1978 Caprice Ls Swap

J.McGinnis

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Apr 22, 2020
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Bought this car sometime last year, Great driver. It had a sbc 350 and th350 with a 8.2 rear end. Car drove amazing and is a very solid car. With extra time in our hands, I’ve decided I’d pullout the old drivetrain and start putting together a 5.3 motor I had and give Ms. Vanessa a new heart.
 

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J.McGinnis

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Here’s some pictures of the car as it sat when I first bought it. It was repainted the green you see here by a previous owner. Not the best, there is some cracking of bindi in the trunk area and around the door handle. Also, it sports what I believed to be 17” irocs.
 

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J.McGinnis

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One of the first things I wanted to do as a new owner was get a few things sorted out. One of the things we’re replacing the heater box. Was told the car was from S. Carolina so they had it bypassed. Also was complete front brake replacement. That included, mater cylinder, brake booster, front calipers and rotors.
 

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J.McGinnis

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After I got the brakes and heat working I decided to refresh the carpet, head liner and a few trim pieces. The interior wasn’t bad, I Just wanted to give it a bit of a refresher. Some of the rear window interior trim pieces were missing and had to source those out and repaint.
 

J.McGinnis

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Once I pulled the carpet up, I was suprised to find sound dead ear and solid floors. Which kindve gave me hope that the car was intact from the south. Here you can see the comparison from the old carpet and the new carpet. Wanted more of a darker tone, hence the color difference. Not entirely too happy with the torment. In ordered the more expensive with the rubber backing and is hard to mold to the curves of the floor.
 

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J.McGinnis

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Here’s how the interior sits. Still have to replace dome light, and find A pillars. I tried to paint match the trim pieces to hold the headliner the best as possible. The original color is the green as you can see by the seats. The goal is to eventually get those and dash wrapped a color that matches the headliner and carpet.
 

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J.McGinnis

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With interior aside, I wanted to get my hands dirty with more of the mechanical side. Something I enjoy is working on drivetrain components. Granted I hate getting greasy. So plans are to completely degrease and re undercoat
 

J.McGinnis

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Here is the 5.3 I have been piecing together. The plan was to completely have it completed before I began the swap. It’s a stick bottom end, gon through by machine shop to be hot tanked, have it checked over, bearings replaced and rings re gapped. It sports a stage 2 cam, dual valve springs, hardened pushrods, Trunion upgrade, muscle car oil pan, Ls6 intake.
 

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J.McGinnis

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I pulled what I thought to be a 305 which turn out to be a 350 , trans and drive shaft to began the swap.
 

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J.McGinnis

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Completely cleaned and wire wheeled the engine bay and hit it with a few coats of bed liner. Still have to clean and paint the wheel wells. Want to source a welder to replace a small section on one of them. But here’s how the motor sits in the car. Still need to source headers, front accessories and harness.
 

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J.McGinnis

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Not completely sure what it was out of I got it degreased and painted. Wheel studs were 5x5 while the fronts were 5x4.75. So I ordered some mossed axles with the corresponding bolt pattern for the front. Also ordered new bearings and a rear disc brake conversion kit. Just waiting for those parts to come in to reassemble.
 

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J.McGinnis

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Also while I had it out, repainted and added a deep pan. Also am going to replace front and rear seals. Shifted fine when it was in the car. I’m not going to spend the money on the rebuild. Not entirely sure if I’m going to keep this transmission, I do plan on doing a turbo.
 

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rwd_pete

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Really nice looking car! I like the stock look with IROC wheels making it look like a factory SS package.
The disk brakes setup on an Impala SS uses a different master cylinder than the drum brake one with self energizing brake shoes.
So you are thinking of using the original THM 350 transmission, or is it a 4 speed auto?. I suppose it should work with an adapter. I have a 6.0 LY6 to swap into my '96 Impala SS but haven't decided what to do for the transmission. My 4L60E could work but would need some kind of controller to shift it.
I had thought about changing my 5x5 bolt circle Impala to 4.75. to make it easy to move wheels between vehicles. For the Impala I was thinking I could use the Camaro 1LE 12" rotors with the smaller bolt circle up front. I re-drilled a 9" Ford axle in the back of my '56 Ford to GM and it worked out fine with Chevelle rotors up front.
Your car will be a great ride with the LS power!
Pete
 
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J.McGinnis

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Really nice looking car! I like the stock look with IROC wheels making it look like a factory SS package.
The disk brakes setup on an Impala SS uses a different master cylinder than the drum brake one with self energizing brake shoes.
So you are thinking of using the original THM 350 transmission, or is it a 4 speed auto?. I suppose it should work with an adapter. I have a 6.0 LY6 to swap into my '96 Impala SS but haven't decided what to do for the transmission. My 4L60E could work but would need some kind of controller to shift it.
I had thought about changing my 5x5 bolt circle Impala to 4.75. to make it easy to move wheels between vehicles. For the Impala I was thinking I could use the Camaro 1LE 12" rotors with the smaller bolt circle up front. I re-drilled a 9" Ford axle in the back of my '56 Ford to GM and it worked out fine with Chevelle rotors up front.
Your car will be a great ride with the LS power!
Pete
Hey Pete! Thanks. I got the rear brackets from a 98 blazer, I believe I just need to change the proportioning valve. I definitely wanted the interchangeability with the wheels. Especially because I believe Gbody’s are the same lug pattern. Also order the adapter for the trans, just waiting for some parts to come in and force out a stall converter. Then I should be able to bolt everything up. Pics coming soon!!!
 

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