429 rebuild or swap for another big block

Discussion in 'Early Cadillac Engines' started by Damian Ramuta, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. Damian Ramuta

    Damian Ramuta New Member

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    Hi all,
    I own a 64 Coupe DeVille and the 429 is fairly tired and will require a rebuild. I am in Australia and 429 engine parts are rare. I have considered a 472 and 500 engine swap as there are more performance parts readily available in the US but not in Australia. Could anybody please let me know if a 454 would be an easy swap for the 429. In Australia, 454 parts are readily available.

    cheers, Damian
     
  2. 48Austin

    48Austin Safty First! Then pull the trigger!

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    You may have to go with a total redesign with the 454. All mounts. The 472/500 is an almost drop in. IF you get the engine and trans. with all the accessories. If you are working on a strict budget. Then the 454 is the way to go. If you can do most of work yourself.
    The 429 was a bad design. All four years had a different oil pump/timing cover. The blocks were too hard and tended to crack. So finding a good engine is going to be REALLY rough. In Australia, maybe near impossible. I know you may want to keep it all Cad. But going later model engine may be your best bet.
     
  3. Damian Ramuta

    Damian Ramuta New Member

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    Thanks for the information.
     
  4. nosgood

    nosgood Active Member

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    He's right, it would cost you a small mint to get a fully functioning 429 in Australia, and the reward just wouldn't be that high. The other big block Cadillac motors are awesome, and fairly easy to swap in yourself if you can handle the work yourself.

    That being said, if 454 parts are readily available for you guys, I would consider that very carefully. Cadillacs are expensive engines to build in the states, so I can only imagine the costs are multiplied over seas.

    What sort of performance are you looking for here? That's going to be a major factor in your decision as well.

    -Nick
     
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  5. Damian Ramuta

    Damian Ramuta New Member

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    Hi Nick,

    I have seen some 472 and 500 parts over here but they are not that common. I am looking at 350 - 370HP.

    cheers, Damian
     
  6. Bruce Roe

    Bruce Roe Member

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    A 472/500 engine works, except for the transmission. If you have the old hydramatic it
    will be hard to adapt to the later BOP pattern. It has a different gear select arrangement.

    Some 64s had the first version of the TH400, a one year version with a 429 pattern. A
    68 or later TH400 will bolt directly to the later engine, but may have some issues
    connecting to the car, check it out. An engine/trans swap from a later Cad is probably
    the easiest. A 454 will have the most fit issues, needing a different transmission again.
    Bruce Roe
     
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  7. Damian Ramuta

    Damian Ramuta New Member

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    thanks for the information Bruce
     
  8. 48Austin

    48Austin Safty First! Then pull the trigger!

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    That is just a stock rebuild for these engines. HP wise.
     
  9. goodspeed

    goodspeed New Member

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    Hey man. I own such a car too, and it's very old now. These cars are not so good, so, I think that it's not worth trying to rebuild or repair them. My old coupe deVille is in such an awful situation, that I couldn't even start the engine a couple of days ago.
     
  10. Caddylackn

    Caddylackn Member

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    to add to what Bruce said:

    The '64 turbo 400 had the nailhead bell housing pattern that year with a one year only adapter plate to mate it to the older style 429 block. The '64 block still retained the Jetaway bolt pattern. The later '65-'67 429 blocks used the nailhead bolt pattern. The '64- '67 trannys had the nailhead pattern, which is why the '64 TH400 required the engine adapter. Your car may actually have the Jetaway Trans. The cheaper series 62 did. The more expensive '64 coupe de ville and eldorado came with the TH400. If your reverse is all the way to the right on your shifter column, you have the 4 speed jetaway with 1st being a granny low gear. The TH400 has reverse next to park. Switching back and forth between different year caddys in the 60's can be problematic, when you think you are in R but you are in Dr., or thinking you are in R but you are in 1st. I had a '67 and '64 as daily drivers and I made that mistake more than once.

    Your '64 TH400 had the switch pitch converter which makes it desirable to use and keep if you can. If you find a later year 429 motor you can ditch the one year only block adapter (sell it on EBAY) and use your existing TH400. An '68 and later big block uses the BOP pattern and won't work with your TH400. You can take the guts from your '64 TH400 and install it in a BOP TH400 case and retain the switch pitch feature. Stock your car had a kick down type of switch by the carb, that when pushed (full throttle) would make the converter stall electronically at about an 800 rpm higher speed. You can take that switch and put it on the dash and have full control of when your converter stalls high or low, which is super slick. That kickdown switch is worth selling on EBAY too if you aren't going to use it. The one year only engine adapter is desirable, as it lets older caddy owners '50 - '63 Caddys ditch the problematic Jetaway and upgrade to the '64 - ' 67 TH400
     
  11. 48Austin

    48Austin Safty First! Then pull the trigger!

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    CadCo has an engine mount kit for the Big guys into the '64.
     
  12. Schurkey

    Schurkey Member

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    No switch-pitch in '64.
    Switch-pitch on the TH400 was model-years '65, '66, '67.

    The '64 TH400 was a goofy unit; the valve body was dramatically different from '65-newer TH400. The '64 TH400 valve body is very similar to the one used in the front-wheel-drive TH425 as used in Toronado and ElDorado, though.
     
  13. 48Austin

    48Austin Safty First! Then pull the trigger!

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    It's not that these cars aren't so good, the engine blocks are crap! Cadillac made the blocks too hard and they tended to crack. They wanted to make the engines last for a "jillion" miles with no service. To much nickel in the alloy. Also oiling and timing covers where different for every year. They finally got it together with the 472/500's. Which the 429's were the experiment. Why GM/Cad didn't use Olds first as always before I can't figure. At that time Olds was the experimental platform for Cadillac. Even up to the NorthStar!
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2020
  14. Caddylackn

    Caddylackn Member

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    The '64 Buick Wildcat with the turbo 400 has the switch pitch, my buddy has one. I wonder why it was not in the '64 caddy turbo 400? I have heard that the '64 turbo 400 was a one off for internal parts, but I never had a '64 with a turbo 400. The switch pitch feature actually came out in the older Buick and Oldsmobile two speed transmissions first. Seems like a waste of money to come out with two different turbo 400 transmissions in '64 and come out with an engine block that doesn't fit the new transmission without an adapter.
     
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  15. Caddylackn

    Caddylackn Member

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    To circle back around from all the thread jacking to the OP's original question: How hard would it be to transplant a 454?

    I think if you can find the same type of oil pan sump as your 429, it should fit. I don't know about the oil pump interference, I don't have a 454. There is generally a lot of room in the engine bay on these cars. Could be some steering shaft interference if the 454 is wider than the 429, I doubt it is.

    A 454 is not going to mate up with your caddy Turbo 400 though due to the nailhead pattern that is on the stock adapter. You would have to transplant a later model chevy turbo 400 in. It should be easy if you can match up to the same length as the turbo 400 that is in there now. Exhaust, IDK. If you can find factory 454 manifolds that dumps out in the same general location as your stock 429 manifolds I would say it could work with custom exhaust pipes. If not, go with custom headers or block huggers. Your '64 will have only 7 volts to the coil, so swap out that pink wire with a new one at the firewall. The pink wire has internal resistance.

    The 454 will still be lighter than the 429 that is in there now, so coils should be fine. I bet the stock radiator is big enough but the inlet and outlet may be on the wrong sides.
     
  16. robocop

    robocop Active Member

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    After you make all these modifications to use alternate power plants you will end up spending more money than if you just rebuilt what you have. If you want more power then do a little porting on the heads, find a mild cam and install true duals with resonators to maintain correct Cadillac quiet but reduce back pressure. The parts to rebuild your 429 are still available here in the States.
     
  17. 48Austin

    48Austin Safty First! Then pull the trigger!

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    The Big Cad engine is really lighter than the chevy. But if you are looking for alternative engines, why not Mercedes, or BMW V8,s? unless the cost is way to much. Also unless of course you want to keep it at least all General.
     
  18. 48Austin

    48Austin Safty First! Then pull the trigger!

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    The problem is the 429's where still no good! IF the block is not cracked, then there is the oil pump problem. IF the pump is OK then that isnot a problem. All four years of timing covers are different! Which makes for different oil pumps.
    The only thing to do is take the engine apart first to see what's wrong. Then go from there.
     
  19. Bruce Roe

    Bruce Roe Member

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    I hav a Chev pattern TH400 case I would love to sell, does switch pitch
    with the restrictor added. Bruce Roe
     
  20. robocop

    robocop Active Member

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    If its been running up till now and you don't overheat it then its probably not cracked. I had a 64 rebuilt for a friend. Machinist did find a crack that ran from a head bolt hole to water jacket and we rebuilt it anyway. No problems.
     

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