Jay's 66 Miller-Meteor build

PSYKO_Inc

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Hi everyone, I had started a build thread on another site, but since I've found this site I decided to summarize up until now so I can update both sites as the build goes on.

I bought the car in April 2019 in rough shape and not running. Car as-purchased:
20190504_150934.jpg20190504_152411.jpg

Went through some starter and flywheel nonsense, and got the 429 running, but the carb was in bad shape (previous owner had swapped to an Edelbrock 750 cfm carb, but it was totally plugged up with gunk.) Also had a coolant leak from the water pump, so I bought a new pump but never got a chance to install it. I topped the radiator off with water while I was working on it. It was late spring in south GA, so no worries about freezing. This will become relevant later.

So life happens, as it tends to do. Didn't get much time to work on the car for a few months. In November 2019, I got orders to move to Omaha, NE. At this point all my efforts were on getting everything packed up and getting the house sold. I was due in Omaha in March, and shipped the project cars in late February.
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(The black S10 ahead of the Caddy is also mine.)
Now apparently it gets cold in Omaha in Feb/Mar. Remember the water in the radiator? Yeah... So anyway, the move got delayed until May due to covid travel restrictions. Once we finally arrived, cue a couple months of unpacking and getting settled in. Late June I finally got a chance to work on the Caddy again. Rebuilt the carb and got it running better. But where's that water coming from? Oh crap, that's a freeze plug on the ground. Let's check the oil... Fuuuuuck...
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To be continued...
 

PSYKO_Inc

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And so I started the teardown. First thing I found:
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So that's not what I was hoping to see. Maybe I can find a new shortblock. Let's clean up those heads...
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Notice the hairline crack just below the exhaust valve. Both heads were cracked in the same spot. So it's time to find a whole new engine. In the meantime, a friend of mine who is working on a 66 Superior had just bought a set of new bucket seats to swap in, and offered me his old bench seat.
Before and after:
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More to come...
 

PSYKO_Inc

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Found a 500 for sale locally on Craigslist. Yes please! Brought it home, fixed a couple broken exhaust bolts, did lots of scrubbing and degreasing, and pulled out the 429... 20200804_203109.jpg20200805_165103.jpg20200810_130109.jpg20200816_003501.jpg
 

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Found a set of Sanderson headers on ebay. Cleaned them up and painted them. Painted more stuff. 20200822_205553.jpg20200823_104423.jpg20200822_201811.jpg20200829_135731.jpg
 

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Got a front sump pan. More paint. Modified a BOP to Chevy trans adapter to fit the 429 trans bolt pattern. Excuse my ugly welds. Needed to clearance the countersunk bolt head slightly once it was on the engine (didn't get a picture, so use your imagination.) 20200902_121023.jpg20200902_120857.jpg20200906_185134.jpg20200906_220453.jpg
 

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Engine install day. Had to take the water pump off to clear the radiator support going in. 20200907_224219.jpg20200907_225847.jpg20200907_232408.jpg
And that pretty much brings us up to speed. Engine is bolted to the trans, still working out the final configuration for engine mounts. My original plan puts the engine slightly too far forward, and the pan is hitting the sway bar. Going to modify the engine and trans mounts to move the whole thing back 1/2" or so. Hoping to have it moving under its own power within the next couple weeks.
 

Psychoholic

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Gotta love a stacked headlight combo!

I'm no wealth of info on the motor swap (I thought I knew 'some' stuff until I started reading on here and now I realize I am just a wee babe in the land of the wise relatively) but if you need any hearse/combo specific stuff through the process I can help out where I can finding things. Damned shame that 429 was toast, I had one in a '67 Superior I had and it was a pretty nice motor. I suspect you'll have to get at least a new front driveshaft made if you move the motor/trans forward?
 

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Actually moving it back, but yeah potentially. I'm hoping there's enough room in the slip yoke to where I can move the trans back and not quite bottom it out. Since it uses a carrier bearing, it doesn't need as much room to move as a 1pc shaft. If that plan doesn't work, then it'll be driveshaft shortening time.
 

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Caddylackn

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My original plan puts the engine slightly too far forward, and the pan is hitting the sway bar. Going to modify the engine and trans mounts to move the whole thing back 1/2" or so. Hoping to have it moving under its own power within the next couple weeks.

You can also modify your oil pan for clearance. Cut a 3" section off the front part of the low sump of the oil pan, and 2" section off the rear part of the low sump of the pan. Make sure they are the same width at the cut points. Then swap them and weld 'er up. That would buy you an inch of clearance off the front side of the low sump. Welding up sheet metal is easier than moving and modifying mounts and driveshafts. I doubt your oil pick up would even have to be modified. I have also seen where somebody has cut a 2" pipe in half long ways, and then cut the pan and welded the half pipe to the front of the sump to buy clearance for a sway bar or tie rod.
 

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You can also modify your oil pan for clearance. Cut a 3" section off the front part of the low sump of the oil pan, and 2" section off the rear part of the low sump of the pan. Make sure they are the same width at the cut points. Then swap them and weld 'er up. That would buy you an inch of clearance off the front side of the low sump. Welding up sheet metal is easier than moving and modifying mounts and driveshafts. I doubt your oil pick up would even have to be modified. I have also seen where somebody has cut a 2" pipe in half long ways, and then cut the pan and welded the half pipe to the front of the sump to buy clearance for a sway bar or tie rod.
All these ideas have crossed my mind, but I'd like to make it fit without having to pull the engine again to drop the pan. I had to rent a hoist to get it in the car to begin with (I have the small Harbor Freight hoist which works for most jobs, but it doesn't have a long enough reach for a car as "voluptuous" as a 66 Caddy. With the cylinder all the way up against the front bumper, the hook only reaches about to the water pump.) it's really close to fitting though, I think with a normal BOP trans without the adapter plate it would probably be a drop in deal. Everywhere I have read says to offset the mounts by 1.25" forward of the stock position, I went with 1.75" forward (5/16" would account for the thickness of the trans adapter, going to chalk up the extra 3/16" to measuring error.) Going to play with the position of the motor mount plates to get the position just right, and see what else needs to be changed to make that happen. Hopefully I can get the engine to sit nice and low, because I'm going to need all the hood clearance I can get. Got another part to install once I know whether or not I will need to cut the hood... 20200825_170203.jpg
And yes, there's a carb in that picture, went with the biggest drop base I could find, but it's still going to be really close to the hood...
 

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So I played with motor mounts for most of the day yesterday, and the sway bar continues to be a huge pain. Moved the engine back 3/4", and it still hits... Decided to unbolt the frame mounts for the bar, looks like I can move it forward around 3/4" to clear the pan without putting the links at too bad of an angle (any further and it will interfere with the oil pump/filter) so I think that's the route I'm going to take. Just need to drill 4 new holes in the frame for the sway bar mounts. I'm mostly happy with the engine position now (wish I could get it lower, but stupid sway bar...) but not happy with the actual mounts. Planning to grab another set of stock mounts to cut up and try again. Photo is from before I moved the engine back (redrilled to center of engine bracket) but I don't like the number of washers/spacers I had to add.
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Just to keep myself motivated, I bolted up some of the accessories. Starting to look more complete now.
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Once I got the alt bolted up I realized that it's probably a good thing I moved the engine back, it's still really close to the radiator support.
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Fan will be a bit of a challenge. Fan bolt pattern is the same as an SBC, so I might go with an aftermarket flex fan. Original 429 fan is a smaller bolt pattern. If I'm feeling adventurous, I may try to redrill it, but will still need a different spacer.
 

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Got a little more done today. Got the frame drilled for the stock style motor mounts. Looks a lot better than the first attempt (engine is still raised up on the jack in this picture.)
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Also found a new problem. The angled brace between the crossmember and radiator support interferes with installing the filter. I was able to get the filter on by jacking up the engine (was still working on the passenger side motor mount at the time.)
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It's not as close as it looks in the picture, about 1/4" clearance, so it should be fine for the initial "get it running" phase, but having to unbolt a motor mount and jack up the engine every time I change the oil is definitely going to get old. Either going to have to modify the brace for clearance, find a shorter filter, remote mount the filter, or try the 425 style oil pump.
 

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Just make sure the filter won't hit it as you smash the go pedal. The twist of the engine could hit things. On my 81TransAm the oil filter was about ⅛ from hitting my steering rod.(sorry can't remember the name of the rod that goes to the passenger side.) Any way, I have to move it down. Steers fine, handles OK for such an old car. Food for thought.
PJ
 

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With minde they just cutted that support, Did a nicer job at cleaning it up but still have to make a removable one. The chassis steel is thick enough to be tapped and the other side i'll weld a lip with boltholes. Did you do anything to your swaybar? Mine seems closer to the oilpump.
 

PSYKO_Inc

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Just make sure the filter won't hit it as you smash the go pedal. The twist of the engine could hit things. On my 81TransAm the oil filter was about ⅛ from hitting my steering rod.(sorry can't remember the name of the rod that goes to the passenger side.) Any way, I have to move it down. Steers fine, handles OK for such an old car. Food for thought.
PJ
Good point, I'll have to see how much it moves around once it is up and running. Might have to do some big smoky burnouts, "for science..."
With minde they just cutted that support, Did a nicer job at cleaning it up but still have to make a removable one. The chassis steel is thick enough to be tapped and the other side i'll weld a lip with boltholes. Did you do anything to your swaybar? Mine seems closer to the oilpump.
Just cutting it out was my first thought as well, but I'd like to do as clean of an install as possible, and I'm sure they put that brace in for a reason. I hadn't thought of making the brace removable, that's a good idea. As for the sway bar, I moved the sway bar mounts forward about 3/4 inch (19mm) in order to keep the bar from hitting the oil pan. The mounts are just clamped in place right now until I get all the engine mounting finalized, and then I will drill the holes for the mounts. It sounds like your car might have the mounts in the stock location, did you need to shorten the drive shaft?
 

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Tonight's update: oil filter issue is solved for now.
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WIX 51042 is the same thread as the original but an inch shorter and 3/4" skinnier. This one is actually a Microgard (made by WIX) same part number. Fits way better.

Motor mounts done, starter in and wired up, coil is mounted and wired (will eventually relocate to the fender, but need a longer coil wire.) Fuel lines mostly done.
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Had to switch back to the stupid small air filter, drop base hits the coil. Was connecting the last fuel line (supply to fuel pump) and the hose split, so I need to hit the parts store for more fuel hose (can connect pcv valve as well.) They should have my water pump gasket in tomorrow as well so at least it's not a wasted trip.

Left to do: torque converter bolts, headers/modify y-pipe, water pump, trans crossmember, and top off fluids, and it should be ready to crank.
 
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