Time For Some Updates

Well, it’s been a while since I posted anything new on the 64 SS project. We really hadn’t driven it much since the super tune post last year. The car ran really strong but it wasn’t what I would call dependable. Plus the brakes were terrible, even after rebuilding them.

So the three of us; me, my brother and my son decided to transplant a 5.3 Vortec engine and 4L60E transmission into the old girl. I will apologize to the purists out there but the engine and transmission in the car weren’t even close to numbers matching. The engine was out of a ’66 Chevy and the M-21 trans was out of a Pontiac.

We have a friend in Oklahoma, Daniel, who does a lot of LS conversions so we enlisted him to find us a motor and transmission. 

The engine and trans were almost immediately found. So we hauled the 64 from St. Louis to the Tulsa area.


Hauling Day


We had the engine checked out and put a small cam in it and basically did an upper end rebuild. We had the engine painted Chevrolet orange and left the aluminum heads bare and they will be polished. The transmission was sent out and rebuilt with ceramic clutches installed.


Our LS Engine


The decision was also made to put 4 wheel disc brakes on the car. We felt that it only made sense to put power brakes on the car. We ordered a 12″ front disc kit with 2″ dropped spindles.

We killed two birds with one stone for the rear disc brakes when we bought an 8.8″ ford rear end from a Ford Explorer with disc brakes included. The rear end from an Explorer has an offset pinion from center, so it was narrowed by shortening the drivers side to match the passenger side. Then an additional axle from the passenger side was installed into the driver’s side. This is also a 3.73:1 posi unit that we had rebuilt with carbon fiber clutches. The rear end is 3.5″ narrower than the stock rear end which is allowing us to put some pretty meaty tires and nice deep dish wheels on the car.


Rear End


At the time of this posting we are having some challenges with the oil pan clearance, intake clearance and motor mount issues. The truck oil pan was in no way ever going to work. We knew that going in. Forums told us that a late nineties to early two thousands F-Body oil pan would clear the cross member. The F-Body pan was still hanging a little low to clear. So we needed to fabricate a 3/8″ spacer to place under the motor mount that bolted to the frame. Well that made the oil pan clear but now the truck intake is probably to high to clear the hood. That forces us to make a decision. Do we get a different oil pan which is thinner or do we begin the search for an LS 6 intake? It isn’t that simple. When you put an LS 6 intake on a truck engine, you have to change the water pump, add spacers to the pulley and relocate the idler pulley. We are still deciding what to do there. This is (was) a bit of a budget build…lol.


Won't Quite Fit


We ordered the wheels and tires and they should be on site by mid-week next week. We bought American Racing Torque Thrust II chrome wheels. The rears are 18 X 10 and the fronts are 18 X 7. The tires are Sumitomo HTR ZII. 235/40/18 on the front and 275/40/18 on the rear.

Well that is where we are today. What a learning curve for us all. This is the first X frame car that the mechanic has done. We are all picking up some good useful information to share. I will post more as we progress. I am tracking every purchase made so that when this is all done I will post the prices of all of the parts that were needed so you will have an idea for budgeting a DIY project.

Stay tuned!