55 caddy

Lynn Conrad

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I am just buildling a shop and want to know anyones feelings on my idea...
I have a 55 series 62 with a 56 Caddy angine that has a rod knocking for starters....Im 61 and want to do an engine/tranny swap one time and
use something that i dont have to keep dicking with....everyone says SBC 400 (carb) and 700R4 has anyone done this before or what do you think.
I fugured parts availability should be good.
Thanks...Lynn
 

Red98422

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I must ask if you’ve considered upgrading to a stock rebuilt Cadillac 472 or 500? Would be a significant improvement on the power of the current engine and it keeps it Cadillac with a big and consistent tourqe curve Which will help get the old girl moving. Besides even at above factory power levels (within reason) it will absolutely outlast you.

If your set on going the other route however I think that’s going to depend on your area. For instance around me it is mighty difficult to locate a sbc 400 and its getting more and more expensive to buy a first gen 350. Unless you already have it then it’s a moot point.

the 700r4 is a good trans for moderate power as long as you install and adjust the TV cable correctly you should be good to go.
It sounds like you have a fairly solid plan for a trouble free cruiser if that’s what direction you decide to go.
 

kzhurley

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Around here, 400sbc's are hard to come by.. Also it would take a decently built 700r to last even behind a stockists 400sbc...

I will tell you that installing a 472-500 in a 55-56 car is no small feat.. The k-member needs notched out and boxed around the oil pump,fuel pump and front of oil pan. Mounts take alot of fab also. The fresh air boxes on the firewall need reworked or removed. The driver side exhaust manifold on mine had to be angle milled to swing the outlet in closer to the block to clear the steering box.....
But after all that, it's well worth the time lol..
 

Lynn Conrad

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I must ask if you’ve considered upgrading to a stock rebuilt Cadillac 472 or 500? Would be a significant improvement on the power of the current engine and it keeps it Cadillac with a big and consistent tourqe curve Which will help get the old girl moving. Besides even at above factory power levels (within reason) it will absolutely outlast you.

If your set on going the other route however I think that’s going to depend on your area. For instance around me it is mighty difficult to locate a sbc 400 and its getting more and more expensive to buy a first gen 350. Unless you already have it then it’s a moot point.

the 700r4 is a good trans for moderate power as long as you install and adjust the TV cable correctly you should be good to go.
It sounds like you have a fairly solid plan for a trouble free cruiser if that’s what direction you decide to go.
I have considered other Caddy engines however Im 61 and want to put something in that has parts availability and also reliability without alot of fab work I will be hiring this swap done at a local machine shop where its a young guy who is qualified and has offered, the 400 is not a given I suppose a 350 since the original 331 put out 210 HP...... I just want to drive the old girl and enjoy it....doesnt sound like your a lover of the 700r4 either....I am open to suggestions of a swap combo of engine and tranny...thanks..Lynn
 

Red98422

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I have considered other Caddy engines however Im 61 and want to put something in that has parts availability and also reliability without alot of fab work I will be hiring this swap done at a local machine shop where its a young guy who is qualified and has offered, the 400 is not a given I suppose a 350 since the original 331 put out 210 HP...... I just want to drive the old girl and enjoy it....doesnt sound like your a lover of the 700r4 either....I am open to suggestions of a swap combo of engine and tranny...thanks..Lynn

completely understand about the Fab work involved, and that does make sense. Couldn’t help but at least ask haha.

that said the Chevy small block is a well known and heavily supported product so it’s really hard to go wrong there especially if you having the work done locally and parts availability and local knowledge are priorities.

a small block with vortec heads upgraded springs and a halfway decent camshaft will net you well over 350hp and you will maintain a stupid level of reliability.

I have no problems with the 700r4 it is a fantastic transmission if kept within reasonable limitations and frankly the perfect fit for something like what your doing, have one in my sqarebody suburban that’s supporting approx 300hp(crank) with no issues to speak of.

Personally I run a stand-alone cooler and would suggest you do the same at the power levels we’re talking about. I also quadruple checked the TV cable before I fired it off the first time. Those are the main things to watch for on these. I do have a corvette servo in it for a firmer 1-2 shift and a deeper pan (+2qts) but other than that is pretty much stock and drivability is fantastic.

This video shows the direct results of exactly what I’m talking about with the vortec head swap straight off a dyno

 

Caddylackn

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There are a lot of questions to determine what the best choice would be:
How is the condition of the tranny and the compression on the engine?
Do you want to keep it original for value or you just want a reliable driver?
How many miles are you going to drive a year? Weekend cruiser, vacation trips?
An engine/tranny swap will require a full exhaust swap, driveline shortened, motor mounts, tranny mounts, maybe radiator swap, exhaust manifold fun.
Are you going to upgrade the brakes and suspension for the added power?
What is your budget?
What are your mechanic/fab skills?

If you are not going to drive many miles per year, and the rest of your drivetrain is fine I would pull the motor and regrind the crank, new rod bearings, main bearings, rings, oil pump, timing chain, and reseal the motor. and paint it. This seems like the least amount of work to me. No fab work.

If you are going to drive a lot of miles per year and long distances and want decent gas mileage I would consider an LS swap with a front clip swap. Best of all worlds: reliability, weight savings, better brakes, better handling, gas mileage. Fair amount of welding fab work though. If you swap the front frame off the donor car with the motor, you save a lot of fabbing up of motor mounts, exhaust manifolds, steering, etc. But you must have a car lift to do this type of work.

Here is a good video of what is involved. This guy does amazing work and can put a clip and an LS in anything.

 

Lynn Conrad

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completely understand about the Fab work involved, and that does make sense. Couldn’t help but at least ask haha.

that said the Chevy small block is a well known and heavily supported product so it’s really hard to go wrong there especially if you having the work done locally and parts availability and local knowledge are priorities.

a small block with vortec heads upgraded springs and a halfway decent camshaft will net you well over 350hp and you will maintain a stupid level of reliability.

I have no problems with the 700r4 it is a fantastic transmission if kept within reasonable limitations and frankly the perfect fit for something like what your doing, have one in my sqarebody suburban that’s supporting approx 300hp(crank) with no issues to speak of.

Personally I run a stand-alone cooler and would suggest you do the same at the power levels we’re talking about. I also quadruple checked the TV cable before I fired it off the first time. Those are the main things to watch for on these. I do have a corvette servo in it for a firmer 1-2 shift and a deeper pan (+2qts) but other than that is pretty much stock and drivability is fantastic.

This video shows the direct results of exactly what I’m talking about with the vortec head swap straight off a dyno

I am not a big enough gear head to understand all he talks about in the videos however I had no idea the heads made that much difference....the original 331 put out 210HP it was sad to hear the out of box SBC did 190HP from the video he talks like the thing to do is watch the wrecks and find a Vortec SBC to start with
I am in the process of finally putting up a shed so I can start collecting parts as well for this future project...I just want to end up with something that can put you back in your seat in a heavy boat like mine yet cruise down the road at 60 mph as well....I liked the video thanks....your Suburban setup sounds like what I am looking for....I am all about the simplier the better ..thanks////Lynn
 
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