i want to put 454 in it with 700 trans as i am told it wont hold up against the torque but i just this car for highway drivings as i live in Saudi Arabia we have never ending highways currently with this engine which has no power what so ever i wanted to go for a BBC any help on how to do this install as in this country there is no knowledge for this kind of stuff.
    a lot of people say that it is a simple as plug and play using the same old mounts for the engine and it would sit right in it but still i don't want to take risk and want to get full information before trying to attempt.
    please i would really appreciate as i know there are many experts here
    also i dont want to fiddle with wires and want a simple carburetor engine and do suggest from which model should i get the engine from

    Posts : 4
    Join date : 2017-08-03

    BBC swap in 77-80's Impala and Caprice

    Post  dsmerritt on Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:58 pm

    The key to this swap is that the 77-96 Impala and CAprice are really the same platform as the 73-76 Malibu/Chevelle. If you check you will find that things like the control arms interchange. So the basic chassis was designed for this installation even thouhg it was never done in production.

    In the early 70's my then engine machinist, Bill Staley, built a half a dozen 77 and later cars with a BBC. Back then the simple swap was to use a take out from a totaled mid 70's Chevy 1/2 ton pickup. I think all the ones he used were actually 76's buy I'm sure others are the same and will work.

    And yes, the engine bolted into the mounts and everything fit and worked, all the brackets and pulleys and accessories worked fine, even the stock cast iron exhaust manifolds fit. I'm sure there are headers that will work, anything for a 73-76 BBC Chevelle/Malibu should work. Even with the cast iron exhausts, if you used an aluminum intake and water pump there was minimal weight gain, with headers and aluminum heads it weighs significantly less than an iron SBC.

    Try to find a police car/taxi chassis to start with. You can put a two-door body on the four door frame just fine. You get a fully boxed frame which is much stiffer (wagons also had this) and use all the heavy duty parts - radiator, oil cooler, power steering cooler, suspension, brakes, rear end, etc.

    It's lots of cheap fun. A great sleeper with a warmed up engine. A built 700-R4 will handle a reasonable BBC up to 600 HP or so just fine. Enjoy.

    Posts : 6
    Join date : 2014-10-02
    Age : 68
    Location : Right here.

    Re: 454 carb engine swap in a 80 impala

    Post  Machine-De-Zine on Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:19 pm

    I did this in a customer’s brown 1990 9C1 in 1995.
    Same chassis as yours.
    He wanted an old school hot rod - but a total sleeper.
    He purchased a brand new marine 502 BBC from Mercruiser with 990 rectangular port heads.
    I put on an Edelbrock RPM and a Holley 850 HP DP and an ultradyne cam.
    I built and installed a good early TH-400 with a gill younger shift kit, 121 pump, deep clutch drums, good clutches and new steels, 34 element sprag, ATI Treemaster converter, Hedman headers for a 2nd gen F-body, the car came back in the shop the next day on the tow hook with an exploded 8.5” police rear.
    I put a moser 9” rear axle complete bolt-in unit with 3.50 gears and Willwood dynalite disc brakes.
    You will need better front springs for this conversion, I strongly recommend Canuck Motorsports HD springs, with their matching rear springs, and use Bilstein shocks spec’d for an 89 9C1.
    It’s a good thing gas is cheap over there, cuz you’ll be using quite a lot!

    If you do go forward and do this upgrade, and have any questions, ask and I can help out.

    For myself, I have a boxed & cross-braced stock chassis 1988 LS Brougham Caprice with an old school bow tie SBC making north of 450 HP on pump gas with AC, hydraboosted 4-wheel (KORE-3 sourced) late Vette disc brakes, and I truly appreciate how much better the car drives, handles and stops with a SBC, I feel iron block BBC engines are better suited in speedboats, tow trucks, and all out drag cars.
    But hey, that’s just me, 450HP on pump gas and the biggest street tires I can fit under the stock sheet metal is pretty good - it’ll light up the rear tires (295ZR50/18, Nitto NT555s) any time I hit the go pedal. Also accelerates hard all the way up to 140+ MPH, just as straight and stable as can be. And, if you like tight handling, use SPC F-Body front upper and lower control arms (with extra positive caster built into the geometry), varishock double adjustable shocks and a good matching pair of HD swaybars.
    Good luck & have fun!

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    Re: 454 carb engine swap in a 80 impala

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