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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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drive train upgrades

I just purchased a '63 Impala convertible with the following drive train:

327 cu in 275 hp motor, appears to be stock '66 with brand new 2" dual exhaust. I have verified by the casting and suffix that this motor was a '66 275 hp motor when built. It definitely appears to have been rebuilt but there is no documentation available to define what was done.

4 speed Saginaw transmission. I do not know the gear ratios and do not know how to tell.

3.36 open rear differential.

I test drove the car for quite awhile and it runs very smoothly without any issues I could perceive. I intend to leave it this way though this summer, get used to everything, and see what she's really like to drive before making any decisions.

I intend to use the car for 'pleasure' driving which will include some highway speed driving (70 mph + a little) and some 'full throttle' fun excursions.

I was not 'disappointed' in the car's acceleration during the test drive but more low end torque would be desirable. I will know more after driving the car all summer. To achieve 'more low end torque', I would like to identify what changes I would need to make to the car so I can make informed decisions on configuration and develop a budget.

I am thinking a new/rebuilt 383 is likely my best option because where I want to end up is somewhere around 350 + hp, and 400 + lbs ft torque. I am not seeking to go much above 400 hp or 430 lbs ft torque but if those types of numbers are 'free' I'm ok going there. I am not against a 350. It simply appears that there is not much of a cost difference and the 383 gives added flexibility should I choose to go even higher hp and torque in the future. I would be seeking a 'turn key' motor because I can not do this type of work myself and do not wish to have my car laid up any longer than necessary.

I am not looking to go cheap. I seeking excellent quality products. I do not have a budget number in mind because I would rather achieve my goals rather than short cut anything. If that means I wait and save a little longer, so be it.

I already know the Saginaw won't cut it at my hp and torque goals. I am thinking of going to Muncie M20 if that would work. Autotrans is not an option for me.

Also, at least at first, and because my goals seem on the low side of a 383, I wish to keep the existing exhaust. I am not interested in headers but I could be talked into 2.5" rams head manifolds and pipe to the muffler, but only as a 'future next step' to everything else.

First question; I am new to all this motor replacement stuff and do my thoughts and goals make sense to those experienced in this stuff?

Second question; if I replace the 327 with a 383, other than the known Saginaw issue, what else would I need to replace? Everything on the car is stock as best I can tell. Please remember I am only trying to build a budget at this time. Things I am seeking advise on are radiator, flywheel, clutch, mounts, starter, etc.

Third question; will you please provide some vendors who provide the top quality merchandise I am seeking? I've done some internet searches and there are many alternatives.

Thanks for any and all replies!!
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 01:17 PM
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There's more than one way to skin a cat. How about going with 4.10s and a T56? Better acceleration, and better fuel economy at highway speeds! It will feel like you added 100hp, and will cruise at 75mph at 2100rpm. Best thing I have ever done to ANY of my cars. Going with a stouter engine will only make you spend more cash down the rest of the driveline...

Two doors, four doors, wagons, and ragtops.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayoldschool View Post
There's more than one way to skin a cat. How about going with 4.10s and a T56? Better acceleration, and better fuel economy at highway speeds! It will feel like you added 100hp, and will cruise at 75mph at 2100rpm. Best thing I have ever done to ANY of my cars. Going with a stouter engine will only make you spend more cash down the rest of the driveline...
I had not considered those options due to my ignorance. That is a very intriguing solution certainly worth exploring. A modern 6 speed and low gears surely may do the trick.

The car is a 4 speed but has bench seats (it's an Impala). Will the shifter fit? How big a job is the conversion? New bell housing? flywheel? clutch? drive shaft? etc?
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 01:55 PM
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Get a complete T56/bellhousing/flywheel from a 93-96 F Body (LT1 Z28/TransAm). Make sure you grab the electrical sensors that are on it, too. It will bolt up to the early small block. The later LS1 style can be made to work, but it will cost you more. Note that there are three different versions. The 94-96 ones are all the same, with the same gearing, and a 450ft-lbs rating. The 93s can have a couple different gearing options, and are not rated as high. Make sure you do your research so you can check the codes on the trans (for example "DLF" or "DLK") so you know what you are getting. You'd need a new cross member. Not sure on the trans, but the T56 is the same length as a Th700R4/4L60 so you will know by checking that swap out. You'll need to figure out how to get your linkage to actuate the hydraulic clutch setup, but lots of others have done this swap so the info will be out there. My car never came with a manual, so it got a custom pedal, and uses the complete clutch hydraulics from the F body. It's a decently big job, but doable if you are accomplished with trans swaps. I've done two, both in one day. My car took 16 hours, the next one we did in 12. There is only an electric output for the speedo, but you can get a converter box or a custom tailshaft. No problem with the bench seat, the shifter handle is two bolts to swap, you use an old style curved one to come up around the bench. There is even a nice white shifter ball that would look at home in a 64.



Here's my Impala SS with the T56:


Two doors, four doors, wagons, and ragtops.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayoldschool View Post
Get a complete T56/bellhousing/flywheel from a 93-96 F Body (LT1 Z28/TransAm). Make sure you grab the electrical sensors that are on it, too. It will bolt up to the early small block. The later LS1 style can be made to work, but it will cost you more. Note that there are three different versions. The 94-96 ones are all the same, with the same gearing, and a 450ft-lbs rating. The 93s can have a couple different gearing options, and are not rated as high. Make sure you do your research so you can check the codes on the trans (for example "DLF" or "DLK") so you know what you are getting. You'd need a new cross member. Not sure on the trans, but the T56 is the same length as a Th700R4/4L60 so you will know by checking that swap out. You'll need to figure out how to get your linkage to actuate the hydraulic clutch setup, but lots of others have done this swap so the info will be out there. My car never came with a manual, so it got a custom pedal, and uses the complete clutch hydraulics from the F body. It's a decently big job, but doable if you are accomplished with trans swaps. I've done two, both in one day. My car took 16 hours, the next one we did in 12. There is only an electric output for the speedo, but you can get a converter box or a custom tailshaft. No problem with the bench seat, the shifter handle is two bolts to swap, you use an old style curved one to come up around the bench. There is even a nice white shifter ball that would look at home in a 64.



Here's my Impala SS with the T56:

Thanks. I will surely consider this option when/if I get to changing.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 02:27 PM
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I have a 6 speed in my Corvette and it is nice.
I was going to suggest a posi for the rear but a set of heads and cam and the like could pick you up a lot also depending on whats in there now and how old it is.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Txbobcat View Post
I have a 6 speed in my Corvette and it is nice.
I was going to suggest a posi for the rear but a set of heads and cam and the like could pick you up a lot also depending on whats in there now and how old it is.
Thanks.

While I have added the tranny/rear gear mods to my list of alternatives, I am still very interested in my original concept and response to my original questions.

As for upgrading the 327, I do not believe that will give me the torque and engine op profile I am seeking.

Posi is definitely on my possible add list; forgot to mention it.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 03:26 PM
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You should not have any trouble meeting your targets with a 383. I got 370 HP and 420 Torque out of a 327 bored and stroked to 383, but with all the stock heads, intake, exhaust.







If you go with a 383, you should look into the larger 2.5 inch exhaust manifolds (if you are sticking with stock manifolds). They give a nice bump in performance over the 2 inch manifolds.





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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcairns View Post
You should not have any trouble meeting your targets with a 383. I got 370 HP and 420 Torque out of a 327 bored and stroked to 383, but with all the stock heads, intake, exhaust.







If you go with a 383, you should look into the larger 2.5 inch exhaust manifolds (if you are sticking with stock manifolds). They give a nice bump in performance over the 2 inch manifolds.

Thanks for the info and pics. Nice looking engine. If I change, I would want a similar 327 look.

You mentioned stock heads, intake, and exhaust. Stock cam? carb?

When you installed the engine, did you have to change radiator, flywheel, clutch, mounts, starter, or any other stock auxiliary components?

Where did you get the exhaust manifolds?
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 04:45 PM
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I wanted a nearly perfectly stock looking engine, but didn't want to give up the power my old 383 had or go the 409 route (although I love the look of those 409's). So I went through some expensive hoops to get there.

There is no such thing as a stock cam for a 383, since GM never made a 383 . The cam was custom but mild as I still wanted to be able to use my A/C and power brakes. The carb was the Carter AFB from a 409 of the same year. With the air cleaner on, you can't tell the difference between the 327/300hp Carter AFB and the 409's AFB.

I did change the radiator to be stock correct, because in 64, the 327/300 with A/C, used the same radiator as the 409.

The exhaust manifolds, I got from https://www.paragoncorvette.com There are cheaper reproductions out there, if you don't care about correct casting numbers. The manifolds for your 63 may be different than 64 and may vary depending on alternator or generator (I think 63 was a transition year).



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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 05:09 PM
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GM does indeed make 383s, they were just never installed in a car. Any dealer can order them in for you. I'd buy one of these in a second if I was looking to upgrade my 65. Throw on some valve cover adapters, paint it orange, voila!

http://www.chevroletperformance.com/...8772&engCat=sb



If you are going to do a 383, you're leaving power on the table if you go with the stock heads, no matter how much you port/polish. At a minimum, Vortecs. Going up, AFRs, etc. Paint them orange, no one will know!

Two doors, four doors, wagons, and ragtops.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 05:10 PM
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There are also Rams Horn exhaust manifolds that have been ported to flow as much as a set of headers. They are often used in circle track racing were headers are not allowed under class rules.

Big Dave
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcairns View Post
I wanted a nearly perfectly stock looking engine, but didn't want to give up the power my old 383 had or go the 409 route (although I love the look of those 409's). So I went through some expensive hoops to get there.

There is no such thing as a stock cam for a 383, since GM never made a 383 . The cam was custom but mild as I still wanted to be able to use my A/C and power brakes. The carb was the Carter AFB from a 409 of the same year. With the air cleaner on, you can't tell the difference between the 327/300hp Carter AFB and the 409's AFB.

I did change the radiator to be stock correct, because in 64, the 327/300 with A/C, used the same radiator as the 409.

The exhaust manifolds, I got from https://www.paragoncorvette.com There are cheaper reproductions out there, if you don't care about correct casting numbers. The manifolds for your 63 may be different than 64 and may vary depending on alternator or generator (I think 63 was a transition year).
Thanks!!
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayoldschool View Post
GM does indeed make 383s, they were just never installed in a car. Any dealer can order them in for you. I'd buy one of these in a second if I was looking to upgrade my 65. Throw on some valve cover adapters, paint it orange, voila!

http://www.chevroletperformance.com/...8772&engCat=sb



If you are going to do a 383, you're leaving power on the table if you go with the stock heads, no matter how much you port/polish. At a minimum, Vortecs. Going up, AFRs, etc. Paint them orange, no one will know!
Thanks.

I saw those GM engines and they are very tantalizing. With the hp and torque they are putting out are there any changes to stock 327 radiator, flywheel, clutch, mounts, starter, or any other stock auxiliary components?
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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There are also Rams Horn exhaust manifolds that have been ported to flow as much as a set of headers. They are often used in circle track racing were headers are not allowed under class rules.

Big Dave
Thanks. The 2.5" ram horns are as far as I will go changing exhaust system.
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 06:07 PM
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Rad and mounts will work. Check the specs for internal or external balance, this will determine flywheel (and that will determine starter due to # teeth).

Here's how to mount old valve covers on center bolt heads:


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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 08:04 PM
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Once again you don't have to "settle" for the standard old GMPP crate 383, as GMPP builds (though rarely ever advertises it) a claimer motor version of their motors making three versions of the 350 that churns out a lot more horsepower and torque as well as being complete where all you add is a carb starter and plug wires. Of course a claimer motor is sealed with special bolts that once removed can never be reused again as the seal is somehow broken indicating to judges and your competition that you might possibly be cheating.

They make more power than their street cousins because GMPP plays with the heads and cam choices before they are screwed together for stock car racing. Here is a work sheet for the weakest of the 350 engines that they sell.

http://www.chevroletperformance.com/...CT_350-355.pdf

http://www.chevroletperformance.com/...&engCat=racing

Big Dave
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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 10:00 AM
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Concerning the 2.5 ram air manifolds. I didnt know there were two different sizes are the 2.5 repops or original. I have no idea what size is on my 64 any help?
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
Once again you don't have to "settle" for the standard old GMPP crate 383, as GMPP builds (though rarely ever advertises it) a claimer motor version of their motors making three versions of the 350 that churns out a lot more horsepower and torque as well as being complete where all you add is a carb starter and plug wires. Of course a claimer motor is sealed with special bolts that once removed can never be reused again as the seal is somehow broken indicating to judges and your competition that you might possibly be cheating.

They make more power than their street cousins because GMPP plays with the heads and cam choices before they are screwed together for stock car racing. Here is a work sheet for the weakest of the 350 engines that they sell.

http://www.chevroletperformance.com/...CT_350-355.pdf

http://www.chevroletperformance.com/...&engCat=racing

Big Dave
very useful. Thanks.
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayoldschool View Post
Rad and mounts will work. Check the specs for internal or external balance, this will determine flywheel (and that will determine starter due to # teeth).

Here's how to mount old valve covers on center bolt heads:

Thanks for the info.
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post #21 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Txbobcat View Post
Concerning the 2.5 ram air manifolds. I didnt know there were two different sizes are the 2.5 repops or original. I have no idea what size is on my 64 any help?
As best I know, 2.5" could be original because the higher hp 327's (300 and above I believe) with the larger valved heads came with the 2.5" manifolds from the factory (at least in the early years of the 327).

If I switch to the 2.5s, I will go with someone reproduction.
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post #22 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 11:54 AM
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A 2.5 inch Ram's horn manifold is as big a manifold as the factory ever cast for the small block. The differences you may be encountering may be due differences in how the exhaust exits the engine compartment.

Most cars have it angling back to clear the front cross-member. The Corvette version of the Ram's Horn exhaust manifold, which sounds racier because if it is from a Corvette has to be better, dumps straight down. This is because in a Corvette the motor sits behind the front cross-member for better weight distribution (there is no cross-member under the motor to worry about). These two are not directly interchangeable though both will bolt onto your motor and possibly could be used with some creative effort.

The Ram's Horn manifolds I mentioned are for those who like it to look original but actually perform better than the original. Their products (they also port cast iron factory stock or aftermarket aluminum heads, as well as stock cast iron intake manifolds), can be found here:

http://www.gesslerheadporting.com/ge...enu/Services03

http://www.castheads.com/

Big Dave
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post #23 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Txbobcat View Post
Concerning the 2.5 ram air manifolds. I didnt know there were two different sizes are the 2.5 repops or original. I have no idea what size is on my 64 any help?
One easy way to tell them apart is looking at area of the manifold near the exit. There is what looks like a narrowing then a flare to the place where the down pipe bolts on. The 2 inters do not have this flare. Odds are they are 2 inchers, as the 2.5 manifolds were only on the 327/300 in 64 Impalas. The 327/300 was the highest performing small block for that year Impala. If you wanted more power, you had to go up to the 409's






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post #24 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 09:45 AM
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I am still working on GTOs and my corvette. Once I get my 72 GTO painted restoration of my 64 SS wll begin which includes new exhaust
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