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'55 V8 Engine Swap

Discussion in 'Early CJ-5 and CJ-6 Tech' started by Dgroshek, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. Jun 13, 2018
    Dgroshek

    Dgroshek New Member

    TX
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    Dec 11, 2017
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    47
    I'm putting in a SBC 350 into my '55. Its mated to a T90 and dana18 with e-brake and stock driveshaft. My question is how much clearance do I need between the front of the engine (without any accessories on) and the grill if I do an electric fan and shorty water pump? Planning on cutting the radiator shroud out of the grill to maximize space. If I did that, I'm sitting at about 7.5" of space which keeps me from cutting the firewall any. Too close or will it all fit?
     
  2. Jun 14, 2018 at 8:31 AM
    Keys5a

    Keys5a Sponsor Sponsor

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    If you're planning on cutting the grill shroud, how are you mounting the radiator (stock radiator?). There are some very slim electric fans out there, but to get proper cooling from the radiator, you need a shroud on the radiator that covers the whole surface area, with a fan drawing through a tight fitting hole. The electric fans that just attach to the radiator only draw air through in the diameter of the fan's blade diameter.
    Also, a 350 Chevy is a LOT of engine for a T90 that was designed for a 4 cylinder engine. Driven gingerly, it might be OK. The old short-stroke 283 is better suited to allowing longer life out of a T90.
    -Donny
     
  3. Jun 14, 2018 at 9:08 AM
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    (cough cough) 4.3L V6 (cough cough)
     
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  4. Jun 14, 2018 at 9:33 AM
    Twin2

    Twin2 wasn't me Sponsor

    Virginia Beach, VA
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    I wouldn't cut the grill shell . just use a 72 and later
     
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  5. Jun 14, 2018 at 10:31 AM
    Dgroshek

    Dgroshek New Member

    TX
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    Here's why I want to go with the T90 and V8. The T90 is original to the car and I have it. I want to use it 'til I lose it then I'll probably get something more beefy. The V8 was a gift so there's no $ into it. Everything is all mated up and ready to be put in. @Twin2 if I use a 72 and later grill, it'll give me enough room for the radiator and fan?
     
  6. Jun 14, 2018 at 10:49 AM
    1960willyscj5

    1960willyscj5 Well-Known Member

    Mesa, Arizona
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    Why not mount the fan in front of the radiator? Push air through, instead of pulling air through.
     
  7. Jun 14, 2018 at 11:43 AM
    scott milliner

    scott milliner Master Fabricator

    Seattle Wa.
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    Dec 17, 2002
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    Mounting a V-8 in a '55 is going to be a challenge. Lots of clearance and cooling issues to solve.
    Let me give you some prospective of what you are up against. This is a 4.3 V-6 in a Jeep like yours. As you can see. It barely fits.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Jun 14, 2018 at 11:52 AM
    Daryl

    Daryl Sponsor Sponsor

    Bonney Lake, WA
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    A v8 grill will help, but you will need to cut the back of your current grill off to use it. Don't make any decisions off of trying to keep your stock drivelines. Put everything in place and worry about the drivelines later. This swap has been done thousands of time. A mechanical fan with a short water pump is many times shorter then a good electric one. Do some searching of other threads.
     
  9. Jun 14, 2018 at 8:39 PM
    Keys5a

    Keys5a Sponsor Sponsor

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    Scott Milliner's post #7 speaks volumes. Notice that he has a "pocket" cut into the firewall for the Chevy rear distributor, then look up front at the radiator. Though the shroud part of the grill has not been cut back, also notice the clearance for the radiator end tanks reletive to the headlight buckets. If you use a larger radiator to help cool the 350 Chevy, you may be limited by the headlight buckets too, though grill looks to be an M38a-1 with the recessed headlight buckets. Don't just start cutting and hacking stock parts until you are sure what is needed.
    -Donny
     
  10. Jun 14, 2018 at 8:41 PM
    Daryl

    Daryl Sponsor Sponsor

    Bonney Lake, WA
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    But Scott hasnt touched his grill so that doesn't tell anything for a smallblock. That is where all the room is made up.
     
  11. Jun 14, 2018 at 9:02 PM
    Oldriginal86

    Oldriginal86 Member

    Pasadena, Md.
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    When I did the SBC in a ‘61, the engine was set back as far as it could go and still remove the distributor. No need to cut the firewall. I also used a short water pump. Trimmed the shroud but like was mentioned a cross flow radiator is wide and won’t fit between the headlight buckets without trimming them. I’m using a slim fan mounted in front of the radiator and it’s ok, not perfect. If I did it again, I would cut more of the shroud and buckets , move the radiator far enough forward to run a mechanical fan. This swap has been done many times and I doubt no two are the same. Mock everything up before final welding and get to it.
     
  12. Jun 14, 2018 at 9:21 PM
    mike starck

    mike starck Sponsor Sponsor

    salem,oregon
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    As was said been done thousands of times.I have done at least 6 myself. Putting a power bulge in firewall helps .Using a point style dist is a must.No HEI here.Cut away shroud from grill and mount radiator to frame.My have to cut pockets in headlight buckets depending on radiator size. I have seen many very nice SBC conversions that where done with finesse. The use of a T 90 is only for the most restrained drivers among us.This would negate the reason for a V 8 to start with. Mechanical fan probably a better choice in this case. The V8's in early cj2,3,5's was common but now days there are better choices and donors available.For the intermediate's bring on those 383's or anything you desire.
     
  13. Jun 14, 2018 at 9:58 PM
    duffer

    duffer Rodent Power Sponsor

    Bozeman, MT
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    I have 7 3/4" between the front of the fan hub on a short water pump and the FRONT of the grill in my 3B. The grill is stock but all the radiator support and shrouding has been removed so it is basically flat with the turned in grill bars. In that space resides a 19x26x3+" cross flow radiator, 19.25" mechanical fan, and a full shroud. To fit the radiator, I had to "indent" the passenger side headlight bucket about an inch. I should note that the radiator is not mounted vertical. Rather it is sloped back at the top so it is perpendicular to the fan hub and presumably the engine. This allows more space for those headlight buckets and makes the fan/radiator clearance even. And I don't care much for electric fans--- Yes, you can wire them to turn them off in a deep water crossing but when it comes to actually moving a lot of air, I still believe nothing beats a good mechanical fan in a well fit shroud.

    Use a small cap distributor. Quite a few options on those these days and no need for the HEI beast.

    T90: like Donny said, a light right foot and it should live-at least for a while, assuming you aren't running big tires. I abused the T90 in my B for a couple of years behind a healthy 327 and had nary a problem.
     
  14. Jun 15, 2018 at 7:06 AM
    scott milliner

    scott milliner Master Fabricator

    Seattle Wa.
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    I cut the grill back 1". If you look at the top corner and down the side. You can see the seem were I welded it back together.
     

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