How to: Drop a 5.3 Vortec in your 1963 Riviera without spending money on expensive new parts!

Posted: December 15, 2014 in cars, Riviera, Traditional Custom Cars, transportation
Tags: , , , ,
Gee, that looks tall...

Gee, that looks tall…

Faithful readers will recall that last week I installed the shine new exhaust headers on the 5.3 Vortec after a little creative work with a touch and ball-peen hammer to clear the steering box and right side upper control arm. The engine is now setting on mounts tacked to the frame, the transmission crossmember is done, but before I weld the mounts permanently, I figured I’d better check to make sure the hood would indeed clear the (high mounted) alternator and very tall intake manifold.

I hung the core support and right front fender, and nervously sat the hood down. In order to have it set down all the way, I had to notch the hoods inner support panel over the alternator, and for good measure, I clearanced the alternator bolt boss on the housing about 1/4″ at the front. The result is an easy 1/2″ clearance between the alternator and hood skin. Hurrah!

Now, I can relax a bit, secure that I don’t have to buy a new, low-profile intake manifold and front accessory drive set up. I do have to get an air conditioner compressor mount, but that’s easy. Now I can pull the engine, install the new oil pan with it’s shallower rear sump, clean the frame and weld the mounts in for good.

It feels good to have it working out!

Nip-tuck on the inner panel right over the alternator.

Nip-tuck on the inner panel right over the alternator.

It fits!

It fits!

  1. Keith Vander Pol says:

    Bet you haven’t stopped smiling over this good outcome!

  2. flynbrian48 says:

    You are correct sir! I was dreading having to by an LS intake and front drive, but now I can spend the $$ on an A/C unit or interior kit!

  3. Iain Hall says:

    That is a tight fit! as i have done a couple of engine swaps myself I know how hard it can be to get the details right so its a very big hat tip from me for getting the details right.

  4. Rick Reynolds says:

    I am getting ready to start my engine swap this week i am pulling the 401 nailed and replacing with a 2008 6.0 vortex or ls2 others call it what type of mounts did you use and any advice you might be willing to share thanks Rick

    • flynbrian48 says:

      Hi, thanks for reading! I made mounts and used small block insulators and my own adaptors and frame mounts. it was a challenge, I sectioned the crossmember to drop the engine a bit, as the truck intake doesn’t clear the hood. I didn’t want to swap, the truck intakes run good, and, researching a swap for the LS, it looks like the injector rails and front accessories aren’t compatible, which put it out of my budget. I used a GM engine swap oil pan, the truck sump is SO deep it won’t work. No issues with trans tunnel clearance, I haven’t fired it yet, don’t have the computer refreshed or fuel lines run.

      • Rick Reynolds says:

        Thank you for your advice that’s Will help me out I’ll keep you up to date of my progress any problems with clearance when installing headers ? Thanks again talk to you soon.

      • flynbrian48 says:

        I had to dimple the #3 and 5 pipes to clear the passenger upper control arm a little. Late model Camero LS headers, stainless eBay cheapies.

    • flynbrian48 says:

      Sorry to not reply sooner. I made adapters and used a set of new SBC insulators I had. There lots of photos of how I did the swap here from a couple years ago. Thanks for reading!

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