View Full Version : big block or not

02-18-2001, 05:09 PM
just happen to have a 396 truck engine sitting around (actually sitting installed in a 77 pickup truck)and was wondering since my 67 chevy van has an empty spot in the engine bay has anybody installed/ever seen a rat motor stuffed into an early chev van.will it even fit in the hole and if so what mods would be necessary.i was thinking about drilling the spot welds off of the doghouse to van floor and doing a test fit but would definitely like to know if she'll fit before i set out on another journey.clue me in before i attempt the ratification project.anybody have any old articles on this?appreciate any info tom.

solid side 65
02-18-2001, 10:13 PM
I've personally seen a 396 in a 69 and a 427 in a 66. Both used the stock crossmember and mounts. The 66 had a custom built doghouse, the 69 had at least the original engine cover lid, it was quite a while ago. I do remember the 69 carrying the front tires out of the local cruise spot. My personal fav was a 65 w/sb that had a mild setback with a bench seat, not much of a driveshaft about a foot as I recall. A tape measure may save some time before you get too involved.

R.I.P. Dale #3

02-19-2001, 12:06 AM
I second that R.I.P. So long to the greatest NASCAR driver this sport has ever seen. It's hard to believe he's really gone. What a sad day.

02-19-2001, 02:00 AM
I third that. R.I.P. Dale #3

02-19-2001, 08:32 AM
Yes, from what I've read and heard the 396 will fit in the doghouse. You can install the engine with heads & manifolds intact, from underneath the van. Never done this myself, but I hear it's easier than cramming it through the top and then putting the heads and manifolds on.

We're planning on a stroked 396 for my '68.

As for #3, I've never been a NASCAR fan, but I must say that this is a truly sad time for anyone who's ever turned a wrench or craved the adrenaline rush that comes from pure speed and acceleration. Here's to the 'Intimidator'. http://www.vcvc.org/ubb/wink.gif

02-19-2001, 03:54 PM
Hooker used to list headers for a big block in the 67-70 chevy van, they may still if you have a patient counterman, hehe.
I still want a 500 c.i. Caddy motor in mine...

PS- Not a big NASCAR fan here either, I know a few guys who race short track, and we feel he was unconsciuos before he hit the wall as he has driven out of worse taps than that before. At least he left the Earth doing what he loved.......

02-19-2001, 05:20 PM
thanks for the input.will definitely drop her in.can't wait to see that rat sitting between the seats.best of all the van came equipped with a 12 bolt rear so as long as the 3spd can handle the beast (with a nice clutch-pressure plate combo)i should have a strong setup that will be a blasssst to drive.flip-flopping between the 66 gmc and 67 chevy van but will try installing this weekend if i get my a-- in gear.thanks again tom.p.s. yes the 67 is the one with the disc brake setup so hopefully she should stop well too have yet to find out.

02-19-2001, 06:31 PM
And Mateen Cleaves R.I.P.
Died same day as Earnhart.

02-20-2001, 03:56 PM
No- not Mateen, his older brother.
Still a bummer.

02-20-2001, 04:53 PM
Thanks for clearing it up V68. It just seamed
like there was no coverage on it.Now I no.But either way its still a death.

02-23-2001, 08:47 PM
just letting you guys know that the rats in the house.seems like its definitely going to make vanning that much enjoyable hearing that big block hum .still using the three on the tree so hopefully she can handle about 400 hp.this sure got me remotivated into finishing the 67.keep on vanning tom.

02-26-2001, 08:13 PM
how's the clearance in there? can you get at the spark plugs? did you drop it in the top or come up from the bottom? enquiring minds want to know!

02-26-2001, 08:36 PM
http://www.vcvc.org/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.vcvc.org/ubb/biggrin.gif WOW!im astonished. finally, someone put a big block in their van. congratulations, and please DO tell us all the details. what type of mounting setup did you use? howd it fit? how did you get it in? what headers did you use? the questions go on and on and on and on and on............. this is just too exciting. congrats, and dont hurt yourself driving that powerful beast he, he. http://www.vcvc.org/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.vcvc.org/ubb/biggrin.gif

02-26-2001, 08:42 PM
A big block in a van would be dream to drive.

02-26-2001, 10:38 PM
heres how it was done.first of all this can only be accomplished on a 67-69 van.unless you are willing to change your doghouse on a 64-66 van to the larger 67-69 one.as far as install is concern this is what did.i opted to install the engine from the bottom side.since she don't fit from the top unless your willing to dismantle the heads off your motor or to remove all the spot welds from your doghouse to floor and physical remove the doghouse from the van(wasn't in the mood)what i then opted to do is install her from underneath.i needed a way to roll her underneath so i thought awhile at what would work best.what i used was a engine stand.with the vertical removed from it i proceeded on bolting the engine up to the crossmember using brand new 6 cyl engine mounts.(yes you heard right 6 cyl.)these allowed me to fit into the 6 cyl crossmember i had perfectly.with this assy bolted together i stradled the engine stand(with my crossmember attached and had the perfect low height engine roller tool.this height from floor to top of the engine wound up being 28 inches tall.i then proceeded on lifting the rear end of the van to the full height of my jack stands(heavy duty type)this gave me a gnd clearance between the floor and the bottom of the van(in front of the rear wheels)of 30 inches(two inches of room).plenty.after rolling the motor into as fwd a position i could get her under the van i proceeded to get the engine hoist ready for the pull up part.(i used a moroso engine lift plate)this mounts directly on the intake manifold carb base really nice way to lift motor.i then lifted her up and removed the engine crossmember(just makes it easier to get her positioned).once i was close with the cherry picker i rebolted up the crossmember and then bolted the crossmember to the frame rails.bolted up a new press plate,disc,throwout bearing,bell housing and tranny and lifted and bolted the tranny into position.a perfect fit.just what the doctor ordered.sweeeeet!as far as room no problem.the only item is i needed to order up some street rodder style (block hugger headers)hooker makes em and thats that.as far as tranny linkage perfectly the same as far as throttle linkage yet to be messed with.shouldn't be too bad.even my holley 750 with aircleaner assy fits under the engine cover.in other words what the heck are you guys waiting for.(outside of money and time).plan on having exhaust ran from headers to front of rear wheels on both sides(shouldn't cost too much since its such a short run.)hope this info motivates.also need to have a three or four row rad built but that should be it for any more expensive mod's.the rest should be fairly nickle and dime stuff.sure looks intimidating thats only when the hoods up!otherwise its a definite sleeper to a drop the hammer on some body not paying attention.later(keep on vannin)

02-27-2001, 03:31 PM
Something I've been toying with on the radiator issue is to munt a custom built radiator up front, right behind the grill. If you have the V8 radiator's seperate coolant tank, you could mount that under the doghouse cover, and run tubes down to the radiator with short hookup hoses. The rad would end up shorter and wider than stock, but would be nearly 100% exposed to the air. Electric fans could be used for low speed air flow. I think I'm gonna go out in the garage and get my tape measure out now!

greg showers
03-29-2001, 06:48 PM
hey tom i tried to use a set of block hugger headers on my 350 and it would not work it hit the crossmember, i had to use truck headers. just thought you should know. and thanks for the info on the motor swap. when i put in my 350 i went in from underneath also, but i lifted the front not the rear. and i liked the engine stand idea, i used a creeper (and i put it in the garbage after i was done). i'm trying to save up for a 502 crate motor to put in mine but till then the 350 will have to do. thanks again

03-08-2009, 07:23 PM
Tom, any pics of your big block swap? Thanks,Brad

03-08-2009, 08:24 PM
I do believe twovanman has a BB in his red 1st gen van.Looked at it in PA at the )'05 Nats,very clean install if memory serves.On the topic of Caddy engines,I have a 64 429 Caddy engine engine I may put in my spare 64 chevy...AC... http://www.vcvc.org/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.vcvc.org/ubb/biggrin.gif http://www.vcvc.org/ubb/biggrin.gif

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee289/andrewschevelle/th_P6130238.jpg (http://s233.photobucket.com/albums/ee289/andrewschevelle/?action=view&current=P6130238.jpg) Hopelessly hooked on Earlies since 1982

03-09-2009, 05:40 PM
http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r37/twovanman/IM000195.jpg (http://s140.photobucket.com/albums/r37/twovanman/?action=view&current=IM000195.jpg)

03-09-2009, 05:44 PM
WOW I did it.I just posted a picture By myself. This is a picture of my Big block in a box. Ken

03-09-2009, 06:00 PM
Great Job Ken...now that wasn't hard was it? lol http://www.vcvc.org/ubb/smile.gif

03-09-2009, 07:57 PM
And i thought mine was fun to drive with just a 305.... HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!
Nice Job Ken!!!!

03-09-2009, 11:25 PM
Tom,Ken,hats off to ya'll !Could'nt help but admire what what you guys did.Maybe that'll give some more BB boys a lil inspiration.
Ken...when I saw your pic,I could'nt help but think of a line my mamma used to say...'Thats like puttin ten pounds of 'stuff' in a five pound bag !'.I don't mean that in a bad way,just had to grin when I saw that pic.Thanks man.

03-10-2009, 08:14 AM
Somebody has been digging in the achives for information.......a 2001 post..

I wonder what Tom did with this van?.

When I first joined here Ken did have a link up with a bunch of pictures of him building this van.....

He has drivin this sweet little big block powered "sleeper" 1st gen to quite a few Van events....

I do have to make one correction though."Block Huggers" do fit a small block in an Early Chevy......

I got exicted reading this post at first because I though maybe Tom came back by for a visit.I know he has moved freom Indy.....
We have not heard from him for quite a while.
Tom also stuck a small block in a first gen using thew original dog house....



Its a "van thing" A life style you have to live to understand!!!!

[This message has been edited by Wookee (edited March 10, 2009).]

03-10-2009, 09:31 AM
Ken's big block first gen is awesome. definitely a van that needs to be seen in person.
BTW how is juicy lucy coming along!?! I have an apartment right near the dome now so if you ever need a hand on juicy let me know! I'm not to far from you. would love to get away from school work and relax with van work if you ever need a hand http://www.vcvc.org/ubb/biggrin.gif

03-10-2009, 09:36 AM
Twovanman, Mac has it right, Holy Crap!!! (Now we need to get you and turbovan together and put some plumbing on top of the big block). Looks like you have a pretty good power-to-weight ratio there.

03-10-2009, 02:34 PM
The '67 Panel he put the engine into went to Wheezin' ??? I think down in Tenn. The big block motor was removed and was dropped into a '67 Camaro that Tom later sold as a project piece.


67 Sportvan Custom (project)
283 & Stock TH350